I gaze out past the middle finger of my left hand into the Hollywood Hills as my right quad quivers holding Warrior 2. This is when Bob Harper, trainer from The Biggest Loser, says, "You might be feeling a bit of heat in your thigh right about now." He's teaching a yoga class to a few bloggers and ladies of the press, and we all laugh as our legs burn.You can hear Bob's charming smile even in his calm instructions leading us from pose to pose. He's a thoughtful teacher, with smart sensitive hands that gently mold you into correct positions. I've had a bit of a TV crush on him for years, and now after meeting him in person, I'm smitten. This yoga class and round table discussion were produced by Go With the Grain, and although carbs did come up (as well as protein, which Bob thinks is overrated), we mostly talked about the show, yoga, and a dash of musical theater. He mentioned the contestant Shay more than a few times; she was clearly on his mind. Having lived through each moment during filming, Bob doesn't watch the show but checks the ratings the following morning. He's also learned to avoid the online community boards: "They're so mean." He addresses the recent criticism about all the screaming on the show and shakes his head in dismay and bemusement about the clip of a tirade used on the Emmys.
Bob said there is so much of the action at the ranch that ends on the cutting room floor because it doesn't make for good TV. Which brings us to yoga. Quiet, slow yoga. He actually does a fair bit with his contestants because it's meditative. "It helps them own their bodies," he explains. Working with people that weigh over 300 pounds, Bob gets creative with props, using benches to help support Shay in Chaturanga. Ten minutes of sun salutations is often part of the exercise homework he gives his team.
To see if Bob and Jillian, his rival trainer on the show, are buddies, just
Bob still teaches a Saturday spin class at a Crunch in LA and has participated in the SF to LA AIDS ride, so I asked him if he rides a road bike much. "I spin four to five days a week and get my cycle time there. Mostly, I like to ride my motorcycle." Who taught him to ride? Jillian. They hang out all the time. Cute.
As a personal trainer, we know Bob is into fitness, but food is a major part of the health picture. Growing up on a cattle farm, with "two coffin freezers full of meat," Bob is not into animal protein and believes in a plant-based diet. He feels too much emphasis has been placed on protein. He really wants people to focus on fruits and veggies, and of course grains. On the show, he tell contestants that life on the ranch is the little picture. It's extreme. Going forward with their lives after The Biggest Loser they're going to need to find balance. Which is what we all need, especially when doing the standing splits to end a series of standing poses he taught in his class.
Obviously, I am big fan of Bob's — are you? How was your last yoga class? Ever taken one with a celebrity yogi? Share the details in my Yoga Stretch and Tell group.