He’s graced the living rooms of millions, changing the lives of contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser for 16 seasons. But Bob Harper also has a life outside of the show — one where exercise still plays a large role, specifically CrossFit. Harper was first introduced to the sport of constantly varying functional movements in 2011 and is currently putting in serious work to prepare for this year’s CrossFit Open on February 26.
“That adrenaline rush right before a WOD feels so good,” says Harper. What doesn’t feel as hot? Walking into the box, or CrossFit gym, and learning that your workout might kill you. That’s what Harper remembers when he saw a certain WOD he still had nightmares about. Find out what his hardest workout was and whether or not he was able to complete it.
First, how did you get into CrossFit?
I love being able to challenge the body and make the body think. You never want a workout where you’re doing the same thing all the time because you hit a plateau. CrossFit challenges you in different ways constantly, so you never get too comfortable. It gets you more functionally fit by specializing in many areas instead of just one.
Let’s talk about the hardest CrossFit workout you’ve ever done. Set the scene for us.
It was last year during the Open. I was at my own box, Brick in L.A.
What do you remember about the WOD?
I wanted to cry — seriously, I’m not pretending. I never wanted to work out again. I ran out of the gym when I was done and just laid on the dirty, disgusting, asphalt ground exhausted. It was so hard and brutal that when I think about it I start to get nauseous.
What was going on in your head during the workout? What thoughts or mantras helped you get through?
It becomes so mental at that point. I wanted to stop so bad. I kept thinking, ‘Stop and say you’ll just try it again tomorrow.’ You’re negotiating with yourself. So instead you have to try to quiet the beast in your head.
I took it one rep at a time. My goal was to do it in 20 minutes and I finished in 19:08. It was the longest 19 minutes of my entire life.
Would you ever do it again?
I hope not. Sign me up for Zumba!
I never want to do it again. And I’m sure we’re going to have to do it again at a future Open or competition.
Bob Harper’s Hardest Workout: The 2014 CrossFit Open 14.5 Workout
Note: This workout was performed by a fitness professional who struggled immensely doing it, and had medical assistance on-site in case of emergency. Perform at your own risk, should you be so daring.
To try Bob Harper’s latest work out program, Black Fire, head to DailyBurn.com.