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Podcast 103: Drew Manning on Fit-to-Fat-to-Fit Journey

By Will Ahmed

Podcast 103: Drew Manning on Fit-to-Fat-to-Fit Journey

This week’s guest is Drew Manning, personal trainer and the founder of Fit2Fat2Fit.

Listen on:

Drew is in the middle of a deliberate effort to gain 60 pounds in 4 months. Starting in January, he’ll begin losing that weight again. This is the second time Drew has done something like this. 10 years ago, he garnered international attention when he gained 75 pounds on purpose before losing it. Drew says the idea came to him when one of his clients told him he couldn’t possibly understand the struggle people go through when trying to lose weight. Drew believes the fitness industry has a real disconnect with many people, and he’s hoping to bridge that gap with these weight-gain and weight-loss missions. He says there isn’t enough understanding and empathy in his field, and he hopes this experience will help highlight that for others. Read more from Drew on his experience: Fit to Fat to Fit - What I See in the Data.  

Drew Manning Fit-to-Fat-to-Fit Podcast Show Notes:

3:25 - A Mission to Understand Weight Loss. Drew details his first weight-gain experience 10 years ago and why he went on a mission to gain weight just to lose it. “One of my clients told me, ‘Drew, you don’t understand how hard it is. For you, it’s easy. But for me and people like it, it’s hard.’ I took that to heart.” In total, Drew put on 75 pounds in 6 months. 8:30 - How Drew is Gaining Weight. “I’m doing in 4 months what some people do over the course of years. 5 pounds a year, 10 pounds a year, it slowly adds up and before you know it they’re 50 to 60 pounds overweight. I’m shrinking that down into 4 months. I’m having to consume 5,000 or 6,000 calories a day.” 10:08 - Beginning the Process. “It was a huge shock. I think the first day I ate over 7,000 calories to go from one extreme to the other extreme. My body was freaking out.” 13:52 - Triglycerides. Drew saw an astonishing jump in his triglyceride count after starting his unhealthy diet. “My triglyceride baseline was 46. Anything under 100 is really good. … After one month of eating this ‘standard, American diet’ it went up to 246.” Drew goes on to share how each of the four unhealthy diets he’s trying during his weight gain affected his triglyceride count. 16:22 - HRV During Weight Gain. “My HRV is usually around 100 or so. I’m usually in the green every single night. … Almost immediately [after starting the weight gain], my HRV dropped to the 40’s. I was in the yellow or the red every single night. I started drinking a couple of beers every night … and that jacked up my sleep to the point where I felt so different.” 17:34 - Deteriorating Sleep Quality. Drew reports experiencing a decline in his sleep performance during his weight gain. “Tracking my HRV and recovery score just made it so clear that sleep deprivation affects you in so many ways, you can’t even imagine. Your ability to lose your spouse or be patient with your kids or be focused during a business call, you’re a different version of you when your sleep is off.” 21:04 - Respiratory Rate. Will and Drew discuss the importance of tracking respiratory rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can hear more about how an elevated respiratory rate can be indicative of a COVID infection in Episode 102 of the WHOOP Podcast. 22:19 - Empathy. “My whole journey is about empathy. I want people to be empathetic towards those who struggle with their weight. … That’s the problem with the fitness industry, in my opinion, it lacks empathy. … I feel people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 29:20 - Emotional Toll. “Every day is hard,” Drew says of his journey. “There are no easy days. Every day is hard. I just have to remind myself that this will be over soon and that things will get better in the near future.” 30:47 - Losing Weight at an Older Age. “Everybody in their 40’s and older, that demographic, tells me that when you turn 40 it’s harder to lose weight. … I want to give that demographic hope and say, ‘I’m turning 40 this year, let’s do this journey together.’ I’ll be testing the waters and seeing what it’s like as a 40-year-old doing this again. Will it be harder? Maybe. But I do know it's still possible.” 35:08 - Not Just Physical Changes. “I thought it wouldn’t affect me as much mentally and emotionally as it has. It has been a wake-up call for me to show how powerful human biology is. Eating this way, sleeping this way, living this lifestyle, I totally feel like my brain chemistry is way different than what it normally is.” 38:31 - Helping People Lose Weight. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s not, ‘Oh this is what’s happening, this is the pill they need and the exercise they need to fix it.’ Every single person has their own individual journey and life experiences.” 40:15 - Finding Your Willpower. Drew recommends the book Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy. 43:36 - Mental Tools Skillset. Drew says the three tools he’s used on his journey to self-awareness have been meditation, writing a gratitude journal, and a positive affirmation practice. 44:25 - Favorite Books. Drew’s book recommendations include: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Check out Ryan’s appearance on the WHOOP Podcast. Also Loving What Is by Byron Katie and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. “Every human should read [it] to understand how to let go of fear, worry, anxiety and unnecessary suffering” Drew says. “Brene Brown’s books are really powerful." 46:19 - Using Bloodwork to Monitor Diet. Drew recommends that people get their blood drawn a few times a year to see how their diet affects them. “It’s really important data to see [how certain diets affect you]” Drew says. “Look at your blood to see which lifestyle serves you best.” Connect with Drew:, Twitter, Instagram