Formerly Fit

The inverse of Formerly Fat, in which a character that used to be perfectly healthy ends up overweight or obese.

The reasons for this vary: the fact that they haven't been paying as much attention to their weight could mean apathy, what with them not caring about the world enough to watch their weight. Something huge and life-changing could have happened, resulting in depression. Heartbreak could lead to Drowning My Sorrows or Heartbreak and Ice Cream, which could in turn lead to this. They could give up on their formerly active lifestyle and end up lazy. They could simply be immature or believe in If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You.

This is rarely treated as a positive thing. Often the Formerly Fit person will be chided by other characters and/or show regret for letting it get this far. In those cases, he can usually be persuaded to work it all off.

Compare I Was Quite a Looker, the difference being that the number of years between "then" and "now" doesn't have to be as big, and that whoever was quite a looker does not necessarily have to be currently fat to be unattractive. Parents (and other specifically unhealthy adults) will often overlap both these tropes. Expect Weight Woe when the character finally comes to terms with their unhealthiness. Alternatively, they could grow into being Fat and Proud. Expect A Weighty Aesop.

Contrast Acrofatic, when their weight does not hinder them (or, occasionally, even helps them) in completely outclassing conventionally fitter people.


Anime And Manga
  • In Magi Labyrinth of Magic, after a six month Time Skip, Sinbad visits Aladdin and Alibaba to see how their training is going. They've both been pigging out instead and developed double-chins (and man-boobs in the case of tiny little Aladdin.) Sinbad has a Heroic BSOD, then spends a few panels chasing them around the palace until they run it off.
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun's character profile simply notes Miyamae's the only fat character in the cast due to the stress of being with Maeno. He would immediately lose weight when Maeno's away from his life, in fact, reverting to somehow akin to a Bishōnen.

Comic Books
  • Nelson Jent in Dial H was once a boxer, and though still quite strong and his arms remain muscular, he's very fat and unathletic today. He's also self-conscious about this, and is embarrassed to go to the gym.
  • G.I. Joe: Devil's Due: Bazooka is portrayed as this when he volunteers to return to active duty. Having spent the seven years since the Joes disbanded, he is overweight and out of shape (and balding). He later hits the gym and gets back into shape.


  • In Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, White Goodman goes from fitness guru to blob of lard after being humiliated and losing his gym franchise. Also a subversion of Formerly Fat. White was fat to begin with.
  • Boxer Jake LaMotta as played by Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. DeNiro famously gained a lot of weight to play the scenes from later in LaMotta's life.
  • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Dukes (aka Blob) was a muscular man in Stryker's group. Years after the group disbanded, he becomes obese, more like the comic book version.
  • In The Great White Hype World Champion boxer James "The Grim Reaper" Roper has a huge paunch—he can beat his opponents with ease, so he doesn't train well.
  • In Surf's Up, Big Z is the epitome of health. Flash forward a few character-developing moments, and he's the washed-up, fat, lazy Geek.
  • In Death Becomes Her, Helen Sharp becomes fat due to the depression she suffered from her former fiance Ernest Menville marrying her rival Madeline Ashton, drowning her sorrows in cake frosting while fantasizing about her revenge. She gets back to her original shape later on, though with a little magic potion that would give her eternal beauty and youth for as long as she took care of her body.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Robert Baratheon was once a great and feared warrior, but after Lyanna's death and his ascension to a throne he didn't want, he became so overweight from excessively eating and drinking that even his best friend didn't recognize him.
    • Lysa Arryn was noted to be a lissome young lady, but her years of isolating herself in her castle have gotten to her and when her older sister visits her, her narration negatively points out how fat she's gotten. Game of Thrones inverts this by portraying Lysa as someone overly gaunt and thin.
    • Mace Tyrell was considered a handsome and muscular Hunk in his youth, but has put on the pounds as he's grown older. Although he isn't near as obese as Robert Baratheon.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ludo Bagman is a retired Quidditch Beater, and when meeting him Harry quickly sees that he was a powerful man gone to seed. Later during the Pensieve Flashback Harry sees Bagman then in his prime of health.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", both Watson and Holmes's latest client, Robert Ferguson; they remember each other as athletic rugby players, but find each other sadly changed.
  • At the start of the "Legends" series of the Dragonlance saga, the formerly athletic fighter Caramon Majere has become an obese, alcoholic layabout after being abandoned by his brother Raistlin.
  • Near the start of Some Buried Caesar, Nero Wolfe is stranded in a field by a bull he knows he can't outrun and laments, "Twenty years ago I was an athlete." Generally he seems to have few regrets, though.

Live Action TV
  • A Saturday Night Live sketch parodied the old Hercules movies by this happening to him (Bill Murray).
  • Referenced in an episode of M*A*S*H. Radar decides to start lifting weights in order to build up his muscles to attract girls. Col. Potter recommends against it because when he's older all the muscle will "turn to flab."
  • In Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, the central male character Gaz gets dispirited after losing his girlfriend. He gets so flabby his best friend says he'll never get Donna back looking like that. Gaz looks for exercise he loves doing in order to get his body back into shape again. As this is the sort of unglamorous British sitcom predicated on squick and the lowest common denominator, Gaz duly masturbates his way back to fitness...
  • In the CSI episode "Bittersweet" one of the victims is a now obese former male model who drowned in a vat of high end chocolate. It turns out he became addicted to the chocolate after becoming their spokesperson and drowned himself in the chocolate to spite them by ruining the batch.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope on The Drew Carey Show with Drew's hot fiancee Nicki. She was fat in her backstory but then lost 80 lbs., only 2 short of her target weight. When she starts going out with Drew she gains the weight back, which we can see. When she and Drew try to make a sex tape she sees how fat she has become and breaks up with him shortly before their wedding. A later appearance shows her back to her thin self again.
  • The Big Bang Theory
    • Howard's unseen mother, implied to be hideously obese and in the words of Father Ted, prone to all the horrible ailments inflicted on middle-aged women, and that's a lot of horrible ailments, loudly laments that she was so good-looking as a young woman that hopeful young men would queue up to give her chocolates. ("Oh, why did I eat it all?")
    • Another episode has the main group (and Stuart) dreaming up hypothetical situations about their lives if they hadn't met Sheldon. Leonard imagines that he would have moved in with Raj, who thinks that Leonard would have ballooned to a massive size due to his lack of a girlfriend and Raj's cooking. When Leonard protests, Raj pictures himself as equally fat in the scenario. Stuart then puts himself into the story in a desperate attempt to take part in the conversation; he makes himself obese as well, for no particular reason.
  • In the Dinosaurs episode, "Steroids to Heaven", Earl reveals to Robbie that he used to be skinny in his sophomore year of year high school, and that he was muscular when he was a young adult.
  • In Living Color! parodied the famous super model Fabio by doing a sketch about a formerly fit superstar male model named Magnifico, who's now fat, obsessed with food, and very gross.
  • This was a running theme on The Cosby Show. In college, Cliff was a skilled runner known as "Combustible Huxtable", but years of a stressful job as an OB/GYN (plus a taste for salty, fatty foods) have made him lose his svelte physique.
  • Discussed in an episode of Just Shoot Me!. An old friend of Nina's drops by, and has gained quite a few pounds since they last saw each other. Nina obsesses over how to bring the subject up tactfully, but when she finally does, the friend admits that she knows she's gotten heavier, and doesn't really care; in fact, she's more concerned about Nina's fixation on her weight than the weight itself.
  • Frasier
    • Jane Leeves, who played Daphne, became pregnant in the latter half of the show's run. The producers first tried to cover her baby bump with looser clothes, but this proved ineffective. Instead, they added a subplot about Daphne indulging in sweets and baked goods to deal with the stresses in her life, and thus gaining weight (to add to the effect, the showrunners put her in padded clothing, making her appear bigger than she actually was). The episode "Hungry Heart" was the culmination of this plot—Daphne had become so large that she couldn't get up off the floor when she fell, and was revealed to have hidden chocolates and pastries around the apartment to sneak snacks whenever she wanted— and ended with her going to a health spa to help her overcome her food addiction. After Leeves had her baby, Daphne returned to the show, now at her old size.
    • Maris also dealt with this after Niles divorced her; it's played for laughs, as she was described in the first seasons as having a weight far below ninety pounds. Of course, we never see how she looks either way.

  • In a parody of both Rocky III and the Survivor song "Eye of the Tiger", "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Theme From Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser)" is about a Rocky Balboa who ends up "fat and weak" after getting too lazy. All is not a downer for him, though; he has a new career as the new owner and operator of the neighborhood deli and makes a decent living from it.

Professional Wrestling
  • While Jim Cornette will profess to never having been an athlete, he used to actually be slim and in possession of good cardiovascular stamina. Then he broke both of his knees falling off a scaffold and ballooned up.

Video Games
  • Banjo in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts really let himself go years after last defeating Gruntilda.
  • In the Tekken franchise, Bob was once a very thin and pretty young man, but found his mass inadequate for fighting larger opponents. He trained for years and came up with the solution of gaining lots of fat, but losing none of his speed. While his fangirls (in-universe) were initially upset, Bob's performance, charming personality, and genuine heroic nature eventually won them back. Bob is also an inversion. In some of his endings, he accidentally loses all of his bulk and goes back to his slim size. However, his combat performance notably suffers as a result. Players can even use his slim form via Downloadable Content.
  • In Captain Rainbow, Little Mac from Punch Out has gained a physique like King Hippo due to being out of practice. One of the player's goals is to help Mac get back into shape.

Visual Novel
  • Dangan Ronpa: Byakuya Togami appears conventionally slender in the first game, but by the time the second game rolls around (not that long after) he's grown into quite the Fat Bastard. Subverted, since as it turns out that's not actually him.

Western Animation
  • Bill Dauterive in King of the Hill was a fit star offensive lineman in high school who was nicknamed "the Billdozer" and helped take his team to state. Flashbacks of these glory days showed him as pretty buff but not fat, and with long thick hair (fashionable then) "like Roger Daltrey". By the time he's a middle aged adult on the show, he is obese, balding, hygienically a slob, and pines for the mentally-abusive ex-wife who left him long ago, interestingly named Lenore.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, mob boss Fat Tony is killed and replaced by Fit Tony. The stress of being a mob boss leads Fit Tony to eat more until he becomes known as "Fit Fat Tony", and later on just "Fat Tony".
  • Futurama
    • Happens very quickly in the What If? episode where Bender becomes human.
    • Hermes Conrad was once a fit professional limboer taking part of the Olympics until he retired after a kid broke his back trying to limbo. He's currently in poor shape to limbo in the current Olympics with his large belly in his way, but can still limbo as well as his past prime self.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender's General Iroh was a strapping, powerful Firebender in his youth. However, the death of his son led him to abandon active military service. He retained his Firebending skills, but his excessive eating habits led him to getting way out of shape. He uses a brief stint in captivity to work off the excess fat and reveal a powerful physique underneath. The Legend of Korra meanwhile has Tenzin's brother Bumi, who was a fit Commander in the military during his One-Scene Wonder appearance in the first season. By the time the second season rolls around six months later, he's retired and gone to seed, and in the forth season he manages to work most of it off again.
  • A flashback in the Talespin episode, "On a Wing and A Bear" reveals that Baloo used to be quite fit.
  • The Regular Show episode "Power Tower" reveals that Muscle Man earned his name by being a pro bodybuilder. He retired after being bored of winning competitions all the time and became the fat layabout he is today.
  • "The Fire of Hercufleas," an episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, saw this happening to the titular character (an Expy of Hercules). He was originally a great warrior, but after being tasked with guarding some mystical flames, he no longer needed to stay in shape and so became incredibly fat and lazy. When King Koopa shows up, he easily defeats the obese Hercufleas, prompting a Heroic BSOD. Thankfully, the Mario Bros. are around to provide some friendly Training from Hell.
  • On Robot Chicken, Jared was locked in a bakery.

Real Life
  • You can flip through the cover art of each Rascal Flatts album and watch lead singer Gary LeVox go from average to visibly overweight.
  • Two different models and personal trainers deliberately invoked this on themselves independently of each other: Paul "P.J." James of Great Britain and Drew Manning of the United States. They explained that they wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the difficulties overweight people face when trying to get in shape, and so gained as much weight as possible to learn what it was like to have to lose it all.