This Personal Trainer Made Himself Obese to Understand What It’s Like

Personal trainer Drew Manning of Eagle Mountain, Utah decided to walk the walk. Not by losing weight but by gaining it.

His goal was to gain 80 pounds (he stopped after 72 pounds) over a six-month period, and then live the experience of trying to lose all that weight over another six-month period. Ultimately he went from a chiseled 193 pounds to 265 pounds, or from a BMI of 24.8 to 34.

During this year-long challenge he was going to learn what it was like to go through the process of losing weight. In an ABC News interview Manning said he didn’t realize what his clients were going through when he was helping them lose weight and develop healthy lifestyles.

Manning said that before he started gaining weight he thought it would just be a matter of losing some love-handles and man boobs. Once he reached the six-month point and it was time to get fit, he described being winded just by going up the stairs and that when he would exercise it felt like he had cement weighing him down. He also realized the fixation on eating he developed while trying to gain weight wasn’t so easy to kick.

Before his experience when he worked with his clients he thought it was all about will power and pulling through. He was one of those personal trainers who took his clients through the same routines he would do. He didn’t know what it was like to be light-headed, numb, or even physically sick from exercising. He didn’t realize what a shock it was to go from enjoying the gym to dreading it. Changing his diet back to healthy brought with it headaches and feelings of starvation.

Now he has a better appreciation of working with clients who may have never made a habit of exercising or healthy habits before.

So did he manage to lose all the weight he gained in six months? First he had the experience of hitting a plateau. Explaining in his ABC News interview he had a common realization expressed by many trying to lose weight: “I’ve put in all this time and hard work, and I didn’t lose any weight this week.”

However once his year was up he had managed to lose all the weight he gained and then some, weighing in at 190 pounds.


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