Have you guys (and gals) seen the hit new show on A&E dedicated to a whole new perspective on weight loss shows called "Fit to Fat to Fit"? We were lucky enough to sit down with the creater of that experiment to talk about the "Dad Bod," fatherhood, and his success.
His experiment, which was chronicled in his NYT Best Seller "Fit2Fat2Fit, is the process of going from being ridiculously fit, packing on the pounds (which sounds like the most fun part, but apparently it's not as fun as it sounds!), and then losing the weight with his client- together. What a dedicated trainer right?!
What was the most reassuring in interviewing Drew Manning was that here's this totally built, athletic dude who is changing lives with his dedication to healthy living, the creator of a phenomenon, world-wide success, and yet the current in his conversation was how important being a DAD was to everything he does. It reminds us of the quote, "No success outside the home can compensate for failure in it." Drew seems to have success in both.
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I'm Drew Manning, NY Times Best Selling Author of the book, Fit2Fat2Fit. I'm best known for my Fit2Fat2Fit.com experiment that took the media by storm when my story went viral online. I've been featured on shows such as Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View and many more. I'm also a certified personal trainer through NASM and through my Fit2Fat2Fit journey, which has inspired thousands across the world to embrace a healthier lifestyle change! My experiment has now turned into a hit TV show, called Fit to Fat to Fit, airing on Tuesday nights at 10/9c on A&E!
Tell us about your experience with Fit2Fat2Fit.
So, in a nutshell, I gained 75 lbs on purpose in 6 months time and then lost it again in the next 6 months. Fit2FAT2Fit was a very humbling experience that opened up my eyes to the mental and emotional struggles that people have when it comes to transformation. Gaining the 75 lbs on purpsose, gave me a totally difference perspective about how I used to approach my overweight clients. I gained a lot of valuable lessons, a better understanding and more empathy towards those who struggle. So I have no regrets doing it. Yes, it was crazy, but I'm a better man and a better health coach now vs. before. I don't pretend to know exactly what it's like, but I can honestly say that I was humbled and have a better appreciation for those who struggle.
The "Dad Bod" - is it just inevitable that dads put on some pounds and fill with fluff?
The Dad Bod has been around for a long time, but is just now becoming a trend I guess. Haha. Just like Moms, we struggle with, finding a balance of taking care of our health along with other life responsibilities like taking care of our kids and we sometimes feel selfish for taking time to go to the gym and meal prep instead of spend more time with our kids. I promise you that you are a better Dad if you take care of your health first. That doesn't mean you need to spend hours in the gym and hours meal prepping.
First, have your kids be a part of that process. Workout with them, in the park at the beach, etc. Also, take them grocery shopping with you. Teach them about why we are supposed to eat veggies and let them help you meal prep and cook. If we include them in the process then that is quality time spent with them and you're setting them up with healthier habits as they grow older. That doesn't mean you can't have the occasional splurge at Chuck E Cheese or a burger/hot dog at a ball game for example, but you can have the best of both worlds. Plus you have to learn how love your body even if it's not where it's where you want it to be. You don't want body image issues passed on to your kids. So you don't want your kids hearing you call yourself fat in the mirror. It's important to show that you love yourself first and that you're just wanting to become a better version of yourself by losing weight to take care of yourself. Don't make it about weight with kids.
How many kids do you have?
I'm a Dad of 2 daughters (6 and 4 years old)
What are your thoughts on being a dad?
Being a Dad of daughters is a role I take very seriously. Unlike boys, girls emotions are very fragile especially as they get older and that relationship with their Dad determines a lot for them emotionally as they grow up in this cruel world sometimes. A daughter learns how to love from her Mom, but she learns how to be loved from her Dad. I love being a Dad to two little girls and I know they need to see, feel and verbally hear how much I love them. Plus I try and remind them to love themselves and be proud of who they are. There's no perfect formula for being the perfect Dad, but quality trumps quanitity and being present in the moment means a lot to our kids. So put the phone down. Play barbies or trucks or do silly things in public sometimes with your kids. You are their hero, whether they say it or not.
What was the best piece of advice you got from your dad?
My Dad was not a talker and didn't give a lot of advice, but rather taught by example. He was the Dad of 11 kids and we never went without. We were definitely not rich, but we always had food on the table, clothes and a roof over our head. So his example of hard work and dedication to family still resonates with me today.
What do you think is your most important job as a dad?
To teach my kids that they are ALWAYS worthy of love, no matter what and that they don't deserve anything less than that.
What’s the hardest part about being a dad?
Practicing what you preach. It's so easy to tell your kids how to fix their problems, but then when it comes to you and your problems we have such a difficult time fixing those and can come across as a hypocrite sometimes. So that requires habitual changes which aren't easy and take time.
FIT2FAT2FIT AND ALWAYS A FATHER
What’s the best part about being a dad?
The joy I get out from those small moments when they show their full appreciation for me (even though they are rare) and all the effort I put into being a good Dad.
What advice would you give new dads just starting out?
Read ALL the books and decide from your life experiences and those books what type of Dad you want to be/don't want to be. Realize you're not perfect and you'll never be perfect. Realize that you'll never be fully ready and that's ok. Enjoy the small moments and LIVE IN THE MOMENT as much as you can.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I may fail at other things in life (business, personal relationships, finances, sports, etc.), but I know that I'll be happy if I can look back on my life and know that I gave it my all as a DAD!
Thanks to Marie Carmel for the great photos of Drew and his girls!