Bob Harper caught the bug in Nashville. It was just a small studio in his neighborhood, but when Harper started exercising there, he was hooked. So he packed up, drove to L.A. from Tennessee and broke into fitness. Next up: becoming a celebrity trainer and then hosting The Biggest Loser.
Looking at Harper, you might assume he rode from Nashville to Cali in the hope of rockstardom. When we caught up with the fitness host at his home (now in downtown Manhattan), he answered the door looking more grunge than guru—black Rolling Stones T-shirt, bleach blond hair, tattoo sleeves and ink across his knuckles. And while his looks may resemble those of a guitarist after an all-night bender, Harper’s habits are anything but excessive.
In fact, the 54 year old may just be the healthiest guy we’ve featured so far.
Following him to his kitchen, we can definitely say he has the most health-enviable, Whole-Foods-isle-looking fridge we’ve ever seen, and we get the sense that our visit prompted zero rearranging; Bob Harper wakes up to a fridge like this every dang day. Fridge staples include kombucha (for after Yoga), green juices (low sugar) that “taste like grass—I kinda like that,” fresh vegetables—carrots, brusel sprouts, asparagus, celery—greek yogurt, egg whites, and fruit. No microwaveables. No sweets. Unlike plenty of other celebs who rely on chefs, Harper cooks most of his own food. “I want to know what’s in my food. I get to control every protein, fat, and carb that I eat.”
It all may sound obsessive and hyper-curated, but Harper has reason to watch his diet.
In 2017 while at a CrossFit class, Harper experienced a heart attack. Luckily there was a doctor in the class who was able to administer CPR. Still, Harper had to be put in a medically-induced coma after he was defibrillated. He owes his life, doctors say, to his superior physical condition.
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But that physicality needed some adjustments, Harper concluded.
“Before I was eating high-protein, high-fat. I worked out really intensely. And I had this veracious appetite. Since my heart attack, I really count my micros. I look at my protein, fat, and carbs. I tend to stay a little low fat. I stay away from red meat.”
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I had a really fun day yesterday shooting for Men’s Health magazine with one of my favorite yoga instructors in NYC. @regina_noroutite is a force to be reckoned with. If you have never taken her class I highly recommend it. I took it this morning and I will be @bodenyc tomorrow morning at 10:30am. Wanna sweat with me??
Harper’s heart attack also forced him to back off the intense exercising. Before, he would slam CrossFit workouts. Now, he opts for yoga, hitting his studio up the street 5-6 times a week. And that’s hot yoga, by the way—“walking into a room that’s 115 degrees with high humidity, standing on a mat for 90 minutes, no music, specific direction; it’s a mind fuck.” He admits the intensity is comparable to CrossFit.
Harper says anyone focusing on serious dieting or exercising needs to start slow. “I don’t like cutting out major food groups. I want to keep a good balance of all the nutrients.” Harper also advises that anyone starting their fitness journey take everything in stride. “Don’t try to change everything all at once. You cannot be Miss America, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman in the first week, month, or year.”
To lose big, you have to win the long game. And Harper is out in front.
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