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Bob Harper on The Biggest Loser: What to know about the trainer turned host

Bob Harper
Bob Harper has had a scary health incident reinforce his belief that health is mind and body connected. Pic credit: USA Network

Bob Harper on The Biggest Loser is a longtime reality TV personality and personal trainer.

However, Harper has changed over time since he first appeared as a helper trainer with Jillian Michaels on the NBC run of the series.

What to know about this trainer turned host? He has walked through the fire of a near-death experience. He still has an upbeat, positive attitude and desire to help people stay healthy.

As the new 17th season airing on the USA Network is underway, we know that this New York Times bestselling author is taking a wholly new approach to training.

This is not the same show that featured him as a trainer with the controversial Michaels.

In this run of the series, Harper stated he plans on approaching the contestants with a holistic new focus. We can bet that has a lot to do with his own personal journey.

How has Bob Harper changed his trajectory on Biggest Loser?

Harper is a serious trainer. His CV reveals he attended Austin Peay University. He immersed himself in the world of fitness and nutrition, serving as a trainer to many celebrities like Jennifer Jason Leigh.

It was in 2017 that Harper suffered a major heart attack, which happened even after he officially went vegan in 2010.

At age 51, Harper was found unconscious after a workout, and based on the news report from TMZ, he is lucky to be alive today.

This fact proves that even fit people can have hidden arterial blockages that can induce a cardiac event or even a stroke. It also shows that diet and exercise go hand in hand for overall health, but there are more factors to consider.

Monitoring your blood work and being aware of stress and its cumulative effects, plus any genetic predispositions, are factors you can’t ignore.

At the 2020 winter Television Critics Association press tour, Harper revealed this run of Biggest Loser would be a more “holistic effort” than the previous iteration of the series that aired on NBC.

At the TCA where Monsters & Critics joined the panel discussion, the tone of the presentation was completely different than the show in the past.

Harper, who previously served 17 seasons on The Biggest Loser, along with Erica Lugo and Steve Cook, his new trainers, all shared the revised premise details.

Also on the panel with the trainers was Heather Olander, Senior Vice President of USA’s Alternative Series Development and Production.

During the Q&A, Harper expressed to a room full of contentious TV critics that the show was different — the format was reflective of the health and fitness information we have today.

Harper noted that 2020 attitudes and information were the protocol. a 180-degree difference than a decade ago when this show first came on on the air.

He also noted that the competition element was only part of the storytelling in the show, sharing it was a motivating factor for the contestants as part of their overall story.

Newer mind and body elements were to be introduced.

Biggest Loser reborn with Bob Harper

Harper and the panel shared the big changes made for this season, including the news there was an aftercare package that was enhanced versus what it was in past seasons.

Contestants are given a gym membership, a nutritionist, and a specific nutrition plan tailored to each individual. They also were given access to a support group.

Harper noted on the panel that the big piece of reprogramming bad habits was this support group where everybody gets to share their stories and feels part of something. They were not alone.

The trainers’ goals were that these contestants have the chance at a great life and a healthy life.

At the TCA, Harper said:

“The support group is something that is so powerful, because as you all know with what you do for a living, words are power, and when we get together and we just kind of go through what we’re feeling and the struggles that everyone goes through, I think not only does it help not only does it help the contestants, but the viewers will get so much inspiration and hope from their stories.”

Harper also shared that with working with someone who was morbidly obese, there were underlying factors.

He said: “It is not because they like pizza. There’s what that food represents. It’s the medication that they feel like they get from it, and that’s why we have a set of we have a whole medical team.”

The Biggest Loser airs Tuesday at 9/8c on the USA Network.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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