was Jillian Michaels right in The Biggest Loser scandal?

As some of you might know, the famous personal trainer, Jillian Michaels was recently penalized for giving caffeine supplements to her members on The Biggest Loser show. Jillian’s comment was “I stand by my opinion: a caffeine supplement is significantly healthier than unlimited amounts of coffee. My only regret is that my team are the ones suffering the consequences of my professional opinion”. Later, Jillian hinted that the whole scandal might have been just a ploy aimed to bring a previously eliminated contestant,  Ruben Studdard, back into the show. Could she be right?

Where do I begin?

The Biggest Loser show is hugely popular, and its producers, no doubt, are ready to go an extra mile to keep the ratings up. But at what cost? The recent scandal once again brings up the issue of ethics and safety: two concepts that, in my opinion, are represented in the show quite loosely.

If you have been watching the show, you are aware of the variety of challenges faced by the contestants, from physical to emotional, some of which are downright humiliating and at times literally crippling. I will not go into further detail. Let me just say that as a fitness trainer, I’m appalled at the idea of putting severely overweight and deconditioned people through such a grueling regimen that is only aggravated by the pressures of time and publicity. This is against all professional ethics.

Granted, The Biggest Loser can serve as a great inspiration to those who are considering to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It can also become a big deceiver by building unreasonable expectations and putting people at risks of injuries, be it physical or emotional.

Those who have followed up on former contestants, know that many of the contestants actually lose all their “gains” after a while, regressing to their old ways. This puts the validity of the show’s concept under a big question mark by illustrating how “quick gains” are skin-deep, and the physical changes are easily reversible, when they are not substantiated by a deeper, mental transformation. We live in the time of “quick fixes” but they don’t necessarily work!

This is why as a personal trainer, I put a great emphasis on mental conditioning techniques to help my clients create a lasting change in their mindset, a so-called paradigm shift, as described by one of my favorite teachers, Steven Covey. As a certified meditation instructor, I employ mediation and visualization techniques that drive my client’s subconscious mind toward their goal. I also teach quick and effective mind exercises that sharpen my client’s focus and help refine their understanding of deeper needs that lie beneath the desirable outcome, thus strengthening their determination.

When it comes to the physical side of it, I’m for safe practices. Depending on my client’s level of fitness, I make sure they are properly conditioned before “raising the bar” and offering them more intense physical challenges. Overall, I prefer gradual, steady progress over the “quick victory” fad, which could easily land one in a hospital or on a pile of broken dreams. I believe that “great progress is made daily”. Dedication and consistency build a beautiful and healthy physique; they also create a stronger mind and spirit.

Personal training in Orange County

If you are interested in experiencing my approach on practice, give me a call at
(949) 441-0678 or drop me a line. As a new client you are welcome to take advantage of a complimentary training session at the location of your choice, anywhere in Orange County.

Till then, stay Young! 🙂


Tamara Eristavi is a wellness coach, based in Irvine, Califorina.

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