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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

++++

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

Image 10

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

++++

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.

++++

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

“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.

+++

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.

Powered by WPeMatico

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

++

Change your body, change your… career?

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

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

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

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

Well, almost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream job

How do you become successful in the fitness industry?

I wasn’t alone. And I’m still not.

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

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

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

Option 1: Go back to school.

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Option 2: Get certified as a personal trainer.

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

So what did I do?

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

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

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

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

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

Be a world-class strength coach in 3 easy steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does that mean for you?

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

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

But how?

Start here: The new fitness industry curriculum

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

1. Start coaching immediately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So start doing—and learning—now.

2. Get certified.

While you’re coaching, start earning your credentials.

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

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

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

Start with a basic certification like one of the following:

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

3. Become a “complete” fitness professional.

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

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

So what you should you do?

Nutrition education

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

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

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

In other words:

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

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

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

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

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

Movement education

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

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

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

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

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

4. Learn how to coach real people.

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

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

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

Where should you start?

Here are two must-read resources to check out:

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

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

5. Get some business training.

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

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

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

Here’s are some great options:

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

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

6. A career of learning and development.

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

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

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

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

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

If you’re interested in different areas of nutrition:

If you’re interested in more athletic populations:

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

If you’re interested in special populations:

Personal trainer

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t matter.

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

What to do

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

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

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps them adopt simple but effective habits they can sustain—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post How to build a successful and rewarding career in fitness. A step-by-step guide for personal trainers & coaches. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Powered by WPeMatico

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

++++

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

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

So they might look for terms like:

Healthy eating.

Healthy diet.

Good nutrition.

The result? Well…

“Healthy eating” gave me 63.6 million options.

“Healthy diet” gave me 188 million options.

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

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

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

Many of these stories completely contradict each other.

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

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

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

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

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

As in:

“I believe that sugar is poison.”

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

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

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

Yet nutrition is not a belief system.

Nutrition is a science.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And physiology is physiology.

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

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

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

It’s why we ask questions like these:

And we use a particular method for determining the answers.

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

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

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

Will honey and cinnamon “rev my metabolism”?

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

But nobody knows.

Will creatine monohydrate improve my power output?

Now we’re talking.

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

Creatine monohydrate has a known chemical structure.

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

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

See how that played out?

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

The other is fact based on a documented physiological outcome.

The big problem:
Most people start with the internet.

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

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

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

These systems tend to include:

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

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

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

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

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

We’re not bad for wishing something were true.

Just like Fox Mulder, sometimes we want to believe.

It’s very human, actually.

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

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

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

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

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

That’s completely normal and natural.

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

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

Or wishing some things were true.

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

Science is anything but simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you know that drinking alcohol increases muscle tone?

Don’t believe me?

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

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

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

Of course this isn’t true though, right?

Because that would be ignoring:

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

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

But let’s get real.

People are busy.

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

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

What’s the harm in believing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s an old saying:

You know just enough to be dangerous.

For starters, beliefs without evidence can cause physical harm.

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

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

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

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

  • protein, and
  • total calories.

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

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

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

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

Atwater’s diet eliminates:

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

Now, this is an extreme example, perhaps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do we do that?

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

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

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

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

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

1. Practice having an open yet critical mindset.

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

Be curious. Ask questions.

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

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

Try different things. Document the effects.

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

2. Live in the middle ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Notice when words and concepts trigger emotions.

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

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

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

4. Scrutinize claims that are tied to financial gain.

For example:

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

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

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

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

Trust me bro, I was getting “jacked”.

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

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

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

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

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

6. Get qualified coaching.

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

Knowledge is power.

Passionate about fitness and nutrition?

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

Powered by WPeMatico

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

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

++

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

Especially if you’ve had this experience before:

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

What’s gone wrong?

Well, it’s probably not your program.

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

Often, the problem is “coach talk”.

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

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

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

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

Don’t get discouraged.

There is a formula for success.

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

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

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

We’ll cover:

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

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

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

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

So…

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

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

We’re excited and inspired too.

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

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

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

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

Double win.

For now, onto the coaching techniques…

Avoiding Awfulness-Based Coaching

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

Their favorite phrase is “No excuses.”

These types of coaches aren’t really meanies.

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

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

We call it Awfulness-Based Coaching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No evidence shows that feeling bad creates lasting behavior changes.

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

Embracing Awesomeness-Based Coaching

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

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

That they can use this existing awesomeness to succeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a coach, you want to help people:

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

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

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

Exploring questions:

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

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

Imagining questions:

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

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

Solution-focused questions:

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

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

Statements that sense into problems:

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

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

Statements that evoke speculation:

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

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

Questions that evoke change talk:

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

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

Questions that assess readiness:

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

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

Questions that help plan next steps:

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

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

Careful advice-giving:

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

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

Use the 80 / 20 rule.

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

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

How might this look in a real situation?

Scenario 1: Use a “change talk wedge”.

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

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

You might say something like:

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

Or:

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

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

2. Then wait.

After validating and affirming the opposite, be quiet.

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

Let the person speak first.

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

3. Listen for “change talk”.

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

Client:

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

Or:

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

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

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

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

You:

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

Or:

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

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

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

5. Wait again.

Stay quiet.

Wait for the person to speak again.

Listen for further change talk.

6. Repeat as needed.

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

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

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

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

Scenario 2: Use “the continuum”.

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

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

Then:

1. Help them move a “notch”.

Highlight the benefits of doing so.

Coach:

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

Now, scale back as needed:

Coach:

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

2. Follow up with a strategy for immediate execution.

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

Coach:

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

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

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

Coach:

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

Scenario 3: Ask “crazy questions”.

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

1. Listen, validate, affirm.

Preface with “I know this is wacky but…”

Coach:

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

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

2. Ask your questions.

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

3. Normalize and empathize.

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

Coach:

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

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

Client:

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

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

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

Coach:

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

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

5. But don’t let them off the hook.

Follow up in a few days as needed.

Scenario 4: Have them propose their own solution.

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

Coach:

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

2. Ask leading, rhetorical questions.

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

Coach:

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

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

3. Rank confidence.

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

Coach:

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

4. Affirm and book follow up.

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

If not, work on shrinking the next action to something they’re confident they can do every day for the next few days. The continuum exercise above is a good approach for this.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

As you can see, in all of these scenarios, the coach’s job is not to play all-knowing expert. (This goes for anyone trying to help others — like friends and family — eat better, too.) Instead:

Awesomeness-based coaches are confident, supportive guides and change facilitators.

A good coach helps folks propose their own solutions — solutions that line up with their values, and that they genuinely believe they can do. Solutions they’re ready, willing, and able to commit to, today.

And this all begins with language.

1. Recognize where you need to grow.

Ask yourself how much time you actually spend…

  • actively listening to people (versus interrupting or waiting for them to finish so you can talk next)?
  • exploring their perspective and trying to understand their point of view (versus assuming you know what they need)?
  • asking them to generate their own potential solutions or next actions first (versus just giving them advice right away)?
  • asking them what they think they could realistically try (versus just giving them instructions to follow)?

How could you move one notch along the continuum toward client/patient-centered, awesomeness-based coaching?

What’s your “X+1”?

2. Practice using some of the questions and ideas in this article.

Now you have a few sentences and phrases that are proven to help you connect with folks and unlock their potential. Tuck them in your back pocket and start using them when new opportunities present themselves.

After each session, make notes on how it’s going:

  • What changes are you seeing in how they communicate with you?
  • What seemed to resonate most?
  • What really got them talking and opening up?
  • What do you want to talk about in your next session, and — most importantly — how?

By practicing and documenting results, over time you will develop the communication skills of a successful, thriving coach.

3. Observe a coach you respect.

Practicing on your own as often as you can is essential.

But just as with athletics, in order to be the best, you probably need a coach.

Working with an expert coach will fast-track your development. So ask to sit in on a couple sessions a month, and buy your mentor a coffee afterward so you can ask follow-up questions about how they communicate effectively with their clients or patients.

Ask them to share stories. Ask for advice on how to talk to a client or patient who’s struggling, but who you really want to help.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes — including helping them with meal transformation — is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Level 1: How to talk to people so they’re more likely to change. Master this coaching skill to achieve better, lasting results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Powered by WPeMatico