Fit to Fat to Fit: Drew Manning's New TV Series on A&E

Fit to Fat to Fit: Drew Manning's New TV Series on A&E


Sometimes, when you climb the mountain, you end up rolling back down again. Many dieters have had this happen after an injury or a busy work period… or simply from loss of long-term dedication. Success takes a long time to achieve (we can only lose so much weight at once), …
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My 14 year old son & I are both 50 lbs overweight. He is a gamer & U Tube fan. How can I get him motivated to join me in exercise? I bought him a mountain bike 2 years ago which he only has rode twice. He isn't interested in sports, martial arts or even traveling to Colorado this summer because he doesn't want to go white water rafting. Please help me help him not miss out on life!


Hi Melanie, thanks for posting and asking. Honestly, I think you're best off finding a better place to ask this question, since I'm not a father, nor are any of the other guys running this site (well, CJ has a very young daughter).

I'll say this though: at this age, your son needs a father or serious male role model, not a mother. 14 year old sons don't want to do ANYTHING with mom, let alone awkward exercise stuff. Don't feel bad - we love you - this is just how it is and he'll come back around in 5-8 years :) (we almost always do!)

I'm a self-proclaimed geek, but my dad always had me in competitive sports. I played some video games in high school, but got out when I saw them ruining everyone's lives in college. So I'm maybe on some wavelength with your son, but not a fully-fledged gamer.

So, from my perspective, it'd be best to get him into a more *cerebral* sport. You can't expect him to do "alpha jock" things like football, basketball, or even baseball. I wrestled and loved the sport, but those people are just not my people. Realizing this, I gravitated towards *swimming* - the true thinking man's sport. Others like me enjoy tennis, track, or cross country. That's where there are guys who are MOST like your son will be. As I "manned out" over time and wanted to get more physical, I moved from swimming to water polo.

The issue is, I was always into sports. My father drove hard work and competition into me from day 1. He mentored me well, but I just had to find out where "my people" were (for me, they're in the water).

Were it my son, I would like to think that video games wouldn't be on until homework was done and something physical was accomplished. It might be too late for that, but it's never too late to bring some balance in. You think those kids on the track team don't play video games too? You can do both.

So that's my perspective. But my real advise is to find some like-minded parents with like-minded children, and talk about what works. Mom bringing up "exercise" to a fat kid is asking for trouble. I don't know how to best negotiate that mine-field. That's what fathers and male role models are for.

PS: Hunting, going shooting, and paintball could also be great ideas. Will make them realize that their games are a bunch of crap when it comes to actual real life safety and defnese, and if you want to be useful... you need to be in serious shape.


One last thing: I just realized that you too claim to be 50lbs overweight. Start looking at the food in the house there, and making changes. Am willing to bet you have Mountain Dew or lots of sports drinks in there? Dump that crap down the drain. If it's not in the house, it can't be eaten.

My basic philosophies on diet:

1. Calories are still king. If you want to lose WEIGHT, it's still about calories in vs. calories out.

1a. Yet, you can't manage what you can't measure. So start measuring. In order to track calories, I highly recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal and get a food scale (they're like $12 on Amazon) and use them like a hawk. My brother and I have a daily contest tracking calories. It works when you do it, and you also start noticing bad trends that can be stopped in their tracks. Research shows that you're more likely to stick with the plan when tracking too (and one such study was from 1970s, long before apps or even PCs!)

2. Macronutrient goals. When it comes to body composition, PROTEIN intake needs to be high to keep muscle tone, which is healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Like, 1g per pound of desired bodyweight every day (yep, it's a lot, which is why we like a protein shake to help a bit).

2a. Low-carb vs. Low-Fat is a personal thing, but I personally do believe in choosing one or the other, especially if not monitoring calories like mad. Balanced diets are rough because then all food becomes "legal" and you can easily lose sight of yourself. Personally, I do better low-carbing it. Time and time again I try to raise carbs and I put on body fat. But I know others who are the opposite.

3. 4-5 servings of combined fruits/vegetables per day, where a serving is 75g or so (really not that hard since 75g isn't much). This will help avoid mortality from cardiovascular disease (but not cancer, interestingly): (for the past year I've had a blog post that's 90% done analyzing this study that I really need to publish).

4. There is an "unwritten" battle amongst food QUALITY and food QUANTITY. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, but I'm 80/20 in favor of the importance of quantity over quality. For instance, if you eat 5000 calories worth of organic/gluten-free/vegan/'quality' food, you will still gain weight, look terrible, and be unhealthy. Meanwhile, I can lose weight and stay relatively fit eating nothing but sour gummy worms and cheap beef (I'm dead serious too). Yet in the latter case, my insides may be rotting. The truth's in the middle, but successful study after study after study has more to do with quantity, yet there's not much legit research on the benefits of organic over non-organic. Keep that in mind.

5. Cooking and NOT eating out is key, but cooking one meal at a time is a recipe for failure and wasted time. For this reason, BULK cooking is key, and storing it in quality SnapWare is where it's at. Every Sunday we do 4+ chicken breasts at a time in the oven. Crock pot some lean pork (or chicken). Lean turkey meat sauce. Then you just gotta add veggies, which can also be bulk cooked. So now during the week, all I gotta do is microwave the chicken, throw it on some salad, and I'm good to go and get back to work. Energy galore with very little time or money spent.

6. Fish!!! We don't eat enough fish in this society. Shoot for 2 servings per week! Look at the healthiest cultures. Doesn't matter if they're high fat, low fat, etc.. they're fatty fish eaters. We are not. This also goes into your protein intake, so it's a win-win.

Everyone overcomplicates things, but these are the simple "big picture" things that I think are mandatory to start with.


Wonderful Advice. Thanks