Tarek El Moussa's Trainer Reveals How the Flip or Flop Star Got So Buff After Cancer and Back Surgery

Quintin Tucker opens up to E! News exclusively about Tarek's fitness journey

By Holly Passalaqua, Francesca Bacardi Mar 31, 2017 1:09 PMTags

Tarek El Moussa's body transformation is a real-life Flip or Flop. This time, however, Tarek is revamping his body for the better.

After beating cancer twice and suffering a horrible accident that led him to painful back surgery, the HGTV star was told he would most likely never be able to lift weights again. But once he met Quintin Tucker, his life changed. Tarek received Quintin's contact information after he had back surgery because he needed a physical/corrective therapist. That's where their incredible, uphill battle began.

"When I first met Tarek he could hardly walk. He had reached out to a friend of mine to find someone who could help him get back on his feet and get back into the best shape of his life," Quintin tells E! News exclusively.

Revenge Body: Before & After!
Lin & Jirsa

"It is my understanding that Tarek, after meeting with many specialists, was told he would never be able to lift weights again, and all that could be expected was to manage the pain he was in. When I started working with him he was in a tortuous amount of pain and had been on a multitude of powerful pain medications."

Quintin, who also works as a sports performance and fitness trainer, didn't realize how weak Tarek really was until they worked together for the first time. Tarek "coud not even get onto" the table, so Quintin had to "work on him on the floor."

But as they say, time heals all wounds. "Over a few weeks we progressed, and after only two weeks we had him off of all of his pain medication and began to lift weights," Quintin reveals, lauding the Flip or Flop star for his determination.

Lin & Jirsa

"The amount of motivation and fight Tarek had in the beginning is unmatched by any other client I have yet had and was paramount to his recovery. Session after session he would always say, 'I'm going to be your biggest transformation, I'm going to get back into the best shape of my life,' and he did."

Tarek's transformation, which can be seen on Quintin's Instagram, transcended the physical and became an emotional journey, too, with Quintin revealing the home improvement star "has definitely changed as a man since we began lifting."

"He came to me in possibly the lowest point he had yet experienced in his life. His body was broken, and after every battle he won, he was hit with another tragedy, cancer, back surgery, cancer again etc., until he could barely move without extreme pain and could definitely not even bend over at all," Quintin continues.

Tarek El Moussa Shares Photo That "Represents Winning the War Against My Illnesses"
Lin & Jirsa

"I have seen Tarek transform from a very sad and weathered version of himself to the strongest and happiest version of himself I have seen to date."

As for how Tarek worked for his revenge body, Quintin shares their session secrets. Each session, which usually lasts about an hour, focuses mainly on "multi-joint compound lifts, typically in supersets." They never do any cardio together, but they adjust each workout depending on what Tarek's body "needs," i.e. higher weights, higher intensity or higher volume. Tarek's diet is typically low glycemic with a "moderate amount" of protein and some healthy fats. Sometimes he has dabbled with intermittent fasting.

Lin & Jirsa

Obviously, a transformation like this doesn't come easily. "As much as I would like to take credit, Tarek is extremely self motivated," Quintin gushes. "His biggest motivation was being told repeatedly that he would never be healthy again let alone lift weights. He just kept on saying, 'I am going to get in the best shape of my life.' It was his mantra and he believed it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

"I firmly believe this was magic behind his recovery."

Throughout Tarek's early fitness struggles, Quintin also worried what would happen if Tarek's doctors were right. "I was afraid I would break him," he admits. "I could feel every one of his bones right under the skin and he felt extremely frail."

While Tarek's transformation and revenge body would impress anybody, it's the HGTV star's family that really blew Quintin away. "I would drive up to his house in and would wait for him in his gym while he woke up and we would work out before Taylor was awake," Quintin recalls. "Occasionally she would wake up and run into the gym and begin lifting her mothers little 3 lb. weights. It was the cutest thing ever. They would would always hug and she would say, You're my best friend dad.'

"I always respected what a great father Tarek was, above all else," Quintin says.