The Biggest Loser
Shows like the "The Biggest Loser" have successfully launched a new fitness trend, the weight-loss/fitness challenge. Look around. They're everywhere, and their popularity is growing despite the controversy surrounding the original show and its subsequent demise.
The basic concept is simple. Individuals compete over a finite period of time to see who has the most dramatic body transformation as assessed via weight, body composition measurements, or both. It's pretty simple. You might even know someone who has participated in a local challenge.
While many of these programs possess a number of positive attributes, they can also have negative aspects that get overlooked and that may be detrimental to successfully keeping off the weight if overlooked.
Weight-loss challenges are not inherently good or bad, and their current popularity is most certainly a sign of the times. That said, a well-designed challenge can provide participants with support, motivation, and accountability. These are all good things when you're trying to make a lifestyle change. Their biggest weakness seems to be that like other weight-loss strategies they are finite, and probably too short to facilitate real and lasting lifestyle change. That is unless you continue to sign up for new challenges, which is certainly an option.
As a health and wellness coach, I see these fitness challenges as a tool that can be one part of multi-faceted strategy. The design is great for marketing as it appeals to the masses, but 12 weeks is just that, 12 weeks, and unless participants have a realistic after plan, it is likely they will eventually find whatever weight they lose.