Catching Up with Drew Manning (The 2016 Edition)

When Jacob met Drew Manning (fit2fat2fit)

I had the privilege of meeting Drew for the very first time when he spoke at Williams Woods University in Fulton, Mo. on January 26, 2016. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)


By: Jacob Elyachar,

I always enjoy when Fit2Fat2Fit creator Drew Manning drops by Jake’s Take!

The fitness entrepreneur has been at the forefront of the exercise industry since he introduced his shocking movement that not only stunned the world and promoted health and wellness but also was the stepping stone for building an empire.

His first book, Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 LBS on Purpose, became a New York Times Best Seller.  Drew followed up with a podcast, The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience, that he hosts with his wife, Lynn.  The Mannings also co-founded the Dollar Workout Club with fellow personal trainer: Natalie Hodson.  The trio hopes to get the world in shape by offering at-home workout videos, healthy recipes and motivational and inspirational video messages for just a dollar a week!

In this edition of Catching Up, Drew fills us in on his projects and how he is changing television by taking his Fit2Fat2Fit experience to the small screen.

Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as a fitness entrepreneur since we last spoke?

Drew Manning:  A lot has happened in the past year. For example, the concept of a Fit2Fat2Fit TV show came to fruition. This was an idea that I had four years ago when I created Fit2Fat2Fit. Initially, no one picked it up, and I figured out that it wasn’t going to happen. But, it was not until February that the production company reached back out to me and stated that they wanted to re-pitch the show. The docuseries, Fit to Fat to Fit, started airing on the A&E Network on January 19, 2016. Initially, I had no idea what to expect from my venture into Reality TV, but it helped me grow as a fitness entrepreneur.

JE: While we are talking about the docuseries, what made you take your concept to cable over a network or online television?

DM:  To be honest with you, I could not control where the docuseries landed. Once, the TV show is pitched, whoever picks it up is the company owns the rights to the show. A&E Network bought the rights to the show when none of the networks picked it up.  Cable has great benefits, and the positives outweighed the negatives in the situation. I may get a lot of flack from people that may not be pleased that Fit2Fat2Fit is now a Reality TV show.  But, I believe if you have the right producer and people behind the project, viewers are going to see that it is not going to think that it is a gimmick.  Fit to Fat to Fit is not making fun of heavyset people; we are very sensitive to all communities out there.


Fit to Fit to Fit A&E TV

In the new A&E docuseries, “Fit to Fat to Fit,” personal trainers across the country will replicate Drew’s journey and lose the weight with their clients. (Photo property of A&E)

JE: What were some of the challenges that you faced with the creation of the TV show? How did you overcome them?

DM: The main challenge that we had was how do we get the show out to the public without making it too gimmicky and get ratings without the show becoming boring.  What I learned from Fit2Fat2Fit was that transformation is both mental and emotional. I gained a lot of empathy and was humbled by the experience. Now, ten trainers from across the country will be going on almost the same journey that I went on. But, the second challenge that we faced was “how do we humble the trainers?” The experience is not always the same for each person, so I was able to work with the production team on implementing certain things that would hopefully give the trainers a better understanding and be more empathetic to their clients. My end goal for the coaches is that they see “transformation” in a whole new light because of the Fit2Fat2Fit journey.

JE: What were some of the lessons that the coaches learned throughout their time on the show?

DM:  At the end of the day, the trainers learned that losing weight is a lot harder than they thought it would be. Two trainers were overweight before they took on this challenge, so they had an experience and an understanding of this process. Every other trainer has always been in shape and always been fit as I was, and all of them learned that it was way harder than they expected to be. I also believe that they gained an appreciation for their bodies, having their fitness and health taken away from them for a short period. Whether they gain empathy or a better understanding, I cannot be the judge of that. But, I can tell you that each of them gained a better appreciation of what they used to have after it was taken away from them. I also believe that they learned that it is not about your body and what you look like, it is about feeling healthy.

JE: Last year, you made a big decision in your personal life to relocate your family to Hawaii. What were the factors behind that decision?

DM:  Lynn and I have two young daughters who are 4 and 6-years-old. I feel blessed to say that I have the opportunity to work-from-home, and I do not have to work in a certain location. A lot of people do not know this, but my dad’s side of the family is Hawaiian.  While he did not grow up in Hawaii, he did! Lynn and I decided that life is too short not to make memories for your kids. Our move to Hawaii was not only a family adventure but Lynn, and I could pack up our business and move it anywhere. We also figured why to wait until you are 60 to retire when you are old, set in your ways and hate to travel.  We seized the opportunity, wanted to make some memories for our kids and moments that they will always remember.  We have no regrets! We love it here, and our life has not been the same!

JE: In addition to your television docuseries, another project that you are currently working on is your podcast: “The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience.” Could you describe your podcast to my readers?

DM:  Lynn and I started a fairly new fitness podcast. We started it 20 weeks ago and aired new episodes once a week. It is an interview-based podcast, and we have been lucky to have talked to fitness celebrities, doctors and specialists. We also put a twist on your traditional fitness and nutrition podcast. For example, my Fit2Fat2Fit journey gave me some perspectives that not a lot of people experience. I implement the lessons that I have learned from each episode. Meanwhile, Lynn is a female fitness model that loves to exercise and eat chocolate and donuts, but she understands the importance of health. Both of us have unique approaches to health and fitness. My approach comes from my Fit2Fat2Fit journey while Lynn grew up a foodie and was a health and fitness coach. Our podcast does not focus on weight loss or diets specifically, but we talk more about the mental and emotional side of the transformation. We also have specialists who are experts on certain diets and do talk about how to lose fat, but that is not the primary focus. The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience helps people to understand how to make this a lifestyle change each and every episode.


Personal trainer Natalie Hobson (left) joined Drew and Lynn Manning (middle and right respectfully) in the creation of the Dollar Workout Club. (Photo property of Fit2Fat2Fit)

Personal trainer Natalie Hobson (left) joined Drew and Lynn Manning (middle and right respectfully) in the creation of the Dollar Workout Club. (Photo property of Fit2Fat2Fit)

JE: Another program that you and Lynn also recently introduced is the Dollar Workout Club. Could you share some information about this fitness program?

DM:  The Dollar Workout Club started when Lynn and I met another fitness trainer named Natalie Hobson. She is a famous online fitness guru who has a large social media following. We connected with her, and we came up with this idea of the Dollar Workout Club. It is the Dollar Shave Club format, but for the fitness industry. The Dollar Workout Club delivers high-quality content which includes online workouts that can be done at home with minimum equipment. It also includes healthy recipe videos and weekly motivational videos that we wrap up in a pretty nice package but offer this quality content for a super low price. The Dollar Workout Club is a dollar a week, but you get access to five workout videos, five motivational videos and five recipe videos which are brand new each week. You do not need to sign a contract or pay hidden fees to enroll in the Dollar Workout Club.  Our philosophy to our workouts is to work out smarter not harder, which is why workouts are designed to be 8-20 minutes long. The Dollar Workout Club is geared towards stay-at-home or single moms that have kids, and they can do the workouts with them. The workouts are hard! There are three different fitness levels to the program. Red is for our advanced clients while yellow is medium and green is for beginners.  Anyone at any fitness level can do these workouts.

JE: Have you decided to write a follow-up to your New York Times Best Seller?

DM:  I want to write a second book, but I have not nailed what that idea is going to be. I will leave you with this following teaser. If Fit to Fat to Fit’s first season is a success, this could lead to more seasons that features more trainers sacrificing their bodies for a period to motivate people, and then it could lead to a possible Fit2Fat2Fit movement. It is a concept, but I do not have anything set in stone.  Be patient with me, people! It has been four years since I launched my book…but the wait will be worth it!

JE: Why should my readers watch “Fit to Fat to Fit” on A&E?

DM:  I feel that this show will be the most inspiring weight-loss TV show that anyone has ever seen! It’s nothing like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss. You get to see these trainers sacrifice their bodies and their minds for a short period to understand what their clients are thinking. At the end of the day, it is super exciting and motivating to watch these trainers be humbled, gain all this weight and give up exercise for four months and lose it with their clients. There are so many lessons that can be learned; it is so motivating.  When I originally did fit2fat2fit, Jacob, there were so many people that became motivated and so much more inspired than watching your typical weight-loss TV show. It is always inspiring to watch someone go from obese to fit, but Fit to Fat to Fit’s concept is totally new that they are going to be blown away by how inspiring this show is to watch.

Missed the pilot of “Fit to Fat to Fit”? Head over to the A&E website to watch it!

To learn more about Drew’s work, visit his website!

You can also connect with Drew on social media! Visit his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube channels.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar