Holley Mangold & “The Biggest Loser”

I want to write a bit about Holley Mangold joining “The Biggest Loser”.

Now, I have to confess I’ve never watched TBL; I’ve only read stuff about it and most of it was negative. E.g. articles about the methods used to make the contestants lose weight; water weight manipulation for the weigh-ins; the fact that many of the contestants gain the weight back etc. So I’m biased, I confess. But I don’t think TBL promotes healthy, sustainable weight loss. 

Holley is of course completely entitled to lose weight if she wants to, it’s her body; she’s also a grown woman and can look up the methods & history of TBL herself. I’m not saying, by any means, that she shouldn’t do it. But I won’t deny I’m disappointed that she is. 

I don’t think the trainers on TBL are going to respect her skills as a weight lifter and American football player. In fact, I can just imagine that the trainers will encourage her to drop any workouts that build muscle. After all, muscle = weight, and the only thing that counts on TBL is less weight (not health, or metabolic performance etc). 

Holley says she’s going on this show to drop weight so she can be a more competitive lifter. When a lifter wants to lose weight but maintain as much performance as possible, they have to do it carefully & slowly, with monitored training & diet. Do you think TBL is going to do this? Of course not – she’s going to be crash-dieted, which will lead to a loss of muscle mass. After all, the only thing they’re interested in is the scale – and not whether or not she can still snatch her bodyweight+ at the end of it. 

Also, TBL competitors usually are completely unfit & new to exercise. Holley is not – she’s a very fit woman. I can’t help thinking that the trainers on TBL are going to hinder that fitness by making her do endless cardio or whatever. I’m not even sure they’ll know what to do with her. Celebrity PTs are not strength & conditioning coaches. 

I’m pretty sad about it. As a lay person I’m worried she’s going to completely lose the competitive edge she had. I also, selfishly, regard her & Sarah Robles as awesome role models who demonstrate what a woman’s body can do despite its size or the amount of adipose tissue it carries. I feel like I’ve lost a role model! 

I really hope Holley gets what she wants out of this, and it doesn’t scupper her Olympic lifting career. But I’m not so hopeful she will, and it makes me sad. 

Edited to add: The other thing I forgot to mention – it’s probably a fair assumption that Holley is doing this partially for the publicity & money. It’s well known that she lives in relative poverty (especially compared to her brother Nick). It’s a HUGE shame that women’s weightlifting – especially in the less glamorous higher weight classes – is so poorly funded that she ends up doing things like this for publicity. 

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