Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Don’t Watch Bob, Either!-


Hes a hoss, yes, but hes a Biggest Loser trainer...

He's a hoss, and a nice guy...but he's a Biggest Loser trainer...that's not saying much.

Okay, okay…I can’t just pick on Jillian…that wouldn’t be fair!  Let me preface this by saying that I feel Bob Harper is a sweet guy, and he seems to have a genuine interest in his clients’ health and well-being.  With that being said, the stuff they show on The Biggest Loser is just plain preposterous!  Yes, it’s a TV show and it’s hyped-up and edited, so who honestly really knows what goes on.  Anyhow, you’re going to be seeing more posts from me regarding the “WTF?” workouts shown on this show!  Why?  Because the public is watching this show, and getting some really bad information from it.  No, i’m not in the least bit jealous of either Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels, and as i’ve said before, I wouldn’t want their job.  I’m not hatin’ on them…i’m hatin’ on the crap they are representing on the show and i’m hatin’ on the fact that people simply do not know that a lot of what’s shown on the show is CRAP!


Yesterday and earlier today, I shared my feelings on Jillian’s glorious kettlebell skills.  I also wanted to comment on the “circus act” of an exercise Bob had Sione doing.

This is a quadruped arm and opposite leg raise, or as some call it, a “bird dog.”  OF COURSE doing the exercise on the floor just isn’t good enough…it’s not good TV!  NO!  We gotta do it on the ball!  Check out the sweat!  See how hard he’s working?  


I would NEVER have a client do this kinda crap.  It infuriates me, then amuses me, to be honest, when I see the ridiculous “circus act” exercises they show on The Biggest Loser!  I wanna ask them “WHY?”  Why do you guys show this crap?  It’s obviously not for the sake of improving someone’s fitness level…it’s for the “wow factor” and gets good ratings, right?  Right!  What we don’t see is the “cut” footage that is now lying somewhere in a landfill…the footage that shows Sione busting his as* after he slips off the ball.

I am not a fan of having clients stand on a ball, either.  If your trainer has you do this, fire them.  That’s all i’m gonna say.

There are a ton of exercises out there, people.  A ton of really good ones, and even more that aren’t worth wasting your time on.  I feel i’ve reached a point in my career where I have a pretty good grasp on what works, and what’s not worth doing.  Why mess with something that’s not broken in the first place?  When it comes to exercises, a trainer must have a REASON behind each and every one they choose.  Why would I have a client do the exercise demonstrated above?  I wouldn’t…okay, well, I did try it yesterday goofing around with one of the couples I train.  I felt like a circus bear!  There simply isn’t a point, in my eyes, to have any of my clients do this exercise.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  There are more effective (and safe) ways of kicking things up a notch once the basic movement is mastered.  

What I would do, you ask?  I would move on to a more challenging exercise that trains rotation…because the quadruped opposite arm & leg raise is an exercise that trains rotation…more specifically, anti-rotation.  I would progress my client to something done in the standing position, because that has more functional carryover to real life than a floor-based exercise.  I would choose an exercise such as a band iso-hold, which is awesome because the band generates a pulling force that wants to rotate the torso.  The goal is to not give in to this pulling force, thus “locking down” the core and promoting integrity throughout the entire body, as virtually every muscle is working to hold a static position.  Once this kinda exercise is easy for my client, i’d then incorporate some movement by having them perform various steps or lunges, all the while keeping arms fixed and core braced.

I am a BIG fan of having my clients perform exercises in the standing position…why?  IT’S MORE FUNCTIONAL!  Yes, I get tired of the “functional” word but it’s true!  Once a client can handle such exercises, my philosophy is “let ’em have ’em!”  You burn more calories standing up, you use your entire body, and hell…it’s a lot more fun than doing stuff lying on the floor!

Oh…and one more thing?  “Outside the Box” passed the 11,000 hits mark today!  Just doing my part to spread the truth, people, and it seems to be spreading like a little virus! 😀  I love it!  Thanks for stopping by!


12 responses

  1. Great posts…I gotta get over hear more often

    April 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    • Thanks, G!
      I tell ya, the fact that i’m able to speak my mind and share my slant on things via this blog ROCKS! I wish I would have started it sooner…started in October of last year…but better late than never! I am going to be doing a weekly feature post on The Biggest Loser…not trying to badmouth anyone, just sharing my thoughts on the crazy crap they make those contestants do. I feel it’s very very unrealistic and over-hyped. Anyhow…more soon!

      April 11, 2009 at 10:22 am

  2. mfactorfitness

    Leave it to a show to turn personal trainers into cartoons. But I guess working on the fundamentals makes for boring tv.

    What is next for these poor contestants…..wing walking on a biplane?
    The Fingal fingers?

    How am I going to get Atlas stones in my trunk?

    Keep up the good work,
    M Factor Fitness

    April 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    • YES!
      It’s like each season they try to surpass what they did in previous seasons. If you watch old episodes of the show, it’s rather “boring” and soooo different compared to nowadays! I am cracking up at your comment! I LOVE watching the World’s Strongest Man competitions!!!!! LOVE ‘EM! I know what the Fingal Fingers are! 😀
      Thanks a bunch, and you keep it up too! I am going to check out your blog tomorrow when I have more time! Like I mentioned in a previous comment, i’m being forced to go have fun at a crawfish boil this afternoon, so my original plan of spending time working on my laptop has been tossed out the door!
      Yours in Health,
      PS – have you gotten to see really old Strongest Man competitions? Like from the 80’s? They play ’em on ESPN2 every now and then…priceless stuff! My favorite is when they’ve got the setup that’s a platform of some sort, and the competitors are underneath it squatting…and on top of the platform are like 10 Playboy bunnies! I will never forget that! 🙂

      April 11, 2009 at 10:27 am

  3. jamieatlas

    Once again hitting the nail right on the head, Sarah! When you stand you work all kinds of muscles that fall asleep when you are sitting or lying on a bench. The one force that is always constant on all of us is always GRAVITY – if we can train our body to overcome gravity from a standing position in multiple directions of movement then we can train our body to do most anything athletic we might wish for.

    As the for the flying bird-dog… I might ask what the benefits would be, then ask what the risks might be.. Seems to me that you might have a case of ROB… Risks outweighing the Benefits.


    April 10, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    • Jamie,

      You rock! Amen, brother! It’s the coolest thing when I get to work with a client who’s exercise background consists of machine training. I love watching how a formerly not-so-coordinated client becomes more and more proficient at exercises, and i’m able to help them reach a level where they are doing more complex, integrated stuff! Oh, my brain is full of ideas right now, and it sucks b/c I wanna stay right here and write a few blog posts! I gotta go have fun, though! Sigh…I’ll jot down my ideas and write up some stuff later!

      The risks outweighing the benefits factor is something more trainers need to consider. I’m glad I don’t work in a gym anymore…it used to chap my hide so bad when i’d see stuff along the lines of Bob’s exercise example in my post. It’s like, “what’s the point?” I think way too many trainers see “cool” exercises and want to wow their clients…when their clients are simply nowhere near ready for such crazy antics. It’s irresponsible and embarrassing!

      Keep doin’ your thang!

      April 11, 2009 at 10:32 am

  4. jamieatlas

    Oh and congrats on 11K! That is awesome! You are doing something right, that’s for sure! 🙂

    April 10, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    • Thanks, Jamie!
      I’m pretty happy! I’m seeming to be mastering this online stuff pretty well…without having a webmaster/guru helping me…apparently Google loves my blog and i’m easy to find when you do a search! So…my plan to take over the world is happening, lol! 😀

      April 11, 2009 at 10:33 am

  5. As a trainer, I do also agree with you that some of the exercises they have the contestants performing are a tad extreme for their condition. But, like you said, it is TV. I was able to interview one of the former winners from Season 2 on my webcast and he clued me in on a lot of stuff I did not know in regards to their training, nutrition, etc. Pretty wild!

    April 12, 2009 at 8:43 am

    • Hey Jenny!
      It’s TV…that’s the bottom line! I just wish people watching would realize this, and that a lot of it is very unrealistic. I am gonna check out your site – is the webcast still available?

      Yours in Health,

      April 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  6. JMJ

    I don’t watch the BL every week, but have caught a few episodes through the years. It is inspiring to see these guys loose all the weight, the finale show is always inspiring. But yes-the exercises the trainers suggest, and the poor mechanics displayed really leave you scratching your head. As far as that dude doing a birddog on the SB and sweating like pig. I know a guy who auditioned to be a trainer on the show, he said the producers don’t allow any AC or fans in the workout room…apparently they want to show America how hard they’re really working by sweating so much. How’s that for production value. And yes-I always recommend exercises be performed standing, that’s the golden rule in my training. Kicks in the various stabilizers and makes the exercise more challenging, which burns more calories. Great blog Sarah, keep up the great content.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:52 am

    • Hey Jason!

      Thanks for your input! Okay…no AC or fans? I would die! Yes, the contestants would be sweating their butts off…but so would I! I would be miserable! That’s crazy but understandable from a “TV show” point of view. Heck, I can do one lunge indoors in freezing cold AC and start sweating! LOL! Yay for lots of standing exercises! Me likey!

      Have a great week!

      April 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s