Innovative Fit2Fat2Fit Franchise and the Importance of Empathy with Owner Drew Manning

Are you interested in the fitness industry, but a brick and mortar franchise just isn’t within reach? My guest this week, Drew Manning has created a franchise program that might be the answer! Drew is here to share how his mission to change the fitness industry led to the creation of a franchise with a low barrier to entry and focus on empathy and support to set franchisees and their clients up for success. You will definitely want to hear about what Drew is doing in the fitness and franchise worlds!

Drew noticed a disconnect between himself and his clients as a personal trainer and couldn't figure out what was going on. He was an athlete and had all of the technical knowledge that should help his clients lose weight and get fit, but nothing seemed to stick. So he decided to intentionally gain weight to really understand what his clients were going through. He documented his journey online which led to a TV show, book deals, a massive following, and now his franchise all called Fit to Fat to Fit. His mission is to change the way we approach weight loss through connection and empathy— and he is using the franchise model to make that impact.

Outline of This Episode

[01:56] Drew’s journey to gain 75lbs and then back to fitness

[03:56] How Drew began building his audience

[06:06] The emotional connection to food and how empathy can help

[10:21] Why cultivating empathy can create a better franchise program

[12:25] Using franchising to increase impact

[12:25] How Drew and his business partner came up with their unique franchise program

[16:05] How the Fit to Fat to Fit franchise is monetized

[18:00] What makes Fit to Fat to Fit unique

[22:56] Who is a good match for this franchise model

[24:56] What steps Drew took to build his audience

[28:02] Using click funnels and ebooks to monetize his brand

[32:33] Drew shares how his low points led to finding his purpose

[33:48] Using authenticity and vulnerability to find your tribe

[40:33] Learning how to rewire your neural pathways to reach your goals

The path from fitness leader to franchisor

I am excited to welcome Drew Manning to the show to talk about his innovative franchise model for Fit to Fat to Fit. Drew is the bestselling author of Fit to Fat to Fit. as well as a hit TV show and podcast. Drew was an athlete growing up and decided to become a personal trainer as a natural extension of his knowledge and experience in the fitness realm. He soon realized that he had all of the technical knowledge to help people get fit, but there was a serious disconnect and he couldn’t seem to help his clients stick to a fitness and nutrition regime. He decided to intentionally gain weight and then work through his own steps to try and bridge the gap and understand what was truly holding his clients back. He documented his journey online and his brand took off. He wanted to figure out a way to make the greatest impact possible through his empathy-based system of serving clients and decided creating a simple, affordable franchise program focused on intensive training and support for franchisees was the best way to do that. 


I am seriously excited about Drew’s franchise model and you won’t want to miss the details we discuss!

Empathy is the key to connecting with clients

Drew’s secret sauce to success has been his mission to understand and empathize with his client’s experience. He talks about how coming down from the mountaintop and seeing the path from his client’s perspective helped him see the deep emotional connection to diet and weight loss that he couldn’t see before. His empathy-based philosophy has helped him create a franchise system that recognizes what tools, training, and support franchisees need to be successful. Drew is passionate about his brand and mission and has created a truly unique and accessible franchise. You will definitely want to listen to find out more about his process and incredible journey!

Using vulnerability to build an authentic tribe

I was really interested to learn how Drew built such a strong brand. Drew emphasizes the importance of vulnerability in building a truly authentic and loyal tribe. Drew didn’t have a master plan or strategy to get book deals or book interviews on the Dr. Oz show. Instead, he focused on being raw and real from the beginning. He says his ex-wife filmed his original weight gain journey and those videos with his kids in the background! This realness made him and his brand relatable and helped him gain the following online that eventually led to bigger opportunities to increase his reach. 


Giving yourself permission to grow

As we dig into vulnerability and authenticity, Drew talks about how he walked through low points in his life personally and financially. When asked about mentors and resources, Drew shared some amazing insights into personal development and growth. Yes, there are coaches out there to help you with specific systems and programs and help you achieve your goals. But Drew was also quick to point out Brene Brown’s work, Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan’s Podcasts as resources that have made a huge impact in his life. 


Addressing limiting beliefs and learning to view vulnerability as a strength does not need to be unattainable. You don’t have to hire a life coach or sit down with Tim Ferriss in order to learn and experience personal growth. Drew describes all of these people as important mentors in his life although he’s never worked with any of them directly. We have tons of incredible information at our fingertips, but the change starts to happen when we actually give ourselves permission to grow. 


Drew shares some amazing insights into the fitness industry, practical steps for personal and business growth, and his incredible journey. You won’t want this episode to end!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew Manning

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