Bob Harper's heart attack was a serious shock, and it was a harsh reminder that heart attacks can happen to anyone—especially when genetics come into play. Thankfully, nearly two months after the incident, The Biggest Loser trainer is working hard to gain back his health. That said, he wouldn't have survived his close encounter with death had it not been for one lucky coincidence.
In a recent interview with Today, the 51-year-old spoke out for the first time about how two doctors happened to be in his gym at the time of his attack, which is the only reason he is alive today.
"I had what they call a widowmaker," he told Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday's Today Show—referencing a medical term given to heart attacks that usually result in death. "It was a 6 percent survival rate."
"I was in full cardiac arrest," he continued. "My heart stopped. Not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead."
Unfortunately, it took a moment for people to realize that Harper had suffered a heart attack and needed help.
"If you've ever done CrossFit, you know that sometimes people go down to the ground," he said. "It wasn't until a minute or so later that people realized that something was going on."
That's when the two doctors rushed to him for help."The coach went into full damage control," he revealed. "There was an event going on at the gym and found two doctors that were there. I was so lucky. Thank God. They started performing CPR on me, they pulled out the AEDs and used that on me twice before the paramedics got there super quick and they jolted me one more time."
"The fact that there were doctors in the gym when I had the heart attack saved my life," Harper added. "I will never ever walk into a gym again that doesn't have CPR, people that know their CPR, and there's an AED somewhere in that gym."
Today, Harper is feeling stronger and healthier, though he wishes he had listened to his body to avoid the incident in the first place. (Related: The Heart Attack Symptom You Might Be Missing)
"I'm a guy that lives a very healthy lifestyle, very regimented—I work out all the time. But there were things that were going on in my body that I needed to be more aware of," he said, reiterating that he pushed himself too hard. "Before the heart attack I was having dizzy spells, and maybe I should have taken that more seriously. It's been a huge wake-up call for me." Harper's advice? "Get your cholesterol checked, see what's going on inside so it doesn't happen to you what happened to me."