Knowing that you want to get fit is one thing, but understanding that there is a much deeper personal process happing is another. Adam Nugent and Kate Strong are joined by fitness guru Drew Manning. He is the New York Times best-selling author of Fit2Fat2Fit. Together, they discuss his fitness journey, diving deep into the process and the true understanding of why empathetic weight loss can truly teach you about much more than just improving your outward appearance.
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Drew Manning is a health and fitness expert and New York Times best-selling author of Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit. He is a big advocate and a leading voice for the keto diet movement. Drew has appeared on shows such as The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show. In this podcast episode excerpt, he shares why he decided to intentionally gain 75 pounds.
AN: Let’s go back to the beginning of Fit2Fat2Fit. You’ve recently finished a round of this, but it’s not the first time. Take us back and tell us where this whole journey started.
DM: I grew up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters, and we all played sports. So football and wrestling were the two sports that I played. I was always active. I was always fit. I was always in shape, so I never once knew what it was like to be overweight. I never once struggled with my weight or emotional eating because I was always fit and active. Fast-forward to 2009ish. I became certified as a personal trainer because I knew that fitness was a passion of mine. And I got certified as a trainer. And here was someone who had never been overweight a day in my life.
There was a disconnect between me never being overweight and my clients being overweight because I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard for them just to follow the meal plans and do the workouts. I’m like, “You guys, put down the junk food and go to the gym. It’s not that hard. I would get frustrated with my clients because they wouldn’t, they couldn’t, follow my plans consistently.
One of my clients was my brother-in-law at the time, and I was training him. Same kind of situation. I would see him at family events with lots of good food. And I’m like, “Dude, I’m your trainer. I’m right here. I can see you eating all the food.” He’s like, “Yeah, well, we’re at this family event.” And you know, he told me, “You don’t understand what it’s like to be overweight.” And when he said that, I was like, “You know what? You’re right. So, how can I gain a better understanding?”
And then boom, this light bulb went off in my head. “What if you got fat on purpose and documented that journey? Maybe that would give you a better understanding.” And so, that was kind of the genesis of Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit.
AN: Once you had the idea to purposely gain weight, how long did it take for you to wrap your arms around it and actually get started and go down that path?
DM: Oh, that’s a good question. I would say a good three to four months. Because what happened was I went through all the testing of close friends and family, like, “Hey, how does this idea sound? What do you think?” And everyone was like, “Dude, that sounds awesome!”
Learn more about Drew Manning’s incredible transformation (with photos!) in our feature article “Fit to Fat to Fabulous: Drew Manning’s Up-and-Down Journey.”