Pushing through sheer exertion and dripping in sweat, The Biggest Loser contestants are yelled at, pushed, verbally slapped around to boost intensity. It’s extreme exercise.

If you’re already fit and an regular exerciser, that probably sounds kind of fun. You already know the feelings of accomplishment and determination that come from intense exercise.

But if you’re not a regular exerciser, new research from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation found that The Biggest Loser turns people off from physical activity.

Why on earth would I want to go throw-up, sweat like crazy, be yelled at, and feel burning sensations all through my body?

Just reading that line out of context makes you think of some horrible torture. It’s no wonder that people who are not regular exercisers are scared of physical activity when it’s portrayed like this.

What The Study Did:

In the study, 138 undergraduate students from U of A (I’m guessing the University of Alabama) where split into two groups.

The first group watched a seven minute clip of the extreme exercise in The Biggest Loser.

The second groups watched American Idol… something a lot more positive with happiness floating around. When Simon’s not talking.

Immediately after watching these clips, the students wrote down their first thoughts and completed a short test that measured their attitudes toward exercise.

What Did The Study Find?

You already know but the students that watched The Biggest Loser had a worse attitude about exercise than the American Idol students. On top of that, according to their study, it didn’t matter the students current weight or physical activity level.

They all felt worse about moving around and exercising.

What Does This Say About Getting People Active?

Obviously, there is a hodgepodge of fitness advice and weight loss representations out there. There is not one way to talk to everybody… but the problem is the huge marketing dollars behind shows like The Biggest Loser drown out more positive views.

When I first read this I immediately thought of the P90X commercials. Think about those for a minute…

They showed extreme exercise and really hard exercises for the average person. Seriously I doubt that anybody who purchased that program was capable of doing a single pull up… and yet it sold by the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Why did P90X sell so well?

I think it was because the people they showed were ecstatic about it. They were sweating but rather than having a horrible attitude about it, they were smiling, laughing, and pushing and love the process.

It made it look fun to push like that. I got our competitive juices and “I can do that” attitude going full blast.

So people bought the program regardless of whether they could do a single exercise.

That’s what I think at least.

I would be really interested to know what a study would say about that. Maybe a good lesson in marketing.

Study Source: