Six-pack abs. Tight butts. Lean, glistening beach bodies and vibrant health. That’s what the fitness industry is selling, but have you ever considered the true costs of achieving this “look?”

In this short video, Dr. John Berardi lays out all the benefits and tradeoffs, so you can make an informed decision about what’s truly right for you—when it comes to your body, health, and lifestyle. Because it’s about getting what you want… but also figuring out how much you’re willing to give up.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in way that’s evidenced based and personalized for each individual’s lifestyle and preferences—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% 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 7th, 2020.

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 30% 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 The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off? [Video] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Every six months, we get to celebrate the folks who have had the most incredible body transformations in Precision Nutrition Coaching.

They’ve spent 12 months with a personal nutrition coach, completely changing how they eat, move, look, and feel.

They’ve lost weight, gained strength, boosted their health, and inspired their friends and families.

No extreme diets or crazy workout routines. No strict meal plans or off-limits foods. No deprivation. No guilt. No unbreakable rules.

Just a commitment to the program—with results to prove it.

Collage of three female Precision Nutrition Coaching clients.

The transformations we’re celebrating today are as mind-blowing as ever. As you’ll see in the photos below, these 14 men and women lost 338 pounds collectively, shedding pant sizes, food frustrations, and self-doubt.

But this year, the stories of these clients—who started their PN journeys back in July 2019—also feel a little different.

For one, they’re the first coaching group to complete our program during an earth-shattering global pandemic. For that fact alone, their determination deserves serious respect.

They’re also different because PN is transforming, too.

Yes, we’re still featuring our clients’ impressive physical transformations. (They deserve it.)

But we also want to highlight the mental and emotional transformations they’ve experienced. Because they’re every bit as powerful, worthy, and amazing.

In fact, clients often tell us it’s these internal changes that have the deepest and most meaningful impact on their whole lives.

So click the links below to check out these total life transformations. And get ready to feel seriously inspired.
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58-year old CEO with poor health and bad knees drops 35 pounds—and finally climbs a mountain with his wife.

The life-changing realization that helped a 44-year old woman stop struggling with her weight and lose 29 pounds. 

This man learned he could have a six-pack—and eat his cake, too. 

This 38-year old woman banished heartburn, cellulite, and achy joints with three simple words: Just show up.

30 pounds lost in 100 days: How the pandemic helped this man gain the control he needed to transform his body.

This 42-year old mom lost 17 pounds and signed up for a Spartan race.

71 pounds gone: This couple lost weight and found fitness together.

With 4 kids and a business, Stephanie had zero extra time: Here’s how she lost 21 pounds anyway.

From “mac & cheese” on his pizza to choosing fresh pineapple as a treat: How Owen transformed his nutrition and lifestyle habits

How Damian packed on 14 pounds of muscle.

For the first time in years, this woman got below 200 pounds: What happened next shocked her (in an awesome way).

A breakup, a relocation, and COVID-19: It might have been the worst year of this man’s life, yet he still crushed his fitness goals.

This 68-year old woman mastered the Turkish getup and lost 42 pounds. If she can’t inspire you…

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58-year-old CEO with poor health and bad knees drops 35 pounds—and finally climbs a mountain with his wife.

Not long before Jeff joined Precision Nutrition Coaching, he and his wife were vacationing in Banff, Alberta.

While she set out to climb Sulphur Mountain (elevation 8,041 feet), Jeff stayed behind—as he normally did on her adventures.

She’d always loved the outdoors. But him? Not so much. More important, though: She was in climbing shape; Jeff wasn’t.

They were used to this arrangement, and it worked for them. Or so he thought.

“After her hike my wife said, ‘You know, it would be nice if we could do that together,’” Jeff recalls. “It hurt.”

At 58, Jeff weighed 250 pounds. He struggled with chronic health issues, including Grave’s disease—which causes overactive thyroid—and sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that can affect the lungs.

He’d also had a double knee replacement after surviving two explosions while stationed overseas years before. When he got down on the floor to play with his dog, it was difficult to get back up.

So climbing a mountain? Not high on Jeff’s to-do list.

Then things got worse: During a routine physical, his doctor told him he was one appointment away from a diabetes diagnosis.

‘You’re on death row,’ Jeff thought. ‘You’ve got to make some changes.’

That’s when Jeff registered for Precision Nutrition Coaching. It was a way to take back some control. It was hope.

As the CEO of a consulting company, Jeff was on the road a lot. Out of necessity, he ate fast food as often as twice a day. He couldn’t help but be skeptical: Could someone this busy follow the PNC program?

“I messaged my coach and said, ‘Look, I’m on the road, all the time. I’m in meetings. I have to go to banquets. I have to eat at restaurants.’”

Jeff’s coach, Jonathan Pope, listened. Then he asked a follow-up question that changed everything: “So you can’t pack stuff to take with you?”

Jeff laughs: “The light bulbs came on. Packing stuff? It was a lot of work, but I could do that.”

On business trips, Jeff took huge bags of veggies wherever he went and stopped at grocery stores for pre-cooked chicken and fresh fruit. He stored everything in the tiny hotel fridge. Now he always had a healthy meal on hand.

Jeff prioritized making time for nutrition and fitness. He began walking his dogs every day—eventually getting up to a 5k loop—and started cycling, too. He bought a squat rack, weights, and resistance bands, and when winter came he invested in a set of snowshoes.

All of this happened during the last year. And his body completely transformed. Jeff’s now 35 pounds lighter and a whole lot stronger. His doctor recently reduced his thyroid medication.

“I feel like I’m 30,” says Jeff.

The 2020 pandemic got in the way of Jeff’s plans to hike Sulphur Mountain, so instead he and his wife tackled a smaller mountain in Saskatchewan.

A common theme we heard from Precision Nutrition Coaching clients this year: “I might not be here today if it wasn’t for this program.”

“It meant everything to me, but it meant the world to her. It actually brought tears to her eyes,” says Jeff… with tears in his eyes.

The life-changing realization that helped a 44-year old woman stop struggling with her weight and lose 29 pounds.

It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: When Sneha was a teenager, family members started to comment that she was “plump.”

For years, Sneha wanted to lose weight. But she struggled to put her needs before others’.

From then and into adulthood, she went through frustrating cycles of losing and regaining weight.

It’s been a long journey. Sneha first enrolled in Precision Nutrition Coaching five years ago. She made progress, but she didn’t achieve the body transformation she was after.

Still, she kept coming back. And this year, she experienced the breakthrough she’d been looking for.

Turns out, Sneha’s struggles to lose weight were tied to her deep commitment to her family.

Namely: It was hard to find time to… exercise, get proper sleep, prepare meals, de-stress and recover…  because she had to take care of others.

Everyone else always came first—another all-too-familiar scenario.

Her PN coach suggested: “How about drawing some boundaries?”

This made Sneha angry. 

“I was thinking, ‘I grew up in an Indian family. How can I draw boundaries? That would mean the end of relationships!’”

But upon reflection, Sneha realized that being everything to everyone wasn’t a core value of her own. It was conditioning from her Indian upbringing.

“I had to ask, ‘Why do I believe this? Where is this coming from?’” Sneha recalls. “It really opened a Pandora’s box for me.”

She used journaling to parse out her true beliefs and identity.

“Now I realize drawing boundaries just changes the nature of relationships. It doesn’t have to end them,” she says.

Sneha no longer feels like a victim. “I’m not allowing other people to walk all over me anymore.”

She also discovered her journey wasn’t about getting a certain body at all. “My primary goal was to change my relationship with myself and my relationship with food. It took me so long to understand that,” Sneha says.

But, through this process, she lost 29 pounds—the lightest she’s been in years.

Funny how that works.

Sneha’s “after PN” photo shoot celebrates the body transformation and self awareness she gained from the program.

“There are many layers in an onion. I guess mine was bigger and had many, many more layers to get through,” she says.

This man learned he could have a six-pack—and eat his cake, too.

A couple of years ago Mickler’s son’s mother invited him to brunch. But…

“Before I could even answer, my son said, “Oh, he’ll never come because he doesn’t eat breakfast.”

It stung.

Mickler, now 29, had been on and off extremely restrictive diets for years. One of them, intermittent fasting, meant he was “Team No Breakfast”—and apparently he’d turned his son down a few too many times.

“In retrospect, my son was just trying to bond with me through food. At the time, I was proud of how disciplined I was.”

Mickler is part of a large, blended family in which much of life centers on celebrations, togetherness, and food.

“Once on my birthday, they got me my favorite cake, a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake,” Mickler recalls. “I wouldn’t eat it because I was on keto.”

Mickler often had the shredded body he wanted—but just as often, he didn’t.

“Summer would come and it was time to be restrictive,” he says. “Then winter would come, and I could loosen up. Then summer came again and I had to restrict again.”

On and on the cycle went.

Mickler cycled on and off restrictive diets for years.

“Eventually I recognized that I couldn’t continually go up and down like that,” Mickler says. “I needed to find a way to be steady, and I recognized there was a hole in my understanding of food.”

Mickler found Precision Nutrition Coaching through a Facebook ad and signed up at first chance.

“Having a habits-based program and a coach was a game changer for me,” Mickler says.

Because the habits are designed to work in any circumstance, Mickler’s family life immediately got easier. “I’d be eating something at a party and they’d be like, ‘Hey, aren’t you on a diet!?’” Mickler remembers with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m on a diet where you can eat whatever you want!’”

Mickler’s Coach, Jonathan Pope, was a source of reassurance through the sometimes tough transitions. Early on, he gently recommended that Mickler try eating breakfast so he could tune into his hunger cues.

Mickler tried it and discovered that being more aware of how he felt when eating was way more effective—and practical—than a “diet.”

“That was a pivotal point in my journey,” Mickler says.

“I could have the body I want but still be present for my family. I could have a better relationship with food and the people around me. I could be free.”

Micker now feels “free” from food rules. He’s also a Precision Nutrition Certified coach.

Now, 26 pounds and the coveted six-pack later, Mickler no longer has to choose between having the body he wants and bonding with his family over brunch or birthday cake.

“My biggest takeaway from the year is my awareness,” he says.” “I can make food choices that aren’t the ‘best’ sometimes, and just learn from them, let them add to my awareness.”

As for what the future holds: Mickler is now a nutrition coach and currently working his way through the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class. “Having been a client myself, it helps me guide my own clients.”

This 38-year old woman banished heartburn, cellulite, and achy joints with three simple words: Just show up.

Not too long ago, Kate was a thirty-something “bad girl” by choice. At least, that’s what she liked to pretend.

“Deep down, I was miserable.”

Just barely out of her 20s, Kate suffered heartburn and often felt sick after she ate. And she’d lost mobility—she couldn’t touch her toes.

“I drank too much, smoked too much, and had the diet habits of a long-haul truck driver,” Kate says.

She knew she needed a change. Then, a surprising shift did happen.

“I finally gave way to that tiny voice inside me that had always dreamed of being a dancer.“

Someone told Kate that 80 percent of life was showing up, so that’s what she did, arriving at her first-ever ballet class at age 32.

“I was absolutely horrible. I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t balance. At a later class I actually fell on my butt,” Kate remembers, laughing. “Stretching was painful for an entire year.”

Kate in the ballet studio before embarking on a year of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

But she kept showing up, and ended up falling in love with dance.

Still, Kate didn’t feel she’d made all the changes she needed. She wanted a “ballet body”—but in a healthy way.

So she signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching. “I wanted the tag in my leotard to say “small.”

Just like ballet, Kate just kept showing up.

“When the pandemic hit seven months in, I stayed calm. I had all this experience feeling better, and I knew that all I had to do was stick to the PN habits. The old Kate would have been eating a lot… a lot… of takeout,” she says, with a smile and head shake.

It helped to check in with her coach, Pam Ruhland, and fellow clients. “During lockdown, sometimes you just need to see people who aren’t in your house, and talk to them about how it’s hard to work out, it’s hard to get out of your PJs.”

Now 38, Kate’s transformation has been life-changing.

“My heartburn is gone, my cellulite is gone, I don’t feel sick, my joints don’t hurt. I’m more relaxed and organized. I’m definitely way stronger,” Kate says.

And something totally unexpected happened: “Now when my ballet teacher demonstrates a combination, I can actually remember it. My focus is better. It’s a relief.”

Kate is down 7 pounds from 12 months ago, but hardly remembers her wish about the leotard. “I stopped caring about the tag, and started caring about myself,” she says.

To mark her transformation, and her transition to pointe slippers, Kate enlisted her husband for a photoshoot.

“For the first five years of this journey, I never posted pictures of myself dancing,” Kate says. “I was too embarrassed. I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, flexible enough, or strong enough.”

Now, she’s sharing her photos with the whole world.

Kate celebrated her new life, and her transition to pointe, with a photo shoot in her Toronto condo building.

“I know this is the end of the program, but it feels like a beginning.”

30 pounds lost in 100 days: How the pandemic helped this man gain the control he needed to transform his body.

The day the COVID-19 lockdown hit Phoenix, Arizona in March, Will Spencer was moving into a new apartment with a single piece of furniture: a bed.

Will had just moved back to the U.S, to a city where he had no friends or possessions, after three years of world travel and a devastating failed relationship. Through the stressful months-long breakup, he’d managed to get to the gym somewhat consistently, but he wasn’t watching what he ate.

Now, more than halfway through Precision Nutrition Coaching, Will had actually gained weight, from 202 to 212 pounds.

“My world was melting down,” says Will.

Since he can remember, Will has been attracted to transformative experiences, an interest that set him apart from his family. For the past 20 years, he’s prioritized inner transformation via meditation, travel, and, occasionally, the psychoactive tea ayahuasca.

Eventually, Will realized he had a final frontier: his body.

“My body was the one thing I wasn’t able to transform,” he says. 

“You have to have the right environment. I was in my mid-thirties and I hadn’t known a single fit person my whole life. So moving back to the States and having my own space and a lockdown, I thought, okay, this is the moment.’”

PN’s lessons and habits gave Will a framework he could stick to. “Everything was completely out of control in my life, but I could control my activity and my eating. It’s the only thing I had to hold onto.”

With support from his coach, Jonathan Pope, Will lost 30 pounds in his final 100 days on the program.

Considering the stresses Will was coping with earlier this year, he thinks it’s remarkable where he ended up.

Will’s body was the one thing he couldn’t seem to transform. Now he’s done it.

“Things very easily could have gone a different way,” he says. “But I know this is who I am now, this is part of my DNA.”

This 42-year old mom went from little awareness about nutrition to losing 17 pounds and signing up for a Spartan race.

When Jenny’s husband, Martin, joined Precision Nutrition Coaching two years ago, she considered it his thing.

“I have to confess, when he was doing PN, I didn’t really care about it,” Jenny says.”I supported him, but I wasn’t trying any of the habits.”

Growing up in Colombia, Jenny didn’t have much awareness about nutrition. “For me, it was more important to look after my parents and my sisters, go to uni, and pay the bills. I didn’t see it as important to take care of myself.”

But after her husband’s experience with PN, Jenny had a change of heart. “I said, ‘Well, why not?’ I thought it was a good opportunity for me to do something for myself and see what happens.”

Jenny, 42, didn’t have big hopes for the program. She wanted a smaller belly, but she didn’t think about change on a grand scale.

The early lessons shifted Jenny’s thinking: Maybe it was important to look after herself and her body. As she started to get more consistent with her habits, something amazing happened: Jenny’s 5-year-old daughter Sophie started joining in on the home workouts.

“She’d start jumping and doing squats and pushups,” Jenny remembers. “That motivated me even more.”

Similarly, exploring new foods and meals became a family activity. The food Jenny makes now means something more.

“This food has value because I know it’s going to help my body and make me feel better, not worse. I feel like I’m bringing my family together with food. Now I can speak the same language as my husband.”

It’s a language that’s helped Jenny lose 17 pounds and feel good about the habits she’s teaching—and demonstrating for—her daughter.

One of Jenny’s proudest moments? Her husband asked her to join him in an upcoming Spartan race. (You can probably guess her answer.)

Jenny’s outlook on nutrition and fitness got a total overhaul. Even better? Her daughter has picked up the habits.

71 pounds gone: This couple lost weight and found fitness together.

Doug and Sandrine are a couple who did PN coaching in tandem.

Fitting perhaps, that they first met back in 2007 as bicycle guides.

“At that period of my life, I was fitter,” says Doug. “But I never put any thought into eating or nutrition. I just would go and be outside for eight hours a day, riding my bike. I just had a lot of energy, but I didn’t eat very well.”

In time, their lifestyle changed. And Doug noticed that his nutritional habits were catching up to him.

“My life changed, and I didn’t change. My eating stayed poor, and my exercise went way down. And I started gaining weight over time.”

It wasn’t just the creeping number on the scale that led Doug to think about making a change. In 2018, he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening blood clot.

“I had to go on blood thinners for three months after that blood clot,” says Doug. “It made me decide that I had to change, and so that’s what led me to talk to my sister [a previous PN client], and get involved with PN.”

Doug and Sandrine on a trip to Iceland, pre-Precision Nutrition.

When Doug signed up, Sandrine joined him. “[I thought,], it’s easy if the two of us do it together because we can support one another, encourage one another,” she says. “I’ll know what he’s going through and be able to help.”

Much as their reasons for joining Precision Nutrition differed, so did their approaches to the program.

Doug’s approach: “Specific, precise, process,” Sandrine says. “He’ll do his warmup exactly the same way, and he times himself. And he’s not going to deviate from it.”

Doug was also very engaged with his coach, Scott Quick, and the other clients, frequently checking in and even posting videos of workouts to make sure his exercise form was correct.

Sandrine, on the other hand, preferred a lighter touch with the group, and she found she wanted to mix things up. “Three months ago, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m tired of this warmup routine, I’m going to do what I want.’ And I might do yoga. I might do some dancing. I might do whatever I feel in the moment.”

Where their approaches overlapped: Keeping it simple and doing it together. 

“Our workouts eventually became just an afternoon ritual in a way. We do them together at the same time, pretty much most 99% of the time,” says Doug.

Though their goals and approaches differed, both Doug and Sandrine emerged from the program with deep and lasting change.

Doug lost 55 pounds. “Doing anything outdoors is more enjoyable now. Life is just better, mentally and physically.”

Sandrine lost 16 pounds, but she notes her bigger takeaway is that she now sees health itself as a resource. “It’s going to be an asset in any situation that you encounter, like disease or illness, or growing old, all these things.”

Their advice for anyone going through PN Coaching as a couple?

Doug and Sandrine now: lighter, fitter, and happier. “Health is an asset,” Sandrine says.

“You’re supporting, and you’re creating those rituals and that increased connection. But at the same time, you make it your own experience,” says Sandrine. “You head in the same direction, but you follow your own path.”

With 4 kids and a business, Stephanie had zero extra time: Here’s how she lost 21 pounds anyway.

Stephanie’s life was plenty hectic, even before COVID hit. That’s just how it is when you have four young kids (or even one!) and your own business to run.

“I really just put myself second,” Stephanie recalls. “I knew that I should eat more vegetables or maybe get more sleep, but I found myself just grabbing whatever when I was hungry, even though it wasn’t really filling.“

On some level, Stephanie recognized her approach wasn’t working; she wanted to lose weight and feel better. But she didn’t know how.

“I didn’t know a better way. I was in survival mode.”

She was ready for change. But if she was going to transform herself—she wanted to do it only once.

“I thought, ‘If I do it, then it will be a lifelong thing.’” So she started PN with a simple but bold commitment: Try everything.

One of the most groundbreaking lessons for Stephanie was the very first one: Take a 5-minute action. Starting small, you learn to make time for yourself.

Stephanie was surprised at the impact, both on her own eating and sleeping habits and on her work relationships. “I had people texting me 12 hours a day. I was finally like, okay, I need to have time to get stuff done, too.”

Having time for herself has become an automatic part of her day, and it’s added up to more change than Stephanie expected.

She’s down 21 pounds, but more than that: “I’m moving better than I ever have. Recently I was chasing my kids around the playground and I realized, ‘They can’t beat me!’”

Stephanie with her youngest child in March of 2019 (left) and 21 pound lighter a year later.

From “mac and cheese on pizza” to fresh pineapple as a treat: How Owen transformed his nutrition and lifestyle habits.

When Owen booked the flight for his vacation to Alaska, he was thrilled. But it also prompted a recognition.

“At my weight, it was going to be an absolutely miserable eight hour flight,” Owen says.

The motivation helped him drop 25 pounds before his trip.

Owen on vacation in Alaska, before joining Precision Nutrition Coaching.

“When I got home, I realized that I didn’t want to lose that momentum.”

That’s when he heard PN cofounder Dr. John Berardi on a podcast talking about food as a continuum. It was an interesting alternative to Owen’s usual all-or-nothing approach.

“I’d be in situations where I was trying to explain to my 5-year-old niece that I couldn’t have a piece of cake because it wasn’t a ‘cheat day,’” Owen explains. “Then cut to me three days later, and I’m putting mac and cheese on a pizza.”

Owen signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching and was struck by the gradual method. “I remember thinking, ‘My workout is to go for a walk. What’s the point of this?’”

Slow and steady nutrition and fitness habits have allowed Owen to stick to his goals.

But after decades of extremes, Owen soon found it refreshing to “not jump in with both feet.” It was allowing him to do something new: Stick with the plan.

Like many of us, the pandemic threw Owen for a loop. But maybe even more so in his case. That’s because he’s a healthcare professional. (A big thank you to Owen and all essential workers out there.)

Yet through it all, he managed to stay the course, losing 28 pounds and two pant sizes.

But he’s not done: Owen’s decided to sign up for another year of Precision Nutrition Coaching. He’s benefitting from the support—and, of course, from the physical and mental transformation.

Owen plans to keep the momentum going with another round of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

“About a month ago, I’d just finished an insane 70-hour work week. At the store, I decided to get myself a treat. I got home and realized that I didn’t get a box of donuts or a bag of chips or a frozen pizza. I got a pineapple. That was a pretty cool moment, realizing just how far I’ve come.”

How Damian packed on 14 pounds of muscle

Damian knew something wasn’t quite right when he went to a Carnival fete with his wife.

“Machel Montano was on stage and he’s singing his song ‘Famalay.’ I remember putting up my hand and singing along, and within 10 seconds I’m tired. Really tired.”

In that moment he recognized he wasn’t truly taking care of himself.

“I wasn’t exercising. I wasn’t eating correctly. I didn’t know what to eat,” he says.

Where Damian lives, in Trinidad, metabolic-related disease is prevalent. Damian wanted to feel better—and he also didn’t want to become a statistic. “I wanted to set the right example for my kids and my wife so they know what healthy lifestyle habits look like.”

When Damian signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching, he decided to focus on muscle gain and consistency. It wasn’t easy.

“I always had the mindset that sees every challenge as an opportunity for growth,” says Damian. He drew from that resilience to stick with the program no matter what—through work, raising kids, and COVID-19.

The result of his persistent effort: Damian was able to put on 14 pounds of lean mass. He simply followed the program, day-by-day, week-after-week.

That’s how big change really happens.

Damian before (left, center) and after developing 14 pounds of muscle–and nutrition and fitness habits for life.

“What I’m getting from this experience is more than just what the eyes can see. Along the way I developed traits I never even considered—for example, being proactive, consistent, and resilient—which all lead to me being more confident and to do even bigger and better things in the future.”

For the first time in years, this woman got below 200 pounds: What happened next shocked her (in an awesome way).

Leor wanted to slim down for a wedding she’d be attending soon. She’d tried lots of programs in the past, but hadn’t been able to stick to them for long.

“I approached things as a massive change, thinking I have to do it all at once,” says Leor. “I’d have the mindset that, ‘If I don’t do it perfectly, then it’s not worth trying.’”

Leor, 40, knew about the value of slow, mindful eating. She also knew about nutritious foods. Her problem: actually doing it.

She found Precision Nutrition Coaching through a friend and signed up, hoping to fix that. Right away, she knew PN was different. She appreciated that the program felt flexible.

“It wasn’t about perfection at all,” she says.

Leor listened to her lessons while she took a shower each morning. “At the end of the day, I would look back and think, ‘Okay, what did I actually do today? What else do I need to do?’ I started and finished my day with PN.”

And her body started to change.

But then the wedding came and went.

That’s when things got harder.

“After the wedding, it was like refocusing and reframing, trying to find a new goal,” she says.

Her work as an assistant professor at a med school in Barbados got super busy during that time, too. So Leor focused on two practices she could take with her anywhere she went: mindful eating and eating slowly.

It’s not as if those two concepts were new to her. Her grandmother had dieted a lot when she was younger and often tried to eat mindfully. But until PN, those just seemed like logical ideas—she hadn’t actually put them into practice. This time she told herself: “Practice this and give it a chance.”

It paid off.

One day Leor realized she’d hit a milestone. She was below 200 pounds—for the first time in more than a decade.

“The next day, I realized a difference in my mindset,” she says. “Breaking 200 had been this big hurdle. I was so focused on that number that I couldn’t focus on other things. It put me in a different cognitive space to be able to ask, ‘Where else can you put your energy?’ It allowed more things to enter in.”

She decided to get more active, possibly try yoga.

By year’s end, she was down a total of 39 pounds.

Leor before (left) and after Precision Nutrition Coaching. “It was simpler than I thought it would be,” she says.

“I learned small, simple things that I could really do, very easily, and incorporate into my life. I didn’t have to make these massive changes that were going to be super complicated and take me forever to do. With PN, I just focused on a few simple things and, collectively, they made a big difference.”

A breakup, a relocation, and COVID-19: It might have been the worst year of this guy’s life, yet he still crushed his fitness goals.

When Gautham started Precision Nutrition Coaching in July of 2019, life was, relatively speaking, smooth sailing.

He’d lost about 30 pounds over the preceding two years. But he struggled with an all-or-nothing mindset. He wanted health habits he could maintain.

Gautham was crushing it with PN. He decided to learn how to swim and mastered several strokes. He worked out regularly, biked several miles to work every day, ate slowly, and created a sleep ritual that allowed him to wake refreshed and get more done throughout the day.

Then, 2020 showed up. Some years, it seems, are just harder than others.

Suddenly, a serious relationship disintegrated. Not long after, a family member was hospitalized. A couple days after that, on the way to the gym, Gautham saw someone snatch a pedestrian’s purse and chased the guy down. (He got the bag but the snatcher got away.)

“That was all by January 15,” Gautham says.

Uh-oh.

By February, Gautham’s best friends and housemates moved away, which meant Gautham had to find a new place to live.

He’d just settled into his new home when the calendar flipped to March, a pandemic made its way to the US, and a “shelter in place” order went into effect where he lived in Washington DC.

“When you suddenly move to a job that you could, in theory, do from bed—without moving at all—that’s a different challenge,” he says.

Every Tuesday, like clockwork, he made sure to dial into his nutrition coaching video call. It became his anchor. He helped other clients with their challenges, and vice versa.

“You learn so much about yourself by listening to other people,” says Gautham.

Several months into the pandemic, Gautham learned of several family members who had COVID. Some were doing okay. Some weren’t.

He found he couldn’t sleep, which affected his energy levels.

So he turned to his coach, Jonathan Pope, who helped him scale things back.

Gautham went into his workouts aiming only for a 6 or a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale. He didn’t lift as heavy or run as hard. He reminded himself that an intensity level of 6 was a lot better than zero.

Now one year later, Gautham’s body is leaner and 10 pounds lighter. “This is definitely the lightest I’ve ever been, and it makes it easier to move.”

But what’s changed even more: his mindset.

Gautham before Precision Nutrition Coaching (left) and after. He shed 10 pounds and an all-or-nothing mindset.

“There is always going to be life happening. And you just have to find a way to deal with it and make it work,” he says.

This 68-year old woman mastered the Turkish getup and lost 42 pounds. If she can’t inspire you…

Looking at her now, it’s hard to believe that, just one year ago, 68-year-old Donna McKinney spent her days huddled inside her home.

Each morning, she flipped on the TV and plopped down in front of it with her breakfast in hand. She drifted in and out of that room over and over throughout the day.

“I knew I was overweight, and I knew I needed to get in shape, but I was stuck,” Donna recalls.

A holiday visit with her daughter, who appeared much smaller and fitter than before, changed everything.

Donna asked, “What did you do?”

Her daughter told her about Precision Nutrition Coaching and Donna decided to sign up.

Her one goal: to get fit. She had two young, extremely active grandchildren. “I didn’t want to be the grandmother who couldn’t sit on the floor and play games with her grandkids,” she says.

Donna’s body transformed in ways she never expected. The first time she tried to do a Turkish get-up, she couldn’t figure out where her arms or legs were supposed to even go. But slowly, over time, and with a lot of patience, she broke down the exercise into tiny steps.

“One day, it was automatic. I could just knock those out without thinking. That was a breakthrough for me.”

Around the five-month mark, Donna’s hips started to feel stiff and then painful. The feeling traveled to her low back. After seeing a doctor, she had a diagnosis: arthritis and tendonitis.

“I was eating better and working out and losing weight—and now arthritis wanted to take control of my body? That didn’t feel fair,” she says. “Thank God for my coach.”

Coach Pam Ruland helped Donna to focus on what she could do—rather than on her limitations.

”Before I would just push, push, push. Telling myself, ‘I can do this. Don’t be a wimp. Get on with it,’” Donna says. “But I’ve got to find things that work for my body. I can accept that now. It’s helped me to look into myself so much more than I ever imagined.”

Donna before and after her 42-pound weight loss. Now she has no problem getting up off the floor–even while holding a grandkid.

A year later, Donna is 42 pounds lighter.

More important, Donna is filled to the brim with obvious energy. Her eyes sparkle. Her skin glows. Her smile seems ever-present.

And she’s the grandmother she’s always wanted to be. “I still have arthritis, and that’s not going to go away,” she says. “But we run and play and pretty much do anything they want to do.”

And that TV?

“It’s hardly on anymore,” Donna says. “A lot has changed. I feel like a very different person.”

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.

That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… 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 15th, 2020.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, we 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 become the fittest, strongest, healthiest version of yourself 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 14 people. 338 pounds lost. They transformed their bodies and lives. (And so can you.) appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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By the time Tina Cox-Vega hit her highest weight ever, she had a terrifying thought: “I was killing myself with food.” Here’s how she lost 100 pounds—and got her life back.

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Tina Cox-Vega stepped on the scale.

“265,” the doctor said.

Tina’s heart sank. At the time, she was 44. Her weight had been creeping up for years. Still, at 5-foot-6, she never thought it would get this high.

She drove home. Then cried.

“I knew I was on the path to 300 pounds. I felt so heavy and self-conscious. I needed special accomodations everywhere I went.”

Tina felt imprisoned by her body. The extra pounds were intensifying her chronic knee pain. Stairs? Forget it. She couldn’t stand for very long, either, which made it seem as if her life was slipping away without her participation.

Tina looked for excuses to avoid accompanying her family and friends to concerts and amusement parks. She just couldn’t keep up without resting. Plus, the long wait to get on a rollercoaster would be excruciating: When it was her turn to get on, she worried the attendant would say, “I’m sorry ma’am, but the harness won’t close.”

For years, Tina had been telling herself she would fix things—someday.

But that day in the doctor’s office, she knew “someday” had arrived.

So when her close friend Michelle Richards suggested Precision Nutrition Coaching, Tina took the advice seriously.

Michelle gushed about the goals she’d reached with PN coaching. She even offered to cover Tina’s fee, using some of the $25,000 she’d received from winning our body transformation contest.

Tina declined, but not because she wasn’t convinced. She just wanted to pay for it herself.

“I told Michelle: ‘If I don’t have a financial stake in this, I won’t do it.’”

In the first few weeks, Tina did an exercise called The 5 Whys, a method for uncovering the deeper motivation behind a goal. As Tina contemplated the questions, she realized that her motivation went way beyond just wanting to lose weight:

“I wanted to be healthy for my children. But on an even deeper level, I was afraid that I was slowly killing myself with food. I knew I needed help.”

Uncovering those “whys” fired Tina up so much that she committed herself to program. “I quietly read every lesson. I did every habit, every workshop, every workout,” she says.

At first, Tina struggled because of her knee issues. But her coach, Denise Allen, provided her with alternative exercises and, slowly, Tina’s fitness improved.

Adopting the PN approach of looking for ways to do things just “a little bit better,” Tina took small steps toward her goals.

She took the stairs at work instead of the elevator—even though she, at first, got so winded she wasn’t sure if she’d make it. Soon, she was purposely parking in the farthest spot in the lot, her old handicapped permit gathering dust in the glove box.

Next, she stopped relying on TV to lull her to sleep. She used meditation to wind down instead.

Tina was seeing physical results, too. Her weight dropped and her entire body changed. When she looked at photos of herself, she saw a new woman.

But around the program’s halfway mark, something happened that kicked Tina’s results into high gear.

One day, Tina posted in the PN coaching Facebook group, asking for recipes that she could make with her daughters.

Two weeks later, she got a package in the mail. Denise, her coach, had sent her the Gourmet Nutrition cookbook. Inside, Denise had written: “I want you to know you can do this.”

“I was literally in tears,” Tina says. “I was like, ‘Wow she really gives a damn. She wants me to succeed.’”

By the end of the year, Tina had lost 60 pounds and 50 inches. Her crippling knee pain was gone, and the clouds of depression had cleared. For the first time in a long time, she felt happy, empowered, and very much alive.

Tina was no longer afraid of dying. She was too busy living.

That line of thought, popularized by The Shawshank Redemption, rang true for Tina. And she wasn’t done. With Denise’s encouragement, Tina signed up for a second year of coaching.

Near the end of year two, Tina stepped on the scale, looked down, and cried: 165. She’d lost 100 pounds.

“I took a picture of the scale that day, so I could always remember it,” she says.

At times, Tina can hardly believe her transformation. Neither can her kids.

“They drove by and saw their mother, believe it or not, jogging,” she laughs.

Tina’s even playing volleyball again, a sport she loved in high school. “I’ve got my confidence back,” she says.

Perhaps best of all is the newly-strengthened bond with her daughters. Tina can now spend a whole afternoon out and about without needing to take a break or worrying about special accommodations.

“PN has done more than just help me lose weight. It has helped me grow closer to those around me,” Tina adds.

“I’m never going to go back to what I was before. And, honestly, I think PN saved my life.”

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.

That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… 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 15th, 2020.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, we 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 become the fittest, strongest, healthiest version of yourself 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 This woman lost 100 pounds. Her story has a lesson for everyone. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Jon McLernon’s heart was racing.

“Go to the hospital,” a voice screamed inside his head. “You’re dying.”

But he wasn’t dying, and he knew it. Years of career changes, international moves, extreme diet and exercise plans, injuries, and trauma from a violent incident overseas were all taking their toll.

He was having yet another panic attack.

He longed for comfort. But it was the middle of the night. His wife was asleep, and he didn’t want to wake her.

Plus, he didn’t want her to know.

He was a man, after all. He was supposed to be strong, right?

That’s why she called him the tin man.

The then-35-year-old quietly shuffled to the couch.

It seemed like the attacks were striking all the time now, despite the medication he took to treat them. Jon, who lives in Red Deer, Alberta, was suffering from so many panic attacks that he stopped going to the public places that triggered them, including the gym.

Instead, he squashed his uncomfortable emotions—guilt, shame, anger—with a familiar friend: food. The emotional eating combined with little to no exercise caused his weight to climb. At the beginning of 2017, he reached  290 pounds.

And he felt like a failure. He’d struggled with his weight since his early 20s, when he’d been sidelined from sports by a motorcycle accident. Since then, 6-foot-1 Jon longed to get back to his old athletic self.

“I looked back at who I was, and who I had become, and I felt so discouraged.”

Over the years, Jon had lost and regained a lot of weight. He’d tried so many diets and exercise strategies: keto, kettlebells, macro counting, HIIT workouts—you name it.

He tended to look for a quick, extreme fix. “I kept thinking, ‘I’ve just got to do this for 12 weeks, and then I’m done.’”

But because he was always all-or-nothing with his efforts, life had a tendency to get in the way, and his weight would balloon back up.

Jon knew he needed to do something before he landed back at his all-time high: 328 pounds. So he figured he’d just do what he’d always done: “white knuckle” through another extreme diet and exercise plan.

“I’ll just keep powerlifting two hours a day. Sleeping five hours a night. Working 14 hours a day. I’ll just beat myself harder, and my body will respond.”

A nutrition coach who helped run a supplement store, Jon knew a lot about health. But despite everything he knew about exercise and nutrition, his tactics weren’t working.

“I thought, ‘How can I know all this stuff and still not succeed?’”

Jon even tried working with two nutrition coaches. But he couldn’t stick to the rigid meal plans they were assigning him, which just made him feel worse: “That really made me almost self-destruct,” he says.

By the summer of 2017, Jon was exhausted and miserable. Luckily, during one of his many nutrition research sessions, he stumbled across Precision Nutrition.

Jon McLernon at the beginning of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Jon McLernon at the beginning of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

“Maybe they can help me…”

With PN, he immediately realized the approach would be different: Less focus on extreme diets and exercise programs, and more focus on sustainable changes. “They were speaking to me differently than I was used to,” he says.

So he took a leap of faith and signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Jon was surprised to discover that Scott Quick, his PN Coach, was nothing like his previous nutrition coaches who’d berated him for failing to count and track his macros.

“There was nothing judgmental about his approach. He didn’t talk to me like I was a failure. He didn’t talk to me with this expectation that I was going to let him down.”

Coach Scott met Jon’s efforts with compassion. And Jon wasn’t sure how to handle it. “Even then, I didn’t accept it with open arms,” Jon remembers.

But all that was about to change.

One day, Coach Scott asked Jon to make a list of everything that was important to him.

Then, Coach Scott followed up with a key question: “How far down the list do I have to go before I find Jon?”

The question hit Jon hard. “I was like, ‘Holy crap. Why don’t I love myself?’”

“I sat there and I actually cried,” he says.

Despite everything he’d tried—all the diets, exercise routines, supplement regimens—Jon realized he’d been missing a crucial piece. Until now, he never considered what he needed.

After years of keeping his emotions in a locked box, Jon finally allowed himself to feel. And Coach Scott was there to support him.

“He said, ‘It’s okay to feel these things.’ And that was a foreign message to me,” Jon says.

Jon even decided to tell his wife that he was having panic attacks. “Of course, she didn’t respond at all like I thought she would. She responded with compassion and care and concern.”

Now, Jon was ready to start working smarter instead of harder.

He started focusing on eating his meals slowly and not stuffing himself. He tried to become more aware of the reasons he overate, and better tune in to his body’s appetite signals.

Previously, Jon would have scoffed at simple nutrition strategies like these. But he was committed to letting go of his all-or-nothing approach.

He agreed to follow Coach Scott’s advice and start small, by practicing tiny daily actions consistently—instead of trying to overhaul his whole life at once. “Over time, it started to pay off,” Jon recalls.

His self-awareness grew. He recognized his pattern of emotional eating and sought out other, healthier outlets for his anxiety, like doing a few minutes of meditation each day.

Most of all, Jon started to prioritize himself and his own well-being. No more beating himself up, physically or emotionally.

“I’m not putting excessive demands on myself now,” he says. “Instead of trying to punish my body into health, I’m celebrating what I can do.”

Jon McLernon 60 lb. lighter after 12 months of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Jon McLernon 60 lb. lighter after 12 months of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Today, Jon is down 60 pounds since starting with PN.

While Jon’s certainly proud of his weight loss, he’s even happier with his inner transformation.

Jon’s wife no longer refers to him as a “tin man.” The intense and unsustainable diets? Gone. So are the nightly panic attacks.

“I got my life back,” he says. “And my wife got her husband back.”

Jon and his wife in a photo he labels “Not the tin man.”

Even better, Jon has taken what he learned during his PN Coaching experience and applied it with his own clients. He’s now a Precision Nutrition Level 2 Master Coach with a thriving business, Freedom Nutrition Coaching.

“It’s given me the sense of fulfillment I was always looking for—of being a part of something bigger than myself.”

Thriving mentally, physically, and emotionally, Jon has discovered deep health. Not just for twelve weeks, but for life.

Try It Now

One of the most powerful tactics Jon used to lose weight successfully: prioritizing his needs so he could consistently make time for himself.

We’re all busy, and we’re all surrounded by distractions (hello smart phone) along with people and situations that grab our attention. On top of this, many of us want to please and help others, which can make us feel guilty when we take time for ourselves.

Problem is: If we don’t make time for ourselves, we won’t consistently find time to do what’s needed—plan meals, shop for healthy foods, exercise—to reach our goals.

That’s why listing what’s most important to you is such a powerful tactic, says Coach Scott. “It gets very real, very fast,” he says. “It can be humbling, mind-blowing, and mind-opening.”

To try it for yourself, do the following:

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
  2. Make a list of every person, activity, and thing you love, value, and hold dear.
  3. Take a look at your list. Where do you fall on it? Do you make the cut?

For some people, this ultra-simple exercise is an immediate game-changer. Other people, however, struggle with their new revelations, wondering, “Yeah I realize I should move myself up the list, but…how?”

If the latter describes you, Coach Scott recommends yet another set of questions: Why do you feel this is a struggle? Why are you hesitating? What’s holding you back?

If you worry about competing priorities (for example, spending time with your kids) or letting others down, consider how you might say “Me, Too” instead of “Me, First,” says Coach Scott. In other words, how do you prioritize yourself and the people you love rather than choosing just one or the other?

For example, perhaps you could:

  • Include your family in your nutrition and fitness activities. For example, during a family celebration, could you say, “I’d like to go for a quick walk. Would anyone like to join me?”
  • Communicate your goals with coworkers and family members so they understand, for example, why you want to make time to prep food or go to sleep 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Ask for help. Imagine your daily routine. How might you move yourself—and especially your health and fitness goals—up your priority list while at home, at work, while traveling? What obstacles stand in your way? What small actions might family, coworkers, and friends take to help you overcome those obstacles?

And keep in mind: Yes, this is hard work. Change is uncomfortable. But so is stagnation, says Coach Scott. “It takes courage and discomfort to move yourself up the list,” he says. “But it’s okay to struggle because struggling means it’s important to 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.

That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… 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 15th, 2020.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, we 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 become the fittest, strongest, healthiest version of yourself 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 This man gave up extreme dieting and exercise. That’s when he finally lost 60 pounds. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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types of intermittent fastingIntermittent fasting has taken the world by storm. No longer is it the province of fitness freaks. No longer do you get weird looks because you skipped the break room donuts. Now you’ve got grandmothers trying it and doctors recommending it. It’s here, the benefits are legion, and you’re interested. But how should you do it? Are there different types of intermittent fasting? Are there different benefits associated with the various flavors of IF?

Thinking about fasting, reading about fasting, and reciting the benefits of fasting are all pointless if you don’t know how to go about doing it.

First, the most fundamental concept central to all the flavors of intermittent fasting is not eating. Skipping meals, skipping entire days of meals, letting yourself get a little hungry. There’s no getting around that. It will happen. let’s go over the different variations of fasting. I’ll give a quick rundown. Each involves not eating for a period of time, unsurprisingly.

A couple other rules that apply to all the given methods:

  1. Sleeping hours (provided you don’t sleep-eat) count as fasting hours.
  2. Eat well regardless. While some fasting plans tout their adherents’ ability to eat crappy food and still lose weight, I’m not interested in fasting solely as a weight loss method. Keep your food Primal as possible.

Okay, on to the variations.


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12:12, 16:8, 18:6, or 20:4 Intermittent Fasting

As the names suggest, these breakdowns of intermittent fasting involves fasting for either 12, 16, 18, or 20 hours and taking in all of your food for the day over the remaining window of hours.

How to find out which fasting length is the the best one for you? There’s only one way. You have to experiment.

You can start with a 12:12 intermittent fast, which comes with the benefits of intermittent fasting and is easy to do for most people. You stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime, and delay breakfast a couple of hours after waking. If that works well, extend your fasting period the next day, and repeat until you find the eating and fasting pattern that feels good.

Lots of diets have added more detail to the intermittent fasting model, but bare-bones intermittent fasting is simply a shorter feeding period.

If you’ve heard of Leangains, Martin Berkhan’s incredibly popular fasting protocol, you’ve heard of 16:8 intermittent fasting. How does it work?

  1. A daily 16 hour fast during which you eat nothing containing calories. Coffee, tea, and other non-caloric fluids are fine. Some people get away with a little cream in their drink.
  2. A daily 8 hour eating window.
  3. Three days of weight training, ideally performed at the tail end of the fasting period. To improve performance and muscle protein synthesis, you have the option of consuming 10 grams of branched chain amino acids 10 minutes before the workout.
  4. Always eat high protein.
  5. On training days, eat more carbs and less fat.
  6. On rest days, eat more fat, fewer carbs, and slightly reduce calories.
  7. Most people begin their fast after dinner (say, 9 PM), workout in the afternoon (at around 12 PM), and break their fast immediately post-workout (at around 1 PM), but you can use any schedule you prefer as long as you hit the 16 hours of fasting.
  8. Your post-workout meal should have about 50% of your day’s caloric allotment (a real feast).

Who should try it?

12 or 16 hours isn’t a long time to wait for a meal, which makes intermittent fasting a great model for anyone who wants to experiment with fasting. One benefit of fasting this way is that it’s not that long a fast – you eat every day. It is totally doable. Whether you add the detailed lifting days and carb days is up to you.

Women may have better success with slightly shorter fasting windows—12-14 hours long instead of 16 hours. To understand why, check out my post on women and fasting.

People with steady eating schedules will have more success than people with erratic schedules. A huge benefit of intermittent fasting is the hormonal entrainment induced by regular feeding times. Once you get locked into your routine, your hunger hormones will adapt to the schedule, and the fasting should get easier, or even effortless. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get a feeding schedule and stick to it.

OMAD — One Meal a Day

Ori Hofmekler’s plan is based on the feast-and-fast concept:

  1. Eat one meal a day, at night, and make it a big one. A real feast. You have three or four hours to eat until full. So it’s basically 20/4 hours.
  2. You can occasionally snack on low-calorie raw fruit and vegetables during the day, but try to limit protein as much as possible until the feast.
  3. Exercise during the day, in a fasted state.

Who should try it?

People who have trouble sticking to a stricter fast will do better on the OMAD, as it allows light eating during the time leading up to the feast, but I wonder if you’d be squandering some of the benefits by eating.

Alternate Day Fasting

Researchers often use this method in lab studies:

  1. Eat normally one day (last meal at, say, 9 PM Monday).
  2. Don’t eat the next day.
  3. Resume eating the day after that (at, say, 9 AM Wednesday).
  4. It works out to a 36-ish hour fast, although there’s plenty of wiggle room. You could eat at 10 PM Monday and break the fast at 6 AM Wednesday for a “mere” 32 hour fast.

Who should try it?

People who have no trouble going to bed hungry. With other intermittent fasting methods, you can always manage to get to bed with a full belly; with ADF, you will be going to bed on an empty stomach several times a week. That can be tough.

That said, the therapeutic benefits to serious conditions will most likely really be pronounced with this way of fasting. The casual 20-something Primal eater who lifts heavy things and enjoys going out with friends? Probably not ideal. The older Primal eater interested in generating some autophagy and maybe staving off neurodegeneration? It might just work out. And while I’m not able to tell a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy what to do, I’d guess that the longer fasts will be more beneficial in that regard, too.

Eat Stop Eat

Put together by Brad Pilon, Eat Stop Eat is really basic:

  1. Once or twice a week, don’t eat for 24 hours.
  2. Start your fast in the morning, at lunch, or at dinner. It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t eat for 24 hours.
  3. Break your fast with a “normal-sized meal.” Don’t try to make up for the lost calories by feasting.
  4. Exercise regularly.

Who should try it?

People interesting in fasting for the therapeutic benefits (cancer protection, autophagy, life extension, etc.) would probably get a lot out of this method, as opposed to people interested in the body composition benefits.

Going a full 24 hours without food is a much tougher slog than going for 16 hours. In my experience, going lower-carb and higher-fat makes longer fasts easier, so I’d have to say a low-carb Primal eater would do better than most.

But my personal favorite way of implementing fasting?

WHEN — When Hunger Ensues Naturally

I’m not going to put any bullet points here, because none are required. Instead, I’ll give a few scenarios:

I wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning. It’s about 65 degrees, the sun’s out, my dog is walking around with the leash in his mouth, and Red Rock Canyon is kinda calling my name. I’ve got my coffee already and I’m actually not all that hungry from dinner. You know what? I’ll go on that hike, skip breakfast, and really work up an appetite for lunch. Or not. If I’m hungry afterwards, I’ll eat. It’s a fast, but not really.

I hit the gym, put in a light workout, then swing by the beach for some sand sprints. I’m toast by the end and have to stagger back to my car, but I’m not hungry. Even when I get home and smell the grilled salmon, I have no desire for it. I might eat later that night, but only if my appetite returns. I’m fasting post-workout only because it doesn’t occur to me to eat, not because I’m following a plan.

I’m away on business, stuck on a layover that’s turned into a delay that’s turned into an overnighter. The only food available is a Kudos candy bar – I mean, healthy granola bar (they seriously still make these?) from the mini fridge, a greasy pizza joint on the corner across the street from the hotel, a Chinese takeout place next to the pizza joint, and a slew of fast food restaurants some ways down the road. It’s late, I’m tired, I had a Big Ass Salad before I left for LAX… you know what? I’m just going to skip the “meal.” I’ll figure out something at the airport in the morning (20 hour fast) or once I land (24 hour fast). And I’ll be okay either way.

That’s eating When Hunger Ensues Naturally.

This is the most natural, most effortless way of “fasting,” at least for me, because it allows a person to eat intuitively. Although most people will eventually acclimate to more regimented fasting schedules, and many may even need and thrive with that structure, I prefer a more fractal, loose, random pattern of “missing” (in quotations because I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, and that’s the whole point!) meals. I have no data on whether it’s as effective or more effective than the more popular methods, but I do know that I’ll often fast for 16 hours and eat for eight, or skip an entire day of eating, or sometimes (but very, very rarely) even approach a full 30 hours, and it seems likely that this random pattern of eating characterized the eating “schedules” of our ancestors.

In short, we’re all doing the same thing, chasing the same goals. We’re all skipping meals, reducing calories, staying active, and all the while we’re doing this without feeling miserable and restricted. It just so happens that because we’re efficient Primal fat-burning beasts, switching over to burning our own body fat reserves for energy during a fast is a natural, seamless transition. We often don’t even notice it. There’s no effort involved.

That’s the key: lack of stress. If any or all of these fasting methods stress you out, make you irritable, kill your performance, make you feel restricted, or reduce your ability to enjoy life, and these feelings persist beyond the first five fasts you attempt (when some adaptation difficulties are totally expected), you shouldn’t employ them. You should shelve fasting for a while and come back to it later, or never. It’s not a “requirement” or anything. It’s just a tool you can wield if your situation warrants it. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to conduct an informal experiment of one. Try one style for a week or two, then throw in a a different style once or twice a week for a bit, then try another method. Compare and contrast. How did you feel? How did you perform at work, at home, and in the gym? Take some waist measurements perhaps, or analyze your favorite barometer of body composition to see how the different fasting methods worked – or didn’t work – for you.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. What’s your favorite fasting method? Do you have one, or you just kinda go with the flow? Be sure to review the previous installments below and if you have any questions about any of the stuff I’ve covered in this series, leave them in the comment section and I’ll try to get them answered for you next week. Thanks for reading!

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The post How to Intermittent Fast and Which Type of Fasting Is Right For You appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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benefits of intermittent fastingAt this point, intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept, nor is it a difficult one. You take in all of your calories for the day within a limited window of time, and the rest of the day, you stick with water, maybe a cup of coffee, or tea in the morning if you feel so inclined. The idea is that giving your body a period of time “off” from digesting food allows your cells to heal and renew in other ways.

A Practice Born Because Calorie Restriction is Unpleasant

Intermittent fasting became popular because calorie restriction was found to contribute to healthy aging. A few mouse and worm studies seem to show that drastic reductions in food intake over a long period of time could prolong your life.

The research is compelling, but I’m not convinced actively restricting your calorie intake through sheer will is the true path to enjoyable longevity. I don’t want to be thin, frail, distractible, or preoccupied with food. I’d rather be vibrant and full of zest. I want to eat big strapping meals of steak and veggies smothered in butter without worrying about calories. I want to maintain muscle mass and have enough energy to go on long hikes and have the legs to still leap for high passes (over the young guys) at the end of Ultimate games. And as I appreciate the neuroprotective and autophagy-promoting qualities of calorie restriction, I’d rather not expend the mental energy and fortitude required to maintain such a regimen day-in and day-out.

Intermittent fasting is the workaround. Pushing off breakfast for a few hours gives me all of the benefits of calorie restriction, without all the misery.

Fasting is the way to have your cake and eat it too. Beyond the already proven benefits of a Primal Blueprint low-carb lifestyle, fasting once in a while seems to offer many of the same benefits of calorie restriction – you know, stuff like increased longevity, neuroprotection, increased insulin sensitivity, stronger resistance to stress, some cool effects on endogenous hormone production, increased mental clarity, plus more – but without the active, agonizing restriction.

You just eat Primally, focusing on meat and vegetables with plenty of animal fat, and skip meals on occasion. A sixteen-hour fast is on the low-but-still-effective end, or you could opt for longer, more intermittent fasts – say, a full twenty-four hours once or twice a week. Women may need to time fasts a little differently than men. More on that here.

When you’re done with the fast, eat as much as you want (which usually isn’t an issue, once you’re keto-adapted). It essentially turns into “eat when you’re hungry,” because let’s face it: eating the types of foods we evolved eating induces powerful satiety and makes eating the right amount of food a subconscious act. Fasting becomes a whole lot easier (and intuitive) when you’ve got your food quality dialed in. And I’ll come back to that little caveat at the end here.

“Fasting” was the top search term for MDA last week, and I hadn’t done a big post on it in a while, so I thought I’d do a comprehensive rundown of all the benefits (some conclusive, others prospective) you can expect to obtain from IF.


You can have a fun night out and stay on track. Instantly download the Primal and Keto Guide to Dining Out


Intermittent Fasting and Longevity

Everyone wants to live longer, but I find longevity pointless if you’re not enjoying yourself. Otherwise, life becomes dreary.

The popular c. elegans worm enjoys increased longevity with both twenty-four and forty-eight hour IFs via signaling through a gene that we all have.full PDF) from the 1940s found that varying amounts of twenty-four hour IFs (every other day, every fourth day, every eighth day, etc) prolonged the lifespan of rats without retarding or stunting the growth (as occurred with calorie restricting them). Female rats responded best to every eight day fasts, while males responded best to every other day fasts.

Reductions in brain insulin signaling have been shown to increase lifespan in animals, either by calorie restricting or actively knocking out brain insulin receptors.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21244426‘>3

Blood Lipids

Going in and pharmaceutically manhandling your cholesterol synthesizing equipment is one thing; eating real food and exercising, resulting in possible alterations to your lipid profile, is another. We don’t set out to force your blood lipids into submission, but lifestyle changes that happen to change them for “the better” are usually a good thing. Fasting brings potent changes to blood lipids in an “organic” way – you’re just letting your machinery do its thing on its own – and this is probably a very good thing.

Intermittent fasting is as effective or even more effective than calorie restriction in improving metabolic syndrome markers in overweight women, and it’s a whole lot easier to stick with.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20300080‘>5

I discussed this last week, but it can’t hurt to mention that short-term alternate day fasting wrought improvements in LDL particle size and distribution in obese adults.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20815899‘>7

Heck, intermittent fasting even helped cocaine addicts stick to their treatment and rehab program.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18184721‘>9 In fact, here’s a review of most of the animal anti-cancer evidence.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19135806‘>11 This is refreshing news. A preliminary studyhttp://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/296/1/R29.full‘>13 I’ve found this to be the case for me. If the body “needs” food right after a workout, why would hunger be blunted? This is why I tend to hold off on the eating post-workout. Every little bit helps, especially as you age.

Neurological Health

Fasting doesn’t cause your brain tissue to waste away, contrary to what some people will tell you. It’s actually good for brain health. Any dietary restriction tends to increase neuronal plasticity and promote neurogenesis, but it was IF that had the greatest effect (with the fewest downsides).http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01586.x/full‘>15 That is, mice who ate larger meals more infrequently saw greater increases in brain and overall bodily health. Still another study found that IF was beneficial for peripheral nerve function in mice by promoting the maintenance of the neuronal pathways responsible for locomotor performance.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21106691‘>17), which is the process by which cells recycle waste material, eliminate or downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Why is autophagy so important? It’s required to maintain muscle masshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20104028‘>19  It reduces the negative effects of aginghttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17934054‘>21

Without the autophagy that fasting provides, you would get very few of the benefits. Fasting even increases neuronal autophagy,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21051570‘>23 (which mean better performance down the line), improved muscle protein synthesis,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20187284‘>25 (you’ll earn your meal and make more muscle out of it if you train on an empty stomach). Studies on Muslim athletes during Ramadan show no effect on performance while fasting,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19787180‘>27 in those who exercise and fast rather than just fast. When you train in a fasted state, glycogen breakdown is blunted28 and more fat is burned, leaving you more glycolytic energy in the tank for when you really need it and less body fat. Those are just a sampling of the benefits to fasted training; there are dozens more.

Mental Well-being and Clarity

A lot of health influencers will tell you that failure to eat something every few hours will cause mental fog and sluggishness, so keep a banana or a granola bar on your person at all times. Of course, this is all based on an assumption that we need to supply exogenous carbs on a regular basis to properly fuel the brain. This notion that fasting is only the province of anorexics or “caveman” has kept many people from experiencing the vast array of benefits.

I maintain that one’s comfort in handling intermittent fasting effortlessly does increase dramatically when you’ve reprogrammed those cells (and genes) to predispose your body to derive most of your day-to-day energy from fat, as opposed to constantly dipping into glycogen stores (as happens when we rely so much on refeeding carbs every few hours).

Overall, fasting just seems right. It’s like a reset button for your entire body, presumably across a large spectrum of maladies and dysfunctions. It puts your body into repair mode – at the cellular level – and it can restore normal hormonal function in the obese or overweight. Now, you don’t have to fast, but it’s definitely something to consider.

Have you tried intermittent fasting yet? Let me know how intermittent fasting has worked – or hasn’t – with your lifestyle in the comment section!

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