Since its launch in 2004, millions of people have been tuning in to the weight loss-centered reality TV show “The Biggest Loser”. The show depicts numerous obese people undergoing prolonged, strenuous exercise for the purpose of losing large amounts of weight in a relatively short amount of time.
Given the widespread popularity of The Biggest Loser, similar weight loss competitions and challenges are now a norm in health and fitness facilities, workplace settings, and even among friends and families. One of the ‘biggest’ launches yet is the rolling out of “The Biggest Loser”-branded resorts, which are widely scattered across the United States.
These resorts are designed to give people an opportunity to, in essence, ‘get away’ for the purpose of focusing on their personal health and wellness needs. I was previously invited to spend a full day at The Biggest Loser Resort Chicago in order to experience the place as any guest would during their stay.
Situated in northwest suburban Itasca, Illinois, the resort opened its doors back in May 2013.
After receiving the invite, I must admit that I was a little skeptical about participating. Like many other experts, I’ve been known to criticize The Biggest Loser for portraying extreme, impractical weight loss strategies that can’t be maintained in the long-term. Nevertheless, I kept an open mind and accepted the invitation.
After a fun-filled day of listening and learning, exercising, and good eating I was quite impressed with the goings-on of this resort.
Same Brand, Different Philosophy
While The Biggest Loser Resorts carry the brand name, they’re not at all operated like the reality TV show. You won’t be working out 4-6 hours a day under the command of loud, obnoxious trainers yelling verbal obscenities at you. Don’t expect to be starved into rapid weight loss either.
The Biggest Loser resorts offer a program that’s specifically designed to equip participants with all the tools necessary to live a healthy, well-balanced life. Their program is primarily centered on exercise, nutrition education, nourishment, relaxation, and camaraderie.
A Typical Day at The Biggest Loser Resort
While staying at The Biggest Loser Resort, you’re provided with endless opportunities to participate in a wide range of carefully structured health and wellness activities each and every day. Such activities include, but are not limited to, daily hiking sessions, fitness classes, and educational lectures.
In addition, you’re fed incredibly delicious, calorie-controlled meals and snacks at 4-5 hour-intervals throughout the day. The daily food intake for all participants is 1,500 calories.
Your day begins at 6:00am during which time you can participate in either a stretching class or a light workout. Within 45-60 minutes of your early morning workout you’re eating a breakfast comprised of high-quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein. If you’re a coffee drinker, like myself, forget it! Only tea is available in this spot.
After breakfast there’s typically a scenic group hike followed by a toning class of sorts and then lunch. At the Biggest Loser Resort, lunch is the largest meal of the day. You have open access to a fully loaded salad bar complete with vegetables, fruit, and legumes. For your convenience the dressings are pre-portioned according to proper serving sizes.
You’re also allowed a serving of flavorful soup just prior to a main course. A typical main course includes about two servings of carbohydrates like whole grains, a serving of lean protein, and a serving of vegetables.
While at the Chicago resort I enjoyed a flavorful cheeseburger prepared with lean beef sandwiched between a gourmet whole wheat bun with a side of asparagus. Most folks know that I’m not a beef eater and I’d actually requested a beef/pork-free lunch, but I wanted to get the full experience so I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
No regrets either!
Following lunch, the educational seminars begin. These seminars are carefully designed to teach you valuable tips and strategies for incorporating healthy behaviors into your lifestyle. Numerous health and wellness professionals provide lectures including life coaches, trainers, and dieticians.
The afternoon seminars are followed by 1-2 more workouts and then dinner. Finally, your day ends with another educational seminar and then you’re free at about 7:00pm.
After such a long day, you’re encouraged to unwind by indulging in some of the spa services offered. The Biggest Loser Resorts feature on-site spas that offer a complete list of salon and wellness treatments including massage, facials, hair treatments, manicures, and pedicures.
You’re expected to be in bed by 10:00pm in order to get a solid eight hours of sleep in preparation for the day ahead.
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