As we prepare to turn a page on an incredibly eventful year, we could all use a little extra self-care along with our 2020 reflection. In that spirit, T-Mobile’s EVP and Chief Communications Officer Janice V. Kapner greeted health and fitness guru Bob Harper to discuss everything from healthy eating habits to achieving a balanced lifestyle. Well known for his many years starring on “The Biggest Loser” — which found a new home on the USA Network this year — the longtime trainer is also a three-time New York Times best-selling author.
The conversation was part of the company’s Talking with Trailblazers guest-speaker series, in which T-Mobile’s executive leaders invite the country’s best and brightest to join them and employees (Harper drew more than 3,100!) to discuss topics that matter. For Harper, helping people stay mentally and physically fit as the pandemic stretches on was top priority, and shared a major event that threatened not only his health, but his life.
“It was the scariest time of my life,” he said of the 2017 incident. “In my mind I was the picture of health. I worked out every single day. I took care of myself. I did all the things that I was supposed to do, and what I preach to people. So, imagine my shock when I woke up in a hospital two days later, being told that I not only had a heart attack, but I had gone into cardiac arrest. They had put me in a coma in the hospital to try to protect my brain because they did not know exactly how long I was without oxygen.”
His recovery was an inspiration to many, and his redoubled commitment to not only his own wellness but that of others includes his work with Survivors Have Heart. Here we share some of Bob’s insights on how to live a happy and healthy life — poignant and perfect advice as we look toward the new year.
The best workouts are the ones that make you happy.
“In this time of COVID, where a lot of gyms are not open and there’s social distancing, I feel like there are so many great ways to work out with all these apps that are out there that you can work out successfully in the privacy of your own home. There is no one way to work out. There is no one perfect way of working out as long as you are in some way getting up and moving around and working up a little bit of a sweat.”
It’s important to be honest — and open — about your feelings.
“Like many, I have been dealing with depression during this pandemic. But being able to reach out to the people in my life and being able to look at them on my phone or on my computer and make that connection when I cannot be around them as much as I would like to has been very helpful for me. I’m a big believer in expressing what you’re feeling, and I don’t put on a happy face. I’m not the person that is going to just be like, ‘Everything is great, everything is rosy!’ If I’m having a really crappy day, I am going to allow myself to feel that and push through those emotions as opposed to pushing down those emotions.”
Use your better days to pay it forward.
“We are with ourselves so much right now, and we have very little control over our external world. But it’s important to remember and engage with those things outside ourselves we do still have control over, like making connections with my friends to help break up their isolation as well. I think that is really super important, and whatever it is that you can do to just put a smile on somebody’s face, it will make you feel better, too. It’s that ripple effect that I try to think about all the time.”
Surround yourselves with people who encourage you.
“You have to surround yourself with people that share your same goals, because they’re going to be your support group. We live in a world of social media, and you can find different outlets to reach out to people like you, whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying to not eat sugar or drink alcohol. Whatever it is, I think it’s important to find like-minded people to keep your motivation up. You have to find your tribe. Whether it’s weight loss, fighting addiction, beating back depression, it is so hard to do it on your own. When you have someone to lean on — and they can lean on you — you’re going to come out ahead.”
At the end of the day, don’t forget to just take care of yourself.
“I try to eat as cleanly as possible now, because I know that it’s going to make me feel better, and I really do believe that if you eat cleaner and more sensibly during this time, you’re going to feel better overall. I used to think for the longest time that I could work out on a bad diet, and I learned that’s not the case. I’m also a big believer in sleep. That’s the fountain of youth, and I really try to get my eight hours every night. You put your diet and your exercise along with sleep and stress management, and when you put those pieces together, you’re going to be the best you that you can possibly be.”