Creator Of The Fit2Fat2Fit Challenge, Explains Why As A Personal Trainer He Purposely Gained 80 Pounds Just To Lose It
Drew Manning had never been overweight in his life. He grew up with three sisters and seven brothers. He excelled in sports and his obsession with health grew from there. As a personal trainer, Drew was addicted to exercise…to having large muscles and six-pack abs. His idea of a “treat” was a spinach shake! “I was such a health addict that I invited the opportunity to both judge and attempt to help individuals who weren’t born with the ‘health-nut gene,’” says Drew. The goal for all his obese patients was the same: to get them to see that they were doing this to themselves and show them how to think, act and live differently. Certain clients listened and acted on his advice. More often than not, his clients were full of doubt that Drew was really there to help them overcome their struggles. “They saw me as someone who didn’t get it; I didn’t understand how hard it was to set aside the food or how difficult it was to go to the gym,” says Drew.
One day, James, one of Lynn’s relatives, asked Drew to help him lose weight. At first, James followed Drew’s meal plans and pushed himself at every workout three times a week. After a few weeks, James decided to fight the battle of the bulge on his own. Drew thought, Something is missing, and wondered if he would ever be able to impact anyone other than himself. So Drew decided the best hope to understand weight-loss struggles would be to purposefully gain weight and get out of shape, with his wife’s support. Drew would stop following his meal plans and avoid physical exertion whenever possible for six months. Then he would journey back to fitness for the next six months. Drew launched a website that would chart his progress and blog about his journey from fit-to-fat-to-fit again. He invited followers to blog their life changes on their own. After months of planning, Drew ate his last healthy meal on May 5, 2011. He weighed 193 pounds, had a 34.5” waist and 17” neck.
After just two months, Drew gained over 20 pounds and could not fit into his clothes. His self-esteem issues became an obsession and he feared everyone would notice every new pound. He hated taking any trips out of the house. Lynn, who is also physically fit, was shocked by his plunging self-image, thinking this journey was “on purpose” and that he would only endure a physical transformation. Drew became lazy and stopped helping around the house. He got winded easily and avoided playing with the kids. She says that it wasn’t the weight he put on but the lack of confidence that resulted. “It was as if his waistline and confidence were on the same sliding scale,” she says. At week 26, Drew weighed 268 pounds, had a 47.5” waist and 19” neck. He gained 75 pounds.
“The process humbled me,” says Drew. “I became more empathetic about the emotional issues as well as the physical issue in losing weight.” He says the food was actually good and his body had begun to crave it. “Food addiction is powerful and real,” he says. The foods he found hard to give up to get fit again were Mountain Dew (he would drink two a day) and the bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal at night. He says it was hard getting back into the gym. Drew had never experienced having his belly touch the ground while doing a push-up. Getting out of the lazy routine was brutal. While it seems like he didn’t gain or lose anything in his journey, Drew says mentally and emotionally he is different. “It’s amazing what you take for granted when you’re healthy,” he says. “The process humbled me.” On March 1, 2012, Drew’s blog went “dark,” and Lynn took over the daily video exercises so that on June 4, 2012, Drew’s results could be revealed on Good Morning America
- How the Fit2Fat2Fit Challenge Started (3:13)
- The Key to a True Transformation (8:51)
- Vulnerability as a Strength (12:14)
- Having an outlet to find the courage (16:34)
- The Power of Having a Life Coach (18:54)
- Finding Life Purpose (22:27)
- Morning Routine (29:15)
- Keto Diets and Fasting (38:22)