Fit to Fat to Fit: Drew Manning’s New TV Series on A&E

Drew Manning

Drew Manning, creator/author of Fit2Fat2Fit, goes from his “worst” back to his best! Will it replicate well on TV?

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?

Fit2Fat2Fit

Click the image to check out the book Fit2Fat2Fit

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.

Fit to Fat to Fit

The ‘full’ Fit to Fat to Fit montage – see the video below!

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.

Ghrelin and Leptin Resistance

We shouldn’t underestimate how well obese users bodies have adapted to being obese. Ghrelin and Leptin may have a different story to tell… and it’ll all make for “great TV”

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!

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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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References

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Myers, M; Obesity and leptin resistance: distinguishing cause from effect.; Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; 2010
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  • Melanie Darmody

    My 14 year old son & I are both 50 lbs overweight. He is a gamer & U Tube fan. How can I get him motivated to join me in exercise? I bought him a mountain bike 2 years ago which he only has rode twice. He isn’t interested in sports, martial arts or even traveling to Colorado this summer because he doesn’t want to go white water rafting. Please help me help him not miss out on life!

    • Hi Melanie, thanks for posting and asking. Honestly, I think you’re best off finding a better place to ask this question, since I’m not a father, nor are any of the other guys running this site (well, CJ has a very young daughter).

      I’ll say this though: at this age, your son needs a father or serious male role model, not a mother. 14 year old sons don’t want to do ANYTHING with mom, let alone awkward exercise stuff. Don’t feel bad – we love you – this is just how it is and he’ll come back around in 5-8 years :) (we almost always do!)

      I’m a self-proclaimed geek, but my dad always had me in competitive sports. I played some video games in high school, but got out when I saw them ruining everyone’s lives in college. So I’m maybe on some wavelength with your son, but not a fully-fledged gamer.

      So, from my perspective, it’d be best to get him into a more *cerebral* sport. You can’t expect him to do “alpha jock” things like football, basketball, or even baseball. I wrestled and loved the sport, but those people are just not my people. Realizing this, I gravitated towards *swimming* – the true thinking man’s sport. Others like me enjoy tennis, track, or cross country. That’s where there are guys who are MOST like your son will be. As I “manned out” over time and wanted to get more physical, I moved from swimming to water polo.

      The issue is, I was always into sports. My father drove hard work and competition into me from day 1. He mentored me well, but I just had to find out where “my people” were (for me, they’re in the water).

      Were it my son, I would like to think that video games wouldn’t be on until homework was done and something physical was accomplished. It might be too late for that, but it’s never too late to bring some balance in. You think those kids on the track team don’t play video games too? You can do both.

      So that’s my perspective. But my real advise is to find some like-minded parents with like-minded children, and talk about what works. Mom bringing up “exercise” to a fat kid is asking for trouble. I don’t know how to best negotiate that mine-field. That’s what fathers and male role models are for.

      PS: Hunting, going shooting, and paintball could also be great ideas. Will make them realize that their games are a bunch of crap when it comes to actual real life safety and defnese, and if you want to be useful… you need to be in serious shape.

      • One last thing: I just realized that you too claim to be 50lbs overweight. Start looking at the food in the house there, and making changes. Am willing to bet you have Mountain Dew or lots of sports drinks in there? Dump that crap down the drain. If it’s not in the house, it can’t be eaten.

        My basic philosophies on diet:

        1. Calories are still king. If you want to lose WEIGHT, it’s still about calories in vs. calories out.

        1a. Yet, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So start measuring. In order to track calories, I highly recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal and get a food scale (they’re like $12 on Amazon) and use them like a hawk. My brother and I have a daily contest tracking calories. It works when you do it, and you also start noticing bad trends that can be stopped in their tracks. Research shows that you’re more likely to stick with the plan when tracking too (and one such study was from 1970s, long before apps or even PCs!)

        2. Macronutrient goals. When it comes to body composition, PROTEIN intake needs to be high to keep muscle tone, which is healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Like, 1g per pound of desired bodyweight every day (yep, it’s a lot, which is why we like a protein shake to help a bit).

        2a. Low-carb vs. Low-Fat is a personal thing, but I personally do believe in choosing one or the other, especially if not monitoring calories like mad. Balanced diets are rough because then all food becomes “legal” and you can easily lose sight of yourself. Personally, I do better low-carbing it. Time and time again I try to raise carbs and I put on body fat. But I know others who are the opposite.

        3. 4-5 servings of combined fruits/vegetables per day, where a serving is 75g or so (really not that hard since 75g isn’t much). This will help avoid mortality from cardiovascular disease (but not cancer, interestingly): http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4490 (for the past year I’ve had a blog post that’s 90% done analyzing this study that I really need to publish).

        4. There is an “unwritten” battle amongst food QUALITY and food QUANTITY. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, but I’m 80/20 in favor of the importance of quantity over quality. For instance, if you eat 5000 calories worth of organic/gluten-free/vegan/’quality’ food, you will still gain weight, look terrible, and be unhealthy. Meanwhile, I can lose weight and stay relatively fit eating nothing but sour gummy worms and cheap beef (I’m dead serious too). Yet in the latter case, my insides may be rotting. The truth’s in the middle, but successful study after study after study has more to do with quantity, yet there’s not much legit research on the benefits of organic over non-organic. Keep that in mind.

        5. Cooking and NOT eating out is key, but cooking one meal at a time is a recipe for failure and wasted time. For this reason, BULK cooking is key, and storing it in quality SnapWare is where it’s at. Every Sunday we do 4+ chicken breasts at a time in the oven. Crock pot some lean pork (or chicken). Lean turkey meat sauce. Then you just gotta add veggies, which can also be bulk cooked. So now during the week, all I gotta do is microwave the chicken, throw it on some salad, and I’m good to go and get back to work. Energy galore with very little time or money spent.

        6. Fish!!! We don’t eat enough fish in this society. Shoot for 2 servings per week! Look at the healthiest cultures. Doesn’t matter if they’re high fat, low fat, etc.. they’re fatty fish eaters. We are not. This also goes into your protein intake, so it’s a win-win.

        Everyone overcomplicates things, but these are the simple “big picture” things that I think are mandatory to start with.

      • diane pham

        Wonderful Advice. Thanks