Bob Harper in the House Talking Whole Grains and Tattoos

It’s the week of The Biggest Loser Season 8 premiere and you know we can’t get enough loser love here in the NeverSayDiet office. That’s why we sat down with our motivational mascot Bob Harper to chat about the new season, his vegetarian diet, why he’s really not the “nice guy” trainer and the new Daily 6 campaign he’s supporting for the Grain Foods Foundation. We even got him to spill about his tattoos and what Jillian has got him hooked on... a look into his secret wild side. (Psst, we’ll even tell you how to win a personal training session with Bob!)

NSD: Are you excited to watch Season 8 of The Biggest Loser? What can we expect?
BH: Absolutely! It’s all about second chances. The contestants are so heartfelt. You keep hearing the word “inspiration” when it comes to our show and it’s true—you see these people go through the struggle that they go through and it makes them a stronger person. The clips that they’re showing right now, you hear me saying that I’m looking for heroes in this room, and I got them—I got these heroes.

NSD: Is there ever competition between you and Jillian?
BH: I never thought it was a competition between me and Jillian in the first place—it’s all about them, the contestants. I want to help them as much as I can and [this season] Jillian and I have joined our forces to create a tornado. We’ve always been that little engine, The Biggest Loser. It’s been a consistently growing inspirational show. The show you can tune into every single week, get a little information, get a little hope and feel a little inspiration.

NSD: How do you feel about you being the “nice” trainer?
BH: [Laughs] Jillian always gets a kick out of that too. She has said, “People always think that Bob’s so nice, but he has brought me to tears in the gym working out.” I take [training] seriously. I don’t go in thinking of it as a babysitting role.

NSD: Are we going to see angry Bob again this season?
BH: Not nearly like what happened last time—Joelle really struck a nerve in me and only because the night before we had nine contestants leave the house. The people left in the house had the responsibility, not only to themselves, but to their teammates. Everyone was stepping it up that day and Joelle was just looking for an easy way. The night of our finale, Joelle’s mother came up to me and she was like, “You know the way you talk to my daughter, I’m the only person that can talk to my daughter that way,” and I let her talk to me. Then, I said, "I hear you and I know you have to say this, but at the end of the day, your daughter was looking for an easy way and she deserved it." There’s no easy way here.

NSD: What is your role with the Grain Foods Foundation?

BH: What I’ve been trying to do from the very beginning is to get people to eat healthier, and when I found out about the Daily Six [campaign], to not only get people to eat their fruits and vegetables but their daily grains, it was a perfect match. It’s what I’ve done with all the past contestants.

NSD: If someone wants to get on the right track to healthy eating, what’s the first step?

BH: There’s so much misinformation out there—people thinking that you have to cut out major food groups to lose weight and try to find all these quick fixes. I try to give people a new structure and that’s why I teamed up with the Grain Foods Foundation. The nutrition part to me is at least half the battle. I want to show people that good and nutrient-dense food will help keep you satisfied longer, so you’re not going to want to or fall off the wagon. Be on a good eating plan by eating every four hours. You’re going to be less likely to go for the bad foods.

NSD: What does Bob Harper eat on a regular day?
BH: Well, they all know that I’m a vegetarian now. I tried to keep that under wraps for a while. It’s different for everyone, but I always try to hit three basic food groups and protein is number four in my book. I’m wanting people to get their fruits, vegetables and their grains and that to me is a well-balanced diet. Yes, your body needs protein, but it doesn’t need as much protein as everybody thinks it needs. I’m just trying to get people to eat their vegetables again. I’m like everybody’s father in America right now going “eat your vegetables.” It’s so sad that in 2009, people are still scared of carbohydrates. It’s sad that people are still thinking that you’re getting fat from eating carbs.

NSD: Is there a junk food that you love?
BH: It used to be dark chocolate, but since I’ve stopped with artificial sweeteners, I don’t have that sweet tooth as much as I did. Now, it’s Pop Chips. I freakin’ love Pop Chips! They come to my house and I’m like, Nicole [his assistant] get them out of my house! The barbecue flavor is my favorite.

NSD: Tell us something that we don’t know about you… like how many tattoos you have?

BH: [Pauses and thinks] I have uh… it’s not that I have many, it’s just that I don’t know how many I have. I have like six, big ones on my arms, and that’s the only place that I have them. Oh, and, I will say that Jillian turned me on and taught me how to ride a motorcycle. I’m a huge motorcycle fan now. It’s a form of meditation for me now… in a weird way.

To win a personal training session with Bob, visit GoWithTheGrain.org.

To get in your daily grains, get recipes from the Grain Foods Foundation.

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