When The Biggest Loser returns to TV on January 28 on USA, the popular series will be helmed by a very familiar face. Bob Harper—who fans might recognize from his time as a trainer on the show for 16 seasons and the host of the 17th season in 2016—will be the host/cheerleader/general all-around inspiration once again for a new set of 12 contestants fighting to transform themselves physically and mentally.
Bob is no stranger to transformations himself. The personal trainer worked with celebrities in Los Angeles before joining the reality show in 2004, and after a near-fatal heart attack in 2017, Bob has been very open about his journey back to health. “Change is hard in any way or capacity,” he told Men’s Health.
“I have always been a control freak—I like to say control enthusiast—and when I suffered my heart attack, I realized I needed to relinquish control and be vulnerable and open and honest with myself. It’s been something that has been a process.”
Here, everything you need to know about Bob before his enthusiastic return to The Biggest Loser this month.
He started his career as a celebrity personal trainer.
Despite not being especially involved with sports in high school, Bob moved to LA from his hometown in Tennessee and started working with celebrity clients, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, TV Guide reports. He is certified as a fitness instructor by the American Fitness Training of Athletics and with the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America. In addition to his personal training, Bob also appeared as an extra in the music video for the Melissa Etheridge song “Angels Would Fall.” (Peep Bob at 1:02 in the YouTube video below.)
Bob has been a part of every season of The Biggest Loser thus far.
The New York Times bestselling author started as a trainer from day one of the reality show, alongside Jillian Michaels. Despite the season-one winner being a member of Jillian’s red team, Bob has been a staple of the show ever since. While at times a little intense (anyone else remember his blow up at contestant Joelle in season two?), Bob has been there for contestants dating back to 2004.
He publicly came out on an episode of The Biggest Loser.
While Bob came out to his parents as a teenager, Entertainment Weekly reports, he didn’t talk about his sexuality on the show until the 15th season. It was a contestant, Bobby, who inspired Bob to share his story on national television. The contestant, who came from a strict Catholic family, had been struggling to come out to his parents, and after a particularly impactful visit to The Biggest Loser ranch by Bobby’s family, Bob opened up about his own journey.
“I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame,” he said. “Being gay doesn’t mean being weak and being gay doesn’t mean you’re less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.”
Bob and his boyfriend Anton Gutierrez got engaged this past July, Us Weekly reported at the time. (Cross your fingers for a wedding at The Ranch this season.)
He was once named PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity.
Bob’s plant-based diet not only helps him out in the gym, but it also paid off in 2010 when
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) named him their male “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity.” Coincidentally, he went full vegan that same year. (He also followed a paleo diet for a while.) “I enjoy living a plant-based diet because it makes me feel clear-headed and strong, not to mention my genetically high cholesterol dropped more than 100 points. That was all the motivation I needed,” he told VegNews at the time.
The heart attack that almost killed him was the “biggest shock” of his life.
On February 12, 2017, Bob was working out at his CrossFit gym as usual when he suddenly fell to the floor. He told Today that he woke up in the hospital two days later with no recollection of the incident.
Being told that he had suffered from a heart attack and cardiac arrest was the “biggest shock of my life,” he said. Like most people, the trainer had assumed that, as someone who had built his career on wellness, a heart attack was unlikely, but he learned afterward that he carries large amounts of the protein Lipoprotein(a) in his blood. He’s genetically predisposed to having high amounts of the protein, and it means that he is at high risk of cardiac arrest—regardless of his exercise habits, he explained to People.
The near-death experience has also helped him gain a new perspective.
The personal trainer told Today that, at first, he was afraid to work out again. He changed his diet (check it out in his book The Super Carb Diet) and added more low-key workouts to his normal CrossFit-heavy gym rotation. He also took to Instagram recently to show off his CPR AED certification card, two things that helped save his life during his heart attack.
“My life is completely different now,” he said. “My life is about appreciation and gratitude. It is about balance. It’s about not sweating the big things and definitely not sweating the small things. I know how short life can be. I know that it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye.”
Bob says the new season of The Biggest Loser will be more about wellness and less about the numbers.
While previous seasons of the show have been criticized for its extreme weight-loss methods, Bob told People that this upcoming season will take a more holistic approach to health and wellness. With a larger focus on aftercare this season, the host said that viewers will see contestants working toward being healthy rather than being skinny this time around.
“Strength isn’t about being the toughest,” Bob said in an Instagram video promoting the new season. “Strength is about reaching inside to find the courage to make a change to be best you that you can be.”
Source: Read Full Article