Losing 10 pounds. Running a half marathon. Getting six-pack abs. How do you turn short-term client goals into something meaningful, sustainable, and inspiring? Enter: deep health coaching, the revolutionary method that gets your clients the results they want, plus the results they need.

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Are you truly transforming your clients’ health?

Are you helping them thrive, in all aspects of life?

Sure, you may be helping them boost their bench press, feel confident on their beach vacation, or get sidewalk-cracking swole.

But what if we told you food and fitness—the domains of physical health—are only 16 percent of what determines your clients’ success? 

What if you could move beyond “12 week beach bod programs,” or “pre-wedding weight loss,” to something truly meaningful and sustainable, and even more inspiring?

After all… what happens to the beach bod at week 13?

Or by the 10th wedding anniversary?

Can your clients stay at or even grow beyond their goals without feeling deprived, hungry, and miserable?

Without turning food and fitness into a full-time job?

And without backsliding from short-lived pride and mirror selfies into enduring shame and baggy sweatshirts?

Is there a way that YOU can build a sustainable coaching business where you continually help people learn, grow, and improve… without having to constantly hustle new clients or start from scratch over and over?

Where your clients aren’t just okay with the quick-fix results they get… but transformed inside and out, to the point where they rave about you to their friends and family?

What if you could be a coaching alchemist… someone who turns superficial physical goals into substantive life gold?

After working with over 100,000 clients, we believe you can get more ambitious—and be more effective and fulfilled—with an approach that goes far beyond the superficial.

It’s called coaching for deep health.

This is when all domains of health are in sync, instead of just the physical.

It’s not only about how your clients look or perform.

It’s also about how they think, respond, solve problems, and deal with the world around them.

“Wait,” you might say. “I’m all for deep health, but my 4pm is here and they want to lose 20 pounds.”

Perfect.

Coaching for deep health will help you get them there faster and more easily than ever before—in a way that fits their life and is sustainable.

(That’s good for your clients.)

Their results will translate into glowing reviews, lots of referral business, and an invaluable sense of career fulfillment. 

(That’s good for you.)

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The six domains of deep health

Deep health doesn’t come from a pill or an operation.

Deep health comes from a balanced diet of fresh, whole foods. It comes from sufficient exercise combined with genuine rest. It comes from clean air and clean water.

And it comes from living with purpose and joy, and using your life as an expression of these things.

When you coach for deep health, you consider the multi-dimensional thriving of a whole person in their whole life

Not just body fat percentage and blood work, but also factors like how people think, feel, live, and connect to others.

Don’t worry: We’re not suggesting you master psychotherapy, or tackle the human condition.

We are suggesting you understand how healthy eating and lifestyle practices affect every aspect of your client’s well-being. And vice versa.

Here are the six domains of deep health.

These areas of health are deeply entwined and strongly connected.

You probably know how we feel can affect how we eat. (This is, after all, most people’s #1 nutrition challenge.)

You might have also noticed that people with supportive families, strong connections at their gyms, or welcoming fitness communities (such as running or cycling groups) are more likely to show up for their workouts.

Or that people with a clear purpose, self-stories that foster healthy activities, or the willingness to change suffering into action are more likely to stay motivated and succeed.

Every domain of deep health influences eating and exercise behaviors.

That’s what coaching for deep health is all about.

Let’s see how this might look in real life.

Example 1: Your client is a dedicated runner with an injury. 

They can’t run properly, which means they can’t train, and they’re getting deconditioned. That’s the current state of their physical health.

But because of this situation, they’re also:

  • feeling depressed and frustrated (emotional health)
  • lonely and disconnected, missing their weekend run clubs and races (relational health)
  • starting to wonder what the point of anything is (existential health)

Example 2: Your client works long hours at a high-stress job.

They sit at a desk (which affects their physical health via inactivity and back / neck pain), and they don’t get their proper sleep (physical health impact again)

Because of this situation, they’re also:

  • anxious and stressed, answering emails late at night (emotional health)
  • arguing with their partner about working too much (relational health)
  • spending most of their time in a windowless cubicle with takeout food a phone call away (environmental health)
  • on the cusp of a midlife crisis (existential health)

Now… here’s the really cool part:

The problems are connected… but so are the solutions.

Struggling in one domain of deep health usually means struggling in others.

But there’s a flip side here, too.

Improving one domain can also improve others.

This is the power of deep health coaching.

Maybe you help your injured client find alternative activities and mentally manage their pain.

For instance, you might introduce them to water sports or swimming. You help them normalize injury and work on rehab.

They get back to movement. They feel happier. They meet new friends at dragon boating or the local pool.

Or, maybe you give your stressed-out client some relaxation techniques, a bit of mobility work to do at their desk, and the number of a healthy meal delivery service. Plus, you empathize with their challenges.

They calm down a little, move more in their day, concentrate better, and (as a result of better focus and hence productivity) even find time to come home half an hour earlier, which makes their spouse happier.

Winning.

Pull a lever in one domain of deep health, and gears in other domains will also move.

Use the connections between deep health domains to your advantage. If one area is off-limits or temporarily broken, try another one.

Deep health looks different to everyone.

For a young stay-at-home parent, it could be balancing a certain pants size with weekly ice cream night with their kids.

For an elite powerlifter, it might be pushing their bench press without screwing up their shoulders or social life.

For a retiree in their 70s, it may be “mobility over medication”—staying off the blood pressure pills and enjoying long walks with their spouse.

That’s why your clients need coaching that’s individualized and thoughtful.

Deep health isn’t about rules or ideals.

It’s about exploration and invitation.

Explore your clients’ worlds to find areas for growth, improvement, and learning. Then, invite them to do that growth and learning along with you.

This offers you unlimited coaching possibilities… and a long-term, lucrative and fulfilling coaching relationship for both client and coach.

Coach for deep health… and better results

Where do you start?

Easy… just ask your clients. 

They can tell you where they need the most help, or where they want to flourish more.

Don’t think of this process as a diagnosis or an interrogation.

Instead, think of it more like opening a conversation, building a story, and deepening a coaching connection.

You can casually ask one of these questions, or all of them, if you want.

You can ask and intuit in various ways, gathering data from a range of client cues (for instance, their body language).

You can even make these questions part of your progress check-ins, if you like, using the questionnaire below.

(Download a printable copy to use for yourself or your clients.)

As you explore with your client, you’ll both gain valuable awareness.

Your client may start to notice where they’re living out of alignment with their deeper values and goals. Or where one domain is connected to another, in ways they’d never realized. (Example: “Gosh, on days I don’t get exercise, I’m really cranky”.)

Often, this simple awareness is enough to spark a conversation about change.

Or, you can guide clients more deliberately towards noticing what might need their attention. (Example: “I find that clients who have trouble sleeping also have trouble managing their appetite… Does that feel true for you?”)

Of course, as you probably know, telling clients what to do doesn’t work. So instead of evaluating your client’s questionnaire and giving them an “assignment,” ask them:

“What’s on your garbage list?”

These are behaviors you know are total “garbage” for your health, sanity, and well-being—but you do them anyway. Everyone’s got a few.

Weekend overeating, skipping recovery days, and not getting enough sleep are some of the most common garbage list items. But they could also be anything from engaging in negative self-talk to stocking the freezer with ice cream every Friday.

Asking about a client’s garbage list is a quick-and-dirty way to figure out where to prioritize your efforts, and get them on the path to deep health.

But it’s only just the beginning.

If you want to start to truly master this coaching philosophy, read on.

Ask the right questions… to find mind-blowing solutions.

After the initial assessment, you’ll probably have a good working hypothesis about your client’s deep health.

So as a coach, you have two roles to play at this point:

Deep health detective: Investigate. 

  • In which area(s) does it seem like there may be more to uncover?
  • Where is your client struggling most?

Deep health sherpa: Guide. 

  • Don’t “fix,” but enhance your client’s awareness.
  • Collaborate to explore where they can seek help—or come up with their own solutions (with some supportive coaching).

In short: Let your client tell you what they need in order to see results. 

Below is a handy quick-start conversation guide to help you accomplish that. There are a couple ways to use it.

Option 1: Work your way through each question, searching for places where you want to dig deeper. In those areas, use the followup questions to find out more.

Option 2: Skip right to the question that pertains to the area where your client needs the most help. Use the initial question to start a conversation, then dive into the followup questions to get more detailed.

In both cases, you can use the “action-focused thinking” questions to help your client start brainstorming solutions.

They don’t have to make any decisions about how to change things right away, but these questions will help get the process started. 

Deep Health Domain #1

Physical health: “How do you feel physically?”

Sometimes people can tell you clearly and specifically about their food, exercise, health, mobility/pain, and overall recovery.

For instance, maybe they’ll say “I’m freaking exhausted because I work 12-hour shifts. My knees hurt from lots of standing on the job. I have no energy to cook, and so I eat convenience-store crap.”

Great! Now you have a solid direction.

Sometimes they can’t tell you what’s up. Or they’ll say “Meh, okay, I guess.”

If that happens, no problem. Try some of the followup questions below and see what your client says. If you’re not making progress, you can always focus on a different area.

Potential followup questions

  • Learn more about nutrition struggles: “What’s your biggest nutrition challenge right now?
  • Find obstacles to movement: “How do you feel when you exercise?”
  • Action-focused thinking: “What’s keeping you from getting the body you really want?”

Deep Health Domain #2

Emotional health: “How are you doing emotionally?”

This can be difficult to talk about, but it matters. How your client feels emotionally on a day-to-day basis can impact everything from their nutrition habits to their relationships with others.

A quick pro tip: For many of these questions, what your client doesn’t say is almost as important as what they do say.

Look for body language cues, especially if they’re telling an emotionally laden story. Like, if they smile rigidly while saying “I want to kill my boss,” or seem to collapse like a pile of unwashed laundry while saying “I’m so discouraged with my performance.”

If they give you a one-word answer, consider pressing further. Maybe there’s nothing there, but you won’t find out unless you ask.

Potential followup questions

  • Understand their ability to deal with emotions: “Sounds like you had a pretty bad day yesterday. How did you deal with that?”
  • Evaluate general mood: “If you had to describe your overall mood in three words, what would they be?”
  • Action-focused thinking: “What do those three words [above] tell you? Is there anything you’d like to change about your emotional health?”

Deep Health Domain #3

Mental health: “What happened last time you were presented with a big logistical challenge?”

This area is mostly about how well their mind is working. And this question helps clients evaluate their ability to problem-solve, focus, prioritize, and put things in perspective.

You’ll also get a chance to see what their capacity for insight is like. Do they offer any additional reflections about how they handled the situation? Or how they could have handled the situation differently?

A client who’s not doing so hot in this area could be having a hard time focusing at work or constantly forgetting important items on their to-do list. So keep an eye out for signs they could benefit from upping their mental game.

Potential followup questions

  • Search for gaps in organization and mental clarity: “How do you keep track of all the things you have to get done in any given day?”
  • Assess creativity: “Where and when do you have the best ideas?”
  • Action-focused thinking: “What do you think you need in order to have a clearer head?”

Deep Health Domain #4

Existential health: “Why do you want to make changes to your health?”

Existential health refers to having a deeper “why,” or feeling like our actions have meaning.

When we have a strong sense of ourselves and what we’re here to do, we feel worthwhile. Valuing ourselves then affects how we treat our minds, our bodies, and the people around us.

People find meaning in roles as varied as being the best parent they can be to making the world a better place through their work. The important thing is that your client finds meaning in something.

Clearly understanding motivations, or what’s driving the desire to change, is also important. We can change without knowing exactly why we’re doing it, but it helps  to feel like there’s a deeper purpose to the discomfort we’re facing.

And just a heads up, the more times you offer a curious “why?”, the more likely you are to get to the real reason they want to make a change in their life. Practice starting sentences with “I’m wondering about…” and “Why…?”

Potential followup questions

  • Look for overall purpose: “What’s driving you, here? What’s lighting a fire under your butt to do this, or live life in general?”
  • Ask about the “not-why”: “What’s not driving you? What do you not care about doing or having?” (Sometimes it’s easier for people to name what they don’t want, then you can explore the opposite to uncover what they really value.)
  • Gauge their sense of belonging: How do you see yourself fitting into the “big picture?”
  • Action-focused thinking: “What do you think would give your life more meaning? Is there anything you already do that you find meaningful?”

Deep Health Domain #5

Relational health: “Who in your life is supporting you in this health journey?”

Social support is incredibly important to success in a health and fitness journey, so finding out if your client has it can help you better assess their needs.

If your client has someone in mind they know they can rely on for support, it’s a good exercise for them to “notice and name” that person. This question may also help your client realize they need to ask for support from someone close to them, like a partner or spouse.

Relationships may affect your client’s habits without them even realizing it. For example, if their partner prefers to watch TV while eating dinner, it may be more difficult for them to eat slowly and concentrate on their food.

Potential followup questions

  • Probe for meaningful relationships: “It sounds like Person X really matters to you! Can you tell me more about how they support you?”
  • Gauge their sense of belonging: “Where and with who do you feel like you ‘belong?’”
  • Action-focused thinking: “What do you need from the people you’re close to in order to succeed?”

Deep Health Domain #6

Environmental health: “How do your surroundings affect your health?”

Everything from the food in your house to the weather in your city to the political atmosphere in your country is part of your environment.

Being and feeling safe, secure, and supported by your environment enables you to make better choices for your health.

Having access to resources such as healthcare or healthy food is also part of environmental health.

We can’t control some elements of our environment. They’re more structural and systemic, woven into the fabric of our societies. These are called social determinants of health, and include poverty, racism, homophobia, lack of accommodation for disabilities, and displacement (as in the case of refugees).

In any of these situations, it may be very difficult to take steps to change someone’s environment. What can help is to focus on the things you can control wherever possible.

Potential followup questions

  • Determine access to resources: “Is there anything you feel you need in order to reach your goals that you don’t currently have access to?”
  • Evaluate their safety and security: “Where do you feel most comfortable and safe?”
  • Action-focused thinking: “If you could change your environment to help you better meet your goals, how would you do so?”

What to do next…

Look at the big picture.

By now you understand how seemingly unrelated factors, like someone’s relationships and work life, might affect their ability to lose fat, gain muscle, and/or improve their overall health.

So for the best results, assess every client for deep health—even if they have a super-specific aesthetic goal.

Dig for connections.

The social bone is connected to the mental bone, is connected to the physical bone, and so on. Pull a thread of your client’s life with curiosity, assuming that things are related, and see what it unravels.

This also means that small specific things are a microcosm. If a client comes to you with big problems, ask for particular, concrete examples of how those problems manifested. For instance:

Client: I eat terribly.

Coach: Can you tell me a specific situation in the last day or two where you ate terribly? Like one meal, maybe? What was happening then?

And so on.

Collaborate with your client.

Don’t tell, direct, lecture, or immediately jump in with “helpful” suggestions.

Instead: Investigate, together. Ask, learn, listen.

Every client needs a unique approach, and they need to buy in, first. That happens when they feel autonomous and self-determined, and when they get to tell their story without judgement from the coach.

All you have to do to create an individualized plan is to ask the right questions, and listen to the answers.

Remember that coaching is a science, but it’s also an art.

The science of nutrition can get your clients abs. Artful coaching can make their lives better. Combine the two, and you’re setting yourself (and your clients) up for success.

What if you could make a real difference in the lives of others—and never feel confused about nutrition again?

When it comes to better health and fitness, focusing on nutrition is the most important and effective step. But there’s a big problem: Most people don’t feel qualified to coach nutrition, especially in a way that leads to deep health and lasting change.

That’s where we come in. If you’d like to learn everything you can about nutrition—especially how to use it to help yourself and others—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 feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, 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 yourself and your clients.

[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 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. 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 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • 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 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: The ‘deep health’ coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Ever feel like the body you want is always just out of reach? Like you’ll never quite be lean, strong, fit, or healthy enough? Or that there’s always somebody “better” than you? Here’s how to stop hating on your body, and free yourself from the frustration of constant comparison.

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Caron Adderley lost 55 pounds over the course of 11 months.

And for a short period, she felt happy with those results.

 


 

While her family and friends (and the rest of the world) saw her as perfectly fit, she soon became dissatisfied. “Even though I was leaner than ever, I now wanted six-pack abs,” says Caron.

After all, truly fit people have washboards, right?

But no matter how lean or strong she became, or what new goals she achieved, there was always someone “better” to compare herself to.

Instead of appreciating her own progress, she kept wanting more. 

Sound familiar?

In 10 years of coaching, I’ve come across countless stories like Caron’s. Both men and women.

Regardless of where you (or your clients) are in your health and fitness journey, it’s common to feel like:

  • You’re never quite where you want to be.
  • Everyone else is doing better than you.
  • Even your best effort just isn’t good enough.

I call this the comparison game.

And if you’re stuck in it, you know how soul-sucking it feels.

But you don’t have to keep playing. (Nor do your clients.)

In this article, we’ll explain why you can’t stop constantly comparing yourself to others—and why it always feels like you’re not measuring up. (Spoiler alert: It’s completely normal, according to science).

More importantly, we’ll give you five strategies that’ll help you conquer your comparison complex for good—because a healthy lifestyle should lift you up, not bring you down.

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A secret about comparison: Everybody’s doing it.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others.

Back in the 1950s, famed psychologist Leon Festinger, Ph.D. coined the term social comparison theory.

The idea: In order to gauge our “success” in any given area of life—career success, intelligence, and yes, appearance—we look to one another for points of reference.

But we don’t look to just anyone

We compare ourselves to our “relevant peer group,” says Karen North, Ph.D., clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California.

This group, explains Dr. North, is made up of people we perceive to be around our same level in any given attribute.

For example, if you’re a high school basketball star, you’ll likely compare yourself to the top players in your district, rather than NBA all-stars.

Now, it’s probably no surprise that your friends, neighbors, and colleagues typically fall into your comparison bucket.

But you can also be influenced by people you have no clear connection to, like a movie star, CrossFit champion, or Instagram influencer.

“Celebrities can become part of our peer group to the point we feel we actually know them,” says Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., Director of Curriculum here at Precision Nutrition and an expert in counselling psychology.

“Think about how you might binge-watch a Netflix series and become attached to the characters,” she says. “This works in a similar way: If you spend time watching or reading about certain people, it can feel like they’re part of your peer group, even if you’ve never met.”

Regardless of who we consider our peers, we tend to feel good about ourselves when we think we’re in the top third of the group. 

The big problem? The moment we believe we’re “better” than two-thirds of our peers, we switch groups. And the cycle starts all over.

This is what happened to Caron when it came to her body composition.

She didn’t start out wanting six-pack abs. But once she saw herself as a “fit person,” she started identifying with a new group of people who were even leaner, fitter, and stronger than she was.

And surprise: Those folks all seemed to have visible abs.

If comparing ourselves to others is human nature, how can we ever feel good about our bodies?

The five strategies that follow can help, wherever you’re at right now. And sure, they might require you to try some new approaches and make tough decisions.

But aren’t you worth it? 

5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others physically.

Strategy #1: Focus on actions, not outcomes.

Maybe you’d like to be a size 4. Or bench 300 pounds. Or run a 6-minute mile.

These kinds of benchmarks often seem meaningful. Perhaps because they offer an objective way to compare ourselves to others. (Red flag alert!) You don’t have to wonder how you stack up; the numbers will tell you.

For some people, these goals are achievable. But for others? They can be totally demoralizing.

After all, we can’t fully control how our bodies will respond to a nutrition or training program. And by setting goals that require a certain outcome, anything that falls short can feel like a failure.

Especially when we see others succeed.

Our solution: Rather than focusing on the end result, concentrate on completing daily actions that’ll help you lose fat or get stronger or run faster. We call these habits-based goals.

For example, if you’d like to lose fat, you might set goals such as:

  • Eating lean protein at every meal
  • Having five servings of produce per day
  • Exercising for 30 minutes, three days a week

These actions, done consistently, are examples of how you lose fat. And they’re under your control.

As goals, they shift your mindset away from comparison, and provide more opportunities for you to celebrate your successful efforts—instead of thinking about everything you’ve yet to accomplish.

To be sure, focusing on actions over outcomes may require a mental adjustment on your part. But with practice, it’ll feel start to feel natural and right.

You can get started today by adopting the same goal-setting strategies we use at Precision Nutrition.

Strategy #2: Put things in perspective (every single day).

It’s easy to obsess over what we don’t like about our bodies.

  • Cellulite on the backs of our legs
  • How our belly looks when we don’t hold it in
  • Body parts we think are too skinny- or flabby-looking

No matter who you are, you can probably name at least a couple. And too often, these thoughts take up way more headspace than they should.

But by reminding ourselves what really matters in life, we can dilute these negative feelings, and make them less powerful.

How? By the simple act of daily journaling.

Don’t think of this as another item on your to-do list. Consider it a quick-and-easy way to get a daily dose of perspective.

Every day, simply write:

  • Three things you’re grateful for
  • One thing you’re excited about
  • One thing you’re proud of (from that day or the day before)

Making this list can give you a major mental boost. Do it routinely, and you’ll transform your mindset from a place of comparison to a more appreciative state. As an added bonus, you can look back on previous entries and see how far you’ve come.

Strategy #3: Eliminate your comparison triggers.

Think of a behavior, activity, or place aimed at helping you get healthier. Are there any that cause you to feel less than adequate?

It could be your favorite meal-prep blogger’s website… because she seems to have endless amounts of time to experiment with new and delicious macro-friendly recipes.

And your life just isn’t like that. 

Or it could be:

  • That advanced spin class where you struggle to keep up
  • A diet that leaves you feeling guilty because you’re always “cheating”
  • The weight loss challenge group you joined at work

When my client Kim started training, for instance, her goals were to get fit, feel good, and to be comfortable in her own skin. She got leaner and stronger quickly and joined the gym’s competitors program, where she started training with incredibly fit athletes.

Suddenly, Kim felt like she wasn’t doing enough. “I kind of felt like a fraud because I wasn’t willing to live the life of a really disciplined athlete,” she says.

For Kim, the competitors program had become a comparison trigger. Yet being a disciplined athlete was never part of her original goal.

Ask yourself:

Is there a specific place, person, or practice that always makes you feel “not good enough?” 

If you can put your “trigger” for self-comparison on hold, you can get the space you need to reassess your situation and decide what you really want. Then, if you’d like to continue, you can return to that situation with a clear head and realistic expectations.

Strategy #4: Transform your social networks.

Go ahead, Marie Kondo your newsfeed.

Look through your friends and “following” lists, and ask yourself whether each person or account brings joy to your life. If not, unfriend or unfollow. (We told you there’d be tough decisions.)

Start following people who inspire you, educate you, or just make you laugh. 

These can be people you know, or celebrities and influencers who give you positive feels. Your goal is to custom-build a peer group that fosters love for you and your body.

When I’ve given clients this task, they often report that social media, for the first time ever, is a happy place for them—a place that’s now contributing to their growth, instead of hindering it.

Strategy #5: Seek meaningful connections.

At the beginning of this year, Caron—who’s now a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified coach herself—wrote a social media post revealing she still weighs herself every single day.

This isn’t a habit that makes her feel good or in control. Instead, she feels like the scale is controlling her, thanks to her constant pursuit of measuring up.

The act of publicly admitting she’s “addicted to the bathroom scale” was empowering for Caron.

But most impactful? The overwhelming support she received from others who could relate. 

Their messages and reactions helped her understand she isn’t alone in feeling the pressure to keep pushing for more, more, more. And I’d bet her post helped them, too.

Whether it’s online or in real life, sharing our struggles and stories with other people can be a way to build genuine connection, community, and support—and a lot more uplifting than scrolling through #fitspo on Instagram.

Share that post or picture that reveals the real you. Have that coffee with a friend. Open up to your coach or partner. Be vulnerable.

Genuine conversations beat silent comparison. Every time.

There will always be someone leaner, fitter, and stronger out there.

We all know this.

But instead of focusing on things that take away from your joy, build your support system. Seek out role models, and surround yourself with people who lift you up.

Turn your attention to those who love you for who you are… and who help you love yourself.

If you pay close attention, you might finally realize what they see in you.

And that’s when you’ve beaten the comparison game for good.

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 fully value their own body, effort, and progress—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 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. 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 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • 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 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 “Why can’t I look like them?” How the comparison complex makes you hate on your body—and 5 ways to beat it for good. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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“Here’s what you should eat… ”

Tell someone you want to lose weight or improve your nutrition, and this is almost always the first advice you get.

But that’s not, in fact, what the average person says they need the most help with. Not by a longshot.

We know because every year, we ask thousands of new Precision Nutrition clients about their biggest nutrition challenges.

“I don’t know what to eat” doesn’t even crack the top 10.

And year after year, people tend to have the same food frustrations, no matter what new “diet revolution” or “no-fail meal plan” comes along.

You might write that off as human nature. But we’d suggest another possibility:

Many nutrition coaches and diet programs don’t focus enough on solving the real food problems that prevent people from making progress.

Nor do they help people build the fundamental skills they need to sustain any changes they make.

That’s why we’re sharing these secrets from our own clients.

We’ve analyzed their answers and aggregated them into a snapshot of what truly troubles people. The data here are people’s own descriptions of their real-life nutrition struggles and stressors.

More importantly, we’ve also included real-life strategies—developed, tested, and refined while working with over 100,000 clients—that you (or your clients) can use to face and overcome your healthy eating obstacles for good.

The diet problems that drive people crazy

As you can see, “I don’t know what I should eat” is near the bottom of the list. Yet that’s the nutrition challenge most people—including coaches—obsess over.

Of course, what you eat matters for all kinds of reasons: appetite control, proper nutrition, optimal performance, and so on. But knowing what to eat probably isn’t the #1 thing holding you (or your clients) back.

Most people kinda-sorta know what they should be eating.

You’ve probably never said “I really shouldn’t eat this,” right before downing a big bowl of spinach. More likely, you utter those words as you dive headfirst into a bowl of salted caramel ice cream.

If you’re looking for a long-term fix to these top-ranking problems, more nutrition knowledge probably isn’t the answer. Neither is a meal plan. Or a new set of macros.

No, if you’re struggling with your food, eating, and exercise habits, you probably need help with your behaviors, especially being consistent with crucial fundamentals. (We call these “Level 1” practices, and we’ll introduce you to them throughout this article.)

According to our incoming clients, their most-pressing nutrition problems boil down to this:

How do they stop overeating and, at the same time, find convenient, practical, and satisfying ways to enjoy foods that best nourish their bodies?

Easy problems to solve? No.

Are they solvable? Absolutely.

With that in mind, here are the 8 biggest nutrition challenges*, along with proven strategies you can use to make better choices, and get better results.

Don’t try to tackle all these challenges at once. That rarely works.

Instead, choose just one. Focus on it for two or three weeks.

When you feel ready to take on more, select another area that needs some TLC, and give it your full attention.

You can make incredible, lasting progress this way. We know, because we’ve seen it happen with thousands of real clients.

Now it’s your turn. 

* We’ve combined closely-related categories.

Nutrition Challenge #1: “I can’t stop stress/emotional eating.”

More than 60 percent of our new clients list emotional/stress eating as a major nutrition challenge. What’s more, over 50 percent say they also “get intense cravings” and “snack when not hungry.”

If you relate, it might be a relief to know you’re not alone. Of course, that’s little consolation when your spoon’s scraping the bottom of a freshly-opened jar of cookie butter.

But what if you realized this behavior occurs…

  • Every time your mom calls?
  • On Sunday nights, when you’re dreading the start of a new week?
  • Whenever you see, smell, or hear something that reminds you of your ex?

In our coaching approach, we call this “noticing and naming,” and it offers us great opportunities to regain control.

Emotional eating and intense cravings are typically part of a pattern of behavior that’s triggered by a specific experience—a thought, feeling, and/or situation.

If you can identify the trigger, you can disrupt the pattern of behavior and make different choices. 

We use what we call a “break the chain” worksheet that helps clients identify their emotional and stress eating triggers. Then, we apply a step-by-step strategy to build alternative actions.

For the complete instructions, read this article: Conquer your cravings and break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat.

Nutrition Challenge #2: “I don’t plan meals.”

Survey says… 53 percent of both men and women check this box.

But good news: Serious improvement in this area may not be as time-consuming and complicated as it sounds.

Think about meal planning on a continuum. 

At the far left: You put zero thought into what you might eat later today or tomorrow or the rest of the week. Most decisions are made after you’re already hungry and while you’re staring at the contents of your refrigerator—or looking at a drive-thru menu.

At the far right: You spend Sunday morning grocery shopping and taking the afternoon to prep seven days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, packing it away in containers and leaving nothing to chance.

But in between? There’s real opportunity to progress, and it doesn’t require a complicated meal plan. You just need to do a little better than you are now.

A great place to start: 

Plan to eat one to two servings (think: an amount the size of your fist) of produce at each meal. 

Don’t worry about variety for now: If you like steamed broccoli or raw carrots or sliced cucumbers, you could have those at every meal, if you want. Just practice buying what you need and eating it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And if you find yourself at a restaurant, stick to the plan. That could mean getting a side salad with an order of broccoli instead of fries. (For bonus planning, try checking the restaurant’s menu online before you go.)

You’ll be amazed at how this simple approach can transform the quality of your meals, yet it doesn’t require a ton of effort.

For more ways to ease yourself into healthy eating, check out: Why meal plans usually suck.

Nutrition Challenge #3: “I eat too quickly.”

While this isn’t at the top of the challenge list overall, it was the #1 issue for men—with nearly 60 percent of guys raising their hand.

And turns out, these folks are spot-on. Almost everyone benefits from eating more slowly.

In fact, in our coaching method, slow eating is one of the first practices we ask clients to do. The reason is simple: It’s incredibly effective.

The act of consciously slowing down—even just taking a breath or two between bites at first—can help you eat less without feeling deprived.

And we’ve found it works for everyone from the most advanced dieters to those who’ve struggled with healthy eating for a lifetime.

To experience how you can use this practice to transform your body—starting at your next meal—see The 30-day slow eating challenge.

Nutrition Challenge #4: “I have a serious sweet tooth.”

Maybe you love cookies. Or M&Ms. Or anything that’s rolled in sugar.

That’s completely normal, according to almost 50 percent of our new clients.

However, it’s typically not just the sweetness that appeals to your taste buds, belly, and brain. It’s a diabolically delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt that makes certain foods nearly irresistible. There’s even a special name for them: hyperpalatable.

In fact, food manufacturers use this flavor formula to create products you can’t stop eating. (It’s great for sales, after all.)

The biggest challenge with these foods is their availability: They’re everywhere, including your kitchen.

So, remember Berardi’s First Law (named for its originator, Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi):

If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

This also leads to the corollary of Berardi’s First Law:

If a healthy food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

We’re not saying you should make sweets off-limits. Instead, shape your environment to set yourself up for success.

What would happen if, next time you visit the grocery store, you bought some fruit for dessert instead of that jumbo pack of Oreos? 

Try it, and observe what happens.

To learn more about how to handle hyperpalatable foods, read Manufactured deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating.

Nutrition Challenge #5: “I eat out a lot.”

With so many temptations on restaurant menus, it’s natural to feel a little tortured about what to order. Once that mental back-and-forth begins, it’s all too easy to say, “Heck with it, give me the carbonara and pass the bread sticks.”

Along with planning meals or your food choices (as in Challenge #2), you can also plan how to show up.

  • Is this a special occasion where you want the freedom to indulge? Is the food so unique and amazing at this restaurant that it’s truly worth it? (If so, slow down and really savor the experience.)
  • Or would you prefer your choice align with your healthy eating practice? (If so, consider preparing in advance by reviewing the menu, or even setting a phone or calendar reminder to help yourself stay on track.)

There’s no right or wrong answer, but deciding ahead of time can help you stay focused and avoid being distracted by a mountain of pasta. 

Every time you follow through on your plan, notice how you feel after you’ve finished your meal.

Ask yourself: “Am I just as satisfied as I would have been otherwise?”

If yes, that’s a positive step to encouraging the same behavior next time. (With more practice, smart choices become easier and easier.)

If no, try following these steps:

  • Order a plant-rich dish. (Shoot for half your plate to be vegetables.)
  • Choose a lean protein. (Read: chicken breast or fish.)
  • Avoid breaded and fried foods. (This eliminates a lot of poor choices.)
  • Ask for dressings on the side. (And use responsibly.)
  • Eat slowly. (See Challenge #3, above.)
  • Stop when you’re 80 percent full. (See Challenge #6, below.)

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but a practical guide for when you’re eating out—no matter if you’re at a fine-dining establishment or a fast food chain.

Is this your top challenge? Make sure to read 25 ways to eat well on-the-go for additional insights and strategies.

Nutrition Challenge #6: “I eat larger portions than I need.”

In the weight loss industry, it’s popular to tell people, “It’s not your fault.”

And in this case, it’s probably true. Between your parents directing you to “clean your plate,” the abundance of hyperpalatable foods (see Challenge #4), and the mega-meals served by chain restaurants, eating more than you need can feel completely natural.

Which means eating an appropriate-sized meal can feel… completely unnatural. At least until you get you used to it. And that requires practice.

A simple way to start: 

Eat slowly (Challenge #3… again), and stop when you’re 80 percent full. Do this no matter how much is left on your plate or how uncomfortable it makes you feel. 

This won’t be easy at first, and you may wonder, “Am I at 80 percent full or 70 percent?” or “Did I just totally mess up and go over?”

Don’t worry about it. The point is to become a more mindful eater and pay better attention to your body’s satiety signals. That takes time, and like any skill, you’ll improve with practice.

We’re going for progress here, not perfection.

Of course, it helps to start with a reasonable portion size. But you don’t need to enter your meals into a calculator ahead of time. You can use your hands to estimate how you should eat, with our simple but effective portion and calorie control guide.

Nutrition Challenge #7: “I don’t have time to prepare meals.”

Are you seeing a theme emerge? Sure, this one’s related to “I don’t plan out meals” and “I eat out too much.” But it’s also slightly different because it’s specifically calling out the reason why: a lack of a key resource.

Now let’s be honest: There may be a lack of desire here, too, at least compared to activities you do have time for. And that’s okay.

After all, many people are on the move all day, making a living, commuting, and/or caring for others. You deserve some time to unwind, and if that means grabbing takeout so you can sink into your couch 30 minutes sooner, we get it.

But let’s go back to our continuum concept:

  • If you’re making zero meals now, could you find time to make one meal each week?
  • Or if you’re making three, could you find time to make four?

If you can make just one extra meal, you’ll be taking a positive action to change your behavior and improve your health. 

That’s how real, lasting transformation happens: one tiny step at a time, not by trying to change everything overnight.

So figure out what action you’re capable of now—even if it doesn’t seem like much—and try it out. Then practice it next week, too. As it becomes easier, ask yourself: “Could I add in another home-cooked meal?”

Remember: Progress, not perfection.

And for more ways to deal with a hectic lifestyle, check out 7 ways to make time for exercise and nutrition.

Nutrition Challenge #8: “I drink too much.”

If you’re nodding your head right now, we feel you. And so do more than 30 percent of our new clients who say they over-consume alcohol.

The question is: What does “too much” mean? It can be different for everyone.

Maybe you’re drinking two or three glasses of wine at night and wondering if you’re relying too much on alcohol to take the edge off. Or perhaps you don’t imbibe during the week, but drink to excess on the weekend.

Even if you don’t have what’s considered a “serious” problem, your drinking habits could be affecting your ability to lead a healthier lifestyle—by interfering with your sleep, affecting your judgement (“Hey everyone! Who wants late-night nachos??”), and stimulating your appetite.

Ask yourself: What’s one action you could take to feel a little better about your alcohol intake?

  • Could you have two glasses tonight instead of three?
  • Could you drink more slowly, so that one glass lasts longer?
  • Could you have a glass of water between cocktails?

If your alcohol intake isn’t destroying your work or family life, you don’t necessarily have to slam on the brakes.

Ease yourself into it, and notice how you feel. Better awareness can result in better choices. 

For more help and how-to advice, check out: Would I be healthier if I quit drinking?

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 each individual overcome their unique nutrition challenges—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 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. 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 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • 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 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 Exclusive data: Overcome the 8 biggest diet challenges, based on 100,000 client results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Diet challenges are usually all about what you can’t eat. But what if you could see huge results from a self-experiment that doesn’t make any foods off-limits? Instead of focusing on what you eat, our 30-day eating challenge emphasizes how you eat. And the results? They could be transformational.

++++

“You want the next level stuff?” I asked.

“Do this first, and let’s see if you can handle it.”

The nutrition advice I’d just given Cameron Lichtwer wasn’t what he expected, so I made it a challenge.

As an instructor at the British Columbia Personal Training Institute, a strength and conditioning coach, and a former competitive athlete, Cameron was no stranger to exercise and nutrition. In fact, he thought he’d tried it all.

But my advice? It was so… basic. Wasn’t he far beyond that?

Well, no. Because what I told him can help almost anyone, from the most advanced dieters to those who’ve struggled with healthy eating for a lifetime.

“Eat slowly and mindfully.”

I know: It sounds too ridiculously simple to work.

But guess what? It was exactly what Cameron needed. In two months, his body fat dropped from 13.9 percent to 9.5 percent, the lowest level he’s ever achieved. This was without weighing and measuring food, or following a restrictive meal plan.

Soon after he started, he sent me this text:

“I can’t believe it. I’m losing fat and destroying my workouts. I’m sleeping better. I feel awesome.”

Cameron was surprised by the results he got from such a simple process.

But I wasn’t.

Eating slowly is one of the core practices of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Because it works.

So why not try the slow-eating challenge yourself?

Practice it for just 30 days, and you may be shocked at what you achieveeven if you don’t change anything else.

++++

5 ways this 30-day eating challenge will change your body and mind.

When it comes to eating better, most folks worry about the little details:

  • “Are potatoes fattening?”
  • “If I don’t drink a protein shake after my workout, is it even worth exercising?”
  • “Is keto really the best way to lose weight? Or should I be doing Paleo? Or what about the alkaline diet?!”

Yet they eat over the kitchen sink. Or in their car. Or in a daze while in front of the TV.

And who can blame them? We’ve been taught to think about what we eat, not how we eat.

That’s too bad since…

Eating slowly and mindfully can actually be more important than:

  • what you eat
  • when you eat
  • getting anything else “perfect”

Now, this may seem a bit controversial. After all, if you only eat Oreos, the speed at which you consume them isn’t your biggest problem.

But setting aside the extremes, slow eating may be the single most powerful habit for driving major transformation.

Instead of having to figure out which foods to eat, in what frequency, and in what portions—all important factors, of course—eating slowly is the simplest way anyone can start losing weight and feeling better, immediately. (Like, after your first slow-eaten meal.)

That fuels confidence and motivation, and from there, you can always tighten up the details.

Because why go to the complicated stuff right away, when you can get incredible results without it?

Slow eating isn’t just for nutrition newbies. Nutrition nerds can also see big benefits. If you’re like Cameron, for example, it could be the key to unlocking never-before-seen progress. In fact, we’ve seen it work for physique competitors, fitness models, and even Olympic athletes.

Slow eating is like the secret weight loss weapon everyone has access to, but nobody knows about.

That’s because it can help you…

1. Eat less without feeling deprived.

Sure, many popular diets claim this as a benefit. But with slow eating, this phenomenon can occur even if you don’t change what you’re eating.

For example, in one study, University of Rhode Island researchers served the same pasta lunch to 30 normal-weight women on two different days. At both meals, participants were told to eat until comfortably full.

But they were also told:

  • Lunch 1: Eat this meal as fast as you can.
  • Lunch 2: Eat slowly and put your utensils down between every bite.

The results:

  • When eating quickly, the women consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes.
  • When eating slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes.

So in 20 more minutes, the slow-eaters ate 67 fewer calories. What’s more, it also took them longer to feel hungry afterward compared to when they were speeding through their lunch.

These effects, spread across every meal and snack, could add up to hundreds of calories saved over the course of a day.

Granted, this is just a single study, but it demonstrates what we’ve seen with our clients over and over.

(Feel free to try this experiment at home right now, if you like.)

Why does this happen?

Reason 1: Physiology.  It takes about 20 minutes for your body’s satiety signals to kick in. Slow eating gives the system time to work, allowing you to better sense when you’ve had enough.

Reason 2: Psychology. When you slow down, and really try to savor your meal, you tend to feel satisfied with less, and feel less “deprived.”

Rachel Levy: Facing fear and anxiety.

Rachel Levy’s initial reaction to this challenge: “I can’t possibly eat slowly. I will die!”

As you can guess, she didn’t perish after giving it a try. In fact, she went on to be the female winner of our July 2018 transformation contest.

How’d she make it happen?

I decided to just try. Just put one foot in front of the other, and only do what was being asked of me—eat just a little bit slower.

“I faced the fear of doing something different.

During her first two weeks of eating slowly, Rachel had one of those “aha moments.”

“I suddenly realized that the reason I ate quickly was actually a feedback loop: I ate quickly to calm my anxiety, but eating quickly was making me anxious.”

The upshot: Discovering this connection immediately made it easy for Rachel to eat slowly.

2. Look and feel better.

Have regular bloating, cramping, or stomach pains? Many of our clients say slow eating helped solve their digestive issues.

Why does speed matter?

Because when you wolf down your food, you take larger bites and chew less.

Your stomach has a harder time mashing those big chunks of food into chyme—the sludgy mix of partially digested food, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and water that passes from your stomach into your small intestine.

When food isn’t properly broken down into chyme, it can cause indigestion and other GI problems. We may absorb fewer nutrients, depleting ourselves of valuable vitamins and minerals.

Besides making you uncomfortable (maybe even miserable), shoddy digestion can also affect your mindset.

For instance, if your meal leaves you bloated, burpy, and sluggish, you may interpret this as “feeling out of shape,” and become discouraged about your efforts. On the other hand, slowing down and digesting your food properly may help you “feel leaner.”

3. Learn what “hungry” and “full” feel like.

Ever have a meal because it’s a certain time of day, even if you’re not particularly hungry?

Or clean your plate, though you’re pretty sure you’ll regret it?

These are just a couple of ways people tune out their internal hunger and satiety cues. There are plenty more, but the point is:

Many of us eat when we’re not hungry, and keep eating when we’re full.

Slow eating can help get you right again. With regular practice, it improves your appetite awareness. You learn to recognize —and more importantly, trust—your body’s own internal signals.

Over time, this retrains you to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Not because some rigid meal plan demands it, but because your body (a.k.a. your new best friend) tells you so.

This is the difference between being “on a diet” and learning how to “listen to your body”… a valuable skill that allows you to make healthier choices for the rest of your life.

Voila—lasting body transformation in a way that doesn’t suck.

Nellie Long: Tackling food addiction.

Nellie was already “healthy” when she started Precision Nutrition Coaching. She went to the gym three to five times a week, ate mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and wasn’t really looking to lose weight.

There was just one problem: She struggled with food addiction. “I needed to face the reason I was eating a pound of carrots in one sitting,” she says.

When first introduced to the habit of eating slowly, Nellie was so worried she couldn’t do it, she considered leaving the program. But instead, she accepted the challenge. And although there were setbacks—like the day she ate seven cupcakes—little by little, it started to get easier.

Now, it’s revolutionized her relationship with food. On a recent backpacking trip, Nellie’s friend brought some Fritos along. At the end of their 13-mile day, Nellie started craving those chips.

“Before, I would have pounded them down. But this time, I put one in my mouth and savored it.” She still ate the chips—slowly—but instead of feeling ashamed and overstuffed, she felt nourished and satisfied.

Big lesson for Nellie:

“I’ve learned that when I listen to my body, it tells me everything I need to be successful.”

4. Disrupt patterns that derail your progress.

If you struggle with binge eating, learning to go slow can help.

That might sound odd, since a binge is driven by an overwhelming urge to consume as much food as possible, as fast as possible. (This quality is what differentiates binge eating from run-of-the-mill overeating.)

But the skills you develop from slow eating can help you mitigate the damage, and build resilience over time.

Here’s how: When you’re in the grip of a binge, slow down as soon as you realize what’s happening.

Pause. Breathe. The food will wait for you. Even just one breath between bites will help.

You might not be able to stop eating right away, and that’s okay. How much you eat isn’t as important as getting back into a more thoughtful state of mind.

With this “binge slowly” technique, most people can regain a sense of control. And the more you practice it, the more effective it will be.

If you keep slowing down, even during your most difficult moments:

  • You’ll become more aware of why, where, and how you’re binging (so it won’t seem random, and eventually you can break the chain).
  • You’ll likely eat less and stop sooner.
  • You’ll feel less panicked and powerless.
  • You’ll be able to soothe yourself more effectively, and get back into “wise mind” faster.

In time, this’ll help normalize your eating, boost your physical and psychological health, and improve body composition (or help you maintain a healthy body composition more easily, without restriction-compensation cycles).

5. Gain a tool you can use anytime, anywhere.

We don’t always have control over what foods are available to us. But we always have control over how quickly we chew and swallow.

Think of slow eating as the low-hanging fruit of nutrition: super accessible in any situation.

It doesn’t require specialized meal plans or a food scale. No matter what’s going on in your life, or what’s on your plate, you can practice eating slowly.

Elaine Gordon: Finding a better way.

When Precision Nutrition Coaching client Elaine Gordon started the program, she already knew a lot about nutrition from years of working with coaches and researching on her own.

“I knew the ‘whats’ of eating well, but really benefited from the ‘hows’ that PN teaches,” she says.

“It’s incredible to see how your relationship with food changes when you bring attention and awareness to the process of eating.”

Thanks to her new, more mindful relationship with food, Elaine began to get the results she’d been after all those years. And after seeing how effective it was for Elaine, her husband even started eating slowly. Now they practice the habit together.

The best part? Elaine knows she has this tool at her disposal, no matter where she is or what she’s doing.

“Even if all else fails with my diet, I can always choose to eat slowly.”

How to eat slowly.

Eating slowly and mindfully is simple and effective—but not necessarily easy.

Most people have to work at it.

Thankfully, you don’t have to get it “perfect.” Shoot for “a little bit better” instead. You might be surprised at how effective this can be.

Try one of these tips. You can experiment with them for just one meal, or take on a full 30-day slow-eating challenge, if you feel up to it.

Take just one breath.

Before you eat, pause. Take one breath.

Take one bite. Then take another breath.

Take another bite. Then take another breath.

Go one bite, and one breath at a time.

That’s it.

Add just one minute.

At first, most people panic at the idea of “wasting time” on eating or having to be alone with their thoughts and the sounds of crunching for too long. Plus, life is busy and rushed. Having long leisurely meals may feel impossible.

So, start small. Add just one minute per meal. Or two, or three, if you’re feeling sassy about it.

When you start your meal, start the clock (or use an app like 20 Minute Eating to time yourself).

The game: Stretch out that meal as long as you can. Then try to make your next meal last one minute longer.

Over time, you can gradually build up how long you spend at meals.

Don’t be hard on yourself: If you forget to slow down during one meal, no biggie. Just slow down next time, and notice what happens.

And remember, even one minute better—or one breath-between-bites better—can help.

Put down the remote.

For the next level of challenge, don’t eat while you drive, watch TV, or play with your phone. Sit at a table, not on your living room couch, and for heaven’s sake, don’t eat standing over the sink. Try to relax and experience your meal.

The whole point is to pay attention to your food and body. So, over the next 30 days, do your best to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions.

Eat foods that need to really be chewed.

Try this experiment: Eat a whole food, like an apple slice, and count how many chews it takes to swallow a mouthful. Then grab a highly processed snack, like a cracker or cookie, and count your chews.

What differences do you notice?

Which food do you think will be easier to eat slowly?

Now act accordingly.

Minimally processed lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes require more effort—and time—to eat.

The more you have to chew, the longer it’ll take you to eat, giving your fullness signals a chance to catch up.

Do something between bites.

Pacing yourself is easier when you have a specific action in mind to break up mouthfuls of food.

Between bites, try:

  • setting down your utensils
  • taking a breath (or three)
  • taking a sip of water
  • asking someone at the table a question

Savor your food.

When you eat… eat. Enjoy it. Really taste it.

Is it salty? Sweet? Does it coat the roof of your mouth? What’s the texture like?

Notice these little details with each bite.

To really tap into this experience, try “wine tasting” your food. Practice chewing slowly, sniffing, and savoring your food, as if it were a fine wine.

Notice what affects your eating speed.

As you experiment, try to identify what affects your eating speed or focus.

Consider factors such as:

  • who you eat with
  • when you eat
  • what you eat
  • where you eat

Once you’ve made some observations, ask yourself:

  • What could you do to improve on what is already working well?
  • What could you change, given what isn’t working well?

Refine your practice.

Pay attention to the eating speed of those around you. Observe the slowest-eating person in the group and match their speed.

If you find yourself rushing, that’s okay. Put your utensils down and take a minute to re-focus. If slow eating isn’t habitual for you, this will take some time to master.

Embrace an experimental mindset and notice what you learn.

Remember: every meal is a chance to practice.

Phillip Wilson: Getting leaner and learning to be present.

Like many others, Phillip was skeptical about eating slowly.

“I never expected it to work. It sounded too easy,” he says.

Eating slowly was more challenging than he expected, but with practice, things started to click, and the results have been major.

“The simple act of making time to eat slowly has gotten me closer to my goals than anything I’ve ever tried,” says Phillip.

And the results aren’t just physical: Slowing down his eating helped Phillip set a more comfortable pace in other areas of his life, too.

“Not only am I leaner, but life doesn’t just pass me by anymore. I’m more aware of the moments that are right in front of me.”

I ate slowly, now what?

At the end of your 30-day slow-eating challenge, tune into what’s different.

You’re probably going to observe some changes in your body—such as how your stomach feels after a meal or how your pants fit. You may also notice mental changes, like what you think about while you’re eating, or how you react to feeling hungry or full.

Look at how much has changed in just 30 days, and imagine:

What would happen if you continued working on this habit… forever?

There’s a good reason to do just that: No matter what other habits you adopt or “next level stuff” you try, eating slowly will always enhance your efforts. And how often can you say that about anything?

But don’t just keep it to yourself: Share the 30-day slow-eating challenge with your friends, family, and co-workers. It could be exactly what they need, but never even knew to try.

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

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

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

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

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

The post The 30-day eating challenge that can blow your mind—and transform your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Changing your eating and exercise habits is hard enough. Getting loved ones to support your healthy lifestyle changes? Prepare to grit your teeth. The company you keep does affect your progress toward healthier living. So here’s how to reduce peer pressure and get the social support you need.

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You beam as you gather your family ‘round the dining table, where you’ve lovingly assembled a colorful and nutritious meal.

Everyone takes a seat.

You serve the grilled chicken, the sauteed broccoli, the pumpkin seed-studded salad. You nervously watch for reactions.

It’s really delicious…You swear!

Then, within moments:

A floret of broccoli makes a perfect arc across the room after your toddler daughter catapults it from her fork.

Your preteen son slumps so low that only his furrowed brow and the top of his phone peek above the table.

Your partner, trying to be polite and supportive, has been chewing his first bite for a good two minutes. Without swallowing.

Even the dog, usually hovering shamelessly, sniffs at a spinach leaf and then flops down in the corner with a sigh.

You feel… alone.

Now what?

To change your eating and exercise habits, do you have to convince your friends and family to change too?

Would getting loved ones on board with your healthy lifestyle changes make the whole endeavor easier?

And if so, how the #@*% do you do that?

This really matters to you.

You’re excited about your experiments with lifestyle changes.

You’re eating more vegetables. You’re walking on your lunch breaks and seeing a trainer on the weekend.

Your body is looking, working, and feeling better.

You feel sparks of inspiration and hope. And you want to keep going.

You desperately want loved ones with you.

Why?

Well, because you love them.

You want your family and friends to be healthy and safe — to feel good. You want to protect them from the pain of poor health.

You want the best for them.

And frankly, you need support from the people closest to you.

It seems hard — even near impossible — to make these big changes alone.

If you’re feeling these things it’s important to know: The thoughts are really, really normal.

It is hard to eat and move in ways that support your own health goals when, in your social circle, Fridays mean beer and tacos; Saturdays mean a Jenga tower of bacon at the greasy spoon; hanging out means meeting at the bar to shoot tequila instead of at the park to shoot hoops; etc.

In some ways, you are the sum of your social circle.

Habits can be contagious.

The people around you matter. And you matter to the people around you.

Research shows that we are affected by the body composition, habits, and lifestyles of those around us. The more people around us are doing something, or living a certain way, the more likely we are to do and live the same — whether that’s what we eat, how we eat, whether we move (or not), how we move, and so on.

If your friends and family are fitter and healthier, you’re more likely to be fitter and healthier. And the reverse is true, too.

Research shows that:

  • The weight of those closest to you may help determine your own weight. According to one large-scale study, having a friend, an adult sibling, or a spouse who is obese increases your own obesity risk by 57 percent, 40 percent, and 37 percent respectively.
  • Even your friends’ friends matter. Two degrees of separation between you and someone who is obese increases your own chances of being obese by 20 percent. You don’t even have to have met them for this to be a factor in your own weight.
  • Your weight is more influenced by people of your own gender. For women, this means that a girlfriend’s or same-sex partner’s weight may have a larger effect than a guy friend’s or opposite-sex partner’s; and vice versa for men.
  • Weight convergence likely happens subconsciously. Researchers believe that we change our habits to match those of our social group without talking or even thinking about it.
  • The amount you eat depends on who you’re eating with. Dine with a big eater, and you’re liable to consume more; sit down with a light eater, and you’re likely to take in less. This effect has been observed even among strangers. When asked, the diners usually attribute the mirroring effect to taste and hunger as opposed to the behavior of others around them.
  • How much you eat also depends on the size of the group you’re with. Eating with one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven or more other people is associated with a 33, 47, 58, 69, 70, 72, and 96 percent increase in energy consumed, respectively.
  • Your social network can also have a big impact on what you eat. People whose friends generally meet the guidelines for produce intake are more likely to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Your impression of social norms help determine what you eat, how much you eat, and your physical activity level. If getting a light salad for lunch seems “normal”, that’s what you’re likely to do, even if no one’s going to see you eat it. Conversely, if eating a bag of Ruffles for lunch seems “normal”, you may do that, even if you know the salad is more aligned with your health goals. Those who report a high level of physical activity as the social norm are also more likely to be active themselves.

As you can see, most of this happens subconsciously. We often change our habits to match those of our social group without talking or even thinking about it.

It’s not just how you eat and move, of course. Research indicates that you’re influenced by family and friends for other big-deal game-changers, like whether to get married or when to have a baby.

Of course, all of these findings are correlations — researchers are still working out exactly why the body weight and lifestyle of friends and family affects your own.

But why does it work this way? Why can’t you be a lone wolf or a unique individual? Well, in some ways, social influence is a good thing.

Social cohesion keeps us alive.

Human beings are social creatures.

We evolved in small groups who depended on one another for survival. Much of our brain is devoted specifically to social cues and communication: recognizing faces, reading emotions, making and understanding language, etc.

We depended on social cohesion — on belonging — to survive. To be alone (whether abandoned, rejected, or left behind) often meant certain death.

Today, modern medicine shows us that loneliness can still kill: our bodies respond to social rejection and isolation as if they were viral threats. When we are persistently lonely, inflammation goes up, immunity goes down; we get more chronic diseases and die sooner.

Aloneness is scary. Vulnerable. Difficult.

“Aloneness” can be “real”, like the actual aloneness of a young woman who chooses to stay in to eat a healthy dinner and get a good night’s sleep when all her roommates have gone out for pizza and partying.

“Aloneness” can also be a feeling, like the way a guy feels when all his buddies are drinking beer and he’s got a seltzer.

If you’re the only one at happy hour ordering a side salad instead of fries, it’s basically like you’re outside the campfire circle of social safety, just waiting for the lions to attack your tender, undefended flesh.

Thus, protecting ourselves against aloneness is in our DNA.

Swimming against the current is hard.

Of course, it is possible to go it alone. (Terms like “pioneer” and “trailblazer” exist, after all.)

But let’s face it: It’s a lot easier to eat better and get more exercise when your social environment — the behavior of your family and friends — supports your goals.

As with all things, the laws of physics come into play. When you’re trying to change, you may encounter either friction, or momentum.

Friction can make you feel stuck.

Friction makes things harder to do.

Eye-rolling coworkers, spinach-resistant kids, and chili nachos-loving friends — people who explicitly disagree with you or simply engage in opposing habits — create environmental and emotional barriers as you try to move toward your goals.

Friction is:

  • when you make a big batch of kale chips for your family on movie night instead of the usual popcorn, and your kids respond with flailing limbs, screeching protests, and exaggerated gagging performances.
  • when you sign up for a 10K run and your friends wag their fingers at you and tell you that running will kill your knees.
  • when you make an agreement with your mother-in-law that you will take care of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner because you want to provide healthy options, but when you arrive she has prepared all the usual greasy, sugary dishes because she “didn’t want to break tradition”.

When you’re dealing with friction, lifestyle change is like climbing a steep mountain with gravel moving underneath you — complete with cursing, tripping, and slow progress.

Momentum helps you keep rolling.

Momentum boosts you and replenishes your energy.

Willing and/or like-minded loved ones can help keep you accountable, connected, and supported, bolstering you as you work to change your eating and exercise routine.

Momentum is:

  • when your whole family chips in to make a wholesome meal, turning food preparation into a family project. You talk about what fruits and vegetables you like, research healthy recipes, and try new weird-shaped vegetables, together.
  • when you sign up for a 10K run and your friends ask if you want a cheering section, or at least someone to throw water on you (supportively, of course).
  • when you make an agreement with your mother-in-law that you will take care of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner. She gets the hint, lets you do your thing, and takes a cue from you and puts out some local berries for dessert as well. (Of course, people still hit the pie… but… well… c’mon, it’s pie.)

Be brave; be positive.

Now here’s some “PN physics”: You can have friction and momentum, together.

In other words, even if you encounter resistance, you can still get support too.

Even if your loved ones aren’t super-enthusiastic about your nutrition and fitness experiments, or will never love pea sprouts like you do, it doesn’t mean they don’t care, or won’t help.

  • You can pursue your goals in the face of wavering or stingy support.
  • You don’t have to dump all your friends and family.
  • Most importantly, you may not even have to try to convince anyone in order to get them on board.

Social support works both ways.

The people around you can influence you. And you can influence them back.

This is where the good type of “going it alone” comes in: leadership.

While it may be easier to wait until your immediate social circle comes around to prioritizing healthy choices, it’s also incredibly empowering and inspiring to be a leader for change, despite the forces against you.

And in doing so, you’ll build your own small wave of momentum that, little by little, erodes the friction you encounter.

But here’s an important tip: You don’t reduce friction by pushing back. A powerful healthy-lifestyle pioneer… is a peaceful one.

In order to step into that role, try this gentle, sometimes counterintuitive, action plan.

3 crucial strategies for getting friends and family to support your healthy lifestyle.

1. Accept that you may not be “right”.

Step back and embrace some hard truth.

How much of the friction you feel from others… is actually created by you?

Even if you mean well, and even if you are absolutely 100% correct (yes, smoking is bad; yes, vegetables are good)…

How often have you been judgemental? Insistent? Preachy? Self-righteous? Dismissive? Over-enthusiastic? Maybe even a bit… culty? (That t-shirt that says “Kale University”? We see it.)

Conversely, how often have you been curious? Interested in others’ perspectives? Able to deal with diversity and tolerate various viewpoints? Open-minded? Empathetic and compassionate? A good listener?

Consider this: Maybe “right” isn’t so obvious.

All behaviors and choices have a reason to be there. You might not know the reasons; you might not quite understand the reasons or even agree with the reasons.

But whatever habits your loved ones are practicing, they are doing them for a reason. In some way, their habits are “right” for them. They may have only a limited toolbox of options or coping skills.

This means:

  • understanding that your brother feels panicked and crushed under work stress, and sees drinking as the best way to cope.
  • having compassion for your best friend, who is terrified to confront her body, and therefore gets defensive and critical every time you bring up your new health regimen.
  • understanding that your parents were raised to respect traditional authority figures, so they still believe margarine is better for you than butter, because that’s what their doctor drilled into them 30 years ago.

When we focus on defending our “right-ness” and proving our loved ones’ “wrongness”, our perspective becomes very narrow and our relationships become oppositional.

However, when we let go of judgement and choose compassion and empathy, we make room for understanding.

Understanding dissolves conflict, because it usually shows us that, at our cores, we are all dealing with the same themes — we’re more alike than different.

Understanding helps us collaborate instead of clash; connect instead of criticize. We start to ask questions that, instead of inducing blame and shame, invite connection and support:

Why are they so different from me?
becomes
When have I dealt with something similar?

How do I get them to stop the bad habit?
becomes
What problem is the bad habit trying to solve?

What is wrong with them?
becomes
What might they really need?

As your loved ones begin to feel more understood, and less judged, they may begin to practice more flexibility and less judgement toward your new habits and beliefs too.

(And by the way, it’ll serve you immensely to practice non-judgement, compassion, and understanding on yourself too.)

2. Be persistent, not pushy.

Resistance more often comes from fear than from true philosophical opposition.

Change can feel scary. It can bring up issues of control, security, and identity, and it can also bring up painful emotions like anxiety, panic, shame, or loss.

When our loved ones resist change (in all the creative ways they can come up with — consciously and unconsciously, kindly and unkindly), what they might actually be feeling underneath it all… is fear.

Their fear can be the result of thoughts like:

  • What if you become a different person?
  • What if this new food tastes gross?
  • What if your healthy habits make me confront my unhealthy habits?
  • What if people don’t accept us?
  • What if you judge me or don’t love me anymore?
  • What if I can’t keep up with you?
  • What if life gets uncomfortable?
  • What if I lose you?

Just like a scared child, resistance and fear in their adult forms don’t respond well to rational arguments and pushing.

So while you must press forward with the changes you’re trying to make for your own well-being, you’ll more likely get support if you practice persistence rather than pushiness.

Pushiness means attempting to force friends and family to join/agree with you, and accepting only a rigid set of compliant responses.

Persistence means continuously offering opportunities for your friends and family to join you on your quest for a healthier life, and yet remains open to a wide range of responses to any given invitation.

So be persistent:

  • Keep offering healthy dishes at the dinner table.
  • Keep inviting your friends and family to join you on runs, hikes, and exercise classes.
  • Keep having conversations about nutrition, healthy body image, and what it means to have a truly good, capable life.

Prioritize positivity and connection when you present these options, and expect resistance, sometimes over and over and over again.

As much as you can, take the drama and emotional charge out of these conversations. Validate your loved ones’ reasons for staying the way they are, and don’t push back.

Perhaps, when their fear subsides and they realize it’s safe to dip their toe in the land of green smoothies and box jumps, your loved ones will join you, and you’ll ride off into the sunset (on your recumbent bikes, drinking coconut water) together.

3. Just “do you”.

Change is difficult.

In order to overcome the many bumps, blocks, and blusters inherent to significant lifestyle change, we need to be anchored to a deep, internal, personalized “why” that will pull us through.

You can’t manufacture this type of motivation for someone else. No matter how hard you try to coerce your kids, spouse, parents, and friends to change, they may have none of it.

And in fact, that may be a good sign. Because that means they know that in order to make the kinds of changes you’re making, they have to want it too.

We call this “intrinsic motivation” — a connection to one’s own, internal reasons for doing something. Research shows that intrinsic motivation leads to change that’s longer-lasting and more self-sustaining than extrinsic motivation, which is based on the desire to obtain external outcomes such as good grades or the approval of others (ahem).

Intrinsic motivation requires deep thought and reflection, and may take longer to develop.

So respect that your loved ones may take time to connect to their own reasons for eating and moving better.

Meanwhile, just “do you”.

Focus on your own intrinsic motivations. Stay connected to what’s driving you, deep inside, to make these personal changes.

Without ignoring your natural love and concern for loved ones, let your attention turn inward. Spend more energy on your own growth and development.

Which could lead to something else amazing…

Think about how you feel when you watch someone you love work toward a BIG goal with heartfelt determination, grit, and bravery.

Think about how you feel when you watch that person persist despite setbacks, failures, and fears.

Think about how you feel when you watch that person triumph, however messily and imperfectly, over adversity.

You feel inspired.

You feel like anything is possible.

You feel like maybe you could do something great too.

And that is the beautiful irony in “doing you”:

By working toward and achieving a healthier, happier, more confident and capable version of yourself, you become the inspiration, the positive influence to your family and friends.

And it all comes full circle when that little healthy-lifestyle wave you started attracts other riders, builds, and then becomes a huge tidal of momentum to carry you to your final objective — a fit, healthy you — and keep you there.

Influence happens in both directions, remember?

Lead the way.

What to do next.

We’ve learned that change is hard, and changing others is harder. It can be challenging to know where to start.

Take one of these concrete steps today to start reducing conflict and maximizing your own efforts toward healthy living.

Practice sacrificing a “win”.

If you find yourself in a conflict with a loved one, check your instinct to want to be “right”.

Ask yourself who you want to win: you, or the team that makes up you and your loved one(s).

Sometimes we have to sacrifice personal “wins” for the sake of the greater good of the family/friend unit. Often that means loving and accepting our loved ones even when they disagree or aren’t compliant with what we believe is “right”.

This takes practice, and it can be uncomfortable at first.

Find one opportunity to practice non-rightness today, and note the result.

Use “approach” goals instead of “avoid” goals.

To foster understanding among you and loved ones, play with the language you use to (gently) coach them.

“Avoidance” goals — such as “stop eating junk food”, “don’t watch TV after dinner”, and “don’t overeat” — are more likely to make people feel restricted, rebellious, and resistant.

“Approach goals” — such as “try two new vegetables this week”, “eat three different colors of plants today”, and “do something that gets you out of breath for 20 minutes” — are more likely to make people feel expansive, creative, interested, and willing.

Approach goals help make the process of change more harmonious, positive, and even fun for you and your family.

Find objective support that’s just for you.

Having a support person that is detached from your social bubble can be tremendously helpful.

A skilled nutrition and fitness coach provides an objective perspective and functions as a sounding board, a voice of reason, and a resource for practical ideas and inspiration — a source of momentum.

An experienced coach can also provide accountability, which is especially important if you are the lifestyle “trailblazer” in your social circle.

Check your motives.

Each time you make a decision about food or exercise (or any other health factor you’re trying to improve) ask yourself:

Am I doing this because everyone else is doing it, or because it matches my own internal intentions and values?

This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want to do what other people are doing. But if you do go the way of the crowd, do it consciously.

Involve your loved ones.

Small moments of support can make a huge difference when you’re trying to move away from friction, toward momentum.

So:

  • Ask your spouse to help you stretch out after a workout, or to accompany you on a morning walk.
  • Ask your children to help you menu plan, choose vegetables at the grocery store, or even help prepare a meal.
  • Ask your best friend for a hug when you’ve had a stressful week.
  • Ask your friends and family to cheer you on at a race.

Involve and integrate your social network, into your life, without forcing them to change themselves.

Accept them as they are, and be sure to tell them how much it means to you that they are there for you.

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

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

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

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

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

References

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

The post 3 critical (and counterintuitive) strategies for getting loved ones to support your healthy lifestyle. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Feeling overworked and under-appreciated? Having trouble staying consistent with nutrition and fitness because of life’s demands? Wondering if you’ll ever be able to find time to achieve the body and health you want? This article is for you.

Putting others’ needs before your own? For lots of women, it’s an everyday reality.

Whether you’re a high-powered professional, a mother, a caregiver, a partner, a worker, a daughter, a friend, or all of the above and more….

….if you’re a woman, you’re asked to do a lot.

Many of us spend our days putting out fires, handling to-do lists, wiping little noses, meeting deadlines, and making sure other people are fed, safe, and happy.

Here’s the thing…

We’ve gotten to know a lot of women through our Precision Nutrition Coaching program. And we’ve learned that most of them enjoy — and thrive on — that impossible list above.

They like rising to the challenge of supporting others and getting stuff done.

That is, until their energy runs out and they realize they don’t have any left over for themselves.

And slowly, after months or years of putting other people first, multi-tasking, and wrangling that epic to-do list:

  • They’re drained mentally and emotionally.
  • The time they used to invest in self-care has disappeared.
  • The clothes that used to fit… feel a little (or a lot) tighter.
  • The sugar and junk food cravings seem much stronger.
  • The exercise classes/workouts are postponed, then canceled.
  • The bathroom mirror and scale are avoided. (Along with the bed.)
  • The stress of yo-yo dieting starts up again.

With putting so much time into caring for others, and juggling all their responsibilities, women end up neglecting themselves.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can feel healthy, fit, and good in your own skin.

You can regain control of your schedule and your body.

You can overcome emotional eating and cravings.

You can show love and appreciation to others while still taking care of yourself.

We’ll show you how.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The two biggest obstacles in many women’s way when it comes to getting healthy and staying in shape.
  • How to overcome these obstacles to get the body — and life — you want.

Oh sure, you think.

Maybe some women might find this helpful.

But my life is different. My body is different.

That’s exactly what tens of thousands of other women thought before they started Precision Nutrition Coaching.

They also felt frustrated, lost, and confused, struggling to manage their eating, health, and bodies. They knew they wanted to feel better, and they were trying hard, but they weren’t sure how to make it all work.

That was them before they started.

And here’s how they ended up… after a year of simple, do-able, progressive habits. The difference is astounding. Check out this short video:

Meet some of the people whose bodies — and lives — have been changed by Precision Nutrition Coaching.

 

 

At one point, many of these women felt like you do right now. But they discovered…

The kind of change you want is possible.

No matter where you’re starting.

No matter how you’re feeling right now.

No matter how much stuff is on your plate.

It’s possible.

Here’s what women are often wishing for when they start working with us, and some ways you can get started right now.

Wish #1:
“Help me have a better relationship with food.”

At some point in their lives, many women struggle with overeating and emotional eating. We love our wine, chocolate, sugar, or whatever our “I-deserve-this” or “I-need-a-freaking-break” treats are… but they don’t always love us back.

Once the “food rush” wears off, we’re left with the very same stress and problems we started with — plus now we feel guilty, ashamed, and maybe even out of control.

The cycle often looks like this.

  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Feel guilty and ashamed for overeating.
  • Feel more stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Vow to “do better”.
  • White-knuckle a new diet, and/or make rigid “rules”.
  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Repeat the cycle.

(Believe me, I’ve been there.)

Solution: “Break the chain” exercise.

Simply notice, observe, and record what happened leading up to any food cravings, emotional eating, overeating, and/or any other times that feel “out of control” with food and eating.

Because here’s a secret:

Those feelings and behaviors didn’t come out of nowhere. They aren’t random. Something led to them.

Now you get to be a detective and figure out all the links in the chain.

To help you put this exercise into practice, download a printable version of our Break the Chain exercise, or think through the exercise below.

1. Start with any recent food or eating-related episode that troubled you. (For instance, eating too much, eating foods you didn’t want, feeling out of control, etc.).

2. Write down all the stuff that was happening around you just before that episode happened.

For instance:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

3. Now see if you can go back even further.

Maybe a few hours. Once again:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

Try to capture as much detail as possible.

4. Now look at your data. Are there any patterns?

If you don’t see any connections right away, no worries.

Try this exercise a few times, and then start looking for links between what was happening in the days or hours before you had a serious food craving or emotional eating episode.

5. If and when you find patterns, be curious about them.

Don’t worry about fixing them right away. Just notice them.

“Hm, that’s interesting. Every time my mom calls me, afterward I want to hit the chocolate.”

“You know, I actually feel fine most of the month, but the week before my period hits — watch out.”

“It’s been a long, stressful week at work. Give me that wine before I stab someone.”

6. You might notice solutions right away.

“OK, I’m going to go for a workout after I talk to mom, to get some of that energy out.”

“I’m going to mark my PMS days on the calendar so I know about them in advance.”

“I’m going to walk home on Fridays, to unwind.”

Or you might not notice solutions. You might feel stuck at step #5, noticing the patterns but not sure how to change.

Either way, that’s OK.

The important thing is: Now you’re aware of what’s happening.

(Reminder: you can download a printable version of our Break the Chain worksheet here. Use it to practice working through the above steps.)

Wish #2:
“Help me be consistent with my diet, exercise, or healthy lifestyle habits.”

If you’re like most women, you’ve probably tried at least some stuff to get and stay in shape.

Here’s what most women have tried before getting results with us:

  • Weight Watchers
  • MyFitnessPal and other calorie counters
  • Jenny Craig and Curves
  • Crossfit and other group workouts
  • Popular diets like Paleo, juice fasts, cleanses, and low-carb
  • Workout books and magazine articles

Of course, these aren’t “bad” options. They end up working for some people.

But most folks tell us they have a hard time staying consistent. They mean well, and work hard, but struggle to stay on track.

In part, this is because other plans don’t account for your life.

They don’t offer meaningful, step-by-step change that you can actually do in your real life. You know, the real life with a job and kids and a commute and going to school and all that stuff. The one that actual human people have.

And, in part, most other plans don’t offer support, care, and accountability like coaching does.

Solution #1:
Make yourself accountable to a program… that really works.

Ideally, you want a program that:

  • Focuses on all the things that are right with you, and all the strengths and skills you already have.
  • Gives you proven solutions that start to work right now.
  • You can customize to your lifestyle (so you can stay consistent and do it even when you’re busy).
  • You actually enjoy doing (and isn’t just another chore).
  • Makes you feel positive, hopeful, and supported all the way through.
  • Lasts. Like, for life.
  • Gives you a big goal to shoot for, if you want.

On that last point, some folks like big goals.

That’s why we give away $250,000 every year in Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Winning the money isn’t the point. It’s just something extra to push for. Something to look forward to. (That is, if you’re a goal kinda person. If you’re not, that’s cool too.)

Rachel lost 31 pounds in PN Coaching; we surprised her with $25,000.

So how do you know if a certain program will help keep you accountable?

After 15 years in the fitness industry, and over 100,000 clients , here’s what we’ve found works best:

  • Having a plan that provides both structure and flexibility.
  • The ability to customize the plan based on your skill levels, goals, and how much time you have available. 
  • Getting a daily reminder to practice whichever nutrition, exercise, or lifestyle habit you’re currently working on.
  • Measuring your progress at regular intervals.

That’s what helped our clients achieve results like this:




Solution #2:
Make yourself accountable to a person… who really cares.

As we like to say here at Precision Nutrition, nothing worth doing can be done alone.

Social support — whether that’s a friend, a workout partner, your spouse, your kid, your dog, a co-worker who walks with you at lunch, a personal trainer at your local gym, whatever — is crucial.

Don’t try to do this all alone.

Independence is great, but for a project like this, you need a team and a tribe of like-minded people helping and supporting you.

Social support plus accountability and lots of caring coaching is our specialty.

We’re in this business because we want to help you feel, look, and perform better… whatever body or goals you have.

If you want to join our next nutrition coaching program, we’d love to help you.

If that’s not a great fit for you, no problem. Just find one or more people who can support you, guide you, help you, and maybe give you the occasional loving boot in the butt when you need it.

The important thing is that you make yourself accountable to somebody and get the help you need. You have a lot on your plate already; why not let someone else show you the way?

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

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

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

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

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

The post Overstressed and overeating: How to solve the two biggest health and fitness problems most women face. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Work stressing you out? Life in general? Having trouble staying consistent with your exercise and nutrition plan? If so, this article is for you.

++++

Why do most guys tend to get weaker, fatter, and less healthy when they get into their 30s, 40s, and 50s? Chalk it up to increased stress, increased responsibilities, and decreased time and energy.

We know we need to eat better. We know we need to take better care of ourselves. But most guys simply have a hard time staying consistent with their nutrition and exercise plans.

After helping tens of thousands of men with Precision Nutrition Coaching, we’ve seen it all—and we know there’s a solution.

You can take control of your own health and fitness. You can reverse the downward spiral of stress, and start building a healthy body you can be proud of.

And you can do it all in an hour or two per week.

Seriously.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • the two biggest fitness-related problems that hold men back from getting and staying in shape, and
  • how to overcome these obstacles to get the body — and life — you want.

Before we get into it though, I wanted to let you know that we’re soon opening spots in Precision Nutrition Coaching.

You see, twice a year we work with small groups of men and women interested in looking and feeling better. Over the course of 12 months we help them get into the best shape of their lives… and stay that way for good.

Just so you know, we’ve tested the Precision Nutrition Coaching method with over 100,000 clients in the past 15 years. Plus, several peer-reviewed research papers have documented the safety and effectiveness of our approach.

For a sneak peek at the amazing things we’ve helped them accomplish, check out this short video:

Meet some of the people whose bodies — and lives — have been changed by Precision Nutrition Coaching.

 

 

During the Precision Nutrition Coaching program we’ll guide you through important, permanent improvements in your eating, exercise, body, and health.

The results?

You’ll lose the weight (and body fat) you haven’t been able to shed for years. You’ll build physical strength and gain confidence. And you’ll end up feeling like the healthiest, strongest, fittest version of yourself.

Want to start making progress today? Here’s how to overcome two of the biggest obstacles standing in your way.

Problem #1:
Your life is busier than it’s ever been.

Some interesting things start to happen as we exit our 20s and enter our 30s, 40s, and 50s:

  • We tend to get less sleep and wake up tired and sore.
  • Our sex hormones peak… and then start their slow decline.
  • Our crackling ankles, knees, and wrists remind us that we’re getting older.
  • We tend to snack and overeat more often, especially in the evenings.
  • We do less binge drinking, but more consistent drinking. Polishing off a bottle of wine or drinking a few beers each night becomes an ordinary routine.

Of course it’s not all negative. Lots of positive things start happening too:

  • If we’re lucky, we get a good career that’s challenging and rewarding.
  • We make more money than when we were younger.
  • We develop long-lasting relationships with people we love.
  • We start building and nurturing a family.
  • We become (presumably) smarter and more experienced.

While every guy’s life experience is different, there are a few things that remain consistent no matter who you are. For most guys, getting older usually means:

  • increased responsibilities at home
  • increased stress from work
  • less time to take care of themselves

This is how we end up with a gym membership we rarely use, a healthy cookbook we rarely open, and a body we’re not particularly proud of.

Sure, we want to drop some fat and look more muscular and fit… but we just don’t have the time or energy. Someday, we tell ourselves, we’re finally going to get our ass in gear.

The only problem? “Someday” keeps getting postponed.

According to our research, lots of guys are so stressed out with work and family obligations, that they don’t feel like they have the time or energy to “really commit” to a nutrition or exercise plan.

But what if you didn’t have to dedicate a huge portion of your life to getting in shape?

What most guys do when they feel busy and stressed:

  • Let their busy schedule overtake their health.
  • Set huge fitness goals they don’t have a miracle of hitting.
  • Continue to add body fat and beat themselves up for not making a change.

What you can do to be successful:

  • Embrace exercise minimalism.
  • Identify the biggest gap in your nutrition and work on fixing it (while ignoring everything else).

Embrace exercise minimalism.

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get in better shape.

That’s why in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we give our clients four workout options:

  • Full workout
  • At-home workout (minimal equipment)
  • Quick workout (don’t have much time)
  • Do your own workout

We also give them the ability to modify their workouts, with more difficult or less difficult exercises, depending on how they’re feeling that day. That way they’re always doing something rather than nothing. (Because let’s face it: the gym is the first thing to go when we get busy and stressed at work.)

So how do you embrace exercise minimalism on your own?

If you’re looking for something to try this week, here’s a plan I wrote for a good friend of mine who was struggling to find time to exercise. It’s a simple, strategic way for busy guys to get their weekly exercise in without stressing out about missing the gym.

And the whole thing takes less than an hour per week.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
15 minutes 6 minutes 15 minutes 15 minutes
Pushups x 10 reps 2 minute walk Pushups x 10 reps Pedal 3 miles on an Airdyne / other exercise bike
Inverted rows x 10 reps 15 second sprint on the treadmill at 8 mph & 10% incline Reverse crunches x 10 reps Maintain steady breathing through your nose
Kettlebell swings x 10 reps Rest 15 seconds (straddling treadmill) Goblet squats with dumbbell x 10 reps
Rest 1 minute Repeat 5x Rest 1 minute
Repeat 5x 2 minute walk Repeat 5x

To make continual progress, it’s important to do one thing to make each workout more challenging every time you do it.

For strength workouts, this means doing additional repetitions or reducing the rest time between rounds. For the sprinting workout, this means increasing the incline, the speed, or the number of repeated sprints. And for the 3-mile bike ride you can try to do it faster than the time before, or you can go a little longer (like 3.1 miles).

It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you do one thing more than the last time.

Identify the biggest gap in your nutrition and work on fixing it.

According to our research, most guys we’ve polled know how important nutrition is for looking and feeling better. And they know they need to follow some sort of nutrition plan. However, they don’t know where to start. (Or they start a new diet and try to change everything at once, which usually fails).

Instead of trying to change everything about the way you eat right now—which will just add to your stress levels—we encourage you to follow the advice we give to our clients:

Pick one thing about the way you eat—the thing you think will make the biggest improvement to your nutrition—and focus on it exclusively for a couple of weeks.

Once you’ve been consistent for 14-21 days, then you can pick another thing to try. The goal is to practice simple, strategic actions that build over time.

So how do you know what thing to pick? Easy. Just ask yourself this question:

“What’s the one thing I could do right now to feel better about my nutrition?”

Chances are you have a good idea on what you need to do. Here’s a short list of what some of our clients have focused on:

Goal: Drink less beer.
Action: Instead of drinking two beers every night, have one beer.

Goal: Eat less junk food / fast food.
Action: Instead of stopping in for a burger or taco for lunch, go to a grocery store and get a pre-made salad with chicken on it.

Goal: Reduce carbohydrates.
Action: Instead of ordering fries at dinner, get a salad. Instead of having a breakfast sandwich, order scrambled eggs.

The idea here is to pick the one nutrition practice that will make the biggest impact on your body and health right now.

If you need help deciding what that is—or if you just want to follow a proven nutrition plan—well, that’s what we do best. A good first step would be to learn more about Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Problem #2:
You know what to do… but you’re just not consistent.

This is the motherlode of all problems. According to our research, roughly 65 percent of guys (and likely a lot more) report that they struggle with staying consistent.

And it’s not like they’re complete exercise beginners. Here’s what most guys have tried before getting results with us:

  • P90X, Insanity, and other workout DVDs
  • CrossFit and other group workouts
  • Fitbit, Apple Watch and other wearable fitness technology
  • Popular diets like intermittent fasting, paleo, and low-carb
  • Workout books and magazine articles

Of course, these aren’t “bad” options. They end up working for some people. But eventually most of these methods and tools begin to break down and fail over time.

Why is that?

It’s because they’re surface solutions. They help solve a surface-level problem.

  • Don’t have a gym to train at? Now you do.
  • Want to track how many calories you eat? Here’s an app.
  • Want to know how many steps you’re taking? Wear this bracelet thing.

The only problem with surface-level solutions? They only work for a little while.

They don’t account for the ups and downs of everyday life. They don’t adapt to your life. And because of that, they don’t help you stay consistent.

What most guys do when they fail to be consistent.

  • Pick another surface solution to follow.

What you can do to be successful:

  • Make yourself accountable to a program.
  • Make yourself accountable to a person.

Make yourself accountable to a program.

Ideally, you want a program that covers a few bases:

  • It’s been tested with lots of people (so you know it actually works).
  • It’s customizable to your lifestyle (so you can stay consistent and do it even when you’re busy).
  • It’s something you actually enjoy doing (who’s going to exercise if it’s not fun?).
  • There’s something big and positive to shoot for (a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow).

The first three are incredibly important; they’re the cornerstone of a solid exercise and nutrition program. But the fourth one—having something big and positive to shoot for—is often overlooked.

In fact, most programs do the opposite: They make you feel guilty and bad for “slacking” or for not being a paragon of health and fitness. But we don’t need any more negativity in our lives, and we’re sure you don’t either.

That’s why we give away $250,000 every year in Precision Nutrition Coaching. It’s just something extra to push for, something to look forward to, something to inspire a little internal competition.

Javier lost 60 pounds in PN Coaching; we surprised him with $25,000.

So how do you know if a certain program will help keep you accountable?

After 15+ years in the fitness industry, we’ve determined that the following four things are of the utmost importance:

  • You need a way to measure your progress and track it on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • You need to follow a structured plan, but still have room to move at your own speed when needed.
  • You need a daily reminder to practice whichever nutrition, exercise, or lifestyle habit you’re currently working on.
  • You need it to be customizable to your skill levels, goals, and how much time you have available.

That’s what helped our clients achieve results like this:




Make yourself accountable to a person.

This tip isn’t for everyone but it can often make the difference between consistently getting great results or falling off the wagon.

Personal accountability is more important than personal motivation for one simple reason: No one always feels motivated to go to the gym or make healthy eating choices.

But if we have someone who’s checking up on us to see how things are going, we’ll likely do better because a) we don’t want to disappoint the person who’s helping us and b) we don’t want to look or feel lazy.

If we’re accountable to another person, we’ll actually do the workouts and eat the food we need to look and feel great. And we’ll do it over and over again, even when the going gets tough.

That’s why the most successful guys become accountable to another person. It could be a friend or workout partner. It could be your spouse. It could be a local personal trainer or fitness expert.

Or if you want to join our next coaching program, we can help you too.

The important thing is that you make yourself accountable to somebody.

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

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

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

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

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

The post Stressed and out of shape: How to solve the two biggest health and fitness problems most guys face. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Looking for an effective way to eat better, improve your health, and finally get the body you want? You’re in the right place. At Precision Nutrition, we help men and women get in their best shape ever — and stay that way — no matter how busy and hectic life gets. And the best news? We’ll soon be opening up spots in our next nutrition coaching group. 

What’s different about Precision Nutrition Coaching? We literally wrote the book on nutrition coaching and body transformation. Watch this video to see the amazing things our clients have accomplished over the past 15 years:

Meet some of the people whose bodies — and lives — have been changed by Precision Nutrition Coaching.

 

Ready to become your fittest, strongest, healthiest self? The time is now.

On Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 we’re opening registration for the next Precision Nutrition Coaching program for men and women.

As a coaching client, you’ll get a personal coach from our world-class coaching team and, with their support, you’ll learn how to:

  • Eat better, without dieting or feeling deprived.
  • Get active, no matter what shape you’re in now.
  • Ditch the food rules, dropping the fad diets and conflicting advice.
  • Build fitness into your life, without it taking over.
  • Achieve, and maintain, your goals, even when life gets busy.

The result? You’ll:

  • Lose the weight/fat you haven’t been able to shed for years.
  • Build physical strength and confidence in your body.
  • Gain mental confidence, no longer hiding your gifts and talents.
  • Let go of food confusion, learn what to do, how to do it.
  • Get off the diet roller coaster once and for all, and never look back.

Seriously, imagine a life where you…

…feel physically and mentally strong, capable of taking on any challenge without worrying that your energy levels or body weight will get in the way.

…can run around with your kids, or grandkids, without feeling pain, winded, or tired; and you can do it again the next day.

…excitedly book a beach vacation without wondering how you’ll look (or feel) in a swimsuit, walking along the beach.

…look forward to having your picture taken without wondering “who’s that person, and when did they start looking like that?”

…feel like food is your friend, not your enemy, and never diet again.

And here’s some really exciting news.

For now, we’ll continue to offer the program at the lowest price ever ($97 USD per month), and we’ve committed another $250,000 USD in prize money to the clients who experience the biggest transformations — physical, mental, and more.

Will Precision Nutrition work for you?

Yes, and here’s why.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve proven that the Precision Nutrition Coaching method is effective — through working with over 100,000 clients and publishing several peer-reviewed research papers on our approach.

Our coaching team is made up of the top Ph.D.s, nutritionists, strength coaches, counselors, researchers, and specialists in the world. We’re veterans, so we know what works — and what doesn’t.

We don’t prescribe short-term diets, meal plans, or “food rules”. Instead, we help you build the lasting skills and habits necessary to look and feel better — for the long term. For life.

Just take a look at a few of our clients.

Like Sue, a businesswoman from the UK. She lost 61 pounds with Precision Nutrition Coaching, gaining the energy and confidence — not to mention jean size — of a much younger person.

Or Carm, an artist and designer from Canada. Through Precision Nutrition Coaching he became the ‘fit guy’ he never thought he could be. Now he takes his teenage boys hiking and camping and they struggle to keep up.

Or Simone. With help from Precision Nutrition Coaching she got off the diet roller coaster and discovered a whole new freedom in her life. Now she focuses her energy on positive things vs. worrying about her weight.

Want to know how the program works?

This short video details what you can expect from Precision Nutrition for Men.

Learn exactly how Precision Nutrition Coaching for Men works.

And this one details what you can expect from Precision Nutrition for Women.

Learn exactly how Precision Nutrition Coaching for Women works.

 

We do health and fitness in a way that fits your life. (Instead of the other way around).

We know: Life can get crazy.

Work, children, aging parents, running a household, and all the surprises life can throw at us. It never stops being complicated or busy.

That’s why we do something very different.

We show you how to make health and fitness a part of your life, no matter what else is going on.

At Precision Nutrition we often say that your program should be designed for your absolute worst days — not just your best days.

You know the days I’m talking about… you’re low energy, nothing goes your way, your partner (or children) aren’t pleased when you get home, and you have a million other things to do than spend 2 hours working out and cooking organic meals.

Normal fitness plans tell you to just tough it out.

You’ve gotta want it badly enough.

If you’re aren’t willing to put in the work, you don’t deserve the results.

That’s just silly, and it’s not reality. Which is why we work closely with our clients to help them eat well and exercise no matter what’s going on in their lives.

We’ll bring the accountability it takes for you to stay consistent. We’ll review your progress, answer questions, and make recommendations to help you improve. We’ll tap you on the shoulder if you start to regress. And we’ll help you get past each hurdle along the way.

The result? You’ll get into the best shape of your life within 12 months.

And you’ll have the habits, skills, and tools to stay that way for life.

This approach has worked for thousands of clients, like Lorena, who learned that she could actually get better results with less effort.

And Sean Patrick, who learned how to get past overwhelm by taking small steps everyday.

This “real life” approach is one of the main reasons our clients achieve — and sustain — jaw-dropping transformations.

What kind of awesome transformation could you get with Precision Nutrition coaching? Check out this short video to get an idea:

See what 365 days of Precision Nutrition Coaching can do.

 

 

Now, there is a catch.

If Precision Nutrition Coaching is right for you, it can be life-changing. But because of high demand, the program usually sells out within hours.

So, if you’re interested in registering — or even if you’re just interested in learning more — your best bet is to put yourself on our free presale list.

Once you add your name, we’ll send you more info. Plus, being on the list gives you the chance to register 24 hours before the general public.

Excited about what’s possible?

Here’s a little more inspiration from some previous clients.








 

And that’s just a small sampling of the thousands of men and women who’ve had success with Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Oh, I should also mention this…

We’re giving away over $250,000 in prize money this year!

That’s right, every year we give away big prize money to the men and women who achieve the biggest transformations in our program.

Like these folks:

Rachel lost 31 pounds in PN Coaching; we surprised her with $25,000.

Javier lost 60 pounds in PN Coaching; we surprised him with $25,000.

Consider this our antidote to the “you must suffer and feel guilty to get in shape” messages typically spewed out by the fitness industry.

We don’t need any more negativity in our lives, and we’re sure you don’t either. So, instead, we give you something cool and inspiring to shoot for.

Who knows, you might end up winning one of our grand prizes, like Spencer:

Watch as we surprise recent grand prize winner Spencer.

Or Lisa:

Watch as we surprise recent grand prize winner Lisa.

 

If you’re looking for help, why not work with the best in the business?

Just so you know, in addition to Precision Nutrition Coaching, we also provide nutrition advice to the most elite athletes and professionals in the world.

Companies like Nike, and Equinox; professional sports teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Carolina Panthers; and dozens of Olympic athletes and their coaches call on us when they want next-level nutrition and performance strategies.

Precision Nutrition has been featured in dozens of media outlets…

…and has consulted with some of the world’s most innovative companies and teams.

Precision Nutrition Coaching is so uniquely successful that Fast Company named us one of the most innovative companies in fitness.

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Precision Nutrition was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in fitness by Fast Company magazine.

Plus, as I’ve mentioned, the Precision Nutrition method has been tried and tested with over 100,000 clients. And several peer-reviewed research papers have documented its safety and effectiveness.

In the end, we know what works. We have a proven system in place. And we consistently produce life-changing results for our clients, year in and year out.

Lots of people consider us the world’s leading experts in nutrition coaching. It’s a big responsibility, and we don’t take it lightly. Which is why we do everything possible to help you succeed.

This is your chance. Don’t miss out.

To give everyone the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open our doors and accept new clients twice a year. Because of that, our programs have historically sold out in a matter of hours.

However, if you put your name on our free presale list, we’ll send you more information about the program.

Even better, you’ll get the chance to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting a spot.

Plus, you’ll save up to 54% off the regular cost of the program.

Indeed, if you’re on our presale list, you’ll be able to get access to Precision Nutrition Coaching for just $97 USD per month, our lowest price ever.

I’ve been coaching for 25+ years now, and I can genuinely say this is the most affordable I’ve ever seen this caliber of coaching.

Plus, we guarantee our work. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Bring your commitment. Stick with us for a full year. Work hard.

You’ll lose the weight (and body fat) you haven’t been able to shed for years.

You’ll build physical strength and confidence. You’ll get results that last.

And if you don’t get the results you’re looking for, we’ll give you a full refund.

No risk. No joke.

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019.

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

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

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

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

The post Opening July 2019: Precision Nutrition Coaching for Men and Women appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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The magazines got it wrong. Sure, the promise of “six-pack abs” might be motivating at the airport newsstand. But as soon as your flight’s delayed, it’s an easy goal to forget. Because stress, frustration, and… a conveniently-located Smashburger. (Same as every day, really.) There is a fix, though. If you’re willing to ask—and answer—some hard questions, you can discover a much deeper purpose for change. One that’ll ignite passion and drive you to get the results you want—no matter how badly the airline screws you.

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I could already see the pain in Michelle’s eyes as we sat down in a quiet corner of my gym.

“What are you hoping to achieve by hiring me?” I asked.

Michelle shrugged. “I just want to lose some weight and get fit again.”

After 10 years as a fitness coach, I knew there was more to the story. There always is.

“Have you always been overweight?” I asked.

She looked surprised at the personal question. I didn’t flinch.

After a moment, Michelle told me she’d been fighting her weight for more than 15 years. Now she as prediabetes.

“How does that make you feel?” I asked.

She hesitated again, but then said, “Scared. My mom was overweight and had diabetes, and I feel like I’m following in her footsteps.”

At this point, Michelle stopped holding back; tears trickled down her cheeks.

“It all hit me two weeks ago. My daughter said she didn’t trust me to be alone with my granddaughter because I’m too overweight and immobile to keep up. I was so devastated. So embarrassed.”

Many of us are like Michelle: Ashamed to talk about what’s really bothering us.

But since I started encouraging my clients to dig deep into their pain, their results have skyrocketed.

Why? Because to achieve real, lasting change, many people have to confront the emotional pain that’s making them want that change.

Once they do, their true motivation is crystalized. And that’s often far more powerful than any exercise plan or diet approach.

The challenge is uncovering it.

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You never start with the pain.

When it comes to goals, people usually talk about losing fat or moving better or getting healthy. All fine aspirations, indeed.

But for many of us, these goals aren’t very meaningful in the context of our everyday lives. They’re more like health and fitness clichés.

Our true motivations run much deeper than having a “bikini body” or “sleeve-busting arms” (as the ads and coverlines promise).

That’s the surface level stuff we think we want.

Sure, these types of goals might inspire you to show up for six weeks of training and cut back on alcohol for a while. But for most people, how much do they really matter? How easy are they to give up on?

On the other hand… you know what’s way more motivating?

Michelle wanting to be able to take care of her granddaughter so badly that months of new habits, tiring workouts, and saying no to cupcakes in the break room seemed like the only choice. It wasn’t just a “look better” fitness goal—it was her burning passion.

Discovering why you really want to change gives you resolve.

A wise person (okay, it was Tony Robbins) once said: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

There’s just one problem: A lot of us never actually get to the root of what’s bothering us. We don’t face our pain because it’s uncomfortable. As a result, we’re much more likely to stay the same.

Find your pain… to stoke your passion.

Sometimes, pain will be obvious: divorce, a scary diagnosis, the loss of a loved one. This kind of pain is easy to identify. It’s right there in front of you, flagging you down.

Other times, pain can be more subtle: It’s hiding in a dark corner of the basement—always there, even if you aren’t constantly aware of it.

Maybe it stems from all those times you were picked last as a kid. Or from that “harmless” comment a loved one made about your body… or about someone else’s body (who looks like you).

These hits of pain may not feel that impactful in the moment, but over time, they accrue power and influence over your actions and self-worth.

The result? Pain that’s hidden can crop up as:

  • avoiding activities that are fun or good for you, like going to a party or trying that new gym down the street
  • feeling your heart race when someone asks if you’re okay
  • revisiting some mortifying moment over and over, using it as evidence that you’re the worst
  • turning down exciting opportunities because your inner voice says, ‘No way, I can’t do that.’
  • living well into your 20s with the assumption you’ll never find companionship… because you got rejected on the middle school dance floor… and you assumed it was because the boys thought you were too big… so that must mean men don’t like you. (Is that oddly specific?)

These examples all suggest there’s trouble below the surface. Pain is discouraging you and holding you back. If you can access the source of this emotional discomfort, you can use it to achieve serious change.

Here’s how to do just that, in three steps.

Step #1: Find your true “why.”

Michelle wanted to lose weight, sure.

But more importantly, she wanted to be trusted to take care of her granddaughter. That was her real reason for wanting to lose weight.

In the Precision Nutrition coaching method, we call this “finding your why.”

Your “why” is the reason behind the reason… behind the reason… behind the surface reason you want to make a change in your life.

Finding your “why” is a shortcut to finding your pain.

Because often, your deepest reason for wanting to change your body or habits dredges up yucky stuff.

For example, the shame of having gained 30 pounds after having kids. (‘Why does every other mom seem to have it all together?’).

Or the helplessness of realizing you can’t even bend down to pick a pencil off the floor.

Or the regret that comes with admitting you’re not the kind of active, inspiring father you want to be.

These are the “whys” that drive change.

Don’t settle for the easy answer.

Getting to your “deepest reason” requires some introspection. An exercise called the “5 Whys” can help kickstart the process.

Here’s how it works: Take your initial reason for wanting to make changes to your nutrition, workout routine, or lifestyle, and use that as a starting point.

Maybe you want to get fit. Now ask yourself “why?”

(If you’re a coach, you can go through this exercise with a client. You ask the questions, but let them do most of the talking.)

Keep asking—remember, it’s called the 5 Whys—until you feel like you’ve identified the real reason you want to change. The illustration below shows what this might look like.

Put in the work.

Some people can define—and confront—their “why” quickly. For others, it requires a little more time and effort.

Practicing meditation and/or mindfulness can help you access uncomfortable thoughts you’ve been avoiding or pushing away. To get started, try this simple mind-body scan.

Find a quiet place. Take 5 minutes and find somewhere you can be without interruptions. This could be just before bed or just after waking. Or in your office, resting on a park bench, or sitting in your parked car.

Notice physical sensations. Scan your body from the top of your head down to your toes, part by part. Note how you feel along the way. Don’t judge or rush to change anything.

Notice emotions and thoughts. Once you’ve done your “body scan,” do the same exercise for your emotions and thoughts. Again, don’t judge or try to make sense of it. Just observe.

Ask yourself 3 questions. Right now…

  • What am I feeling physically?
  • What am I feeling emotionally?
  • What am I thinking?

You may find it helpful to jot down a few notes after each session. (It’s okay if you can’t find the perfect words.)

Over time, you’ll likely notice feelings, thoughts, and ideas that crop up consistently. These can be important clues to revealing your “why”… and your pain.

Step #2: Turn your pain into action.

Let’s start with an example.

When Nivi Jaswal entered Precision Nutrition Coaching, she was overweight, stressed, and had prediabetes. Through lots of reflection, Nivi uncovered the pain that was holding her back: a deep fear of not being good enough. If she couldn’t do something perfectly, she wouldn’t do it at all. So now what?

Do the hard thing.

Once you’ve defined your pain, you have a framework to experiment with an exercise PN calls “difficult-easy” and “difficult-difficult.” (No, those aren’t typos.)

Difficult-easy describes things you do that are hard, but still within your comfort zone: going to work every day even though you hate your job, for example. Or giving up carbs again even though you love pasta and cookies.

In Nivi’s case, difficult-easy was spending countless hours researching diet and exercise routines, looking for the “perfect” answer.

Difficult-difficult, however, is the stuff that’s truly challenging—the actions you shy away from because they seem overwhelming or even impossible. This is the place where you grow.

Here are some examples:

  • For the mother who always prioritizes her family’s needs over her own, difficult-difficult might be carving out two hours per week for her favorite yoga classes.
  • For the business executive who chooses to work 60 hours a week, difficult-difficult might be hanging out with friends twice a month (to start).
  • For Nivi, difficult-difficult meant making small nutrition and lifestyle changes instead of going all-in. She was skeptical of this approach. It seemed like it wouldn’t work, and she was afraid she’d be wasting her time and effort. That’s what made it difficult-difficult.

Ask yourself:

What are you afraid of? Difficult-easy tasks tend to annoy us. Like when you say “yes” even though you don’t actually have any room on your plate for another task. Because saying “no” is too scary. The things that scare us are usually the difficult-difficult ones.

What would you do if it were Opposite Day? Difficult-easy stuff grinds you down, but you keep doing it anyway. Take a moment to consider: How’s that working for you? What could you do that’s new, that would force you to grow and put you on a new path? That’s your difficult-difficult.

Make one change at a time.

Once you’ve identified your difficult-difficult, chip away at it one small piece at a time. It might sound weird, but focusing on less can help you achieve more.

Pick one small, new habit.

Select one habit that supports progress toward the body and health you want. Make it something simple and reasonable, that you think you can practice every day.

Let’s say you want to get fitter, but you’re terrified of the gym because you feel like an outsider. Your difficult-difficult is hitting the gym on a regular basis.

Consider starting with a habit that gets you closer to that goal, but doesn’t go all the way.

For your first habit, you might choose one of these options:

  • foam rolling for a few minutes every morning
  • taking a 10-minute walk after dinner each evening
  • doing a 15-minute home workout twice a week
  • going to the gym once a week, but only committing to one exercise you’re comfortable with, and then leaving

Maybe one of these seems excruciatingly hard, while another is hard, but doable. Go with the latter.

Practice your habit.

Do your new habit every day for at least two weeks. Some days, it’ll feel like a grueling climb up Everest. Other days it may feel like you’re flying. Eventually, there’ll be more flying days than Everest ones. That’s how you know you’re ready for the next step.

Build on your habit.

Now maybe you’re ready for four home workouts per week, or two exercises when you go to the gym. Practice this new habit for another two weeks. Keep repeating this cycle.

With this practice, your difficult-difficult will become easier. As a result, you’ll get better at facing your pain and fears… and better at changing.

Step #3: Share your pain.

I once had a client named Nadia. Her commitment waxed and waned, and eventually she stopped showing up for workouts—a story any trainer knows all too well.

Two years later, Nadia asked if we could meet up. Over coffee, she explained she has a learning disability, but she’d been embarrassed to tell me about it before. During our workouts, she’d felt lost and anxious.

Armed with this new information, we figured out how to make her more comfortable this time around. She started showing up four days a week and made tons of progress.

Talking to people about your pain can:

  • take some of the pain’s power away (you could realize you’re not at fault)
  • make previously hidden solutions seem more obvious
  • open up new sources of support that weren’t available before
  • help you connect with people who are going through similar changes
  • let others know that you’re open to help, if they’re able to provide it.

Start with the people you love.

Even once Michelle opened up to me, she still had no intention of telling her husband or her daughter about her pain. At first, she didn’t even tell them she had joined a gym.

After a few months, she’d lost some weight, but her motivation started to dwindle, and she was still angry at her daughter. I asked her what she thought might happen if she talked to her daughter about it.

“I was really hoping to avoid conflict,” she said.

What resulted was the opposite. Michelle’s daughter and son-in-law were highly encouraging. In fact, both committed to making nutrition changes with her to show their support. Michelle’s husband even purged all the junk food from their house.

While there are no guarantees, most of the time, if you allow yourself to be vulnerable with the people you’re close to, they’ll rally to support you.

And that can make all the difference in continuing to make progress.

Give yourself permission to take it slow.

If you don’t feel ready to reveal your pain to someone else just yet, you can use the principles of stress inoculation training (SIT) to help you start sharing little by little.

SIT is like a stress vaccination. The basic idea is to slowly get comfortable being… uncomfortable.

Think of it like this: Exposing yourself to small amounts of stress regularly—in levels that don’t overwhelm you—trains you to handle much tougher situations. Just like with exercise.

In this case, tell your story in pieces, at your own pace, until you start to adapt to the stress of sharing. Or maybe reveal your pain in a journal first, then with a stranger, and then with someone you’re close to.

Because you can do this alone, but you don’t have to.

If it feels a little uncomfortable, you’re on the right track.

Remember, we call it difficult-difficult for a reason.

But if you’re willing to dig deep, find your why, and uncover the root of your pain, you may discover the purpose and passion you’ve been missing.

So move past thinking you “just want to get fit” or “can’t lose weight.” And open yourself to the possibility there’s more to the story.

That’s where you’ll find the motivation you really need… for the results you really want.

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—by helping them discover their true motivation—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, October 2nd, 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 Better than swimsuit season: Discover relentless motivation for transforming your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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“I’ll resume healthy eating after my vacation… once the baby is born… after Dad gets out of the hospital… January 1… Monday.” While this kind of “pause-button mentality” seems reasonable, it could be ruining your health and fitness. Here’s why, and what to do about it.

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There’s a question that’s been finding its way to me a LOT lately — from Precision Nutrition Coaching clients, Certification studentsProCoaches.

“Why don’t your programs offer a ‘pause’ feature?”

After all, what’s the harm in letting clients/patients take a break from a nutrition and fitness plan when they’re:

  • leaving for vacation,
  • completely swamped at work,
  • pregnant, or just after delivery,
  • injured, or
  • caring for an ailing family member?

For a client, the thought process boils down to:

If I miss some workouts, eat the wrong things, skip the homework… I fail.

Aren’t I more likely to succeed if I take a break, just until I have the time to do it right?

This is what I call the ‘pause-button mentality’.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I think it’s normal — even commendable — to want to do your best. To consider taking time to regroup and then resume (or start over) when life feels easier.

At the same time, this completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage your plans for improved nutrition, health, and fitness.

Here’s why — and what to do instead.

Starting fresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought.

That’s probably why New Year’s resolutions are so popular, especially following the indulgence-fueled holiday season.

Give me that cheesecake. I’ll pick my diet back up on Monday!

In fact, we’ve learned in our nutrition coaching programs that the idea of a do-over is so alluring you don’t even need a mess-up for the pause-button mentality to take over.

Every January, we welcome a new group of clients. Every July, we take in the second, and final, group of the year.

In July, six months in, just knowing that there are new clients starting the program fresh in January makes some July clients “itch” for a new beginning, even though they’re already making progress, changing their bodies.

If only you’d let me start over, I’d really nail it this time!

But here’s the problem: The pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing.

Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief.

It allows you a little respite from what can be a really tough slog.

(And the middle is always a tough slog, it doesn’t matter what kind of project you’re working on.)

This perceived relief is compounded by the illusion that if we “start fresh” later we can find the magical “right time” to begin.

Listen, I get it.

It can feel absurd to try to improve your eating and exercise habits while you’re in the midst of chronic stress / looking for a job / starting a new job / going on vacation / caring for aging parents / raising small children.

That’s probably why there are so many 21-day this and 90-day that. What adult has more than 90 days to go after their fitness goals with an all-out effort?

But what do these intense fitness sprints teach you?

The skill of getting fit within a very short (and completely non-representative) period of your life.

What don’t they teach you?

The skill of getting fit (or staying fit) in the midst of a normal, complicated, “how it really is” sort of life.

This is why the yo-yo diet thing has become such a phenomenon.

It’s not about willpower. It’s about skills.

In most fitness scenarios, you learn how to get fit under weird, tightly-controlled, white-knuckle life situations.

You build that one, solitary, non-transferrable skill — to slam the gas pedal down, drive the needle into the red, and squeal down the road for a little while, burning the rubber off your tires until you (quickly) run out of gas and crash.

What you don’t build is the ability to get fit under real-life conditions.

That’s why it doesn’t stick. Not because you suck.

But because the natural and predictable consequence of having a limited skill set is short-term progress followed immediately by long-term frustration.

What will be different next time?

I remember having lunch with a colleague who swore up and down that his low-carb diet plus daily running was the secret to staying in shape.

I had to follow up with a painful question: “Well, why aren’t you actually in shape?”

After a long pause: “Uhh, I’ve had a hard time sticking with it. We just had our second child. The holidays just ended. I just switched jobs.” He trailed off…

“But, once everything settles down, I’ll get with the program and get in shape again! I guess I’m just on a little break.”

This story illustrates the point perfectly.

Here’s someone who’s built his fitness on a house of cards. He knows only one thing: How to get in shape by following a very challenging program when the conditions are perfect.

And whenever life isn’t perfect, which is most of the time, he hits the pause button. He waits for a better time. (All the while losing the health and fitness he previously worked so hard for.)

That’s why, when our clients ask to press pause, we usually ask them:

“What will be different when you come back?”

Nine times out of 10, the honest answer is nothing. Nothing will be different.

Life is just… happening. And it’ll happen again in January, or after the baby is born, or after Mom gets better, or at any other arbitrary point you pick.

And what then?

I’ve wanted to press “pause” myself.

If you’ve ever felt like pressing pause, or you feel this way right now, it might help to know I’ve felt exactly the same way.

A few years back, my wife and I decided to renovate a home. During the reno, we lived in a tiny apartment above my in-laws’ garage. At the time I was also starting up Precision Nutrition.

Every day we’d wake up and get straight to work. At the end of the day, we’d drive 1 ½ hours to the new house to chip away at the reno. Then, late at night, we’d drive 1 ½ hours back and fall into bed. Repeat.

At first, I thought there was no way to exercise. My schedule was completely packed, I had nowhere to work out, and my eating was less than ideal.

But after a couple of weeks I realized that something was going to be better than nothing.

The renovations would continue. Running a business would only get more demanding. And we were planning to have our first child.

I realized I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t press pause. Because, if I didn’t continue, there’d never be that “perfect time” to hit play again.

I needed to find a way to squeeze in some kind of workout, however quick, easy, and unglamorous.

Let’s accept that life has no pause button.

The key lesson here is that, like it or not, the game of life keeps going.

There is no timeout.

There’s never going to be a moment when things are magically easier.

You can’t escape work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.

Here’s a thought experiment:

What if you tried to hit pause in other areas of your life?

Imagine you’re up for a big promotion at work. For the next two weeks, all you want to do is focus on mastering an upcoming presentation, and winning over your boss.

Trouble is, you’ve got two young children at home who tend to grasp, koala-like, onto your legs and demand your full attention.

Honey, you say to your spouse, I’m just gonna press pause on being a parent for now. I’ll be staying at a hotel. Don’t contact me.

I don’t know about you, but that would NOT go over well in my family.

You can’t really press pause — and you definitely can’t hit reset — on being a parent. (You’ve thought about it, though. I know you have.)

Just like you can’t stop showing up for work and expect not to get fired. Or “take a break” from being married and not wind up divorced.

Generally, when it comes to life, we know we’re not always going to be on our A Game. Sometimes we’re superstars. Most of the time we just do our best.

We muddle through. We keep going.

So why do we expect it to be any different with fitness?

In my case, above, I hired a coach and we came up with a simple workout program that met these criteria:

  • No more than 3x a week.
  • No more than 10 minutes per session.
  • Has to be done upon waking up, right next to the bed.
  • Requires no equipment.

I did that for about 6 months. Was it the Best Workout Ever? No! Did I end up, after 6 months, fitter than ever? Heck no!

But was it better than hitting the pause button and doing nothing? You bet!

See, perfectionism is not the point.

“Completing” a program, PN Coaching or any other, is not the point.

Being the “best” for a tiny window of time is not the point.

The point is to keep going. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes incompetently, sometimes downright half-assed. But to keep going nonetheless.

As I often teach our new clients:

The “all or nothing” mentality rarely gets us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

That’s when I propose a new mantra:

“Always something”.

Instead of pressing pause, adjust the dial.

Nowadays I like to think of my fitness and nutrition efforts as a dial.

There are times when I want to dial my efforts up, and times when I want to dial them down. But I never want to turn the dial off completely.

Here’s how this plays out in the context of my life.

Sometimes, say when I’m training for a track competition or concentrating on a particular goal, my fitness dial might be tuned to 9 or 10 out of 10.

Channel 10 means I work out every day. Every meal is planned and carefully considered. I think a lot about fitness. And not much about anything else.

Work, family, hobbies… they’re all in maintenance mode (with the permission of the people this affects, of course).

However, as I write this, my life involves the following:

  • Settling into a new home.
  • Conducting major home renovations.
  • Raising 4 children, one of them still a baby.
  • Running a growing business with nearly 100 team members.

So these days, the dial rarely goes past 3 or 4. I work out, maybe, three days a week. And most of my meals are just “good enough”.

(For the record, I’m totally cool with that. There is no guilt about having my dial set a little lower. What’s most important is that the dial is still set to “on”.)

The important lesson: There’s a big difference between tuning your dial to 3, 2, or even a 1, and turning the whole thing off.

And when you realize how doable — and effective — channels 3 and 2 and 1 can be, you see that there’s never a good reason to hit “pause”.

nutrition routine progressions

overall wellness routine progressions

I get it. It’s easy to discount the lower channels. Especially when you’ve done more in the past. But remember your new mantra…

“Always something.”

Precision Nutrition Coaching graduate Susan Olding was dealing with a family crisis during the program: Her dad became ill and eventually passed away.

Susan could have given up when her dad was sick. Asked for a pause. And no one would have blamed her.

Instead, she challenged herself to embrace imperfection and do something every day:

Each day, I asked myself: If I can’t do what was asked of me, what can I do? What can I manage (physically, emotionally, mentally) now?

Then I went and did it.

Meanwhile, I also tried to add spontaneous activity into my days. I paced the hospital halls, parked at a distance and walked to the hospital door. I went for evening walks.

Anything to stay active.

I remember Susan telling me about the random sets of squats she did in the corner of her dad’s hospital room while he was resting.

Susan’s takeaway:

Perfection never happens in real life.

We’re always going to be doing the best we can with what we have.

And that’s okay.

We can still make progress toward our goals and still improve our health and our fitness – whatever’s going on in our lives.

That progress doesn’t happen if you “press pause” and wait for a better time.

It doesn’t happen if you say “I’ll squat again once the Dad situation resolves itself”. Or if you ask for a re-do next week, next month, next year.

“Fitness in the context of real human life”.

That’s one of our mottos here at Precision Nutrition.

It’s what I think we’re the best in the world at: Helping clients be healthy and fit in the context of their real lives.

Not while pretending to be someone they’re not. Not by signing up for a 12-week boot camp with daily workouts and restrictive diets.

But by living their own lives and practicing “always something”.

In my opinion, pressing pause is buying into an imaginary ideal: a “perfect” time when everything will fall into place; a beautiful, linear trajectory from total suckiness to apex awesomeness:

you suck - you rule graph

Asking for a restart because you don’t want to mess that line up is deluding yourself that somehow, next time will be easier. Next time will be perfect. No interruptions, no distractions… no… life.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect time.

We may have magical moments, of course. Short periods of time when things seem to “click” and come together.

But then the dog poops on the rug. Or the kid throws up on the couch. Or both… and then one or the other tracks it all through the house.

You keep pressing pause, and your progress looks like this.

no progress over time graph

Or, worse yet, you end up flatlining, stuck on a never-ending (maybe eternal) pause.

What to do next.

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.

1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

  • What would your workouts look like?
  • What would your nutrition look like?
  • What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

  • What would your workouts look like?
  • What would your nutrition look like?
  • What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

2. Aim for a little bit better.

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the over 100,000 clients we’ve helped through Precision Nutrition Coaching method.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

  1. What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?
  2. What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.

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 make consistent progress even when life gets complicated—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, June 5th, 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 Why the “pause-button mentality” is ruining your health and fitness. ‘Getting a fresh start’ isn’t the magic bullet you thought it’d be. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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