Gaining & Losing 75lbs (On Purpose): Challenges Faced, Lessons Learned

Gaining & Losing 75lbs (On Purpose): Challenges Faced, Lessons Learned

Authored by Zhill Olonan and Geoffrey Woo • 
August 21, 2019
 • 53 min read
keto-dietfitnessnutrition

What started as a personal science experiment quickly turned into a profound experience that would change Drew Manning's life forever.

Drew is the New York Times best-selling author of "Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose", where he shares his experience purposefully gaining 75lbs and losing it all with the help of the ketogenic diet.

Why?

Drew, a natural athlete, has been in shape his whole life. To become more empathetic to the challenges his own clients were facing in their battles with weight, he decided he needed to experience these obstacles himself.

In this episode, you'll discover:

  • The unexpected challenges he faced during the experiment: Food addiction, social anxiety, & more
  • The nutritional and physical interventions Drew employed to get back into shape
  • Drew's experience running a 100-miler and how the strong mindset he developed played a crucial role

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Transcription

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Drew, hey, thanks for coming on the program.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Hey, Geoffrey, thanks for having me on, man. So it's a pleasure.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

So folks that might have heard your story, you got some interesting acclaim in following through this Fit to Fat to Fit project that you embarked on. But even before you wanted to do this experiment and this challenge for yourself, what got you personally interested in health, nutrition, diet, all of that? What's your personal journey there?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, so I grew up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters. My mom and dad had 11 kids. I have no idea how they did that, but we all played sports. And so from a very young age, I played football and I wrestled. Those were the two sports that I focused on. So for me, being in shape kind of came naturally. It was something that I was born to do, because I was playing sports from a very young age, and so I never once struggled with my weight. I never once struggled with food cravings, I would say.

I mean, my parents didn't really feed us healthy food. They were trying to feed 11 mouths. It was the peanut butter sandwiches and casseroles and lentil soups growing up. A lot of homemade stuff. We didn't have access to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the Frosted Flakes, and we didn't go out to eat. We didn't go to fast food or eat a lot of pizza or anything like that, but for the most part, I was healthy and fit from a very young age.

And then playing football and wrestling, I excelled at both of those sports, and so it kind of came naturally to me to be into health and fitness. Throughout high school and college, I went into finance, and then I went to the medical field, and then it wasn't until 2009 that I became certified as a personal trainer. Then that's where Fit to Fat to Fit kind of originated from becoming a personal trainer.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

I'm curious, back in 2009, about 10 years ago, what was the sentiment and milieu then? And can you compare and contrast that to the sentiment and milieu today? It seems that the sophistication has increased exponentially since then, but just rely on the clock. I'm curious to hear your perspective on how savvy were people on macronutrients, how savvy were people on different types of exercise. It must have been very broad at the time.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, back in 2009, it was very basic. I got certified through NASM, National Academy of Sports Medicine and the training was very basic. It was focused a little bit on macronutrients and that was the first time I really learned what macronutrients were and the purpose of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and kind of clicked.

I'm like, "Okay, so these are the types of foods I should be focusing on." Because before that, growing up in the 90s, my high school coaches knew nothing about nutrition. They just said, "Hey, eat a lot of pasta, eat a lot of meat, fuel up, carb up before game day." And so we did. Like that was the philosophy. No one knew anything about nutrition. My parents didn't really know anything. It just wasn't taught other than the food pyramid.

And so in 2009, it really opened up my eyes to "Okay, let me focus a little bit on proteins, fats and carbs and see what ratio kind of works best for me." And back then, keto wasn't even mainstream. Well, one, because social media wasn't really around and I didn't know anyone prominent in the space that was talking about a low carb, high fat approach to dieting. I had heard about it, but it was kind of like underground at the time.

And then fast forward to 2019, it obviously is the number one Google diet out there two years in a row, the ketogenic diet. I think we have so much more access to information with podcasts, for example. Download a podcast and listen to any topic you want in the world for free. And so now, we have all this information at our fingertips. A lot of people are more educated nowadays versus back in 2009.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. So when clients came to you back in 2009, I presumed the desire is the same, which is essentially I imagined. Lose weight, be healthier, be stronger, live longer, be hotter. The desire is consistent, but it sounds like the background knowledge and the interventions, there's much more nuance there. Is that right? Or did people just want different goals 10 years ago versus now?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I think the goals have always been the same for decades. We all want to look a certain way and that's influenced by media, by TV, movies, celebrities. I think that's always been there for the most part and at least the past hundred years or so. But I think the knowledge that clients have nowadays versus back in the day is exponentially larger. The amount of podcasting that we have today. People are like, "Oh, I heard this on a podcast." Versus 10 years ago, you would have had to go to the library or learn about it from some expert. But now, everyone is an expert, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. One thing I think is interesting about your story is that you did what is also very popular in Silicon Valley, which is that you want to solve your own problem here. I'm curious to hear your rationale in terms of purposely getting fat and adding 70 plus pounds to your frame. Was that a hack to be empathetic towards your potential clients? Was this something that was a personal challenge? How did you come up with the Fit to Fat to Fit challenge idea?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah. It kind of stemmed from a few clients that I was training at the time who told me "Drew, you don't really understand what it's like to be overweight because for you, it's always been easy." Because here's what happened. I would give them a meal plan. I would give them a workout. And for me, it was easy, right? You just follow it, you do it and then you get results and it wasn't that hard for me. And they would give me excuses like, "Oh man, I tried really hard, but this weekend, I had some friends over, we started drinking and we had some pizza or try to follow the meal plan or the workouts, but I just didn't get around to it."

I was just like, "Why can't you do it? It's not that difficult. Put the junk food down, go to the gym, you'll see results, I promise." And that's when they said, "Drew, you don't understand how hard it is. For you, it's always been easy." And I kind of took that to heart. And I was just thinking of ideas. And for whatever reason, the idea of getting fat on purpose popped up in my mind, and I thought about it. It was a calling for me to do this. No one really had ever done this before, except for maybe some celebrities for movie roles or something like that. I was like, "What if I document this? And we'll see what happens." I had no expectations. I had no marketing strategy or media connections at the time. My hope was that it would hopefully catch on and inspire people in a weird sort of way. So that was kind of the idea behind it. Like I said, I had no idea I would get on TV shows like Jay Leno and Dr. Oz and Good Morning America and all this viral aspect of it would happen. I had no idea that would happen.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It's funny because I think folks that are in the nutrition or health and wellness space, usually when you talk about adding weight, it's actually not that easy to add weight. I think that might be kind of a funny concept given that most people are struggling with losing weight and adding weight is not a problem. I'm sure when you were thinking about, "Okay, I want to get fat." It must have been a huge shift in terms of what you consumed, what you did on a day to day basis. How did you prepare to add on so much weight? And did you give yourself some sort of window to do that? How much pounds you gained and how short of a timeframe.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

The idea was six months of gaining weight, six months of losing weight, which is funny because I was married at the time and I pitched to my wife, I'm like, "What if I do it for a year and then lose weight for another year?" She's like, "No. Yours is too long. People will get bored. Just do for six months." I'm like, "All right." So I'm super glad she talked to me out of that because six months was hard enough. So I put on 75 pounds in six months. And here's the thing that's interesting is people think in the terms of bodybuilding world, like "Oh, you're just bulking up," but it's totally different.

When you're putting on 75 pounds of fat, bodybuilders will bulk up, they'll put on fat, but they'll also put on a lot of lean muscle mass as well. They're lifting heavy every single day. And for me, it was no exercise. It was a total sedentary lifestyle, no exercise and eating a standard American diet, which we can get into. Just because I wanted to differentiate myself from Morgan Spurlock who did Super Size Me. I want to be different than what he was doing, so I changed the types of foods that I was eating to show people, "Hey, these are the problems that America has. Not so much the fast food, the food we all know is a problem.

But more so than that, it's the foods that are marketed to us as healthy foods that we're over consuming that is contributing to the obesity epidemic." So that was kind of the idea in a nutshell, six months of gaining weight, six months of losing weight. And luckily, it all worked out.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It's not easy to put on that much weight so quickly. So let's tease into it. The standard American diet, the sad diet, we've talked about that concept a lot. So how did you translate that into meals? So for our listeners, what a breakfast, what a lunch, what a dinner look like? Was this sort of classic Kellogg's cereal, Frosted Flakes packaged foods? What did you eat? What does it look like day to day?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So I remember as a kid in the 80s watching commercials for a complete American breakfast and it was a bowl of cereal, a piece of toast and a glass of juice. We got trained from a very young age to think that's what we eat for breakfast, and that's what majority of Americans eat. So some type of sugary cereal, which my drug of choice was Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which is amazing. It's freaking delicious. [crosstalk 00:09:22].

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It is good. Yeah.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

And then I would have a big tall glass of juice of course, and then a couple hours later in between breakfast and lunch we're starving already, so you need a snack. So that was usually a couple chocolate covered granola bars and a mountain dew, my soda of choice. And then for lunch, usually have maybe two to three peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. Peanut butter and honey, peanut butter and jelly, whatever it was, bag of chips. And then between lunch and dinner, another snack, like most Americans do. That was usually maybe some Pringles or Doritos and then Mountain Dew.

And then for dinner was a typical American dinner, white pasta, marinara sauce, meatballs, garlic bread. And then before you go to bed, you're watching TV, you have something sweet to snack on, maybe some ice cream, maybe some cookies, or if I'm really lazy, I would just go and get another bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch before I would go to bed. And you wouldn't believe how many hundreds of people emailed me every single day saying ... Because I was posting this as it was happening, and people are like, "Drew you eat exactly how I eat." There's so many people that eat that way and they're like, "Well, sometimes this food is marketed to us as low fat or all natural, fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D or whole grains." And we think, "Oh, this must be healthy because it says these things on there." And these foods, I'm not going to lie, they tasted really good. So that was like a typical day for me.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, I was going to say it doesn't seem egregiously bad. You weren't just trying to kill yourself with 17 doughnuts a day and just a bunch of fries. It's a little bit decadent. You got your ice cream, you got your soda, but it is not completely out of the imagination here. And in terms of just getting calorie counts or recounting calories, counting macros, how many calories were you consuming a day?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I didn't track everything exactly, but I estimated around 5000 calories a day? Now, this is a lot because it adds up, because here's the thing, I would have a huge bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and then a couple hours later just be absolutely starving. I would get huge spike in blood sugar. After the blood sugar spike comes a vicious cycle in your body of becoming addicted to that type of food because your body wants the high from that food again, because it felt good for a minute. But then you feel awful when it crashes.

And so the constant cycle of every couple hours having to eat something processed and delicious that was hyper palatable to your tongue and it made you feel good for a moment or two but then you feel awful when you don't have it. There's no way I could go six or seven hours in between meals. That would have been impossible. So the calories add up really quickly.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Which is pretty incredible because it's hard to consume that many calories on a day to day basis, especially when you're not exercising. I mean, I think, for me personally, it will be very challenging to consistently eat 5000 calories a day for six months straight without having to do a lot of exertion, but it sounds like for you, it wasn't hard to consume that many calories. It sounded like because there was a hyper processed, ultra highly palatable foods you were able to just consume, consume, consume. Was it difficult for you to eat that much food?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So once a week, you've seen the TV show Man v. Food, right?

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So he does these crazy food challenges. Once a week, I'd have my YouTube followers vote on a food challenge that I had to attempt once a week. So once a week, usually Saturday night, they would be like, "Hey, go to the Fuddruckers challenge. Or go to this challenge." And I would have to go do it once a week.

So that was the only time I felt miserable like to the point where it was painful. And for probably six or seven hours, I couldn't eat. I could barely move, but every other day was just I'd eat till I was full. I wouldn't say it would stuff my face, but these types of foods, they're not very filling. They don't keep you satiated for long periods of time, so it's super easy to over consume, especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Like the serving size says three fourths of a cup. Nobody gets full off three fourths cup of cereals, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I'm sorry. So a huge man size bowl is what it would take to fill me up.

And then from there after a month of eating that way, your body adapts and adjust. And it's like, "All right, we want more and more of this." And it's super easy to over consume. I think that's what the problem 90% of Americans have with this type of food is it's super processed, but it's also super affordable, and it creates this vicious cycle of constantly wanting more and more and more of it.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, I know. That reminds me of the recent Kevin Hall study out of NIH showing that people consuming ultra processed foods consume more calories per minute than folks eating an unprocessed diet, which I think recapitulates your experience here where you're just able to just put down calories at a really high rate really quickly. So I think most of our audience, I would say, is on the healthier side and maybe it's hard to empathize with folks who are struggling with weight and with appetite. I'm curious to get your thoughts and obviously I imagined the first week, maybe a slight change. Maybe the first month, I started seeing your energy, your mood, maybe your social interactions, your relationships change.

I'm curious to hear the mental aspect of putting on this much weight. And probably the second part to it, I'm sure how people perceived you changed a lot as well. I mean if you come in looking like this, relatively fit, Jack ripped person, you get treated very, very differently if you're you plus 75 pounds of fat. I'm curious to hear the aspects of the mental side.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I'll admit. The first three weeks, four weeks was actually kind of fun. Like it's this sense of freedom. You could go to the grocery store, skip the produce section, go down the soda aisle, the cereal aisle, check out all the different flavors of foods we have here in America. I don't know why we have hundreds of flavors of cereals and cookies and sodas. It's amazing. But it was kind of fun for a little bit. And then like you mentioned very quickly, walking up the stairs, I was huffing and puffing. My cardio was the first thing to go. My endurance was gone. And all that visceral fat started making it difficult to breathe. I remember starting to snore at night a couple months in.

Like I said, I was married at the time. My ex-wife at the time, she didn't appreciate that. But it affected my sleep habits which affected my mood, my energy levels, my hormones, and affects your personality. When you're sleep deprived because you're not breathing properly throughout the night because of all that visceral fat, it made a big difference. And I was prepared for the physical changes and going into this. But like you said, the mental and emotional side is what surprised me. And here's the thing, when you grow up your entire life in shape, you've never been overweight a day in your life, part of your identity becomes your body. So for me, my identity was my body with the six pack and the muscles, because I've always kind of been that way.

And unfortunately, the opposite of that is true too. Those who grew up their entire life out of shape, or overweight, and their identity is based on what their body looks like. And so for me, being overweight for the first time in my life, I kind of freaked out. I wanted to go up to strangers and tell them, "Hey, I'm not really overweight, you guys. This is just an experiment. Go to this website. Here's my before picture."

We have to come to the realization that we have more to offer this world in our bodies, but it didn't happen right away. So the mental and emotional side was by far the most challenging part of this, but that's where the greatest lessons were learned. And that's what my first book Fit to Fat to Fit goes into the mental emotional side because I wasn't prepared for that. I wasn't ready for how this was going to affect me mentally, emotionally.

And that's where the greatest transformation happened for me on the inside was being able to relate to the mental and emotional struggles of people who are overweight. And that's what made this whole journey so relatable. That's what made people want to watch this because I wasn't out here saying, "Look, you're just lazy. It's not that hard. Just do it." People saw how truly humbled I was and how my perspective changed, and how wrong I admitted I was in my approach to helping people transform. I just thought it was a lack of willpower. They saw how humbled I was. They saw me go through those mental and emotional struggles and that's when I came out with a realization that transformation is way more mental and emotional than people think especially people on my end, who don't have the empathy that think it's just a lack of willpower and just people are lazy. It really opened up my eyes to how untrue that really is.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. So what would be the one or two top things that you have changed in terms of coaching people through their physical transformation then?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

That's a great question, and a lot of people asking me that. Because before my approach was, "Okay, you're struggling with transformation. It must be your macros or calories, your diet, your workout, something physical. Your supplementation, let's change that." Because that's all I knew. That's all I knew how to change that person. I couldn't relate to them on the mental and emotional struggles. That was something that was foreign to me. It was just like, "Hey, willpower your way through it."

So now after having been through this, I see how powerful the emotional connection to food really is. And I can empathize with people. And one of the quotes that I live by now after doing Fit to Fat to Fit is nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. And so for all the trainers, coaches leaders out there, if you could live by that and have that empathy for your audience, and be able to relate to them and understand that, yes, it's cool to have all the knowledge in the world, but that doesn't matter if your audience doesn't feel like there's an empathy or you care about them first and foremost. People are more willing to listen if they feel like you have empathy and you care about them. And so what I focus now on is helping people on the mental and emotional struggles.

Obviously, I don't do one-on-one training anymore like I used to, because after Fit to Fat to Fit took off, it just changed my business model completely. So everything is digital. Everything is online. It's about impacting the masses now, but I try and help people more so on the mental and emotional side and mindset versus just focusing on the physical. So I still have people with meal plans and workouts and the physical transformation aspect, but it's with a huge focus and emphasis on the mental and emotional side. And that comes down to things like accountability and a support system and helping people overcome their mental and emotional challenges, which really, at the end of the day is what people struggle with in my opinion in America.

It's not the lack of knowledge. It's not so much the lack of willpower, it's helping that person overcome. "Okay, what is holding them back emotionally that's keeping them from living a healthy lifestyle consistently?" And that's what my brand, Fit to Fat to Fit is trying to bring to the fitness industry is some empathy, more respect, and a better understanding and help on the mental emotional side.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Look, I think most trainers and fitness folks are just like super jacked through their entire lives and just don't get it from the other side. So I think just you having lived that for six months, and then producing all that weight over the six months, that is some real credibility there.

So before talking about your protocols and your ideas in terms of cutting the weight down, I want to get into your mindset and physique months four, five, six. Did you start doing blood markers, different lipid panels? I'm curious to get a sense of any of the blood work that you did. Were you started to get concerned about your actual health? Were you worried about actually doing long term cardiovascular risks or kidney or liver damage?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So the interesting thing is I had a full-time job in the medical field throughout this whole process. So I was a part-time personal trainer and I work with a lot of doctors and nurses and they would tell me the risks going into this and I kind of knew the risks but at the same time, I was like, "It's only for six months. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay."

But I did have a doctor every month check my blood work. I wish I had a full report to follow those numbers memorized, but all I remember for the most part, the numbers that stand out was my blood pressure got up to 167 number 113 at its highest. My testosterone dropped to the low 200s towards the heaviest. And then obviously all my lipids were in the red. My glucose, my triglycerides, my HDL, my LDL were all in the red. I don't remember the exact numbers of how bad I got. I do remember being on the Dr. Oz show and we talked about how I developed a non-alcoholic fatty liver in just six months time. And I didn't drink alcohol during this process. I drink a ton of soda, and it's scary how in just six months time.

And for 31 years of my life, I was healthy, I was fit. It didn't matter how long I had been in shape for. In just six months time of letting myself go, it's scary how quickly your health can be taken away from you. Just by stopping exercise and eating these types of foods and living this sedentary lifestyle, that was really an eye opener for me and a lot of people thinking, "Wow, I've been eating this way for 6 years or 10 years and Drew just ate this way for six months and look what it's done to his body." And so that's why I wanted to go on The Dr. Oz Show to show people what happens on the inside of our body when we live this type of lifestyle because most of us are so obsessed and focused on our outward appearance. We look at this burger and fries and milk shake as that's going to cause me to gain fat. Okay, how is this going to affect my insides? How is this going to affect my medical health, my cardiovascular health if I eat this way?

Food is more than just weight gain or weight loss. So my goal was to help change people's perception of food and what you're actually doing to the inside of your body versus just, "Okay. Is this going to make me gain fat or lose fat?"

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, absolutely. And then in terms of the time difference. I mean for folks that do regular exercise, it's a pretty important part of your life. I know when I do exercise, it's a pretty substantial top five things I'd spend time on. What did you do to replace that time? I guess there wasn't really Netflix at the time maybe, but popping up, sitting on TV. You got so much extra time in the day, right?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

That's a really good question, because a lot of people don't understand the struggle that I went through mentally to stop exercising. Because before, exercise is my therapy. And now that I find that in something else, and guess what that thing was, it was food. It's more comfortable than the uncomfortableness of living a healthy lifestyle. And so I kind of saw why some people get stuck in that situation, living that way. So I had kids at the time, so I had to play with my kids. So that kept me busy or entertained, but yeah, there was no lifting or running out. I remember watching people outside jogging and I'm like, "Man, I want to be that guy again. I want to be that guy that was the fit guy and works out." But I got to sit here and eat my KFC or my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, I know. I think it's an interesting insight where I think folks that don't exercise look at people that do exercise and are confused. "That seems really painful. Why do you enjoy doing it?" And I think folks that have crossed that chasm and really see exercise as not just vanity, not necessarily for health, but just a therapeutic time spent just clearing your mind, feeling good. It feels very nice to exercise once you cross that chasm. I imagine that from us, or folks that are more on the fitness side, looking at folks that are not fit, it's almost like, "Why do you like eating so much?" And I think that's misunderstanding. We're talking past each other in a little bit.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

And that's why I feel like Fit to Fat to Fit, I'm trying to do is help to bridge that gap. I think there's a lot of judgment and misunderstanding on both sides. My hope is to kind of bridge that gap and that's what we tried to do with my TV show which was on A&E was showing that side through a different platform, which was the TV platform. And my platform was on social media, YouTube and the website, so we're trying.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

All right. So hit six months, that must have been exciting to start redirecting your former self. Can you talk us through that time era where you hit six months? Now you're planning how to best cut all this weight.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah. So the strategy was actually wanted to focus on nutrition first. So I skipped exercise the first month, the first 30 days, all I did was stretch and walk and nothing else as far as exercise goes, because I want to show people the power of nutrition. So I took the first month of focus just on changing my diet. So I went from 5000 calories of highly processed foods to the very next day, 2000 calories of real whole food and the way that I did it back in 2011 was five meals. More of a paleo, whole foods approach to my diet at the time. And I was excited. I was like, "I want my body back. I'm ready to do this."

And I remember the first two weeks were literally hell. I was miserable. I had headaches. I was grumpy. I was Moody. I was starving all the time. The food did not taste nearly as good as I remember. And here I was, a trainer, a proponent of health saying this lifestyle is awesome, you guys, but it clicked for me going through that hell. I realized this is what my clients have been telling me when I would give them a meal plan and expect them to be perfect. Their bodies fight back in a way as if they're getting off of a drug. They're going through these withdrawal symptoms.

And for some people, it's too much for them and they go back to their old ways because they're like, "Man, I'm trying to stay consistent, but these cravings are just so intense." And that's where the emotional connection to food is more powerful than people think. I used to think food addiction wasn't a real thing. It's just a lack of willpower until I lived this experience and realized I was very aware of how my body felt during that time and my body was literally fighting back.

I mean, you would think eating chicken and broccoli and kale and these green smoothies help my body feel good, but it didn't. It was the opposite. The first two weeks, I was really surprised and it just opened up my eyes and humbled me in a sense to empathize with those that struggle with that first two weeks to four weeks of transformation. It's hard for people more so than you would think. Now, I will say after two weeks or so, the cravings started to diminish and became more manageable. They don't ever really truly go away, in my opinion. They're still there, but they became more manageable over time as your body adjust and adapt to this new lifestyle. So I can definitely empathize with people, because I do see people's bodies wanting the high of those drugs, if you will. The food becomes people's drugs.

The problem is that in our society, we kind of brush food addiction under the rug. We think, "Oh, it's not real thing, because food is legal. We have to eat it to survive. We need it every day." And you see it advertised and you see people eating it. Imagine if you were a drug addict and you had to go the grocery store and there's your favorite drug right there and everyone is buying it on TV shows and you're like, "But you can't have it." But everyone else is having it and you're like, "Oh, this is so hard." And so that's kind of what food addiction is in my opinion. It really was eye opening for me to go through that.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, well said. I think that perhaps folks that who are on this journey, who are listening, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I think I've kind of felt that personally through as I got into ketogenic diet or fasting. I mean there is some sort of adaptation period and that's expected. It's not like when you train for a marathon, you expect to be able to run 26 miles in two weeks. No, it's going to take a lot of time. It hurt a little bit, but there is a light at end of the tunnel. I think what I'm hearing from you is that it's not like, "Hey, you suck at life. You have no willpower." No, it is hard. We should be empathetic to it.

On this sort of support side, are there mental hacks or tips that you found useful for yourself? When you had like an addiction of like, "Okay, I want to drink that Mountain Dew now," what did you tell yourself? Was it, again, your willpower from before being able to be like, "I'm strong?" How did you talk yourself through it?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So my situation was a little bit unique where I had a powerful platform. I was on all these TV shows at this time, and so a lot of people were following me. On social media, I would post exactly what I was eating every single day because I wanted to stay accountable to my audience. And accountability for me is probably the number one most important thing when it comes to any kind of transformation, financial, spiritual, physical transformation and staying accountable to someone or an audience.

Because a lot of times, I think we just try and willpower way through by ourselves thinking, "Well, if I fail, no one else will know, and I can just do it by myself, because I'm not going to be hard or judge myself, whereas society will probably judge me if I put it out there on social media or on my own blog." And I think the thing that helped me in those situations where I did what Cinnamon Toast Crunch was I thought there's probably someone following me here in this grocery store. And if I put Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my shopping cart, what if they're like, "Drew ..."

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

I'm a fraud. Yeah.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, exactly. That fear of giving in, really helped motivate me in those situations where I wanted to give in. And the second thing was knowing that there were other people out there in the world doing this with me. Because the way I set it up was I invited everyone, all my followers to do this with me.

I said, "Hey, I got 75 pounds to lose. You got way to lose. Let's do this together." And so me knowing that there were people out there, because they would email me every day like, "Drew, this is awesome." I'm on day four with you. I'm eating the same things you're eating. They post pictures and selfies. And I'm like, "This is awesome. If these people can do it, I can do this." And so there's power in community, there's power in a support system. And that's one of the most powerful things that kept me going when there were days where I just wanted my old food and there's days where I didn't want to go the gym. It was the emotions of other people that really kept me going too.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

So it sounds like the practical tip here is just plug into the community, be accountable not just to yourself because that is reliant on your personal willpower, your personal motivation for that specific day. And we all know that, that ebbs and flow is depending on if you wake off the wrong side of the bed. But if you have a group of people that you're talking with, whether that's a social group online, I'm sure there's community that you help moderate, this week classes, and podcast community, different communities you can tap into and get that mutual support. That sounds like a smart way to make this not just the personal willpower challenge. But hey, I don't want to let other people down, which I think is an extra fuel in that motivation mix.

So just as scary as your decline in health ramped in terms of getting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease essentially and all your blood lipids looking terrible. I'm curious to hear how fast were you able to return and revert some of these things. Does that give hope for people? Or would you say that, "Hey, there's some accrued damage. Don't take this lightly. Reverse this trend as soon as possible."

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I remember when I was on The Dr. Oz Show off air, we were talking backstage in the green room, I kind of asked him like, "Hey, should I be worried about any long-term stuff?" And he's like, "You know what, to be totally honest with you, your body is pretty resilient. Your body is really good at cleaning itself up if you stay consistent."

He's like, "You're only overweight for six months. And even though your numbers are really bad ..." He kind of helped give me some confidence that he wasn't too worried about seeing my numbers go back to normal really quickly. And a testament to that with those first 30 days of no exercise and just switching up my nutrition. Everything went back to the green. All my lipids, my blood pressure, my testosterone more than doubled in that first month with no exercise. Just changing up my diet and eating real whole foods. And it was really surprising for me, but at the same time, I was hoping that would happen so that people out there could see, "Look, you could exercise all you want but if you're not staying consistent with your nutrition, that's where the power really is."

If you really want to see results, it's more so starts with the food that you eat versus doing P90X three times a day and running for two hours at a time. I think that's our approach sometimes is the exercise is easier for people. Staying consistent with nutrition, there are cultural, societal things where we eat our emotions, right? Like it's a Friday after work, and everyone's going to get drinks and get pizza, you want to be included in that. Or there's a holiday or someone's farewell at work or your kid's birthday party. There's all these opportunities to eat unhealthy food in our culture, and you don't want that fear of missing out. And so I feel like that's one of the things that people struggle with sometimes.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

I think it's a good point. I think from a policy perspective, it's easy to blame people saying that, "Hey, you're not exercising enough." But changing food environment, food availability, changing how the capitalist food system works.

I mean, it's just hard when there's people making a lot of money off of these processed foods and it's very much more expensive. They give them whole unprocessed foods. It sounds like there's a subtext of there's just a lot more cultural, social, cultural, economic question around how do you shift the conversation towards, "Hey, it's not just like do more P90X every single day." It's like, "Okay, there's actually a food environment, food availability problem here." So that's pretty interesting. So within 30 days, you're able to reverse a lot of your biomarker trends. In that first 30 days, how much pounds did you lose?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

19 pounds in the first 30 days. A good amount, right? It was definitely noticeable, but I'm still 50 pounds overweight. I still had a ways to go and then that's where I started exercising. Going back to the gym was a whole another hurdle to overcome because I used to be the confident fit guy, cut off sleeve T-shirts, my headphones matched to my shoes. I would go to the gym like, "Yes, I got this."

And then now here I was overweight. I had anxiety going back because I don't know if everyone knew who I was. I was so afraid of being judged. I would work very loose clothing, covered up everything as much as I could. And I struggled to do push-ups on my knees. My strength was gone. My muscular endurance was gone. And that was very humbling for me.

I kind of compare it talking about this in my book of most trainers like me were on top of this mountain of fitness our whole lives. And from the top, the journey up looks so easy. So our clients are down here, and you see the path so clearly from the top, you're like, "Look, it's not that hard. Just keep coming." You're yelling at them from the top saying, "Push harder. No excuses. It's not that difficult. Just keep coming, but you keep falling back down."

For the first time in my life, I was at the bottom of the mountain and looking up with a totally different perspective. And that journey up was way harder than I thought it would be and it gave me a whole new perspective and a whole new understanding on what it takes to get to the top.

To make a long story short, I did lose the weight. There was weeks where I hit plateaus, which was very interesting for me, because I remember as a trainer, when clients would hit a plateau, I would be like, "Well, you're probably cheating here and there. You're probably not being honest about getting the workouts in. There's something that you're probably not doing." And then here I was the trainer doing everything I knew was right. And there was weeks where I gained a pound or there was weeks where I didn't lose any weight. And I was freaking out because I had to put it out there on social media on YouTube. Like, "Okay. I don't really have an explanation for this, but it is what it is."

And the key to all of it is just stay consistent, and focus on the process. And don't worry too much about the results. At the end of the day, it worked out for me. I got back to fit. I got back to my original weight. But one of the things that I noticed was I looked good physique wise. I got down to run the same body fat percentage if you look at the before and after pictures, but my strength wasn't there. It took me a good six to eight months afterwards to put that strength back on of where I felt comfortable again. So that was a surprise for me as well. But I'm glad it worked out as far as me getting back to fit but I obviously had a whole new perspective and appreciation and empathy.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

For sure. I mean atrophying for six months and then ramping back up. I guess that's inspiration or continued motivation for folks who are on the fit train and want to be even more fit or more optimal. It takes a long time to compound that kind of strength. So if folks are on top of the mountain and keep pushing up kind of your story, go back to the bottom of the mountain and takes almost double the time.

It took you six months to lose all your strength and it took you what, 12, 14 months to get back to where you want it to be. So this is 2011 and so you brought out this experiment in 2012 and your story has unfolded since then. And it sounds like in more recent times, you've been experimenting more with ketogenic diet. I'm curious as we fast forward to present day and as more and more of the sophistication and common knowledge around different types of diets and different types of exercises and protocols. I'm curious what you're experimenting with today.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

That's funny you asked that. I actually haven't talked about this and I'm in the middle of a little carnivore experiment, which I was super hesitant because I'm like, "There's no way this is healthy for you. It can't be. This is impossible." But it was becoming a trend and then well-known people in the industry that I respect that were talking about it and I had some other people on my podcast and doctors that I respect and they were talking about the benefits of it.

In my opinion, from what I've seen, and what I've heard from other doctors is short-term, there are some benefits because it's a complete elimination diet. Maybe 30 to 90 days for some people. The placebo can benefit from it. So I don't think it's a one size fits all approach. I don't think it's a long-term strategy that's healthy for everyone. But I wanted to do a little experimentation with it.

And I did an experiment maybe a couple months ago, two, three months ago where I did it for a week. You feel something different when you're running off of ketones. For me, I felt that same shift going from a traditional keto diet to a carnivore diet where there was something different about it, where the mental clarity was increased exponentially. And the energy levels that I experienced were even more so than when I was on the traditional keto diet.

So I was like, "Wow." I was really surprised by that. I thought I feel crappy and I'll do it as an experiment, but I didn't really talk about it. So now, I recently just completed my attempt at 100 miles and 24 hours which we can get into in a little bit, but now that it's done, I'm not a runner, and I don't like looking like a runner. And I felt like I had to lose some muscle mass and lose some of my strength gains to attempt to running 100 miles in 24 hours. So I stopped lifting and just focus on running, sprinting, hills.

I didn't do a ton of like push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, things that I'm normally doing. And now I'm trying to get back into it. I was like, "You know what, this is the perfect time to do a little carnivore experiment." And it's amazing how my digestion is better. The energy levels are better. The mental clarity is more so than what it would be. The hunger, like on the keto diet, your appetite is suppressed, for sure. Going to carnivore, for me, it was even more so. My appetite was suppressed. I didn't feel hungry at all. And so it was a whole another level of keto that I've never really tapped into. It's been about two weeks and I'm not sure if I'll continue it to be totally honest with you just because I have two daughters. I have a family reunion coming up. I'm not this type of person to be super strict, especially during times like that.

It was just a fun little experiment to kind of test. I didn't do any biomarkers to test my blood before and after. It was just kind of going off of how I feel. Now in the future, I want to do something where I test everything, literally everything before, after, maybe do a 60 day experiment with it to see if there's something to it. To see, "Okay, how does it affect my lipids? How does this affect some other important markers that I would test?" But that's kind of a little experiment that I've been working on right now.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It reminds me of some of the conversations that I've had over the last year or so, and I've done my own little carnivore for six eight-week blocks. And I think I came into it with the same skepticism as you came into it, which is that this sounds insane. What is that like? No fiber? And can you even poop? Like are you just going to be constipated the whole time?

And you realize quite quickly as you adopted it that bowel movements were fine. Okay, I'm not dying. I've been on ketogenic diets. My blood markers look fine. There's something here and then you hear folks like Mikhaila Peterson that have apparently cured a lot of our autoimmune issues, and you hear all these anecdotes, and it's like, "Well, I don't think they're all bullshitting. I don't think they're all lying. Probably there's some placebo here, but there seems to be some movement here."

And I'm excited to just see how it unfolds. I agree with you. I don't think that carnivore is necessarily sustainable or morally or ethically right for every single human to do. But I think from a is this possible question, I think it's clearly possible. And it might be quite a good diet for certain types of people for certain types of goals. I'm pretty open minded around it. I think from me, just me personally, it sounds like for you personally, you seemed like you got some pretty good success there so far.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

And here's the cool thing I like about what you're doing what I'm trying to do and people in the industry are doing is giving people encouragement and inspiring them to become their own self experimentation. Because if you want to find out what's optimal for you, you could read the tabloids and listen to this doctor or that doctor or this expert or that expert telling you this is the best way, this is the best way.

But really, at the end the day, you're the person that's in charge of knowing what's best for you. The way to do that is do some self experimentation. To know if it's right for you, the only way to know is to do some testing and some experimenting. And I think some people are scared, because they heard this, or they heard that, or they read this, or they read that. And so it paralyzes them to try anything. You know what I'm saying? So it's really cool that people like you and I are trying to do these experiments and kind of telling people what we're noticing. Hey, if you want to try it, then look into it. But we need to empower ourselves with some self-experimentation to really know what's optimal for us.

And maybe what's optimal for you today won't be optimal for you a year or two years from now. So be open to new things, new ideas that might challenge your thinking in a way to be like, "Hey, maybe I need to go plant-based for a month and see how my body reacts. Or maybe I need to try carnivore for a little bit to see how my body reacts." And I think that's the important thing here.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, absolutely. I like the word in power. I think that's ultimately what we're trying to do. Give enough confidence and background knowledge that people can start implementing some of these for themselves. My genetics are different from your genetics, we might have different goals of we're to optimize for. Our listeners have different starting positions too and we are different enough to not have like, "Hey, we all eat the same exact way."

Because we're not trying to get to the same place necessarily. And I think there's a number of papers out of cell metabolism showing that the same banana or the chocolate chip cookie will have a very different glycemic responses for different people. So again, that ends up being that more and more of the population style medicine or population style interventions that treat humans as a giant seven billion person population is very, very different proposition than what works for you and equals one?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

What other ideas have you found interesting over the last couple months within the industry? I think carnivore is definitely one of these interesting topics. Maybe it's like we're off of that. What brought you to go more into endurance athletics doing 100 mile run in 24 hours?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So before I get to that, one of the things that popped up was these extended fasting because I was skeptical of extended fasting too. I was like, "What? There's no way I could last three days without food." Till I started looking into it, I talked with Dr. Jason Fung, read his book, The Complete Guide to Fasting. I'm like, "Okay. Maybe there's something to this." And it was just another idea of researching it, looking into it, feeling good about it, prepping for it, and giving it a try. So my first fast I ever did was seven days. I went from zero to 100. Like seven days fast is pretty substantial. And I'm already pretty low body fat.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

That's pretty incredible. I just want to interject. I mean, I've done fasting for a while and I try to do a seven day fast. I think I only accomplished it my third try. So for listeners out there, I mean, that's a testament to your willpower. I mean, you have good willpower if you can go from no fasting to seven day fasting. That's hard.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

And plus, I put it out there on social media. So I feel like I had to.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Okay. There you go. That's your hack.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

But that was really eye-opening, surprising for me and a lot of people just showing us that, "Hey, we don't have to be so dependent on food all the time." We've never been in a situation where we've had to go without food, except for if we forget to go grocery shopping or we're busy in a meeting, but it's different.

I think just getting away from the mindset that we need food every few hours throughout the day is really opening my eyes to what can my body achieve. And that kind of leads into this experiment of 100 miles in 24 hours. An attempt at that, because after doing Fit to Fat to Fit experience and the seven day fast and some other experiments here and there, I was like, "Okay, what else can I test my body with?" So here's the story behind the 100 miles in 24 hours really quick. My brother and I read this book called, Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins. Have you read that?

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. David Goggins is a gangster.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, super inspiring book. This guy's story is amazing. If you haven't listened to it, go listen to it on Audible. So my brother was super inspired by his 45th birthday was coming up. He's like, "Hey, man ..." Me and him, we do some crazy stuff together, challenges sometimes, but nothing like this. He was like, "Hey, I want to run 100 miles in 24 hours from my 45th birthday. I want you to do with me." And I was like, "Bro, I've never even ran a half marathon. The longest I ran is a 10k and a triathlon I did." I was like, "I've never even ran a long distance. So how are we going to do that?" He's like, "Well, I broke out. If we ever about a 14 and a half minute mile for 24 hours, we'll be able to finish in 24 hours." And I'm like, "Okay, 14 half minute mile. You could walk that probably."

And so I was like, "Why don't we do an eight hour test run?" And this was about six, seven weeks ago. "Let's do an eight hour test run and see how our bodies handle that 14 and a half minute pace." So we would just run few minutes every mile and walk at a fast pace the rest of the mile, and we were able to maintain it. But after eight hours with little training ... I do CrossFit every once in a while, maybe two days a week, heavy lifting, yoga and hiking, and that was kind of like my routine. And same thing with him. He was really running. After eight hours of that pace that we maintained, We did about 35 miles in eight hours, we could both barely walk afterwards.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

I was gonna say. Yeah, the joint and the repetitive stress. I mean, you're not used to that if you're not doing hours.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

It was so hard, but we're like, "All right. We just need to multiply that by three." And so we're like, "Okay." His birthday was a month away. He's like, "Let's train for the next month really hard and see what we can do. So I was trying to do every hack I could.

So I went full strict keto. I started doing endurance running. I started wearing a 45 pound vest. The strategy was a lot of sprinting, a lot of interval training, but also just distance. I had to slow my pace down like a mile. I'm running like an eight minute pace, maybe a nine minute pace, but I had to learn how to slow my pace down to about 11 minute pace to be able to maintain that for two, three, four hours at a time.

And actually, I was like, "Well, you know what, usually your lungs give out when you're running a marathon or sometimes when you're running a faster pace." For me, my lungs felt fine. I could maintain that 11, 11 and a half minute pace for a couple hours.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It's a joints and muscle, right? It's a joints and muscle that was going to give out.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

That's where the fatigues comes in. The ankles, the hips, just everything. But anyway, so we started training for hardcore. We announced it, we teamed up with this charity called Operation Underground Railroad, which is an awesome charity that helps save child sex slaves from slavery. There was over 2 million kids enslaved around the world, which is insane to just even fathom.

And I know the owner of this charity personally, Tony Robbins works with these guys. Very popular charity. So anyways, we said, "Hey, we're going to attempt to run 100 miles in 24 hours. And I think this is about the time you guys reached out to me." And I was like, "Hey, you know what, I've taken some ketone esters before in the past, and they've worked great for certain races that I've done." I think I used them for my first triathlon, and you guys reached out to me. I'm like, "Hey, would you guys want to send us some for an experimentation with attempting to run 100 miles in 24 hours?" And you guys did, which I'm super grateful for.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Of course.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I was trying to use every hack I could, cryotherapy, compression boots, IV therapy, red light therapy, Joovv, I use those guys. Anything I could to just hack my body to help my endurance. I did a couple tests runs. I did a 10 hour test run and I felt great. I took the ketone ester, the H.V.M.N.s with about 50 grams of glucose and that gave me energy for at least three hours, I would say.

And then it felt pretty good. After the 10 hour test run, I was sore. The fatigue in my hips and my knees and my joints were sore, but the next day, I went and did compression boots, cryotherapy and IV therapy. And within 24 hours, I felt like new again. I felt great. Even did this CrossFit workout called Murph two days later. Dude, I'm feeling confident. I think I can really do this.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Murph is no joke. It's a mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 sit-ups, another mile. So that's not a joke of a workout.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, and I did it with a 45 pound best too, so I was feeling pretty confident myself that I could do hard things.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

That's legit.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I talked to some other ultra endurance athletes that do keto, and they talked about adding in carbs but on race day. So your body is really fat adapted, your body is really efficient at using ketones as a fuel source. And then on race day, you mix in the ketone esters with some glucose.

And so we ate things like boiled potatoes with salt. We did pickles and beats. I tried to stick with whole foods as much as possible. There was some keto bars that we had, and some nut butters that we used, but whatever it took. Tons of salt, of course. No cramping, which was awesome, which which felt amazing. And then I took the H.V.M.N. ketone esters. I took one full serving, which I've actually I've only taken half serving at a time before just because I was ... Sometimes with ketone esters, you could probably talk about this, but too much energy sometimes, right? That's why you guys recommend taking it with a glucose, correct?

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. I mean, I think it's for optimal fueling. With ketones and glucose, you want to just optimize fuel partitioning? So you get the availability of having availability of ketones and glucose at the same time, which doesn't occur naturally.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, it doesn't occur naturally. So it was really interesting. We took that about three hours in to the race. And from three hours in till I would say about eight hours, a third of the way, we were ahead of pace. Things were going really well. We felt amazing, no fatigue. And then it was about the halfway point where we started to struggle. And this is what happened is we were told we were halfway. When we were only four to three miles in. We weren't checking the mileage. We had people, like a videographer crew telling us, "Okay, you're at this mile." So we kind of just trusted them.

We were an hour ahead of schedule. We're like, "Dude, we got plenty of time. Let's slow down a little bit. We're an hour ahead." And then my brother took too much BHB salts, and he took way too many scoops of that, and the magnesium and potassium went straight through him. And so he got diarrhea.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, I was going to say.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

And then about three hours after we found out we were halfway through, we found out that we were actually behind schedule, and we were at 43 miles instead of 50 miles. So now, the morale kind of dropped. And this was around midnight, I would say.

So we were pretty tired, fatigue set in, and we're like, "Dude, how are we going to make up three hours behind schedule?" Obviously, we're getting more and more tired. So we ended up finishing 80 miles of the race. We finished the full 24 hours, but the last, I would say, six hours or seven hours, I had to walk. I couldn't run anymore. Just the pain in my knee and my hips were just too much. And I just could only walk at a fast pace.

So we didn't accomplish our goal of 100 miles in 24 hours, but I went the full 24 hours. 80 miles isn't bad. And here's the lesson to be learned. I can look at this and say, "Well, it failed you guys at reaching 100 miles." Or I could say in one month of training, I was able to push my body to the limit and find out I could go 80 miles in 24 hours, even though it wasn't the 100 goal, it's amazing what your body can do if you push it to its limits. But had I just said I was going to run a marathon, no one really would have cared or watched it that much or been that interesting. But the fact that we were attempting 100 miles in 24 hours, it was really amazing. And I'm still recovering from it, to be honest with you. But it was a great experience, and to have your guys support too. I'm super appreciative.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Well, congratulations. I mean, that's an insane feat of endurance and mental willpower to just power through that. I mean, I like your style. It just reminds me that when I turned 30, I did a 30 mile typical ultra marathon. I just wanted to do that just as a way to celebrate.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

It's awesome.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

It's like fun. It's all fun and challenges, and I can empathize with that when I hit 26 miles like you just already did a marathon and you got set four miles ago and it was like a painful four miles. So I can imagine that when you're going for 100, hit 50 it's like every mile is infinitely longer than the last mile. And I think when people get above the marathon set it's like you can run 30, you can run 40. You can 40, 50 is about the same. It's like, "No, no, no." Each incremental mile is terrible.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So true, but makes you have respect for people like David Goggins or these ultra endurance athletes. It's like, "Man, I have no idea how you guys do it." It's a whole nother level of mentality that they have that they can tap into part of the brain, they can push through that pain. I mean, just reading David Goggins' book, I think he did his first one with three days at notice.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah, I know. Goggins is a beast. But I think that you have a similar willpower mindset from what you did from the Fit to Fat to Fit and I find probably translatable to things like ultra endurance. Because one of the things with being able to maintain discipline over six months is that patience of being within your own head.

And I would say that I would compare these ultra endurance events to be very similar, because I think there's a physical component, but you're just in your own head for 24 hours and you're just thinking to yourself, like, "Why am I doing this? This hurts, this hurts, this sucks, this hurts, this sucks." What were you telling yourself over that 24 hours?

And that's something I noticed when I've been doing more and more endurance events that I've been able to just get more into the flow of being present in the moment, and less distracted with, "Oh, this hurts, or this sucks." And I can imagine that, that's been able to translate into some of my work life for some of the multi-month long projects is kind of that patience, that motivation that if I were to keep plugging away step by step. I think I've been able to translate some of that patience and mental fortitude into ultra endurance events and vice versa. I'm curious to see if you felt like there was an added fuel from knowing that you're able to do six months of cutting weight and six months of adding weight to what you're doing with the 100 mile challenge.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah, I think all of those challenges I've done in the past have helped me mentally prepare for things like this, where I put it out there to an audience saying, "This is what I'm going to do." So I got to follow through with it and I got to do it. And knowing that I've done some hard things in the past, this was a whole nother level of hard. But I was like, "I got to finish this." That's why at mile 62, my brother actually threw in the towel. He was done. He said he couldn't go anymore. And I was like, "You know what? I'm going to keep going." So for the next two hours, I went on by myself to be honest with you.

And everything was painful, but here's the second thing that I think helped me at that point was attributing to meditation, and how meditation has helped me be in the moment and learn to be grateful in the moments that suck sometimes. And this was a perfect testament of that, where I'm in a moment where things suck, things hurt. And I've got eight hours left to go or whatever. How am I going to get through that? I can easily just throw in the towel and say, "You know what you guys, I tried." But for me, meditation has really helped me to learn to be in the moment, like one step at a time, one breath at a time, and being grateful for each breath and each step that I'm in this race for. There's so much to be grateful for.

I'm out here sacrificing my body for one day out of how many thousands of days we have on this earth to raise money for an organization that I care a lot about. So I wasn't just doing this for fun. I had a big why behind it, and that helped me in the moment and it really feel like mindfulness and meditation have helped me be grateful for moments where in the past I would have been easy just to complain about all the sucky things.

And don't get me wrong. I had moments like that where I was pissed off and things hurt. But I think at the end of the day, I was able to calm myself down and talk myself off the ledge sometimes where I was able to thoughtfully respond instead of reacting in those situations. So I'm attributing that to meditation and mindfulness.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

And I think that's been pretty consistent with some of my conversations with Ironman champions, world champions where there's a sense of gratitude and feeling love for yourself in the moment you're in when you're doing these long events. And I think there's multiple routes to get there, whether that's through meditation practice, or through physical exertion or through your passion.

I think, to me, I've almost felt like these are all just different paths, the same state of being enlightened or same state state of flow. I think, for me personally, I don't know if ... I tend to like more of an active way to get there. But it's interesting to feel that when I have conversations, I don't think you just need to sit there and like breathe to get to the state. Not like you need to do in Ironman to get to the state. I think there's different ways to get to that enlightened state, if you will.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I agree 100%. I think there's different methods for that. So I think that's one thing that helped me get through. I forgot to say. My brother who threw in the towel. He did come back a couple hours later. He took a nap and he ate Denny's Pancakes, and he was like a new man after that. I was like, "Man." And so he ran ahead of me to catch up, to make up for the time, the miles that he had threw in the towel, but he ended up finishing the same amount of mileage as me, but anyways.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. I'm just like reading Goggins' story. Folks that haven't read this story, he got challenged to do 100 miles to qualify for Badwater, which is a popular or famous ultra endurance event. And the race director told him he got to do a 24 hour race to show that he could do it, and then he did it in like three days. I'm sure you must have been like reviewing that story in your head, where he talked about pooping his pants at mile 70 and super behind time. I mean, where he's trying to like bring out your inner Goggins there?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I did. I had it on tape. I had certain sections, certain parts of the race. Especially when I was by myself at nighttime, I put on Goggins audio book. And I was able to get through it, which people that do these ultra endurance marathons ...

To be by yourself in the middle of the night where it's dark and lonely, it's easy to break down mentally, but he's been through buds three times, I think. He definitely has that mental fortitude. For me, I was able to pull from that, or sometimes I was listening to another audible book, and certain songs that definitely get me going,

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

What are the future challenges? I mean, you've done the body weight composition, you've done endurance events, I mean it sounds like this is not going to stop for you. I was like, "We should figure out some challenge to do together." I think that will be fun. I mean I'm all about that. I think it is fun to just have something anchored down and get aggressive at it. What's in store for you?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

We have so many people reach out to us saying, "We want to do this with you, but it was kind of very late notice, obviously." So we were thinking of maybe doing something with other people next time, which I'll keep you posted on if we do that. But right now, my business keeps me really busy with just maintaining it. I have a whole supplement line. I have my own podcast. I have two books out and I have a third business that I'm starting really soon. So it keeps me busy. But I definitely want to do these challenges, I would say once a year.

I don't know what the next one is going to be. We talked about doing something on the Appalachian Trail. But the details will be figured out first before I announce it, but there will be challenges like this. Maybe not as extreme, but still something that's going to push us outside of our comfort zone. I think that's where you grow. That's where you learn who you really are in those moments. And so I'll keep you posted on what the next one is going to be once I know for sure.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Perfect. One question I always like to ask is that if you had infinite resources and infinite tools, money funding to do a study to understand some part of human performance, or some part of human physiology, what would that be? And I guess the alter it, edit it for this conversation, what if you had infinite resources to do a challenge? What could that look like if you could get infinite people, resources, access to whatever? What kind of challenge would you want to do?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

I'll probably after I spit up my answer, think about this and be like, "Man, I should have said this instead." I would love to do a study on why people struggle with transformation and look into it from a deeper perspective rather than a biochemical or a biological, physiological thing that's holding people back. I would love to look into more so a mental, emotional, almost spiritual way of looking into why people struggle with not just physical transformation, but transformation in general. What keeps us back from keeping happiness or fulfillment in this life.

Me and my brand, I'm in the health and fitness industry, but I'm more about helping people achieve fulfillment. And that doesn't come through physical training or financial transformation. I know we're chasing those things all the time, but I would love to find out truly what holds people back more than anything in this world.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Yeah. Well said. I think that's something I've been personally noodling about. A lot of it is just actually in your head in terms of what makes you happy. I think the mental component is something that will be an important contributor there.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Yeah.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

What are the quick shout outs in terms of how people follow you and find more about your story and your programs?

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

So it's super simple, just @fit2fat2fit, with the number two in between. So fit2fat2fit. That's all my social media handles, my website, my podcast, it's my first book, and you can find all my programs just by googling Fit to Fat to Fit and I'll try and keep you guys entertained.

H.V.M.N.
Geoff

Thanks so much, Drew. This is a fun conversation.

H.V.M.N.
Drew M.

Thanks for having me on.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2019 HVMN Inc. All Rights Reserved. H.V.M.N.®, Health Via Modern Nutrition™, Nootrobox®, Rise™, Sprint®, Yawn®, Kado™, and GO Cubes® are registered trademarks of HVMN Inc. ΔG® is a trademark of TΔS® and used under exclusive license by HVMN Inc.