Brooklyn-based personal trainer Adonis Hill did something seemingly crazy to help his client Alissa Kane lose weight. He ate loads of junk food, gave up exercise and put on almost 70 pounds. Here’s a look at whether his unorthodox technique – which some have described as an incredible act of solidarity – worked.
If your personal trainer suddenly started eating McDonald’s every day, put on nearly 70 pounds and was diagnosed with high blood pressure, you’d probably look elsewhere. But Brooklyn-based fitness fanatic Adonis Hill’s rapid weight gain wasn’t down to a lack of professional pride. Instead it was an act of solidarity to help motivate client Alissa Kane for a new reality TV show. The big question is, did it work?
Hill and Kane came together to take part in the third episode of Fit to Fat to Fit, a new weight-loss show on A&E. Its premise? To challenge personal trainers to pile on the pounds so they can better understand their clients’ struggles.
Before becoming a trainer Hill had overcome his own struggle with food addiction. After his business failed at the age of 27 he sunk into a deep depression and turned to comfort eating; at one point he weighed as much as 310 pounds.
Just two years later, however, Hill had managed to turn things around – shifting a mightily impressive 100 pounds in the process. After building up muscle by turning to weightlifting Hill embarked on a new career as a personal trainer.
Hill admitted that he was apprehensive about slipping back into his old food habits. “The last time I was big I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts,” he explained to GQ. “And, superficially, I was worried about the man boobs.”
But Hill purposely undid all his good work when he signed up for Fit to Fat to Fit. He switched to an 8,000-calories-per-day meal plan that included breakfast donuts, lunchtime pizzas and McDonald’s dinners. Oh, and plenty of Oreos in between.
The trainer managed to add 50 pounds but getting to 70 proved a problem. To ensure Hill reached his target he decided to drink a gallon of soda every day – in addition to doing no exercise whatsoever.
It may sound the stuff of guilty fantasies, but Hill’s junk food diet proved to be a health nightmare. His sudden weight increase saw his sleep affected, while he was also hospitalized following a spike in his blood pressure.
Hill was eventually forced to quit the calorific diet when doctors warned that he was at real risk of suffering a heart attack. Others cautioned that the trainer, who by this point had put on 69 pounds, could contract heart disease or diabetes.
Doctors also expressed concern that Hill had an unfair advantage over his client when it came to losing excess weight. Dr. Nitin Shori, a GP, told the Huffington Post that the trainer’s comparably high muscle mass and general fitness would “make it easier for him to lose the weight.”
But despite the warnings it was time for Hill to team up with Kane, a Big Apple-based teacher who at the time weighed 308 pounds. Kane was so overwhelmed by her trainer’s physical transformation that she burst into tears at their first meeting.
The pair then immediately gave up all junk food and embarked on a diet that was high in protein and fat but low in carbs. Their unhealthy meals were replaced by porridge oats, grilled chicken salads and vegetable-laden stir fries.
They also stuck to a punishing fitness routine that included an hour lifting weights and an hour’s cardio work at least five days a week. Despite his background Hill admitted that he could barely do a solitary pushup once the regime started.
Hill also revealed that he found it hard to stick to their strict diet plan. “I was putting in a lot of work in the gym,” he told BuzzFeed, “but eating right was hard this time because I was coming off an old addiction. I had to wean myself off unhealthy food.”
Viewers of Fit to Fat to Fit regularly saw the pair running through a graveyard. Why? Well, because it served as a hard-hitting reminder that unhealthy eating can eventually be fatal.
After four months of getting fit the pair took to the scales to see how much they’d lost. Incredibly Alissa had shed 58 pounds – a whole pound more than her fitness guru had managed to shift.
As with all weight-loss shows the most dramatic moment came with the big reveal to Kane’s friends and family. You can see that all of Alissa’s hard work – which she admitted to enjoying – certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
Hill later revealed on his Instagram page why his methods worked for Kane. It wasn’t a case of asking her about her fitness goals, he explained, but determining what her life goals were. “I became her friend first then her trainer,” he added.
Kane still goes to the gym, and she often posts workout updates to Instagram. Hill, meanwhile, has gone back to his more conventional personal-trainer lifestyle. “It’s so much deeper than lifting weights,” he told BuzzFeed. “It’s where I get my sanity from.”
With one challenge completed, Hill is preparing himself for another. His aim is to walk the width of the U.S. to California from New York – raising awareness of the benefits of light exercise as he goes.
The personal trainer plans to take 210 days to walk almost 2,800 miles in a trip dubbed Adonis Moves America. This is a man, it seems, who will stop at nothing to promote the benefits of regular exercise.