Fit2Fat2Fit: A Trainer Goes From Abs to Flab To Better Understand His ClientsJune 18, 2012 @ 6:18 pm (Updated: 6:23 am - 6/19/12 )
By Rachel Belle
With six pack abs and bulging biceps, Drew Manning looked the part of a personal trainer all while living an almost obsessively healthy lifestyle. But he noticed that created a disconnect between him and his overweight clients, who struggled to get in shape.
"I was judgmental, because for me it seems so easy. You just go to the gym and you work out and you eat healthy. But my clients were right, I didn't understand what it was like and I needed a better understanding for myself."
So he embarked on a year long experiment he called Fit2Fat2Fit. Drew would spend six months stuffing his face and exercising his right to sit on the couch and watch TV. Then he would spend the next 6 months taking off the weight. His diet went from spinach protein shakes, lean meats and lots of veggies to giant bowls of Cap'n Crunch, Mountain Dew, chips, cookies and macaroni and cheese. He completely stopped working out and within six months Drew gained 75 pounds. His six-pack abs were replaced with a big, round belly, his energy level went way down and his relationship with his wife started to suffer.
"When I started to eat this way, I did become lazier, I started snoring, I wasn't as helpful around the house, with the kids and doing chores. That did become frustration to her. Of course, the physical attraction. It wasn't so much that she was unattracted to me because I was overweight, but because of how I looked at myself and my confidence level."
Drew says he was surprised how much the weight gain affected him mentally. One of his saddest moments was when his experiment affected his 2-year-old daughter.
"To see her cry because I couldn't play with her for more than a couple minutes, honestly, it was really heartbreaking, even though I was doing this for myself. It just made me realize that there are probably people out there who can't play with their kids and it's been that way for years. So for me, that was probably my lowest point. Even though she won't remember it, I'll always remember that."
After six months of channel-surfing and carb-loading, the lifelong health nut struggled to put down the bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and was forced to think about his clients who had a hard time sticking to his strict, prescribed meal plans.
"I totally understand that now and it really isn't a psychological thing and not so much a lack of will power or a physical thing. I understand it's hard. It really is."
Getting back on the treadmill wasn't much easier.
"It was way harder than I thought it was gonna be. Honestly, to go back into the gym as now the overweight guy instead of the fit guy was very very humbling. I was very nervous to go back, to feel the judgment of people looking at my belly, and to see me struggle doing pushups on my knees. It was way harder, not just from a physical standpoint, but also from a mental and emotional standpoint."
Drew is now back to his old muscular Adonis self, and he says he's a much better trainer for it. He wrote a book called Fit2Fat2Fit, where he details his meal and exercise plans so others can trade in delicious macaroni and cheese and flabby bellies for spinach protein shakes and six pack abs.
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