Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. ET

Bob Harper of 'The Biggest Loser'

 Bob Harper of NBC's
Bob Harper of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" takes your questions.
Bob Harper
Personal Trainer
Tuesday, February 10, 2009; 12:00 PM

Bob Harper of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" was online Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. ET to take your questions about the show, losing weight and developing healthy exercise habits.

A transcript follows.


Baltimore, Md.: Is there a way to help skin shrink up and yet stay elastic, after weight loss? The extra baggy wrinkles are a slight disincentive to lose all the weight I'd like to...

Bob Harper: Unfortunately your skin can only go back so much when it has been extended due to weight gain.


Indian Head, Md.: What happens to all the extra skin after the contestants lose these large amounts of weight? Is surgery the only hope once this skin has stretched? What about after a surgery? Is it true once muscles are cut they can never be strong again for flatter abs such as after childbirth when a cesarean section is performed? Just started watching this season but love the show, keep the good work!

Bob Harper: Many contestants on our show have had the surgery to remove excess skin and have been happy with the results.


Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Okay, so how much did you really get frustrated with Joelle?

And back to season 4. How did you ever forgive Neil for gaining 17 pounds and then losing 33 pounds the next week?

Bob Harper: Joelle was a big challenge for me because I felt like she was looking for the easy way and there is NO easy way. As far as Neil is concerned, he made a big mistake but life is all about forgiveness so I absolutely was able to move on from that error in judgement.


Washington, D.C.: I have found the hardest part of losing weight is really maintaining the weight loss. What have you done to maintain your weight?

Also, I am working on becoming a fitness instructor and like to find out what kinds of fitness people like to do and also what motivates them.

Bob Harper: When it comes to maintaining weight loss, it is a lifestyle change and you have to really stay on point when it comes to weighing yourself and staying on course, realizing that life has its ups and downs and you can always get yourself back on track.


Washington, D.C.: Bob -- are "good oils" like olive oil, really a daily necessity for consistent weight loss? I do eat fish throughout the week and am a bit reluctant to sacrifice the calories and fat in these oils when I can use them toward more filling foods.

Bob Harper: Olive Oil is a great heart healthy food to incorporate in your daily routine. One tablespoon has 120 calories which is really high but the benefits are GREAT!!


Washington, D.C.: So -- how much did you hate Joelle?

Bob Harper: LOL!!! I didn't hate her at all, I just was very frustrated and it took alot of time which tested my patience.


Washington, D.C.: Do you have to change up your exercise routine for it to be effective? Or is it just calories burned? I'm a runner and do mainly that -- it feels like I'm in a bit of a rut.

Bob Harper: Changing your workout routine is a great way to give yourself a new boost. If you feel like you are in a running rut, try changing the intensity of your run or incorporate hill runs....they will do the trick.


Fairfax, Va.: What is the best way to lose belly fat?

Bob Harper: It is all about what you eat and don't waste your calories on high fat foods. People seem to struggle alot around that 3pm time so I encourage people to chew Extra Sugar Free gum because research shows that it reduces sweet cravings. You also have to increase your cardio so you can burn the fat off the belly region.


Arlington, Va.: Bob -- When we viewers tune into The Biggest Loser we only catch a glimpse of life on the ranch. In reality, how many hours a day are the contestants working out in the gym?

Bob Harper: It is a 24 hour, 7 day a week job. They are eventually training up to 6 hours a day which is very extreme but the competition gets so great and drives them to work out TOO much.


Sarasota, Fla.: Do you keep in touch with any contestants after they leave the ranch to help encourage them to continue weight loss?

Bob Harper: I try to keep in touch with past contestants as much as possible. With a very hectic schedule and shooting of the show it can get quite difficult but thank goodness for facebook, myspace, texting and emails.


Alexandria, Va.: Will the show's focus ever go back to individuals instead of families and couples? Could it ever focus on contestants who only need to lose less than 100 pounds?

Bob Harper: Our audience is more for people who need to lose 100lbs and more and I definitely think it will go back to individuals in the coming seasons.


Alexandria Va.: Do you and Jillian have very different methods of instructing your teams in diet and exercise issues?

Bob Harper: Jillian and I are actually very similar in our techniques. We just have different ways of approaching a client and both are extremely effective. Jillian and I are very good friends and I love and respect her very much.


Sandusky, Ohio is there an exercise that will get rid of the fat on my back? I do 4 miles of power walking every day and am fit otherwise.

Bob Harper: When it comes to get fat off of any part of your body, it is all about CARDIO, nutrition and weight training. I know so many people that workout so hard and falter when it comes to their eating habits. Eating small meals every 4 hours is a great way to keep your metabolism burning and helps fight hunger and having healthy snack options like fruit, nuts and even a 5 calorie stick of Extra Sugar Free Gum will help reduce your cravings for sweets.


Noblesville, Ind.: Hi Bob,

What are your thoughts on high fructose corn syrup? There is currently a lot of conflicting information.

BTW -- I'm a huge fan and find so much inspiration each week from the contestants and trainers. You help motivate me to continue my healthy lifestlye. Thank you for making such a difference in the lives of so many!


Bob Harper: There is alot of studies out there when it comes to HFCS. I say STAY AWAY!!! It is concentrated calories that the body does not need or want. Thank you so much for your kind words and STAY ON TRACK!!!!


Martinsburg, W.Va.: Bob -- Are there any plans to expand the Biggest Loser to have a bigger impact for the rest of us beyond the typical couples, etc. that are on the show? You gotta do something different? It seems like you could expand by training trainers and developing mini-shows all over the country.

Bob Harper: Actually our show is all over the world now helping everyone that watches. Jillian and I even have done 3 seasons of the show in Australia so we are definitely out there doing our part.


Biggest Loser Editing?: Something I always find interesting about the show is that I never see the contestants warming up or cooling down before/after exercise. I assume this is just edited out?

Bob Harper: Absolutely. I'm a big yoga guy so we do alot of stretching and meditation. It is crucial to the mind and the body.


Miami, Fla.: We recently saw Eric from Season 3 on Oprah after his weight gain, and pledge to lose it again. How are the other winners from Season 1-2 doing, and how realistic is it that they maintain the extreme amounts of weight lost?

Bob Harper: I always see the winners struggle because they can get very extreme and competitive so after the show, they have nothing to strive for and realize that it has to be a part of their day to day routine. That is hard for many people and I always tell people this in the very beginning.....There is no finish line here. It is time to change your life forever.


Washington, D.C.: Since it's commonly said that people should safely lose no more than 2 pounds per week, do you feel your show sets an unhealthy example?

Bob Harper: Our show is definitely extreme because they are not having to go to work or take care of the kids, they are on a weight loss reality show. I always tell people to never compare their weight loss to what they see on our show. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a safe and effective way. With that said, when you get so much weight off people and see their test results from the doctor change so drastically, I believe it makes a positive example to people that if you lose the weight, you can gain your health and life back.


Washington, D.C.: How many of the past contestants are able to keep the weight off. You should really re-visit past contestants more often.

Bob Harper: I always tell people that after you have been on our show, you know how to lose weight and get healthy so if you gain the weight back, it will be a conscious decision on your part. Ignorance in no longer bliss. Our success rate is about 50% which is very well and we are very proud of.


Rockville, Md.: I think the other contestants were extremely mean and rude to Joelle. We saw Carla's house -- it's a mansion. Joelle is living with her mother, and she passed up the $25,000 early on for Carla's sake. Carla's a bully. I hope Joelle wins the at home prize!

Bob Harper: People were very frustrated with Joelle but I hope that she learned something and if she wins the at home prize, that will be fantastic!! I never thought Carla was a bully, she was just a girl that weighed 380lbs and NEEDED to be in that house...she needed help.


St. Matthews, Ky.: LOVE your show, it is very motivational. We even have a Biggest Loser group at work to see who can lose the most by Apri 1.

Bob Harper: Good luck with your contest. People across the country are doing the same thing. It is very motivational.


Diet Soda: Bob- what are your thoughts on drinking diet soda. Thanks for your weekly inspiration.

Bob Harper: I try to tell people to cut out diet soda because what it does is makes you crave sweets and there is no nutritional value to drinking soda whatsoever. Drink sparkling water instead with some fruit.


Baltimore ,Md.: What is your personal workout routine?

Bob Harper: I workout every single day. I have my own trainer, I take spin classes, yoga and I love to run. I'm a workout freak!!!


Williamsburg, N.Y.: Bob, what is your favorite flavor of Extra bubblegum?

Bob Harper: I love the Extra sugar free Polar Ice. That minty taste really works for me and I chew gum every time I workout because it helps me breath normally for some reason.


Silver Spring, Md.: Have you ever balked at any of the product placements you've been asked to do?

Bob Harper: I really do believe in any product placement on our show because it gives people different options and that what people really need....with that said, some of them make me laugh and definitely makes my friends laugh too...


Body Bugg?: Do you recommend that people should wear a Body Bugg to track their calories in/out?

Bob Harper: I love the bodybugg!!!!


washingtonpost.com: This concludes our discussion with Bob Harper. Thanks for joining.


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