I used to have two best days of my life: the day I was born (pretty life changing, that one) and the day I got married (just a huge celebration of love). But now I can add a third to the list: the day I spent with Mr. Bob Harper. Seriously. (And, yes, my husband is okay with this.)
So here’s how the whole crazy shebang came about. I stalk, I mean follow, Bob on Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, Bob had a photo from one of his new online training club workouts in which he works out with real people (including this bad-ass—and lucky—blogger STUFT Mama). In the caption, he asked who wanted to work out with him next. Um, ME. So I, of course, commented, basically throwing myself at him like any good FBG would.
Honestly, I did it and didn’t expect anything to happen from it. And then, I got it. The Email.
Watch It Now Entertainment contacted me, asking if I’d like to work out with Bob. I tried to not pee myself with excitement. Could I be in LA Thursday morning to work out with Bob? (It was currently Tuesday.) Um, YES. So I bought an overpriced last-minute ticket to the West Coast (I won’t bore you with an account of my airport snafu of buying a ticket for the WRONG date—just know that airline fees suck and that if you ever have to book a ticket to see Bob, you should probably have someone else book your flight arrangements due to head-exploding excitement clouding your ability to do basic tasks), met FBG Tish at the airport, slept and woke up to serious nerves. I WAS GOING TO WORK OUT WITH BOB HARPER! Dream realized, I could die a happy woman.
My first time driving in LA, Tish let me borrow her car (just another reason I love that girl), and I made it down to Watch It Now Entertainment’s (WIN) studios in West Hollywood. At first, I thought I was at the wrong location because nothing on the building was marked, but then I saw a sign to “go around back” because they were filming. Not knowing where “around back” was, I noticed a slightly propped open door and went inside, figuring the worst that could happen was that someone would cuss me out if I was in the wrong spot. I can cuss with the best of them, so I followed that door into a room and then another room…this room actually:
So I knew I was in the right spot. When I got to where the production people were—on WIN’s kitchen set where Bob films recipes and tips—everyone was super nice. They all introduced themselves (I even got to meet the CEO, who was super chill), we chatted and they showed me around the place, making sure I was comfortable. They even took a couple of photos of me on the set for fun.
And then Bob got there. *Cue angels singing!* I got to chat with him for a few minutes before he got to work. Nervous as I was, he was amazingly easy to talk to. JUST like what you’d expect. After our short ‘ello, I sat back and watched him make chicken fajitas and guacamole.
And then it was my turn. Time to make Taco Wraps with Bob! Having a full out-of-body experience now, Bob and I made chit-chat about CrossFit while they were hooking up my mic. And then I felt a little lick on my leg. It was Bob’s dog Karl! Seriously the sweetest thing, he follows Bob around everywhere, staring at him like he’s the best thing ever. And who could blame him? Karl is right; Bob is the best thing ever.
Seeing as nervous as I was to be standing next to Bob and, like, WORKING with him, I tried to crack some jokes. I sang a bit from Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” when we were being prepped on the spices in the Taco Wraps. Bob seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for the spices. And then, out of nowhere, I blurted, “You’ve gotten really beefy.” Yeah, I did. I think his hotness and niceness was just too much for my entire brain and body to handle. Thankfully, he wasn’t weirded out by my declaration (I can’t begin to describe exactly how striking he is in person…just tall, manly and beautiful), and said in typical funny Bob fashion, “I know, right?!” RIGHT.
Once the cameras started rolling, Bob introduced me on camera, talked about how much he loved Fit Bottomed Girls (!), asked for my opinion on how to motivate people (!!) and then totally put me on the spot again, asking me to talk about the spices in the recipe (!!!). I forgave him. Because you know the only thing I was thinking about when the producer talked to us about the recipe was “BOB HARPER IS STANDING NEXT TO ME.” It was like being called on in class while daydreaming, except with cameras. And Bob.
After that, Bob filmed a fit tip, while I watched, still pinching myself. Then, it was workout time. In Bob’s box. Just him and me. One on one. Doing CrossFit. In about 95-degree weather with no fans or tunes. Oh. My. God.
Before the workout (WOD)—and this was probably my favorite part of the day because I feel like I got a glimpse into what everyday life on The Biggest Loser ranch is like with him—he spent a good 10 minutes with me, explaining the workout he’d be taking me through and making sure my form was immaculate. When we were chatting in the kitchen, I had (foolishly) mentioned I could do a few unassisted pull-ups, so he asked to see those, too, even though they weren’t a part of the workout. After my first pull-up—I kid you not—he yelled out, “That’s hot! That’s so hot!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that moment. And the next time I’m having a bad day, I’m going to remember that. ‘Cause Bob thinks I’m hot. Or at least my pull-ups are, which may actually be cooler.
In all seriousness though, he’s incredibly dedicated to his field and amazingly talented. He knows his stuff, he knows the movements, and he truly cares. He gave me so many pointers on my form for moves included in the workout along with other CrossFit moves that weren’t included in the WOD. He’s really passionate about his craft and just so damn good at it. It was at about this point that I started a) getting terrified to do the WOD and b) loosening up around him and just soaking in the knowledge. He’s a fantastic teacher, and I feel blessed to have had that much focused one-on-one time with him before the workout even started.
So, here was the WOD.
EMOTM means “every minute on the minute,” meaning you do a minute of each move with no rest in between moves. Air Force style means four burpees before each and every move. Bob modified this to two burpees for me since it was hotter than Hades and burpees are my kryptonite. I did the whole circuit/round—kettlebell swings, sumo high-pulls, box jumps, mountain climbers and sit-ups, three times through with just a minute of rest between each three rounds.
Bob started off by introducing me on camera, again saying he loved the site (THAT never gets old), and then we talked CrossFit. He asked me how long I’d been doing it and then had me show off my pull-ups to the people watching at home. Like whoa, on the spot again. But I did it! After that, he put me through about a five-minute warm-up, and it wasn’t easy to be honest. Lots of squats and lunges. So many that I was already hella sweaty and breathing hard. At this point, I was kind of afraid of the workout. Okay, really afraid.
And then I got into the WOD. Bob was super encouraging, pushing me to work just a little bit harder, cracking jokes and being exactly like you see him in his workout DVDs. Round one was tough. Round two, I was dying. And by round three, well, no communication from me. It was killer. KILLER. I’m pretty sure people across the street could hear me breathing. I was working at maximum capacity and in the heat, but I was giving it my all, people.
In the third round, when I went to do my box jumps, I paused for a second (or five) to breathe (literally). Bob yelled out “jump!” to which I—who clearly knows that I should be jumping—go “Huh?” Like I said, killer. Like no brain-power left. He repeated “jump” with a bit of a “what do you think I’m talking about, ding-dong?” good-natured sarcasm. I laughed, lost my focus and stumbled on the box. Oh, the embarrassment! But how do you cure embarrassment? By doing your next box jumps with amazing force. Which I did. At least in my head.
The whole thing was amazing. Bob on the stopwatch, telling me what to do minute after minute, talking to the viewers about modifying moves, explaining how different exercises were effective—so cool. And then for my last minute of sit-ups in the final round, he was down right next to me and up in my grill, cheering me on and telling me to push harder. Again, surreal.
After the WOD, Bob took me through a quick stretching cool down. (I think at one point he touched my leg. I’m pretty sure that happened.) And then he told me what an awesome job I did. I think the whole thing took 30-ish minutes? But, really, I had no concept of time. And although I knew it was hot in there, I don’t think I realized how hot it was with the camera lights and stuff. Bob was sweaty just training me (gah-rowl), and the camera crew was drenched.
After the workout, I was super comfortable and no longer nervous. Finally! So I rehydrated, grabbed a snack (a LÄRABAR Über if anyone is curious—we’ll review them soon), and kicked it on the couch outside of Bob’s next filming session: a Team Bob group session! There was a little time between, so I got more time to just hang out like a normal person with Bob. I may have seen him change shirts. And he may have showed me photos of Karl on his iPhone. You know, since we were BFFs and all by this point.
Again, it was awesome to watch him doing his thing. And the Team Bob girls are great. After the group workout, the WIN team hooked me up with some Team Bob gear, and then I had about 10 minutes to do a short Q&A with Bob for all of you guys and get some swag signed. But you’ll see all that later this week…as it’s Bob Harper Week! All of this was just too big of a deal to not share every single second of.
Once I got back to Tish’s, I spent hours looking at photos and feeling so incredibly grateful for the experience. Yes, Bob is hot. And it’s cool to hang out with someone from TV. But that wasn’t why the day was so special. The day was amazing because of how welcoming, talented and down-to-earth Bob and everyone at WIN was. I can’t express how wonderful Bob is at his job and how effortlessly and authentically he does it. The energy is just amazing, and when you’re working out with him, you feel like you’re the only person in the world that he knows. It’s intense, but in a way that makes you feel incredibly special. Not like he’s on another level or a celebrity at all. He’s just a guy, who knows his stuff and can connect oh-so-well. And I am truly honored to have been there to see it and be a part of it.
Both personally and professionally, I learned a lot from being with him that day. I learned to be myself a little bit more, embrace my passions with vigor, pay closer attention to details, push myself just a little bit harder when I don’t think I can give it any more, and, most of all, dream big—and then even bigger.
Best. Day. Ever. Have you ever met one of your idols? How was it? —Jenn