Personal trainer and The Biggest Loser star Bob Harper is the last person you would expect to suffer from a cardiac problem, but earlier this year, he woke up in a hospital bed after experiencing a heart attack.
This past February, the 52-year-old fitness guru was at a New York City gym when he suffered a heart attack. Doctors later revealed that it was caused by high levels of Lipoprotein(a) in his blood. Harper inherited the genetic condition from his mother, whose untimely death was caused by a heart attack.
Harper credited two doctors who were at the gym for saving his life, and chronicled his road to recovery on social media. The host completed cardiac rehab a few months after his hospitalization, and was able to resume working out.
"Yesterday was a BIG DAY in my recovery from my heart attack. I finished my cardiac rehab,"� Harper captioned an Instagram post. "It has been super important to me and also HUMBLING. All the support that I've been getting from all my IG friends helped me when it was tough so THANK YOU for all the love and support. 🖤🖤 #heartattacksurvivor."
Ten months after his near-fatal scare, Harper is once again opening up about life after a heart attack and the toll it took on his mental health.
"February 12, 2017, is a day I don't remember, at all, and a day I won't ever forget," Harper wrote in the excerpt of his new book The Super Carb Diet. "I died that day, a Sunday, in a gym in my Chelsea, New York, neighborhood. Sounds dramatic, but it's very much a true story."
The fitness and diet expert shared that he started feeling the symptoms "six weeks prior" to that fateful Sunday in February, but he just chalked it up to over exertion.
"I was breaking a cardinal rule I have been preaching for my whole career," he continued. "I was NOT listening to my body. The dizzy spells were becoming more consistent and a growing concern of mine, so I went to a doctor, who suggested I get some further tests done. I put these tests off."
When Harper suffered a cardiac arrest, doctors had to induce a coma to protect him from brain damage because his brain had been devoid of oxygen for around seven to twelve minutes. He was released from the hospital after eight days, but that was just the beginning of a very long and "emotional" recovery process.
For someone who has been fit for most of his life, Harper could barely walk around the block "without getting winded or dizzy." He called it a "humbling but tough" experience.
He also struggled with coming to terms with this setback, revealing that he "battled depression, which won the fight on most days."
"'My heart gave up on me,' repeated in my head," Harper wrote. "Rationally, I knew this was crazy, but I couldn't stop it. My heart had been pumping away in my chest without any problems for years...But on February 12, 2017, it just stopped."
He added, "I've cried a lot over my broken heart since that February day. Now that it's recovered I am trying to trust it again."
These days, Harper has changed his nutrition and exercise plan to complement his condition. He has also prioritized "the things that really matter in life," including his friends, family, his dog, love, and happiness.
"My goal now is practicing what I preach, and this time I am," he concluded.
The Super Carb Diet will be released on December 26, 2017 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.