Celebrity trainer Bob Harper, 51, had a heart attack earlier this year, you probably heard. It was scary to realize that heart disease can affect anyone, particularly a fit, vital guy like Bob. You know who else just had a heart attack? Antonio Banderas, 56, had one in January although he claims it was mild and that he’s recovered. He’s only telling us about it now and I think he’s downplaying it, but I do hope he’s ok. Unlike Antonio, Bob’s heart attack was serious. He did an interview with the Today Show in which he explained what happened when he had a heart attack at the gym. He went into full cardiac arrest and actually died, but luckily there were two doctors there who immediately performed CPR and used a defibrillator on me. Bob has been doing cardiac rehab and is feeling much better now. He said he’s been following his doctors’ orders.
On the day of his heart attack
I had what they call a ‘widow-maker.’ It was a 6 percent survival rate, and the fact that there were doctors in the gym when I had the heart attack saved my life.
I don’t remember that day at all. I went to the gym like I always do. It was Sunday morning I was working out with some friends of mine. At the end of the workout I went down to the ground. If you’ve ever done Crossfit, you know that people go to the ground. About a minute later the coach went into full damage control. There was an event going on at the gym and [they] found two doctors there. I was so lucky.
They started performing CPR on me. They pulled out the AEDs (defibrillator) and used that on me twice before the paramedics got there. They jolted me one more time.
I was in full cardiac arrest, my heart stopped. Not to be dramatic but I was on that ground dead.
What happened when he woke up a few days later after being in a coma
It was super scary for me. I woke up and I was so confused. I was like Dory from finding Nemo. I had this short term memory. I was like ‘wait, why am I here?’ Ten minutes later I was asking the same thing. My friends were so great. It was so sad but kind of funny too.
On having a heart attack at 51 despite how fit he is
It is so important to know your health. There were things going on inside my body that I needed to be more aware of. Go to the doctor, get your cholesterol checked, see what’s going on on the inside.
On if he pushed himself too hard
Before the heart attack I was having like dizzy spells and I thought, maybe I should’ve really taken that more seriously. It’s been a huge wake-up call for me.
Bob said he’s been feeling depressed and facing his own mortality but that it’s also taught him what’s important in life. He’s no longer worrying about the small things and is more focused on his friends, family and his dog. Bob got a little choked up during that part.
This was such a nice interview and I came away from it with so much respect and admiration for Bob. He went through so much and it’s so good to hear he’s on the other side of it now. Incidentally, the signs of a heart attack can be much different for women. Here’s more about the signs of a heart attack in general.
Here’s Bob’s interview on The Today Show.
I’m a fan! I’m going to try this guy’s workouts now.
So today was my first day doing my #cardiacrehab which involved 15 min on this bike, 15 min of treadmill and 15min of the ergometer. I felt good and the doctors were happy with all of my readings. It just felt good to get a little bit of a sweat. I love all the support that I've been getting. You have no idea how helpful it is. Thank you. #heartattacksurvivor
Photos credit: WENN and Instagram/Bob Harper