Sometimes, when you climb the mountain, you end up rolling back down again. Many dieters have had this happen after an injury or a busy work period… or simply from loss of long-term dedication. Success takes a long time to achieve (we can only lose so much weight at once), but it’s so very easy to gain weight since there’s nearly no limit on weight gain (up until you die)!
While most people don’t mean for this to happen, Drew Manning set out to do it on purpose, as the central premise for his book Fit2Fat2Fit (click here to see on Amazon). We’ve been following him for quite a while – and it’s been a huge inspiration. Drew said he’d do it… and then he did it. The story and press has been spectacular along the way.
What is Fit to Fat to Fit?
A personal trainer by trade, Drew decided to intentionally gain 75 pounds of fat in a year, and then take it off again. Why do this? Well, aside from making for a great-selling book premise, Drew also wanted to get a better sense for the struggles of his clients through their own eyes. Walk a mile in their shoes, so to speak.
Too often, it’s easy for a personal trainer to be overly demanding or judgmental because they’ve been fit for pretty much all of their lives and have no idea what carrying a bunch of extra body weight is like. Most trainers are also on their feet much of the day, always in the gym, and don’t exactly work sedentary desk jobs.
A Resounding Success
The book became a New York Times bestseller, and now A&E has picked it up as a TV series! The first episode will debut on January 19th at 10 PM eastern time. While Drew will of course be involved with the show and appearing on it, he is understandably going to be stepping out of the limelight this time.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the show will focus on four other personal trainers, who will basically retrace the steps of Drew’ journey by gaining an unspecified amount of extra weight, then working with a client of similar weight to see if they can both take the pounds off.
Even though Drew himself won’t be undergoing the journey on air (can you blame him for not wanting to go through all THAT again?), the premise of the show is intriguing — maybe even more so than the book.
While the book was largely well-received, one central point of criticism was that Drew was already at a big advantage with his existing knowledge of fitness and his muscle strength and cardio condition; that a person who had been struggling with obesity all of their life could not really do the same things he did to get back in shape. Our comment/question to that is, “starting with the excuses already, are we?”
But do the trainers have the upper hand?
Truth be told, we don’t expect the participants to be as successful as the trainers. A few months of being overweight does nowhere near the metabolic damage as years (or even a whole lifetime) of obesity.
For instance, we’re starting to learn about ghrelin and leptin resistance – which often leads obese individuals down a self-destructive path of hunger and weight gain.[1,2,3,4] These hormones regulate our energy balance via the appetite, but they’re basically all FUBAR in obese users, and may take a long time to normalize.
The trainers won’t have such issues, and to an extent, their bodies will be more finely tuned to get back to their fit equilibrium. Long-term overweight/obese patients, however, sadly have an equilibrium that’s both unhealthy and unattractive. The human body is a masterful adaptive machine – and it takes a long time to undo so much long-term damage.
So is it possible to see the clients succeed? Of course. Should dedicated obese people have an excuse? No. But will they burn fat as quickly as the trainers? We highly doubt it.
The format of the show will not only field-test Drew’s techniques with a naturally obese population, but you’ll see their results compared side-by-side with a dedicated trainer.
While you’re waiting for the show to start, you can catch up with Drew on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. He also has a Youtube channel in which he’s posted some videos from his own person Fit2Fat2Fit journey!
So set your DVR for A&E, and get ready to see who can Get Fit2Fat2Fit! Congrats on your success, Drew!
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- Klok, M; The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review.; Department of Endocrinology, VU University Medical Center; 2007
- Chaput, J; Increased Food Intake by Insufficient Sleep in Humans: Are We Jumping the Gun on the Hormonal Explanation?; Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute; 2014
- Weigle, D; Roles of leptin and ghrelin in the loss of body weight caused by a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.; University of Washington School of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, and Harborview Medical Center; 2003
- Myers, M; Obesity and leptin resistance: distinguishing cause from effect.; Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; 2010