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PCOS Challenge

PCOS Challenge
Created by Sasha Ottey
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 total
Executive producer(s) William R. Patterson
Sasha Ottey
Running time 30 min
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original release 2010 – Present

PCOS Challenge is a series of videos produced to bring greater awareness about polycystic ovary syndrome and support to women living with PCOS.[1] They are available to stream online and previously aired on public access television stations. The show addresses common PCOS symptoms and related conditions including infertility, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and hirsutism. The television series is executive produced by William R. Patterson, CEO of The Baron Solution Group,[2] and Sasha Ottey, President of PCOS Challenge, Inc.

PCOS Challenge, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides support for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome through television and radio programming, educational workshops, and online and offline support networks.[3][4] Sasha Ottey is a clinical and research microbiologist. Ottey started PCOS Challenge after her PCOS diagnosis in 2008.[5]

Season one

The show follows ten women with PCOS who are coached by registered dietitian Rebecca Mohning, fitness trainer Josef Brandenburg, and clinical psychologist Ruth Wittersgreen. The women are also guided by alternative and traditional medical experts including reproductive endocrinologists, dermatologists, acupuncturists, and naturopathic physicians.[6]

On the nutrition front, much of the focus was on eating a low carbohydrate diet to help improve insulin sensitivity which seems to be at the root of many of the problems associated with PCOS. She also had the women take fish oil and vitamin D to help improve their insulin sensitivity.[7][8][9][10]

In addition to the low carbohydrate diet the fitness program they were focused on anaerobic exercise - specifically on resistance training and high intensity interval training. The reason these modes of training were used is 3 fold: 1. Safety: In PCOS most women are obese. Endurance exercise, such as jogging, involves lots of repetitive stress - each mile is 1,500 repetitions, and each impact is 5 times body weight. If your body weight is already an issue, pounding them with repetitive endurance work is likely to cause an injury.[11][12][13][14][15][16] The resistance training workouts on the show had no more than 15 consecutive repetitions of a given movement before the contestant were allowed to rest. Often the initial phases of the resistance training workouts for the show involved reducing the contestant's body weight with some sort of external assistance, as their body weight was simply more than they could safely handle. By the nature of interval training (intervals of intense work with periods of rest and recovery) allowed the women's bodies to recover enough for the exercise to be safe and avoid injury. 2. Efficacy: Resistance training and interval training are effective tools for increasing insulin sensitivity in those with insulin resistance. These two forms of training depend mostly on anaerobic glycolysis which can deplete the body's stored carbohydrates and create a 36 hour window of increased insulin sensitivity to assist with both weight loss and PCOS.[17][18] 3. Time efficiency: Most of the women on the show had a full-time job, and many were commuting from great distances in order to participate in the show, so time was a limiting factor for all of them. It seems that you can get the same or superior results from less time invested in exercise if you use methods such as resistance training or high intensity interval training.[19][20][21][22][23]


In each episode, the women share their experiences living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and learn ways to overcome their personal challenges with the condition.

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  1. ^ PCOS Magazine - Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2010, p.6
  2. ^
  3. ^ Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association
  4. ^ PCOS Magazine - Volume 2, Issue 2, Nov/Dec 2009, p. 26-27
  5. ^
  6. ^ PCOS Challenge Television Show Cast
  7. ^;jsessionid=xTqo7krNs7GMQPpW95MF.6
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  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Jones BH. Overuse injuries of the lower extremities associated with marching, jogging, and running: a review. Mil Med 1983, 148:783-787
  12. ^ Jones BH, Cowan DN, Tomlinson JP, Robinson FR, Polly DEW, Frykman PN. Epidemiology of injuries associated with physical training among young men in the Army. Med Sci Sports Exero 1993; 25 (2): 197-203
  13. ^ Jones BH, Cowan DN, Knapik JJ. Exercise, training and injuries, Sports Med 1994, 18:202-214
  14. ^ Jones BH, Knapik JJ. Physical training and exercise-related injuries: surveillance, research and injury prevention in military populations. Sports Med 1999; 27( 2):111-125
  15. ^ Jones BH, Perrotta DM, Canham-Chervak ML, Nee MA, Brundage JF. Injuries in the military: a review and commentary focused on prevention. Am J Prev Med 2000; 18(3S):71-84
  16. ^ Jones BH, Thacker SB, Gilchrist J, Kimsey CD Jr, Sosin DM. Prevention of lower extremity stress fractures in athletes and soldiers: a systematic review. Epidemiol Rev 2002; 24(2):228-47
  17. ^
  18. ^ Geliebter, A., et al. Effects of strength or aerobic training on body composition, resting metabolic rate, and peak oxygen consumption in obese dieting subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Sep; 66(3):557-63
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  20. ^
  21. ^ Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism
  22. ^ Trapp EG and Boutcher SH. Fat loss following 15 weeks of high intensity, intermittent cycle training. Fat Loss Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  23. ^ King, J.W. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese premenopausal women (thesis). East Tennessee State University, 2001

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