By Rene Lynch
Los Angeles Times
Pick your pain: You can go to "The Biggest Loser," or "The Biggest Loser" can come to you.
NBC Universal Television is opening of a second fitness resort — this one in Malibu, not far from the ranch where the reality weight-loss show is shot. The first resort linked to the TV show is near St. George, Utah. NBC has not ruled out the possibility of additional locations.
Also being unveiled this week: A revised version of "The Biggest Loser" Wii game. Upgrades include progress tracking and a body analyzer, which makes the workouts and challenges harder as you get fitter.
"It's a dynamic routine; it will change," said David Sapienza, senior producer for game maker THQ. So just when you're getting the hang of squats, he said, "it's going to move you into lunges ... it's going to give you that extra push."
The new version also allows you to virtually pit yourself against other players online — say, your best friend who lives across the country. (Consider it an opportunity to do some long-distance nagging. Or bragging.)
Though NBC as a network has its struggles, the "Biggest Loser" continues to be a reliable bright spot for the network, in no small part because of the unprecedented branding and franchising avenues. Fans gobble up "Biggest Loser" blenders, cookware, scales, protein powders, meal programs, DVDs, music, online fitness programs, an at-home Know Your Number blood test like the one the contestants use at the ranch, fitness clothing ... well, you get the idea.
Unfortunately, they still haven't figured out a way to get someone else to do your workouts for you or an easier way to make the weight fall right off.
Guests at the Malibu resort, which is scheduled to open in the fall, have the option of a minimum one-week weight-loss program that involves at least six hours of physical exercise each day, including early morning hikes that can last up to three hours, and a roughly 1,200-calorie per day diet, depending on individual caloric needs, said Michelle Kelsch, resort co-owner. There are nutrition classes, cooking classes and more than 20 fitness and resistance classes offered on a rotating schedule, all based on the boot-camp program the contestants are put through on the TV show.
So, what exactly is the "resort" part of all of this?
There will be pampering, such as massages and mani-pedis offered, but the hitch is they're offered only after you put in all your workouts, said Kelsch.
She adds that the program is a serious one: Come prepared to work out, come prepared to be pushed to your limits, or don't bother to come at all.
It's designed to be a jump-start for people who need a sharp break from their unhealthful routines and who think, "'I just need to get out of my environment, get away from work and home,'" she said.
The resort will have roughly 80 beds. There will also be an option for area residents to visit the resort all day and sleep in their own beds at night. Prices range up to $2,700 for the week, depending on accommodations.
The new game will be available in the fall for $39.99. Other new features: additional workout areas including the "Biggest Loser" boxing ring and yoga area, so Bob Harper can bark at you while you're doing downward dog, and more than 50 calorie-conscious recipes.
But not everything is newfangled, said Sapienza. There's also a feature for those who want to kick it old school and skip the Wii board and remote, using the game like a regular ol' workout DVD.