Drew Manning is the NY Times Best Selling Author of the book Fit2Fat2Fit and is best known for his Fit2Fat2Fit.com experiment that went viral online. He’s been featured on shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The View and many more. His experiment has become a hit TV show, called Fit to Fat to Fit, airing on A&E!
3 Key Points:
- Sometimes, the best way to understand where people are coming from is to walk a day in their shoes.
- Don’t sacrifice your health for wealth.
- Protect your brand – even from people you consider friends.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:08] – Drew’s Fit2Fat2Fit experiment happened over 5 years ago
- [01:21] – Drew couldn’t relate to his overweight clients and his clients couldn’t relate to him either
- [01:36] – Drew thought to better understand his clients, he needed to get fat on purpose
- [01:42] – He stopped exercising and started eating junk food for 6 months
- [01:51] – After a month, Drew was trapped and that was when he learned why his clients struggled with getting fit
- [02:13] – JLD talks about the curse of knowledge
- [02:40] – ILT: Invest, Learn, Teach
- [03:14] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Everybody needs to understand that they are better people when they take care of their health first
- [04:29] – The value of becoming your own experiment taught Drew so much
- [05:06] – Do blood work and test your body fat on a regular basis, and be open to new diets
- [06:16] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Drew did the Fit2Fat2Fit as a one-man show, the show took off and his friends started offering their services. He entertained and trusted them to do things for him.
- [07:25] – Drew has a friend who had connections in the supplement industry—they offered Drew some products, but he didn’t know there were transactions done behind the scenes
- [08:32] – “You have to be protective of your brand”
- [09:05] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Drew was going to TV shows and pitching his idea and a production company got in touch with him. When they brainstormed the concept, they went out and pitched the idea – and nobody bought it. He moved forward with his brand and 2 years later, they pitched it again and A&E TV bought it
- [10:43] – Timing can mean everything
- [11:17] – When things fail at one point, it doesn’t mean they won’t work forever
- [11:42] – Instead of wasting time on a failed project, just move forward
- [12:51] – Diversifying is key
- [13:06] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I’m currently on my 7 day fast”
- [13:55] – Drew is testing if his muscles will be affected by his fasting
- [14:30] – He’s also fired up about the 2nd Season of Fit to Fat to Fit on A&E TV
- [15:04] – Drew’s take on dry fasting
- [16:05] – JLD is thinking about trying the dry, intermittent fasting
- [16:34] – It’s important to assess how you feel with fasting
- [17:07] – Your body needs time to adjust to any change
- [17:52] – Drew is a single dad with two daughters, so it’s hard for him to make food while fasting
- [18:52] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “It was the way I was raised”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “People go where they’re invited, but they stay where they’re appreciated”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “It would be meditation in the morning and daily routines”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Asana and Slack
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – You Are a Badass – “It’s a great book for almost any individual to realize their self worth”
- [22:11] – Learn how to be vulnerable and embrace it as a strength
- [22:31] – Take care of your relationship with yourself
- [22:45] – Connect with Drew on his website, Twitter, and Instagram
Drew Manning: Oh, I’m ready, man. Let’s do this.
Interviewer: Yes. Drew is the New York Times best-selling author of the book, Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit and is best known for his fittofattofit.com experiment that went viral online. He’s been featured on shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The View, and many more. His experiment has become a hit TV show called Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit airing on A&E. Drew, take a minute. Fill in some gaps in that intro and give us just a little glimpse into your personal life.
Drew Manning: Yeah, for sure. Basically, I did that Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit experiment over five years ago, and it was such a humbling, life-changing experience because here I was, grew up my entire life into shape, so I couldn’t really relate to my overweight clients. I worked in the health and fitness industry and I thought I knew what they needed to do to change, which was just eat healthy and exercise but I couldn’t really relate to them and they couldn’t relate to me because for me it was easy to be in shape.
I felt like I needed to do this journey of getting fat on purpose, as crazy as it sounds. Yeah, I stopped exercising for six months. I ate junk food for six months and it was fun, at first. It felt like freedom but really quickly. Over about a month or so, you’re trapped. That’s where the lessons started to learn – that I started to learn along the journey. It totally changed my perspective and here we are today with a New York Times best-selling book, the lessons I learned, and now a TV Show where I am coaching other trainers through this process so they can be more empathetic and have more respect for their clients.
Interviewer: There’s something, Drew, I like to talk about called the “Curse of Knowledge” in Fire Nation. It is so real. Because you know something or it comes easy to you, you just assume that it’s the same for other people and Drew had the curse of knowledge about being fit. He’s like, “Um, hello! Wake up, work out, eat healthy. You’re fit.” Look in the mirror. You look great. Not always that easy, Fire Nation. The curse of knowledge is real in fitness, in health. It’s reality in business. Believe me, there’s this acronym that I love. Drew, it’s ILT: Invest, Learn, Teach. Why?
Because if you do that, you start to learn and understand where your clients, where your customers are coming from, because you’re going to be able to interact with them in a meaningful way. Don’t let the curse from knowledge, Fire Nation, sink your ship. Now, Drew, obviously, fitness is a big expertise that you have. What is something within fitness, within health? Something that you think we, as entrepreneurs, probably don’t know that we should?
Drew Manning: Everybody needs to understand that they are a better entrepreneur. They are a better husband, a better brother or sister, employee – whatever it is – CEO, when we take care of our health, first. We think that we just need to grind, grind, grind. Sacrifice our health. Make that wealth. When, in reality, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re pouring from an empty cup if you don’t really take your health and make it as a priority in your life.
People know that. That the thing is I think people know that but they don’t really take the bull by the horns and really do it. I think that’s the problem with a lot of entrepreneurs that I see, is they sacrifice their health to make that wealth.
Interviewer: Well, you’re right, Drew. We do know that, so let’s dig deeper. Let’s get into a real tactic. A real tip. You are always staying cutting edge. You’re learning new things about fitness. About health. I’m not. I rely on people like you to tell me so what’s something that I don’t know that I should about this? That you probably learned recently. You’re like, “Ah, that’s pretty cool.”
Drew Manning: The biggest thing I’ve learned recently, honestly, is that a value of becoming your own self-experimentation. What I did five years ago, Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, was a great self-experiment because it taught me so much and it got me out of my own shell, if you will, and gave me a totally different perspective. When it comes to your every day, average entrepreneur, we look for people to tell us, “Okay, what do I do?” We’ve been looking for that our whole lives, right?
We’re looking for that magic pill; we’re looking for that magic program that’s going to give me that six pack when, in reality, we need to become our own Drew Mannings or Tim Farises self-experimenters so that we know what’s optimal for us. The way I teach people to do that is to 1) do bloodwork on a regular basis. Get your body fat tested on regular basis and be open to trying new diets that are out there. For example, if you never tried ketosis, for example, give it a try for 30 or 60 days straight. If you never tried veganism or paleo or whatever it is, give it a try for 60 days.
Do your bloodwork. Get your body fat tested and find out what is optimal for you because I could tell you what has worked for me but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s going to work or be optimal for you. Does that make sense?
Interviewer: It makes so much sense and, Fire Nation, bloodwork on a regular basis. A lot of people don’t equate that with being healthier, knowing your body. We have to get to know our bodies. We have to experiment on our bodies. That means investing in ourselves with time. With money. If we want to be optimal, if we want to live the life most fulfilled that we can, it’s going to take these things.
It’s going to take this energy. It’s going to take this bandwidth. Now, Drew, you again have gone from Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit again and you’ve had the ups and the downs that comes with that kind of transformation but what would you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date? Take us to that moment. Tell us that story.
Drew Manning: Yeah. Let me tell you a little bit about that. When Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit took off, I was a one-man show. I didn’t have a PR team. I didn’t have connections. I didn’t have this great marketing strategy. It just went viral and I’m like, “Okay. What do I do, now?” What’s interesting – and maybe some people can relate to this – is when it took off, I had friends coming out of the woodwork offering their services. They’re like, “Oh, Drew, I saw you on Dr. Oz. I think I have this great idea for you.” I’m a nice guy, so I’m very trusting.
I’m like, “Yeah. I’d love to do business with you, man.” I jumped on that wagon, if you will, of “Oh, you’re a friend of mine. I’m sure you’ll help me out,” and so I trusted some people to do certain things for me when, in reality, that was probably one of the worst things I could’ve done. Let’s just say I have less friends now because of these situations where I trusted certain people that were friends instead of finding who was the right person for the job.
Interviewer: Well, let’s get specific, here. You don’t have to share names or exact anything because I know you want to keep certain things private, but what, exactly, was that worst moment? Take us there.
Drew Manning: Okay. I think the worst one, honestly, was I had a friend who had connections with people in the supplement industry and they saw all the traffic I was getting and how big my social media was growing. They said, “Hey, I have connections to do these types of products for you. Proteins, all these different types of supplements.” I’m like, “Yeah, of course. I’m a big fan of supplements and I would love to formulate my own. Let’s just jump on it.”
Then, there were some things that done behind the scenes that I didn’t know about until six months later or a year later when, let’s say, crap hit the fan. I was like, “What happened? You guys didn’t tell me all these decisions you guys were making behind the scenes.” I was just left out in the open, exposed, when now those products are no longer available. They were out there for about a year. They were pretty successful but I just didn’t have the control.
I didn’t have the knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes and some things were done behind my back. Does that make sense? That was one of my worst ones. It’s hard to talk about, honestly.
Interviewer: Yeah. It makes a lot of sense and Fire Nation this is just a lesson that needs to be absorbed. You have to be protective of your brand. If it’s your name, if it’s your business, if it’s your anything, you have to make sure that you have complete understanding and control over this because there’s a great Warren Buffet quote, which I love. “It takes 20 years to build a relation and it takes five minutes to lose it all.”
It really can be that easy. You have to have so much care when it comes to you, your business, your brand. Now, Drew, on the flipside, take us to one of your greatest ideas to date. One of those, “A-ha” moments when this light bulb went off and you said, “yes.” Tell us that story.
Drew Manning: Well, other than the light bulb with my Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit journey, that was my moment of, “Okay. I think I need to do this. No one’s ever done this before and looks what it’s become.” I think the next thing beyond that was the TV show idea. Here I was, going on TV shows like Jay Leno and Dr. Oz and I – actually, a production company first reached out to me and then we had some meetings about a possible TV show. We were brainstorming some ideas and when we were brainstorming the concept of what the TV show would look like came to us and we decided on a – the structure of the TV show.
Here’s what’s funny. We went out and pitched it and nobody bought it. Not one person bought it. For two years – two-and-a-half years – I thought it was just dead in the water. I just moved on with everything else saying, “Okay. The TV show’s not going to happen,” and just moving forward with my brand. This is about three years later. We went and re-pitched it again. Me and the production company re-pitched it again and we got a call two weeks later that A&E had bought the show. It was pretty remarkable but the idea for a TV show, I never thought of that when I first started it but it took a couple brainstorming sessions come up with that idea.
Interviewer: Wow. Fire Nation, it is so important that we circle back on things. We can have these great ideas. Timing can mean everything. It might just not be the right time for anybody. It wasn’t the right time them for A&E. It is, now. It wasn’t the right time for that person when they saw your Facebook ad then, but it might be, now. You have to be continuous.
You have to be consistent. You have to be diligent. You have to put yourself in the right places at the right time and that’s just a matter of having effort and having that opportunity come when the time is right. Drew, that’s my big takeaway from your “A-Ha” moment but what do you want to make sure our listeners get from that story?
Drew Manning: Couple things. One is just because certain things fail at one point in time doesn’t mean you can’t revisit those great ideas that you had in the past or you think It’s failed. I wouldn’t say – it sounds cheesy saying “never giving up on it,” because I didn’t have control over it. I had no control over it. Here’s one lesson that I think a lot of us can learn is when the TV show didn’t happen right away, instead of saying, “Oh, well. I failed. I might as well go back to my day job or I might as well find something else,” I had to adapt and I moved forward with other things.
My brand that took off since then. I built other programs and worked on other projects for my brand instead of waiting around for that call the TV show, putting all my eggs in one basket, thinking, “Okay. They’re gonna call. I’m going to make it big and the TV show’s gonna happen.” No. You have no control over that but what you do have control over is you and your brand and where you take it from there. Yeah. I could’ve just sat back thinking, “Well, I’m just waiting for this one call,” but I didn’t.
I moved forward with what I had even though what I had wasn’t a TV show. You have to still go forward with that and adjust to what’s happening, currently, and not worry about those things you can’t control.
Interviewer: I love that mentality, fire Nation, because it’s so important to diversify because you never know when something’s going to dry up and the winds are going to change. When the economy’s going to shift. Whenever that might be. If you’re diversified, you’re not gonna have all those eggs in one basket that, again, could result in all those eggs being cracked in that one fall.
Diversifying’s the key. Realizing that, “Hey, I’m going to continue working on my business on my brand, despite what’s happening in other areas and other lanes of opportunity is critical.” Now, Drew, moving forward to today, what are you most fired up about?
Drew Manning: That’s a great question. Here’s what’s interesting, is I’m currently – and this sounds a little crazy – but I’m currently on a seven-day fast. I’m on day five of my seven-day fast. Now, I know this sounds crazy to our generation, who’s had an abundance of food, but I’m doing this seven-day fast as a self-experimentation. I’m testing my bloodwork before; I’m testing my body fat percentage before. I’m doing it again afterwards – after the seven-day fast – to see if this type of fast maybe once a year is something that’s optimal for me and my body.
I’ve done the research and I’ve had a couple of people on my podcast that wrote a book about the optimal guide to fasting. I’ve learned so much about the benefits – the health benefits, the therapeutic benefits, the spiritual benefits – of doing a fast like this. An extended fast. Here’s what’s weird, is I’m a pretty decently in shape guy. I have muscle and a lot of people think if you don’t eat you’re going to lose your muscle, so I want to put that to the test. I’m five days with no food. Just water and bone broth and exogenous ketones.
That’s it for seven days. I got a couple more days. I’m able to do this type of podcast. My brain is on fire. It feels amazing. It’s so weird. You would think that I would just be miserable and just feel horrible. The first two days were hard but this is something I’m super excited about. Also, I’m excited for Season 2 of Fit to Fat to Fit coming up —
Drew Manning: - next spring. We’re filming that, so stay tuned for that. It’s going to be on A&E probably March or April sometime. Stay tuned for that.
Interviewer: This is out of the blue. It’s in the realm of fasting, but what are your thoughts on dry fasting? Have you done any research into that? Have you tested that at all? What are your thoughts?
Drew Manning: You mean without any water or any kind of liquids, right?
Interviewer: Yeah. The dry fasting; no liquids with the fasting at all. Just really going without.
Drew Manning: Yeah. From what I’ve read and the people that I’ve talked to, it’s actually furthers that detoxification. At the same time, it’s a little bit more risky because you can’t last more than, I would say, maybe five to seven days without water. Some people less; some people more. You can last a long time without food. The dry fasting scares me a little bit just because I’ve done that in the past for 24 hours and you do feel a little bit miserable because, one, you’re dehydrated but you are getting some health benefits from that.
I think for me the reason I went with the water fast, for example, was because you’re still getting a ton of benefits compared to the dry fasting without feeling miserable. It just depends on a person. I know some people that would do water fast, for example, for five or six days and then do just one day of a dry fast on top of that to further that detoxification and that cleansing, if you will. Have you done it? Is that why you ask?
Interviewer: I’ll even qualify it a little bit more than that. I’ve never done a dry fast before but something that I have been thinking about experimenting with is a dry intermittent fast. That would be mean I would stop eating like my last meal would be 8PM and then, instead of just doing a regular intermittent fast, which means I wouldn’t eat anything for the next 16 hours but I would drink some water or whatever, just to go dry for the next 16 hours. Then, during that eight-hour window, eat and drink normally. A consistent, maybe five to seven day dry, intermittent fast.
Drew Manning: Yeah. That seems more doable. I would definitely recommend something like that. Just see how you feel. Like I said, we need to become our own self-experimenters and I think that’s a great way of finding out what’s optimal for you. I haven’t done that, yet, but that protocol might be optimal for you.
Interviewer: When you said you felt miserable after doing the dry fast and there’s been times where you might feel miserable but it’s a good detox, are you feeling miserable in some ways because your body is detoxing? It’s like releasing those toxins into your body. Can that have a reason why you’re not feeling good?
Drew Manning: Yeah. I think so. It takes a while for your body to adjust. Just like on this water fast that I’m doing, it took a good – I think – day four is when I work up feeling really good. The first few days I felt okay but your body needs time to adjust to whatever new protocol you’re introducing it to. I think that could be part of it but just like any kind of change that’s happening in your body, it does – there was a transitional period.
Interviewer: How many more days is this fast for you going?
Drew Manning: A little over two days.
Interviewer: Do you have a meal plans or have you not really thought about it?
Drew Manning: I’m trying not to think about it but here’s the thing —
Interviewer: Yeah. I just ruined everything by saying turkey and mashed potatoes?
Drew Manning: No, because I am a single dad. I have two daughters and I have to feed them. I’m feeding them all of these delicious foods and it’s been hard for me making the food for them, smelling it, but not being able to eat it, to be honest with you. I have thought about it but I’m not going to put too much thought into it because here’s the thing is a lot of people think, “Oh, yeah. Just eat pizza and ice cream and cookies,” and just binge but that’s not what you want to do.
Drew Manning: Your body’s going to feel horrible. I’m going to start out with a very small meal; probably have some Bulletproof coffee and a ketogenic type of meal first of all because you got to understand you’re running off of pure ketones for the past five or six days. If you just introduce a bolas of glucose right away, your body’s gonna feel miserable and sluggish. I’m going to slowly introduce maybe some carbs later on down the road but I’m going to stick with keto meals for the first day or two and just smaller meals, at first.
Interviewer: Well, Fire Nation, you’re going to feel amazing if you stick around for the lightning round after we thank our sponsors. Drew, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Drew Manning: I’m ready man. Let’s do this.
Interviewer: What’s holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Drew Manning: I think, honestly, it was the way I was raised. I was raised in an environment of you work nine to five at a job and this is what – this is less risky and this is what you’re supposed to do. In reality, I ended up getting laid off from my nine to five job after college and that was way more riskier, in my opinion. It was just letting go of all the stuff I learned since childhood and just letting go of that and being open to that risk.
Interviewer: It’s way more risky because you only have one set of skills, Fire Nation. When you’re an entrepreneur, you are a Swiss Army knife; you can adjust to anything. Drew, what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Drew Manning: People go where they’re invited but they stay where they’re appreciated. What that means is people will go if you invite them somewhere. They will go but if you want true relationships in your life, whether it’s employees or people you work with, making someone feel appreciated? They’re going to stay with you instead of just inviting someone, they’re going to come, but if you make them feel appreciation for the little things, they’re going to stay. Yes, that’s marriage advice but also, it’s relationship advice for almost anything that you can apply it to.
Interviewer: What’s the personal habit that contributes to your success?
Drew Manning: Medication in the morning and daily routines. I make my bed first thing in the morning. I meditate. I do positive affirmations. A daily gratitude list and take a hot-cold-hot shower.
Interviewer: Hot cold hot, Fire Nation. Hey, Drew. Share an internet resource with our listeners.
Drew Manning: You know what? I wouldn’t say this is my area of expertise, to be honest with you. Evernote’s been good but honestly, Asana and Slack have been the new ones for me that have helped me to organize my businesses. I’m assuming those are already pretty well known.
Interviewer: If you could recommend one book to, of course, join Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit on our bookshelves, what would it be and why?
Drew Manning: You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero, if that one hasn’t been talked about, yet. It’s a great book for almost any individual to realize their self-worth and realize that they are a badass. Can we say that? Sorry. I didn’t know if we —
Interviewer: Yeah. We can say that. We can say that. We can’t say the bad nine ones, whatever those nine bad words are.
Drew Manning: Yeah, exactly. Well, it’s a great book that will help anyone feel pumped up about themselves, if they struggle with self-worth.
Interviewer: It’s actually an amazing audiobook. They do a great job with the audio version. I would so highly recommend it. Drew, let’s end it today on Fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance. The best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say ‘bye-bye.
Drew Manning: Yes. Honestly, I would recommend for everybody and suggest – these are just some life lessons that I’ve applied in my life, recently – is one is to learn how to be vulnerable and embrace it as a strength that’ll change your life. That would be, honestly, my – I know everyone’s expecting some kind of health tip or something like that, but honestly, you can’t be healthy on the outside, truly, unless you’re healthy on the inside, first. That’s my belief. Taking care of yourself, your relationship with yourself.
Loving yourself; loving others. Having true relationships in your life. Honestly, to me, is real health. No matter your size, no matter how much you weigh. It’s about taking care of your health on the inside, first and foremost, and that will reflect on the outside, over time. People can find me at Fit2Fat2Fit – that’s with the number two, so F-I-T-2-F-A-T-2-F-I-T on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. That’s my website; that’s my book name. The TV show, though, is Fit to Fat to Fit with “T-O” in between.
Interviewer: A&E. You always got to be tricky, don’t you? Well, Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with DM and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head on over to EOFire.com and just type “Drew” in the search bar. His show notes page is going to pop up with everything we’ve been talking about today.
These are the best show notes in the biz, timestamped. Links galore. Of course, head on over to Fit2Fat2Fit.com. Those are the number twos. You’ll see all that Drew has going on. Of course, all the social medias are Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit. Drew, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Drew Manning: Thanks, JLD. See you, guys.
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