“The Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper, who suffered a heart attack while working out at a New York City gym on Feb. 12, says he doesn’t remember the incident but has pieced together what happened from friends and others who had been there with him.
“I don’t remember that day at all,” Harper, 51, told Savannah Guthrie on the NBC morning show “Today” on Tuesday. “I was told I went to the gym like I always do. It was Sunday morning, I was working out with some friends of mine and at the end of the workout I went down to the ground. And if you’ve ever done CrossFit,” he said of the trademarked strength and conditioning program, “you know that a lot of times people go to the ground” for floor exercises. “But it wasn’t until about a minute or so later that people realized that something was going on.”
Fortunately, he said, his own trainer there took immediate action, quickly locating two doctors who were at the gym for an event. “They started performing CPR on me, they pulled out the AEDs [automated external defibrillators] and used that on me twice before the paramedics got there super-quick and they jolted me one more time.”
Even with such rapid response, he said, “I was in full cardiac arrest. My heart stopped. I mean, not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead.”
When he finally awoke after two days in a medically induced coma, “I was so confused. And my friends and family that were all there . . . I was like Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ because I had this short-term memory, so I was reliving the heart attack over and over again. I was like, ‘Wait, why am I here? What happened to me?’ And 10 minutes later I was asking the same thing and just getting super-emotional.”
Well on the mend, Harper said he has learned about himself and about his family’s genetic disposition to heart attacks. “I mean, I’m a guy that lives a very healthy lifestyle, very regimented, I work out all the time. But there were things going on inside of my body that I needed to be more aware of and I strongly encourage anyone that’s listening right now to go to the doctor, get your cholesterol checked, see what’s going on on the inside.”