Want to learn how to easily get your first 5,000 subscribers? Download this free eBook to learn how.

I Had The Depressing Realization That I Got Fat… So I Fixed It
Last Updated May 2nd, 2017

So, I had a speaking engagement. And I had a big problem.

I went to button my blazer and the button popped off…


So I settled for my second favorite blazer, and then it got worse.

I was speaking at an event for personal trainers. As I walked in front of the crowd, everything became crystal clear: Everyone was fit. Except me. I had gotten fat. And I looked like a meatball. A big. Fat. Meatball.

I know.

I’m being harsh.

But it was bad.

I Gained More Than 30 Pounds…

I had gained more than 30 pounds. My doctor told me my blood pressure was on the high-end of normal. And I really had no excuse. I had a heart condition that they luckily cured, and there I was… playing with fire…

What happened!?

Am I lazy?

Am I stupid?

Do I just not care about living a long, healthy life?


It’s none of those things.

…Because I Focused On Everything But Health

Entrepreneurs and business owners get caught up in their own heads. They let their health slide because… “WORK! WORK! WORK!”

Parents do the same thing. They let their health slide because… “KIDS! KIDS! KIDS!”

And I told myself I just didn’t have the time.

“The gym? It’s 20 minutes to get there. It’s an hour to work out. It’s 20 minutes to get back. Then I have to shower. UGH! I got a business to build.”

We focus so much on our business, we forget about ourselves.

We focus so much on our kids, we forget about ourselves.

We focus so much on everything else and we forget about ourselves.

But You Can’t Accomplish Anything In Life If You’re Dead

I knew this.


And yet, I did nothing about it.

If anything… I did the exact opposite of everything I knew I should do.

And no joke: just a few months before this event, I went to the doctor and asked for a blood test. I kept thinking, something MUST be wrong with me.

And I was right. When I got the test results, I got horrible news. Something was wrong with me. Not biologically wrong.

It was worse.

I Had Gained Weight And It Was 100% My Fault


I desperately wanted the doctor to tell me, “Well, Derek. You passed 30 years old. Metabolism slows down.”

I wanted him to then go on, “This is so strange. You have a hormone problem. That’s why you’re gaining weight.”

And as horrible as this sounds…

I even hoped he’d tell me something like, “You have some incurable condition and that’s why you’re fat.”

But it was none of those things.

I had gained weight and it was my fault.

My doctor told me to go on a diet and start working out.

But I didn’t listen.

And It Began Hurting My Business

You may have noticed that I didn’t do many videos in 2016. If I’m being honest, it’s at least partly due to the fact that I got fat. I launched a new course in January and remember thinking “man, I look horrible.” And then I stopped doing videos.

We still had a great year for business. We launched two new courses: Seven Figure Courses and Sales Page that Converts. We also released the Zippy Courses SAAS into beta. But the regular videos were gone. Which is weird. I like doing video. Many people found me because of these videos and I stopped doing them.

And what’s MOST interesting is this:

I can start and grow a business. And I can help people do the same exact thing. But when it came to my health, it was almost as if I had the mental capacity of a toddler.

So, I Knew I Had To Make A Change

What could I do?

I had a lot of excuses.


“I don’t have the time.”

“This isn’t my priority right now.”

“It’s not the right time.”

And the list went on.

And that’s when I knew I couldn’t do this alone.

I needed help.

And believe me, this was a tough pill to swallow.

I’m a successful entrepreneur!

I run a great business!

I launched 3 products this year!!!


But I did.

I needed to get out of my own way and make fitness and health a commitment.

…And That’s When I Met Christopher Coulson

Chris was in the navy for 10 years, and he had finally gotten out about a year prior. Now he was a personal trainer and he told me he could whip me into shape.

I said, “Okay. But I hate cardio.” And he laughed. “So do I.”

So, what happened?

Step 1: He Made Me A Meal Plan…

Chris made me a meal plan with food suggestions.

It was an easy meal plan to follow, too.

As an example…

For breakfast, I’d get to eat a delicious egg omelette with chicken and spinach. I’d also get a half a bagel with peanut butter.

I was shocked. “Dude!?!? A bagel!?!?”

He told me, “Yea man. That’s so you keep your sanity.”

It made complete sense. He knows that dieting is mentally taxing and he even accounted for it by working in what he calls SANITY FOOD. Sanity food is food that you like so that you don’t feel deprived while getting healthy.

Now if I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t 100% easy. Sometimes I’d feel hungry. Real hungry. After all, I was eating far less calories than I was used to eating…

…and he’d fire back. “Eat a cucumber.”


Apparently cucumbers have almost no calories. And they’re quite filling. So I became “cucumber man.”

Step 2: Chris then gave me a workout routine.

And the best part?

No cardio.

He focused on doing a specific set of exercises to help me get leaner and more toned. And then he’d throw in some circuits so that I could burn extra calories.

Now I won’t lie to you. At first, it was challenging. I had a shoulder injury and a lower back injury, but my doctor told me I was “good to go to workout.”

I was out of shape, but I was determined.

It was operation make Derek fit again and Chris was the leader.

Step 3: He Then Held Me Accountable

This is the most important part.


I needed someone to call me on my BS.

I needed someone to “report to” about my results or else I would just stop going to the gym like so many other times in the past.

And That’s When I Finally Noticed Changes…

As weeks passed, I saw the fat melting off my body. As months passed, that’s when other people began to notice it, too.

It felt good. I could finally wear my clothes again. I didn’t have a double chin. And I felt great both physically and mentally.

Total weight loss? I went from 190 pounds down to 161.8 in about 4 months.

And that’s when my friends started asking me about my success. “How did you do it?”

I always gave Chris all the credit.

Then my friends started signing up with him. And he got so booked that he now no longer accepts private clients.

Then, I Had An Interesting Idea…

I was talking to Chris. I told him, “You changed my life and I think we need to get your expertise out into the world. We need to take your skills online.”

He was down.

I wanted to create a one-on-one online fitness coaching program with Chris as the leader. I wanted him to help other entrepreneurs get fit again like he did for me.

I also wanted him to create some content specifically for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to make health a priority.

So, if you have any interest in learning more…

…just fill out this survey right now.

It’s short.

Now Let Me Tell You Everything I Learned…

Survey aside, I learned a lot throughout this fitness journey.

Thing #1: Here’s Why Everyone Posts Workout Photos On Social Media

Before I made fitness a priority, I’d always laugh at people who posted workout pictures. “What’s wrong with these people? We get it. YOU’RE FIT.”


When I started to get fit, I did the same exact thing.

“What gives?”

I’ll tell you what gives.

When you make a commitment to health and fitness, you begin to feel great about yourself. And you can’t help but want to share it.

Now I didn’t go “full” “workout share mode.”

Now that I go to the gym, I'm supposed to show everyone how hard I work out, right? #lookhowgreatmylifeis

A post shared by Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) on

I just made fun of myself.

But I totally understand why people do it.

Focusing on fitness and health makes you feel great and you want to share it.

Thing #2: You May Never Like Exercising

I’ve been working out consistently since for about 9 months or so now. And let me tell you this: I still don’t like it.

Everyday I have to go to the gym I come up with an excuse as to why I shouldn’t go.

Every. Single. Day.

This is why having someone hold me accountable has been so important for my success (and my health).

I’m not sure why I don’t like it…

…but let me tell you this:

I love sending text messages like this to the lady:

I know. It’s silly. But it makes me laugh. It makes the lady laugh too.

So even though I don’t like the process, I sure as heck love the results. I also love the dumb cheesy jokes I can bring to my relationship.

Thing #3: Cutting Calories Sucks

When people see how much weight I lost, they always say, “Wow! You look great. And how do you feel?”

I’ll tell you how I feel.



Well, not really.

What I learned about food was this: sometimes I would think I was hungry when I was actually feeling something else.

Sometimes I’d be bored… and I’d think I was hungry.

Sometimes I’d be frustrated… and I’d think I was hungry.

Sometimes I’d be tired… and I’d think I was hungry.

It’s weird.

I’ve always had good control over how I felt when it came to business stuff. But when it came to better understanding how I felt about hunger, things were backwards.

And That Brings Me Full Circle…

Hi, I’m Derek Halpern.

I’m an entrepreneur.

I’m a business owner.

And I finally made a commitment to my health and fitness.

Thank you Chris!

And if you’re curious about how you could potentially work with Chris too.

…just fill out this survey right now.

It’s short.


Leave a comment on this blog post.

What has your journey for health and fitness looked like?

Did you fall off the wagon like I did?

Have you been committed for years?

Share it all in the comments.

Spread the love!

Join OVER 200,000 subscribers


Click here to sign up

Need more? Choose your path below

32 comments Leave a comment
Alisha Donnelly

Nice post. The way of presentation and all is also very short but effective. Hoping to see new post soon


I was wondering about your videos….I would send links to clients all the time because I love your style and while it comes through in writing, it is even better in video. And, your topic is quite timely, so thank you for the inspiration. I have not wanted to do videos for the same reason and I know I need to get back to doing them, so I will go do some cardio (I like cardio :)! Thank you for sharing this story!

Phyllis Khare

THIS line — “I can start and grow a business. And I can help people do the same exact thing. But when it came to my health, it was almost as if I had the mental capacity of a toddler.”

Yep. Know this one deeply. I’m in the middle of a plan to bring my body around to match the awesomeness of my business. Thanks for the inspiration and the laugh.


Wow, look how hot you got!! 😍

Does that mean you’ll start posting videos again this year?


This is a good timing to remind me to really have to cardio now. Thanks Derek!


Oh man i get you on this one, I recently injured myself while working and tore my hip muscle, I can walk again now but I spent so much time laying around that I gained a tonne of weaight and just dont feel as great about myself as I would like. In a job where I specifically do what I do to help people feel good about themselves this can really show up as a lack of confidence in what Im pushing…something I really need to get onto!


Great post Derek, and good for you for taking charge of your health!

Staying fit has always been fairly easy for me as I grew up playing competitive sports all through my 20s. I could eat pretty much what I wanted, just exercising a bit more or cutting some sweets if clothes started to feel a little tight. Working out was always my source of sanity even when school or work got crazy hectic. Living in NYC I used to easily walk several miles a day while also teaching group fitness classes, and approaching my 40s I was in the best shape of my life!

Then I had my baby and moved to the burbs… Talk about a drop in my activity level!!! I can squeeze in a quick circuit while the baby naps, but even then it’s hard to get anywhere near my old activity levels, and being home all day it’s soooo easy to snack all day… And yes, accountability is a big issue here. When your outings are pretty much limited to the playground and the supermarket, it’s just so easy to start thinking “oh well, why bother…”

So keeping fitness and health as a priority has certainly become a challenge! Like someone else who commented here, I’m still slim, but not like I used to be. And while other people probably can’t even tell, it sometimes makes me feel lousy, but I also try not to be too hard on myself. I can still do burpees faster than most people half my age 😉

I actually want to start a business connecting other stay-at-home moms who struggle with staying active and fit while going to the gym regularly is not an option. I think having a community of like-minded people would really help on the accountability front!

Cheers for you Derek for helping Chris take his training online!


Awesome post Derek. I’m actually in the same spot as you. I’m actually really glad you shared this because it’s comforting to hear another entrepreneur going through the same thing for the same reason.

Last year I saw a video of me doing a hotseat with Ramit and I looked chunky. And I realized I had gained 40lbs since I started my business. It got me depressed for a while and I decided to make a change this year.

As of Jan, I’ve dropped 21 lbs lifting heavy, doing some cardio and mostly eating properly with the weekly cheat days.

Its been doing wonders for my confidence and business (especially since my job is to literally tell guys to invest in their appearance!).

I was feeling a little guilty/weird about posting workout pics on social media, but you’ve totally inspired me to do it. I think it’ll be a nice little ego boost to keep me motivated.


What an inspiring post. I’ve re-started my journey as I also feel that it is interfering with my business progress. I’m enjoying the journey and looking forward to achieving my goal!


No question taking care of my health and fitness is a must if I’m going to be at my best and do my best work for myself and those I’m out to serve. Making time for fitness is making time for success. Easier said than done of course since we all know we “need” to exercise, we “should” exercise” we “want” to exercise, yet we “don’t exercise” because there are too many other priorities that come first on our list that we must first tend to (kids, customers, spouses, friends, family, social life, etc) and when we have some extra time (read never) we then take care of our #1 asset (ourselves) last.
Terrible pattern that many entrepreneurs (including myself for a while) fall into. AND, with so much info (more than is necessary) even those entrepreneurs who want to start making a change and putting themselves first, prioritizing their health and fitness have no idea where to start and even if they do start, it’s short lived and their right back to their same ole pattern of not getting it done. Knowing what to do, how to do it, what to eat, and when accounts for about 20% of all results. The other 80% is the why… WHY are you ready to prioritize your health and fitness? Why is it important to you now? What’s different this time? Why will you finally stay committed this time.

Without knowing and tapping into this (I’m sick of showing with the lights off to I don’t have to see myself, my kids are unhealthily overweight because they see me and I am as well, diabetes and other illness runs and my family and got the best of my parents and that will NOT be me) sticking to a consistent health and fitness routine will be short lived. We see it every 1st of the year, and this is the reason. Lots of ambition, lots of desire, not enough reasons, enough deep rooted whys. They type that’ll get you out of bed at 5am to go workout when your alarm clock goes off and not just hit snooze, roll over, and go back to sleep. The type that WILL have you eating that cucumber when a bagel is so much more satisfying.

All the accountability in the world means little if you aren’t committed to your reasons for having that accountability in place to begin with. I’m shut up now but as you can tell, I’m very passionate about this because I’m passionate about serving my fellow entrepreneurs to continue feeling their absolute best in order to keep doing the work they love to the best of their ability while feeling and looking the way they want o feel and look in the process.

That is why Entrepreneur Fitness Academy exists – to help serve entrepreneurs committed to taking their health & business to that next level. Hope this helps and Derek, good on you man! Keep at it…. Cheers!


I’ve had many of the same findings as you, especially with social accountability. It’s what works for me.

Right now I’m totally off the wagon.

Hoping to get into the program with Chris and make a big change.

Elsa Razborsek

Hi Derek,

Great post! I love all things health & fitness… And yet I too have somewhat fallen off the wagon. As an entrepreneur and mum of (soon) two little girls, I completely relate to what you say about life being all about: WORK, WORK, WORK! KIDS, KIDS, KIDS!

Thankfully, I’ve got a great metabolism, eat pretty healthy and tend to walk almost everywhere. So even without working out, I always look slim & fit… At least to other people. Personally, I know how I used to look like before becoming a mum, and I long to look & feel that way again!

Still, because I’m slim and super busy, I can easily get away with skipping my workouts. And this has been a challenge.

I may look fine and be healthy, but I know that I’m not in my best shape and this makes me feel lousy about myself.

Your story really inspired me to get back on track — right after I deliver Baby #2 in a couple of weeks’ time! 😉

Take care,
Elsa xx



Epic post Derek!

You’re the best


Hey Derek,
You always do such an awesome job of letting us in your world and getting down on the ordinary guy or gal’s level. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this could relate to you.

LOVE the pic text to your girl. LOL

Chris Huntley


Am I sensing that Ramit had a little bit to do with incorporating the accountability? ;D. Anyways, good job man. I for one have always been the athletic type with dancing for 12 years as a break dancer and also working out consistently throughout my 20s. I’m realizing in my 30s I have to be smarter about my workout routines and also my food choices since my body can’t handle certain things like it used to. As the saying goes, it’s a journey not a destination. Keep up the great work man!


It’s so true about letting your health slide due to your business or kids! We’re all guilty of that at some point in our lives. When you witness friends or family members go through health issues, it really puts things in perspective. Your health is definitely your greatest asset!

Glad to see your health improve! One of the perks too about losing weight is it makes you look younger.


Very interesting story, Derek.
As I recall, you’re “thirty-something”, right? Got lots of money; just need to drop a few pounds and you’ll live forever!
Except… it doesn’t work that way.
Your whole life (and mine) is just a “sorting process”. Our creator wants to see who wants to join Him for the REAL life that is coming to all of us..
Human mortality rate: 100% still, right?
Fortunately, there are answers to all of this.

scott flear

Great post, it’s good to see some big internet marketing names speak highly of the importance of health and fitness.

Gary Halbert in the Boron letters started off by addressing health and fitness before moving on to any marketing lesson.

I ALWAYS feel better and more energetic after a workout, I can’t wait to then hit the desk and get to work but I also think of excuses all the time before going to the gym. Just start the process of getting ready for the gym and go.

You never regret a workout you do. Ever.

Something I want to start doing is getting up earlier and doing a morning walk for 30 minutes, followed by a 45-minute workout and then a cold shower and ready for the day. I don’t think there is a better way to start off the day, doing it is another thing though.

Good work Derek, looking good brotha!


I’ve always been a bit chubby and have been yoyo dieting since the age of 10. Would love, for once, not to be overweight or thinking about sweet treats.


That Coulson fellah is so smart.


    You mean to say, Sol, that he could even get a cookie monster like you in shape? 😉


My wife and I were born and raised with athletics. We were both professional athletes in our respective sports in our 20s. Some of our friends never took workouts seriously until their 30s or 40s and some never worked out at all! So as my wife and I rapidly approach our 60s, it’s still true that no day goes by without a workout. We notice that for those starting late, results often do happen. However, for our friends afflicted with DAS, Delayed Adopter Syndrome, just be aware that their discipline didn’t become habit easily. Oprah was one very public example of that.



I’ve been anticipating this blog post, Derek, as have noticed that you’ve been improving your body composition, and thought you’d be sharing about it at some point.

As a blogger myself, I’ve long thought that one thing online marketers like yourself are not teaching bloggers and their ilk is how to get and stay healthy. Such is as important as how to increase traffic, conversions, build a product, et al.

That new adage, “Sitting is the new smoking” tells the tale — bloggers that sit on our butts all day as we write and create digital products are slowly eroding our health.

As a health blogger, this realization has led me to ponder an fitness approach for bloggers and other “knowledge workers” who basically are either sitting or lying down nearly every waking (and sleeping) hour of their lives.

Humans were not designed to sit all day. Bad for health. Good for soft bodies.

Great news, though, the science behind such exercise programs in the genre of the “7-minute body” says that pushing away from the desk every hour and doing as little as 2 minutes of exercise can add up to better health and improved body composition; ie: more muscle, less fat.

This would be the genesis of a fitness program for bloggers.

I’ll get to it one day. 😉

Appreciate what you do, Derek… keep it up… and keep steady w/ those workouts!


You’re one of the few people I keep following whenever I have time due to being busy with my business and a baby. You always post relevant information and I truly appreciate it !!!


Love this! This is what I’m all about. My site – hustlehealthy.com – is all about mental and physical health for Entrepreneurs. It’s amazing how a healthy fit body and mind can change your life AND your business. Glad you were able to help Chris get his stuff online, and congrats on your amazing results!


A great read, thank you Derek! Being thin was always easy for me…until it wasn’t. Having a baby and focusing on everyone and everything but myself caught up with me. I can 100% relate to all your excuses. Accountability has always been key for me and I’m determined that 2017 is the year to get back on the wagon! I’ve lost 8lbs so far and have 25 more to go. Looking forward to seeing what you develop with this health and fitness theme!


Bravo, Derek!

I had cancer last year (killed it before it killed me!), and after that, I fell into some bad “let’s celebrate LIFE” eating habits. Plus, I was sitting around on my duff as I was “too busy catching up with my business to go for a walk or lift weights” habits.

40 fluffy pounds later… YIPES.

You’ve inspired me — THANKS!


My health and fitness journey has been full of fits and starts. I’ll eat better for a little while then slack off. I’ll start working out, but I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I stop. At one point I lost a significant amount of weight but eventually gained all but 20 of it back. It’s been a long, frustrating journey!


You know how hot Elizabeth Hurley still is? I just read a comment from her “it’s OK to go to bed hungry” Oh, man!

Terrific results, Derek!


My fitness journey was pretty consistent until injuries took over. Not like a pro athlete or anything like that, but in pretty good shape for a 53 year old guy. I still work out as much as possible, but I’m quite limited now. Like they say, don’t take your health for granted…although I’m very thankful I’m better off than many people, it still sucks getting injured and “poof” life changes in an instant. Good for you for taking control of your fitness & eating!

Eddy Baller

I hated the commute to the gym too, so I turned half of my bedroom into a gym. Combination of free weights and cable pulleys which do everything. Will upgrade when I get a bigger place. If I don’t work out within a few days I feel like I’m melting into a fat pos.
Congrats on taking getting back to it.


Looking Good, Derek!! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a comment