For those struggling to find the motivation to workout these days, you’re not alone – even health and fitness expert Bob Harper has those days.
Harper, host of The Biggest Loser and a New York Times best-selling author, recently partner with NEOU, a live streaming and on-demand wellness marketplace that features content and experiences from more than 100 studios and instructors, as a brand ambassador.
“Bob brings years of experience in fitness and entertainment to NEOU, and we’re excited to tap into his creativity and passion to create engaging content and build deeper connections with our members,” said Nathan Forster, Co-Founder & CEO of NEOU. “NEOU is one of the leaders in the digital wellness space, and the alignment and collaboration with Bob only accelerates our growth trajectory.”
We had the pleasure of speaking with Harper about his role as a NEOU brand ambassador, the search for the Next Fitness Superstar, how to break through a workout slump, the Hamptons, his workout playlist, and more.
Tell us about your role as a NEOU brand ambassador.
BH: I’m really excited to be working with NEOU because during this pandemic, I was forced to figure out different ways to workout. I’ve always loved going to the gym and being very social with people. When that was taken away from all of us, I had to kind of reapproach my fitness – and it just all went online. When I discovered NEOU, I thought, wow, what a great platform, because it gives you so many options. Being in the industry for as long as I have now, one thing that I know that really works for a lot of people to keep them motivated, is to give them a variation of workouts – and NEOU really gives you plenty of different types of workouts to do.
You’ll be leading the search for NEOU’s Next Fitness Superstar. What does it take to excel in the world of fitness?
BH: I think that there’s got to be a bit of an “it quality” – because it just can’t be all about one particular side of it. I can work with people that are the most knowledgeable of health and fitness, but they’ve got to have a good way of approaching their clients, there’s got to be a dynamic quality, there’s got to be a way to really interact with people and work with people. That was the one thing that I learned being a trainer for as long as I have and being able to be as successful as I am. You’ve got to be able to wear a lot of different hats when you are in the fitness industry. You’ve got to be their therapist, you’ve got to be their trainer, their nutritionist, their coach, their best friend, their worst enemy. You’ve got to wrap it all up into one thing.
NEOU users can utilize your Weight Loss Starter Pack to help achieve their fitness goals. What does that entail?
BH: With the Weight Loss Starter Pack, what I wanted to do, because of the extensive library that NEOU has, I wanted to take all the guesswork out. I wanted to get that new person a way to go on to the site, and look at the Weight Loss Starter Pack, and go, okay, these workouts aren’t going to require any equipment, I’m going to be able to have a good jumping off point – because that’s what you want. You want to do as much work for them as you can to get them on and then get them moving.
For someone who has either hit a plateau or is struggling to find consistency, what advice would you offer?
BH: Well, I think that we’re all kind of going through that at one point, me included. Some days, it’s really hard to get motivated. I want people to really allow themselves to feel whatever it is that they’re feeling, be it depression, anger, stress, but then find a way to mitigate that and find a way to work through it. I think that with NEOU and all the options that you have, it is a way to get motivated. I also think that having someone that you can rely on, be it a friend, partner, coworker, or whoever, that can help you during those times to keep you going and you can help them.
Do you have a go-to workout?
BH: There are these girls on NEOU, they’re the Jane Do girls, and I really like them. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they are a lot of fun. I really welcome fun workouts – especially right now. One thing that I try to tell people during this time especially, is when you’re working out, whatever it is you’re doing, find a way to smile during that. I know that sounds very like Miss America or silly maybe to some people, but I believe that it really helps. I can do my yoga, and if I find a way to just think I’m feeling really good, I’m glad I’m doing this and put a smile on my face, then I’m going to feel accomplished at the end of the workout.
What’s on your workout playlist at the moment?
BH: Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s new wave stuff lately. I’m leaning towards The Cure and Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s like Siouxsie is getting me through my pool workouts lately.
Also, I’ll tell you another thing that I do. Because I swim in my pool a lot, I will put on Howard Stern, and just blast him on my speaker and just listen to him talk as I keep going. It’s almost like Howard’s become my personal trainer, because he just keeps me going. I have a little pool and it can be very monotonous. So, that’s what is getting me through my workout these days.
You’ve changed the lives of so many people on The Biggest Loser. What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the show?
BH: I think that working on the show for as long as I’ve worked on the show, it was not only the people that were able to come onto the show and be a part of it, but it was the people that would come up to me in the grocery store or the airports, and they got something out of it. And it was not people that were morbidly obese, they were just people that were looking for motivation and drive. That’s why I’ve been in the business for as long as I have. Because I do want to help people, I do want to motivate and encourage – and being able to have a platform like I have, it’s been very rewarding for me.
Can we expect another season anytime soon?
BH: Not right now. I mean with COVID and with all the protocols… Our show is very time consuming and very expensive. We’re all kind of on furlough because of it.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
BH: NEOU Fitness has really taken up a lot of my time, and I’m really excited about that, but I’m also working with Survivors Have Heart. It is working with fellow heart attack survivors and their caretakers. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done with my career.
Have you ever been to the Hamptons before?
BH: A million times. Nick & Toni’s is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I used to actually work in the Hamptons every single summer for many, many years. There was a little studio called Summer Kicks. It was in East Hampton and I would spend my summers for many, many years in the Hamptons.
What would an ideal day in the Hamptons look like?
BH: My ideal day in the Hamptons was always getting up – the house that I would always stay at was right on the beach at the end of Town Line Road – and I’d sit on the deck and then walk my dogs, drinking my coffee on the beach, and then go into town to workout. Back in the day, when Ina Garten had a little place, we would always go have a cappuccino muffin and a coffee. Now I guess it’s The Golden Pear. That’s where I went the past couple of times I’ve been there. Do a hot yoga class in Bridgehampton and the rest of the day would just be on the beach.