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The fatter the fitness trainer, the better? Add to ...

A personal fitness trainer in Utah has been grabbing headlines lately for letting his rock-hard abs billow into a soft, flabby gut by intentionally gaining 70 pounds.

Since May, Drew Manning has been chronicling his weight gain on his blog Fit2Fat2Fit.com to understand what it’s like to be overweight. His goal is then to return to his previous, muscular figure and inspire others to get fit, Utah news KSL.com reports.

The 6-foot-2 trainer started out at 193 pounds with a 34.5-inch waist. As of Oct. 15, he weighed 263.4 pounds and had a waist of 47.5 inches.

But as he describes on his blog, he hasn’t gorged on fried chicken and milkshakes to achieve his corpulent figure. His calorie consumption is hardly what you’d call light, but to many, it’s not extreme either. In fact, his diet is meant to reflect the “typical American diet.”

One day, he says, he ate a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and a few sips of his wife’s spinach shake for breakfast; two handfuls of goldfish crackers and a large glass of Pepsi Max for a morning snack; a big bowl of angel hair pasta with four-cheese marinara sauce and a small glass of Pepsi Max for an 11:30 a.m. lunch. At noon, he ate a small package of dessert Swiss rolls. For a mid-afternoon meal, he ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich on white bread. For dinner at 6 p.m., he hate a large plate of white rice and barbecue chicken, and a few pieces of licorice for dessert, then at 9:30 p.m., he finished the day with a small bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

If Mr. Manning’s experiment sounds familiar, you may recall human-guinea-pig Paul James, an Australian personal trainer and ex-model, who, in 2009, went from 80 kg to 110 kg in three months to get a better understanding of how his clients felt.

“If I can show people how hard it is to be this big, hopefully it will motivate people not to make the choices I have,” he told the Australia’s Herald Sun.

Could these personal trainers be onto something? To better inspire others to slim down, do you need to have been overweight yourself? After all, fitness guru Jillian Michaels, of The Biggest Loser fame, is known for her own early struggles with weight.

Does first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be overweight make trainers more effective?

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