Personal Trainer Packs on Pounds to Experience Overweight Life

Drew Manning gained 70 pounds in hopes it would make him a better trainer.

ByAnna Wild and Sabina Ghebremedhin And Katie Kindelan
November 01, 2011, 9:41 AM

Nov. 1, 2011 -- Drew Manning is a self-proclaimed fitness addict who has dedicated his life to working out and eating healthy.

The 30-year-old from Eagle Mountain, Utah, even turned his dedication into a career as a personal trainer.

Yet Manning is on a mission to do the very thing he is paid by his clients to avoid: gain weight.

"I have always been the fit guy," Manning told "Good Morning America." "So to better understand what my clients go through, I decided to let myself go for six months, no exercise and unrestricted diet."

Manning began his "Fit2Fat2Fit" transformation May 7 with a goal to gain 50 to 60 pounds in six months.

In May, Manning clocked in with a fit 24.5-inch waist, 17-inch neck and healthy weight of 193 pounds.

On a steady diet of corn dogs and doughnuts, Manning gained 21 pounds in the first month alone.

Today, 25 weeks later, his waist has nearly doubled to 47.5 inches, his neck has grown by 2 inches and he has gained 76 pounds, up to a hefty 269.

"I gained the weight easier than I thought I would," he told "GMA." "I've kind of overachieved in that category."

Manning, a married father of two young children, saw his body change, his glucose level skyrocket and his blood pressure rise to a level he called, "off the charts."

"There's a lot of physical changes, like the gut and big butt that I have now," he said.

Manning's very personal documentation of his Fit2Fat2Fit journey on his Twitter account and personal website has attracted a devoted following of thousands wondering why a personal trainer focused on health would take on this goal.

Through weekly weigh-ins, photos, blogs and videos, followers have been able to see not just Manning's physical transformation, but also the mental changes he says even he wasn't prepared for.

"I figured I'd just get fat and then I'd get back to thin, that it'd be that easy," Manning said. "There were a lot of emotional and mental changes which I didn't factor in when I first started this journey."

Suffering bouts of self-consciousness, lethargy and frustration, Manning's weight gain affected his entire family.

"What hasn't changed," his wife, Lynn, asked on "GMA." "He's tired. He's sore. He complains all the time. It's hard for him to help out and do the everyday things that were so easy for him."

Her husband concurred. "I feel like I want to cover up, even in front of her," he said of his hesitancy now to show the body on which he built a career.

"It's affected me as a dad, not being able to play with my 2-year-old girl," he said. "Emotionally, I can only imagine what other people go through not being able to do those things."

Armed now with the empathy for his overweight clients that prompted his weight-gain experiment, Manning is preparing for the second, fitness-focused leg of his journey, a path he is much more confident to face.

"I can't wait," he told "GMA," referring to Saturday, the date he will begin to diet to again reach his fighting, 193 pound size.

For Manning, this reverse transformation, which he plans to achieve through a diet and exercise regime all documented on his website, is what his Fit2Fat2Fit mission has been about.

"The whole purpose of this side of the journey is to invite as many people as possible to join me," he said. "People can follow my exact meal plan and my workouts on my website for free and have full access."

Calling his weight gain "worth the risk," Manning believes he has accomplished the goals he set back in May at the start of his Fit2Fat2Fit program.

"It was worth it to me," he said. "The fact that tens of thousands are following me and are inspired by this; to me, it's worth all the craziness."

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