Nutrition is often seen as a belief system. In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on real evidence or the scientific method. Until we fix this, nutrition will get more confusing, not less.

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Imagine the Google search by someone who wants to eat better.

They might want to lose weight. Or build muscle. Or stay a little healthier so they can play with their grandkids longer.

So they might look for terms like:

Healthy eating.

Healthy diet.

Good nutrition.

The result? Well…

“Healthy eating” gave me 63.6 million options.

“Healthy diet” gave me 188 million options.

And “Good nutrition” gave me a whopping 213 million options.

When I check out some of these search engine results, I notice something.

Each of these websites has a story to tell: A story about which diet, supplement, food, or nutrition practice someone believes is best.

Many of these stories completely contradict each other.

But they have one thing in common: The authors treat nutrition like it’s a set of beliefs, there for their own picking and choosing.

Unfortunately, “nutrition” is often seen as a belief system.

But beliefs don’t necessarily have anything to do with facts.

When we believe something, we choose to accept that it’s true, which may or may not have anything to do with factual certainty.

This approach of “believing” is frequently applied to nutrition.

As in:

“I believe that sugar is poison.”

“I don’t believe that humans were meant to eat grains.”

“I believe in only eating foods that are natural and organic.”

In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on science.

Yet nutrition is not a belief system.

Nutrition is a science.

I’m a strength coach and Precision Nutrition Certified nutrition specialist.

(I completed the Level 1 Certification in 2013 and I’m now in the middle of the Level 2 Certification Master Class).

Most of my work is with professional and amateur athletes. And my job is to use nutrition (plus strength and conditioning) to get my clients the results they want.

When your meal strategy can be the difference between getting a multi-million dollar contract and not, there is no room for “hoping” the nutrition will work.

I can’t go on faith alone. My clients’ careers literally depend on me doing my job well. Which is why the scientific method, not beliefs, govern my practice.

For example, my client Ronda Rousey, a mixed martial artists, model, and actress, doesn’t care about what I believe about food. She only cares about what I know about nutrition’s effect on her body and performance.

That’s why I need to ensure that my nutrition recommendations are based on measurable, accurate reality. On science. On the best evidence that we have right now.

And physiology is physiology.

Believing something, or wanting it to be true, or feeling it should be true doesn’t mean it is true.

Physiology (like chemistry, like physics) follows certain known principles.

That’s why we research things like macronutrients, hydration, and/or supplementation. That’s why we try to understand the biochemistry of digestion and metabolism. That’s why we learn about things like osmotic gradients and the physical structures of cells and molecules.

It’s why we ask questions like these:

And we use a particular method for determining the answers.

These are just a few examples, of course. As you can imagine, scientists have thousands of questions about optimal nutrition, and they’ve answered some questions more thoroughly than others.

But, in short, we’re trying to understand as much as possible about the biochemistry of digestion and metabolism, so we nerd out about things like osmotic gradients and the physical structures of cells and molecules.

Knowing the science behind the field allows us to make evidence-based recommendations to create a known physiological effect.

Will honey and cinnamon “rev my metabolism”?

Some people believe this (or want others to believe it).

But nobody knows.

Will creatine monohydrate improve my power output?

Now we’re talking.

We know some things about creatine monohydrate and its effect on the body, because it’s been scientifically studied.

Creatine monohydrate has a known chemical structure.

Creatine monohydrate has a known mechanism of action. It increases the phosphocreatine stores in your muscle. This can then be used to produce more ATP (energy), which is a key source of fuel for power, heavy lifting, and anaerobic events.

We know this because we have carefully experimented and objectively measured what happens. We’ve also reproduced those findings over and over.

See how that played out?

One claim is speculation based on, perhaps (I’m guessing) rumors about blood sugar and metabolism along with a few studies about cinnamon as an antioxidant?

The other is fact based on a documented physiological outcome.

The big problem:
Most people start with the internet.

Wondering what to put in your smoothie? What to eat before you work out? How much bacon you should eat?

There are all sorts of answers on Google, not to mention Facebook and Instagram.

You don’t have to look far to discover a charismatic person with an excellent body and sales pitch offering up their own beliefs as a “protocol” or “system”.

These systems tend to include:

  • A set of certain foods and/or supplements to eat. (Like acai berries hand-picked at sunrise.)
  • A set of certain foods to avoid. (Nothing a caveman wouldn’t eat. Nothing that isn’t “natural”. Nothing that’s been sold, bought or processed.)
  • Rules about how much to eat, when to eat (or not eat), and possibly even where to eat. (No food after 6:30 pm!)

If the belief system (or the person who invented it) is compelling or “truthy” enough, it can be pretty tempting to believe them.

After all, many of these “systems” come with lots of reasons to believe, including:

  • Irresistible promises
  • Clever branding
  • Photos, graphics, and other visual “evidence”
  • Testimonials and/or celebrity endorsements
  • Powerful personal stories (“If this guy did it, I can too!”)
  • Sex appeal
  • Scholarly citations pointing to studies that turn out to be poorly designed, fatally biased, or not yet replicated (a hallmark of — you guessed it — actual scientific fact)

Before you know it, you can’t remember the last time you didn’t put honey and cinnamon in your oatmeal…and yogurt…and tea.

We’re not bad for wishing something were true.

Just like Fox Mulder, sometimes we want to believe.

It’s very human, actually.

Belief systems can bring us comfort. Following a clear set of rules can be a huge relief to those of us that find nutrition confusing or overwhelming.

Belief systems can also make us feel like we’re part of something: A community that shares our values, aspirations, and desires. We may feel a sense of importance, identity, and belonging.

Bonus: We’re closer to our goals… together!

Not to mention, these beliefs usually promise the things we desire the most, whether it’s sparkling clean health, glowing skin, freakishly awesome performance, the body we’ve always wanted, or all of the above.

When we buy into a belief system, we’re looking for help. We want to make a change, or finally find a solution to a problem that’s bothered us for a long time.

That’s completely normal and natural.

The people who start or share a belief system aren’t bad, either. Most of them are good, genuine, positive people just trying to make other people’s lives better.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to believe.

Or wishing some things were true.

The problem happens when we base our own health decisions on emotional bias or the rules of a certain philosophy… and either ignore what science has to say about the facts, or perhaps have no idea whether such facts even exist.

Science is anything but simple.

It would be great if there was a single ingredient to cure cancer, or a single exercise to get you ripped.

But physiology isn’t simple, and neither is science. Especially nutrition science.

You might be able to find a study to support nearly any nutrition-related belief you want. This is especially true if the study was small, or sponsored by a particular interest (like a supplement company).

People who read research understand this. They understand the weight that the particular evidence holds, and where it is placed in the hierarchy of nutritional importance.

But a new trainer in the industry, or a mother looking to get back in shape, or a dude who just got a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, may not know the difference. They may assume that if it was demonstrated in one study, it is a fact.

This isn’t how science works, and it’s not how the truth is discovered.

Did you know that drinking alcohol increases muscle tone?

Don’t believe me?

Well, imagine I’m telling you this while shirtless, smiling shiny white teeth, and sporting a six-pack:

“In 2013, a double-blind clinical trial found that men increased testosterone 17% after a low dose of alcohol. In 1987, another study found similar testosterone-increasing results. Finally, a 2000 study showed that alcohol also increases testosterone levels in women.

Understanding that alcohol increases testosterone, and knowing that as testosterone goes up, so does our muscle mass and strength, I conclude that we should all get drunk to get jacked! (Results may vary.)”

Of course this isn’t true though, right?

Because that would be ignoring:

  • Other data that suggest alcohol actually lowers testosterone, and the two studies that show it has no effect.
  • Data on how alcohol can harm our health and fitness.
  • The fact that alcohol contains 7 kcals per gram, which adds up quickly when you get drinking (especially if you add mixes), and then normally increases appetite shortly afterwards, which leads to further snacking. (Street meat anyone?).
  • The fact that I am always fully clothed when telling clients stuff.

Instead of picking just one study, you have to look at all studies on that topic to see where the overall weight of the evidence lies.

But let’s get real.

People are busy.

Health and fitness clients don’t usually have the time, the experience, nor the interest to pore over research. They have jobs and lives.

So it can be easy to fall into the trap of taking one or two studies as gospel — especially if those results are delivered to you by a charismatic speaker with a great body. Enter my new supplement: Buff Booze!

What’s the harm in believing?

In the Precision Nutrition’s Certification programs, they talk about scope of practice. It’s crucial for health and fitness pros to:

  • Know what they know, and what they don’t know.

In other words, to make appropriate, evidence-based recommendations about nutrition, it’s not enough to simply:

  • Have made a big change to your own body (such as losing weight, or succeeding at a new sport).
  • Follow some blogs.
  • Have a stack of health and fitness magazines on the back of the toilet.

These are a great way to begin. I didn’t know stuff when I was new to the field, either. That’s why we learn and practice… and practice and learn… and then practice and learn some more.

But leaning on those methods of “research” — aka believing instead of knowing — can be dangerous.

There’s an old saying:

You know just enough to be dangerous.

For starters, beliefs without evidence can cause physical harm.

Nutrition can affect the human body’s systems dramatically — that’s the amazing power and opportunity, and it’s why we coaches love this field.

The downside is that doing the wrong things can change our bodies in ways we don’t want.

Back in the mid-to-late 1800s, a man named Wilbur Atwater had a Ph.D. from Yale in agricultural chemistry.

He measured the calories and macronutrients in hundreds of foods to eventually come to the conclusion that the only two elements that humans needed to be concerned with when creating their diet were:

  • protein, and
  • total calories.

He wrote newspaper columns, lectured, and told anyone who would listen about his beliefs. He truly believed that this was the solution to human nutrition and even poverty.

He was a well-respected scientist doing real research in a lab. Yet he didn’t have all the knowledge he needed to make the right recommendations.

Instead, he told everyone to eat fewer vegetables (because they were low calorie and low protein), while eating more fatty pork.

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, can’t it?

Atwater’s diet eliminates:

Thanks to research, we now know that all of these play their own unique role in health. Cutting out all of these nutrients is downright dangerous.

Now, this is an extreme example, perhaps.

But some of the most popular belief-based diets today have adherents alter their nutrition choices in strange and/or misguided ways. They:

  • Completely give up grains, beans, and legumes
  • Swear off all fat
  • Eat only raw food
  • Base their intake on a single food (e.g. grapefruit, cabbage)
  • Eschew solid food
  • Only drink “detoxing” juices
  • Hold their daily calorie intake to some “magic” number, like 600
  • Replace all carbs with bacon

These diets either selectively use research (for instance, a study in rats showing that grape juice prevents tumors — time for the magic anti-cancer grape juice diet!) or get stuck on small details while missing the big picture.

Also, beliefs without evidence can prevent the health and fitness industry from making progress.

Most people working as health and fitness pros chose this industry to help people change their lives for the better.

Confusing the crap out of ourselves (and clients) with these weird belief-based “systems” does not support that goal.

When we choose belief over fact, we don’t just hold ourselves, and our clients, back. We hold the entire industry back.

Let’s commit to improving everyone’s nutrition knowledge.

Our collective job as coaches is to create the healthiest and happiest people in the world.

How do we do that?

Treating nutrition as a science, instead of a belief system, is a strong step in the right direction.

As is constantly pushing to improve our own knowledge, and thinking critically about our convictions.

Nutrition science is a big field. We can’t know everything, and certainly not all at once.

But we can commit to putting the beliefs away and embracing a lifelong process of learning, studying, thinking critically, and applying evidence-based analysis to every decision and recommendation we make.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

1. Practice having an open yet critical mindset.

“Because it worked for me” is not enough evidence to recommend “it” to another person.

Be curious. Ask questions.

Explore the evidence that supports a given position. Be aware of why nutrition science is so complicated. Ask for scientific references, and then scrutinize those.

And, by all means, experiment on yourself (in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we call this writing your Owner’s Manual).

Try different things. Document the effects.

Over time, that’s as legitimate a way of knowing. (Make sure you’re always tracking and revisiting, though — bodies do change!)

2. Live in the middle ground.

Biology rarely operates in extremes. Only in very specific contexts (for example, actual diagnosed Celiac disease) do “always” and “never” have value.

So be suspicious of “always” or “never” language in nutrition talk.

Instead, try “some people” and “sometimes” and “it depends”.

For example, a coach might insist that everything should be “100% natural” or else it’s bad. But just because something has been processed in some way does always not make it inferior.

In some cases, processing can actually improve the desired effect and/or nutritional profile. For example, in 2011 the Journal of Nutrition published a report showing that without supplements or enriched foods:

  • 100% of Americans would not get enough Vitamin D.
  • 93% not enough Vitamin E.
  • 88% not enough folate.
  • 74% not enough Vitamin A.
  • 51% not enough thiamin.
  • 46% not enough Vitamin C.
  • 22% not enough Vitamin B6.

Sure, maybe there’s some “perfect” diet floating around out there, but for most of us, having a few fortified foods and even synthetic vitamins in the roster is probably a good idea. A diet full of processed, fortified foods and synthetic vitamins, not so good.

3. Notice when words and concepts trigger emotions.

Most belief-based nutrition systems are couched in marketing that purposely gets you worked up, maybe by poking at your traumas, insecurities, or ego (the current “clean eating” craze is a good example).

Recognize when you feel “pulled” by a certain idea.

Ask yourself, am I considering this “system” for the right reasons? Am I looking for an “easy” solution because I feel sad/frustrated/lost/stressed today?

4. Scrutinize claims that are tied to financial gain.

For example:

“Eat as much as you like and still lose weight!”
(A real-life claim aimed at selling a diet book.)

“Ripped abs in 1 minute!”
(Real claim. Workout DVD this time.)

“Control insulin levels, decrease blood sugar, speed metabolism, lower LDL cholesterol, burn belly fat and suppress appetite!”
(Real claims from the makers of a cinnamon supplement. That’s right, cinnamon.)

In my teen years, I spent unthinkable quantities of my hard-earned McDonald’s money on ineffective testosterone boosters and nitric oxide products.

Trust me bro, I was getting “jacked”.

In this marriage between beliefs and profit, science didn’t show up to the ceremony.

5. Be skeptical of one-size-fits-all approaches.

Trying to use the exact same macronutrient ratio (for example) serve every human’s needs and goals is a telltale sign that a coach needs more knowledge and/or has an emotional connection with the plan.

Humans are unique, complex systems. They should be treated as such.

There is no one best diet. Any plan should be a system that’s based on evidence, and truly reflects the client’s unique lifestyle, goals, and needs.

6. Get qualified coaching.

If you don’t feel confident reading research or understanding the science, consider finding a Precision Nutrition Certified coach or enrolling in the Certification yourself.

Knowledge is power.

Passionate about fitness and nutrition?

If so, and you’d like to learn more about it, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. Our next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the industry’s most respected education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how nutrition influences a person’s health and fitness.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of nutrition and fitness pros in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to boost your education, and take your nutrition game to the next level, let’s go down the rabbit hole together.

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post Nutrition is not a belief system. Why wishful thinking won’t get you results, but science might. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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This easy-to-use visual guide shows you how to make healthier nutrition choices, and determine the best foods for your body, goals, and taste buds. In fact, our simple three-step process helps you create a customized healthy-eating menu in just a matter of minutes. And the best part: Nothing’s off limits.

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“What foods should I eat?”

It’s a question we hear often. Sometimes in desperation.

Not because of the easy choices—spinach, duh!—but because of the not-so-obvious ones that cause confusion.

Foods that have been demonized then celebrated. Or celebrated then demonized. Or that come in so many forms it feels impossible to know the best choice.

Over and over, we’re asked:

  • Are potatoes good or bad?
  • What about eggs?
  • Can I eat pasta?
  • Is cheese okay?
  • Do I have to live without bacon? (We told you about the desperation.)

To add to the confusion, it’s not always obvious how to classify a food. Is it mostly protein? A carbohydrate? A fat? Many people know to eat a mix of these macronutrients, yet aren’t sure how that looks in “real food”. The result: more questions.

That’s why we created this handy, visual food guide. It’s designed to help you make healthier choices, no matter your knowledge of nutrition.

But don’t expect a list of “approved” and “off-limits” foods. Instead, we like to think of foods on a spectrum from “eat more” to “eat some” to “eat less”.

This approach promotes one of the most crucial philosophies that runs through our nutrition coaching method: Progress, not perfection.

Use our continuums to make choices that are “just a little bit better,” whether you’re eating at home, dining out with friends, or dealing with banquet buffets on a work trip.

Plus, learn how to:

  • Incorporate a mix of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • Strategically improve your food choices—based on where you are right now—to feel, move, and look better.
  • Customize your intake for your individual lifestyle and (of course) taste buds.

As a bonus, we’ve even provided you space to create your own personal continuum. That way, you can build a delicious menu of healthy foods that are right for you—no questions asked.

Download this infographic for your tablet or printer and use the step-by-step process to decide which foods are right for you (or your clients). 

Download the tablet or printer version of this infographic to discover your own personal “eat more,” “eat some,” and “eat less” foods (or, if you’re a coach, to help your clients).

Notes

Overview

This continuum of foods is broadly applicable to eating styles throughout the world, offering a framework for personalizing food choices to fit individual needs, preferences, and goals.

Each individual’s food list will depend on their:

  • eating style (e.g. keto, plant-based, Mediterranean, etc.),
  • activity level and type (e.g. professional triathlete, weekend warrior, desk worker, etc.),
  • goals (e.g. improve relationship with food, gain muscle, lose fat, promote health),
  • and more.

These helpful lists often evolve over time, as we all grow and change.

Process

Precision Nutrition’s nutrition experts collaborated to categorize foods along the continuum, allowing for multiple perspectives, debate, and decision making.

We considered:

  • Health/nutrition data
  • Recommended daily intake
  • Reward and palatability value
  • Nutrient density (macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, zoonutrients)
  • Level of processing

The goal here was not a “perfect, undebatable” list, but rather a practical, effective tool to help people progress toward health goals.

Exceptions are everywhere

A food that’s “eat less” for one person may be “eat more” for another. Some examples:

  • For a plant-based eater who struggles to get enough protein to meet their needs, protein powder may go from “eat some” to “eat more”.
  • For someone who already eats 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, fish /algae oil may move to “eat less”. Conversely, someone who rarely eats fatty fish might benefit from categorizing fish /algae oil as “eat more”.
  • Sugary drinks are typically categorized as “eat less”. But endurance athletes may consider them an “eat some” item during training, and possibly even “eat more” during competition. Similarly, for individuals who struggle to gain lean mass, it may be beneficial to place a sugary protein + carbohydrate drink in the “eat some” category for consumption during exercise.
  • For someone who values environmental sustainability above all else, your personal spectrum will again look different (such as putting meat, water-hungry nuts like almonds, and other resource-intensive foods in the “eat some” or “eat less” categories).

Ultimately, context matters. The continuum is meant to be broadly applicable to most people. And yet it can never be fully accurate for any single individual. This is why we’ve provided you the tools and guidelines to make your own spectrums and lists.

Click here to read about the creation of the food continuum.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—such as helping them make better food choices that match their personal preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post ‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body. [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: A nutritional debate fueled by misinformation, baseless ‘superfood’ obsessions, and carbohydrate phobias. Here’s how these tubers compare — and why both deserve a place in your diet.

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A few years back, some crazy nutrition enthusiasts decided to figure out whether white or sweet potatoes were “healthier”.

One group compared the glycemic index and load of sweet potatoes vs. potatoes. They suggested that since white potatoes tend to be higher, they should be avoided.

Another group suggested that sweet potatoes are a vitamin A ‘superfood’, putting them way ahead of their white potato competitors.

And, of course, the carbophobes had their own take: All potatoes should be avoided because they’re too high in carbs and all those carbs will mess with your insulin regulation and cause fat gain.

Nonsense, all of it.

Both white and sweet potatoes, when eaten as part of a balanced and intentional diet, provide a fantastic array of nutrients while contributing to the satiety and deliciousness of any meal.

Check out this infographic to learn more about white and sweet potatoes, and why you should consider including both in your diet. (You can even download them for your printer or tablet).

Want to share this with family, friends, and clients? Click here to download the infographic and print it out, or save it on your tablet.

For an even more comprehensive take on this topic, check out our accompanying article, “Sweet vs. regular potatoes: Which are really healthier?”.

Passionate about nutrition and health?

If so, and you’d like to learn more about it, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. Our next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are really healthier? [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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I’ve finally found a fitness-focused New Year’s resolution that’s worth making. And here it is, along with 10 client-proven ways to reach your own health and fitness goals this year.

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If you’re reading this, it means you survived the holidays.

It’s the most wonderful (crazy, stressful, awesome, magical) time of the year.

You know the drill: Kids and toys everywhere. In-law invasions. And get this: My 6-year-old daughter and I found reindeer tracks in the backyard on Christmas morning again this year, ha!

Berardi Family Christmas

The Berardi Family with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Amid all the craziness — in fact, because of the craziness — my wife and I decided to break tradition and actually make New Year’s Resolutions this year.

Ordinarily it’s not something we would do.

In fact, it’s not something we would ordinarily suggest you do either. Especially if your resolutions typically involve detoxes or juice cleanses, or chasing an unrealistic level of leanness.

Stats on New Year’s Resolutions — especially fitness ones — are abysmal. Packed gyms on January 2 are ghost towns on March 2.

I thought about this the other day while driving home from a family function (and while trying to keep Kid #1 from punching Kid #2).

At Precision Nutrition, we often use the phrase:

“Fitness in the context of a real human life…”

What does “real life” actually mean?

It means something like this:

  • All 4 kids are sick (at the same time), so you’re getting virtually no sleep…
  • Your mother-in-law is going through cancer treatment and you visit daily…
  • It’s Christmas/Thanksgiving/Passover/Diwali/Eid or the long weekend…
  • Because of the holiday, you’ve got a tight deadline at work…
  • When you’re stressed your lower back acts up…
  • And just as you’re about to head out for the blessed 30-minute workout you’ve been looking forward to all day, your dog drops a diarrhea poop on the living room carpet.

That, my friends, is fitness in the context of a real human life.

So, is it any wonder most fitness resolutions fail?

If you think about it, most health and fitness plans live outside the context of a real life:

“Here’s a 30-day detox diet to follow… and a new hardcore workout DVD…”

“Why not do a fitness competition in April… and a triathlon in August…”

“It’s time to go all-in… it’s the only way to win!”

Except that it’s not. Because all-or-nothing thinking rarely gets you all. It usually gets you nothing.

That diet plan, or workout DVD, or one-size-fits-all training program you pulled from Triathlon magazine was never built to accommodate sick kids or cancer treatment or your co-worker’s two-week vacation.

Yet when the insane idea that you have to do all things perfectly takes hold, it’s pretty hard to shake loose.

Sure, we can play make-believe. We can imagine a life where everything is peaceful, calm, and totally in our control all the time. But that’s a surefire recipe for failure.

Real human lives are messy and complicated. Real human lives are unpredictable. 

When we learn to accept this, they can also be dynamic and exciting. They can push us to grow.

Therefore, this year’s resolution.

With 4 children, aging parents, active social lives, and thriving businesses — my wife and I really did make New Year’s Resolutions this year.

As we always do, we plan on continuing to prioritize our health, build strength and fitness, and maybe even maintain our abs.

But this year we’ll do it flexibly and honestly in the context of our real human lives.

Our children will be fevered, snotty, and barfy. Our time will be limited. And we’ll miss last call at the gym because of doggie poo.

Yet this year we’ll plan for all that in advance.

After we’ve cleaned up the poo, we might work out in that same living room. With no weights or machines, maybe we’ll jump around like maniacs so we can move our bodies while keeping an eye on the kids.

Or maybe we’ll be stuck eating nasty hospital food. If so, we’ll make the best choice we can within the spectrum of choices. And then do push-ups and air squats in the cafeteria, or walk laps around the cancer center.

And on those rare days we’re not dealing with emergencies?

Maybe we’ll soothe our control-freak souls with a luxurious, 2-hour, relaxed, well-rounded workout. Or a weekend of cooking healthy food to prep meals before a busy week. (Even though neither is actually required.)

It’s not easy. But at least we have a plan.

You know, all this got me thinking…

How are our clients doing it?

I run a nutrition and fitness coaching company, so when it comes to figuring out health and fitness in the context of real life, I’m sitting on a virtual pot of gold.

Clients go through our coaching program for a year, and with the help of our expert coaches, sort out just that: How to make their health and fitness goals a reality, even as the chaos of life continues.

So I decided to ask them which new strategies they’ve developed to make it all work — nutrition + snotty kids + work deadlines… all of it.

They responded with dozens of great tips for real-life healthy living. Here are some of the most common (and awesome) ones we heard.

1. Check in with yourself every morning.

“I start my day with reading my Precision Nutrition Coaching lesson. It’s essentially plugging into myself first thing every morning. By doing the program work when I wake up, I remind myself that when I am healthy and happy, I have more to give to the world.”

2. Eat protein at breakfast.

“I include protein at every breakfast. My favorite: breakfast meatballs. Turkey + shredded veggies (zucchini, carrot, celery and onion), quick oats, egg whites and spices made into balls and cooked in muffin trays in advance. Then I heat ‘em up in the morning.”

3. Bring a lunch you’re excited to eat.

“I bring a lunch that is a simple salad with (quality) lunch meat for protein. Adding little extras like seeds and nuts to my salad along with avocado makes it something I look forward to eating, instead of leftovers that I would rather leave behind when others are going out.”

4. Pre-prep dinners.

“PREP! This has been huge for me. I come home late and I’m often rushed to get food in me. Now I just take everything I’ve already cut up or cooked (in advance) and put it in a pan. It’s a much less ‘rush-y’ situation, which carries over into eating… so I’m eating slowly and not inhaling food right past my full point.

5. Eat at the table.

“In the past, I ate dinner in a rush, then ran off to the next activity (soccer, coaching, etc.). I have been making a conscious effort to sit down and slowly eat the meal, so I can actually remember tasting and enjoying it.”

6. Exercise whenever, wherever, and however possible.

“I never choose the closest parking spot. This way I can get in a little more walking. Also during the school day (I’m a teacher), I walk as much as possible around my classroom as students are working, and around the building.”

7. Aim for “a little better” instead of “perfect”.

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s about gradual and continuous improvement. I used to get really down on myself if I ate unhealthy or missed some workouts and felt like I had failed. Now I feel that I’ve put in some great work, and I can do even better tomorrow and next week.”

8. Get all sorts of support.

“I use a meal service for healthy meals, which are pre-portioned. I commute an hour each way to/from work and I work long hours as an attorney, so having the ingredients there with recipes has helped immensely.”

9. Find accountability.

“My coach consistently reaches out to me, and the PN lessons remind me to move daily and claim the day for myself.  Doing those things before I head out to work keep me focused. It reminds me this is my life and my choices can be life-affirming in every moment.”

10. Show up again the next morning.

“Show up each day and do what you can on that day. Don’t jump ahead. This is not a race. It’s not a diet. It’s your life.”

What could your “real life resolution” look like?

My wife and I have no clue what life will bring us this coming year.

But we’re committed to doing the best we can, when we can, with whatever we’ve got. Day in and day out.

I hope you are too.

With the New Year around the corner, it’s an interesting time to make (or renew) your commitment to health and fitness.

Why not do that while considering the context of your own unique, interesting, and (no doubt) challenging life?

What to do next

1. Consider your health and fitness goals for this coming year.

What does a renewed commitment to health and fitness look for YOU — in the context of YOUR own unique, interesting and challenging life?

How could you aim to make things “a little bit better” this year, instead of “perfect or nothing”?

2. Celebrate your accomplishments from the past year.

Even if there’s lots you want to change, think back and call out at least two or three things you did well this past year.

Give yourself a pat on the back for any and all signs of progress, no matter how small.

3. Plan for things to go wrong.

What challenges do you anticipate might interfere with the progress you want to make?

Think about those roadblocks now. Consider some adjustments and workarounds in advance.

Accepting the messy “real-life” stuff will be key to your success.

4. Start small.

What is one little thing you could do today to help you prepare for success this year?

Maybe it’s researching a healthy meal delivery service for busy weeks, downloading a relaxing meditation podcast, or booking a babysitter one evening a week.

Take one small action now, and you’ll already be on your way.

5. Take inspiration from PN clients.

Do any of the strategies above intrigue you? Pick one and give it a shot.

If you usually eat dinner on the go, try sitting down for a meal at the table. If you want accountability, find someone to check in with.

Remember, you don’t have to get it “perfect”. Not now, not ever.

All you have to do is make an effort, and keep showing up every day.

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post A fitness-focused New Year’s resolution that’s worth making. Plus 10 real-world ways to actually keep that resolution. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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As a devoted runner, fitness was just a way of life for Daniel Hayes. So when his health threw him a curveball and he wound up on meds that slowed his metabolism, none of his usual approaches to weight maintenance worked. Now, 35 pounds later, he’s fit again, and an inspiration to his young son.

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When you’re an avid marathoner, you expect your body to obey.

You run more miles each week; your body readily responds with improved conditioning and endurance.

You dial up protein and vegetables, your body snaps to attention with more muscle and less fat.

But in 2008, at the age of 38, the easy cause-and-effect, master-and-servant relationship that Daniel Hayes had with his body suddenly reversed.

While training for his fifth marathon, Daniel, of Chicago, Illinois, began experiencing a heartburn-like sensation every time his heart rate went above a certain point.

Knowing his body well enough to be concerned, he made an appointment with a cardiologist. The exam revealed a problem that would change the course of his life: One of his arteries was 90 percent blocked.

If he hadn’t caught it, Daniel’s doctors said his condition would have culminated in a fatal heart attack.

Now with stents in two coronary arteries and working his way through cardiac rehabilitation, Daniel was recovering well and started running again. But his body wasn’t the same.

“One of the unfortunate things is that I was put on a heavy dose of statins and a beta-blocker, which really slowed down my metabolism,” Daniel says.

“I gained about 30 pounds over the next 5 or 6 years just from the meds alone.”

Although he had years of experience maintaining a fit body, Daniel discovered his tried-and-true strategies no longer worked. They were simply no match for his new health realities.

What’s more, the time he could devote to figuring out a nutrition and fitness approach that would work was more limited than ever.

For one thing, Daniel was spending lots of time caring for his mother, who was struggling with dementia and, sadly, eventually passed away in 2013.

Meanwhile, the company he worked for was bought out, and Daniel found himself dealing with the pressures and commitments that come when you know your job is on the rocks.

Thankfully, there was a bright spot too: The birth of his first son. But as any new parent soon finds out, caring for a small child doesn’t usually increase the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to nutrition and fitness.

Daniel at his heaviest, the result of a slowed metabolism plus lots of competing priorities.

Though he continued to exercise, Daniel no longer felt like the fit, healthy guy he once was.

By 2015, with his weight not budging from his new high of 238, it was clear to Daniel that he needed to try something different. He couldn’t expect a quick fix; that ship had sailed.

“I just looked myself in the eye and said, ‘I’ve got do something about this. I need to be healthy. Especially for my wife and son.’”

Enter Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Daniel realized that in order to lose weight in a way that worked with his medications, health history, and demanding life, he would need some help.

So he researched nutrition coaching options online, and liked what he read about PN’s habits-based approach.

He would need to “meet himself where he was” and focus on sustainable practices rather than short-term hacks.

So he dug into the PN program’s habits and gradually changed his approach to food.

One of the biggest changes? Eating slowly to 80 percent full — a lifelong “anchor” practice that helps you reconnect with your metabolism and hunger cues.

Daniel realized he had gotten used to feeling completely stuffed after meals.

“My parents grew up during the depression and I think that’s where my habits came from,” explains Daniel. “You had to finish everything on your plate. Nothing could be wasted. I grew up with that mindset, so it was a hard one to break through.”

After a year in the program, Daniel had added muscle mass (and lots of strength), and lost about 12 pounds of body fat. Plus, by trying out activities he hadn’t done before, he learned to think of movement and exercise as enjoyable rather than an obligation.

But the biggest transformation after that first year? The depth of his self-knowledge.

A slowed metabolism paired with deep-seated clean-your-plate habits don’t resolve overnight. So six months after finishing the program, Daniel realized that he missed the support and accountability of having a nutrition coach.

Daniel knew he had more healthy-habit practicing to do, and more weight he wanted to lose. He was on a longer journey than he’d realized — and that was ok.

Daniel finished that second year feeling more grounded than ever, and couldn’t resist the urge to sign up for a third round. To date, he has lost almost 35 pounds.

Daniel preps for a workout several months into his PN journey.

The strategy that Daniel has embraced, with much success: playing the long game.

Just like marathon training, sustainable eating and fitness habits that make sense for complicated health and life circumstances often require time and repetition to take hold.

“It takes a while for someone to get into the state they’re in, so it’s going to take them a while to get out of it,” Daniel says.  “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Now, even when life throws its characteristic challenges at Daniel — these days, it’s usually in the form of a busy schedule or having to travel for work — he knows he can rely on his newly ingrained healthy habits.

“At the very least, I know I can always practice eating slowly and eating to 80 percent full. And I can usually fit in some quick body weight exercises. Those familiar practices keeps me on track even when life gets crazy.”

Another advantage of the long game: You have the resilience to understand that your health and weight can absorb life’s inevitable nutrition and fitness “missteps.”

“Be patient,” Daniel urges. “Be patient with the process and be patient with yourself. You take it day by day. It’s these small, incremental changes that get you to your goal.”

“Sometimes you’ll eat or drink too much. Instead of being really hard on yourself, you can just say, ‘You know what? Life happens. Tomorrow is a new day.’”

More importantly, Daniel knows that his new long-term habits make him a better role model for his son.

At the outset of that first year of PN Coaching, as he dreamed of somehow getting back to being the healthy guy he’d once been, Daniel envisioned taking up martial arts… to keep up with his young son, who’s been a karate enthusiast since he was 4 years old.

The moment Daniel realized he finally had enough confidence to start taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he know he’d “made it.”

Daniel after a jiu jitsu spar with his young son.

 

“Now when my son sees me doing martial arts, he wants to do it more too. I’m proud of that.”

Daniel’s son is most excited about finding a worthy sparring opponent.

Daniel laughs, “He’s small, but I’m his kicking bag. He thinks I’m indestructible.”

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Daniel Hayes: Making peace with the long game. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Early in their marriage, Dan Hibbert’s wife, Susan, inspired him to take better care of himself and prioritize health and fitness. Later, after tragedy struck, Dan had to get through his grief and find the strength to stay the course for the most important reason of all: his kids.

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One day, in the late 1990s, Dan Hibbert’s wife, Susan, took him aside.

Dan had been overeating, turning to food for comfort during times of stress, and he was negIecting his health. Worried for his well-being, Susan encouraged him to make some changes.

“I was probably 40 or 50 pounds overweight at that point,” Dan, of Calgary, Canada, remembers.

“My wife, bless her heart, sat me down and said, ‘I’m concerned about you and I want you to be healthy.’ And that was great. It gave me a great kick in the backside, and I did get rid of all that weight, and maintained the weight loss for quite some time.”

Dan and his family before his wife, Susan, got sick.

Then, in 2011, something terrible happened.

Susan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. After multiple surgeries and extensive chemotherapy, she entered a major depression due to sleep problems and anxiety.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, in August of 2012 Susan took her own life. It was unexpected and traumatic for Dan and their five children.

After losing Susan, 40-year-old Dan knew it was going to be challenging not only to work through his own grief, but also to take care of their five kids, dog, and the family business. But he made a decision.

“The minute I knew that the suicide had happened in our family, I felt it was my mission in life to take care of our kids.”

“I didn’t want this to define them in a negative way. I had to be there for them,” Dan says.

Dan did what he needed to do to help himself and the family cope. One of his best outlets was exercise, particularly CrossFit.

But after a couple years, Dan’s old patterns of emotional eating returned.

Once again, Dan turned to food for comfort.

He found himself reaching for a beer or glass of wine each night. And social situations became excuses to overeat. After a while, he could feel his weight creeping up.

“When you have to track off to buy new jeans, it’s like, ‘Okay. Problem,’” he laughs.

Joking aside, Dan took his weight gain seriously. He knew the importance of taking care of his own mental and physical health.

When Dan saw the scale moving into the 220s, he had a “moment of truth.”

Dan thought about his kids and his personal mission to support them. “I thought, ‘If I keep going down this road, I’m not going to be a good dad.’”

And he thought about Susan. “If she would have been here, she would have intervened,” says Dan.

“But, she wasn’t. So it was one of these moments where it’s like, ‘Well, I gotta step up and do this on my own, I guess. For my kids. And for myself, too.’”

Dan’s late wife, Susan, continues to inspire his efforts to stay healthy and fit, for himself and especially for their five kids.

Dan considered his options. He could do a six-week transformation challenge of some kind, but then the results wouldn’t last. Besides, he knew he needed some support and accountability.

He’d been following Dr. John Berardi and Precision Nutrition for some time, so he took the plunge and signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching.

With PN, Dan was able to reset his old patterns of comfort eating, and practice new, healthier strategies.

“The program vastly expanded my toolkit of knowing what to do, and the practical ability to do it,” he explains.

Dan was committed and consistent with the program from the get-go. He found the daily check-ins and the ability to track his progress immensely helpful.

“If there’s numbers, I do well,” Dan says. “Give me a set of numbers and tell me to get from A to B, and I’m going to work hard to do it.”

And that’s exactly what he did.

Of course, we all need a little extra support sometimes, and Dan was no exception.

After a few months of steady weight loss, he found himself at a plateau, and reached out to his PN coach, Calvin, who provided some simple “suggestions and tweaks” to help Dan keep moving forward.

Then, toward the end of the PN Coaching program, Dan broke his wrist during a CrossFit class. Despite this extra challenge, Dan managed to stay consistent with his habits.

Once again, the combination of daily accountability, support from Coach Calvin, and the ability to track his progress helped Dan stay the course.

The results of that commitment? Dan lost 30 pounds, and gained lifestyle strategies to keep himself healthy and fit — inside and out.

“I appreciate the change the program made for me in appearance, and more importantly, my overall mindset.”

When Dan looks back, he’s glad he course-corrected in order to stay true to his mission of taking care of his kids.

“You do need to stop and take inventory once in a while,” he reflects. “Have those conversations with yourself about the general trends of things in your life.

“Whether it be weight, or mental health, or your habits… take some time to confront those things, and search for help with them.”

He adds, “and if there is coaching help available, make use of it. Coaching is such an asset.”

Today, Dan’s kids are all thriving, and he even has a new member of the family: his first grandchild.

All thriving, Dan and his kids goofed off during a family photo shoot recently.

Of course, coaching can’t magically eradicate grief. Change takes time, and so does healing.

“I’ve learned there are certain things that you have to allow time to get through, and you can’t exactly hurry them up,” Dan acknowledges. “But, with that said, there are things that you can do that will help.”

“The main thing to remember,” says Dan, “it’s that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Dan Hibbert: Getting through grief. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Growing up with a bone disease, Sheila Brooks came to define herself by her disability. Exercise? She couldn’t. Become an athlete? No way. By the time she was an adult, that self-story had solidified; she was downright petrified of the gym. But now she’s finally busted that mental wall — and lost 52 pounds (and counting).

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“In the beginning, I was terrified.”

Only a few months ago, the very notion of walking into a gym was enough to make Sheila Brooks want to turn and run.

For Sheila, 49, of Edmonds, Washington, the gym was more than intimidating; it felt flat-out impenetrable. She never thought she’d be comfortable enough to walk through the door, let alone exercise there daily.

“I have a free membership through my work at a gym that’s two miles away, so I really didn’t have any excuse not to go, other than fear,” Sheila says.

“I was really uncomfortable with the idea of working out in front of other people. I thought, ‘I’m awkward’ and ‘I’m weird looking.’ These were the kinds of things that went through my head, and it was enough to keep me out of the gym.”

Sheila’s fear stemmed from a deeply rooted belief that she was not an athletic or physically capable person — and never would be. That’s because Sheila was born with a bone disease. Her disability, and her beliefs about it, held her back from participating in physical activity.

“It keeps me from doing any sort of high-impact stuff. Growing up, I wasn’t athletic at all,” she reflects. “I couldn’t participate in any sort of sports, and exercise itself wasn’t a part of my life.”

As a result, Sheila believed she was not strong, and her body simply wasn’t cut out for exercise. So she avoided it.

Sheila was overweight, unhappy, unhealthy, and generally feeling stuck.

A rare photo of Sheila, pre-transformation. “I have done a thorough job of hiding from the camera all these years,” she says.

Over the years, Sheila’s inner story about what she couldn’t do became more than a story about athleticism. It became an identity that held her back from experiencing everything that life has to offer.

“I was so miserable. I was very overweight and very depressed and sad about life in general. I’d shut myself away. I thought I couldn’t do anything and I hated the way I looked, so I just said no to everything. Finally, I knew something had to change.”

So Sheila took a leap of faith and signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching, making a conscious effort to trust the program.

“I put my faith in the PN program. I didn’t have any faith in myself. So I figured, why not put my faith in something else?”

In just a few months with Precision Nutrition, Sheila learned a lot, including her “why” behind her goals, and practical nutrition basics like meal prep and portion control. Plus, she was doing her workouts regularly… from the safety and comfort of her own home.

But the gym still felt like a “big monster” that she was tired of hiding from.

Sheila decided it was time to face her fear.

She reached out to her coach for support. Coach Lisanne’s suggestion: Rather than jumping in with both feet, why not start small?

“My coach suggested I pick one exercise in my workout plan that I felt comfortable doing. For me, that was the sumo deadlift. She said, ‘Okay, go in and just do that one exercise and then leave. Don’t do the whole workout, just do one exercise and leave’.”

Sheila gathered her nerve, walked into the gym, and did 10 reps of a sumo deadlift.

“I was terrified and felt weird,” she acknowledges, “but I went in and did 10 deadlifts and that was it and then I left. It all started from there.”

Sheila looking more and more confident during workouts.

That simple act turned out to be the catalyst for massive change.

After that, Sheila had a bit more confidence, so she scheduled a session with a trainer at the gym to show her around. Next time she came in, she was able to do her full PN workout.

Was she still nervous and uncomfortable? Yep. But she did it anyway.

And she knew that Coach Lisanne was cheering her on.

After facing her fears of the gym, Sheila not only shed pounds, she started shedding that old story about herself.

Sheila made a commitment to herself to show up in the gym every single day, and she kept it. At the same time, she maintained her daily PN lessons and habits, and reached out to Coach Lisanne whenever she needed a little extra support.

Sheila’s consistency paid off, and she saw results in her body: Only six months into the program, she’d already lost 55 pounds, and was looking better in her clothes.

Meanwhile, Sheila began to realize that something subtle but significant was happening.

Her old beliefs about herself — about being incapable, unathletic, or weak — were being replaced with something much more powerful.

“I began to realize that a lot of those mental scripts that I’d told myself in the past are not true.”

“For example, I’ve discovered that I’m really strong. Because of my disability, I can’t jump and I can’t run — but I’m strong. I’m sort of amazed at the weights that I can lift. Now, I’m looking into competitive powerlifting and I would have never, ever thought that that would be possible.”

She adds, “It’s like I’ve discovered that my body’s made for something, and I’m good at it.”

Discovering her strength has opened up a whole new world of possibility for Sheila, whether it’s daily life, or big adventures.

“There are little things I can do, like carrying grocery bags, that are much easier nowadays. This summer I got into hiking. I live in the Northwest and hiking is a huge thing around here. It’s actually a fun thing to do now.”

In a bold move, Sheila even took a Brazilian jiu jitsu class. “I went because I wanted to see what it was like. I’m not as scared to try new things anymore.”

She’s even planning a countryside hike through France — an incredible vacation for someone who used to struggle to walk more than a mile.

To date, Sheila is down 52 pounds from her highest weight. (In the past few months, she has gained three more pound of muscle, and she continues to lose inches.)

Post-transformation, Sheila no longer defines herself my what she can’t do.

“My time with PN has been about redefining myself,” says Sheila. “I have a physical disability, yes, but I now realize that, for years, I’d been limiting myself.

“Nowadays, I realize that I’m capable of lifting heavy weights and stuff, but it’s more than that… I’m not going to define myself by what I can’t do. I don’t have to limit myself anymore.”

At last, for Sheila, the possibilities really are endless.

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Sheila Brooks: Freeing herself from her disability story. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Nivi Jaswal was a high-performing senior executive with relentless drive to succeed — until one day she woke up on the floor of her hotel room after having passed out from exhaustion, hunger, or both. Now, she has traded perfectionism for a life of health, purpose, and contribution — and lost 30 pounds in the process.

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When Nivi Jaswal woke up on the floor of her Hong Kong hotel room on March 9, 2015, she was terrified.

With no memory of how she got there and 10 missed calls on her phone from concerned family members and colleagues, Nivi felt lost and confused… but she was certain about one thing: Something had to change.

She’d been traveling for a work conference, and was extremely busy. “It turned out, I hadn’t had food that day. I was running on nine espressos and some candy just to keep myself going,” recalls Nivi, who is now 37 and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Nivi describes herself pre-transformation as torn between perfectionism and purpose in her demanding career.

That kind of career intensity was by no means atypical for Nivi.

Several demanding international assignments as a senior marketing executive with regional and global responsibility, plus a relentless inner drive to succeed, meant Nivi was living her life at breakneck speed—and putting her own needs aside.

“For almost 15 years, I didn’t get much sleep. There were days when I was up at 3am responding to emails being generated from the other side of the planet. I had supervisors tell me not to do this, but I just didn’t want any unread messages in my inbox. I wanted to clean it all up.”

Nivi believed that if she could keep her inbox clean, she stood a chance of keeping everything else completely under control. But the truth was, she was burned out, and her episode of passing out was a wake-up call.

Nivi’s life was full of travel and excitement, but health-wise she was burned out.

A high-achiever to her core, Nivi took action. She saw a nutritionist, started therapy, and worked on her stress levels.

At first, it felt like things were getting better.

But later that year, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid levels.

She was also increasingly afraid of becoming diabetic. Diabetes runs in her family and her dad had been diabetic for over 20 years.

After closely following a ketogenic diet and getting a personal trainer, Nivi successfully lost some weight and was able to reverse her hypothyroidism.

But then perfectionism kicked in. Nivi ended up treating her health habits just like her work.

“I was desperately trying to keep everything on track, in the hope that if I was perfect with my workouts and my diet, then somehow this perfection would prevent me from ruining my health. Despite everything I was doing, it was like I was on an express train hurtling down that exact path.”

Meanwhile, Nivi was starting to show signs of insulin resistance, an indicator she too was on the path toward diabetes.

Fearing for her health and wellbeing, she knew she needed help — but this time, it had to be something sustainable.

Her personal trainer suggested Precision Nutrition Coaching, so Nivi decided to give it a try.

Unlike other diets and lifestyle changes she’d tried, with Precision Nutrition Nivi felt like it was okay to be less than perfect.

“One of the great things about PN is that it gives people the liberty to fail, and then to pick themselves up and try again,” says Nivi. “That is the spirit of it, and I felt that was very liberating, because then you can open up and do new things.”

The PN program encourages “experimentation” rather than perfectionism — a mindset Nivi embraced.

For one thing, she allowed herself to eat foods that had previously been strictly off-limits.

“I had a slice of bread for the first time in I don’t know how many years, and I laughed and I cried.”

PN re-introduced Nivi to the notion of eating a wider variety of whole foods, and of course, fewer processed ones.

After years of treating casein shakes and protein bars as major food groups, she started focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.

Eating whole foods wasn’t only a wake-up call for her body, it also inspired her to make a complete career evolution.

Deciding that being part of the “big food and big health” supply chain no longer lined up with her belief system, Nivi decided to start not one, but two new companies: a digital marketplace for rural women artisans from Northwestern India (where Nivi is originally from), and a non-profit that runs healthcare-related camps for the same artisan community.

Finally released of her perfectionism, Nivi channeled her drive toward purpose.

From the time she woke up on that hotel room floor to the end of the PN program, Nivi had lost nearly 30 pounds… and she wasn’t the only one. Nivi wound up inspiring everyone around her.

Nivi’s 68-year old father was inspired to join a diabetes coaching program. In doing so, he got off most of his meds, and greatly reduced his insulin dosage.

Nivi’s mom, also 68, reversed her hypothyroidism, and returned her once-high blood pressure to normal. Her early-stage arthritis also disappeared when she lost weight.

Nivi’s father-in-law committed to an exercise routine. At 76, he was featured as “fit senior of the month” at his local fitness center.

And after following Nivi’s lead on portion control and incorporating more fresh, plant-based foods, her husband, Sean, lost close to 40 pounds.

The experience also deepened their close bond.

“Without my husband’s support, teamwork, constant encouragement, and readily adopting our new approach to nutrition, my PN journey would not have been as happy, fulfilling, or exciting.

“In being able to discover our life’s true purpose, our partners play a very significant role. I feel truly grateful and blessed.”

Instead of being caught up in her own perfectionism, Nivi is now leading by example.

Now, Nivi aims to lead by example. “The teacher only appears when the student is truly ready for the lesson,” she reflects.

“I’ve altered the pace and purpose of my life and, in doing so, dialed up my efficiency and effectiveness.”

“Now, I’m actually getting more done,” Nivi says.

I’ve learned that self-pacing and practicing self-compassion doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re either slow or not competitive. You’re more competitive, because you’re happy while you’re at it.”

Currently in training at The Mayo Clinic’s wellness coaching program, Nivi’s purpose is to help prevent burnout and stress (and associated health issues) in other executives like her.

“A healthy workplace is a happy workplace. While several corporate executives feel forced to be strong at all times, my purpose to help them recognize that indeed, ‘Happy is the New Strong’ — a mantra borne out of my own experience.”

“We are our own biggest projects, and the sooner we realize it the better.”

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Nivi Jaswal: Trading perfectionism for purpose. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Organic produce, artisanal sourdough, strictly grass-fed meat: Yes, they’re ‘good’ for you… but they’re also too expensive for most people. The great news? There are foods that are both nutrient-rich and budget-friendly. In this infographic, we’ll show you five ways to eat healthy on a budget — while making your taste buds happy too.

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People who struggle to consistently eat healthier often face one or more of the following common (and very legitimate) challenges:

  • Zero time to cook or do meal prep.
  • Deeply ingrained food habits that provide a sense of comfort and routine.
  • A strong preference for french fries over steamed broccoli.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we have a host of time-saving, prioritizing, and palate-developing strategies to help clients overcome these obstacles.

But there’s another everyday barrier to good nutrition that can be a bit trickier to negotiate: Money.

Considering all the pressures and expenses folks are dealing with, it’s understandable that eating healthy can feel financially daunting.

Unfortunately, it’s true that fresh fruits and vegetables, lean animal proteins, whole grains, and nuts and seeds will cost you more than a diet of mostly processed and fast foods.

But it is possible to eat a very healthy diet, even when money is tight.

For this infographic, we collaborated with Community Food Centres Canada to offer five effective, real-life strategies to help you put nutritious, delicious food on the table regularly,  sometimes for just a few extra cents per meal.

The coolest part: Some of the changes to your routine may be surprisingly small — yet lead to really big benefits.

Download this infographic for your printer or tablet, and keep use it next time you’re planning meals or making a grocery list. (And coaches: Feel free to hand this out to clients who could benefit.)

 

Don’t forget to download the printer or tablet version of this infographic. Post it on your fridge or in your pantry for easy access.  (And coaches: Share these strategies with your patients/clients to show them how healthy eating can be within their reach.)

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that eating plenty of fresh, whole foods is key to getting the health and body they want. But they need help figuring out how to eat that way consistently, in the context of all the other priorities and demands in their lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post How to eat healthy on a budget: 5 ways to prioritize nutrition while reducing cost. [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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“What is the best diet?” It’s one of the most common questions in health and fitness — and everyone has an opinion. Here, Dr. John Berardi offers the surprising answer, plus 4 ways to assess if you’ve found the best diet for YOU (or your clients).

The post Level 1 – What’s The Best Diet? Well, You Might Be Surprised. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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