Ask any health and fitness professional if they’re “evidence based,” and chances are good you’ll get a resounding, “Yes!” Perhaps even an indignant one. After all, everyone uses evidence… of some sort. But if you think evidence-based practice is only what “research says,” you’re doing it wrong. In this article, we’ll show you the right way to use evidence to inform and enhance your coaching—for more effective advice and better client results. 

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Here at Precision Nutrition, we love science.

In fact, no one loves science more than us!

But is it possible to rely too heavily on scientific literature? Can you actually science too much?

Maybe.

Ever see someone:

  • Dismiss a coach’s successful method solely because some element of it isn’t “research proven?”
  • Refuse to modify a nutrition plan—even though a client hates it—“because science?”
  • Call a respected health professional a “quack” because they cite years of clinical experience instead of a definitive clinical trial?

(If you haven’t, you probably don’t spend much time in Facebook comments.)

In each case, the person’s inflated reverence for research could be limiting their ability to learn, and evolve as a coach. They might also influence others to follow their narrow line of thinking, causing them to miss out, too. And this is often done in the name of “evidenced based practice.”

Now, evidence-based practice, or EBP, is all the rage in certain health and fitness circles, which is a great thing. We heart science, remember? Except there’s just one problem…

A lot of coaches, though well-meaning, are getting EBP wrong. Specifically, they’re over-emphasizing “what the research says” to the exclusion of other relevant information, like their professional experience and the personal preferences and values of the people they work with.

And that’s not good for clients, business, or the health and fitness industry.

To make sure you get EBP right, use this guide to understand what the method really is, why it matters, and how to implement it effectively in your own coaching practice.

Because when used correctly, EBP is a powerful tool that’ll make you a better coach—so you can help even more people achieve lasting change and deep health.

And that we love even more than science.

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What is “evidence”?

There’s “everyday life” evidence.

In our Precision Nutrition Coaching program and Certifications, we tell our clients and coaches to use outcome-based decision making (OBDM).

Very simply, that means you decide what to do next based on the data you got from what you just did.

Did your waist measurement go up after two weeks of vacation buffets? That’s data that says, “Welcome home, maybe dial it back a little.”

Did your blood pressure go down after four months of sticking to your exercise program? That’s data that says, “Keep up the good work!”

We tell our coaches and clients to use as many data points as they can, and look for progress everywhere, including:

  • body measurements
  • blood work and other medical tests
  • athletic performance, such as getting stronger or faster
  • photos
  • how clothes fit
  • recovery
  • sleep
  • mood and wellbeing
  • confidence
  • consistency

And so on. (Here are some more ideas.)

All of these data points, collectively, give us evidence that we can use to make informed choices.

Then there’s scientific evidence.

This includes clinical or case studies, experimental research, basic research (for instance, studying cells in culture), and more.

This evidence can vary widely in quality, who is studied, and how applicable the results are to you and your clients.

However, in general, scientific evidence is one of the best ways we have to know about the nature of reality.

And though it might be obvious, we’re compelled to say it anyway: You’re looking to glean these insights directly from reputable, peer-reviewed scientific papers—not random websites, articles in magazines, or pictures of sunsets with words on them.

Finally, there’s stuff you learn on the job.

We call this “expertise.” It’s the old coach’s intuition, the senior clinician’s knack for diagnosis, the way a master carpenter can tell you if something is a quarter inch off square just by looking.

After you’ve worked with over 100,000 clients, as we have, you start to build a database of collected wisdom. And often, there’s stuff that’s hard to explain or defend—you’ve just seen it enough times that you know it’s a thing.

When we bring together experience, research, and expertise, we have a pretty good set of working hypotheses about what is likely to be effective.

And that’s evidenced-based practice. So it’s not just about clinical research.

EBP is a systematic way of thinking and application that integrates scientific data with clinical experience and the individual needs and preferences of each client or patient.

Yes, that’s the official, eye-glazing definition, but you might find the Instagram-able version even more enlightening. (See the illustration below.)

All three parts are equally important.

That’s because:

1. You aren’t coaching research averages. You’re coaching people.

Most studies report the average results of an intervention. (This is especially true of their headlines.)

Yet, if we look at the actual data of most studies, we see that individual results tend to fall on a bell curve of some sort.

Take this example, noted by James Krieger and Bret Contreras.

A study on resistance training and muscle gain concluded the following:

“Previously untrained people who engaged in resistance training three times a week for 9 weeks increased their muscle mass by 6%.”

Based on that, you might expect a client to achieve similar results on your three-day-a-week program.

But if you look at the individual data within the study, muscle growth ranged from -2.5 to 20 percent. That’s right: minus 2.5 percent. As Krieger and Contreras point out, five of the 53 participants actually lost muscle!

That’s not to suggest the research results are misleading. In fact, most of the study participants experienced muscle mass gains between 5 and 10 percent, and some even more. However, it does show the overall findings may not to apply to every individual. So don’t expect them to.

Another example is broccoli. There’s a significant body of evidence supporting the health benefits of eating this nutrient-dense vegetable.

But if broccoli makes someone gaggy or gassy, it’s not the healthiest food for them, no matter what the research says about it lowering disease risk.

These kinds of patterns happen over and over: Some people get great results from applying the research, some get very little (or negative) results, and most get results somewhere in between.

This is reality.

Research can be incredibly useful for giving us a starting point for most people. But humans differ—often wildly—from one another.

They differ in terms of their habits, mindset, physiology, environment, and personal preferences. They also differ in their ability to follow a program in the first place. And even if they stick to a plan perfectly, they can differ in the results they get.

Coach for the unique human in front of you, not for an average.

Not only will this improve your client results (because you’ll be working with their particular, practical reality), it’ll also improve your client retention (because you’ll be actually listening to them and trying to understand them as individual people, not as data sets).

When a client is suffering, they probably don’t need you to search PubMed for more evidence.

They often need you to provide a solid, trusting coaching relationship and, of course, your coaching skills. This combination can help you ease client resistance, be creative and flexible when typical solutions don’t work, and be compassionate and supportive when a client struggles with dark stuff.

2. Your professional experience really matters.

If you’re a mindful, growth-oriented coach or practitioner, it’s impossible not to develop a certain degree of experience and expertise over time.

A lot of things go into your “expertise bucket”: courses and programs you’ve taken; books you’ve read; lectures you’ve attended; mentoring relationships you’ve had; and all the practical experience you’ve acquired from observing and coaching clients or patients.

The accumulation of knowledge and experience gives you a kind of “intuition” that can help you coach more effectively.

This “intuition” shows up when you see a client perform a wonky squat, quickly identify exactly what’s wrong, and make corrections to improve form.

It shows up when you perform a client intake, and based on their answers (Just had a baby! Prone to perfectionism!), you can anticipate what aspects of a program they might struggle with, and how you might help them.

Or it shows up when you do a postural assessment, and immediately know which exercises to avoid and which could be helpful.

Much of the time, this is knowledge you could have never learned simply from reading studies. It requires time working with people, and exposing yourself to new ideas and methods, including those that have yet to be studied.

But there’s a challenge here, too. The knowledge we gather from our experiences is very prone to human error: Our memories are unreliable, we see patterns that may not actually exist, and we discount information that doesn’t conform to what we already believe.

How can we reduce human error?

  • First, be aware that bias and error exist… yes, even for you.
  • Take notes during or after client sessions, and use a variety of validated measurement tools—such as weight, body measurements, pictures, mood scales, and sleep quality scales—to track the effectiveness of your advice.
  • Get mentorship and feedback on your practice. Coaches need coaches. Or, find a like-minded group of professionals with whom to collaborate. (That’s why we developed the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification.)

If you’re aware of the errors you’re likely to make, and take steps to moderate them, you might start to see some reliable, overarching patterns.

Like that very rigid meal plans don’t work for people in the long term. Or that people can only train so long and so hard before they burn out.

Or a thousand other possibilities experienced coaches notice, but perhaps haven’t been fully validated by published research.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have the experience gained from coaching many people over many years, you can “borrow” insight from mentors or other coaches with more reps under their belt.

Drawing on the wisdom of your (or a colleague’s) accumulated experience is an essential part of being a good practitioner.

3. Science will never have it all figured out.

The evidence is always evolving. Nutrition research in particular is a relatively new area, and there’s still a lot to be learned.

Plus, some things are really hard (or downright unethical) to test in a research setting, and so we may never have scientific evidence on it.

Even if it is possible to test, quality research takes a long time to gather. Usually, one study isn’t enough to “prove” something true or false. But waiting for multiple studies on a specific topic, or better yet, a meta-analyses (which is kind of like a poll of the research) may require a lot of patience. Maybe decades.

And yet, we still have to help our clients and patients make informed decisions. Like, now.

That’s where evidence-based practice comes in.

The RIGHT way to use EBP.

You can formally apply the EBP process to coaching decisions that feel especially important or uncertain.

EBP offers one of the best tools to help you reach a decision that’s most likely to be safe and effective, and that’ll also make sense in the context of your client’s life.

Follow these 6 steps to see EBP in action.

1. Assess the client.

Identify their unique abilities and needs.

  • What are their strengths?
  • Where might they need help from you?
  • What are their precise goals?
  • What are their identities, values, and beliefs?

Gather this information by asking questions, using intake forms, and taking measurements. This’ll help you create an initial plan of action and also provide a baseline against which to gauge progress.

Plus, as you collect data on many clients, you’ll be accruing practical evidence that can aid with decision making in the future.

Let’s use a hypothetical client to apply these steps.

Her name is Nora. Her goal is to lose fat, and she’s also interested in intermittent fasting. Through your initial assessment you learn that she’s begun to show signs of perimenopause, and her sleep isn’t great these days.

2. Find your research question.

Before you jump to a solution, get clear on the problem you’re trying to help your client with. 

Then, turn the problem into a question that’ll help you isolate the evidence you need for your recommendations. This question should incorporate the problem, as well as relevant factors about your client or patient.

Nora’s main goal is to lose fat, and she’s curious about intermittent fasting. Important factors to consider: Nora is a woman and she’s perimenopausal.

But you’re not sure if intermittent fasting is safe (or effective) for losing fat. And you’re definitely not sure if it’s safe (or effective) for a perimenopausal woman.

So your research question might be: “Is intermittent fasting safe and effective for fat loss in perimenopausal women?”

3. Gather the evidence.

Search for info using an online database like PubMed or Google Scholar. (If you don’t know how to use online research databases, here’s a PubMed tutorial.)

Using a research database will curate your hits so you’re only getting original, peer-reviewed research, rather than someone else’s (potentially biased) interpretation of it.

To find relevant research for Nora, a good keyword combination to type in a search box could be “intermittent fasting + fat loss + menopause”. These keywords contain the intervention you’re interested in learning more about, plus information about Nora’s unique goals and life stage.

To identify the best available scientific evidence on the research subject, use the “Hierarchy of Evidence” pyramid below. The higher up on the pyramid, the more trustworthy the information. So start your search from the top down.

In the case of Nora, prioritize finding a position stand, a meta-analysis, or a systematic review on using intermittent fasting for fat loss in menopausal women. This will give you a comprehensive overview of the current evidence. Basically, scientists and/or academics have already done the hard work—of reviewing, comparing, and analyzing the available scientific evidence—for you.

If that doesn’t exist, look for randomized control trials that compare appropriately chosen groups of people with a control group (such as a group that received no intervention, or a different intervention).

No luck there? You can expand your search to just “women” rather than “menopausal women.” Depending on what’s available, you may have to continue broadening your search and moving down the hierarchy of evidence.

Now, if you’re not well-versed in reading studies or interpreting research, that’s okay. Chances are, if you don’t find a meta-analysis or review, or—best of all—a position stand, the research further down the pyramid will be of limited use to you anyway.

If that’s the case—or you can’t find any scientific research on the topic—you might have to use opinions from other trusted experts, or develop an educated hypothesis based on your own knowledge of how physiology and nutrition work. This still counts as evidence, it’s just not as reliable, so temper your confidence in it accordingly.

All hail the position stand.

If you don’t feel equipped to navigate and interpret scientific literature, consider looking for best practice guidelines or position stands written by an authority in your field.

Position stands are official statements made by a governing body on topics related to a particular field, like nutrition, exercise physiology, dietetics, or medicine.

Here’s an example: The 2017 International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand on protein and exercise.

If you have a client who’s older and you’re wondering how to safely increase their training capacity (but don’t want to immerse yourself in a dark hole of research), simply look for the position stand on exercise and older adults.

To find the position stands in your field, consult the website of whatever governing body you belong to.

For example, if you’re a personal trainer certified through ACSM, NASM, ACE, or NSCA, consult the respective website for each organization. They should feature position stands on a variety of topics.

4. Appraise the evidence.

Through your search, you’ll probably find at least some evidence. This might be just a few small studies or some articles from trusted experts in the field.

Now, using the hierarchy of evidence, determine how valid and reliable those pieces of evidence are.

The more you have to broaden your question or move down the quality hierarchy, the less confident you might be about your recommendations.

With Nora, if all you find are some articles by an internet guru who’s never actually seen any real clients, you may want to present your findings as a mere idea, rather than as reliable advice.

On the other hand, if you find a handful of systematic reviews about intermittent fasting in menopausal women, you can go to Nora with more confidence about your recommendations. (Quick fact check, FYI: We couldn’t find any reputable systematic reviews on intermittent fasting in menopausal women.)

5. Create your recommendation.

Unless they ask for it, most clients don’t want to know all the complicated science stuff; they just want to know what to do.

This is where the science of coaching morphs into the art of coaching.

It’s time to see if you can actually apply the evidence you’ve found—along with your own professional experience—to the complex, real, live human standing in front of you.

Notice that the evidence by itself doesn’t make the decision. Nor does your experience, nor do the client’s preferences.

The three simply offer a more holistic perspective on a problem, to ensure you find the best possible solution for your client.

Rather than plunking down a stack of research in front of your client, combine the research with your expertise and your client’s unique circumstances to translate it into practical advice.

It could work like this: Through your research, you find that intermittent fasting is effective for fat loss. However, through your own professional experience, you’ve also noticed that most clients struggle to stick with intermittent fasting long-term. (Aligning nicely with your coaching experience, the research also shows a relatively high drop-out rate with intermittent fasting.)

You’ve also noticed that in some of your female clients, intermittent fasting seems to deregulate menstrual cycles and exacerbate menopausal symptoms.

Thinking about Nora’s unique values and preferences, you know that she wants to lose weight, but you also know that she’s had some trouble sleeping lately. In your experience with other clients, people who are sleep-deprived have an extra-hard time regulating appetite and losing weight.

So… intermittent fasting seems to be effective, but combined with your concerns about Nora’s hormonal health and sleep quality, plus the fact that intermittent fasting can be hard to maintain, you may decide not to recommend it to Nora.

After explaining to her your reasoning, explore with her what she’s comfortable trying. In the end, you may suggest some simple nutrition habits along with some short fasting experiments, plus some sleep tips.

These recommendations include what you’ve found from the best available research, your own coaching experience, and Nora’s unique preferences, goals, and challenges.

Nora’s just gotten some pretty wise, tailored-to-her advice, where you worked as collaborators to come up with her action plan.

That’s the art and science of coaching.

6. Monitor the results.

Once you’ve given your client a little time to practice what you came up with together, you can assess if those actions are working.

Consult those measurements you took in your initial assessments. Compare them to current measurements.

Are things moving in the right direction?

And talk to your client about how the plan is working.

Nora tells you although she’s applying and benefitting from the sleep tips, she’s struggling with fasting, even the shorter experiments. Turns out, it’s hard to fast when you’re having trouble falling asleep because of a grumbling tummy.

As you monitor progress, use what you find to re-evaluate goals and pinpoint where your client or patient needs more support.

Now Nora’s asking you about trying the Paleo diet instead. Looks like you have more research to do.

But keep in mind, over time, you’ll develop a solid grasp of the body of evidence on a number of topics. That’s the good part about science moving slowly: It’s not that hard to keep up.

What to do next.

Be empathetic, supportive, and flexible.

No matter what you believe is “right” or “true,” your first job is to work with your client, wherever they’re at.

Many practitioners intuitively know this, but the bond between coach and client (or patient) is extremely important and influential.

This bond is called the “therapeutic alliance,” and it refers to the level of trust and rapport between a practitioner and the person they’re helping.

Change is hard, and often scary. A strong therapeutic alliance can help a person feel supported and understood while surfing the tides of change.

In fact, some studies show the results a client or patient achieves in your care are up to 85 percent dependent on the therapeutic alliance. So, the stronger that relationship, the better the results.

If you’re constantly butting heads with your client, telling them, “But the research says!” or, “I know best!”, you can wave goodbye to a strong therapeutic alliance.

Many of the obstacles your clients will face are behavioral and emotional, rather than rational and theory-based. So more than facts, your clients often need compassion, support, and creativity to get them through the tough stuff.

Focus on the big rocks.

Given how complicated bodies and behavioral change are, it’s not surprising that science is still “trying to figure things out.”

Rather than using “cutting-edge” protocols like intermittent fasting or precise macronutrient ratios (which should really only be for more advanced clients anyway), focus on “big rocks” that offer the most bang for buck, like:

  • eating enough protein and vegetables
  • moving regularly
  • getting adequate sleep
  • managing stress
  • reducing smoking and/or excessive alcohol consumption

If that sounds boring or too obvious, we ask you this: How many people do you know who are consistently doing all five well? (In case you’re curious, it’s only about three to five percent of the population.)

Just managing those five things will keep most people plenty busy.

Be humble, throw out the rules, and keep learning.

The smartest people are often the ones who are most comfortable asking questions, saying “I don’t know,” and resting in uncertainty.

It’s a cliche but true: The more you know about something, the more you realize what you don’t know.

Be wary when others claim absolute certainty. It may be they don’t fully understand the complexity of the matter.

True expertise is about being comfortable with limited knowledge—while continuing to seek more and better information—and also accepting we may never have complete certainty.

Experiment wisely, and learn from both successes and failures.

Want to see how a theory works in practice? Test it out on yourself, and measure your experience as objectively as possible.

With clients, so long as there is no risk of harm, try out well-informed experiments (with their permission) that are either based on research or expert theory. Then, as always, track and measure their experiences and results to inform your next steps.

Know what you don’t know and work with other experts as needed.

Especially if you’re a beginner in your practice, it’s okay not to know stuff.

Focus on what you know best, whether that’s good lifting form, coming up with healthy meal ideas, or giving support during sticky coaching situations. But also know that some things will be out of your scope of practice.

So build a strong professional network—which could include family doctors, dietitians, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and psychotherapists—and refer out whenever you encounter something you feel uncomfortable or especially inexperienced with.

Establishing a deep roster of experts will help clients get the support they need. And we’re pretty sure the evidence will show that’s good for everyone.

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—in way that’s evidenced based and personalized for each individual’s lifestyle and 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.

References

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

The post Evidence-based coaching: Why some health and fitness pros are doing it all wrong. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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What makes for a successful fitness and nutrition coach? It’s not just what you know… it’s what you do (every day). Here are some of the practices elite coaches use to get results. Keep track of how many you’ve mastered.

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You know the type. It’s the coach that seems to have to it all together.

They have a long waiting list of eager prospects. Their client results are always impressive. They make great money doing what they love. And, just to make us all a little more jealous, they make it look effortless.

Welcome to the elite coach.

What is it that makes elite coaches so special?

Is it their training? Their hard work and commitment? Their passion? Or do they know something most others don’t?

The answer to all of those question is… yes.

Elite coaches do know something most don’t. But it’s not just knowledge. It’s a set of practices they work on daily.

And this set of practices helps them get better at forming strong relationships with their clients, fostering change, and improving their craft.

Here are the active habits that set elite coaches apart from the rest.

1. Elite coaches practice the art of human connection.

Better coaches aren’t just better at customizing workout and nutrition plans. They’re better with people.

Elite coaches don’t limit conversations to “here’s what you have to do”; they speak to clients in a way that nurtures real human connection.

By asking sincere questions, expressing compassion and being a steady source of support, they help guide their clients around obstacles so they can achieve their goals.

To practice this approach:

Ask leading questions that help clients open up and explore, imagine, or build on past successes. For example:

  • If things were better with your eating/exercise, what would be different in your life? What would you do more of? Less of? Be proud of?
  • Imagine that you have the body and health you want. What did it take for you to achieve it? What did you have to give up?
  • What have you had success with in the past? How can we do more of that and apply it to your health and fitness?”

And once you ask, really listen to their responses. Let them sink in. Learn from them. (For more on this approach, check out: Effective coach talk: What to say to clients and why it matters).

2. Elite coaches ask ‘why’. (Again… and again… and again.)

You’ve probably seen it a million times.

New clients get a taste for how hard it is to change their eating habits, do the extra 10 squats, run another mile, and rearrange their lives for all of it… and suddenly they don’t want it so badly, after all.

Elite coaches have a way of inspiring their clients—in every single session—to want the hard work. They know how to unlock their clients’ deeper motivation, sense of purpose, and inner fire.

How do they do this? For one thing, they know how to ask their clients why.

To practice this approach:

Use the ‘Five Whys’ technique.  Here’s how it works:

When establishing goals with your clients, you ask them why.

Q: “Why do you want to accomplish this?”
A: “Because I want to lose weight.”

Then, whatever answer they come up with, you ask why again.

Q: “And why do you want to lose weight in the first place?”
A: “Because I used to be thinner and am embarrassed by how heavy I’ve gotten.”

Continue asking why for a total of five times. It’s surprisingly challenging—and amazingly effective at getting to people’s core motivations.

(By the way, elite coaches use ‘the Five Whys’ on themselves. Because they know that getting to the heart of their own motivation is the best place to begin.)

3. Elite coaches help the “competition.”

Want to know a secret? To an elite coach, there’s no such thing as competition.

Elite coaches don’t feel insecure about what other coaches are doing because they know how to use their individuality as an advantage in their careers.

Rather than hiding and hoarding their knowledge, elite coaches share that knowledge and facilitate conversations, and in doing so build a trusted tribe around them.

Find your tribe and help make those in your tribe successful, and you’ll be more likely to succeed, too.

To practice this approach:

Get engaged with other people’s content and social feeds.

Take the extra few minutes to leave iTunes reviews on their podcasts; review their books on Amazon; share their Facebook posts; and so on.

These simple actions will help them build their expertise and broaden their reach. As a bonus, you might expand your own social networks in the process.

To take this concept up a notch, consider starting a Facebook group or other social community to serve as a source of mutual support, discussion, and inspiration. You’ll be able to answer questions and help your peers—and position yourself as an expert, too.

4. Elite coaches do less.

“Doing it all” is a myth.

Spreading yourself too thin is a first-class ticket to disappointment and failure. Instead, top-notch coaches figure out what’s truly crucial among their particular market and clientele, and do that.

Elite coaches also know their clients can’t do it all. They know that giving clients just one small habit at a time is far more effective than throwing an ambitious project at them and hoping for the best.

To practice this approach:

Give the ‘one habit method’ a try.

Of all the things your client wants to do and achieve, work with them to figure out which goal is most important to them right now. Then, based on their goal, help choose just one habit to start practicing today.

The habit should be so simple it almost feels “too easy” and it should be something they can do in just five or ten minutes, every single day.

Have your client practice that one habit every day for a minimum of two weeks. Ask them to check back in with you regularly to let you know whether or not they’ve completed the task.

(If you’ve completed any kind of PN coaching, you’ll recognize this ‘one-habit’ method. There’s a reason we recommend it: it’s integral to our coaching method, because it works.)

5. Elite coaches practice the basics.

Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Kick Guy never needed to have the perfect kick. All he had to do was focus on mastering the process and being excellent with all of the pieces. And that was enough to scare Bruce Lee. (Pretty scary.)

Elite coaches are like Kick Guy. They’re willing to practice techniques—even the basic ones—again and again so they can move towards true mastery.

They take this approach to their clients, too, helping them put their own foundation in place and acquire the skills they need to succeed in sustainable change.

To practice this approach:

Go back to basics with something you enjoy doing and consider yourself ‘pretty good’ at. Think back to the very first skills you learned to do that thing.

If you’re a boxer, for example, consider your stance, your hip movement, or your jab. Could you benefit from drills focusing on your core techniques?

Or, if you once struggled with poor eating habits, pay attention at mealtime. Do you still eat as slowly and mindfully as you once did? Would you benefit from paying more attention to how full you feel at the end of each meal?

Pick one elemental thing you could take from ‘good’ to ‘great’ or ‘great’ to ‘positively killer.’ Then work on improving that one thing. Solicit help from a colleague or peer if you like.

It may feel weird to act like a beginner again, but by doing so, you’re on your way to mastery.

6. Elite coaches listen for what they don’t want to hear.

Many coaches (quite logically) focus on trying to strengthen their clients’ motivation—the side of them that is interested in change.

But in the early stages of client development, it doesn’t work. Because that other side—the part that is scared of change and resistant to your efforts—is ridiculously strong. After all, it’s been preventing your client from changing for a long time.

In order to get your clients moving in the right direction, coaches have to do something that might sound a bit paradoxical: they have to hear out the resistance first.

Elite coaches listen for the resistance. They seek it out. Because they know they have to work with it, rather than against it.

To practice this approach:

Listen for your own resistance.

Think of something you’ve been wanting to change, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Tip: think of all the things you’ve been telling yourself you should or shouldn’t do.

Write down the thing you want to change. Then ask yourself:

  • What is GOOD for me about NOT changing? (In other words, how does NOT changing benefit me or help me solve a problem?)
  • What would be BAD about changing? What might I have to give up or lose?

Write down your answers.

How do you feel? Your resistance might feel a little calmer or quieter; you might feel a little more ready for change. Now that you understand your own resistance a little better, you can listen for it in client conversations, too.

7. Elite coaches know when to shut up.

Elite coaches have a lot of expertise, but that doesn’t mean they always vocalize it.

Think about it: When someone asks, “What should I eat after exercising?” an expert answers the question: “You should eat protein and carbs.”

But when a client asks “What should I eat after exercise?” a coach asks, “Tell me about your training program and what you feel you can manage?” Coaches even consider “What do you like to eat after exercise?”

A good coach doesn’t mind being quiet, asking questions or fading into the background a bit.

Many fitness professionals try to be both expert and coach at the same time. But that never works. You can’t talk and listen at the same time. You have to know how and when to switch back and forth between the two.

In other words: you need to know when to stop talking and listen.

To practice this approach:

Try using this ‘expert vs coach’ checklist on yourself:

With your clients, do you spend most of your time…

Expert Coach
Talking and telling… or Listening and reflecting?
Telling them what you know… or Sharing what you’re working on?
Answering questions?… or Asking questions?
Letting the client set the tone?… or Leading the client towards a decision or action?
Pointing and directing?… or Guiding and accompanying?
Taking the spotlight… or Fading into the background?

If you find yourself more on the ‘expert’ side of things, try actively practicing some of the actions on the ‘coach’ side.

8. Elite coaches practice being imperfect.

Lots of health and fitness professionals have high standards; most of us want to walk the walk. Moreover, we want to look like we walk the walk.

So we try to refine our own health habits, working practices, and self-presentation. We know that our bodies are often advertisements for our services, so we worry about looking our best.

But too often, we try to be perfect. And that becomes our downfall.

Sure, on the one hand, a little fire keeps you energized and sharp. But too much pressure is a parking brake on performance.

(Ever choked during a game or competition? You were probably overwhelmed by pressure. It happens to athletes all the time.)

So while elite coaches strive for excellence, they don’t try to be perfect—and they don’t expect their clients to be perfect, either.

To practice this approach:

Try sharing a little of your own imperfect experience with your clients.

When they’re fumbling with something, tell them about a time you felt awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable yourself, either when working on your own fitness and nutrition journey or another time you were struggling to learn something new.

When they’re feeling like a failure, let them know everyone falls down sometimes: share one of your own mistakes—and maybe even how you fixed it.

9. Elite coaches keep it real.

If you work in the fitness and health industry, it’s easy to throw around a lot of ideas.

Stuff like this:

  • “Never eat processed food.”
  • “Always eat local, seasonal, organic food.”

On the surface, it’s hard to argue against either. But really? Unless you’re living in a yurt somewhere and growing all your own food from the ground up, I doubt you’re always eating whole, unprocessed, local, seasonal, organic food.

Which means those nutrition ideals aren’t aspirational—they’re impossible. Even for the world’s top experts.

Elite coaches are willing to do a reality check. They realize that people don’t need a nutritional deity to follow. They don’t need strict codes of conduct that includes words like “should”, “always”, and “never”.

Instead of coaching from a place of fantasy, elite coaches stay grounded. They help their clients make progress, bit by bit.

To practice this approach:

Examine the rules you’ve set.

Consider all the “rules” and expectations around fitness, nutrition, and health. Write down as many as you can think of. Be sure to include words like “should”, “always”, and “never”.

  • You should always…
  • You should never…
  • Being “fit” means you always…
  • Being “healthy” means you never…
  • Eating “nutritiously” means…

Now read your answers and think about whether a client could reasonably “always” or “never” do them.

10.  Elite coaches ask for help.

If you’re coaching other people, it only makes sense that you’ve experienced coaching yourself.

After all, if you’ve never been coached through something, you can’t possibly understand what your clients are experiencing, thinking, and feeling.

Elite coaches know this. They seek out mentorship and get coaching themselves. Sometimes it’s not even fitness related. It might be for their business, or their personal life (like how to be a better parent or partner), or a hobby they’re particularly passionate about.

The important thing is that that they are willing to ask for help, to make themselves vulnerable, to go through the process of change… just like their clients.

And they know how powerful that process of change can be.

To practice this approach:

Make your coaching checklist.

What areas of expertise do you seek?

  • Nutritional science?
  • Coaching psychology?
  • Business strategy?
  • Professional development?
  • General life wisdom?

What kind of a mentor or coach would you like?

  • What kind of a person are they?
  • What sort of reputation do they have?
  • What would you want them to show you or tell you in order for you to feel they were the “right fit.”

Now think about people in your life (whether paid professionals, colleagues or friends) who may fit your criteria. If someone springs to mind, great. Ask if they’d be willing to lend their expertise and support to the thing you’d like help with.

Or if you need to do more research, that’s cool too.

What to do next

Pick one of the practices.

Give some thought to which of these practices you’d like to try out for yourself.

Whichever you select, do you have the skills to incorporate them into your coaching style right now? If not, check out the PN approach to skill development for some inspiration to help you figure out your next steps.

Be an observer.

As you’re coaching, be aware of your style. Are you speaking and giving advice when you could be asking questions? Are you actually hearing what your client has to say, or rushing to find the answer?

Don’t judge yourself too harshly—just start building awareness, for now. That way you can start to get clear on what you’d like to improve upon.

Ask for help if you need it.

Moving from being ‘a good coach’ to being ‘an elite coach’ takes a lot of work, and it can’t be done alone. Look for people you can learn from. Maybe it’s a community member, an old mentor, or an experienced friend.

Want strategies to level up your coaching?

It’s no secret that master coaches develop over time, through education and consistent practice, usually under the guidance of a mentor or coach.

Precision Nutrition is the only company in the world that both works with thousands of our own nutrition coaching clients and teaches health, fitness, and wellness professionals our real-world methods for getting results.

And here’s some great news: Our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class kicks off on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

Want to achieve total confidence in your coaching skills? Get (and keep) more clients? Grow and strengthen your practice? If so, the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification is definitely for you.

It’s designed specifically for Level 1 students and grads who realize that knowing about the science of nutrition isn’t enough.

Part master class, part grad program, part mentorship, it’s the only course in the world designed to help you master the art of coaching, meaning better results for your clients and a better practice for you.

Since we only take a limited number of professionals, and since the program sells out every time, I strongly recommend you add your name to our VIP List below. When you do, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you get a huge discount off the general price of the program.

[Note: The Level 2 Master Class is only for students and grads of our Level 1 Certification. So if you haven’t yet enrolled in that program, please begin there.]

Interested? Add your name to the VIP list. You’ll save up to 37% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class on Wednesday, April 3rd.

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

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to get started and ready to gain mastery in their coaching practice. So we’re offering a discount of up to 37% off the general price when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the PN Master Class twice per year. Due to high demand and a very limited number of spots, we expect it to sell out fast. But when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to take the next step in becoming a world-class coach, we’re ready to share our knowledge and help you master the art of coaching.

The post 10 things every successful fitness and nutrition coach does. The best coaches do them every day. How many are you doing? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Learning more about nutrition is one thing; turning that knowledge into results (and a thriving practice) is another. That’s why, in this article, I share seven proven business models from top health and fitness experts. Use them to grow your existing practice — or to get a new one off the ground.

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The fields of health, fitness, and wellness are evolving.

Unless they have a specific problem they need solved, people are no longer looking for ‘personal trainers’ or ‘chiropractors’ or ‘physicians’…

… they’re looking for well-rounded ‘generalist’ coaches who can help them look, feel, and live better, in more holistic ways, and in ways that last.

A big part of that, of course, is eating better.

That’s why modern health, fitness, and wellness professionals are learning more about nutrition than ever before; they’re reading books, taking courses, attending workshops, and getting certified.

But getting the knowledge is one thing; turning it into results (and a thriving practice) it is quite another.

That’s why, when we recently updated and re-opened our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, we added an entire chapter on business, advertising, and marketing (click here to see the table of contents for the course).

It’s also why we put together this article.

In it you’ll learn 7 proven models for adding nutrition coaching to your practice. (Or, if you’re just beginning, how to offer it right from the start). These come from some of the field’s top experts, including: Alwyn Cosgrove, Jonathan Goodman, Sean Greeley, Pat Rigsby, and yours truly.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ll discuss:

Which model is best for you?

All of the strategies here are proven and expert-vetted — so you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Still, they all have pros and cons. One model might be a lot more effective for, or better suited to, you (and the people you help) right now.

Feel free to read them all from top to bottom, or just jump to the section most relevant to you by clicking one of the links below.

Individual model

Suggested by John Berardi, Precision Nutrition

For many coaches, working one-on-one with clients and patients is a good start. In the individual model, you present yourself as a well-rounded lifestyle coach — and deliver on that promise.

One of the best ways to do this is to simply build nutrition coaching into your standard package of services.

Step 1: Get a commitment

Ask for the commitment you need to get real, sustainable change. That’s probably at least six months… maybe 12.

Establish an agreement for this duration and bill per unit of time (weekly, monthly, quarterly) instead of per session.

Then, begin your nutrition coaching practice (simply adding it to the exercise, rehab, medical, or other services you’re offering if you’re already in business).

Step 2: Decide how to work nutrition into your one-on-one sessions.

There are two options here.

Option 1: Offer a dedicated, regularly scheduled nutrition session every 1-2 weeks.

Value that session equal to what you’d value the services you’re currently offering. For example, if you charge $100/session for fitness training, you’ll charge $100/session for nutrition coaching.

Option 2: If you’re adding nutrition to an existing business, tack on 15 minutes to each session.

Again, for example, if you’re an exercise coach, do this at the start of the session, before your client is tired.

(Meet in a quiet place. Don’t do this while foam rolling/warming up.)

Of course, factor this extra time into your price per session. For example, if you charge $100 per session, consider charging $125 for a session that includes nutrition assessment and consultation.

(Likewise, if you’re a rehab specialist, or medical professional, you can do something similar.)

At this point, you’re probably thinking: “With a higher price point and a longer commitment, won’t that mean fewer clients or patients?”

Probably not. As current (and prospective) clients/patients see the tremendous value this sort of holistic coaching provides — and begin to see you as an elite-level, well-rounded coach — they’ll be more eager than ever to work with you.

However, even if you did lose a few clients/patients at first (which isn’t likely), you’ll begin attracting folks who are ready for change, and willing to commit.

That means you’ll get better results, and a better shot at establishing a great reputation, not to mention the income that reflects what you’re really worth.

Step 3: Develop your nutrition coaching format.

Here’s an example of what an hour of nutrition coaching might look like, based on the methods we teach in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification:

1. Start with an assessment (if warranted) — check out the ones we use at Precision Nutrition for guidance.

This would involve tracking the things important to your client or patient. It could be objective things like weight, girths, skinfolds, blood parameters, photos and food intake. Or subjective things like mood and perceived health.

2. Review check-in questions.

During the prior week or two, you should have assigned new habits or practices for your clients or patients to work on. Review how they’ve done with those practices, celebrate all successes, and talk through any challenges around those habits.

3. Look back, look ahead.

Most people tend to focus on how far their goals are ahead of them, and how much time, effort, and work still remains. Change their focus by looking backwards and reframing the future as a set of opportunities.

Review what they’ve accomplished and what they’re currently excited about or looking forward to:

Looking back over the last xx days, what are you most proud of?

Today, what are you most excited about?

Looking forward, what are you most confident about for the next xx days?

4. Establish the next practice to work on.

Together with your client or patient, collaborate on what to do next. As part of your decision-making process, consider their progress, their changing goals, current sticking points, and what feels most important and/or urgent to them.

Once you agree on next actions, ask: How confident are you that you can follow this for the next xx days? Adjust as necessary until you come up with something you think will make a difference and they think they can actually do.

5. Create a plan/discuss next steps that will set them up for success.

Based on what we decided to practice over the next xx weeks…

What advantages do you have that’ll make this easy?

What surprises or challenges may come up and get in the way?

What sort of things might you do to overcome these challenges?

Top benefits of the individual model:

Easy to get started. If you have training clients or rehab patients, you have potential nutrition clients or patients too.

Keeps the scale small and manageable. This is a great place to start if you don’t feel ready for large-scale coaching, or if you’re simply happier coaching people one-on-one.

Simple integration with existing services. You’ll still be leaps and bounds ahead of the run-of-the-mill coaches out there because you’ll be coaching people to better, lasting change. You’ll have real results to show for your efforts — and you’ll be able to charge for it.

Small group model

Suggested by Alwyn Cosgrove, Results Fitness University

Unlike the individual model, the small group model lets you coach several people simultaneously in the same session. The sessions are held at a regular, recurring time, and everyone works together. Usually, there’s also a finite end point (such as an 8-week or 12-week program).

This is also a nice way to make the most of your time. You’re spending an hour (or whatever) regardless; 10 people paying $20 each will yield twice the revenue of 1 client paying $100 for that same hour.

Clients/patients may also prefer to trade off one-on-one time for a cheaper price — or simply like the idea that they’re sharing the journey with others.

Step 1: Add nutrition classes to your existing business.

If you have existing clients or patients, you can suggest that for an additional fee, they join your small group nutrition class.

Step 2: Consider “front-loading” nutrition for new clients.

Encourage uptake of the nutrition program by offering a free “entry level” nutrition starter class or kit when a client or patient begins working with you.

For example, at Results Fitness, every new client gets a “Phase 1” nutrition program that includes some initial habit-based coaching with bonus tools (like a food journal).

From there, Cosgrove estimates that 90% of clients upgrade to the 8-week small group program.

Feel free to experiment and discover the “winning formula” that works for your own coaching style and client or patient base.

Step 3: Develop your nutrition class.

What should the classes look like?

Class size can vary depending on your group and comfort level. However, generally 5-25 people per nutrition class is ideal.

The class structure could look something like this:

  • 30 minutes lecture on a given topic
  • 15 minute Q & A
  • 15 minute check-in and accountability session

Step 4: Find a good system for tracking compliance.

Accountability generally involves reviewing whether the client or patient has met their stated goals from the last session; and identifying what they will commit to work on for the next period of time.

The coach can assign the same habit to everyone, or allow each person to choose their own habit for the week, based on what they’re learning and their progress in the program. (Perhaps take a certain supplement each day or practice eating slowly at dinner time.)

Straightforward ways to track compliance include:

Have clients/patients sign a visibly placed whiteboard. By doing so, they’re committing to the week’s habit.

Keep a “compliance grid”. Throughout the program, track each individual’s consistency: If they miss a habit, they get an X; if they do the habit, they get the checkmark.

Assign “accountability buddies”. This allows people to partner up so they may check in with each other about their progress.

Top benefits of the small group model:

Return on investment: You maximize your profitability without investing more time. Serving more people at once, even at a lower rate than an individual hourly model, will allow you to increase profits per unit of time spent.

Accountability: For many people, the biggest barrier to success isn’t knowledge, it’s consistency. And consistency can be helped tremendously by accountability — something that naturally flows from having other people check in on your progress week after week.

Social support: We also know people are more likely to stick with the program if they have peers, friends or family with similar habits. A group model can provide a community feel and give folks a sense of support. They’ll keep coming back (and re-subscribing to your program) because they want to remain a part of the community.

Transformation contest model

Suggested by Pat Rigsby, patrigsby.com

In a transformation contest model, you provide coaching within a limited time frame (about 4 to 6 weeks), with a very clear goal. The contest offers a prize for a particular achievement, such as:

  • body composition changes
  • visual transformation
  • habit transformation
  • athletic accomplishment
  • etc.

Step 1: Develop and advertise the contest.

Decide on the criteria and find an enticing prize to draw people in. (Note: You will likely need a sponsor for this prize, especially if you’re not part of a fitness club or larger organization.)

Set a registration fee you’re comfortable with. $225 is a typical starting point.

Now, of course, to make a good contest, you need plenty of people. While you can have as many people as you like, to make it sporting I recommend about 20 people as a minimum.

Step 2: Offer ongoing coaching and accountability.

Throughout the pre-specified time frame of the program, you’ll deliver a combination of email coaching and in-person (or online) educational workshops. For example, you might send out a new email every Monday with that week’s program (i.e. exercise and nutritional habits), plus follow-up emails throughout the week.

In addition, you might host weekly in-person workshops or webinars throughout the program that discuss nutritional habits in more detail.

You may also choose to set up an online group, such as a private Facebook group, where you can send a daily reminder or “check-in” asking people to confirm they did their daily habit. This helps to build accountability into the program.

Step 3: Objectively measure results.

For instance:

  • If the goal is physical transformation, set times for in-person measurements throughout the program.
  • If the goal is athletic achievement, set times for group workouts or “fitness tests”.

Make sure criteria and measurements are clear and transparent. You don’t want people feeling misled or shortchanged.

While the program is short, it enables you to offer a lot of value in a short period.

Top benefits of the transformation contest model:

Creates urgency: The short time frame with specific set dates encourage people to make a commitment.

Highly motivating; keeps people focused: People can see real change within a short time frame, with a set endpoint. They can go “all in”, with an intense and focused effort.

Immediate cash influx and long-term financial benefit: You’re both enhancing the value of existing clients or patients by getting them to pay for a new service, and bringing in new clients/patients or who may sign up for other programs with you.

Enables you to deliver nutrition coaching and fitness/health/rehab coaching together in a structured way. This may be a good model if you want to incorporate some nutrition coaching into your work but aren’t ready to transfer it to your standard programs.

Corporate model

Suggested by Sean Greeley, Net Profit Explosion

In the corporate coaching model, you’ll provide nutrition coaching to a workplace (either a whole company or a specific department).

Corporate demand is increasing. It’s a great way to scale up your business and sell your services at a higher corporate rate.

It’s also mutually beneficial: Employees appreciate getting access to quality nutrition coaching and employers love the corporate culture and team-building benefits while improving the health of their employees.

Step 1: Get comfortable coaching large groups of people.

Get some experience with the group setting by starting with the small group or transformation contest model.

Step 2: Decide on the format of your nutrition coaching program.

For corporate clients, you’ll need to make a few amendments to your existing model, but you can borrow many of the same practices of either the small group program or the transformation contest program, depending on company size.

Top benefits of the corporate model:

High profits: Corporate coaching programs usually come with a higher price tag. Just be sure you can deliver on your promises. They will expect good service.

Less investment of time and administration: Corporate programs don’t need the marketing or sponsorship of free-standing transformation contests. This makes things more efficient (and potentially more profitable) for you. Transformation contests can be a bit heavy on logistics. Within a company environment, they become much more straightforward.

Broader audience: A corporate program can give you access to a large group of people (e.g. 100+), allowing you to sell/upgrade more clients or patients after the program is complete. (This assumes you have their permission to do so.)

Online coaching model

Suggested by Jonathan Goodman, The Personal Trainer Development Center

Online coaching typically involves weekly programming (by email or a software service), which may include written, photo and/or video content. It will require a degree of one-on-one time from you to provide accountability or answer questions, but that time should be structured and limited, as described below.

Step 1: Choose how many people you want.

Your goal number of clients/patients should depend on what you are trying to accomplish. Are you starting an online-only business? Is this supplemental to other projects, or will it be your primary work?

If it’s supplemental, or you’re just getting started, you may choose to begin with a small group (e.g. 10 to 20) and a small price point ($100/month).

Up to around 30 or 40 people seems to be manageable without special software. Beyond that point, you may wish to use a special software system to help manage clients/patients and content delivery.

Step 2: Choose your specialty or “niche”.

Efficient online nutrition coaching requires you to focus and establish templates for client/patient “type”. Pick no more than 3 types of individuals you want to include in your online program.

For example:

  • 25-30-year-old males looking to build muscle
  • Women in their 30s who recently had a baby
  • 60-75-year-old retirees
  • etc.

Step 3: Assess your prospects in advance.

Ask prospects to fill out a questionnaire. You can set up a simple survey online using a system such as Survey Monkey.

This will not only help you vet clients/patients to make sure they fit your area of specialty, but also to anticipate needs and problems in advance.

(For example, if you’re doing fitness coaching and clients have a shoulder injury, you will need to adjust their workouts accordingly.)

Step 4: Create 3-4 phases of programming for each type.

Each client/patient in the same category will receive a similar program, tailored slightly for them, based on their questionnaire answers.

Step 5: Set appointed times for compliance check-ins.

For example, at the end of the week, the client/patient can send you their food journal, or their update on what habits they kept, etc. You can schedule a time to review your email and check off compliance using your favorite method (e.g. a whiteboard or spreadsheet).

Schedule your time carefully. Set up regular appointments for yourself for when you will send materials, when you will check email or conduct accountability check-ins, schedule follow-ups, etc.

Step 6: Consider software.

Once you get a broader scope of clients/patients, you may look at buying software to help you deliver nutrition coaching materials.

Unfortunately not all software services support nutrition coaching. If you’re going the software route, be sure to speak with a representative about nutrition coaching in advance to make sure it has the functionality you need.

[Editor’s note: Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach is just this type of nutrition coaching software. It allows health, fitness, and wellness professionals to leverage our proven methods with their own clients/patients.]

Top benefits of the online coaching model:

It can save you time and money… if you do it right. Remember, online coaching doesn’t have to be a big business; it can be a great adjunct to an existing in-person business. For example, if you are training at a gym and want to try combining nutrition coaching with fitness, this can be a good way to do that on the side.

Client adherence can actually be better. Think about it: At a big rehab center, the client/patient buys “rehab” instead of a particular therapist. Since the therapist is often chosen for them, they may not be a good fit — and the client/patient feels no sense of agency in the decision. On the other hand, when you’re an online coach, the client picks you.

You reach the people who need you. Online coaching is a great way to reach people who need the help. For example, there are people who can’t afford gym memberships or personal training, or who are intimidated by gyms. Online coaching makes getting the help they need more accessible.

More flexibility. Online coaching can give you more freedom for how and when you work, allowing you to block off time according to your own schedule and use your preferred ways of working.

Just remember, in order to save you time, you must work efficiently and systematically. If you’re redesigning your programs for each and every person, and answering email all day long, you’re probably not going to get the results or profit you hoped for.

Partnership model

Suggested by John Berardi, Precision Nutrition

What if you’re not quite ready to provide nutrition coaching within your business?

No problem. You can outsource it.

The truth is, some coaches who are qualified to dispense nutrition advice (including Precision Nutrition Certified pros) decide that now isn’t the right time to formally incorporate practice-based nutrition coaching into their business.

That’s a fair decision. After all, it takes time to make any kind of addition or change to your business. It takes time to put all this nutrition stuff into practice, let alone become an expert at it. And it takes time to settle into your sweet spot of expertise, wherever you find it.

Meanwhile, you want the best for your clients or patients. You don’t want them getting lost in diet fads or repeating harmful patterns. You want them to feel good and succeed, in all areas of health and fitness.

So let’s say you decide that, at least for the time being, you’d like some help delivering nutrition coaching. This is where a partnership model can be useful.

Step 1: Start by picking your partner.

This may be a local nutritionist or dietitian who you trust and respect. Or it may be a reputable online coaching company, like us. (Obviously, at Precision Nutrition, we believe we’re the best in the world at what we do. So perhaps you want to partner with us? If so, drop us a line and let us know.)

Step 2: Decide on your partnership arrangement.

If you’re teaming up with a local nutrition pro, figure out what works best for the both of you: Will you exchange referrals? Go with affiliate-type commissions? Come up with a barter system?

There are lots of options, although my experience suggests that affiliate/referral commissions work best. With affiliate commissions, you determine a commission rate. Your affiliate partner pays you that rate for each person you refer to them. (And vice versa if they’re referring clients/patients to you.)

This type of revenue sharing model is commonly used in the digital/online world but there’s no reason it can’t be done offline too. Obviously, you can negotiate whatever you agree is fair, but a commission of 10 to 20 percent on each coaching package sold is standard.

For example, let’s say you decide you want to partner with us. As a Precision Nutrition Certification student or graduate you can become a referral partner of ours. You contact us, sign up for our affiliate program, and you’re given a special link to share with clients or patients for them to learn more about Precision Nutrition Coaching.

For each client/patient you think is a good candidate, you share that link with them. And if they go on to sign up for coaching, you get paid a generous percentage of the sale.

This is just an example, of course. You could set up a similar relationship with any other nutrition coach or nutrition company you choose, as long as they’re amenable.

The key is to make sure they’re giving advice you actually believe in, so that your clients/patients aren’t receiving mixed messages and getting confused.

Step 3: Stay in touch about their nutrition coaching.

For example, you might schedule regular check-ins to see how it’s going, what habits they’re working on, etc.

Just stay informed so you have a sense of their progress and so you can make sure your work dovetails with what’s happening on the nutrition side.

Top benefits of the partnership model:

You can take care of your clients/patients. If you aren’t ready or able to offer nutrition coaching right now, you’ll know they’re getting quality support in this area. Part of being a great coach is knowing when to call in extra resources to help your people succeed. Not everything needs to come from you.

You buy yourself some time. Keep working in the areas where you’re already a superstar. Meanwhile, keep learning and practicing in areas you want to grow. Remember, you don’t have to do everything all at once.

You keep it simple. Like your business the way it is now? Not excited about adding or changing things? Outsourcing is an easy solution.

You make a bit of money, and/or find some new clients/patients. Partnership can open up new opportunities and it can even make you some cash, with very little investment on your part.

Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach

As an addition, or alternative, to the models above, you may consider using Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach software, which offers Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates an easy way to deliver the practice-based nutrition coaching we teach in our program.

In this model, ProCoach delivers the Precision Nutrition Coaching curriculum to your clients and patients, while keeping you in the driver’s seat as the coach.

You sign up your clients/patients, and ProCoach runs automatically for each person.

Each of your clients will get 12 months of lessons, habits and progress check-ins, delivered to them automatically on your behalf. Meanwhile, ProCoach gives you a platform to track their progress.

While ProCoach delivers the programming, you are the coach. That means you can help your clients/patients through the curriculum in whatever way you choose — whether that’s in person, entirely online, in a group setting in the gym, a corporate setting, and so on.

Here’s an idea of how this works.

Step 1: Get started on (or complete) your Precision Nutrition Certification.

Again, ProCoach is only available to Precision Nutrition Certified professionals.

Step 2: Sign up for ProCoach.

We’ll be making more spots available soon. Click here to check out our next launch date.

Step 3: Register your clients/patients for the program.

This takes less than 30 seconds per person. The program immediately kicks off and gives your client/patient access to their personal dashboard, from any device.

Step 4: Review their assessment answers.

The program begins with an initial screening and assessment questionnaire. You can then review client/patient responses to get to know more about them and understand their goals.

Step 5: Let the program run.

At this point, the program runs like clockwork. Folks get daily emails with short reviews and lessons about what they should be working on that day. Every two weeks they will practice a different habit, supported by daily guidance in the form of written, audio, and visual content.

Step 6: Review client progress.

Every week or two, clients/patients are asked to report markers of progress such as body weight and photos. Through your ProCoach dashboard you will be able to review progress. You can easily track everyone at a glance, and deep dive into each individual’s progress as you wish.

Step 7: Check in and provide feedback.

If you want to be more involved, you can check in, provide feedback, and give high fives through the ProCoach communication system. Depending on your coaching style, you can also add your own personal elements to this — such as in-person coaching, group meetups, webinars, etc.

Top benefits of the ProCoach model:

Provide a reliable nutrition coaching experience. You’ll deliver the same high quality nutrition coaching experience to every single client/patient regardless of what else is going on… in your life or theirs. ProCoach offers our “road-tested”, evidence-based, real-world-proven system and experience for everyone. We’ve put some serious mileage on it so we know it works.

Scale up. (The sky’s the limit.) You’ll be able to coach 5 clients, 50 clients, or 500 people easily — because ProCoach makes it simple. We’ve already coached over 100,000 clients using this very system. Think you can handle that many clients? Go for it. The system will work, whether you have 10 people or 10,000.

Automation makes it easy. You’ll be able to deliver nutrition habits, lessons, and assignments on time and on track, no matter what else you’re doing. Whether you’re sleeping, busy, out of town, in bed with the flu, stuck in traffic or on a plane somewhere above the Pacific ocean… it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be there all the time, or married to your laptop, always wondering and worrying. The system will take care of your people, and make sure they get what they need. Daily, weekly, and monthly check-ins and progress tracking are also automated.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

Whether you’re already in the middle of your coaching career or you’re just starting out, getting a top-notch nutrition education is the most important (and first) step.

Then you’ll need smart tools and systems for using that knowledge to get the best results for your clients/patients — and for your business.

In this article, we’ve offered lots of ideas for adding nutrition coaching to your practice. It can sometimes feel overwhelming. But starting with these steps will help you stay focused.

1. Know your stuff.

The business models we’ve laid out in this piece only work if you truly know your stuff. For example: If you’re going to coach nutrition, make sure you understand the fundamentals.

And just like nutrition, business is an ongoing learning process, too. Do you know the essentials of sales and marketing and buying psychology? Can you express what you do with clarity and passion? Do you know how to demonstrate authority and build a top-notch reputation for yourself? These may be areas where more study is needed to raise your game.

Take an honest assessment of where you are now as a coach and a business person. Where are your gaps?

Of course, if you don’t have the fundamental nutrition knowledge yet, maybe it’s time to get your Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. It’ll boost your credentials and up your game. Plus, once certified, you can use ProCoach.

2. Value your time and your services.

It may be tempting to give your nutrition knowledge away for free. Clients, patients (and friends and family) may ask you to do so, without giving it much consideration.

But if you want to make a great living, you need to put a price on your nutrition coaching services — whether that’s an increased hourly rate or a special program.

You also need to value your own time. The adage “time is money” is particularly true for health, fitness, and wellness. Be clear and specific about when you’re available, and how the time will be used.

You can also apply my ‘1-minute rule’. If you can answer the question in less than one minute, go for it. If you’ll need more than that, it falls under the umbrella of coaching — and that means you charge for it.

3. Use a system.

Nutrition coaching really isn’t something you can wing. The best, most effective, way to use your knowledge — for the good of your clients/patients and your business — is to have a system in place.

As you consider which business model to use, consider your goals and preferred way of working.

Do you feel most inspired when interacting with people one-on-one? Do you love the group setting because of your passion for public speaking? Are you pressed for time, making the online option most practical for you? Do you need to work with a partner or other third party for now, while you refine your nutrition knowledge and coaching skills?

All of these options have their own pros and cons; there is no single “right” way to do things.

It may take some experimentation before you find what works best for you. Start by picking one system, and giving it a try. As you go, you’ll learn from your mistakes, discover what works best, and adapt accordingly.

4. Get some support, if you need it.

You don’t have to do everything all by yourself, or all at once. If you’re not quite ready to provide nutrition coaching, you may consider a partnership model.

Or, if you want to provide nutrition coaching but want an easy and reliable delivery method and a tried-and-tested curriculum, explore Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.

If you’re not sure which way to go right now, you can always reach out to us at Precision Nutrition — we’re happy to help.

5. Above all else, fulfill your promise.

Remember why you’re doing this in the first place — you’re passionate about health, fitness, and nutrition, and you want to use that passion to help people.

Your success fundamentally depends on the value you deliver. If people hire you because they want to live better, healthier lives, it’ll be your job to help them do that.

That’s the biggest reason nutrition coaching belongs in the health, fitness, and wellness spaces. It’s also why you have the potential to be immensely successful in these fields. Because if you deliver on the promise to help people live and feel better, you will stand out, and you will be successful.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Building a successful coaching practice — in a way that provides patients and clients with long-term progress, and you long-term fulfillment and financial stability — 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 7 proven + profitable models for adding nutrition coaching to a health and fitness business. Help more people and build a thriving practice with these expert tips. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Every year, thousands of people consider starting a career in fitness and health. But most have no idea how to make their dream a reality. This article—written for both new and experienced fitness professionals—outlines a new curriculum for building a successful career. 

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Change your body, change your… career?

Becoming passionate about health and fitness put the rest of my life into perspective.

I caught the fitness bug early. I started working out and reading articles about nutrition and fitness when I was in high school. By the time I was 21, I’d put on 30 pounds of muscle, felt awesome, and vanquished my skinny guy genetics.

Like many people who start living the “healthy lifestyle”, I quickly became the go-to fitness and nutrition expert for my friends and family, a position and responsibility I enjoyed and cherished.

My new-found love for exercising and eating healthy—coupled with the results I saw in the mirror and my ability to help others get in shape—made me feel like a brand new person.

Well, almost.

Because even though I looked and felt different, the rest of my life seemed tethered to the “old me”. I’d transformed my mind and body… but I was still doing the same old stuff.

Working the same unsatisfying job. Going through the motions at my local community college. Following the same routines.

Taking control of my own health and fitness had shown me how much potential I had to change things in my life. To become happier. To find meaning and purpose. To make a difference.

So why the hell was I doing all the boring stuff I was “supposed” to do when I could do something that actually mattered?

A crazy idea popped into my head: What if I became a personal trainer and tried helping others transform their bodies? What if that was my job?

As I thought about the possibilities, I got excited. And then reality slapped me in the face. The way I saw it, I had one huge problem:

I had no formal education, no certification, and worse… absolutely no idea where to start.

Dream job

How do you become successful in the fitness industry?

I wasn’t alone. And I’m still not.

There are thousands of people who are passionate about health and fitness and considering a career change. But like me back then, they don’t know where to start.

Should they go back to school for a new degree? Get certified as a personal trainer? Or maybe something else entirely?

I remember thinking through the positives and negatives of each before deciding on a course of action.

Option 1: Go back to school.

Positives:

  • Earn a degree.
  • Learn all about biochemistry, anatomy, and exercise physiology.

Negatives:

  • Takes at least two years to finish (and more likely, four to six years).
  • Costs tens of thousands of dollars and could leave me deep in debt.
  • Doesn’t prepare me for the day-to-day work of training real people (i.e. doesn’t show me how to write training programs or nutritional plans people will actually follow).
  • Delivers few (if any) classes or resources on change psychology or business development.

Option 2: Get certified as a personal trainer.

Positives:

  • Faster than going back to school (Usually self-study, so I could go at my own pace.)
  • Costs way less money.
  • Learn enough anatomy and physiology to feel semi-competent.
  • The certificate I earned after taking the test would make me seem more credible to potential clients.

Negatives:

  • Doesn’t seem as “credible” as a degree.
  • I don’t know which certification is “good” and which certification is “bad”.
  • Still doesn’t teach me much about change psychology or business development.

So what did I do?

I got a crappy personal training certification, sweet-talked my way into a job as a “fitness assistant” at a local gym, and started training clients. (I eventually earned a better certification.)

At times, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had gamed the system! Here I was working with people, building my business, reading nutrition and exercise text books, and attending seminars. I felt like I had a big head-start.

But at other times, I felt like a fraud. I worried that everyone would look at my lack of formal education and know I was unfit to work with people, even if I was a certified trainer.

I worried that because I didn’t follow any sort of “path”, my new career in fitness was a joke. It was debilitating and even a little depressing.

But as I would later learn, my lack of a formal fitness and nutrition education put me in good company.

Be a world-class strength coach in 3 easy steps

When people ask renowned strength coach Dan John what they should do to become a successful trainer or coach, here’s what he tells them:

Step 1: Get a degree in English, study Theology, score a job as a high school teacher.

Step 2: Spend evenings teaching an online religious studies course.

Step 3: Volunteer as a strength coach with your high school track team.

Voilá, just 25 years later, you’ll be a household name in strength and conditioning.

While Dan laughs when he says this, that’s exactly what he did. And his hint of sarcasm isn’t missed, largely because Dan knows something most people don’t:

Unlike in certain fields like law and medicine, there are no clear, predetermined paths in fitness.

In other words, there is no single—or obvious—path to becoming a successful health and fitness coach.

When I realized that, I felt a huge burden lift off me. I wasn’t a fraud. I was just a guy who wanted to help people get in good shape. And, like Dan, I had simply taken an “unconventional” path to get there.

What does that mean for you?

It means that you can find the path that suits you. The path that matches your experience, personality, character, and principles.

You can create your own unique path to the dream job you want.

But how?

Start here: The new fitness industry curriculum

Of course, even though there’s no single template, you can still follow and adapt some of the patterns of the top coaches. Here’s how.

1. Start coaching immediately.

You don’t have to do anything fancy from the start. You don’t need to get a degree, rent space in a gym, or start your own studio.

In other words, you don’t need permission from anyone to get started.

All you have to do is help someone get in shape and improve their life, one step at a time.

It doesn’t matter if that someone is a friend, family member, or a paying client. The only way to see if you actually enjoy working with people is to start working with people.

And if you’re not feeling confident enough to coach on your own, ask if you can “shadow” a personal trainer or another experienced coach for a day.

Remember: You don’t have to know everything about exercise and nutrition to help someone get in shape and improve their life. All you need is to know a little bit more about health and fitness than the person you’re trying to help.

Becoming great at something (like coaching) is always about trial and error.

No matter how well prepared you think you are, no matter how many tests you pass, no matter how many internships you do, you will eventually have to try stuff and you will still have to make mistakes. On your own.

So start doing—and learning—now.

2. Get certified.

While you’re coaching, start earning your credentials.

Yes, we all know that a lot of certifications in the fitness industry are considered a joke. Many require a single weekend of “effort” (and I put that in quotations deliberately).

Most barely scratch the surface of what a trainer really needs to know to work effectively with a client.

But if you want to be viewed as a professional—and if you want insurance—you’ll need the paperwork. So get some kind of certification anyway.

Start with a basic certification like one of the following:

Once you’ve cleared the initial hurdle and have rounded out your skill set (see below), you can consider more advanced certifications and mentorships.

3. Become a “complete” fitness professional.

Once you get your basic personal training certification, it’s time to take it a step further and expand your education. We know that exercise alone won’t get your clients the kind of results they’re hiring you for.

And your clients will need more help than just the two or three sessions a week they have with you.

So what you should you do?

Nutrition education

First, learn more about nutrition, so you can feel more confident discussing food and diet with your clients.

Nutrition is where people 1) need the most help and 2) will see the greatest results.

In fact, including nutrition coaching with your training advice can increase your effectiveness as a trainer by at least five times.

In other words:

  • That could be 25 pounds lost, instead of 5.
  • That could be 20 points knocked off the blood pressure score, instead of 4.
  • That could be 5 inches off someone’s waist, not 1.

That could be at least five times more client commitment, confidence, motivation, retention, and satisfaction… with five times less effort from you.

Since a high-quality, real-world nutrition certification didn’t exist a few years ago, we set out to create one: The Precision Nutrition Certification. It’s quickly become the industry’s most respected nutrition certification, a fact we’re very proud of.

And if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 program, we’ve got something for you too. Check out this Level 2 page where you can learn more about the Master Class.

Also, if you want more research on the different nutrition education options out there, check out this site. It compares and contrasts the best schools and online education platforms. That way you can make an educated decision on what’s best for you.

Movement education

After establishing your nutrition system, I recommend one more thing to round out your basic skill set: improving your ability to assess movement.

Most exercise programming assumes that clients move well to begin with. And that might be true, if you were training child circus performers, instead of office workers or athletes and manual laborers with years of repetitive stresses and strains.

As physical therapist Gray Cook says, you shouldn’t load dysfunctional movement patterns. Adding weight to a structure that can’t support it isn’t going to make that structure any better.

Your exercise programming can actually hurt your clients if you don’t first learn how to help them fix their dysfunctional movement patterns.

So, consider checking out one of the following education tracks for better understanding and programming movement.

4. Learn how to coach real people.

After you’ve spent some time learning about movement, nutrition, and exercise programing it’s time to learn how to coach your clients. 

That means understanding the deeper psychology at play and saying the right things in the right ways at the right times. It means really connecting with your clients and helping them through their body  transformations one step at a time.

You can have someone do all the squats and eat all the broccoli you want, but until you learn “change psychology” and the art of coaching, you’ll never be able to actually help your clients change their habits.

Where should you start?

Here are two must-read resources to check out:

Note: In the second article we share six books that will teach you the basics of change psychology. Use it as a jumping off point for digging deeper into this area.

And if you’ve done all that and you’re ready to level up, you might consider these courses:

5. Get some business training.

You’ve gotta keep the lights on, your financials in order, and clients coming in the door. But how?

If you’re considering opening your own personal training studio or gym—or if you work at a bigger gym and want to learn how to get more clients—you’ll need to get some business training.

I’m not talking about a MBA here. I’m talking about fitness-specific training taught by people who’ve actually had success in the field.

Here’s are some great options:

(And here’s a great article outlining the 5 key stages of a successful fitness business).

The better you get at marketing and running your business, the more people you can help, and the more money you can make.

6. A career of learning and development.

Once you’ve built a strong foundation of training, nutrition, movement, change, and business knowledge, it’s time to commit to a lifetime of learning and personal development.

Feel free to pick the books, courses, internships, and certifications that most resonate with you. Or will most help your clients.

Now is the time to geek out about advanced programming for different populations, nutrient timing, soft-tissue therapy, hormonal issues, advanced exercise and diet techniques, and more.

If you’re interested in finally leveling up that basic training certification from Step 2 above, consider:

And if you’re ready for internships and mentorships, these come highly recommended:

If you’re interested in different areas of nutrition:

If you’re interested in more athletic populations:

If you’re interested in high intensity and group training:

If you’re interested in special populations:

Personal trainer

Remember: There is no one “right” way to make it in the fitness industry

Fitness and nutrition is still a young industry. There is no one “right” path to success. In fact, there may never be.

And I kinda like it that way. It means that possibilities are infinite. 

The best trainers can come from anywhere: four-year colleges. Doctoral programs. Theology school. College drop-outs. Someone who found a gym flyer in the parking lot.

It doesn’t matter.

If you’ve got the energy, the drive, and the interest to do this work, you can eventually do it… no matter what you’re doing as a career now.

What to do

While there isn’t one “right” path, there are six things you can do to set yourself apart from 99% of other trainers out there:

  1. Start coaching now—even if it’s just family or friends.
  2. Get certified—even if it’s a basic entry-level certification.
  3. Become a “complete” fitness professional—someone who understands exercise, but also nutrition and quality movement.
  4. Learn how to coach real people—by focusing on change psychology and connections.
  5. Get business training—so you can take your fitness “pipe dream” and turn it into something meaningful and profitable.
  6. Commit to a career of learning and development—geek out on advanced programs and build your skills and specialties.

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—in a way that helps them adopt simple but effective habits they can sustain—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 How to build a successful and rewarding career in fitness. A step-by-step guide for personal trainers & coaches. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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When it comes to body change, there’s no topic more polarizing than “calories in vs. calories out.” Some argue it’s the be-all and end-all of weight loss. Others say it’s oversimplified and misguided. In this article, we explore every angle of the debate from “eat less, move more,” to hormonal issues, to diets that offer a “metabolic advantage.” In doing so, we answer—once and for all—how important calories in vs. calories out really is. And discuss what it means for you and your clients.  

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“You’re either with me, or you’re against me.”

Everyone’s heard this one. But did you know the health and fitness industry has its own version of the saying? It goes: “You’re either with me, or you’re stupid.”

I kid, of course!

But this kind of binary mindset does fuel plenty of heated debates. Especially when it comes to one topic in particular: “calories in vs. calories out,” or CICO.

CICO is an easy way of saying:

  • When you take in more energy than you burn, you gain weight.
  • When you take in less energy than you burn, you lose weight.

This is a fundamental concept in body weight regulation, and about as close to scientific fact as we can get.

Then why is CICO the source of so much disagreement?

It’s all about the extremes.

At one end of the debate there’s a group who believes CICO is straightforward. If you aren’t losing weight, the reason is simple: You’re either eating too many calories, or not moving enough, or both. Just eat less and move more.

At the other end is a group who believes CICO is broken (or even a complete myth). These critics say it doesn’t account for hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and other health problems that affect metabolism. They often claim certain diets and foods provide a “metabolic advantage,” helping you lose weight without worrying about CICO.

Neither viewpoint is completely wrong.

But neither is completely right, either.

Whether you’re a health and fitness coach tasked with helping clients manage their weight—or you’re trying to learn how to do that for yourself—adopting an extreme position on this topic is problematic; it prevents you from seeing the bigger picture.

This article will add some nuance to the debate.

I’ll start by clearing up some misconceptions about CICO. And then explore several real-world examples showing how far-right or far-left views can hold folks back.

Rethinking common misconceptions.

Much of the CICO debate—as with many other debates—stems from misconceptions, oversimplifications, and a failure (by both sides) to find a shared understanding of concepts. So let’s start by getting everyone on the same page for a change.

CICO goes beyond food and exercise.

There’s an important distinction to be made between CICO and “eat less, move more.” But people, especially some CICO advocates, tend to conflate the two.

“Eat less, move more” only takes into account the calories you eat and the calories you burn through exercise and other daily movement. But CICO is really an informal way of expressing the Energy Balance Equation, which is far more involved.

The Energy Balance Equation—and therefore CICO—includes all the complex inner workings of the body, as well as the external factors that ultimately impact “calories in” and “calories out.”

Imperative to this, and often overlooked, is your brain. It’s constantly monitoring and controlling CICO. Think of it as mission control, sending and receiving messages that involve your gut, hormones, organs, muscles, bones, fat cells, external stimuli (and more), to help balance “energy in” and “energy out.”

It’s one hell of a complicated—and beautiful—system.

Yet the Energy Balance Equation itself looks really simple. Here it is:

  • [Energy in] – [Energy out] = Changes in body stores*

*Body stores refers to all the tissues available for breakdown, such as fat, muscle, organ, and bone. I purposely haven’t used “change in body weight” here because I want to exclude water weight, which can change body weight independent of energy balance. In other words, water is a confusing, confounding variable that tricks people into thinking energy balance is broken when it’s not.

With this equation, “energy in” and “energy out” aren’t just calories from food and exercise. As you can see in the illustration below, all kinds of factors influence these two variables.

When you view CICO through through this lens—by zooming out for a wider perspective—you can see boiling it down to “eat less, move more” is a significant oversimplification.

Calorie calculators and CICO aren’t the same.

Many people use calorie calculators to estimate their energy needs, and to  approximate how many calories they’ve eaten. But sometimes these tools don’t seem to work. As a result, these individuals start to question whether CICO is broken. (Or whether they’re broken).

The key words here are “estimate” and “approximate.”

That’s because calorie calculators aren’t necessarily accurate.

For starters, they provide an output based on averages, and can be off by as much as 20-30 percent in normal, young, healthy people. They may vary even more in older, clinical, or obese populations.

And that’s just on the “energy out” side.

The number of calories you eat—or your “energy in”—is also just an estimate.

For example, the FDA allows inaccuracies of up to 20% on label calorie counts, and research shows restaurant nutrition information can be off by 100-300 calories per food item.

What’s more, even if you were able to accurately weigh and measure every morsel you eat, you still wouldn’t have an exact “calories in” number. That’s because there are other confounding factors, such as:

  • We don’t absorb all of the calories we consume. And absorption rates vary across food types. (Example: We absorb more calories than estimated from fiber-rich foods, and less calories than estimated from nuts and seeds.)
  • We all absorb calories uniquely based on our individual gut bacteria.
  • Cooking, blending, or chopping food generally makes more calories available for absorption than may appear on a nutrition label.

Of course, this doesn’t mean CICO doesn’t work. It only means the tools we have to estimate “calories in” and “calories out” are limited.

To be crystal clear: Calorie calculators can still be very helpful for some people. But it’s important to be aware of their limitations. If you’re going to use one, do so as a rough starting point, not a definitive “answer.”

CICO doesn’t require calorie counting.

At Precision Nutrition, sometimes we use calorie counting to help clients improve their food intake. Other times we use hand portions. And other times we use more intuitive approaches.

For example, let’s say a client wants to lose weight, but they’re not seeing the results they want. If they’re counting calories or using hand portions, we might use those numbers as a reference to further reduce the amount of food they’re eating. But we also might encourage them to use other techniques instead. Like eating slowly, or until they’re 80 percent full.

In every case—whether we’re talking numbers or not — we’re manipulating “energy in.” Sometimes directly; sometimes indirectly. So make no mistake: Even when we’re not “counting calories,” CICO still applies.

CICO might sound simple, but it’s not.

There’s no getting around it: If you (or a client) aren’t losing weight, you either need to decrease “energy in” or increase “energy out.” But as you’ve already seen, that may involve far more than just pushing away your plate or spending more time at the gym.

For instance, it may require you to:

  • Get more high-quality sleep to better regulate hunger hormones, improve recovery, and increase metabolic output
  • Increase your daily non-exercise movement by parking the car a few blocks away from your destination, taking the stairs, and/or standing while you work
  • Trade some high-intensity exercise for lower-intensity activities, in order to aid recovery and reduce systemic stress
  • Tinker with the macronutrient makeup of what you eat. For example: eating more protein and fiber, or increasing carbs and lowering fats, or vice versa
  • Experiment with the frequency and timing of your meals and snacks, based on personal preferences and appetite cues
  • Consider temporarily tracking your food intake—via hand portions or weighing/measuring—to ensure you’re eating what you think you’re eating (as closely as reasonably possible)
  • Evaluate and correct nutritional deficiencies, for more energy during workouts (and in everyday life)
  • Consult with your physician or specialists if consistent lifestyle changes aren’t moving the needle

Sometimes the solutions are obvious; sometimes they aren’t. But with CICO, the answers are there, if you keep your mind open and examine every factor.

Imagine yourself a “calorie conductor” who oversees and fine-tunes many actions to create metabolic harmony. You’re looking for anything that could be out of sync.

This takes lots of practice.

So, to help, here are 5 common energy balance dilemmas. In each case, it might be tempting to assume CICO doesn’t apply. But look a little a deeper, and you’ll see the principles of CICO are always present.

5 common energy balance dilemmas.

Dilemma #1: “I’ve been eating the same way forever, but suddenly I started gaining weight.”

Can you guess what happened?

More than likely, “energy in” or “energy out” did change, but in a way that felt out of control or unnoticeable.

The culprit could be:

  • Slight increases in food intake, due to changes in mood, hunger, or stress
  • An increase in the amount of energy absorbed—caused by new medication, an unknown medical condition, or a history of chronic dieting
  • Physiological changes that resulted in fewer calories burned during exercise and at rest
  • The onset of chronic pain, provoking a dramatic decrease in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)
  • Significant changes to sleep quality and/or quantity, impacting metabolic output and/or food consumed

In all of these cases, CICO is still valid. Energy balance just shifted in subtle ways, due to lifestyle and health status changes, making it hard to recognize.

Dilemma #2: “My hormones are wreaking havoc on my metabolism, and I can’t stop gaining weight. Help!”

Hormones seem like a logical scapegoat for weight changes.

And while they’re probably not to blame as often as people think, hormones are intricately entwined with energy balance.

But even so, they don’t operate independently of energy balance.

In other words, people don’t gain weight because “hormones.”

They gain weight because their hormones are impacting their energy balance.

This often happens during menopause or when thyroid hormone levels decline.

Take, for example, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), two thyroid hormones that are incredibly important for metabolic function. If levels of these hormones diminish, weight gain may occur. But this doesn’t negate CICO: Your hormones are simply influencing “energy out.”

This may seem a bit like splitting hairs, but it’s an important connection to make, whether we’re talking about menopause or thyroid problems or insulin resistance or other hormonal issues.

By understanding CICO is the true determinant of weight loss, you’ll have many more tools for achieving the outcome you want.

Suppose you’re working from the false premise hormones are the only thing that matters. This can lead to increasingly unhelpful decisions, like spending a large sum of money on unnecessary supplements, or adhering to an overly restrictive diet that backfires in the long run.

Instead, you know results are dependent on the fact that “energy in” or “energy out” has changed. Now, this change can be due to hormones, and if so, you’ll have to make adjustments to your eating, exercise, and/or lifestyle habits to account for it. (This could include taking medication prescribed by your doctor, if appropriate.)

Research suggests people with mild (10-15% of the population) to moderate hypothyroidism (2-3%) may experience a metabolic slow down of 140 to 360 calories a day.

That can be enough to lead to weight gain, or make it harder to lose weight. (One caveat: Mild hypothyroidism can be so mild many people don’t experience a significant shift in metabolic activity, making it a non-issue.)

What’s more, women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS (about 5-10%), and those going through menopause, may also experience hormonal changes that disrupt energy balance.

So, it’s important to understand your (or your client’s) health status, as that will provide valuable information about the unique challenges involved and how you should proceed.

Dilemma #3: “I’m only eating 1,000 calories a day and I’m still not losing weight!”

So what gives?

The conclusion most people jump to: Their metabolism is broken. They’re broken. And CICO is broken.

But here’s the deal: Metabolic damage isn’t really a thing. Even though it may seem that way.

Now, their energy balance challenge could be related to a hormonal issue, as discussed above. However, when someone’s eating 1,000 calories a day but not losing weight, it’s usually due to one of the two reasons that follow.

(No matter how simple they sound, this is what we’ve seen over and over again in our coaching program, with over 100,000 clients.)

Reason #1: People often underestimate their calorie intake.

It’s easy to miscalculate how much you’re eating, as it’s usually unintentional. The most typical ways people do it:

  • They underestimate portions. (For example, without precisely measuring “one tablespoon of peanut butter,” it might actually be two, which adds 90 calories each time you do it)
  • They don’t track bites, licks, and tastes of calorie-dense foods. (For example, your kid’s leftover mac and cheese could easily add 100 calories)
  • They don’t record everything in the moment and forget to log it later on
  • They “forget” to count foods they’d wished they hadn’t eaten

Don’t believe this can be a big issue?

A landmark study, and repeated follow up studies, found people often underestimate how much they eat over the course of a day, sometimes by more than 1,000 calories.

I’m not bringing this research up to suggest it’s impossible to be realistic about portion sizes. But if you (or your clients) aren’t seeing results on a low-calorie diet, it’s worth considering that underestimation may be the problem.

Reason #2: People overeat on the weekends.

Work weeks can be stressful and when Friday night rolls around, people put their guard down and let loose.

(You probably can’t relate, but just try, okay?)

Here’s how it goes: Let’s say a person is eating 1,500 calories a day on weekdays, which would give them an approximate 500-calorie deficit.

But on the weekends, they deviate from their plan just a little.

  • Drinks with friends and a few slices of late night pizza on Friday
  • An extra big lunch after their workout on Saturday
  • Brunch on Sunday (“Hey, it’s breakfast and lunch, so I can eat double!)

The final tally: An extra 4,000 calories consumed between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. They’ve effectively canceled out their deficit, bumping their average daily calories to 2,071.

The upshot: If you (or your client) have slashed your calories dramatically, but you aren’t seeing the expected results, look for the small slips. It’s like being a metabolic detective who’s following—perhaps literally—the bread crumbs.

By the way, if downtime is problem for you (or a client), we have just the remedy: 5 surprising strategies to ditch weekend overeating.

Dilemma #4: “I’m eating as much as I want and still losing weight, so this diet is better than all the others!”

This might be the top reason some people reject CICO.

Say someone switches from a diet of mostly processed foods to one made up of mostly whole, plant-based foods. They might find they can eat as much food as they want, yet the pounds still melt away.

People often believe this is due to the “power of plants.”

Yes, plants are great, but this doesn’t disprove energy balance.

Because plant foods have a very-low energy density, you can eat a lot of them and still be in a calorie deficit. Especially if your previous intake was filled with lots of processed, hyperpalatable “indulgent foods.”

It feels like you’re eating much more food than ever before—and, in fact, you really might be.

On top of that, you might also feel more satiated because of the volume, fiber, and water content of the plants.

All of which is great. Truly. But it doesn’t negate CICO.

Or take the ketogenic diet, for example.

Here, someone might have a similar experience of “eating as much as they want” and still losing weight, but instead of plant foods, they’re eating meat, cheese, and eggs. Those aren’t low-calorie foods, and they don’t have much fiber, either.

As a result, plenty of low-carb advocates claim keto offers a “metabolic advantage” over other diets.

Here’s what’s most likely happening:

  • Greater intake of protein increases satiety and reduces appetite
  • Limited food choices have cut out hundreds of highly-processed calories they might have eaten otherwise (Pasta! Chips! Cookies!)
  • Reduced food options can also lead to “sensory-specific satiety.” Meaning, when you eat the same foods all the time, they may become less appealing, so you’re not driven to eat as much
  • Liquid calories—soda, juice, even milk—are generally off limits, so a greater proportion of calories are consumed from solid foods, which are more filling
  • Higher blood levels of ketones—which rise when carbs are restricted—seem to suppress appetite

For these reasons, people tend to eat fewer calories and feel less hungry.

Although it might seem magical, the keto diet results in weight loss by regulating “energy in” through a variety of ways.

You might ask: If plant-based and keto diets work so well, why should anyone care if it’s because of CICO, or for some other reason?

Because depending on the person—food preferences, lifestyle, activity level, and so on—many diets, including plant-based and keto, aren’t sustainable long-term. This is particularly true of the more restrictive approaches.

And if you (or your client) believe there’s only one “best diet,” you may become frustrated if you aren’t able to stick to it. You may view yourself as a failure and decide you lack the discipline to lose weight. You may even think you should stop trying.

None of which are true.

Your results aren’t diet dependent. They’re behavior dependent.

Maintaining a healthy body (including a healthy body weight) is about developing consistent, sustainable daily habits that help you positively impact “energy in” and “energy out.”

This might be accomplished while enjoying the foods you love, by:

  • Eating until you’re 80% full
  • Eating slowly and mindfully
  • Eating more minimally processed foods
  • Getting more high quality sleep
  • Taking steps to reduce stress and build resilience

It’s about viewing CICO from 30,000 feet and figuring out what approach feels sane—and achievable—for you.

Sure, that might include a plant-based or a keto diet, but it absolutely might not, too. And you know what?

You can get great results either way.  

Dilemma #5: “I want to gain weight, but no matter how much I eat, I can’t seem to.”

The CICO conversation doesn’t always revolve around weight loss.

Some people struggle to gain weight.

Especially younger athletes and people who are very, very active at work. (Think: jobs that involve manual labor.)

It also happens with those who are trying to regain lost weight after an illness.

When someone intentionally eats more food but can’t pack on the pounds, it may seem like CICO is invalidated. (Surprise.)

They often feel like they’re stuffing themselves—“I’m eating everything in sight!”—and it’s just not working. But here’s what our coaches have found:

People tend to remember extremes.

Someone might have had six meals in one day, eating as much as they felt like they could stand.

But the following day, they only ate two meals because they were still so full. Maybe they were really busy, too, so they didn’t even think much about it.

The first day—the one where they stuffed themselves—would likely stand out a lot more than the day they ate in accordance with their hunger levels. That’s just human nature.

It’s easy to see how CICO is involved here. It’s lack of consistency on the “energy in” part of the equation.

One solution: Instead of stuffing yourself with 3,000 calories one day, and then eating 1,500 the next, aim for a calorie intake just above the middle you can stick with, and increase it in small amounts over time, if needed.

People often increase activity when they increase calories.

When some people suddenly have more available energy—from eating more food—they’re more likely to do things that increase their energy out. Like taking the stairs, pacing while on the phone, and fidgeting in their seats.

They might even push harder during a workout than they would normally.

This can be both subconscious and subtle.

And though it might sound weird, our coaches have identified this as a legitimate problem for “hardgainers.”

Your charge: Take notice of all your activity.

If you can’t curtail some of it, you may have to compensate by eating even more food. Nutrient- and calorie-dense foods like nut butters, whole grains, and oils can help, especially if you’re challenged by your lack of appetite.

3 strategies to game the system.

Once you accept that CICO is both complex and inescapable, you may find yourself up against one very common challenge.

Namely: “I can’t eat any less than I am now!”

This is one of the top reasons people abandon their weight loss efforts or go searching in vain for a miracle diet.

But here are three simple strategies you (or your clients) can use to create a caloric deficit, even if it seems impossible. It’s all about figuring out which one works best for you.

Maximize protein and fiber.

Consuming higher amounts of protein increases satiety, helping you feel more satisfied between meals. And consuming higher amounts of fiber increases satiation, helping you feel more satisfied during meals.

These are both proven in research and practice to help you feel more satisfied overall while eating fewer calories, leading to easier fat loss.

This advice can sound trite, I know. In fact, someday when there are nutrition coach robots, “eat more protein and fiber” will probably be the first thing they’re programmed to say.

But the truth is, most people trying to lose weight still aren’t focused on getting plenty of these two nutrients.

And you know what? It’s not their fault.

When it comes to diets, almost everyone has been told to subtract. Take away the “bad” stuff, and only eat the “good” stuff.

But there’s another approach: Just start by adding.

If you make a concerted effort to increase protein (especially lean protein) and fiber intake (especially from vegetables), you’ll feel more satisfied.

You’ll also be less tempted by all the foods you think you should be avoiding. This helps to automatically “crowd out” ultra-processed foods.

Which leads to another big benefit: By eating more whole foods and fewer of the processed kind, you’re actually retraining your brain to desire those indulgent, ultra-processed foods less.

That’s when a cool thing happens: You start eating fewer calories without actively trying to—rather than purposely restricting because you have to.

That makes weight loss easier.

Starting is simple: For protein, add one palm of relatively lean protein—chicken, fish, tempeh—to one meal. This is beyond what you would have had otherwise. Or have a Super Shake as a meal or snack.

For fiber, add one serving of high-fiber food—in particular vegetables, fruit, lentils and beans—to your regular intake. This might mean having an apple for a snack, including a fistful of roasted carrots at dinner, or tossing in a handful of spinach in your Super Shake.

Try this for two weeks, and then add another palm of lean protein, and one more serving of high-fiber foods.

Besides all the upside we’ve discussed so far, there’s also this:

Coming to the table with a mindset of abundance—rather than scarcity—can help you avoid those anxious, frustrated feelings that often come with being deprived of the foods you love.

So instead of saying, “Ugh, I really don’t think I can give up my nightly wine and chocolate habit,” you might say, “Hey, look at all this delicious, healthy food I can feed my body!”

(And by the way, you don’t actually have to give up your wine and chocolate habit, at least not to initiate progress.)

Shift your perspective.

Imagine you’re on vacation. You slept in and missed breakfast.

Of course, you don’t really mind because you’re relaxed and having a great time. And there’s no reason to panic: Lunch will happen.

But since you’ve removed a meal, you end up eating a few hundred calories less than normal for the day, effectively creating a deficit.

Given you’re in an environment where you feel calm and happy, you hardly even notice.

Now suppose you wake up on a regular day, and you’re actively trying to lose weight. (To get ready for vacation!)

You might think: “I only get to have my 400-calorie breakfast, and it’s not enough food. This is the worst. I’m going to be so hungry all day!”

So you head to work feeling stressed, counting down the minutes to your next snack or meal. Maybe you even start to feel deprived and miserable.

Here’s the thing: You were in a calorie deficit both days, but your subjective experience of each was completely different.

What if you could adjust your thinking to be more like the first scenario rather then the second?

Of course, I’m not suggesting you skip breakfast everyday (unless that’s just your preference).

But if you can manage to see eating less as something you happen to be doing— rather than something you must do—it may end up feeling a lot less terrible.

Add activity rather than subtracting calories.

Are you a person who doesn’t want to eat less, but would happily move more? If so, you might be able to take advantage of something I’ve called G-Flux.

G-Flux, also known as “energy flux,” is the total amount of energy that flows in and out of a system.

As an example, say you want to create a 500-calorie deficit. That could like this:

  • Energy in: 2,000 calories
  • Energy out: 2,500 calories
  • Deficit: 500 calories

But it could also look like this:

  • Energy in: 3,000 calories
  • Energy out: 3,500 calories
  • Deficit: 500 calories

In both scenarios, you’ve achieved a 500-calorie deficit, but the second allows you to eat a lot more food.

That’s one benefit of a greater G-Flux.

But there’s also another: Research suggests if you’re eating food from high-quality sources and doing a variety of workouts—strength training, conditioning, and recovery work—eating more calories can help you carry more lean mass and less fat.

That’s because the increased exercise doesn’t just serve to boost your “energy out.” It also changes nutrient partitioning, sending more calories toward muscle growth and fewer to your fat cells.

Plus, since you’re eating more food, you have more opportunity to get the quantities of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you need in order to feel your best.

Win. Win. Win.

To be clear, this is a somewhat advanced method. And because metabolism and energy balance are dynamic in nature, the effectiveness of this method may vary from person to person.

Plus, not everyone has the ability or the desire to spend more time exercising. And that’s okay.

But by being flexible with your thinking—and willing to experiment with different ways of influencing CICO—you can find your own personal strategy for tipping energy balance in your (or your clients’) favor.

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—in a way that optimizes energy balance for each unique body, personality, and lifestyle—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 Calories in vs. out? Or hormones? The debate is finally over. Here’s who won. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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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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To get great results with the people who turn to you for advice, it’s important to learn how to talk to them in a way that increases their likelihood of change. Master this and you’ll become a legit client (or patient) whisperer.

Here we’ll teach you Precision Nutrition’s method for doing just that, adapted from our newly updated Level 1 Certification program.

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When first starting out with a client or patient, things can feel a little uncertain.

Especially if you’ve had this experience before:

Client shows up, you work hard on them, they disappear (no closer to their goals), you scramble to find another client, they begin, and the process repeats.

What’s gone wrong?

Well, it’s probably not your program.

It’s probably not that people are “lazy” or “unmotivated”.

Often, the problem is “coach talk”.

To achieve better, faster, lasting results — and a thriving coaching practice — you have to learn how to talk to people in ways that help them change.

(By the way, this applies whether you have paying clients/patients or not. When people come to you for advice, good “coach talk” is paramount.)

If you can’t do this now, it’s not your fault.

Almost nobody in health, fitness, and wellness learns this skill in school, or through certification programs. The people who are good at it are often either “naturals” or they develop the skill through trial and error over decades.

Don’t get discouraged.

There is a formula for success.

Learn and practice this formula, and you’ll start:

  • connecting better with clients and patients,
  • keeping those clients and patients longer, and
  • getting better results, reliably.

In this article, we’ll teach you the formula.

We’ll cover:

  • How to know which coaching style to use.
  • How you can be a more engaged and active listener.
  • How you can help people change by changing the way you talk to them.
  • How you can incorporate this in your coaching… starting today.

Of course, this article is just a start.
There’s so much more you can learn.

That’s why we’ve included an entire unit — 300 pages, 9 chapters, and 9 comprehensive video lectures — on these practical aspects of coaching in our newly updated Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program.

(In case you’re wondering, the other 300 pages, 8 chapters, and 8 video lectures are devoted to the most up-to-date scientific findings in cell physiology, digestion, energy transfer, nutrient biochemistry, and more.)

So…

If you want to learn, we’re here to teach.

If you feel excited and inspired by what you learn today, and you’d like to learn more about the program, please put your name on our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification presale list below.

We’re excited and inspired too.

We recently updated the program with the latest research, and enhanced it with a new workbook/study guide, over 35 new client assessment forms and questionnaires, and 17 brand-new animated videos.

There’s a lot of awesome new stuff here that you can start using right away to help others eat, move, and live better. So make sure you stock up on reading glasses, coffee, and highlighters. This is a hefty learning experience.

The program opens up on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

Since we only take a limited number of students, and the program sells out every time, we recommend adding your name to our presale list below. When you do, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you’ll save up to 33% off the general price of the program.

Double win.

For now, onto the coaching techniques…

Avoiding Awfulness-Based Coaching

The health and fitness fields are full of scary-looking, arms-crossed disciplinarian-type coaches: men and women who look like they’re more ready to punch you in the face than pick you up when you’re down.

Their favorite phrase is “No excuses.”

These types of coaches aren’t really meanies.

They’re just trying to do the right thing. They genuinely want to help.

If you’re working in one of these fields yourself, maybe you’ve occasionally slipped into this mindset, or gotten it from someone else.

We call it Awfulness-Based Coaching.

Awfulness-Based Coaching is built on the idea that people are broken and have to be fixed.

That they’re lazy and weak. That they need a real ass-kicking to be motivated and strong.

This style of coaching focuses on what’s wrong with the person — and how to purge it.

It hunts down “flaws” and “failures”, and focuses on “fixing” them.

It views good nutrition, movement, and health habits as something people have to be shamed into. It tells people to get into the gym and work off sins. It tells people that they deserve to feel bad.

An awfulness-based coach is a drill sergeant and an unrelenting ass-kicker.

With all the yelling-in-the-face and booting-in-the-butt, folks don’t know which direction to run. They just know they need to get away.

Fear of an authority figure — or a constant obsession over fixing what’s broken — can motivate some people… but only briefly.

Extreme approaches and drill-sergeant-style coaching sometimes produces impressive results in the short term, but they almost never work over the long term.

As human beings, we resist being pressured into new decisions. We resist being told we suck, or are broken (no matter how nicely someone says it).

Coach Hardass may try to use coercion. But along the way, he or she will destroy the change process for the people turning to them for advice.

No evidence shows that feeling bad creates lasting behavior changes.

(And honestly… Awfulness-Based Coaching is exhausting. Coach Hardasses usually walk around frustrated and annoyed all the time, because almost no one is doing what they want.)

Embracing Awesomeness-Based Coaching

Awesomeness-Based Coaching, on the other hand, believes that people already have the skills and abilities to change.

That they’re already awesome in some areas of their lives.

That they can use this existing awesomeness to succeed.

This kind of coach helps people find what’s fun and joyful in their lives, and then do more of it. They view nutritious eating, movement, and health habits as a path to living life with purpose.

They talk to folks about getting outside to play. About using what they do well in other aspects of their lives to do well here. They talk about feeling good in their bodies and in their lifestyle, not ashamed or exhausted.

An awesomeness-based coach is a guide, not an authoritarian or expert.

When people are hesitant, the coach empowers by helping them find their superpowers and leveraging them to achieve health and fitness success.

You don’t want people scared of you. You don’t want them to feel like you’re constantly judging them unacceptable, inadequate, weak, or broken.

You want them to feel like you’re on their team.

You want them to feel like working with you is a celebration of health and fitness. You want them to feel stronger when they’re with you.

And the best place to start is with how you use language, ask questions, and provoke gentle self-discovery.

Unlike Awfulness-Based Coaching, Awesomeness-Based Coaching feels great.

It feels exciting. It feels inspiring. It feels energizing.

You are a team and you celebrate successes and joys together.

Even better, people get great results, and they stick with you. That feels great too.

If you want to be an effective coach, here’s how to start: Listen and learn.

As a coach, you want to help people:

  • become aware of what they are doing, thinking, and feeling,
  • examine and analyze their habits and behaviors,
  • explore what’s holding them back, and
  • try some new and better choices.

You also want to help them discover their own existing strengths, resources, abilities, and problem-solving talents, which they can then use to help and motivate themselves.

One of the simplest ways to do that is just asking the right kinds of questions.

Exploring questions:

Open-ended questions help people explore options, values, and possible outcomes, without judgment. They also help the coach learn more about what matters to the person.

  • “What things are most important to you? How does your exercise and eating fit into this?”
  • “What sorts of things would you like to accomplish in your life?”
  • “What would you like to see change?”
  • “If things were better with your eating/exercise, what would be different?”
  • “What have you already tried? What worked/didn’t work?”

Imagining questions:

Imagination (yes, just like in kindergarten) helps folks visualize a new way of living and acting.

  • “Imagine you can X (your goal). Describe your experience.”
  • “Imagine you are already doing more of X. What would that feel like?”
  • “Imagine that you have the body and health you desire. What did it take for you to achieve it?”
  • “If you weren’t constrained by reality — let’s imagine for a minute that absolutely anything is possible — what might you…?”

Solution-focused questions:

Solution-focused language emphasizes how people have already succeeded and helps them expand the awesome.

  • “In the past, when were you successful with this, even just a little bit?”
  • “How could we do more of that?”
  • “Where in your life have you been successful with something like this?”
  • “Did you learn any lessons that we can apply here?”
  • Where is the problem not happening? When are things even a little bit better?

Statements that sense into problems:

Non-confrontational, reflective observations and intuitions help folks explore a problem and feel understood, without fear of judgment.

  • “I get the sense that you may be struggling with…”
  • “It seems to me like you’re feeling…”

Statements that evoke speculation:

Open-ended, speculative statements get people thinking and responding to possible choices.

  • “I wonder what it would be like if you…”
  • “I wonder if we could try…”
  • “I’m curious about whether…”

Questions that evoke change talk:

With these kinds of questions, you get the person talking about change on their own terms.

  • “In what ways does this concern you?”
  • “If you decided to make a change, what makes you think you could do it?”
  • “How would you like things to be different?”
  • “How would things be better if you changed?”
  • “What concerns you now about your current exercise and eating patterns?”

Questions that assess readiness:

If a person isn’t ready, willing, and able to change, they won’t change — no matter how awesome you are as a coach. So, assess their readiness with these kinds of questions (and recognize that sometimes, they may not be ready… yet).

  • “If you decided to change, on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that you could change, when 1 represents not at all confident and 10 equals extremely confident?”
  • “If you wanted to change, what would be the tiniest possible step toward that? The absolute smallest, easiest thing you could try?”
  • “Tell me what else is going on for you right now, in your life. What else do you have on your plate besides this? Let’s get a sense of what you’re working with.”

Questions that help plan next steps:

These are questions that have folks generate their own solutions as opposed to you telling them what to do next.

  • “So, given all this, what do you think you will do next?”
  • “What’s next for you?”
  • “If nothing changes, what do you see happening in five years?”
  • “If you decide to change, what will it be like?”
  • “How would you like things to be different?”

Careful advice-giving:

These are ways of giving advice without assuming you have permission (and without it feeling like you’re pushing an agenda).

  • “Would it be okay if I shared some of my experiences with you?”
  • “In my work with clients/patients, I’ve found that…”

Use the 80 / 20 rule.

Notice how we’ve given you over 25 ways to actively listen, and only 2 ways to talk about what you think.

You should try to spend about 80-90% of your time listening, understanding, observing and exploring, and only about 10-20% of your time guiding, directing, and offering information.

How might this look in a real situation?

Scenario 1: Use a “change talk wedge”.

1. Validate and affirm the opposite of what they should be doing.

When someone is expressing ambivalence about change, you might start by reflecting on why they might NOT change. (Yeah, it sounds weird.)

You might say something like:

“Wow, it really sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I can see how it’s tough to schedule exercise time.”

Or:

“I know it can be hard to resist those homemade brownies. They’re so good.”

Note: Be sincere here. Genuinely empathize. Sarcasm usually backfires and creates hostility.

2. Then wait.

After validating and affirming the opposite, be quiet.

Don’t be afraid to open up the space and let them fall into it. No rush. Be patient, empathetic, and attentive.

Let the person speak first.

This will feel like forever, but might only be a couple of seconds.

3. Listen for “change talk”.

When folks do start talking, they’ll often start telling you why they should change their behaviors.

Client:

“Yeah, I know I do have a lot going on. But I really should do XYZ. I know I would feel better.”

Or:

“Honestly, I don’t think I really need three brownies. I’d probably be happy with just one.”

4. Drive the wedge into that “change talk” opening.

Once you hear them suggesting change on their own, you’re getting somewhere.

Using their language, reflect and imply (but don’t push) a next action. Focus on concrete to-dos.

You:

“It sounds like maybe you think you’d feel better if you did XYZ?”

Or:

“It sounds like maybe 1 brownie would be enough for you?”

Position this in the form of a question. Look inquisitive.

You’re simply reciting what they just said, as if to make sure you heard them right.

5. Wait again.

Stay quiet.

Wait for the person to speak again.

Listen for further change talk.

6. Repeat as needed.

Keep wiggling the “change wedge” in farther and farther, slowly. Go at their speed.

And, once you feel like they’re ready for a next action, you can go there by asking them:

“So, given all this, what do you think you’ll do next?”

But not too fast. Let them arrive there at their own speed.

Scenario 2: Use “the continuum”.

You can use this after listening for change talk. But be sure you understand the situation first.

With this strategy, have people imagine a spectrum or continuum of behaviors from worse (i.e. eating fast food for every single meal) to better (i.e. replacing just one fast food meal today with good quality protein and vegetables).

Then:

1. Help them move a “notch”.

Highlight the benefits of doing so.

Coach:

“OK, so it sounds like you want to do X (i.e. eat less fast food). But going all the way to Y (i.e. eating no fast food) feels like too much, which makes sense. What if you could just move a tiny, tiny bit towards Y instead of all the way? What could you do that would be X+1 (i.e. eating one non-fast food meal tomorrow)?”

Now, scale back as needed:

Coach:

“X+2 (i.e. eating no fast food tomorrow) is awesome — we’ll get to that. But what about X+1 instead? That seems even more manageable.”

2. Follow up with a strategy for immediate execution.

Since X+1 will be something they proposed, you can validate that it’s a good idea. And then turn it into a next step.

Coach:

“X+1 sounds like a great idea! How are you going to make that happen today? And how can I help?”

3. Once an action is assigned, book a follow-up.

Now that you’ve agreed on the action plan, make sure there’s some accountability built in.

Coach:

“OK, text me tomorrow to tell me how you did with X+1. If you try another option, send me a photo! I’d love to see what you chose.”

Scenario 3: Ask “crazy questions”.

If a person is struggling with change, you can also ask a few questions they may not expect.

1. Listen, validate, affirm.

Preface with “I know this is wacky but…”

Coach:

“It sounds like [reiterate what they just said about their understanding of what they’d like to change].

“OK, I’m going to ask you two crazy questions, and I know this is going to sound really weird, but just humor me…”

2. Ask your questions.

  • “What’s GOOD about X behavior [where X behavior is the problem behavior they want to change]? In other words, what purpose does it serve in your life? How does it help you?”
  • “What is BAD about changing? In other words, what would you lose or give up if you got rid of X?”

3. Normalize and empathize.

You can begin by normalizing and empathizing with the unwanted behavior first, using the seemingly weird technique of first arguing (slightly) in favor of not changing.

Coach:

“Wow, yeah, it sounds like there’s lots going on there for you. I think we’d all want a few cookies in that situation!”

Not always, but the client’s natural response will often be the opposite.

Client:

“Yeah, but I really should find a better way to deal with this…”

Hey lookee here! They proposed change, not the coach!

4. Allow space/time to grieve the loss of the status quo.

Coach:

“Well, tell you what. There’s no rush to do this. When you’re ready, why don’t you try…”

  • …moving one “notch” along the continuum?
  • …doing the behavior you proposed?
  • …thinking about how you could more effectively live the values you describe?

5. But don’t let them off the hook.

Follow up in a few days as needed.

Scenario 4: Have them propose their own solution.

1. Affirm, validate, “hear”, normalize.

Coach:

“Yes, I hear you and understand what you’re thinking/feeling/experiencing, and it’s quite normal. Lots of people go through this.”

2. Ask leading, rhetorical questions.

This isn’t a dialogue invitation; it’s a “tell yourself what to do” question.

Coach:

“It sounds like you already have a good sense of what some of the key issues are. Knowing this, if you were the coach, what would you recommend?”

In other words: How would you, the client/patient, solve your own problem?

3. Rank confidence.

After they’ve proposed a solution, have them rank their own confidence in doing the solution.

Coach:

“That’s a great solution, I really like it. Just wondering… on a scale of 0 to 10, zero being ‘no way I can do that every day’, and 10 being ‘of course I can do that every day’, how confident do you feel about X?”

4. Affirm and book follow up.

If they rank 8, 9, or 10 out of 10, tell them you think they’ve come up with a good solution and then ask them to check back in a few days to share their success.

If not, work on shrinking the next action to something they’re confident they can do every day for the next few days. The continuum exercise above is a good approach for this.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

As you can see, in all of these scenarios, the coach’s job is not to play all-knowing expert. (This goes for anyone trying to help others — like friends and family — eat better, too.) Instead:

Awesomeness-based coaches are confident, supportive guides and change facilitators.

A good coach helps folks propose their own solutions — solutions that line up with their values, and that they genuinely believe they can do. Solutions they’re ready, willing, and able to commit to, today.

And this all begins with language.

1. Recognize where you need to grow.

Ask yourself how much time you actually spend…

  • actively listening to people (versus interrupting or waiting for them to finish so you can talk next)?
  • exploring their perspective and trying to understand their point of view (versus assuming you know what they need)?
  • asking them to generate their own potential solutions or next actions first (versus just giving them advice right away)?
  • asking them what they think they could realistically try (versus just giving them instructions to follow)?

How could you move one notch along the continuum toward client/patient-centered, awesomeness-based coaching?

What’s your “X+1”?

2. Practice using some of the questions and ideas in this article.

Now you have a few sentences and phrases that are proven to help you connect with folks and unlock their potential. Tuck them in your back pocket and start using them when new opportunities present themselves.

After each session, make notes on how it’s going:

  • What changes are you seeing in how they communicate with you?
  • What seemed to resonate most?
  • What really got them talking and opening up?
  • What do you want to talk about in your next session, and — most importantly — how?

By practicing and documenting results, over time you will develop the communication skills of a successful, thriving coach.

3. Observe a coach you respect.

Practicing on your own as often as you can is essential.

But just as with athletics, in order to be the best, you probably need a coach.

Working with an expert coach will fast-track your development. So ask to sit in on a couple sessions a month, and buy your mentor a coffee afterward so you can ask follow-up questions about how they communicate effectively with their clients or patients.

Ask them to share stories. Ask for advice on how to talk to a client or patient who’s struggling, but who you really want to help.

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 — including helping them with meal transformation — 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 Level 1: How to talk to people so they’re more likely to change. Master this coaching skill to achieve better, lasting results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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If you love nutrition, health, and fitness — or you’re already a professional in one of these fields — you probably get a LOT of diet- and nutrition-related questions from friends, family, clients, and/or patients. 

That’s why we created this cheat sheet, with evidence-based, easy-to-understand answers to the most common questions, all of which are covered in our newly updated Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program.

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If you’re a health and fitness professional, no doubt you get a ton of diet- and nutrition-related questions.

Heck, even if you’re just really passionate about health and fitness, you’re probably getting questions all the time.

Coming up with the right answers can be difficult, because:

  • The right answer depends on who the asker is. Young athlete? Middle-aged man? Sixty-something woman? Whether you’re actively coaching, or you just have a diverse social network, the questions will run the gamut.
  • There are so many facets of nutrition. Macronutrients, micronutrients, supplements, pesticides, GMOs… where do you start?
  • There’s a TON of confusion about nutrition “truths.” Is red wine saving your life, or killing you? What about red meat? Eggs? And how ’bout that new plant-based diet?

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any nutrition question.

However, if you build a strong foundation of nutrition knowledge, you can:

  • learn how to accurately determine each person’s individual needs,
  • understand how targeted nutrition can support their goals, and
  • get better results for them, confidently and reliably.

With this article, you’ll start to build that foundation.

Here we’ll cover:

  • what’s really behind the most common nutrition questions,
  • why each person’s unique physiology matters,
  • how each person’s situation can help determine your response,
  • how to handle diet trends (Paleo, carb-phobia, etc.), and
  • how you can incorporate this knowledge… starting today.

Of course, this “cheat sheet” is just a start. There’s so much more you can learn.

That’s why devote the entire first unit of our newly updated Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification — 300 pages, 8 chapters, 8 comprehensive video lectures — to the most crucial elements of nutrition science.

That includes the most up-to-date findings in cell physiology, digestion, energy transfer, nutrient biochemistry, and more.

And, in case you’re wondering, the other 300 pages, 9 chapters, and 9 video lectures are devoted to the art of nutrition coaching.

That includes the most up-to-date findings in change psychology and the latest things we’ve learned having coached over 100,000 clients.

So…

If you want to learn, we’re here to teach.

If you feel excited and inspired by what you learn today, and you’d like to learn more about the program, please put your name on our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification presale list below.

We’re excited and inspired too.

We recently updated the program with the latest research, and enhanced it with a new workbook/study guide, over 35 new client assessment forms and questionnaires, and 17 brand-new animated videos.

The program opens up on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Since we only take a limited number of students, and the program sells out every time, we recommend adding your name to our presale list below. When you do, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you’ll save up to 33% off the general price of the program.

Double win.

For now, let’s get started with some of the most common nutrition questions, including:

Question #1: “I’m new to this whole nutrition thing. Where do I start?”
Question #2: “What’s the best diet to follow?”
Question #3: “Is counting calories important for weight loss?”
Question #4: “Should I avoid carbs?”
Question #5: “Should I avoid grains?”
Question #6: “What (and when) should I eat around my workouts?”
Question #7: Should I drink less alcohol?
Question #8: “Does the Paleo Diet live up to the hype?”
Question #9: Should I do a detox or juice cleanse?
Question #10: “Do sleep habits and stress really affect nutrition?”
Question #11: How should I eat to get six-pack abs?”

Question #1
“I’m new to this whole nutrition thing. Where do I start?”

Answer:
Let’s start by eliminating nutritional deficiencies.

This one is always interesting, because no one ever wants to believe they have nutritional deficiencies.

People might not want to hear it at first, but nutrition beginners don’t need a major diet overhaul on day one. They don’t need to “go Paleo” or “eliminate sugar.”

As their coach, your first step should be to open newbie clients’ eyes to the fact that they probably have one or more nutritional deficiencies (seriously — more than 80 percent of the population has at least one).

Until nutritional deficiencies are removed, the body simply won’t function properly — and that makes any health or fitness goal a lot harder.

So, to eliminate deficiencies, your first order of business is to help the person find workable strategies for rounding out the diet, so they get:

  • a bit more protein,
  • ample vitamins and minerals,
  • sufficient healthy fats, and
  • more water.

Tell them that you’re going to help them establish optimal eating habits one step at a time. Then talk through some strategies: Find out which of the nutritional areas listed above will be most challenging for them (for example, some of the beginners we work with don’t know how to cook meat). That’s the problem you’re going to help them solve first.

Once nutritional deficiencies are addressed, you can start to focus on things like food quality and portions.

What to say when the person seems impatient? Explain: “This process isn’t slow; it’s systematic. It focuses on the things that are in your way right now. Once they’re eliminated, progress happens fast.”

READ MORE:

Question #2
“What’s the best diet to follow?”

Answer:
There is no “best diet.”

As you emerge as a health, fitness, and nutrition expert, everyone’s going to want to know: Which dietary “camp” do you belong to?

The best coaches maintain a neutral position on this. If you can, strive to be a nutritional agnostic: someone who doesn’t subscribe to any one dietary philosophy.

Why? All dietary protocols have their pros and cons. What works best for one person won’t work best for another. Also: A diet that has worked best for someone in the past won’t necessarily be what works best for them moving forward.

Tell your client or patient that you’re going to help them find the approach to eating that works best for them right now, whether it be Paleo or vegan, high-carb or low-carb, tight budget or unlimited funds — or some blend of all of these.

The truth is, the human body is amazingly adaptable to a vast array of diets, so the best diet is the one that:

  • matches the person’s unique physiology,
  • includes foods they enjoy enough to follow consistently, and
  • is realistic for them in terms of life logistics and budget.

Indeed, you can make people lean, strong, and healthy on a plant-based or a meat-based diet. You can help improve their health with organic, free-range foods and with conventional foods. They can lose weight on a low food budget or an unlimited one.

It just takes a little know-how and a system for using the best practices across all diets.

READ MORE:

Question #3
“Is counting calories important for weight loss?”

Answer:
For many people, calorie counting may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. The good news: There is a better way.

Weight management is a simple equation: Eat more than you burn, and you gain weight. Eat less and you lose weight.

But the physiology behind “calories in, calories out” is actually much more complex and dynamic than most people realize. Plus, it’s imprecise; we estimate that there’s typically an error of up to 25 percent on the ‘calories in’ side, and on the ‘calories out’ side.

Beyond that, counting calories is an external system (outside of your body). In essence, people who count calories are less likely to see lasting results because they’re outsourcing appetite awareness to the food-label gods. To really win at portion control, coach your clients or patients on tuning into their internal hunger signals.

For these reasons, and more, we tell our clients that for most people, counting calories is a lot of work for very little benefit.

(Interestingly, most clients become elated when they realize they can get the body transformation they want without ever counting calories again.)

Instead of calorie counting, we recommend a hand-measure system for portion sizes. Here how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

This system counts your calories for you, and gets your macronutrients lined up too, without having to do any annoying food-label math.

Plus, your hands are portable — they go wherever you go, making portion-sizing very convenient. In addition, your hands are generally scaled to your size — the bigger you are, the bigger your hands, so the more food you need and the more food you get.

Clients typically get the hang of this system within a week of learning it; then we help them monitor results and tweak as needed.

READ MORE:

Question #4
“Should I avoid carbs?”

Answer:
No; but let’s make sure you’re getting the right kind of carbs.

Ask almost anyone what they need to do to lose a few pounds, and they’ll probably say: “Cut back on carbs.” As a professional in a health/fitness field, you’ve probably heard it dozens of times.

However, most folks would do best eating a moderate amount of quality carbs—whole grains (when tolerated), fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, etc. (We emphasize moderate, of course).

For men, this usually means about 1-2 cupped handfuls per meal. And women, about 1 cupped handful per meal.

Of course, the needs of each individual may differ, based on their size, activity level, goals, and genetics.

But, bottom line, carbs are not inherently fattening, especially whole food sources. And getting adequate carbs can help most clients exercise harder and recover better, optimizing progress.

Yep, this is a controversial position to take. But it works. And while avoiding carbs may facilitate rapid weight loss initially, we’ve found that it’s not practical (or necessary) for long-term success for most people.

READ MORE:

Question #5
“Should I avoid grains?”

Answer:
No; most people trying to stay lean do best with a reasonable amount of whole grains.

Grain discussions are really trendy right now, as many people have suggested they’re dietary enemy #1 and should be completely eliminated. This is hot news as, just ten years ago, they were supposedly one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

From our perspective, grains aren’t as evil as they’ve been made out to be by the Paleo and Whole30 camps. At the same time, they aren’t the superfood vegans and macrobiotic eaters suggest either.

Bottom line: While you don’t need to eat grains, unless you have celiac disease or a FODMAP intolerance, there is absolutely no need to avoid them. (And even in those two scenarios, it’s only specific grains you need to worry about).

Most people follow a better, more health-promoting diet if they’re allowed grains in reasonable amounts, along with a wide array of other non-grain carb sources like fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, etc.

Remember, it’s the ability to follow a diet consistently over time that provides the greatest results, regardless of what that diet is. And unless you’re intolerant, there’s no good reason to totally exclude certain foods, especially foods you enjoy.

READ MORE:

Question #6:
“What (and when) should I eat around my workouts?”

Answer:
It depends on your goals. Let’s talk about those… then we can come up with specific recommendations for you.

If you train athletes, this is a really common question. But lots of non-athletes are curious too.

Contrary to popular media, most folks are best served by eating good quality whole foods in reasonable amounts, without having to focus on specific workout nutrition products or protocols.

So you can advise non-athlete level clients to eat a normal, balanced meal 1-2 hours before and after exercise. This will provide adequate protein and carbs to both fuel the workout and maximize recovery/adaption.

However, if you coach advanced, hard-training clients or athletes, tell them you’re going to help with their unique workout-nutrition needs.

Endurance athletes, bodybuilders, or those looking to maximize muscle gain could add a protein and carbohydrate drink during their workout. We usually recommend about 15 g of protein and 30-45 g of carbohydrate per hour of exercise.

Physique competitors, as well as people trying to maximize fat loss, could add essential amino acids (or branched chain amino acids) during their workout. We usually recommend 5-15 g of EAA (or BCAA) per hour of exercise.

In the end, rather than having one stock answer here, you need to be clear about who you’re working with.

READ MORE:

Question #7
Should I drink less alcohol?

Answer:
If optimal health and fitness is your priority, consider reevaluating your drinking habits.

People may balk at that answer initially, but once you lay out the facts and make it clear that you’re not telling them not to drink, their ears will open.

There’s a lot of confusion about whether drinking is good for you or not. That’s mainly because the news media likes to play up new studies revealing the possible cardiovascular benefits of alcohol.

But the truth is, no one really knows who will benefit from light to moderate alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, any level of drinking (even “moderate”) comes with health risks that should be considered.

Heavy drinking — more than 7 drinks a week for women and more than 14 per week for men — increases the risk for a long list of health problems involving the heart, brain, immunity, hormones, liver, and metabolism.

But even light to moderate drinking can affect sleep, appetite, and decision making — which absolutely can have a negative impact on your clients’ health and fitness goals.

Still, drinking is an undeniable part of culture, and when enjoyed reasonably it can be delicious and fun.

Tell your clients or patients that you’re going to help them sort out their priorities to determine the best level of drinking for them. Then encourage them to track their drinking habits — and how their drinking habits make them feel physically and psychologically — for a couple weeks.

Most drinkers consume a lot more alcohol than they think, and when they stop to evaluate, many decide on their own that it would feel better to cut back.

READ MORE:

Question #8
“Does the Paleo Diet live up to the hype?”

Answer:
Mostly, yes. But not for the reasons you think.

The Paleo Diet is one of the most popular nutrition approaches in the world right now. There’s no doubt that it works for many people. However, the reason it works has little to do with the story the Paleo proponents tell (evolutionary adaptation, inflammation, etc.).

Here’s the deal. Paleo does work for a lot of people because it emphasizes mostly whole-food sources of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.

However, while Paleo is starting to incorporate more high-quality carbs, grass-fed dairy, red wine, and other things that used to be “off limits” — the diet can still be too restrictive for some folks.

In the end, Paleo likely gets more right than wrong. And if people want to follow it, you can help them do it in a sane, reasonable, sustainable manner.

But for most, it’s unnecessary to follow such a strict dietary ideology. You can take the good from the Paleo approach and get rid of the silly dogma.

READ MORE:

Question #9
Should I do a detox or juice cleanse?

Answer:
Probably not; most popular detox diets don’t remove toxins or lead to fat loss.

Lots of people are worried about the effect of modern lifestyle factors like poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, stress, and environmental pollutants on their health.

So you probably get a fair number of questions about detox diets and juice cleanses, which have come into vogue as an efficient way to (supposedly) lose weight and rid the body of impurities.

But detox diets don’t clean out toxins or help you lose body fat. In fact, detox diets can work against these goals by bypassing the body’s natural detoxification systems and creating a feast-or-famine cycle of eating.

Among many problems, detoxes and cleanses often:

  • are protein deficient,
  • are extremely low in energy,
  • cause unhealthy blood-sugar swings,
  • cause GI tract dysfunction, and
  • lead to a yoyo of restrictive eating and overcompensation.

If doing a juice cleanse or detox diet helps a person get ready to make further helpful and sustainable changes in their life, OK. Just coach them through a cautious and monitored protocol.

However, we prefer helping them build life-long skills and incorporate daily practices to improve their health, performance, and body composition without extreme (and unsustainable) things like detoxes and cleanses.

READ MORE:

Question #10
“Do sleep habits and stress really affect nutrition?”

Answer:
Yes, but those effects vary from person to person, as do the best sleep and stress management strategies.

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving your health, performance, and body composition.

Clients and patients should be coached through:

  • creating a sleep routine, including having a regular schedule,
  • limiting alcohol and caffeine, especially in the afternoon/evening,
  • choosing de-stressing activities before bed,
  • setting an appropriate room temperature for sleep,
  • making the room dark,
  • keeping the room quiet, and
  • waking up appropriately, with light exposure and soft noise.

As for stress, it’s all about finding the sweet spot. Too much stress, or the wrong kind, can harm our health. Yet stress can also be a positive force in our lives, keeping us focused, alert, and at the top of our game.

It all depends on what kind of stress it is, how prepared we are to meet it — and how we view it.

Since stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, everyone experiences stress differently. Each of us has a unique “recovery zone,” whether that’s physical or psychological, and our recovery zone depends on several factors.

It is critical to teach people strategies and skills to view and handle their own stress load appropriately. The following can increase stress tolerance or diminish stress load:

  • meditation or yoga
  • outdoor time
  • snuggling a pet
  • listening to relaxing music
  • deep breathing
  • drinking green tea

READ MORE:

Question #11
How should I eat to get six-pack abs?”

Answer:
First let’s explore whether a six pack is worth the trade-offs.

To answer this one, you first have to know if six-pack abs are really what your client wants. (And if they’re prepared to do what it takes.)

Getting ripped abs is a much bigger undertaking than most people realize. There are definite benefits to getting that lean (<10 percent for most men, and <20 percent for most women), but there are real trade-offs too.

Alcohol, processed foods, and desserts all need to be severely limited if you’re trying to lose fat and show off a washboard stomach. Social situations often become difficult. Other interests and hobbies may need to decrease.

However, if clients really want to get a six-pack in the healthiest possible way, they’ll need to follow these principles 90-95 percent of the time:

  • eat protein and vegetables at every meal,
  • include healthy fats at most meals,
  • eat a small amount of carbs post-workout only,
  • limit carbs at all other meals,
  • exercise intensely 4-5 times per week, and
  • get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

Armed with this information, you can have an honest conversation about whether your clients want the six-pack badly enough. (Or if they’d settle for moderately lean and healthy without giving up some of the other things they enjoy).

READ MORE:

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In the end, yes, it’ll take some time to master these answers on the fly with a wide variety of people, but the only way to get started is to dive right in.

Remember: While you’re expected to know all the answers, you can’t be expected to know everything about every single person.

So use the answers in this cheat sheet as a starting point (I recommend that you do the deeper reading first), and then learn more with strategic questions about their particular needs and goals.

In the end, being the go-to coach for nutrition questions is about — yes — knowing the facts. But it’s also about meeting people where they’re at and garnering experience while you make the journey together.

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 — including how to manage energy balance — 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 How to answer the most common nutrition questions like a boss: A cheat sheet for helping anyone hone their eating habits. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Want to know how you rank as a health, fitness, and nutrition coach? Then take this short coaching skills quiz. Not only will it help you see where you are today, it’ll help you level up for tomorrow.

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The best coaches are lifelong learners.

I know this because I’m a coach, and because I’ve been around a lot of good ones. The best coaches I’ve ever seen are the ones who love to ask questions.

They love to try stuff. To play. To show up with an open mind (and heart), looking for fresh ideas and new insight to chew on.

They don’t love to fail (few people do), but they do love the feedback and useful data they get from their mistakes.

You see, great coaching requires us to wonder about the world: About how biology works, about the chemistry of food and nutrients, about biomechanics and human movement.

It also requires us to think about why people do what they do, about how stories shape reality, about what people hope, think, dream, feel, and do… on Tuesday at 3pm when it’s break time.

Plus, the best coaches in the world never shy away from asking smart questions about their own practice.

Questions like:

“How solid are my coaching skills, really?”

There is always something new to learn in coaching: Fresh ways to grow, evolve, and challenge yourself.

New ways to be curious and ask interesting questions that produce enlightening answers (and results).

Of course, mastery takes time and lots of practice. (So, so much practice.)

But this is great news for folks who want a long, lucrative, fulfilling coaching career. Because it means that if you’re dedicated to becoming an excellent coach, you’ll never, ever get bored.

Take this coaching quiz to see how you rate + learn how you can level up.

In our Level 2 Certification Master Class, we break coaching skills down into 14 areas for development and then teach coaches how to grow in each area.

In this quiz, we’ll give you a chance to assess where you are in each domain.

To complete the quiz, give yourself a score (from 0 to 5) on how well you do — consistently — in each of the 14 areas below. For each question, simply click the number that corresponds to where you think you are today.

(Be honest and real. All of us have stuff to work on. It’s rare to be perfect.)

Then read about your score and consider what it means for your career.

(Prefer to print the quiz out? Download a PDF version here.)

Domain #1: Time management

How well can you juggle a client/patient load and not miss anyone?

Poorly
Easily

012345

How well can you allocate and prioritize time properly, using trusted systems?

Poorly
Easily

012345

Do you have time for yourself — your own self-care and development?

Never
Always

012345

How sustainable is your work? Could you do it this way forever?

I’m nearly dead now
Easily

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #2: Organization

Do you know exactly how to start and end a session, and why?

No idea
Always

012345

Do you know how to ensure that your clients or patients get the very most out of every session?

No idea
Always

012345

Do you do preparation and follow-up?

Never
Always

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #3: Client-centeredness

Do you understand your clients/patients? How well?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Do you know their fears, anxieties, motivations, drives, hopes, dreams, obstacles, stories?

Not at all
Completely

012345

How long can you listen to your clients/patients without jumping in to talk?

Just can’t
Forever

012345

How well can you give your clients/patients your full attention?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Can you easily find and use your clients’ or patients’ strengths and resources?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Can you make your program fun? Interesting? Memorable?

Not at all
A blast

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #4: Client assessment

Do you know what to look for when assessing a client or patient?

Never
Always

012345

Do you know how to understand and use any information you collect?

Never
Always

012345

Do you know how to set the level of challenge properly for your client/patient?

Never
Always

012345

Do you know when a client/patient has made progress?

Never
Always

012345

Could you explain HOW you know a client/patient has made progress?

Uh, no
In my sleep

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #5: Understanding data and evidence

Can you read, understand, and properly interpret a research study?

Never
Always

012345

Can you decide what is valid evidence or useful data?

Never
Always

012345

Can you analyze information in order to take action, and help your client/patient do the same?

Never
Always

012345

Can you explain to a client/patient why something works (or doesn’t)?

Never
Always

012345

How well do you understand the basic facts of nutrition and physiology?

Not at all
Nobel Prize

012345

How well can you learn and assimilate new data and information?

Poorly
Perfectly

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #6: Creating change

How well can you help your clients/patients get motivated to change… and keep changing?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Can you recognize when a client/patient is truly ready, willing, and able to change?

Never
Always

012345

How good are you at getting clients/patients “un-stuck”?

Terrible
Great

012345

What about the “difficult” ones?

Ugh, no
Bring it

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #7: Understanding systems

Effective coaching unearths complex systems — behaviors, causes, and effects with many moving parts that all interact.

How well do you understand the complexity of human bodies and physiology?

Not at all
Completely

012345

How well do you understand the complexity of human lives and experiences?

Not at all
Completely

012345

How comfortable are you with the idea of complexity in general?

Not at all
Very

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #8: Creating an effective action plan

Can you help a client/patient move from vague goal to specific “do this today” habit?

Never
Always

012345

Can you get your client/patient to “buy in” to what they need to do?

Never
Always

012345

Can your client/patient actually do what you suggest? Every day?

Never
Always

012345

Can you adjust your plan if it isn’t working? Do you know what things to change, and how?

Never
Always

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #9: Skill building and practice

How well can you teach mental and emotional skills relevant to nutrition coaching, such as mindfulness or visualization?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well can you teach physical skills, if you train people?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well can you teach life skills (such as planning and preparation) to help your clients/patients succeed?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How good are your own skills in these domains?

No skills
Expertly

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #10: Communication and documentation

Do you communicate well in writing?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

When you speak?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

In images or video?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How effectively can you communicate with your body language and other nonverbal cues?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well do you sense what a client/patient is thinking, feeling, wondering about?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well do you explain complex ideas or technical jargon simply and clearly so clients/patients “get it”?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well can you give and take feedback?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

How well do you document each client’s/patient’s progress as well as other important information about them?

Not at all
Expertly

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #11: Working with a variety of clients

Are you comfortable working with all kinds of clients/patients, from all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of needs?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Can you connect and communicate with a client/patient who’s different from you?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #12: Referral and support

Do you know what to do when things get weird, or go outside your scope of practice?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Do you have a support and referral network of other professionals?

None
An army

012345

Do you have your own mentors and coaches?

None
An army

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #13: Business skills and professionalism

Do you conduct yourself with professionalism, integrity, and courtesy?

Never
Always

012345

Do clients/patients appear to respect and trust you?

Never
Always

012345

Do clients/patients enthusiastically seek out what you’re offering?

Never
Always

012345

Do you have demonstrably ethical business and marketing practices?

Never
Always

012345

Total for this section:

Domain #14: Handling your own stuff

Can you manage your own workload, stress, emotions, and career development?

Never
Always

012345

Can you show up to coaching with integrity and feel genuine, rather than having to “perform”?

Never
Always

012345

How well do you know your true self and values, and how those relate to your coaching?

Not at all
Completely

012345

Do you have systems in place for lifelong learning and growth?

Not at all
Always

012345

Total for this section:

Total for the quiz:

How did you do?

We gave you a total score, but we also suggest you review your scores in each domain to see specific areas where you might improve.

0-75

You’re just starting out and finding your “coaching legs”. Good for you. Consider building your skills a little more and observing more experienced coaches before you take on nutrition and lifestyle coaching clients.

76-150

You’re working on building fundamentals. Keep practicing! Find a great mentor to spend time with, and ask clients/patients for feedback as you progress.

151-225

You’ve got a solid foundation, and probably have plenty of good coaching days. Now’s the time to study coaching methods, refine key details, and develop the nuances of your skills.

226-300

World-class supercoach!

Want strategies to level up your coaching?

It’s no secret that master coaches develop over time, through education and consistent practice, usually under the guidance of a mentor or coach.

Precision Nutrition is the only company in the world that both works with thousands of our own nutrition coaching clients and teaches health, fitness, and wellness professionals our real-world methods for getting results.

And here’s some great news: Our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class kicks off on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

Want to achieve total confidence in your coaching skills? Get (and keep) more clients? Grow and strengthen your practice? If so, the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification is definitely for you.

It’s designed specifically for Level 1 students and grads who realize that knowing about the science of nutrition isn’t enough.

Part master class, part grad program, part mentorship, it’s the only course in the world designed to help you master the art of coaching, meaning better results for your clients and a better business for you.

Since we only take a limited number of professionals, and since the program sells out every time, I strongly recommend you add your name to our VIP List below. When you do, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you get a huge discount off the general price of the program.

[Note: The Level 2 Master Class is only for students and grads of our Level 1 Certification. So if you haven’t yet enrolled in that program, please begin there.]

Interested? Add your name to the VIP list. You’ll save up to 37% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class on Wednesday, April 3rd.

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

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to get started and ready to gain mastery in their coaching practice. So we’re offering a discount of up to 37% off the general price when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the PN Master Class twice per year. Due to high demand and a very limited number of spots, we expect it to sell out fast. But when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to take the next step in becoming a world-class coach, we’re ready to share our knowledge and help you master the art of coaching.

The post How do you rank as a health, fitness, and nutrition coach? Take this short quiz to learn where you’re at and how to level up. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools 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 Precision Nutrition 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 PN 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.

For more, check out this short video; it includes interviews with renowned health, fitness, and medical professionals who’ve experienced the program:

 

 

On Wednesday, April 3rd, we’re opening registration for the next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification group.

The certification gives health, fitness, and wellness professionals — along with those thinking of joining the field — the ability to turn their interest in nutrition into a valuable skill set they can use to help others.

And, the way the world is going, this skill set is needed now more than ever!

So, if you want to learn, we want to teach you, because…

Proven nutrition coaching is what’s missing from the health and fitness field today.

I got involved in nutrition coaching about 25 years ago.

At the time, something became immediately clear.

No matter how knowledgeable I was about the science of nutrition, without a deep understanding of how people actually change, everything I knew about food never really benefited those who came to me for help.

I started talking about this with friends and colleagues — physicians, personal trainers, manual and physical therapists, yoga teachers, group exercise instructors — and they were all experiencing the same frustrations.

Indeed, without effective nutrition coaching skills, most professionals struggle (and sometimes fail) to help clients and patients achieve their goals.

On the other hand, with effective nutrition coaching skills, health and fitness professionals can feel confident, competent, and credible.

They can offer advice they know is right, in the right way, so clients and patients achieve the health improvements and body transformations they’re after.

Truly, knowing how to coach nutrition effectively is the key to helping people get the results they want and deserve.
Ron_PN_Team_Member

 

What if you could be a changemaker, a leader, the kind of professional who makes a real difference?

Imagine if you had all the nutrition, coaching, and change psychology research… all the scientific concepts… all the experience… all the practical “how-to” stuff… all in one place.

Imagine if you had a trusted source of education… a proven system… and real-life advice to help guide your development.

Imagine if your education came in a clear, understandable, self-paced learning format that suited your schedule.

And imagine if, at the end of the process, you had a system to deliver the habit-based nutrition coaching you just learned, so you can grow your practice while working less and getting better results.

That’s what The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is here for.

Learn more about the science of nutrition plus how to apply what you know with the people who turn to you for help.

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification you’ll get better results, attract more clients/patients, keep them longer, grow your reputation, and increase your earning potential.

So, whether you’re:

  • just starting out in a health/fitness/wellness field,
  • already an established professional,
  • considering a career change, or
  • wanting to deepen your knowledge of nutrition…

…you can become Precision Nutrition Certified.

Which means you’ll be able to:

  • help clients/patients eat better — safely and effectively;
  • become the go-to expert in your business or community;
  • help your friends and family with their nutrition and health;
  • connect with other top professionals in the field;
  • continue to learn with us even after you’ve completed the course;
  • build an amazing career in health and fitness;

And the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification will help you do it.
Precision Nutrition Certification

 

An exciting new, updated 3rd edition.

Since we first launched the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ve been recognized as the world’s most definitive source on the science of nutrition and the art of nutrition coaching.

Indeed, over 2 million people interested in fitness, health, food, and nutrition visited our website last month, enough to fill Dallas Cowboy stadium 20 times.

Yet we’re never satisfied with yesterday’s success.

Nutrition science is dynamic, new discoveries are made daily. And that’s just on the research side. As we continue to coach (over 100,000 clients to date), we’re discovering new methods to achieve real, lasting behavior change.

That’s why we’re constantly updating the course curriculum. This is great for you since we recently released our third edition.

3rd edition of the Level 1 Certification

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification has recently been re-envisioned and refined. This latest version of the program includes:

  • new text, with the latest research in nutrition, physiology, psychology,
  • new video lectures, one to go with each chapter of the new textbook,
  • new workbook and study guide to help you prepare for the online exams,
  • new assessment forms and questionnaires to learn more about clients.
Precision Nutrition Certification 3rd Edition

The new 3rd Edition of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is not only beautiful, it’s jam-packed with the latest research and proven coaching practices.

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, you’ll learn the science of nutrition and the art of coaching the right way, from the company that Apple, Nike, Equinox, Titleist, and pro athletes around the world turn to for advice.

Now, more than ever, our certification is guaranteed to give you a one-of-a-kind education experience (and the path to become an incredible coach).

Professional nutrition software, ProCoach

Easily implement and scale the nutrition coaching system you’ll learn in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification with ProCoach, our cutting-edge software available to Precision Nutrition students and grads.

Tested with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach helps you deliver world-class nutrition coaching. Now you can grow your business while working less & getting better results.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

In our private Facebook community you’ll now be able to learn alongside an extremely supportive group of nearly 30,000 coaches, physicians, trainers, nutritionists, researchers, therapists, yoga teachers, and other health and fitness professionals from all over the world.

With case studies, lessons, tips of the day, and more, being part of this community will deepen your learning, introduce you to new people, and help you level up your career.

You’ll also get daily access to the field’s most accomplished experts and coaches, including me, Brian St. Pierre, Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Dominic Matteo, Dr. Helen Kollias, Kate Solovieva, Adam Feit, Lisanne Thomas, and more.

As part of the community you can ask questions, get feedback and advice, and nerd out on everything health and nutrition.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

The Precision Nutrition Certification is open to everyone who’s interested in discovering the benefits of nutrition coaching.

  • Maybe you’re a personal trainer or athletic coach, and you want to stand out from the pack to offer your clients/team the best service and results.
  • Maybe you’re another type of health professional — a physician, massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, yoga instructor, or registered nurse — who wants to add nutrition coaching to your roster of services.
  • Maybe you want to complete the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification as your first step toward becoming an elite health and fitness coach.
  • Maybe you’re looking for a practical way quit your existing job and do work you’re passionate about in the health and nutrition field.
  • Maybe you’re interested in how nutrition can improve health and performance, and want to learn more about how to optimize your own diet, or that of your family and friends.
  • Maybe you just really love nutrition and want to go down the rabbit hole and see where it takes you.

There’s nothing out there like the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification in terms of helping you use the science of nutrition and the art of coaching to get the best possible results for the people who turn to you for help.

Even better, you’ll get the education you need, on your terms and on your schedule, without having to go back to school to become a dietitian.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Why choose Precision Nutrition?

There are many good reasons to choose the Precision Nutrition Certification to advance your knowledge and grow your coaching practice.

Here are just a few of them.

We wrote the book on nutrition coaching.

We couldn’t find a textbook that did all the things we wanted to do, nor all the things we wanted to teach others.

So we created one based on our extensive research and work with over 100,000 clients. It’s called The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition.

It’s a 600-page opus — now totally re-envisioned and in its 3rd edition — that covers every aspect of the latest science and practice of nutrition coaching.

Precision Nutrition Certification 3rd Edition Image 2

The PN Level 1 Certification, 3rd Edition. There’s nothing else like it anywhere.

With this incredible learning resource we’re doing everything in our power to change the game. We’re out to educate and train a new, more effective, kind of health and fitness professional.

And we’re being recognized for it by the top organizations in the world.

The PN Method has been validated clinically.

The Precision Nutrition Method, which drives our Certification and ProCoach programs, was recently validated in 3 peer-reviewed studies.

This means that the system you’ll learn in the Level 1 program is truly “evidence-based”.

Our method was recently validated in peer-reviewed studies published in Internet Interventions, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and Obesity Science and Practice.

Having worked with over 100,000 clients, we know our system is highly effective at helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it too.

You get the latest science, the latest practice, the very best for your clients/patients.

As mentioned above, we’re constantly updating the course curriculum to keep pace with new discoveries in the field. That’s why our 3rd edition includes:

  • new video lectures, one for each textbook chapter, to help you better learn the material and retain what you’ve learned (check out a sample video below, it’s awesome);
  • new workbook with exercises and thought experiments to help prepare you for your end-of-chapter exams; and

As an example, here’s “Through the GI Tract” — which supplements Chapter 2 of the textbook. (Remember, every chapter has an awesome video like this, to go along with the text).

 

 

The Precision Nutrition Certification is everything we’ve learned over the last 15 years, brought together, and are sharing with you.

Unlike most other certifications, this isn’t a program full of abstract theory that doesn’t work in the real world. (Nor is it a program full of internet level, social media arguer, keyboard jockey type information.)

Instead, it’s deep knowledge that’s client-tested, scientifically proven, and constantly updated based on the data we’ve collected working directly with over 100,000 clients.

In fact, Precision Nutrition is the only nutrition certification company in the world that successfully coaches real clients every day.

Clients like these:

 

With the PN Level 1 Certification you’ll:

  • Learn a proven nutrition system that’s guaranteed to get results.
  • Get the 600-page, newly updated, definitive guide to nutrition coaching, shipped to your door.
  • Watch fun, expert-narrated video lectures to boost your understanding of complex nutrition and psychology topics.
  • Study online at your own pace, and take the online exams whenever you want.
  • Mentor with Dr. Berardi and the Precision Nutrition team.
  • Start using our coaching tools and techniques immediately, including our comprehensive package of client/patient resources.
  • Have the chance to use the same proven ProCoach software that we use with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients.
  • Boost your credentials — and learn everything you ever wanted to know about nutrition coaching — without going back to school.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

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.

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 Opening April 2019: The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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