Soulful Southerner and country-music newcomer Jeff Bates has been blazing up the charts with his debut album Rainbow Man and hit single "I Wanna Make You Cry." But unlike the hard drinkin', crazy livin' country stars of yonder, Bates is serious about staying fit. So when MF asked Bates to write a song about staying in shape, he put down his six-shooter and picked up his six-string. Despite a hectic recording and performance schedule, Bates, 40, is able to lift weights three to four times per week and does a half hour of cardio every day. He has been working out regularly for the past two years and now stands 5'9", 175 lbs. But Jeff wasn't always so fit. You should've seen him "50 Pounds Ago."

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50 Pounds Ago
Jeff Bates/Kenny Beard/Jimmy Yeary*

Me and my buddy working out at the gym
He spots me and I spot him
Push a little harder now, come on man
Don't know if I can do it, but he says I can
I sweat and complain, cry and moan
But it sure beats life
50 pounds ago!

Alarm goes off - I'd rather sleep
But I put my clothes on and I grab my keys
Get to the gym before 8 a.m.
My back is really sore, but my belly's slim
Do a hundred and five squats in a row
Y'know I couldn't do one
50 pounds ago!

Low-carb, no carb, countin' grams
Ain't had a honey bun since I don't know when
Skinless chicken and salad too
Drinkin' water like the camels do
To look at me now you'd never know
I had a double chin
50 pounds ago!

I just made a video for RCA
Thank the good Lord that I lost that weight!
I'll never be a buff bodybuilding machine
Like the guys in Men's Fitness magazine
But when I look down now I can see my toes
That's more than I could say
50 pounds ago!

*Courtesy of the RCA Records Label Nashville.
Bates' debut album, Rainbow Man, is in stores now.
Find out more about Jeff at