Ms. Career Girl Meets Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser

As part of Extra’s “3pm Snackdown Challenge” (Pick up a pack, put down that snack!- love it) I was invited to get on a call with Bob Harper, celebrity trainer from The Biggest Loser.

I’ve been on these types of calls before. I fully anticipated being one of 97 bloggers packed on to the line, all vying for the chance to ask even one generic weight loss question at the mercy of an unenthusiastic moderator. So I was confused when I heard a man with a slight southern accent say, “Hey Nicole!”

Um… Hi Bob!

Since I had 40 fabulous minutes to myself with Bob (oo la la!) I had the chance to ask him questions about the types of things we discuss here on

How Bob Harper’s Career Began

Bob Harper didn’t go to college and said it wasn’t even an option for him. He started his career working at a bank and feeling very out of place there. After realizing this career path wasn’t for him, Bob took the initiative to get certified as a personal trainer.

Bob knew if he wanted to make it big in personal training, he’d need to go to L.A. so he packed his car up and moved from Nashville to L.A. to become a celebrity fitness trainer. I asked him how people in his life reacted to this career shift. He said some people thought he was crazy but as soon as he started being a personal trainer he knew he found his life’s purpose. As Bob approaches his 10th season on The Biggest Loser, it’s apparent that ignoring the naysayers in his life was a great choice.

Fitness and Weight Loss

Of course we did talk about fitness and weight loss too. Although Bob has trained some of Hollywood’s finest, he said that he much prefers to train the average person rather than someone he needs to get from a size 2 to a size 0. He thinks of himself as their cheerleader and says he needs to “constantly ram positivity down their throats until they start to believe it themselves.”

I asked Bob if he thinks a lot of The Biggest Loser contestants have genetic issues contributing to their weight issues. He said, “Very, very rarely” and believes that most of the folks he sees have an unhealthy emotional relationship with food. I did confirm that contestants receive psychiatric evaluations before coming on the show, and have access to a therapist throughout.

And what about all the controversy surrounding life after the show?

Bob says that has been one of his biggest challenges over the years. He gets so close to the contestants while they are on the show and tries his hardest to stay in touch with all of them after. He said he thinks of himself as an ER Doctor and said, “I try to give them as many tools as I possibly can to get them back into their normal lives.” He feels that after the show it is the individual’s responsibility to take what they have learned and apply it each day.

One of the tools trainers like Bob suggest is Extra’s 3pm Snackdown challenge.  Rather than reach for a snack when you feel hungry, chew sugar free Extra gum instead. Bob says it is a great way to avoid mega calories because it puts something in your mouth and gives you a little bit of sweetness.  The calories you save really add up. It’s a trick they use a lot on the show apparently.

The major takeaways I got out of my conversation with Bob Harper are:

  • Follow your passion no matter what anyone says.
  • Weight loss is not rocket science, but it is a choice, a lifestyle and something you have to work at every single day.
  • Replace snacks with Extra Sugar Free Gum.

Bob also asked that you all enter to win a trip to The Biggest Loser Resort in Utah along with a personal training session with him for you and a guest.

Now for the fun part!

Extra has sent me tons of gum to give away to you guys! I’m going to split the free gum up between 4 readers. Please comment on one of the 4 items below and I will randomly pick one winner from each and send them some Extra gum!

1. Have you made a new years resolution to lose weight or get healthy this year? If so, what have you done to stay on track? Be honest, it’s OK if you say “nothing”!

2. Did you have an aha moment that made you realize you were working in the wrong field? What did you do about it?

3. What other tools do you use to ward off cravings and hunger pangs? Have you ever tried the gum trick?

4. Have you ever thought about switching fields but been too afraid of what others may think?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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