How to Get Into Ketosis Fast
The low-carb, high-fat keto diet has been shown to improve body composition and increase endurance performance. But getting into ketosis is difficu...
Drew Manning is the NY Times Best Selling Author of the book Fit2Fat2Fit and creator of the hit TV show Fit To Fat To Fit. He created the fit2fat2fit idea back in 2011 where he intentionally gained 75 lbs to gain a better understanding of what his clients go through and was truly humbled through that journey. That experience taught him many valuable lessons that he now shares through his social media platforms , speaking engagements and podcast. He has been featured on many TV shows such as The Tonight Show, Dr. Oz, GMA, The View and many more!
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Dr. Latt Mansor:Hi. This is Dr. Latt Mansour, Research Lead of Health Via Modern Nutrition here on H.V.M.N. Podcast. In this episode we have Drew Manning, the New York Times best selling author of the book Fit to Fat to Fit as well as the creator of the TV show, Fit to Fat to Fit. In this episode, we talked about his transformation where he gained 75 pounds and lost it all in six months. We talked about his exercise regime, his diet and nutrition plans, his emotional and mental state during this transformation, and he also shared his personal struggles during this journey and how he overcame them in order to reach his goals. We focused a lot about self-love because a lot of people underestimate the importance of self-love and emotional and mental state during such transformation. So if you are struggling with body image and identity, weight loss or even self-love, this episode is for you, so tune in and enjoy this episode. Thank you. Hi Drew, how are you?
Drew Manning:Dr. Latt, I'm doing good. How are you?
Dr. Latt Mansor:I'm very good.
Drew Manning:What's going on?
Dr. Latt Mansor:Thank you. No, thank you for coming on to H.V.M.N. Podcast. I know you have been on H.V.M.N. Podcast before. You were interviewed by Jeff when you went through all the transformation, and I know since then you have gone through another transformation, and I know there is no two transformation that is alike even if it's by the same person. So I'm really excited today to really let you share your story with our audience and our listeners.
Drew Manning:Yeah. I'm excited to share the updated version, the 2.0 version of the transformation because there's a lot of new lessons that I learned, so I appreciate you having me on and looking forward to this, so thank you.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. It's really amazing how even though you've done it once and you do the exact same thing, but the things that you've learned, it's an augmentation of your first journey, isn't it?
Drew Manning:It's so true because the different experiences shape you in different ways and it places you in a different place in your life. Everyone changes, I think for the most part, fast forward almost 10 years from the last time I did it. So a lot of different life situations. The first time I was married, the second time I was divorced, but in a relationship. My girls were older, they were little kids in the first one. They were almost teenagers in the second one.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. Different priorities in life, different focuses in life, different goals, ambitions. I think all those really play into how you structure your transformation, and how you adapt to your changes as well as how you can share those insights with your clients and with our listeners, so I'm super excited. So let's dive straight into this, and let's talk a bit about your background, where you come from, what areas were you in before that drove you into this whole journey, and sharing this wonderful knowledge and journey with the rest of the world?
Drew Manning:Yeah. I'll help you connect the dots of where I've come from which tells you why I did what I did. So basically I grew up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters, all from the same mom and dad. No twins, no adoptions, just my parents were one of those people that liked to have a lot of kids, so there's 11 of us. We all played sports. I played American football and wrestling from a very young age, so I was always very active. That was just part of our family. I did what my older brothers did, and I excelled at sports, and byproduct of that was me being in shape pretty much my entire life. I never knew any different. It always came easily for me because all I did was stay active, stay fit. And then that gave me this perception of what health and fitness was which, for me, was something that came easy like, "Oh, you just eat healthy food and you exercise really hard, and you see these results." And so that carried over into 2009 when I became certified as a personal trainer. Up until that point, I was actually in the medical field doing something called neuromonitoring, and so I was in the OR a lot working with people getting neck surgery and back surgery, and I was doing part-time personal training on the side. And so that's where this Fit to Fat to Fit idea stemmed from, was here I was someone who had never been overweight a day in my life, I became certified as a personal trainer because I liked health and fitness and I wanted to help people. And then I tried to help people transform who had been overweight pretty much every day of their life, and there was an obvious disconnect between me and my mentality, and my perception of transformation, thinking it was easy and them thinking it was so hard, and I couldn't understand why it was hard for them. I couldn't understand why they struggled with their nutrition, with their exercise, and so I went on this journey to discover why it was so hard for my clients, but it was easy for me. And then that's what led me down this path of doing Fit to Fat to Fit. At one point though, and this is back in 2011 or so, and so that's the genesis of my brand and my story of Fit to Fat to Fit was stemmed from that disconnect between me as a trainer and my clients. And one of my clients at the time told me, he's like, "Drew, you don't understand how hard it is for me or for people like me because for you it's always been easy. It's been easy your whole life," and I took that to heart. I'm like, "Man, you're right. I don't understand why it's so hard. It just seems so simple. Why doesn't everybody just do it?"
Dr. Latt Mansor:So that's how it became Fit to Fat to Fit.
Dr. Latt Mansor:So that's very interesting because I come from a very different background. I grew up overweight, and my family have very high prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and we have very unhealthy eating habits. So we'll eat a lot of carbs, and growing up in Malaysia, rice noodles, a lot of carbs are part of the staple. And always growing up, I thought I would just be like my relatives. I would be like my aunts, my uncles. I'll be overweight, I was already overweight. I'm just going to be an overweight adult when I grow. Not until I learned more about physiology, metabolism and chronic diseases where I know that there are things that I can do to change my life around. And I like a quote that you said in your first episode with H.V.M.N. Podcast, when you said people eventually identify themselves with their self image. Over time, they just can't see themselves being anything else or anyone else apart from what they see in the mirror. And I think that is absolutely true because I went through it myself. I thought that was my fate from now till I die, and then I realized that is absolutely untrue. And yes, the journey wasn't easy, but it was doable. So for you, what was the biggest challenge for you and for your clients to start with? I think that's the best way to start this because the first step will always be the hardest step. It's like writing an essay on empty page, that is the hardest step. So what is the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Drew Manning:Yeah. So for me it stemmed from my first journey of doing Fit to Fat to Fit in 2011 when I first started to gain the weight. I built this identity around my body image like you mentioned, like so many of us do. At some point, we buy into this myth that we are our bodies, and our bodies define us. Our bodies are our identity in society because society labels us as, "Oh, your body looks like this, you're this type of person," so if you're overweight, society labels as you as an overweight person or if you're fit society labels you as a fit person. You buy into that mentality because you don't know any different, so when I did Fit to Fat to Fit the first time, even gaining the first 10 or 20 pounds was so uncomfortable for me, I had an identity crisis. I freaked out. I wanted to go up to strangers and explain to them that I wasn't really overweight. That it was just an experiment because I was so uncomfortable, I didn't really know who I was with this new body, and so I freaked out. But what that taught me was, obviously it was very humbling and this took me a while to learn it, but once I did realize that I am more than my body, that was a wake up call for me to help me realize that people are not their bodies. Their bodies are a part of them, and once you realize that, once you separate your body image from your self image then you get to choose what your identity becomes at that point. So after doing that first experiment in 2011 of Fit to Fat to Fit 1.0, I was able to disconnect from my body image as my self image, and what that did was help me to build a healthier relationship with my body instead of seeing my body as this permanent, defined picture of who I was. I realized that I could change that if I wanted to, and people can change that because our bodies can change in an instant. You could get in a car crash and lose some limbs, your body's not the same, and so if you create an identity around your body, you're setting yourself up for some major emotional pain in the future because at some point your body's going to age, it's going to wrinkle, it's going to deteriorate. It's going to change over the years, and you could be skinny, you could be fat, you could be fit, you could be ripped, you could be lean, you could be all these things if you want to go down that path like you were able to disconnect and create this new body image where you're healthy and fit now, but not letting that become your identity I think is super important because I was Drew the fit guy for so long, and for 30 years that when I did Fit to Fat to Fit, that's when I had that freak out moment. That's when I had that identity crisis, but from that, it helped me develop a healthier self image, not creating my body image as my self image, and disconnecting from my body as my identity, but seeing it as a part of me that's a healthier relationship with yourself so that you can move forward on this health journey that most people are on, not defining themselves by their body. And that's where I help people, and that's what helps people not get upset when they jump on the scale and they don't see the number they want to. It helps them with the emotional side of transformation so much because they define their value or their worth based on if they're skinny, if the weight on the scale is a certain number, and if they're not then they're failure, and they're failing at life, and then they beat themselves up. My goal is to disrupt that and break that perception, and shift that to a healthier mindset to see themselves as more than just their body.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. That is super interesting which is one of the things that I would love to get into in a bit as well in terms of the emotional, the mindset. And you don't have to hate yourself, you don't have to hate your body in order to make a change, in order to be healthier, and this is the body positivity movement. But at the same time, one could also argue body positivity can also lead to indulgence of going into the wrong direction of health, so you want to be able to love your body enough to want to be healthy, to want to treat your body right, give the right food, do the right things, rest well so that you go towards a direction of health, so we're going to that in a bit. So let's talk about the transformation itself. How did you structure the transformation? Would you structure it differently for yourself versus different types of clients? What are the different archetypes that you have found in your experience? What structure fits them best?
Drew Manning:That's a really good question, so when I did this in 2011, my knowledge was limited to what was mainstream at the time. So keto for example, was not really mainstream back in 2011.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Not yet.
Drew Manning:So my mentality was more of the mindset of the mainstream media which was, eat every two or three hours to stoke your metabolism, to keep your metabolism going. That's what everyone believed at the time, and so I was a product of that environment thinking, "Oh, I need to eat every two or three hours." Well, first of all, the way I structured the weight gain part was pretty much, eat a lot of highly processed food that we have here in America, so like sugary cereals, sugary sodas, juices, granola bars, chips, cookies, crackers, all the processed food that is cheap, affordable, convenient.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Calorie dense.
Drew Manning:And I'll be honest with you... Yeah, calorie dense, but tastes freaking so good. It is hyper palatable. It's designed to be as addictive as possible, and it's marketed to us as sometimes health foods like, "Oh, fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D and your whole grains."
Dr. Latt Mansor:And fibers.
Drew Manning:Yeah. Lots of fiber and all natural, organic. And people are like, "Oh, this is healthy for me. It's only a hundred calories," but people tend to over consume that type of food, and it's very easy to over consume and like I said, it's very cheap and affordable and convenient, and so we choose the path of least resistance, so gaining the weight came pretty easy for me that first round. The way I structured the weight loss part was more of, I would say a paleo ish like a whole food approach, but five or six small meals spread throughout the day, and that worked for me at the time. I did lose the weight. I gained 75 pounds in six months from no exercise, so no exercise, I ate probably around five to 7,000 calories per day. I didn't really track back then how much I ate, but I was eating roughly around that much, and it was mostly those processed foods that I mentioned, and I gained 75 pounds of pure fat, one from 8 and a half percent body fat to 32% body fat. I had a doctor monitor me throughout to make sure it wasn't going to die, but I did develop a non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Of course.
Drew Manning:Yes. My cholesterol was obviously off the charts, and my blood pressure was 167 over 113.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Oh, wow.
Drew Manning:My testosterone as a 31 year old dropped to the low two hundreds, so it affected me in a lot of different ways than I was expecting and it was a humbling experience.
Dr. Latt Mansor:For our listeners as well, in terms of the testosterone range, what should a normal range be, since you dropped all the way to 200, I believe it's about 500 to 700, is that correct?
Drew Manning:Yeah. 500 to 700, but you'll have people upwards of 1200 sometimes. I think there's a range of 500 to 1200 is a healthy range for a 30 ish year old male, but low 200s is very, very low. That's a testosterone of an 80 year old.
Dr. Latt Mansor:How antsy were you for not doing any exercise at all from a very fit and active person?
Drew Manning:That was really hard mentally because you have to understand, for me, my whole life exercise or movement was part of my outlet. It was part of my stress reliever, and so not having that stress reliever, that outlet, I had to find a new outlet, and that outlet became food which is what happens to so many people where we turn to food to help us manage stress, and food creates this vicious cycle because temporarily you'll get these dopamine hits. I mean, I'll be totally honest with you, eating cinnamon toast crunch which is so delicious or ice cream or whatever it is, it gives you this little dopamine hit like you get if you had a drug or a sip of alcohol. You feel this temporary sense of relief from the emotional pains of life that you're going through, and then it creates this dopamine dependency of, "Oh, I want that again and again." And then before you know it, it's hard to break that cycle, and this is why so many people get addicted. It's because they turn towards the substance that provides that dopamine hit anytime they're feeling anything uncomfortable or stressful or an emotional pain that they're dealing with, we turn towards some type of substance to distract us or numbs from that emotional pain that we're feeling. Unfortunately, food is the most accessible drug because cocaine and heroin, you have to go out of your way to find that versus cinnamon toast crunch and Twinkies. You can just go to the grocery store anytime you want or DoorDash it or Instacart it to your house.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yes.
Drew Manning:So it creates this dependency cycle, and this is why I'm so empathetic towards people who struggle with food addictions or emotional eating because a lot of people in this industry think like, "Oh, you stop being lazy. Just stop eating that food," and it's like telling a drug addict, "Just stop doing drugs."
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah, just stop doing that.
Drew Manning:It's not that hard. It's not that hard, especially when your emotions are tied to this substance that you've created this dependency on for years and decades, now your brain is hard wired to reach for that thing that brings so much comfort and temporary relief from the pain that you do that for years and decades, it's really hard to break that cycle, and so this is what I learned from doing this experiment, and it was so humbling.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Okay. And what about the weight loss part? How did you structure that? So we touched a bit upon the gaining weight part. The weight loss part, I think a lot of listeners would be super interested to hear, how did you manage to lose all that, overcome all of the challenges, and then how can they then apply it themselves in their lives?
Drew Manning:Yeah. That's a really good question. So the way I structured it was to try to make it as simple as possible for people because people think to go on a weight loss journey, it's got to be this huge endeavor. For me as a dad, having two kids at the time, having a full-time job in the medical field and then doing this on the side, I didn't have a lot of time to work out. So five days a week I would go to the gym for about 40 to 45 minutes per day, three days, Monday, Wednesday, Friday were resistance training. I would do supersets, and what supersets are, are lifting weights, resistance training, but with minimal breaks in between, so you get the benefits of cardio while you're doing resistance training. So you're lifting weights, but your heart rate stays elevated throughout, so you're not taking breaks in between sets. You're just go, go, go, doing the resistance training while your heart rate is elevated, so it gives you more bang for your buck, if you will. So I would do that Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and like I said, 40 minutes per day is not extreme. It's not like I'm living in the gym for hours per day, but three days a week was resistance training, Tuesdays, Thursdays were cardio day, and I would do those in the structure of high intensity intervals. So 20 to 30 minutes of maybe sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds and then repeat that for a total of 20 to 30 minutes. You'll be dripping sweat, you'll be burning a ton of calories during that short amount of time. And then Saturday and Sunday were active recovery days, I played with my kids, I'd go for a walk, I'd go for a hike, yoga stretch. Those are the kinds of things that I did on those days, and that's how I structured my transformation from an exercise perspective. Nutrition, I mentioned five to six small meals per day, high protein at every single meal, moderate amount of fat, moderate amount of carbs, maybe every once in a while I'd have some fruit or something like that. And like I said, it was a paleo ish approach. It wasn't keto, it wasn't fasting, it was just five, six small meals per day. And then I did that for six months and was able to lose the 75 pounds and get back to fit, but with a whole new mindset, a whole new appreciation, way more empathy for those that struggle and a greater respect for people that struggle with weight loss or transformation because it was one of the hardest, most humbling things I've ever done. Luckily, it turned out in my favor where I was able to get back to fit and get healthy again. But with a whole new focus and respect for the mental and emotional side of transformation which I think is overlooked in the fitness industry, in the healthcare industry. People separate that and are like, "Oh, go talk to a therapist, figure that stuff out," but it's also connected. I mean, that's what I talk about nowadays.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And did you use the same structure in terms of the high intensity interval training for cardio, the supersets for weight training and also the nutrition? Did you use the same exact structure for your second transformation recently?
Drew Manning:It was similar, not the exact same. As far as the exercise portion goes, it was similar. I would say it was slightly altered because after 10 years of being in the industry, I definitely learned a few things and I was able to adjust my routine to maximize the... Because the second journey, I only did it for four months of gaining and four months of losing. The first journey was six months and six months, so I shortened that window. So I really had to maximize the amount of results I brought in with the same amount of input, so I didn't want to go to the gym for two hours this time. I wanted to keep it under an hour, five days a week, and I was able to follow that same structure.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Nice.
Drew Manning:Nutritionally though, we'll get into keto and intermittent fasting, and why that works so well for me as a 40 year old because I did it as a 30, 31 year old the first time. A different metabolism, different hormones. We all know it's different as you age, so I wanted to do something to show people for that age demographic of what works well for me now as a 40 year old. So I implemented keto, I implemented intermittent fasting, I implemented cyclical keto which we can talk about, and targeted keto. And then I changed the format during the weight gain and weight loss process to make it more educational, so I tracked a lot more data. I had my WHOOP, I had my CGM. I had my blood work done. I did some experiments with different diets, so I actually did an experiment with dirty keto versus dirty paleo versus dirty vegan and dirty vegetarian, and did my blood work to track the differences between those four popular diets, and that data was extremely interesting-
Dr. Latt Mansor:Amazing.
Drew Manning:... to show the differences.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Let's get into it.
Drew Manning:We are going to talk about that.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Let's get straight into it. I mean, since we are talking about structure, we're talking about metabolism and nutrition. Let's share what you found in terms of different types of keto diet, and I know a lot of our listeners always ask, "Should I do cyclical ketosis? Should I go keto all the time? Can I still get the benefit if I stop being keto for one day versus one week versus one month?" So please do share what's your insights that you've learned during your journey?
Drew Manning:So my philosophy when it comes to the keto journey day and doing it effectively, there has to be some type of adaptation phase. So whether it's the first 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. I would say the longer the better because it allows your body more time to get adapted. Our bodies are great at adapting to new environments. Humans are the ultimate adaptation machines, and if you can teach your body to become adapted to a new fuel source, I mean, it's not really new, but it's new for a lot of people that have never been in ketosis that have lived their whole life off of carbohydrates and glucose. It is new for them, but our bodies from a historical perspective were designed to run off of two different types of fuels, glucose and then ketones. And so to, if you have never been into a ketogenic state, it's going to take some time to adapt to that new ketogenic state using fat as energy instead of carbohydrates as energy. And so 30 days I think is the minimum amount of time you should allow your body to adapt, where your body is really good at using ketones as a fuel source. Then from there you can mess around with cyclical keto or targeted keto. The way I did it was I did the first 30 days as traditional keto, like a 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbohydrates which is pretty general. It works for the majority of people. Obviously, there's some outliers there, and it is very individual. You can adjust those macros according to you and your lifestyle and your goals, and what's working, what's not working, but generally, that's what I followed for the first 30 days. And then from there I moved into more of a cyclical ketogenic diet which is five days on, two days off or six days on, one day off. So on those days I would stick with a strict ketogenic diet like 70,25, 5 like I was. But then on those high carb days, I would lower my fat so protein would stay the same, and I would teeter-totter it. So my fat was up here, protein stayed the same, carbs were down here for the ketogenic days. And then when I went carbs cycling, so I up my carbs I would lower my fat. I'd keep protein the same, and then I increased my carbohydrate intake on those off days, and that's the way I do my cyclical keto. And that's great for maintenance, that's great for people that don't want to be strict keto all the time. It can also work for people looking to gain some lean muscle mass by adding in the glucose to increase glycogen stores when you're lifting heavy weights. And I think it's a great tool for people that want to build some lean muscle mass on the ketogenic diet, and then also for more of a maintenance long-term approach if you don't want to be strict keto all the time, so that worked really well. Targeted keto is where you are strategically adding in carbohydrates to fuel your performance, so if you're an athlete, if you're someone that wants to get more out of your workouts once your keto adapted, it's a very, I would say, powerful and effective tool to use to boost performance because what it's going to do is you're going to take maybe 20 grams or 30 grams of glucose, 30 minutes before a workout. Your body's already glucose adapted. Most people's bodies handle glucose really well, and so if you've been keto adapted for 30, 60, 90 days and you add in glucose, it's going to feel like jet fuel. So adding those 30 grams of carbohydrates, you're going to get this boost of energy to fuel yourself for a period of time, but once you burn through that glucose which will happen pretty quickly, now your body's ability to transfer over to ketones as a fuel source, you won't have the crash. You're not going to have this crash. You'll be able to effectively turn over very efficiently to using ketones as a fuel source to fuel yourself for the rest of the workout, but it just gives you this extra boost for people that are looking for better performance in the gym or looking to get more out of their workouts. So that's an effective tool that I use as well, and teach people how to do that. So adding in about 20, 30 grams for men pre-workout and then around 20, 30 grams post-workout, and that could be in the form of whatever you want it to be. I try to stick with whole foods, so probably fruit is my main source of carbohydrates, but people can use oats and grains and simple sugars if they want to. People use maltodextrin and other simple sugars like that, that get into the bloodstream even quicker, but to each their own. I don't really care so much about that part. I think they all work really great, but that's the difference between traditional keto, cyclical and targeted keto that I implemented on the journey back to fit.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's a great explanation. That's why I think it's such a great opportunity to talk to people like yourself with all this application sort of experience because me coming in as a scientist, I know a lot on the theoretical side of things. I know about the studies, for example, what you said about having glucose after workout. It does help with recovery because you are then spiking insulin, and insulin is then giving signals to really pull these substrates in and really replenish the storage system, either glycogen or the other systems that you need for recovery, either repair for muscles on protein synthesis. So I think this is what people are lacking in terms of information between theoretical and then application side of things. And we know for a fact that in studies as well, when you have ketones, proteins and glucose present taken after workout and before bed, they saw an improvement after three weeks in terms of recovery, in terms of work output as well, so there you go. There's some more tips in terms of how to maximize your recovery period.
Drew Manning:Oh sorry, go ahead.
Dr. Latt Mansor:No, go ahead.
Drew Manning:I was going to say that, not to do a plug for H.V.M.N., but seriously adding in H.V.M.N. pre-workout and post-workout, I have noticed a huge difference in recovery. I don't have any metrics or data to show that, but I know you guys have really talked to me about that, about using it post-workout which I really didn't think about before, but it does make-
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's our podcast.
Drew Manning:... a huge difference. Yes, exactly. I talked to you about it, Mike as well and Chris Irvin I think was also on my podcast, and I didn't really think about it for recovery, but a great tool for recovery as well because I didn't really think about it from that perspective, but it's true. It works great.
Dr. Latt Mansor:And for you listeners, what Drew just mentioned is the Ketone-IQ which is an exogenous ketone that H.V.M.N. sells. It essentially puts you in ketosis within minutes because you are directly drinking our three booting dial which then gets converted into blood BHB which is the main ketone body that is used for metabolism and energy. So we've covered a lot on the physical side, the transformation, the structure. Now, let's get deeper into the emotional side of things, the mindsets. You mentioned a little bit about the relationship with food, the addiction and the dopamine, and it's a bit of emotional, it's a bit of biochemistry in the brain as well. Dopamine and all this reward system that has been set up for decades before you switch to a healthier lifestyle. Let's start with, how did you overcome it? What advice would you give our listeners if they're struggling with that in terms of, on their journey of losing weight?
Drew Manning:Yeah. Let me dive into that because this is a component that is really overlooked in the fitness industry. I mentioned earlier how people separate their physical health from their mental, emotional and spiritual health. In my opinion, it's all tied together. There's the parallels between each of those, and if I could help people bridge those gaps to understand the connection between how your mental and emotional state affects your ability to do the physical things like diet and exercise like we all know we're supposed to do. And this is why having done Fit to Fat to Fit twice now, I've learned so much about how our ability to do the physical stuff is first and foremost determined by our mental and emotional state. And so let me paint this picture to answer your questions so that people, first of all, that are listening to this feel understood and feel heard because I think there's a quote that I love that says, "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." And so I want people to know, people like you, people like me, people in this industry really do care about people. We really do care that humans that are on the other end of this podcast listening, and they have real issues and real challenges in life that affect their ability to show up for themselves from a physical perspective. So having done Fit to Fat to Fit twice now I can testify to you how important doing the mental and emotional work is helpful for people to be able to show up and do the physical work because having the second journey of Fit to Fat to Fit which I won't dive into a whole lot just yet. But there was a part of that which hopefully you don't mind me sharing, I went through a breakup with my girlfriend in the middle of Fit to Fat to Fit 2.0, this is in 2020.
Dr. Latt Mansor:I'm [inaudible].
Drew Manning:Yeah, it sucked. It was really, really hard, but it really taught me a very powerful lesson because at first I was eating the food to gain the weight. It tasted good, it made me feel good, but I wasn't really struggling emotionally at the time. After a really hard breakup, in the middle of this journey, it really affected me emotionally. I was very sad and depressed, and lonely and feeling overwhelmed with these emotions, and then food became my medicine where the pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream made me feel so much happier temporarily, for like 30 minutes I felt great. It made me feel really good. The dopamine hit really makes you feel good, and it created this vicious cycle of, man, anytime I felt sad, lonely or depressed, I would reach for Ben & Jerry's Netflix & Chilll'd dairy free ice cream which is my favorite or a glass of wine, and it was interesting how those comfort foods really comforted me in that time of despair. And this light bulb went off like, "Oh my gosh, this is why people emotionally eat," because when they get through hard times, if they've had hard childhoods, if they've had hard upbringings and trauma or abuse that they've had to deal with, we as humans, we don't like to sit still in emotional pain. And so what do we do? We look for escapes, and the easiest escape is food. I mean, there's drugs, there's alcohol, there's sex and porn, and TV shows and movies and social media, and books. There's a million ways to escape, and not all of those are unhealthy or healthy. Some of them are healthier for sure, but we all look for ways to escape, and so food unfortunately is most people's escape. And then people develop this unhealthy relationship with food where the food becomes the medicine and it creates this vicious cycle of dependency and addiction. And then they try and go on this weight loss journey, and they try and willpower their way out of that addiction, and it's the same thing as a drug addict trying to willpower their way out of a drug addiction. Sure, some people miraculously can make it out of that, but let's be honest, most people are going to be stuck in that after three or four weeks of trying and failing, and going through the hardships. And this is why I preach so much about the mental and emotional side of transformation because if it was just physical, we would have it figured out, this obesity epidemic would be solved because people would just eat the right amount of calories and exercise every single day, and get enough sleep and manage their stress, and we'd all be healthy and fit, but they're not, and why is that? Because we're emotional creatures. We're not robots. We have strong emotions, and people eat their emotions, and this is why I have so much empathy and understanding on the mental and emotional side for people that struggle. And this is why I'm trying to change this in the fitness industry so that people can understand if they did the inner work, if they went to therapy, if they meditated, if they journaled, they did the gratitude list and positive affirmations, and they got outside in nature and they learned how to love themself as they are. Not saying you stay stuck there, but loving yourself means wanting to progress, wanting to move forward, want wanting to better yourself. It doesn't mean you hate yourself to skinny, it means you can love yourself to a better version of you, but operating at a place of self-love and learning to be grateful and happy and fulfilled now as imperfect as you are. And if I could help people start off from that base, then moving forward and doing the working out stuff and the dieting stuff, and all the things we know we're supposed to do, it becomes so much easier and more manageable versus this vicious cycle of trying to willpower the way out of this addiction and then failing at it, and then considering themselves a failure because of that. And then from there they self sabotage by eating more food, and numbing the pain even more with substances that aren't healthy for them, and then this happens year after year, decade after decade. This is why I'm trying to help people realize that connection between the mental emotional state, and how that affects your ability to do the physical stuff. And that's why my brand Fit to Fat to Fit is all about empathy first, and helping people feel more understood so that they then can do the stuff that we know we're supposed to do, but from a place of self-love so that stuff becomes more manageable and easier to do versus trying to hate yourself to skinny. Does that make sense?
Dr. Latt Mansor:Absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you so much for sharing your personal story. I bet that wasn't easy going through that journey, and second of all, I always tell my listeners or my audience whenever I give presentation at conferences is that, before I am Dr. Latt Mansour or the scientist or the Research Lead of H.V.M.N. I'm a human first, and I have gone through this myself, being overweight and then losing the weight, and going through the journey myself, although it's not as drastic as you. I had lost about 45 pounds in four months at that point.
Dr. Latt Mansor:It was when I was 22 in undergrad, and then I gained-
Dr. Latt Mansor:... a lot of weight, and then lost about 20 pounds in the past year or so. So I think all of us, every now and then or throughout life, we go through this health journey of our own whether or not to eat healthier, to work out more, to sleep better, to manage stress better or just manage our life to be in order, and all of us do struggle at some point. And I think empathy, as you said, is the key to all of this because when you realize there's somebody apart from yourself that actually cares, that's when you tell yourself, actually you know what? What I'm doing right now, actually matters instead of hating myself to skinny. You don't need to hate your body in order to make that transformation. So in terms of current protocols and current diet that you're currently using for yourself and for your clients, tell us more about those.
Drew Manning:So I've changed the way I do my diet. I think for me, when I discovered keto back in 2015 or so, I was all in. This was the most amazing thing I ever experienced because there was this... Do you remember that movie with Bradley Cooper, Limitless?
Dr. Latt Mansor:Limitless.
Drew Manning:I think he takes this clear pill, and it's a super smart drug, right?
Dr. Latt Mansor:Right.
Drew Manning:I felt like keto was that for me. I felt this extreme amount of mental clarity that I never experienced before. I felt like I could do so much more throughout my day having to only eat one or two meals, so I didn't feel hungry or hangry throughout the day. I was able to go longer periods between meals, I was able to get more work done, my brain was sharper. The increase in cognitive function and mental clarity was through the roof. It was night and day compared to before, and I loved that feeling and I was still able to perform in the gym, and do hard workout and maintain this physique that I had. Obviously, since then I've changed the ways I do it because for me, I just feel better now that I'm a 41 year old with a lower fat approach, higher protein, and then I'll add in carbs. I'll eat fruit, I'll eat rice every now and then. I don't need to be as strict as possible, and actually after our podcast, when you came on my podcast, I saw the benefits of having the mental clarity without having to be strict keto because being strict keto for me is great for my mental clarity, but for my performance, I felt like I was looking for something different. So adding in, not a huge amount of carbs, I still keep it probably around a hundred grams of carbs per day, and mostly from whole foods. I felt like I could do more in the gym. I can push harder in the gym and get more out of my workouts with some carbohydrates [inaudible].
Dr. Latt Mansor:And the timing of carbohydrate intake as well also matters.
Drew Manning:And so I do a target ketogenic approach where I'll eat the carbs, pre-workout, carbs post-workout, but then I'll do a shot of the Ketone esters from H.V.M.N. Which does have a glucose lowering effect, so I'll take it with my carbohydrates, and then I'll eat two meals, lunch and dinner which are mostly protein and veggies, and that's just what I stick with. And then sometimes at night, I'll have a little bit of fruit like some watermelon or some berries or something like that in small amounts. And I've noticed that that helps my sleep because I track my sleep data on my WHOOP App, and I'm always about tweaking and finding things, and upgrading to find what fits better with my lifestyle, and so that's where I'm at now. I don't feel the need to be in strict ketosis all the time. I think there's something to being able to have something like a ketone ester to boost that mental clarity that I love from keto, but not having to be strict keto all the time because I have two daughters, and I don't want to restrict them from how to eat carbohydrates, and it's a battle. I don't know if you have kids Dr. Latt, but pre-teen ages are really hard. They're really hard to get them to be like, "Hey, you have to eat this food," because I come from a very strict religious background, and I have since left that. So I'm very cognizant and aware of, "okay, is this becoming a religion where I'm having to only eat foods that are keto friendly and if they're not keto friendly then they're bad or a sin?" And I'm like, "Okay, I don't like that approach. It doesn't feel good to me in doing that where food is then labeled as good or bad, good or evil." I just don't like that approach, and so I'm trying to be an example for my daughters and incorporate lots of different types of foods, mostly whole foods, but let's be honest, kids are going to eat their Takis. They're going to eat their fruit snacks, and I'm not going to be like, "Hey, you can't eat that. That's bad, that's evil." It's just more so like, "Hey, here's the consequences of eating these foods. Feel free to eat them if you want to, but there's going to be some consequences," and kids at this age, they just don't care. [inaudible].
Dr. Latt Mansor:And they metabolize them just fine. They metabolize them very, very efficiently, and that's why I always tell people the demonization of a certain substrate used to be fats and cardiovascular disease, and then now it's glucose and diabetes. And even though we are a company that are appulse the idea of having ketones in your body, some better than none, and we do sell exogenous ketones. I always tell people, it's not an all be all solution. Like you said, there are certain types of activities that you may benefit from having glucose in the system, and there are endurance athletes that actually benefit from the dual hybrid fuel system where you have access to both ketones and glucose at the same time, and that is what puts you ahead of your other competitors where you can last longer, you can go faster, go further because you have access to both substrates. So it's not one substrate is all bad and the other is all good. It's about having some form of ketones to have that mental clarity, and it does provide very efficient fuel for your brain, but also limiting your glucose, especially if you are not active that day, limiting your glucose intake and not constantly spike your insulin and making sure your insulin is not at a chronic elevated level. That to me is more important than picking one substrate and then cutting it all out.
Drew Manning:I like looking at carbohydrates as earning your carbohydrates, and what I mean by that is, you know that glucose is a very efficient fuel source, but if you're sitting all day, you don't really need the extra carbohydrates.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Exactly.
Drew Manning:You really don't need... So if you're working out, you're active and you're fit, that's a great way to look at carbohydrates. So fueling you for that activity, but you mentioned the dual fuel approach, and I actually used that during my hundred mile run that I did in 2020 before Fit to Fat to Fit 2.0, and it worked great. I trained, I practiced in a ketogenic state, I also fasted. I would do my long runs fasted, but then on the race day I would take a sip of the ketone esters with some carbohydrates, and having those dual fuels kept me going for the 24 hours to complete my a hundred mile race. And actually I learned that strategy from Zach Bitter who at the time held the world record for the fastest 100-Mile run, I think, on a treadmill I believe. But anyways, I learned that technique from him, and it saved me because the year before I tried it and I failed, but I didn't have that dual fuel approach.
Dr. Latt Mansor:All right. That's great. So I've got a question that's more of a personal interest, what I would love-
Dr. Latt Mansor:... to learn, asking you as a personal trainer as well. So around June last year, I plateaued in terms of my weight and my workout and physique, so I decided to hire a person trainer, and he was great and he gave me a really structured program, and I basically increased my training load and decreased my resting time between sets and it worked great. I lost weight. I've built a lot of muscle, and then now I have again reached another plateau, but I've already been working out about one hour and a half in the gym, five days a week. So do I just add on or what do you suggest changing in order to break that plateau and improve further?
Drew Manning:Yeah. That's a great question. For me, I think, like I mentioned before, humans are the ultimate adaptation machine, and so your body's gotten really well at adapting to whatever output you're doing with your body right now, and so now it's maybe restructuring the type of exercises you're doing. You could increase the volume, you could increase the intensity, you could increase the time of tension or the time under tension with the muscle groups that you're doing, so a slower concentric movement and a faster eccentric movement with your lifts. So maybe-
Dr. Latt Mansor:And it doesn't need to be heavier.
Drew Manning:... it doesn't need to be heavier. So let's say you're doing pull ups, you do a one count on the way up, so you go up really fast, and then do a four count on the way down, and that right there will increase the time under tension, but same thing with squats and bench press, and just even pushups or body weight. People can do this with body weight exercises as well, and it just makes it that much harder. And one thing that I've been doing-
Dr. Latt Mansor:And it sounds painful just hearing it.
Drew Manning:... it is. But one thing I've been doing recently with some of my followers is doing these 30 day challenges, and the one we did last month which was really great for just shocking the system is doing 10,000 reps in 30 days, and so what that equals is 333 reps per day of a certain movement. So let's say you're looking to improve your lower body, you could do 333 reps of squats or lunges or burpees. If you're looking to improve your upper body, you could do 333 reps of pushups, and that one right there is probably my favorite one for males that are looking to increase their triceps, their chest and their shoulders which gives you this bigger look in your upper body. And it's one of those things where you think, there's no way I can do 333 reps per day, but if you break it out, it's only about 21 reps per hour of 16 hours per day, that you're awake for 16 hours per day roughly. And 21 reps per hour is one rep every three minutes or so, and so if you look at it that way, it's not that hard, but what it does is, it shocks your system to where you constantly have a pump throughout the day, you are increasing the volume that you're doing because that's a lot of volume in a short amount of time, but it's just a great way to shock the system instead of doing the same three sets of 10 at the gym and the same movements. Looking for different things like that, also, I've implemented something called rucking which is adding about 40 to 50 pounds on a backpack, and then walking up a hill and down a hill. And I was listening to this book by Michael Easter called The Comfort Crisis that talks about how that can both increase lean muscle mass and increase your cardiovascular capacity in the same time. And it's easier on your joints than running is, and running isn't going to help you build lean muscle mass, but by adding a backpack of 40 pounds or so-
Dr. Latt Mansor:Some form of resistance.
Drew Manning:... can help. Exactly. So it's just a different method of training that maybe your body isn't used to, so breaking out of that environment that your body's been so conditioned for, like you said, going to the gym five days a week. Trying some new training methods, some new exercises that you haven't done. Also, I like to do full body movements three times a week. So full body on Monday, full body on Wednesday, full body on Friday, and you're going to be pretty sore doing full body movements, but I think you'll get more out of your workouts, and so it just depends what your goals are. If you're looking to lean out and lose fat, that's a whole different approach. If you're looking to gain lean muscle mass, you have to increase your calories being a caloric surplus to feed those muscles. So it just depends on what your goals are specifically.
Dr. Latt Mansor:So that's a great point, that one thing I want to ask you, and I know this has a lot of debate online about, is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time? That traditional bulking cutting phase versus the lean bulk? What are your thoughts around this? And be controversial-
Drew Manning:A really good question. I think it's very, very controversial. I think in a perfect world, if you had nothing else to do but that, it is doable. It's still very difficult, but if you have responsibilities like a job and a family and work, it's really, really hard to do that all in one. I have found personally a ketogenic approach to building lean muscle mass is the most effective at putting on lean muscle mass while keeping your fat mass down. And so adding in higher protein like, I think, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino talks more about this, but a modified Atkins approach. So it's very high protein, high fat, low amount of carbohydrates, but you're lifting heavy weights and you're in a caloric surplus. What I've found from my own personal experience and other anecdotal evidence of people doing this approach, they're able to build lean muscle mass while keeping their fat mass down. I think building lean muscle mass while burning fat is going to require maybe two workouts per day. I've seen people do it, with doing one session-
Dr. Latt Mansor:... the cardio.
Drew Manning:... of heavy lifting. Yes, exactly. And that is an approach that can work, but like I said, how much of your time do you have to dedicate to that type of approach? But I think it is possible if you do DEXA scan, and you dedicate yourself for it. I would say a good 90 to 120 days of consistent effort is a possibility.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Got it. So depending on the structure of the workout, depending on the goals you might gain lean body mass, but also a bit of fat and then you can dial up the cardio to really focus on the fat burning to lean up for any occasions for photo shoots and whatever. I think that's a good advice. So onto that as well, I have something, one of the questions that I wrote down to ask you is, are there any unpopular opinion that came out of your journey that you suddenly realized, "This is actually what I found out throughout my journey, throughout my transformation," but it may be in an unpopular opinion versus what people are talking out there? What have you found?
Drew Manning:That's a good question. An unpopular opinion, I think there's a few components of that. I think me just even bringing in the mental and emotional component to transformation is unpopular because self-love and empathy isn't really sexy. If I sell a 30 day self-love program versus a 30 day get shredded program, [inaudible].
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's right. The Marketing around it.
Drew Manning:The get shredded program's going to sell way more because that's what is the hook for people. People think that's what they want. But what I found Dr. Latt with my approach is I know that the mental and emotional stuff is not the sexy stuff right now. That's not the hook I hook people with. The hook is my Fit to Fat to Fit transformation. People love seeing the photos of before and after of me gaining the weight and losing the weight, and they see the ripped body, and I think what happens is, that is what hooks people, but then they buy my programs, they consume my content, and they realize that, "Oh wait, he's talking about the mental and emotional side of transformation, and he is really touching on some things that are important to me like emotional eating, and wow, that sounds really true. Maybe there's some truth to this, doing the inner work that he's talking about." And then that is where they start to change their perception of like, "Oh, okay, wait a second. I can love myself and still work on this better version of myself." Loving yourself isn't just like you said, the body positivity movement of just accepting myself as I am without taking care of myself because that's not self-love either. Self-love, in my opinion, is loving yourself as you are, realizing that you're worthy as you are while you continue to work on this better version of yourself because as humans, we want to improve. We want to progress.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Exactly.
Drew Manning:And that's just the way we're designed. I think anyone to stay stagnant in life would be really, really hard to stay happy and fulfilled in staying where you are in your life. I think everyone wants to move forward and progress in this life, and so that's what I would say would be an unpopular opinion, but people that know me and consume my content, and I think people like you know where I'm coming from.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah, absolutely.
Drew Manning:Versus people that's...
Dr. Latt Mansor:Yeah. That was very well explained. I definitely resonate very well, especially in the past year. The journey that I've been through was definitely a realization of my worthiness because previously I have always have a yardstick to my worthiness, and that yardstick is usually based on objective measures, how many degrees I got, what kind of job I get, how much do I get paid, how successful I am, how many books I've read, how many journals, many papers I've published? But at the end of the day, the most fundamental worthiness is, as you said, you love yourself for who you are as a human, and I never actually took time off and tell myself that. And a series of events that occurred in the past year that led me into practicing meditation, and that gave me a lot of insight to really dissociate myself from my train of thought and realized that I, for the longest time, never knew that I was worthy as Latt Mansour, as the person, but I was worthy as the doctor. I was worthy as the research lead. I was worthy of something that is external, that was peripheral rather than something that's fundamental. And after realizing that, suddenly I made breakthrough in my gym, in my workouts, I felt more energetic. I literally just subjectively felt happier, and that in of itself, it's sexy. So the challenge here for you, listeners is that, make self-love sexy. Let's make this trend. Self-love is sexy, and anyone can make that sexy. Anyone can realize that. It takes some work and sometimes you need help from other people, some help from other external sources, but you can make it. You can do it. So I've got one last question which is something that I added as I revive this H.V.M.N. Podcast. I ask all my guests, what is health and modern nutrition mean to you personally?
Drew Manning:Yeah. That's a good question. I think it's something that's ever evolving that is never stagnant, and is never end-all be-all. I think it's because, like I said, 10 years ago, the mainstream of the knowledge that we had at the time was like, "Oh, it looks like this for me," it's more of what I would say a conscious fitness approach. And what I mean by a conscious fitness approach for health and modern nutrition, like you mentioned, is tying in the mental, emotional or spiritual side to a physical transformation. Because if you go into a physical transformation, just thinking it's just physical, you're going to realize very quickly how much of your emotions, your mental state affect your ability to do the physical stuff, and so for me, conscious fitness embodies the physical with the mental and the emotional, and even the spiritual, I would say it all ties together. And so if you can see fitness from a new lens, a new perspective, I think it's a new age way of doing fitness where it's not this toxic relationship of, "Okay, one day when I get this body, then I'll be worthy, then I'll be happy. If I get fit and I get skinny, then I'm successful. And if I'm overweight and I don't have that body, then I'm a failure and people will not love me." I think that's a story we bought into for years and decades based on what society tells us, but I think a way to break free from that is this conscious fitness approach of learning how to operate out of a place of self-love first and foremost so that doing the hard and uncomfortable things becomes easier and more manageable, and you start to see those uncomfortable things as not a chore, but as something that you're worthy to receive the benefits of. Because dieting is hard, it's uncomfortable. Exercise is hard, it's uncomfortable, but it's a part of growth. But if we could see the hard and uncomfortable things as a blessing, and as something that is tied to our worthiness, then you start to fall in love with the process. You start to fall in love with doing the uncomfortable things, and then that way the results become a byproduct of living that healthy lifestyle consistently over time, but from a place of worthiness and self-love, and that's what conscious fitness is for me, and that's what my brand is evolving into, is this conscious fitness approach. So that's why for me, I have people meditate and do a daily gratitude journal and positive affirmations, and that's how I help people develop some self-love. There's some other things I do with my programs that I really dive deeper into doing the inner work so that the outer work is easier and more manageable for them. And that's where I think the fitness industry hopefully is evolving into and changing and shifting instead of this... I do think there's a value in the David Goggins and the Jocko Willinks of the world that we need to have that kind of mentality some of the time. But I think there needs to be a balance of like, "Okay, I can tap into my inner David Goggins and do some hard things," but if I'm doing it from a place of self-love, then it's not a form of punishment, then it's a form of self-love that, "Oh, self-love is doing hard things. Self-love is doing the uncomfortable things," because that's what brings happiness and fulfillment in the long-term versus the short-term, I'm going to be uncomfortable, so hopefully that makes sense.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Absolutely. And because you love yourself, you want to grow, you want to improve, and that's why you do the hard things. And one of the things that I learned during my meditation journey is that, nothing is permanent. So they say, whenever there is suffering, it signifies that something in your life is changing, and the less adherence and the less latching on that you put onto things that you have in your life, the better it is for you to accept the changing, and just accept them as what they are, and because nothing is permanent anyway. When you come to terms with it, that suffering will definitely lessen, and I think that's definitely one of the biggest lesson I've learned during-
Dr. Latt Mansor:... our meditation.
Drew Manning:Well, congrats.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Thank you very much.
Drew Manning:That's so cool.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Last but not least, I would like to offer our platform for you to tell our listeners where to find you. What do you stand for and your brand, your website, please go ahead.
Drew Manning:Yeah. So it's very easy to find me. It's just @Fit2Fat2Fit, and that's all my social media handles. It's my website, it's my podcast, it's my first book. So you can find me at fit2fat2fit.com, and find out all my stuff. I have 30 day challenges that I do with this conscious fitness approach. I have two books, Fit2Fat2Fit is the first one of my first journey, and then Complete Keto is my version of keto with the mental and emotional side tied into it like I mentioned. And that's who I am and where you guys can find me. So thank you again for having me on Dr. Latt, and I appreciate it.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Amazing. No, you're most welcome, and thank you for coming on. And guys do follow Drew, I follow him myself, and I find his content very inspiring. Sometimes when I have a hard day, tired and seeing Drew just doing all these supersets, I'm like, "You know what? It's time to gym, and it's time to go to the gym because I love myself." Do you know what I mean?
Drew Manning:Yes. There you go.
Dr. Latt Mansor:That's how you should think about it rather than saying, "Go to the gym," all these vile terms, and all these derogatory terms is like, "Who's this, and why aren't you working out?" Instead, "I get to go to the gym because I have got a able-bodied self to do all these weights and exercises." So it has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for being here, and I hope to see you again soon.
Drew Manning:Yeah. I'm sure we'll talk again soon. Thank you.
Dr. Latt Mansor:Thank you. If you have enjoyed the episode, please like, share and subscribe, and if you have any comments or feedback, please leave it in the comments section. You can find us at H.V.M.N. On all social media platform, and myself at @LattMansour on all social media platform as well. The H.V.M.N. Podcast and myself are powered by Ketone-IQ, the most effective way for you to elevate your blood ketone levels for optimal cognitive and physical performance as well as metabolic health. Thanks again for listening, until next time.
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