An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients

For ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer, diet trumps exercise in weight loss

The lies that say that being healthy means nothing unless you are also thin. The lies that say that you are never enough, that your body is not a beautiful work of art, but rather a piece of clay to be molded by society’s norms until it becomes a certain type of sculpture. And even then, it is still a work in progress. I owe you an apology, my former client and now friend, who I helped to lose too much weight. Who I watched gain the weight back, plus some. Because that’s what happens when you put someone on a 1,200 calorie diet. But I didn’t know. If you’re reading this, then I want you to know that you have always been beautiful.

He said if the Skinny’ of his book titles and fitness DVDs is meant tongue-in-cheek, it is also the word that his morbidly obese clients attach to most. “People say, ‘Shouldn’t I be fit? Shouldn’t I be healthy?’, and I say Yes, absolutely. But what I always hear from my contestants on the show is, ‘I just want to get skinny.'” In addition to promoting a healthy diet, a big part of his exercise routine includes lunges and other core-strengthening moves to burn enough fat to let the inner six-pack shine through. Harper said the workout is aimed at getting the heart rate up because that’s when people are going to be able to burn fat and when fat is burned off, the abdominal muscles are exposed. FAN OF CROSSFIT He also adheres to the no-frills strength and condition program called Crossfit, which is a series of timed, ever- changing physical challenges that he says are suitable for everyone. “I’m working with people who are 500 pounds (227 kg) and doing Crossfit on a regular basis,” said Harper, who described the approximately 20-minute workout as well-balanced. “To me Crossfit just completely makes sense (as long as) you work at your level doing the things you can do with proper coaching,” he explained. But Dr. Mark Kelly, an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise, said that even with supervision, Crossfit can be risky if the fitness groundwork isn’t in place.

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