By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
It is always a privilege to have my friend, Drew Manning, visit Jake’s Take.
The New York Times Best Selling Author and Fit2Fat2Fit founder has continued his mission to enlighten millions of people around the world about health and fitness!
In this edition of Catching Up, Drew talked about his latest journey: Gluten Free Fat2Fit and if he would ever consider entering into a Bodybuilding competition or tackle the CrossFit Games!
Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as a trainer and an athlete since we last talked?
Drew Manning: I think I have grown as an athlete because I dedicated myself more to CrossFit, and I allowed myself to get better at certain movements that I was not very good at. This year, one of my goals was to be able to do double unders. It took me a year-and-a-half to get double unders down. I do not feel like a pro but my maximum double unders is 64-in-a-row. Getting all those double unders in a row was a huge accomplishment, because it was very frustrating as an athlete that I was unable to do them. (Laughs) As a trainer, I felt that I gained a lot of empathy from Fit2Fat2Fit. Since I did my first journey, my understanding of the mental and emotional side of weight-loss continued to grow. It also helped me connect with people all over the world that come from different backgrounds and to understand their struggles. While I have accomplished a lot in the past three years, I still feel like I am at the very beginning stages of my career.
JE: Your latest journey focuses on the popular lifestyle trend: Gluten-free. Why did you decide to tackle the Gluten-free world?
DM: I felt like it was time for me to focus on Gluten-free for two reasons. One, I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live and he did a spoof on the Gluten-free diet. He traveled across Los Angeles and interviewed random people and asked if they were gluten-free. If they told them “Yes,” he asked them to describe Gluten and none of them knew what it was. They told them a variety of answers that ranged from they saw a celebrity doing it to knowing that it was bad for you.
Before I saw that segment, I was already thinking about my next journey for a while. I also attended a Gluten-free Expo, where I was the keynote speaker for that event. I have been attending the Expo for two years and I have never seen that many people nosh on a ton of free, unhealthy food (cakes, cookies and donuts) in my life. I was shocked to see so many people running around and gobbling up the food.
I really felt that people needed to see the unhealthy side of the Gluten-free diet, because nobody is talking about it! Everyone is talking about how it is good for you and the weight loss ability. They are not talking about how these products are way overpriced, the unsatisfying taste factor and they are worse than their non-Gluten-free counterparts.
JE: What are some of the challenges that you faced on this journey? How did you overcome them?
DM: Because I was tackling Gluten-free, I was targeting a certain demographic and I had to make sure that I talked more as an educator than a critic. Some of my findings about Gluten-free were negative, but I had to show the positive light with this fad. However, at the end of the day, my niche is to try to create controversy by showing people what not to do and tell them the right approach. It was similar to what I did with fit2fat2fit, but with a different purpose in mind. Trying to spin Gluten-free in a positive light was the greatest challenge I faced during this journey.
JE: What were some of the lessons that you learned on this journey?
DM: I learned three lessons on this journey! One, Gluten-free processed food does not taste very good! (Laughs) When I did fit2fat2fit, the food tasted extraordinary…. this time around, I was not as tempted to sneak food…I was not too impressed with the options. Number two; some of these products are 5xs more expensive than their counterparts. I could not believe how expensive Gluten-free pretzels are compared to regular pretzels. Finally, there is a time and place for everyone to have a cheat meal. I think that people are dealing with Celiac disease have to be 100-percent Gluten-free because they need to have a treat once-in-a-while. I know that there is a need for these products, but the Gluten-free fad is blowing up like crazy!
JE: Have you ever considered the possibility of entering a bodybuilding competition like the WBFF or IBFF? Why or why not?
DM: (Smiles) I have been invited to compete in a bodybuilding competition. I would probably do it once, just to say: “I did it.” But, it is not my thing for a couple of reasons. One, believe it or not, but I am very self-conscious about my body. I do see a lot of imperfections, but I have people tell me: “What are you talking about? You are ripped and in shape!” Almost all bodybuilding contests are about perfection! I do not feel comfortable displaying my body in that way, but I do respect the people who compete and are dedicated to the hard work that is needed to compete.
However, in the back of mind…I think this could be a challenge for me! So do not count me out just yet! Maybe, one of these days I will challenge myself to see if I could get reach four-percent body fat. I have never been at four-percent body fat for a certain period of time in my life, so we will see!
JE: Speaking of challenges, you have implemented CrossFit into your workouts. Have you thought about training for and competing in the CrossFit Games?
DM: I have thought about competing in the CrossFit Games and the training is pretty hard. Even at my fitness level, I am not in the Top 1000 in my region. When I first tried the open, I was barely getting started with CrossFit. I have not dedicated my life to CrossFit like Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa and Matthew Fraser have. I am your average “go do a WOD once a day” guy; these guys are at the gym two-to-three times a day. They live and breathe CrossFit and if I wanted to compete, I would have to sacrifice a lot of things. My main focus is my brand and I will not sacrifice it! But, I am always amazed with their fitness feats.
JE: We are five days into 2015, countless people want to get into shape, but never manage to achieve that resolution. What advice can you share on how to keep that resolution?
DM: Man, that is something that I preach not just at this time of year…but all year round! First and foremost, it has to be a lifestyle change! If they are looking for the next fad diet or looking for ways to lose weight with the least amount of effort, they are going to get burnt out! My whole mentality is to embrace a lifestyle change, which means they do not need “a January” or “a new Monday” to get started! Let’s just say that they had a couple of bad years-in-a-row and they just finished scarfing down a piece of cheesecake. They should not just wait until their next meal; they should get started working off that piece of cheesecake. That mentality could be extreme to some people, but people that maintain their weight loss and got in shape, they embraced a lifestyle change! They have a different mindset than the average goal setter that tries (and fails) to set that goal every January. In order to keep that mindset, they should find a great support system and stick with them. They will hold you accountable to your goals and give you a kick in the butt when you need it, but some love, support and encouragement when you need it! My goal is not to get people skinny, but to get people healthy! If you can find a good support system that understands your mission, and you understand that it is about health not weight loss, you will easily embrace this lifestyle change!
To learn more about the Gluten Free Fat2Fit journey, visit Drew’s website: http://www.fit2fat2fit.com/