If you have ever watched the NBC show “Biggest Loser,” you know who trainer Bob Harper is. Harper, 52, is an energetic, insanely fit, personal trainer who coaches contestants though life changing weight loss. Much of the show is dedicated to the fact that if these people don’t lose some weight, they can not expect to live a full life. Many are heart attacks or strokes waiting to happen. Many are already diabetic or on the verge. Harper’s mission is to set these folks on a healthy path to improve not only how they look, but more importantly, their health.
This is why it was such a shock to the fitness world when earlier this year, Harper suffered a major heart attack. Harper was in the gym working out at the time and suddenly dropped to the floor. Luckily, there was a doctor at the gym who jumped in and probably saved his life. The gym had an Automated External Defibrillator on the premises and they were able to jump start his heart again. Still, Harper estimates he was “dead” for 7-12 minutes.
He woke up a full two days later in the hospital surrounded by loved ones and thoroughly confused. How in the world is it possible to have a heart attack when you are one of the most famous health and fitness gurus in the world? Harper has written books on fitness and his entire life is dedicated to helping other find health! It certainly was shocking to all.
Harper does admit that he ignored some red flags in his health leading up to the near fatal heart attack. He had had several bouts of dizziness that he shrugged off or made excuses for. He was supposed to get them checked out, but never did. Who among us isn’t guilty of avoiding doctors pokes and prods for what we assume will probably be nothing anyway?
His recovery has been long and emotional. Harper recently opened up in an interview with People magazine about the emotional recovery he has faced on top of the physical recovery. Many people suffer from depression and/or anxiety after such a close call. Harper believed “my heart gave up on me.” That became an overwhelming thought that made him question everything. He was, at first, afraid to be alone. What if it happened again and there was nobody there to help him?
Harper has since tried to change his priorities to decrease stress and appreciate the things in life that matter, friends, family, his beloved dog, Karl. Going from an energetic trainer who is used to pushing himself and others physically to the limit, to a yoga practicing, meditator is a tough transition for someone like Harper. But sometimes it takes a brush with death to make us slow down and appreciate where we are at.
Here is someone who is the epitome of health and if they can’t stop a heart attack, then who can? All we can do is follow Harper’s example and take care of ourselves as best we can. Good nutrition and a dedicated workout schedule can only do so much, but they certainly aren’t going to hurt your chances of avoiding major health problems!
Sources: People.com, Shape.com