Worried you’re eating too much sugar? Wondering how much is safe to eat? Or whether it’s bad for you… no matter what? It’s time we took a clear-headed look at this topic. It’s time you heard the truth about sugar.

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Is sugar “good”?

Is sugar “bad”?

It’s hard to know for sure these days.

Which is interesting because…

Sugar is a fundamental molecule in biology.

Human bodies need sugar.

Sugar makes up the backbone of our DNA. Helps power our cells. Helps store energy for later. Plants convert sunlight into sugar. We convert sugar into fuel.

Molecules like glucose and fructose (just two of the many types of sugar) are so basic to our biological needs, even bacteria love them.

Indeed, sugar’s the breakfast of champions, chemically speaking.

Yet, somewhere along the way, sugar became the bad guy.

Why did we start hating on sugar?

When did we start wanting to purge it from our bodies?

Why do some of us fear it so much?

At this point… do we just need a little relationship counseling?

Or is it a toxic relationship?

Is it time to part ways?

The truth is, this is a difficult conversation to have because…

Almost all of us are emotionally invested in our position on sugar.

Talking about it brings up a lot of controversy and intense debate, even among scientists who are supposed to be “objective”.

So why not step back and take a fresh look?

In this article, we’ll explore five key questions about sugar:

  • Does sugar cause obesity?
  • Does sugar cause us to gain weight / fat?
  • Does sugar cause diabetes?
  • Does sugar cause cardiovascular disease?
  • How much sugar is OK to eat?

Yes, we’re biased too.

At Precision Nutrition, we generally consider ourselves ‘nutritional agnostics’. (Case in point: our view on the absolute best diet.)

We help people become their healthiest, fittest, strongest selves—in a way that works for their unique lives and bodies.

In our work with over 100,000 clients clients, we’ve learned a few things…

… that one size doesn’t fit all,

… that an all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work for most people,

… that fitness and health habits should be doable on your worst day, not just your best.

So here’s our bias in this article.

We follow the complexities of nutrition evidence as best we can, always interpreting them through the lens of:

  • How does practice X or Y work for us, for the clients we coach, and for the fitness professionals we certify?
  • Does said practice help us make our food choices wiser, saner, and simpler?
  • Does it address individual differences between people?
  • (And if not, how can we help adapt each person’s diet to match their unique needs?)

You can ask yourself these same questions as you go through the article. And, of course, feel free to come to your own conclusions.

But first, let’s get to know our sugars.

What is sugar?

Most of us think of “sugar” as the white stuff we put in coffee, or maybe what makes up 90% of those colored marshmallow cereals.

However, “sugar” is actually a group of molecules that share a similar structure. So we might actually call them “sugars”, plural.

This group includes lots of members such as:

  • glucose
  • fructose
  • sucrose, aka table sugar (which is glucose + fructose)
  • maltose (which is glucose + glucose)
  • galactose
  • lactose (galactose + glucose, found in dairy)

And so on.

Sugars naturally occur in biology and in most foods (even if just in trace amounts). For example, here’s what the breakdown of sugars looks like in a banana:

This is what the breakdown of sugars looks like in a banana.

There is, of course, much more sugar in processed and refined foods than in less-processed and unrefined foods.

(We’ll come back to this important point in a moment.)

Sugars live under the larger umbrella of “carbohydrates”.

Along with the sweet stuff, this macronutrient group also includes:

  • starches (like in potatoes or rice),
  • fiber (like the husks of whole grains), and
  • structural building blocks like chitin (which makes up the shells of crustaceans) or cellulose (which makes up things like the trunks of trees).

The more complex the molecule, the slower it digests.

  • Sugars, which are simpler, digest more quickly.
  • Starches and fiber, which are bigger, more complicated molecules, digest more slowly, if at all. (This is why eating more fiber can help us feel fuller, longer.)

Most carbohydrates are actually broken down into simpler sugars once they’re digested.

Other carbohydrates (such as insoluble fiber) don’t really get broken down nor absorbed fully, although our intestinal bacteria often love munching on them.

So: Sugars are a type of carbohydrate, but not all carbohydrates are sugars. And some carbohydrates break down quickly/easily into sugars. Others don’t.

This point is important to understand, because it tells us that not all carbohydrates do exactly the same things in our bodies.

Evolution has helpfully given us the ability to “taste” sugar.

Sugar-type molecules react with receptors on our tongue, which then tell our brain “OM NOM NOM DELICIOUS!”

Sugar tastes good to us, because in nature, sweet foods like fruits are often full of good stuff like vitamins, minerals, and energy.

But we differ in our physiology and behavior.

In all things, humans are diverse and variable.

Some of us like and seek out sugar more than others. This may be genetic. Or we may have learned it as we grew up. Or both.

For example, some of us like sugar in small doses; we can only eat a little before pushing the dessert plate away. While others like it a lot; the more we eat the more we want. The idea of “too much sugar” doesn’t compute.

Likewise, some of our bodies seem better suited to sugar than others.

For example, some of us can eat sugar all day long and feel fine. While others can only tolerate a little bit before our pancreas (which secretes insulin, a hormone that helps sugar get into the cells) tells us to knock it off.

In general, most of us like at least some sweetness.

When we’re young, we tend to like sweetness more and avoid bitter foods more. Yet each person’s response to sugar and sweet taste is unique.

With that said, let’s get back to the questions at hand. Starting with…

Question #1:
Does sugar cause obesity?

The term “obese” (or “overweight”) is, like sugar, a contentious thing. In this article we’ll use it just for the purpose of discussion, so bear with us.

The World Health Organization defines “obese” as having a Body Mass Index higher than 30. Of course, some fit athletes (like heavyweight boxers or rugby players) might have a higher BMI but still have a low body fat percentage.

However, for most folks, having a BMI higher than 30 signifies that they have a higher-than-average level of body fat. 

(Indeed, some studies that correlate BMI with body fat testing suggest that BMI may even under-estimate how much body fat a person has.)

When it comes to obesity, there have always been people who are heavier, and/or who have more body fat, than most other folks like them.

However, over the last several decades, “average people” in industrialized countries have gotten heavier, bigger, and gained more body fat fairly rapidly.

It’s now statistically “normal”.

Although this shift is happening worldwide, and there are differences by ethnic group and socioeconomic class, it’s particularly noticeable as a general trend in the United States.

Obesity rates in the United States

Along with body weights, we can look at changes in body fat percentage and overall fitness levels. Here, we also see that over time, body fat percentage has gone up, and fitness levels have gone down.

Currently in the United States, the average body fat percentage for men is around 28%, and the average for women is around 40%.

For comparison:

  • In general, 11-22% for men, and between 22-33% body fat for women, is considered a “healthy” range.
  • Lower than that is still “healthy” (to a point), but generally considered “athletic” or “lean”.

The percentage of body fats in U.S. adults

Does increased sugar consumption explain body weight trends?

Could sugar be responsible for changing body weights and body compositions in industrialized countries?

By reviewing data from the USDA Economic Research Service, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), as well as Food Frequency Questionnaires from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, we can track food intake from multiple angles. These varying streams of data all show fairly consistent trends.

They tell us that, since 1980, Americans:

  • Continued to eat the same total amount of fat.
    (Though they generally ate less naturally-occurring fats, like in whole fat dairy, and ate more added fats, like oils.)
  • Ate more carbohydrates.
    (Especially refined ones that included added sugars.)

So, as a percent of total calories consumed, fat dropped. But we didn’t end up eating less fat. We just added more sugar and other carbs on top of the fat we were already eating.

This added up to approximately 200-400 extra calories per day.

In terms of calories, that’s like eating an extra McDonald’s hamburger or a double cheeseburger, on top of your existing meals, every day.

Whether those calories came from sugar is probably irrelevant.

This increased energy intake alone, combined with decreasing rates of daily physical activity, is probably enough to explain people getting heavier.

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

We can’t say that sugar specifically was the culprit behind the obesity surge for everyone. (Remember, humans vary.)

But our increased sugar consumption does seem to correlate with continued obesity levels… up until recently.

For about four hundred years, human beings have been enjoying more and more sugar.

Once Europeans discovered tropical trading routes and set up cheap slave labor economies to raise sugar cane, sugar became more and more available to the average person.

Indeed, sugar quickly became the food of the poor.

(It was said that the entire working class of the British Isles lived on jam and sugared tea during the Industrial Revolution.)

As a prime colonial power, the British once claimed the title of biggest sugar consumers. Per year, the average Brit consumed:

  • 4 lbs (1.8 kg) in 1704.
  • 18 lbs (8.2 kg) in 1800.
  • 90 lbs (40.8 kg) in 1901.

However, once they got rolling as a country, Americans weren’t far behind. Per year, the average American consumed:

  • 6 lbs (2.7 kg) of sugar in 1822.
  • 40 lbs (18.1 kg) in 1900.
  • 90 lbs (40.8 kg) by the 1920s.
  • There was a subsequent drop due to the Great Depression & World War II.
  • 90 lbs per person again by the 1980s.

Then they really took off: By 1999, the US reached peak sugar consumption of nearly 108 lbs (49 kg) of sugar per person per year.

Between 1980-1999 Americans ate more sugar. And obesity rates got higher.

But then something changed: Our sugar consumption actually started to decrease.

Interestingly, since 1999 through 2013 (most recent data available) intake of added sugar has actually declined by 18% (or as much as 22%, depending on the data).

This drop has brought Americans’ current added sugar intake back down to 1987 levels.

And during this time, total carbohydrate intake has dropped as well. (Makes sense, as this was the dawn of the low-carb phenomenon.)

Nevertheless, though sugar and carb intake have declined over those 14 years, adult obesity has continued to climb—from 31% of the American population in 1999 to 38% as of 2013.

(Diabetes diagnoses have continued to climb as well, which we’ll address in a moment.)

US Sugar Intake vs Obesity Prevalence - 1980-2013

So, despite lowering sugar intake by nearly 20% over a 14 year period, obesity (and diabetes) rates have continued to climb.

Along with sex, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences in obesity rates, this suggests that changing body sizes and compositions is probably a complex, multi-factored phenomenon.

Bottom line here: No single thing—including sugar—causes obesity.

Many factors work together to contribute to a consistent energy (calorie) surplus, which ultimately leads to fat gain. One of those things is often sugar, but not always, and not alone.

Question #2:
Does sugar cause us to gain weight / fat?

So, we can’t unequivocally blame sugar for increased obesity rates.

But many of us are still wondering whether sugar is a gateway to fat gain.

It seems logical. Carb and sugar consumption are the main drivers of insulin release. Insulin’s job is to help store nutrients, including fat.

Therefore, it seems obvious. Carbs and sugar cause fat gain, right?

Once again, our scientist friends reveal that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Let’s take a look at a couple of studies that explore this question.

Study 1: How do carbs, sugar, and/or insulin release affect body fat?

In 2015, a small pilot study was conducted by Dr. Kevin Hall to investigate the carb/sugar/insulin model of obesity.

What happens if we keep calories and protein the same, but play with dietary sugar and fat levels?

Here’s how the study worked.

  • 19 participants had to live in a metabolic ward, where the researchers controlled virtually everything about how they lived, what they ate, etc.
  • The participants tried both lower carbohydrate (LC) and lower fat (LF) diets.
  • They followed each diet for two weeks, separated by a 2-4 week period during which they returned to normal eating.
  • All participants spent the first five days of either the low-carb or low-fat diets following a baseline plan of 50% carbs, 35% fat, and 15% protein. This was done so that all participants started on an even playing field with an intake that virtually matches what the average American eats.
  • Each participant had to exercise on a treadmill for one hour every day for the full two weeks, to make sure physical activity levels were consistent and equal.
  • After the first five days, both groups had their calories reduced by 30% from the baseline diet (1918 calories vs 2740 calories). They then ate the lower calorie diet for six days.
  • With both diets, energy intake (i.e. calories) and protein were kept the same. Only carbs and fat went up or down.

Lower carbohydrate:

  • 101 g protein (21% of cals).
  • 108 g fat (50% of cals).
  • 140 g carbohydrate (29% of cals).

Lower fat:

  • 105 g protein (21% of calories).
  • 17 g of fat (8% of calories).
  • 352 g carbohydrate (71% of calories).

Lower carbohydrate and lower fat diets - comparison

Let’s take a closer look at how much the study participants actually ate.

On the lower carbohydrate diet:

  • Of their carbohydrates, 37 g was sugar. This means that 8% of all calories were coming from sugar.
  • This is much less than the average American eats.

On the lower fat diet:

  • Of their carbohydrates, 170 g was sugar. This means that 35% of all their calories were coming from sugar. That is a lot of sugar.

Chart showing the sugar intake compared to typical American consumption (based on a study)

So what happened?

Insulin production:

  • On the Lower Carbohydrate diet, people produced 22% less insulin throughout the day.
  • The Lower Fat diet didn’t change insulin output at all, since it had the same total carbs, and even slightly more sugar than the baseline diet.

Body weight:

  • People on the Lower Carbohydrate diet lost 4 lbs (1.81 kg) of body weight, and 1.16 lbs (0.53 kg) of body fat.
  • People on the Lower Fat diet lost 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of body weight, which included 1.29 lbs (0.59 kg) of body fat.

Note that body weight loss doesn’t necessarily equal body fat loss.

We can also lose body weight from losing glycogen, water, and/or body protein—and that’s exactly what happened to the people on the Lower Carb diet.

They lost more overall body weight, but actually lost less fat. (Though a difference of 0.13 lbs is irrelevant in the big picture. Who would notice that?)

Meanwhile, the folks on the Lower Fat diet lost more body fat but less total weight because their body was busy burning fat (rather than glycogen or lean body mass) to meet its calorie needs.

After these results were in, the researchers then ran validated mathematical models that showed over longer periods of time (say, longer than 6 months), the fat loss between the two groups would be roughly equal.

In other words, there was no particular physiological advantage to either diet in terms of body weight, nor body fat loss, over the longer term.

Study 2: Fine, let’s go lower.

For this second study, the game got hardcore: Drop the carbs and sugar much lower for the Lower Carbohydrate group, just to make sure the minimal differences found in the first study hadn’t been because the carbs and sugar weren’t low enough.

Here’s how this second study worked:

  • 17 overweight or obese people participated.
  • First, they followed a high-carb but calorically-restricted baseline diet for 4 weeks (with 25% of calories from sugar).
  • Then, they spent 4 weeks on a very-low-carb ketogenic diet (with 2% of calories from sugar), with equal calories to the baseline diet.

So what happened?

The researchers found that everyone lost weight and fat throughout the study.

However, when subjects switched from the high-carb, 25%-sugar baseline diet to the ketogenic, 2%-sugar diet, fat loss actually slowed down for the first few weeks.

Much like the previous study, this happened because as people’s bodies adapted to the ketogenic diet, they were more likely to break down fat-free mass and protein stores (e.g. muscle).

Thus:

  • Weight loss went faster during the ketogenic phase, thanks to losing glycogen and water.
  • But body fat loss was actually less during this phase (though not tremendously so, and it likely wouldn’t make any significant difference over time).

Overall, the researchers stated that based on the current evidence, as well as their validated mathematical models, long-term body fat loss would likely be very similar between the high sugar (high-carb) diet and the low sugar (low-carb) diet.

In other words, the amount of sugar didn’t seem to influence the results.

In the end, these, plus other studies, seem to support the idea that:

Sugar, carbohydrate intake, and/or insulin alone probably aren’t the main drivers of weight gain.

Other research comparing low-carb diets to low-fat diets has found similar results. The same results have also been found with:

  • Meta-analyses: Big reviews of other studies. These types of data are considered among the most robust as they explore a lot of experiments from a much broader perspective, pulling in evidence from dozens or even hundreds of studies to try to draw conclusions.
  • Systematic reviews: Methodologically rigorous comparisons and critical analyses of other studies. These type of reviews are also considered useful, because they take a skeptical perspective, looking for errors.

There have been at least 20 controlled in-patient feeding studies where protein and calories are kept equal, but carbs are varied from 20% to 75% of total calories (and sugar intakes ranged significantly as well).

Of all these studies, none of them found any truly significant differences in body fat levels when people were eating either high carb (and high sugar) or low carb (and low sugar) diets.

In other words, as long as protein and calories were equal, the amount of sugar people ate didn’t make a difference.

There have been at least 12 other systematic reviews and meta-analyses published over the past 10+ years on long-term low-carb diets (which are invariably also low-sugar diets).

Of these 12 reviews:

  • 3 were in favor of low-carb
  • 3 were in favor of non-low-carb comparisons (e.g. low fat, Mediterranean, vegan, low glycemic index, etc.)
  • 6 were neutral, meaning they concluded that various approaches can be equally valid and effective.

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

Sweet foods may increase energy intake.

In 2013, a review commissioned by the World Health Organization investigated how sugar affected fat gain.

It found that increasing sugar intake can increase body weight, and lowering sugar intake can decrease body weight… but only by changing energy balance, not by any physiological or metabolic effect of sugar itself.

In other words, if we eat more sugary foods, we might be eating more energy (i.e. calories) overall.

Sweet foods are often processed and highly palatable.

This is especially true because most high-sugar foods are refined, tasty, and hard to stop eating. We digest and absorb the energy they contain quickly and easily, they overstimulate the reward/pleasure centers in our brain, and we tend to overeat them.

Plus, hidden sugars in processed foods (like yogurt, granola, juice) or even so-called “health foods” / “fitness foods” can add up fast without us even realizing.

These foods and our brain’s response to them, not the sugar by itself, can often lead to overconsumption.

So the sugar itself may be less of a culprit than the fact that many of us just can’t quit at just one gummi bear or sip of soda.

What else is going on, besides sugar consumption?

Most of our clients who struggle with their weight, body fat, eating habits, and health tell us: It’s not just about the food. There are many factors involved: stress, sleep, metabolic health, lifestyle, social environment, and so forth.

Sugar alone does not explain the complexity of our bodies’ health, function, fat percentage, nor weight. Metabolism is complicated.

And, as always, remember that people vary in response to particular diets.

Some people do better with higher carbohydrates and lower fats. Some do better the other way round.

This is likely due to genetic differences, individual satiety differences from fats vs carbs, personal preferences, and possibly even differences in the bacterial populations in our GI tracts.

The above studies don’t provide hard and fast rules that will always apply to everyone.

This is especially true given that many study populations were small and probably similar in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, and other important factors that can affect our physiological response to a given diet.

But they do indicate that sugar is not some kind of unusually evil substance that causes weight gain or prevents fat loss.

Question #3:
Does sugar cause diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where we can’t properly regulate the sugar in our blood.

It seems logical, then, that eating more sugar might increase our risk for diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which typically starts in childhood and is considered an autoimmune disease (in which our own bodies attack healthy cells of our pancreas, which normally produces insulin), Type 2 diabetes typically starts later in life and (among other factors) is linked to long-term food and exercise behaviors.

Type 2 diabetes generally starts with insulin resistance, or impaired glucose control.

This means that over time, insulin is less and less able to do its job of moving glucose into our cells for safe storage. Your doctor might test this with various blood tests, such as an A1c test, which measures how much sugar is being carried around on hemoglobin, a blood protein.

Type 2 diabetes (as well as other metabolic diseases) are also related to how much fat we have in our livers and in or around other organs (such as our hearts and kidneys).

There does seem to be a link between how much refined sugar we eat and insulin resistance. Eating too much sugar can also increase fat accumulation in the liver.

For example, a recent study found that for every 150 calorie increase in daily sugar intake (essentially a 12 oz soda, or ~37 g) corresponded with a 1.1% increased risk for diabetes.

Other factors shape our disease risk, too.

That risk above might sound scary, but it’s important to keep it in perspective.

Other research has shown that losing 7% body weight and doing about 20 minutes of daily physical activity decreased diabetes risk by 58%.

And many other studies have corroborated those findings, telling us that losing a little weight / fat and doing a little more exercise, consistently, will significantly lower our diabetes risk.

In fact, a recent meta-analysis provided some compelling information on diabetes risk:

  • ~60-90% of Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity or weight gain, not sugar intake.
  • Having a significant amount of excess body fat / weight can increase diabetes risk by 90 times.
  • If people who are in the obese category lose about 10% of their initial body weight, they dramatically improve their blood glucose control.
  • Weight management (not sugar reduction) appears to be the most important therapeutic target for most individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

This makes sense if we understand how adipose (fat) tissue works: It’s a biologically active tissue that secretes hormones and other cell signals.

If we have too much of it, adipose tissue can disrupt metabolic health, including how we regulate and store blood sugar.

Does fructose contribute?

Some researchers have suggested that fructose, a particular type of simple sugar (aka monosaccharide) found in fruit as well as many processed foods, might play a special role in diabetes.

We know that fructose is digested, absorbed, and used in specific ways in our bodies.

Does that mean that fructose might have unique properties that could increase our diabetes risk?

Let’s take a look.

One meta-analysis looked at 64 substitution trials (in which fructose replaced another carbohydrate with no change in total calories), and 16 addition trials (where fructose was added to normal intake).

  • In the trials where fructose was substituted for another carbohydrate, the average fructose intake was 102 g per day.
  • In the trials where fructose was added on top of the participants’ normal intake, the average fructose intake was 187 g per day.

Compared to the average American fructose consumption of ~49 g per day, these are extraordinary intakes. To achieve those kinds of intakes would require up to 13 cups of ice cream, or consumption of 10 cans of soda.

Possible? Yes.

Daily norm? Sure hope not.

Diagram showing the comparison of experimental fructose intake in grams per day

A recent review paper summed up the state of the evidence on fructose nicely, essentially stating:

The best-quality evidence to date does not support the theory that fructose intake directly causes cardiometabolic diseases.

The review added that fructose-containing sugars can lead to weight gain, along with increases in cardiometabolic risk factors and disease, but only if those fructose-laden foods provide excess calories.

Overall, research does suggest that a high intake of all sugar (including fructose) might slightly increase the risk of diabetes development by itself.

However, this research also indicates that most of this risk is due to the high sugar intake leading to excess calorie intake, and therefore increased body fat (which leads to inflammation, and ultimately insulin resistance).

An absolutely immense amount of research consistently and strongly indicates that the main causes of diabetes are:

  • excess body fat,
  • inadequate physical activity, and
  • genetic predisposition.

On that last point, we know that diabetes risk, as well as risk of metabolic diseases and propensity to gain body fat, differs significantly by ethnic group or genetic subgroup. For instance, many groups of indigenous people are vastly more likely to struggle with these issues, as are people of African ancestry living in North America, or people of South Asian ancestry.

So your personal risk of these diseases also depends on where your ancestors came from, what genetic makeup they gave you, and/or how that genetic makeup interacts with your environment.

The bottom line here: Managing your sugar intake is just one small tool in your diabetes-fightin’ toolbox. However, far and away, the most useful tool is weight (and body fat) management, however you manage to accomplish it.

Question #4:
Does sugar cause cardiovascular disease?

The term “cardiometabolic disease” refers to a broad group of related diseases, like the Type 2 diabetes we mention above, along with other diseases related to the complex phenomenon of:

  • metabolic disruption,
  • changes in hormonal and cell signaling,
  • inflammation, and
  • an inability to regulate normal physiological processes (like DNA repair).

These diseases can appear in many organs or organ systems. When they hit the heart and/or circulatory system of blood vessels, we call them “cardiovascular disease”. They show up as things like heart attacks, strokes, clogged arteries, and so forth.

A heart attack, or heart disease, used to be a death sentence. With better treatment and new medications, people are surviving longer and living better with cardiovascular disease.

Over the past 50 years or so, deaths from heart disease have declined by over 60% despite sugar intake increasing by about 20 lbs per person per year over that time (and by more than 30 lbs per person per year at the 1999 peak intake).

Researchers estimate that about half of that 60% decrease might be from better medical care. The other half likely comes from reducing the risk factors, such as:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • smoking less
  • lowering blood cholesterol levels

Of course, as we’ve seen, consuming more energy in the form of sugar can increase body fat. And, because of its chemically active nature, more body fat definitely increases cardiovascular disease risk.

So eating a lot of sugar can certainly play a role.

But cardiovascular disease, as with other metabolic diseases, is complex.

It’s not just one thing.

It’s all the things.

It’s how we live, how we work, how active we are, how stressed we are, what’s in our environment, and the various other factors that influence our health.

There are other factors besides sugar in metabolic disease.

Indeed, if we look at factors that we know for sure are related to the risk of metabolic disease, only about 3% of Americans uphold four essential healthy lifestyle behaviors consistently:

  • Not smoking.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day 5 times a week at a moderate intensity.

On top of that, let’s consider two other known preventative methods for metabolic disease…

  • Keeping stress levels moderate.
  • Sleeping well, 7-9 hours per night, consistently.

…now we’re probably at 1% of Americans.

Once again, sugar intake is probably one piece of the puzzle. But it’s just one piece—and probably a very small one.

Question #5:
How much sugar is OK to eat?

Let’s get real here.

Sugar is not a health food.

It doesn’t nourish us.

It doesn’t add a lot of nutrient value: It doesn’t give us any vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, or water.

Eating a lot of sugar doesn’t make our bodies better, stronger, healthier, or more functional.

Sugar doesn’t add value, certainly not when compared to other foods or macronutrients like protein or omega-3 fatty acids.

But biology is complex.

Diseases are complex too.

We can’t blame one chemical for all the health problems we have.

Good health is neither created nor destroyed by a single food.

Again, human beings are diverse.

We vary widely in all kinds of ways, including:

  • How much carbohydrates we need to thrive or perform well.
  • How well we digest, absorb, and use sugars, as well as how effectively and safely we store or dispose of the excess.
  • How sugar affects our appetite, hunger, fullness, ability to stop eating it.
  • How we feel about and behave around sugar.
  • How sugar “spins our brain dials” and gives us a sense of reward.

So we can’t say that “X amount of sugar is always best for everyone, all the time” or that “People should never eat any sugar.” It just doesn’t work that way.

  • Some people might choose to cut out sugar completely.
  • Some people might try to micromanage their intake down to the gram.
  • Some people can just roll with a general “eat less-processed foods” guideline, and be fine.
  • Some people do find that a low-sugar, low-carb or even a ketogenic diet works for them. While others thrive on high-carb diets.

That said, being aware of your sugar intake is probably a good idea.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sugar to 10% of your intake. So, for example, if you’re consuming 2000 calories per day, that would be approximately 200 calories from sugar, or 50 grams.

What does this all mean?

Let’s sum up what the science suggests:

  • Sugars are basic biological molecules that our bodies use in many ways.
  • Each person’s response to sugar (whether physiological or behavioral) will be a little different. This goes for carbohydrates in general too.
  • Sugar is not a health food. But sugar alone doesn’t necessarily cause most chronic health problems like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, which are multifactorial.
  • Sugar is energy dense. If eaten in excess (like most foods), sugar can contribute to weight / fat gain.
  • This weight / fat gain is probably mostly from the extra calories, not some special properties of sugars (or carbohydrates in general, or insulin).
  • Some people find it hard to stop eating sugar / sweet foods. This may also contribute to weight / fat gain—again, because of the extra energy intake.
  • We likely eat more sugar than we realize, since it’s hidden in so many food products.

Yet, after working with thousands of clients:

For most people, cutting out sugar completely, trying to abide by rigid rules, or basing dietary decisions on fear, probably isn’t sustainable or realistic.

That’s why, at Precision Nutrition, we prefer a more balanced approach.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

1. Recognize that health concerns are more complex than a single smoking gun.

The fitness and nutrition industry loves to say that one factor is responsible for everything (or that one magical food / workout / mantra will cure everything). It also loves to over-simplify and moralize (e.g. this is “bad”, this is “good”).

You don’t have to understand physiology to grasp the idea that things are complex.

There are many factors that go into good health, athletic performance, physical function, and wellbeing.

This means you should…

2. Begin with fundamental behaviors.

Sugar is one part in a much bigger puzzle.

Review this checklist and see how many of these fundamental behaviors you do well and consistently. That means every day, or most days:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep your alcohol intake moderate.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully.
  • Eat enough lean protein.
  • Eat 5+ servings of fruit and/or veggies per day, ideally colorful ones.
  • Eat some healthy fats.
  • Get some movement for at least 20-30 minutes a day.
  • Get 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep every night.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Spend time with people you love, and/or who support you.
  • Do things that are meaningful and purposeful to you.

These are all behaviors that we know for sure are health-promoting and disease-preventing.

3. Become aware of your overall energy balance.

Take a clear-headed look at how much food you’re eating for your body’s needs, and how much activity you’re doing.

Are you eating the right amount for your physiological requirements?

If you’re heavier or carrying more body fat than you’d prefer, you may need to adjust how much you are eating and/or exercising.

This may mean lowering your sugar intake, and/or it may mean eating a little less of other foods overall.

4. Become aware of what’s in your food.

Read labels. Sugar lives in processed foods, even foods you wouldn’t expect (like salad dressings or frozen dinners).

Better than reading labels, ask how you can eat more foods without labels. (Like fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, meats and seafood, etc.)

Transitioning to less-processed and less-sweetened versions of various foods is a simple way to lower your sugar intake and get the benefits of a better nutrient intake. Double win!

5. Maintain a healthy weight.

There is no single “healthy” weight. Your weight may be higher than average, or it may be within a “normal” range.

What is most important is that this weight is healthy for you (which you’ll know because all your indicators like blood work or athletic performance and recovery look good).

If you think you need to lose a little weight/fat to look, feel, and/or perform better, the good news is that you often don’t need to lose very much to see metabolic benefits.

You don’t have to be super-lean… and in fact, many people won’t benefit from trying to do that anyway.

6. Be mindful of your overall eating patterns, habits, and perspectives.

Consider…

  • Are you eating slowly and mindfully? Can you stop when you’re satisfied?
  • Are you using sugar-rich foods as a “treat”? How often?
  • Do you feel “deprived” if you don’t “get” to have sugar?
  • If you have a sugary food, can you stop eating it when you’ve had “enough”? Is there an “enough” with some foods?
  • How does sugar fit into your life and overall habits? Is that working for you?

7. Keep it in perspective. Add “treats” in moderation.

Around here, we keep it real.

We like “treats”, “junk food” and tasty stuff just as much as anyone else, whether that’s a glass of wine, a bowl of ice cream, or a hot dog at the ball game.

We just keep the portions moderate and don’t have “treats” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

For most people, a little bit of sugar fits just fine into an overall healthy diet pattern.

If you’re looking for numbers, we suggest you shoot for including “treats” or other discretionary indulgences at 10-20% of your meals. If you eat 3 meals a day for a week, that means about 2-4 of those 21 meals might include something fun or “less nutritious”.

8. Ask yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you struggle with sugar (for instance, if it makes you feel ill, or you feel like you can’t eat sweet foods in appropriate amounts), then it’s probably not a good food for YOU.

Try experimenting with lowering your sugar intake gradually (for instance, by making simple substitutions like drinking water or seltzer instead of soda), and see what happens.

Look for foods that you love, and that love you back—that make you feel good and perform well, that give you sustained and long-lasting energy, that keep your moods level, and that keep you feeling “normal” as an eater.

9. If you’re a coach, keep it real and positive.

Don’t scare your clients. Don’t lecture them. Don’t moralize.

Help them. Learn about them. Understand them.

Although research may say that on average low-carb is no more effective than other dietary strategies long-term, or that sugar by itself is not addictive, or any other innumerable statistics, your clients are real people. They are not averages.

Each individual’s preferred approach, unique circumstances, and personal experiences have to be carefully considered and taken into account when working together.

Go slowly, step by step. Make sure your client can actually do what needs to be done.

Fit the dietary strategy to the client, not the client to the dietary strategy.

10. Use data.

Track your health and physical performance indicators.

Schedule regular medical checkups.

Look at stuff like how you feel, how your mood is, how you sleep, how your bloodwork looks, how well you recover from workouts (and life in general), etc.

Follow the evidence. If everything looks stellar, keep doing whatever you’re doing.

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’s evidence-based, practical, and individualized for each person’s lifestyle, preferences, and goals—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’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 44% 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.

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The post Level 1: The surprising truth about sugar. Here’s everything you need to know about what it does to your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Recent clients explain how they transformed their eating habits, their bodies, their health, and their lives with help from a Precision Nutrition Certified coach.

The post Here’s what’s possible with the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

“Get rock hard abs in 30 days!” “Drop a dress size in three weeks!” “Detox your body with juice!” As a coach, you know these promises often fall short. So what do you do when a client wants a quick fix? In this article, we’ll show you five strategies to turn your client’s short-term diet into lasting results. 

++++

“A friend of mine just lost 25 pounds on a 30-day diet challenge. I’m going to try it!”

Sharon was by no means my first client to gleefully skip into a training session and announce she’d found a quick-fix solution.

I understood her excitement. After all, who wouldn’t want such fast results?

But I felt concerned for Sharon. I’ve seen lots of these “overnight” diet challenges and any changes are usually short-lived.

It’s painful to watch clients go through this predictable cycle (see below).

They often wind up right where they started, if not worse off. So as coaches, isn’t our job to put an end to 7-day detoxes, 14-day juice cleanses, and 21-day metabolism makeovers?

Maybe not.

Though every instinct might tell you to coach that “quick fix” mentality right out of your client, there’s a better way.

The best coaches can turn even the worst diet ideas into long-term success.

How? By being open, creative, and strategic.

In this article, we’ll show you five ways to transform your clients’ enthusiasm for diet and fitness “challenges” into rocket fuel for sustainable change.

Strategy #1: Celebrate their effort.

“I see a lot of people wanting to do the Whole30 or a juice cleanse or go sugar- or alcohol-free for a month,” says Jennifer Broxterman, R.D., a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach in London, Ontario.

And while these types of challenges have high failure rates, says Broxterman, don’t discourage them: “That’s a judgmental approach, and it creates a ‘me versus you’ mentality, which isn’t very good for building rapport.”

Instead, focus on the positives… even if it requires you to take a nice, deep breath first.

For example: “A challenge can be really useful if it gets your client excited about eating healthy and feeling good about the food choices in their cupboard,” says Broxterman.

It also shows they’re willing to make changes.

And with your help, clients can gain valuable insights that’ll help them achieve better results moving forward.

By supporting their efforts—instead of shutting them down—you’ll foster trust with your client and strengthen your coaching relationship. 

For a three-step process to help you reframe your coaching perspective and respect your clients’ goals, check out this PN coaching worksheet: Meet your clients where they’re at.

Strategy #2: Learn what drives them.

Your client’s challenge offers you a great opportunity: To better understand their health and fitness goals, their frustrations, and what really makes them tick, says Broxterman.

With non-judgemental curiosity, ask:

“How have diet challenges worked for you in the past?” 

This not only gives you background, it can also better set your client’s expectations (without you having to do so).

“Sometimes, they start telling you how they lost some weight, but not as much as they hoped, and that they gained it back right after,” says Broxterman.

Next, you might ask (in order):

  • “Why do you want to do this challenge?”
  • “What do you hope to get out of it?”
  • “Why is that important to you?”
  • “And why is that important to you?”

The goal is to understand your client’s pain points and true motivation.

That way, you’ll be better equipped to help them—not just during the challenge, but after it’s over, too.

What’s more, these questions might help your client discover a deeper purpose for change. One they weren’t even aware of. This can lead to much greater success, in the short-term… and the long-term.

To help your clients dig deep and find their real reasons for wanting to change, use our “5 whys” worksheet.

Strategy #3: Create a plan.

With any short-term challenge, your client is likely to make a lot of changes—all at once.

And in most cases, those changes aren’t meant to last. After all, people don’t go into a “cleanse” expecting to drink only juice for the rest of their lives.

This is where you, the coach, can really shine.

Help your client identify healthy habits that complement and intersect with the challenge they’re doing. 

That way, you can bridge the gap between the “challenge” and the rest of their life. The idea: to not only improve their likelihood of success during the challenge—but also in days, weeks, and months to follow.

Keep these habits small, simple, and behavior-focused. (Read: “Lose 10 pounds” is an outcome, not a behavior.)

Let’s say your client is committed to only eating whole foods for 30 days. A good habit to practice might be packing their lunch and afternoon snack every morning, to help ensure they stay on track.

Or perhaps they’re attempting a “no dessert” challenge. In this case, you might suggest they practice eating slowly and mindfully, and/or eat lean protein at each meal, both of which can help them feel more satisfied after eating.

And what about a 14-day juice cleanse? That’s a tougher one, to be sure. So get creative. You might suggest they:

  • Plan a social activity once or twice a week that isn’t centered around food and drink. (This is a highly underrated strategy for helping people adjust to a healthy eating lifestyle.)
  • Take 15 minutes each day to walk, foam roll, or stretch. A juice cleanse is not the time to start exercising intensely, but it can be used to establish a baseline daily movement habit.
  • Consciously recognize the feelings that come up when they’re hungry. It can even help to write them down. (Are they sad? Bored? Tired? See more ideas here.) Plus, they can learn to “sit with it,” too. Hunger is inevitable on a juice cleanse, which means it’s the perfect time to learn that “hunger is not an emergency.”

Ideally, by the end of the challenge, these habits are so ingrained it feels natural to continue them.

Bonus: If you and your client brainstorm more practices than can fit into the challenge timeframe, you have a built-in roadmap for what to work on once the challenge is over.

Use our “Outcome goals into behavior goals” worksheet to collaborate with your client on habits that will help get them closer to their targets. 

Strategy #4: Turn “failures” into feedback.

Imagine your client signs up for a Dunkin Do-Not Challenge (a.k.a. thirty days without donuts).

But just four days in, they come to you, shamefully admitting they had a Boston cream breakdown in the office breakroom.

Broxterman recommends using a three-pronged coaching approach: curiosity, compassion, and radical honesty.

Curiosity: Talk to your client about what led to their decision to eat the donut. For example, maybe they worked late the night before and skipped breakfast or didn’t prepare their lunch.

Compassion: Emphasize that they shouldn’t beat themselves up. Encourage them to treat themselves the same way they’d treat a friend or loved one in a similar situation.

Radical honesty: Give your client a chance to be completely upfront about what was going on when the “failure” happened. Maybe they were feeling:

  • a little stressed at the time
  • deprived of the foods they love
  • a bit like they “deserved” a treat

Now show them the upside: Perhaps the donut “failure” provides feedback about the importance of meal prepping lunches. That way, they don’t end up making less-than-optimal food choices.

It may also hint that completely eliminating food—especially ones they love—isn’t the best approach.

By reframing your client’s “failure” into a learning experience, you’ll prep them for future success (and minimize their guilt). 

Here’s another example: Suppose your client is trying to avoid sugar for 30 days, but they’re really struggling. Help them identify their roadblocks.

For instance, perhaps their partner keeps stocking the kitchen with cookies and ice cream. This crystallizes two frequent problems: Their environment is full of tempting foods, and their partner is showing a lack of support.

Together, brainstorm what might they do to improve their environment and/or strengthen their support system. This is how you coach them through obstacles, and keep the momentum going long after the challenge ends.

For a hands-on way to teach clients what it means to be resilient, sit down together and fill out this worksheet on “turning failure into feedback.

Strategy #5: Explore their results

When a client completes a challenge, it’s likely they’ll have some positive outcomes. Maybe they lose a few pounds, stop craving sweets so much, or are sleeping better.

Naturally, they’ll want to maintain these results. But that rarely happens.

People tend to gravitate toward short-term diets is because it’s hard to fathom changing their eating and lifestyle habits for good. For a few weeks, though? That sounds doable

Here’s the problem: This line of thinking encourages all-or-nothing-ism. You’re either doing the most you possibly can to be healthy (an extreme diet challenge), or you’re doing nothing at all (back to your old ways).

But based on working with over 100,000 clients, we can confidently say this: The middle ground is usually where the magic happens.

Your client doesn’t have to keep all the habits they practiced during the challenge—just the ones that worked for them. 

Find out what those are, and discuss how they might continue them. Even if it’s not all the time.

For example, maybe they’ve discovered they really do feel better when they don’t drink alcohol every night but miss having drinks with their partner.

The middle ground might be limiting their alcohol intake to just one or two nights a week.

Or perhaps they love getting to the gym more frequently, but they don’t find cooking all their own meals practical.

The middle ground: They keep their gym habit, but only prepare dinner three or four days a week, which they feel confident they can do.

Here at Precision Nutrition, we call this “always something”—and use it to effectively combat all-or-nothing-ism. 

If practicing a habit at every daily meal is too much, how about at two meals? Or even one? Find out what feels doable for your client, and start there.

Instead of following through 100 percent of the time, what about 80 percent? Or 60 percent? We’ve even found that people can make real progress by being consistent just 50 percent of the time (or less).

Bottom line: Just because your client went all-in on the challenge, doesn’t mean they have to shut down entirely afterwards. Instead, show them how to “adjust the dial,” and keep benefiting from their positive actions.

Help your clients carry over their challenge changes in a way that’s sustainable, with our worksheet on “finding the middle ground.”

Leave your assumptions at the door.

The desire to embark on short-term diets, challenges, or cleanses isn’t going away anytime soon. Are they the best way to improve health and fitness? Probably not. But that won’t stop your clients from wanting to do them.

Truth is, short-term challenges aren’t useless. They don’t doom folks to failure. But most of the time, people start them with the wrong mindset—and without the right support network in place.

Meet your challenge-curious clients with compassion instead of judgement, and you might just be able to use their “summer body slim down” as a launchpad for meaningful change.

Not just for a month… but for a lifetime.

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

When it comes to better health and fitness, focusing on nutrition is the most important and effective step. But there’s a big problem: Most people don’t feel qualified to coach nutrition, especially in a way that helps clients develop highly-effective and sustainable habits.

That’s where we come in. If you’d like to learn everything you can about nutrition—especially how to use it to help yourself and others—consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.  The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post Detoxes, Cleanses, and 30-Day Challenges: How to turn a quick-fix diet into transformation gold. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Precision Nutrition’s work coaching elite and professional athletes contributes to every innovation we bring to nutrition and fitness. Here are our 11 favorite learnings; ones you can use with any client, with any goal.

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At Precision Nutrition, it’s our mission to improve the lives of, and get results for, every single type of client, including our most elite ones (like NFL, NHL, NBA teams, individual pros and Olympians, top-ranked junior prospects, and more).

Interestingly, coaching elite and pro athletes has taught us a lot.

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty cool to work with some of the most respected athletes in the world. But here’s what’s surprising: In a lot of ways, elite athletes are just like us “regular” folks.

For example: I’ve learned that certain coaching principles apply across the board, no matter who you are and what you do.

(Yep, middle-aged clients just trying to lose belly fat do have something in common with UFC legend Georges St. Pierre).

So, in this article, I’d like to share 11 of our favorite coaching lessons and stories, taken directly from our work with some of the top athletes in the world.

If you’re a health and fitness pro, these can be applied to your coaching clients, whether they’re athletes or they’re just getting started with fitness.

And, hey, if you’re just here as a sports fan — enjoy the inside scoop.

1. Shape the environment and you can get great results, even without intensive one-on-one coaching.

Coaching one-on-one is great. But sometimes it’s not possible. Like when you’re trying to improve the nutritional habits of an entire basketball team in a short period of time.

Precision Nutrition coach Brian St. Pierre has been a nutrition consultant for the San Antonio Spurs since 2014. And he’s seen the team thrive (in fact, they won the NBA championship the year he started working with them).

But when Brian started working with the Spurs, he was a bit concerned about whether he’d be able to help.

With the team’s crazy schedule, he’d have next to zero one-on-one time with each player. Would he still be able to get results?

After careful consideration, Brian realized that he could have the biggest impact by focusing his efforts, not on each individual, but on the environment they all shared.

Brian’s tactics included:

  • Start with a template. After meeting with the players and coaching staff, he developed a meal plan template — focussing on meat, seafood, cooked starch, cooked vegetables, salad, fruit, and nuts — for the chefs/caterers at the training facility, where players eat breakfast and lunch.
  • Make it tasty. He ensured that players’ favorite foods were included in the provided meals. (Brian advised the team’s coaches not to take away Tim Duncan’s beloved Cajun chicken and mashed sweet potatoes.) After all, if the players don’t like the food they’re being offered, regardless of how good it is for them, they’ll just sneak out to Chick fil A.
  • Keep it convenient. He gave the strength and conditioning interns some Super Shake recipes so they could whip up personalized shakes (specific to each player’s needs and personal preferences) and hand them out after training and practice. 
  • Make arrangements for travel. He provided healthy meal ideas for plane rides. (Sometimes coaches insisted on soda and cookies for the ride — for themselves — so Brian gave suggestions on where to hide their personal stash so the players wouldn’t be tempted.)
  • Have a plan for non-practice hours. He recommended meal delivery services as options for dinner. For married players with a spouse who cooks for them, he provided recipes and meal ideas to take home.

These kinds of tactics are pretty simple, and none of them require in-depth, involved one-on-one coaching. Nor do they require any player to engage in some heroic, individual project of personal change.

Whether it’s at a training camp, at home, or in the office, our environment has a huge influence on what we eat.

Shape the environment, and you shape the path toward change.

2. Skill in the gym (or on the field) does not equal skill in the kitchen.

Elite athletes put everything they’ve got into their physical performance. You might assume they bring the same passion for detail, refinement, and mastery to the food they eat.

Some do. But most don’t.

I first learned this in the early 2000s when I went to work with the U.S. National Bobsled team as nutrition consultant. The team asked me to kick off their training camp with a seminar.

Back then I had the notion that, as top-level athletes, these guys must give the same attention to their nutrition as they do to their sport. As a result, I built a full day of seminars on advanced nutrition topics and high-level supplement strategies.

I was all ready to go.

Then the group filed in late, holding bags of McDonalds.

I knew immediately I would have to change my presentation on the fly.

As I asked questions and listened, I realized these athletes still needed to learn the basics. They may have been advanced in their sport, but they were still, for the most part, nutrition beginners.

This is a good lesson for anyone doing nutrition coaching.

Imagine you’re coaching a middle-aged man who’s 50 lbs overweight and has never given nutrition a second thought. Then imagine a 25-year-old who’s 225 lb and 8% body fat training for the Olympics.

Yes, they might be very different physically. But they might also have the exact same nutritional skill level.

(In the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification we classify clients as Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 eaters and have different recommendations for each level. In this case, both individuals would get recommendations for Level 1 eaters.)

So don’t make too many assumptions about your clients. Talk to them, test them, and find out where they’re actually at.

3. If you can’t make it better, make it less-worse.

Recently tasked with helping NBA team the Brooklyn Nets improve their nutrition, Precision Nutrition coaches Adam Feit and Brian St. Pierre worked together to create an optimal nutritional environment at the team’s practice facility.

Seriously, they’re making that dining room a work of art. Beautiful infographics demonstrating hand-size portions and Super Shake infographics; healthy, perfectly balanced menus. Great stuff.

But after training, it’s time to compete. And that’s when the team hits the road. They travel constantly.

Adam and Brian realized the biggest obstacle to maintaining the team’s nutrition was dealing with hotel food. Especially late-night room service menus offering pizza, wings, burgers, and so on.

Adam and Brian couldn’t exactly customize the menus of hundreds of hotels. But they could change the menus the players saw.

So they got ahold of the hotel menus in advance and created pared down versions of each menu — a customized version with some of the best available options.

This smaller, more selective version of the menu is what the guys would see in their rooms or get when the team sat down for dinner.

Sure, it might not be perfect, but it was still a huge improvement. And it made it easier for the players to choose a healthier option without even thinking about it.

One of our coaching mantras at Precision Nutrition is “a little bit better”. We encourage clients to abandon all-or-nothing thinking and look for ways to make even slight improvements to each meal or each workout.

Of course, you don’t have to be an NBA champion to realize that small improvements really do add up.

4. The best meal plan is worthless if your client doesn’t like the food.

A pro tennis standout contacted PN for some help with energy levels, performance, and general nutrition. Of course, we were happy to help.

Brian St. Pierre met with the athlete, discussed goals, taste preferences and other details, and then put together some guidelines including a meal plan template complete with recipe ideas.

The problem: The athlete didn’t like any of it.

Even in the pro sports world, there are self-professed picky eaters.

That’s when we realized that all of Brian’s nutritional expertise wasn’t enough. It was time to bring in the big guns. So we sent our full-time super-chef, Jen Nickle, to help.

Jen and Brian put together a taste-test session with the tennis star. They tried out all kinds of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They explored food combinations, preparation options, flavors, and so on.

Turns out, the taste-test day was fun. Jen and Brian were able to build rapport with the client and demonstrate our commitment to helping her. Best of all, Chef Jen could make food her client would really enjoy — and actually eat.

(Jen now travels with this athlete to big-time events like the U.S. Open to ensure the best nutrition during competition.)

While not everyone can afford a personal chef, customizing nutritional guidance (and meal plans, if you use them) to a client’s tastes is essential.

If your client is picky, don’t try to insist that they develop a taste for quinoa or sweet potatoes; find out what they do like and work with that.

5. You have to work the way your client works.

Health and fitness coaches: Think about online coaching for a moment. How do you get started?

Chances are you compose a nice email, and you attach an assessment form, maybe a food log for them to fill out, and maybe link to an article for them to read.

What if your client doesn’t have a computer?

In 2014, Brian St. Pierre started working with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Some of the guys on the team didn’t own computers. And if they did, they never used email.

And why should they? Their lives are spent on the field, in the gym, in film sessions, or enjoying some precious recovery time.

Since, nowadays, people can do almost anything on their phone that they can do on on a computer, they were usually only reachable via text.

At first, Brian admits he felt resistant. He’d been coaching using email for years. Now he had to relearn a new style of communicating and coaching.

But, using his client-centered coaching skills, Brian adapted his methods to his clients. He got over his personal bias, stopped emailing, and started texting.

Interestingly, the texting experience made Brian think more critically about what he was asking clients in the first place. He became more focused, narrowing down his assessments to the bare essentials.

Most importantly, his clients got what they needed.

How to be client-centered is one of the best lessons any coach can ever learn. As coaches, we always have to remind ourselves that it doesn’t matter what works for us.

What matters is what works for our clients.

6. Perfection is not required.

Since 2009, I’ve been helping MMA star / UFC legend Georges St-Pierre with his nutrition. Before I began putting together Georges’ eating strategy, I knew two things.

One, that he had a soft spot for McDonald’s and Subway.

Two, if you tell a client they can’t have their favorite foods, they might end up ignoring you completely.

Think about it. How well could putting my foot down and bossing around a professional fighter (and Welterweight champion of the world) possibly go?

So I gave Georges some suggested meals. These included a few main meals and a few Super Shakes each day. These would cover his nutritional bases.

Beyond that, I told him he could eat whatever he wanted if he was still hungry. I even suggested eating McDonald’s or Subway every few days. Daily, if he liked.

Georges was shocked. And delighted. He couldn’t believe his nutrition coach was basically inviting him to eat at McDonald’s.

Let’s face it: With Georges’ energy expenditure, one meal a day off-script isn’t going to tank his results. It also fit his goals: gaining muscle mass to fight competitors who were getting bigger all the time.

Of course, Georges is not your typical client, and this was not your typical eating strategy. But there is an important lesson here.

Perfection isn’t required for elite athletes — or for “regular” people.

For most people, aiming to get 80% of your meals on-point is an effective goal.

7. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

Dietary trends tend to go in cycles. Ketogenic diets are among them, resurfacing now and then to grab media headlines. These can get the attention of top athletes who are looking for an edge — with varying results.

Here’s an example. For a while, there was a trainer who made a big splash putting NFL linemen on a strict ketogenic diet paired with high doses of certain supplements. Players/clients would come to his “camp” for about four weeks to learn how to eat this way.

One of these players was an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons.

He heard about other NFL guys getting great results on the program, so he decided to give it a try himself. Within those four weeks, he saw immediate improvement: He got bigger, faster, stronger, leaner — all the things a lineman would want to see.

By the end of the four weeks, though, he started to feel a lot less awesome.

He was experiencing some major symptoms: everything from glucose control issues to hypoglycemia to brain fog to vertigo to anxiety and depressive moods. He even confessed to having suicidal thoughts.

But he had been so impressed by the initial results of the diet, he wanted to keep trying. He tried tinkering with it, cycling his keto days, but nothing worked.

So he called us.

We reintroduced carbs into his diet, recommending he eat 2-3 cupped handfuls of carbs at each meal (five times a day). At the same time, we decreased his fat intake a bit, which helped counter-balance the increase in carbs, calorie-wise.

Within 2-3 weeks, his blood glucose evened out, his anxiety went away, and his performance improved. Plus, the body composition changes he liked about the keto diet stayed the same: He maintained his leanness and his mass.

We found that he needs to be really consistent with his carbs in order to perform and feel his best.

That’s the thing about diets, protocols, and specific methods. Just because it works for one client doesn’t mean it’s going to work for another — even if they share the same goals, athletic ability and body type.

Plus, just because a particular approach can “work” (according to very specific metrics like body weight, for some period of time) doesn’t mean it’s going to work for every goal, indefinitely.

Individual needs should come before trends every time.

And outcome-based decision making should trump “this worked for some other guy” or “this should theoretically work for me”.

8. Bring important influencers (like family members) into the process.

For several years I provided nutrition consultation to Junior A hockey players.

(Here in Canada, Junior A is essentially one level below the NHL. These are the guys already drafted, or looking to get drafted, and become the next great NHL stars.)

While these players are already amazing athletes, they’re also young, usually teenagers. They still live with families, either their own or those they are staying with while playing for a team outside their home town.

When working with these future NHLers, I did some basic education, giving seminars and offering kitchen demos showing how to prepare basic healthy foods.

But I knew that wasn’t enough.

It didn’t matter much what I told the athletes. Because they weren’t the ones making the meals, or doing the shopping, or buying the food.

I had to get the family involved. So I would find out who prepared the meals at the homes where they were staying, then concentrate my efforts on them.

I gave them everything they needed, including:

  • Education about the needs of a young teenage hockey player
  • Cooking demos
  • Recipes and meal ideas
  • Grocery shopping guides
  • And more.

The more I could equip the family to cook well, the better the nutritional results would be for the athlete.

This relates to all kinds of clients, of all ages. Clients often tell us their biggest obstacle to eating better is other people: colleagues, friends, and most of all, family members such as spouses and kids.

Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Acknowledge the other influences in your clients’ lives. Help them work with loved ones and address any roadblocks together.

9. Intense training and strict eating will mess with your body. (But that’s OK for a little while.)

Precision Nutrition offers an elite athlete testing and coaching program which includes a battery of research-based physiological tests and assessments. These are designed to help athletes optimize their nutrition.

The tests include genetic, blood chemistry, food sensitivity, and microbiome analyses. To gather these data, we send a nurse to the athlete’s house or training facility, collect samples, and analyze them.

Then an interdisciplinary team (including our sports nutrition experts, our molecular genetics experts, and our physician) review and interpret the results.

We give the athletes a really comprehensive report of the findings. And then we use the findings to personally coach the athletes for the next six months.

A few months back, we tested a dozen track and field stars — some of whom just competed at the Rio Olympic Games — from the world-renowned Altis facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

In their lead-up to the games, we found something interesting.

Every one of the athletes had suboptimal sex hormone (testosterone, estrogen) levels and white blood cell counts. We discovered a host of other, more individual, things too. But this one was most interesting for two reasons.

First, it applied to both men and women.

Second, a few years back, when doing a pre-season training camp with NFL athletes at Nike HQ, we discovered some of the same things.

Of course, the results aren’t completely surprising. High intensity training has predictable consequences. It’s hard to get adequate calories, sleep, and stress management when you’re in an intense training block.

People who are training for the Olympics or for an NFL season are OK to make that trade-off. They know it’s temporary. And for most people, this kind of physical disruption isn’t dangerous if it’s for a short time.

However, it can become dangerous if you keep going at that level.

Most elite athletes take breaks after a training season, which provides a chance to rest, recover, and normalize. Its no surprise that many NHL athletes spend most of their off-season doing little more than lifting a fishing rod.

But many “regular” exercisers don’t respect the seasonality of sport. Which means, ironically, many of them are as much at risk of damaging their bodies through undereating and under recovery as Olympians.

So keep the long game in mind.

If a client is overtraining, bring the risks to their attention. If they’re making a sacrifice for an important goal, be clear about the tradeoffs.

And always be asking: What’s the goal? How do we get you there as safely as possible? When’s it time to back off and rest?

10. Just because a food is “healthy” doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone.

One client from our elite athlete program is Mikel Thomas, a hurdler from Trinidad and Tobago. Mikel was preparing for the Rio Olympics but was having some issues with recovery.

We conducted our usual battery of tests. In reviewing the data, we noticed he had a high iron saturation, and his UIBC (Unsaturated Iron Binding Capacity) was low. Both factors pointed to an excessive iron intake.

Pretty unusual for a vegetarian.

We also did a food sensitivities test, and noticed an intolerance to chickpeas.

(Note: While food sensitivities tests aren’t 100% reliable on their own, when used in the context of a full spectrum of tests and assessments, they can help give us extra clues about what’s going on.)

When we looked at Mikel’s food log we noticed that most of his meals were based around chickpeas. Giving thought to the data as a whole, we hypothesized that this dietary staple (typical for someone from Trinidad and Tobago, especially for a vegetarian) was actually causing a negative reaction in his body.

Fortunately, when we had Mikel replace chickpeas with alternative protein and carbohydrate sources such as quinoa, his recovery got better.

The moral of this story is not that chickpeas are bad. They offer carbohydrates, some protein, and various vitamins and minerals. They are a nutritious food.

But just because a food is considered “healthy” — or even a “superfood” — doesn’t mean it’s optimal for your client. Especially if it’s over-consumed.

11. Physiological markers don’t tell the whole story.

In 2011 and 2012, as mentioned above, I participated in Nike’s NFL Football Training Camp Pro. This camp brings together 10-15 high-level NFL athletes for a week-long camp of testing, training, eating, and learning experience on Nike’s campus.

The camp included athletes like Ndamukong Suh, Kam Chancellor, Patrick Chung, Jonathan Stewart, Steven Jackson, Greg Jennings, and more. And, at the camp, I delivered nutritional seminars and education to the athletes. I also ran some physiological testing for them.

Interestingly, I tested better than all the guys there on a host of standard markers of health such as sex hormone levels (testosterone, DHEA, etc), vitamin D levels, Omega 3 levels, and more.

Yep, when it came to these health markers, I dominated the NFL stars.

But you know what I wasn’t better at?

Playing football.

This was a great reminder that while physiological markers can be useful, they don’t give us the whole picture. And that putting too much focus on any particular non-sport performance indicator can lead you down a dangerous path.

At Precision Nutrition, we’re proud to be data-driven. We like numbers and tests and metrics of all kinds. But we also know it’s not the complete picture.

You have to look at the whole person to a real sense of what’s going on.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

1. Don’t make assumptions.

Appearances can be deceiving. Just because someone is a star in their sport or looks the part doesn’t mean they have advanced nutrition skills.

Instead of making assumptions or guesses about where your client is at, ask questions. Listen. Observe.

Seek to understand rather than to prove yourself right.

2. Remember that in many ways, we’re all the same.

Elite athletes — they’re just like us!

Our lives may be very different but, in the end, we’re all human. We all want to enjoy our food and have some fun. We all have our favorite indulgences and the foods that make us curl up our lips in disgust.

Whether you’re working with celebrities, top athletes, busy executives or just neighborhood folks in your local gym, remember that at the end of the day, you’re coaching people.

3. Remember that in other ways, we’re all completely different.

What works for one client might not work for another. No matter how “super” the food or how “killer” the diet, there is no one-size-fits-all.

And what works for you might not work for your clients, either.

You may have spent years perfecting your intake forms, for example, but what happens when a client doesn’t have a computer? Or is constantly on the go and never has time to look at it?

Your job as a coach is to focus on understanding and supporting the needs of each client. This takes work and practice and, believe me, it is humbling sometimes.

But that’s what it takes to be a client-centered coach.

4. Screw perfection. Help your clients get a tiny bit better.

An all-or-nothing mentality won’t help your clients get anywhere, even if they’re top athletes who are used to aiming for perfection.

Looking for small ways to improve is the best way to keep moving consistently toward change.

That might mean letting a client keep her weekly supersweet Frappucino monstrosity. Or helping her choose the best option on a hotel menu. Or packing her own snacks for the plane.

You don’t need to get rid of everything a client is doing and every indulgence they have. Nor should you.

Find ways of helping them move forward, one tiny little bit at a time.

5. Seek out and celebrate your clients’ superpowers.

Whether they’re a gold medalist or they’ve never set foot in a gym, every single client possesses their own special superpowers.

One of your jobs as a coach is to help them figure out what they’re already good at and put those abilities to use.

Maybe they’re a data junkie and they can use their spreadsheet nerdiness to track their food like a pro. Or maybe they appreciate nature and will enjoy discovering local farms and farmers markets.

Maybe they lack information at the moment but have a great ability to learn. Maybe they routinely fall off the wagon — but they always, always get back on.

Help your clients recognize their own superpowers, and then put them to use.

Celebrate the good stuff. Call out progress every chance you get.

They might never be an NFL star, but you can be their cheerleader.

You can help them become their own superstar.

Want strategies to level up your coaching?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post 11 things I’ve learned coaching elite and professional athletes. Lessons from our work with NFL, NBA, UFC, & Olympic champions. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

We live in a world of ‘quick-starts’, ‘how-to-guides’, ‘career hacks’. This article is none of those. It’s a different kind of success story. And a powerful lesson on how to get ahead in health, fitness, and wellness, or any other field.

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Success secrets.

Productivity hacks.

Tips, tricks, and quick formulas.

I’m often asked to share these as advice; the requests come when I’m being interviewed on podcasts, speaking at conferences, talking to journalists.

People who want to get ahead in health and fitness — or just about any other field — want to know:

How did you go from starting a health and fitness website with your buddy…

… to running a 200-million dollar company with about 100 team members and over 100,000 clients across 120 countries.

… to advising companies like Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist.

… to being selected as one of the smartest/most influential people in the field?

And they really want to know:

What tip, method, shortcut do you recommend to help others do the same?

As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of these kinds of questions.

Can’t blame people for asking, though.

After all, I also want to learn from the people who’ve gone before me, the people who’ve succeeded in the way I hope to succeed.

But here’s the problem:

I could rhyme off a bunch of tips about my morning routine that allow me to run a business while being a father of four. But I don’t think they’ll matter much unless you’re also a father of four and already running a successful business.

Likewise, I don’t believe it was magical morning routines, or growth hacks, or tricks and tips that put me on the road to success in the first place.

In fact, I think it was something completely different.

Something that isn’t often talked about.

I call it “going down the rabbit hole”.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a fresh Autumn day.

I was 21 years old, it was my first semester away at University, and I had an appointment with my first-ever guidance counselor.

I was ambitious, I had big goals, and I was excited to get some advice on how to plan my future.

I assumed the meeting would go something like this: He’d listen to me talk about my passions, about my goals, and he’d help me create an academic plan. Maybe even make suggestions for volunteer or internship opportunities.

As I gushed about my love for all things exercise and nutrition, about how it was my goal to have a successful career working with pro sports teams, athletes, and exercisers looking to eat, move, and live better, his face was stolid.

I was completely unprepared for what he said next:

“That’s nice… but there’s not much of a career in that for you. We have to be realistic here. There are too few jobs and the chances you’ll get one of them is almost zero. You’re a smart guy. Why don’t we sign you up for Pre-Med? Med school will be a great path for you.”

I walked out, head down, backpack dragging the ground behind me.

Days went by and, yes, the fog eventually lifted.

I figured… maybe he was wrong. Maybe I needed a second opinion. So, over the next few weeks, I asked around. Looking for a glimmer of hope.

Almost everyone gave the same advice.

Be sensible. Become a doctor. Forget this weird exercise obsession.

I was a 21-year-old from a blue-collar immigrant family. Who was I to not take advice from all these educated people? So I did the responsible, sensible thing. I signed up for Pre-Med, and I plotted my course to medical school.

At the same time, a part of me was mad. Really mad.

Who were they to tell me what my potential was? To squash my dream?

So, partly out of spite, but mostly out of this magnetic draw I felt towards health and fitness, sport and performance, I began living a double life.

I scraped together every dollar I had. During evenings and weekends I attended seminars covering fitness, nutrition, and sport related topics. I read everything. I wrote articles for free; I volunteered with gyms and sports teams.

Throughout, I still fully expected to attend med school.

But, eventually, some strange and interesting paths opened up.

I found a peer group that was passionate about the things I was interested in. (Surprise: I didn’t find them in my 4th year Chemistry and Physics classes.) And I stumbled upon formal and informal mentors.

Almost magically, more opportunities appeared, including offers to attend grad school in Exercise Science and Nutritional Biochemistry. Invitations to coach high-level athletes. Contracts to write for influential publications.

Still, after graduating with my Pre-Med degree (and minors in Philosophy and Psychology), it was no small feat to turn down the Med School offers. The voices were still in my head. But I did.

And instead of going to Med School…

I fell down the health, fitness, and nutrition rabbit hole.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

Before Doctor Berardi, before Precision Nutrition, before I could have ever seen where it all would take me, I did something that many people felt unwise: I followed my passion.

Not because it was part of some master plan. But because everything I learned about health, fitness and nutrition made me want to learn more.

So, although I didn’t quit my day job, I didn’t quit dreaming either.

Instead of fighting my own intrinsic motivation, I went with it.

Instead of paddling upstream, I went with the current.

I rode the horses in the direction they were going.

I went down the rabbit hole.

And here I am today.

The hidden costs of having “A Master Plan”.

When it comes to our careers, our relationships, even our health and fitness, we’re often taught to plot very strategically.

Whether it’s from guidance counselors, business advisors, teachers, courses, e-books, blogs, podcasts, well-intentioned parents, or (seemingly) the whole Internet, we’re taught that we need to plan our path down to every step.

(“Life hackers” and proponents of “accelerated learning” teach us that we can even leapfrog a few of these steps. Bonus!)

So, that’s what we do.

We make checklists, knock off each item, rush to completion, and pray that our calculated maneuvering will lead to success or accomplishment or connection (or whatever we think we’ll need to feel happy).

Unfortunately, this particular approach may have a cost.

It might prevent us from experiencing some of the best, brightest, and most unexpectedly rewarding moments in life.

Even worse, it might prevent us from deep learning and mastery, which has been proven to give us satisfaction, meaning, and, if you’re a competitive person, a “leg up on the competition”.

Here’s an approach I like much better.

I’ve found that there’s tremendous joy — and surprising, unexpected rewards — that come from “going down the rabbit hole”.

From looking deeply, intensely at something you’re really passionate about.

From learning everything you can about it.

And from going “all in”.

If there is a formula for the kind of success most people want, even if they don’t know what that looks like yet, it might be something like this:

Strong personal mission
          +
High competency
          +
System for execution
          =
Personal and career satisfaction

Have a look around.

You’ll find there’s almost nothing more powerful than someone with a deeply held motivation to do their work plus high level of skill plus a blueprint or system for executing every day.

Most people (in any field) have only one or two of those.

In some cases, that might be enough.

However, if you have all three, you’ll be amazed at what happens.

It doesn’t even matter where you’re starting from, or in what career you begin.

It’s interesting to note that most of the people on the Precision Nutrition team started in totally different fields:

  • Precision Nutrition co-founder Phil Caravaggio:
    Started as a software engineer.
  • Curriculum developer Krista Scott-Dixon:
    Started as a college professor in a different field.
  • Coach and exercise director Craig Weller:
    Started in the Navy special operations forces.
  • Coach and client care specialist Krista Schaus:
    Started as a police officer.
  • Coach Brian St. Pierre:
    Started at his dad’s paint store.
  • Client care specialist Sarah Masi:
    Started in a house cleaning business.

Then there are the thousands of Precision Nutrition Certification graduates.

In the last 6 months I’ve met:

  • mothers coaching online while on maternity leave,
  • graduates fresh out of school ready to do something meaningful,
  • boomers coming out of retirement to give something back,
  • surgeons dropping their scalpels and turning to preventative care,
  • investment bankers leaving the financial world, and helping others lead healthier lives.

None of these folks would have guessed their future would include working in health and fitness, coaching clients, and changing lives.

But here they are today.

And let’s not forget the reason they’re here…

Each did something that most people don’t.

They went “all in” on learning about their passion.

Even before they quit their day jobs.

Even before deciding:

“Yes, this is going to be my next career!”

They learned everything there is to know for the sheer joy of it. They talked to the best experts. They did courses and certifications.

They went down the rabbit hole.

And they had a blast doing it.

Then came the unintended, unexpected rewards.

The inevitable paths and opportunities that seem to magically appear; the stuff you can’t possibly know about when you’re just starting out.

Stuff like:

  • The satisfaction of learning everything there is to know about something meaningful to you.
  • The deep personal pride that comes from putting in countless hours and finally mastering that thing.
  • The surprising career paths that spring up, almost magically, opportunities you never knew existed or never considered right for you, and
  • The unexpected joy you never thought you could get from work.

However, that’s all stuff for later.

For now, you just have to start, from wherever you are.

Take whatever your passion is, whatever you’re excited about, whatever you’re hesitating on, whatever your inner voice tells you to explore and…

…go explore THAT thing.

Go down the rabbit hole.

You won’t be worse off.

Chances are, it’ll change your life.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

1. ‘Fess up to yourself.

You probably already know what that ‘thing’ is; the one that lights you up and makes you tick.

It’s the thing you can’t stop reading about and researching, just for fun, even when it’s late at night and you know it’s really time to go to bed.

It’s the thing you can’t stop talking about… maybe the thing you’re driving your family members nuts about because you just can’t shut up about it.

It’s the thing you’re totally hooked on. You can’t get enough. You might even say you’re a little bit obsessed.

That thing? Embrace it.

You don’t necessarily have to plan a career change or do anything drastic. Just give yourself permission to ‘go down the rabbit hole’ of learning, exploration and experimentation.

2. Look for role models.

Who’s already doing what you would like to be doing? Who is inspiring or fascinating to you?

Watch for the people who are involved in the field or a subject that interests you.

Is there a way to learn from them, watch them, talk with them, or ask questions?

Don’t just expect them to give you the magic formula. But take advantage of every opportunity to observe and learn.

And don’t discount people who aren’t on Instagram or getting all the attention, either. Ask yourself: Who else is working in this industry? Who else can I learn from?

Cast a wide net. Aim to observe and learn all you can.

3. Put your hand up.

Look for opportunities to ask questions, get feedback, and learn all you can.

Attend a lecture and participate in the Q&A.

Write letters to your role models.

Volunteer.

Do stuff: Write articles, join projects, conduct experiments. Do it for free, in your spare time. Do it in the name of learning, and for the joy of it.

Don’t worry too much about the payoff now. Just plant the seeds.

4. Continue your education.

Education doesn’t just have to come from traditional schooling (not that there’s anything wrong with that). These days, plenty of options are available, for just about any industry.

If you ask me, there’s never been a better time to learn anything. Courses, books, certifications, master classes… the world is your educational oyster.

The trick: choose educational opportunities from places that are proven, who you trust and respect. Take your time and do your research.

And then, after you’ve signed up, make sure to show up.

And go all in.

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

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

That’s where we come in. If you’d like to learn everything you can about nutrition—especially how to use it to help yourself and others—consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.  The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutritionand the art of coaching.

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post Forget “career hacks”… Here’s the real key to career success that almost no one is talking about. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

If you believe the buzz, ketosis—whether via the almost-zero-carb ketogenic diet or via ketone supplements—can curb appetite, enhance performance, and cure nearly any health problem that ails you. Sound too good to be true? It probably is.

++++

Wouldn’t it be awesome if butter and bacon were “health foods”?

Maybe with a side of guacamole and some shredded cheese on top?

“I’m doing this for my health,” you could purr virtuously, as you topped your delectably marbled, medium-rare steak with a fried egg.

Well, many advocates of the ketogenic diet argue exactly that: By eating a lot of fat and close to zero carbohydrates you too can enjoy enhanced health, quality of life, performance, brain function, and abs you can grate that cheese on.

So, in this article, we’ll explore:

  • What are ketones, and what is ketosis?
  • What, exactly, is a ketogenic diet?
  • What evidence and scientific research supports the ketogenic diet?
  • Do ketone supplements work?
  • Is the ketogenic diet or ketone supplementation right for me?

How to read this article

If you’re just curious about ketogenic diets:

  • Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like.

If you want to change your body and/or health:

  • You don’t need to know every detail. Just get the general idea.
  • Check out our advice at the end.

If you’re an athlete interested in performance:

  • Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance.
  • Check out our advice for athletes at the end.

If you’re a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science:

  • We’ve given you some “extra credit” material in sidebars throughout.
  • Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end.

It all started with the brain.

If you’ve called Client Care at Precision Nutrition, you might have spoken to Lindsay.

Aside from being an incredibly helpful and friendly voice on the other end of the phone, Lindsay is also a tireless advocate for a health condition that has shaped her life in many ways: epilepsy.

Epilepsy is an ancient brain phenomenon, known to medicine thousands of years ago. To manage it, our Neolithic ancestors drilled holes in one another’s skulls, perhaps trying to let the bad stuff out—a practice known as trepanation.

Around 400 BCE, the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates observed a man who had seizures for five days. On the sixth day, he noted, as the patient “abstained from everything, both gruel and drink, there were no further seizures.”

About 1,400 years later, in 1000 CE, the famous Persian physician Avicenna—who coined the term “epilepsy”, from the ancient Greek verb epilambanein (to seize or attack, as the neurological condition caused seizures), speculated that “overfeeding” might be a risk factor for epilepsy.

By 1911, a pair of Parisian doctors were trying fasting as a treatment for children with epilepsy, and in the United States, physical culturist Bernarr McFadden was claiming that fasting for three days to three weeks could cure anything.

Despite not having the tools and insight of modern neuroscience, these and other people who explored fasting and dietary prescriptions for neurological disorders were on to something.

We now know that there may be a dietary connection
—not just between epilepsy and what we eat (or don’t), but also with many other brain disorders.

Unfortunately, fasting isn’t fun. We evolved with a pretty strong aversion to starvation, and our brains and GI tracts have lots of ways to make sure we eat enough.

Which raises the question:

Could we get the health benefits of fasting another way?

In other words:

Could there be “fasting without fasting”?

In 1921, two things happened.

One: Endocrinology researcher Rollin Woodyatt noted that the same chemical environment happened with both starvation and a diet that was very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat.

Two: Dr. Russell Wilder wondered:

Could a person get the health benefits of fasting without actually fasting?

He and other doctors at the Mayo Clinic experimented with what Wilder called the “ketogenic diet” during the early 1920s. Not only did children with epilepsy seem to improve overall with this type of diet, they seemed to think and behave better as well.

Proven by several notable medical authorities, a ketogenic diet as a treatment for childhood epilepsy found its way into medical textbooks by around 1940, and stayed there throughout the 20th century.

Nowadays, aging, contact sports, and modern warfare present us with new populations of people whose brains might benefit from a ketogenic diet:

  • people with neurodegenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s); and
  • people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) from events such as explosions or concussions.

First the brain, then the body.

There was another group of people who became curious about ketogenic diets some time in the 1980s and 1990s: bodybuilders and physique athletes.

These folks weren’t too concerned about brain health or longevity. They wanted to be ripped.

The ketogenic diet seemed like a magic bullet: a way to eat butter, bacon and cream, and still get abs.

Today, what’s old is new again.

Physique- and performance-conscious people, as well as people looking to maximize lifespan and life quality, have rediscovered this old-school dietary paradigm and are wondering:

  • Could a ketogenic diet help me perform better?
  • Could a ketogenic diet help me live longer?
  • Could a ketogenic diet help me look great on the beach?

The answer?

It depends. (Don’t you hate that? But it’s true.)

To understand why, we’ll look at:

  • the science of ketosis;
  • what a ketogenic diet looks like in “real life”;
  • who it might work for (and might not work for); and
  • what this means for you.

Let’s start by clarifying just what a ketogenic diet is.

What does a ketogenic diet look like?

It might be hard to translate “low carb, high fat” into everyday foods.

To give you a better idea of the ketogenic diet in real life, here’s a comparison:

Protein Carb Fat
PN Mixed Meal  ~30% ~40% ~30%
Paleo Meal ~40% ~20% ~40%
Low-Carb Meal ~40% ~10% ~50%
Ketogenic Meal ~20% ~5% ~75%

And here’s what that might look like translated into meals.

2016.08-Composition-of-the-ketogenic-diet-1.3

Notice a few things.

Protein

For the first three meals, protein is more or less the same, with a little variation.

Ketogenic diets, on the other hand, include less protein—usually closer to 10 or 20 percent of total daily intake.

Extremely low in carbohydrates

The Precision Nutrition plate suggests high-fiber, slow-digesting carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables.

The Paleo plate may contain slightly fewer carbohydrates (early human diets often had plenty of them), but eliminates the grains and beans / legumes.

The “low carb” plate will have fewer carbohydrates than the first two, but still have a small amount, likely from vegetables.

The ketogenic meal shoots for near-zero carbs. Most estimates suggest around 10-15 grams of carbs a day. To give you an idea of what this looks like, that’s about one fist-sized portion of cooked carrots, or about 10-15 grapes. For the whole day.

Very high in fat

The Precision Nutrition plate suggests about 1-2 thumb-sized portions of fat-dense foods (like nuts, cheese, avocado, olive oil, etc.) per meal, depending on body size, activity level, and goals.

The Paleo and low-carb plates may be roughly similar, with a little variation.

We might call all three of these “moderate fat”. Indeed, some indigenous diets (aka variations on the “Paleo” concept) are often quite low in fat, especially saturated fat.

The ketogenic meal, on the other hand, is high fat—even up to 90 percent of total energy intake. That means if you’re eating a 500-calorie spinach and mushroom salad, you get about 2 thumb-sized pieces of chicken breast on top, and then pour about 3-4 glugs of olive oil on top… Yum yum!

Highly restrictive

A ketogenic diet is the most restrictive and limited of all four of these styles of eating. Here’s what you can eat on a ketogenic diet:

A small amount of protein, such as:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • seafood
  • eggs

A large amount of high-fat foods, such as:

  • avocado
  • coconut and coconut milk or oil
  • olive oil and any other oil
  • nuts and nut butters
  • bacon
  • egg yolks
  • butter
  • cheese

A very small amount of very-low-carbohydrate vegetables, such as:

  • leafy greens
  • brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
  • asparagus
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini

Here’s what you can’t eat on a ketogenic diet:

  • Most dairy (except high-fat items like butter and certain cheeses)
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Starchy vegetables (such as sweet potatoes)
  • Slightly-sweet vegetables such as winter squash, beets, or carrots
  • Most processed foods (with the notable exception of pork rinds)

So, let’s recap:

Ketogenic menus:

  • Vary in the proportion of protein but are generally low.
  • Stay as close to no-carb as possible.
  • Are very high in fat.
  • Are very limited in food choices.

So why go to all this effort?

Well, for particular groups of people, ketosis may indeed be helpful.

(For other people, of course, it may not be helpful… and it may be actively harmful. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.)

To understand why this is true, let’s look at how ketosis actually works.

What is ketosis?

The role of ketones

Ketones are a group of organic compounds with a specific structure.

The term “ketone” was actually coined around 1850 by German chemist Leopold Gmelin, along with the term “ester”. (See? Not as new as you’d think!)

We can use two types of ketones as energy sources, acetoacetate and D-β-hydroxybutyrate. (The β sign means “beta”.)

Our body can make ketones through a complex biochemical pathway.

The pathway to ketosis

Put very simply, when the conditions are right (for instance, during starvation or fasting, or when our carb intake is very low):

  • Our body releases fatty acids from our stored body fat.
  • These fatty acids enter other cells.
  • Fatty acids are combined with co-enzyme A to form acetyl-CoA chains.
  • These chains move into the mitochondria (our cells’ energy factories).
  • The chains are broken down into acetyl-CoA units by a sequence of reactions known as β-oxidation.
  • Chemical magic happens.
  • Acetyl-CoA forms your friends the ketones: acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, along with acetone (the same smelly stuff in your nail polish remover).
  • Ketones are released by the liver into the blood.
  • Almost any cell that needs energy can grab it from these circulating ketones. Again, our brain will be the greediest for these nummy little molecules.
Let’s take an even deeper look

The shape and orientation of molecules is important.

Stereoisomers are molecules with the same chemical makeup, but different shapes and configurations. You can imagine your right hand as a “stereoisomer” of your left: they both share the same components, just arranged differently.

Shape and orientation matter to molecules and their actions, just like having right-handed and left-handed gloves or shoes matters.

The ketone D-β-hydroxybutyrate is not the same as its stereoisomer L-β-hydroxybutyrate.

This difference in molecular configuration matters for several parts of the conversion process.

For instance, when D-β-hydroxybutyrate is converted back to acetyl-CoA, its intermediate form D-β-hydroxybutyrate-CoA isn’t the same thing as L-β-hydroxybutyrate-CoA (an intermediate of β- oxidation).

Each stereoisomer uses different enzymes for conversion, much like each lock has its own unique key.

This difference also matters for ketone supplementation (see below).

You want to supplement the right stereoisomer, rather than a random pile of ketone types. Usually in test tube chemistry, you get a mix of stereoisomers (often around half one type, and half another type), unlike our body, which only uses and makes one version. 

Ketosis happens when blood ketones are higher than normal either through dietary changes (which lead to very low blood glucose) or through supplementation (independent of blood glucose concentrations).

Some people like to think of ketone bodies as the fourth energy source for humans (in addition to carbohydrates, fats and proteins).

That’s technically true, but the alcohol in booze (aka ethanol) can also be used for energy. Just because we can metabolize something doesn’t always mean we should.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Ketosis, which just means having more ketone bodies than normal, should not be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a potentially dangerous metabolic situation of uncontrolled ketosis.

Normally, our body is very good at self-regulating.

If it senses acid levels rising (as happens in ketosis), it responds by buffering with more alkaline molecules (such as bicarbonate), changing blood levels of CO2, absorbing hydrogen ions, or telling the kidneys to excrete more dihydrogen phosphate and ammonium ions.

However, if for some reason our body can’t compensate, and blood pH drops below about 7.35 (in other words, becoming more acidic), we’re in trouble.

This usually happens in diabetics and alcoholics, since their normal metabolic mechanisms may not work properly.

For the average healthy person, dietary ketosis or even brief fasting is generally safe

How do we get into ketosis?

Method 1: Ketogenesis

We can make our own ketone bodies naturally, through the process of ketogenesis.

Our ancestors kicked off ketogenesis the good old fashioned way: by starving. About 72 hours into starvation, ketogenesis is happening and you’re in ketosis. Congratulations!

Ketosis is essentially an effect of fasting. This means that many of the health effects of fasting may be due to ketosis itself, rather than something like energy restriction.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Interestingly, how quickly ketosis happens varies by age and species.

Other mammals don’t seem to go into ketosis nearly as quickly as humans (your friendly neighborhood hibernating bear or squirrel who doesn’t eat for weeks to months at a time? No ketosis.)

Babies, on the other hand, go into ketosis within a few hours of not eating.

This may have to do with our energy-hungry human brains. About 20 percent of our overall energy intake is devoted to feeding our brains. Although bears and squirrels are clever enough to get into the garbage, they don’t have brains as large as we do.

It seems that ketogenesis is a human backup system that provides enough energy (via ketone bodies) to the ol’ noggin in times of starvation.

And it may be this particular evolutionary adaptation—which perhaps began as a way to keep the thinking factory upstairs working when food was scarce—that also enables the brain-benefiting effects of the ketogenic diet. 

Stored glucose (our sugar-based fuel) is actually rather heavy. We don’t carry around much of it. Our body prefers to store most of our excess energy as body fat.

When we eat normally, our brain gets enough energy from glucose that can easily pass the blood-brain barrier.

When we stop eating, we run out of stored glucose (as glycogen) within 2-3 days (faster if we’re active), and have to find some other fuel source.

By the way, the relative heaviness of stored glycogen is why many people report fast weight loss on a ketogenic or low-carb diet: their body has dumped a little extra weight in the form of glycogen and water (which tags along with glycogen in a 3 parts water to 1 part glycogen ratio). Unfortunately, this water and glycogen comes right back once we start eating normally again.

Method 2: A ketogenic diet

Most people frown on starving children with epilepsy, so a ketogenic diet is the next best thing.

By cutting off the body’s carbohydrate (aka glucose) supply, but providing energy and nutrients in the form of fat (plus a little protein), we can get the same effects as straight-up starvation: ketosis.

As with starvation, it usually takes some time to get into ketosis once we stop eating carbs.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Many people like to measure their ketosis with Ketostix, which test for ketones in the urine. This is not always a reliable indicator, since all it tells you is whether you’re excreting excess ketones, not whether you’re actually in ketosis per se.

In addition, Ketostix only measure the presence of excreted acetoacetate, not the presence of D-β-hydroxybutyrate.

Over time, our body’s excretion of ketones can change, even if we’re still in ketosis. Therefore, you may see different readings on the Ketostix, regardless of what is actually happening in your body. 

Method 3: Supplement with ketones

If ketones are what we want, why not just take them instead of making our own by fasting or cutting out carbohydrates?

Great idea, and totally new… except it isn’t.

As early as 1953, there were studies looking into whether we could “artificially” produce ketosis by supplementation.

Today, we know that by supplementing with ketone bodies (usually D-β-hydroxybutyrate or certain esters) you can raise the level of ketone bodies in the blood without being in ketogenesis.

This has a lot of cool possibilities. If ketone supplementation can give us the health benefits of ketosis without us having to fast / starve or follow a very restrictive diet, that could be a win-win.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have conclusive human studies on this that would give us clear direction. Check back in 10 years.

Is ketone supplementation effective?

The buzz is that ketone supplements can make you thin and cure whatever ails you. But what you read about in the media or on the interwebs isn’t always what scientists actually found in the lab.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think ketone supplementation just started. Actually, research on this topic goes back to the 1950s. All of it has been conducted using rats. Here are the findings.

Weight loss

D-β-hydroxybutyrate supplementation made some types of rats eat less and lose weight, but not other types of rats.

Some evidence kinda sorta indicates that D-β-hydroxybutyrate supplementation might activate brown fat (a metabolically active fat that is, in part, responsible for thermogenic adaptations) via the sympathetic nervous system, but there was no follow-up.

Blood glucose regulation

Another showed that ketone supplementation with either 1, 3-butanediol acetoacetate diester or sodium/potassium β-hydroxybutyrate decreased blood glucose with no changes in cholesterol or blood triglycerides (the not-so-great side effects of the ketogenic diet).

Traumatic brain injury

In one study, infusing D-β-hydroxybutryate into adult rats after traumatic brain injuries showed improved energy (ATP) levels.

In another study, D-β-hydroxybutryate didn’t improve things and actually caused damage to the blood-brain barrier, even in healthy rats.

Epilepsy

New evidence suggests that it may not be D-β-hydroxybutryate or acetoacetate preventing seizures; rather, it might be the relatively short-chain fatty acids (nanoeic and decanoic acids) in the diets when on a ketogenic diet crossing the blood-brain barrier, inhibiting seizures.

But in another study that exposed rats to high-pressure oxygen containing ketone esters such as R,S-1,3-butanediol acetoacetate diester, the rodents saw increased blood β-hydroxybutryate and decreased seizures.

Cancer

A recent study found that ketone supplementation extended survival in mice with metastatic cancer. But while it’s true that most cancers have a highly anaerobic metabolism, this in not universal. If proven to be effective, it’s likely that ketone supplementation would be an additional treatment rather than a stand alone treatment for cancer, because of its robust nature.

For now, almost no studies on ketone supplementation have used human clinical trials. So if anyone tells you that ketone supplementation is a miracle cure, ask if you can get some for your pet rat… if it’s the right kind of rat. 

Will ketosis help me?

Ketogenesis and ketosis are easy to study.

All you have to do is starve people, or feed them a high-fat/low-carb diet, and wait. Then you see if it changes whatever you’re interested in fixing.

Since we’ve known about fasting and ketosis for quite a long time, and it’s relatively easy to research, there are probably good reasons why it’s not yet considered a miracle cure.

And it’s not because Big Pharma or Carbohydrate Corporation or The Cancer Conspiracy have vested interests. (Trust me, we scientists can barely keep the grad students from contaminating the super-purified water by leaving the lid off the jug, never mind organize an evil cabal of ketosis deniers.)

To be fair, the introduction of anti-epileptic drugs in the late 1930s onward did lead to less interest in dietary ketosis as a treatment for epileptic children.

But we don’t yet use ketosis (or ketone supplementation) to fix everything from muffin tops to hangnails because:

  • For many populations, ketosis has little or no effect.
  • It may only work for particular types of people, with particular needs and health conditions.
  • It may take too long to see a measurable effect.
  • For many people, a ketogenic diet is too hard to consistently follow.

That being said, here are some interesting and promising new avenues for ketosis… as well as some “don’t bother” examples.

Probable benefit: Metabolic diseases

We know that fasting is often an effective short-term treatment for metabolic dysfunction such as poor glucose control / early Type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, or hypertension.

We don’t know for sure yet whether this is because of ketosis or some other mechanism (such as programmed cell death, aka apoptosis).

However, research suggests that in some cases, such as type 2 diabetes, ketosis may be useful as a short-term treatment or a “boost” that helps return metabolic processes back to a more normal and well-regulated state.

In these specific situations, a ketogenic diet or a structured intermittent fasting program done under close medical supervision for a specific objective, may be a useful as part of a multi-pronged treatment program that probably should include other therapeutic tools such as medication or other well-established health procedures.

Notice all our italics here. What we mean is:

  • Don’t use ketosis or fasting alone to try to cure stuff.
  • Don’t use ketosis or fasting just to randomly “get healthy”.
  • “Medical supervision” does not mean Dr. Google.

Verdict: Could help in some cases, but should be done with a clear purpose and carefully monitored. Not a long-term “cure-all” for most people.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Why does ketosis seem to help some types of metabolic dysfunction?

Ketones may help, in part, because they decrease oxidative stress, boost antioxidants and scavenge free radicals.

Oxidation is a natural part of cellular metabolism, but too much oxidation, too fast, without the balance of antioxidants, contributes to many metabolic and other diseases.

Many metabolic disorders are related to this process of oxidation, in which our cells essentially “rust” from the inside. If we can slow and regulate oxidation, it may improve our health and longevity. 

Probable benefit: Neurodegeneration and brain injuries

We know ketosis for epilepsy is a win—can ketosis help other types of brain illnesses and injuries?

Recent research suggests that many brain disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, among other neurodegenerative diseases) are related to other metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

These metabolic and neourodegenerative diseases show common features, such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation. In fact, Alzheimer’s is now often described as “diabetes of the brain”, or “Type 3 diabetes”.

The presence of ketones also seems to improve outcomes from traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, right now, most of these studies have been done on rats.

Still, based on what we’ve seen with epilepsy and rat studies, chances are good that ketones may be a low-risk treatment—and perhaps even a preventive strategy—to improve brain health. See above about getting medical supervision from someone other than Dr. Google.

Verdict: Probably can’t hurt, might help people with neurodegeneration and/or mild to moderate brain injury.

Unclear benefit: Longevity

We know that caloric restriction (CR) improves longevity in most organisms studied. We know that intermittent fasting seems to have some of the same benefits, sometimes.

But right now, we don’t know if ketosis works the same way.

The real question here is: Who’s willing to find out?

Would you stick to a ketogenic diet in the name of advancing knowledge, achieving scientific glory as a “ketonaut”? Most of us wouldn’t.

Plus, without a control group (say, your identical twin who lives exactly the same lifestyle as you, in the exact same environment, with only your diets being different), it’s hard to know for sure whether your 100th birthday was due to ketosis or something else.

For now, any longevity benefits would be mostly speculative. And your 100th birthday cake would have to be a block of butter.

Verdict: You could try this one and get your next of kin to report back… but most people wouldn’t want to.

Interesting, but probably no advantage for most people: Athletic performance

Athletes need fuel to perform.

Could we possibly enable people to tap into their stored body fat more effectively, and require less re-fueling from stuff like sugary energy gels?

Ketosis lets you avoid glycogen depletion (aka bonking, hitting the wall), because you aren’t using glycogen as your energy source, so you don’t need to take in carbs as you compete. Instead you’re using fat and ketone bodies. You increase fat oxidation, spare glycogen, produce less lactate and use less oxygen at submaximal rates.

All this sounds great, but the exercise physiologists’ consensus is that while all these adaptations are true, the problem is that with fat and ketone bodies as fuel, you’re not going to go as fast as you can when using with glucose and carbohydrates.

The bottom line for athletes is performance, and so far there is only one very new study showing a small improvement in cyclist’s performance with ketone supplementation combined with carbohydrate supplementation (compared to just carbohydrate supplementation alone).

It seems that combining ketones with carbs, rather than exclusively using one or the other, might offer some benefit.

Cutting Edge Research: Carb + Ketone Supplementation Improve Aerobic Performance

A recent study compared the effect of drinking just carbs to drinking carbs + ketones in male and female elite cyclists.

After not eating overnight (about 16 hours) the cyclists came to the lab and drank either a carb drink or a carb + ketone (c + k) drink.

Carb drink:

  • 40% dextrose
  • 40% fructose
  • 20% maltodextrin

C + k drink

  • 60% dextrose
  • 40% ketone ((R)-hydroxybutyl (R) -3-hydroxybutyrate ketone ester).

Total amount of substrate in both drinks were 573 mg/kg body weight.

The cyclists drank half of their drink, rode for 1 hour at 75% of their max power output. Then they drank the other half of their drink and biked as far as they could in 30 minutes.

After a week, the cyclist repeated the experiment with the opposite drink.

Results

When drinking the c + k drink the cyclists biked, on average, 2 percent (400 meters) farther longer over the 30 minutes.

There were some metabolic differences to note in with the c+k drink:

  • less lactate
  • more fatty acids in the blood
  • more D- β- hydroxybutyrate

Bottom line: Supplementing with a combination of carbohydrates and ketones may improve performance in aerobic competitions. 

Verdict: Some intriguing possibilities, particularly for aerobic performance, but to date there very little evidence to improve overall athletic performance.

No real advantage: Losing fat

Oh, insulin, you naughty monkey! You have been getting yourself in so much trouble lately!

Low-carb advocates in the late 1990s and early 2000s thought maybe they had stumbled on the key to fighting flab: insulin. Insulin is mainly a storage hormone: Its job is basically to help nutrients get into cells.

The low-carb / insulin hypothesis, dramatically oversimplified, went like this:

  • Insulin makes stuff go into cells.
  • Stuff that goes into fat cells makes us fat.
  • If we don’t help stuff go into cells, then we won’t get fat. We might even lose fat.
  • Carbs (in their digested form of glucose) stimulate insulin release.
  • Therefore eating fewer carbs = less body fat.

Now, this theory did have some merits.

For one thing, it got some of us unhooked from processed sugary and starchy treats, and thinking more about fiber content and healthy fats.

Unfortunately, insulin is not the only player. There’s never only one player in the team sport and complex system that is your body.

Nor does insulin act alone. Energy storage is governed largely by our brain, not a single hormone.

The other upside to the low-carb approach was that people often ate more protein and more fat. When we eat protein and fat, we release satiety hormones, particularly CCK, which is one of the main hormones that tells us we’re full.

More protein and fat means we’re often less hungry. Which means we eat less. Which means we lose fat. It’s the “eating less” part (not the insulin part) that actually matters.

On top of this, if you’ll recall, carbohydrates are relatively heavy to store. Lower the carb intake, and our body will eventually release some water and glycogen.

Result: Weight loss. Magic!

Yet being in ketosis doesn’t seem to have any special advantage for losing body fat (rather than just weight), especially if we consider the lifestyle and behavior aspect to this.

You may find it easy to eat less when all you can eat is protein and fat. But after a while, you may grow tired of bringing your own whole salmon to parties, and wonder what the other 95% of the grocery store is up to. You may start to have fantasies about a threesome: you, Oreos, and chocolate sauce. Not only that, you may be getting some serious scurvy and other nutrient deficiencies.

For women in particular, lowering carbohydrate intake seems to have negative effects.

Women’s bodies go on high alert faster when they sense less energy and fewer nutrients coming in. Many women have found that the low-carb diet that worked great for their husband not only didn’t work for them, but it knocked out their menstrual cycle on the way out the door.

Verdict: We don’t recommend the ketogenic diet for sustainable fat loss.

Let’s take an even deeper look

As part of the carb-insulin hypothesis, people thought that maybe metabolism would also increase during ketosis.

A recent study looked at whether or not there was a significant increase in metabolic rate when going from a high-carbohydrate diet (48% carbohydrate) to a ketogenic diet (6% carbohydrate), with protein being the same (around 16-17%).

With this dietary change, insulin went down while fatty acids and ketone bodies went up. Basal metabolism (energy expenditure) went up by about 100 kcal per day.

Seems obviously good—but not so fast.

Figuring out what this actually means is complicated.

Researchers had to correct metabolism based on body weight, which as you’ve read, tends to drop when water is lost on low-carb diets.

The authors concluded that while there was a small increase in metabolism initially, that disappeared over the four weeks while insulin levels were still low.

So their study didn’t support the insulin-carb hypothesis.

Is protein actually the key factor?

The authors of the study think that differences found in other studies comparing high and low-carb diets are because of differences in protein intake rather than carbohydrate intake in those studies.

Protein promotes satiety and takes the most energy to digest and absorb, so differences in weight loss may be net calories absorbed, rather than decreases in insulin or increases in metabolism.

Definitely no advantage: Gaining lean mass

As you may have read above, insulin is mainly a storage hormone. It’s also considered an anabolic hormone. As in building things. As in getting swole.

For the most part, we need insulin—along with other hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone—to create an anabolic, muscle-building environment. Trying to build muscle while in ketosis is like stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time.

However, as with athletic performance, we may discover that there is some benefit to supplementary ketones while building muscle. We don’t know yet.

Verdict: Build muscle with a more appropriately anabolic diet that includes carbohydrates (particularly around training), and supplement with ketones if you want to experiment.

What this means for you

If you’re a “regular person” who just wants to be healthy and fit:

  • Enjoy reading about ketosis if you like. Try it, if you’re curious. But you can be perfectly fit, lean, and healthy without it.
  • Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. (Except this article, of course.) Remember that the plural of “personal anecdote” is not “scientific data”. Be a critical reader and consumer.

If you’re an athlete:

  • Know your body and the demands of your sport. Unless you’re an ultra-endurance athlete, becoming fat-adapted or adopting a ketogenic diet probably won’t improve your performance.
  • Don’t add stress. Training is a good stress, but still a stressor. Fasting and restricting energy (i.e. calories) or a particular nutrient are also stressors. Stress adds up. Don’t add nutritional stress from a stringent diet to the mix, particularly if you’re female.
  • Make meeting your nutritional needs your priority. If you’re active, you need more fuel and nutrients than the average person. Rather than taking stuff out of your diet, look for where you can add good stuff in: protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, phytonutrients, water, etc. from whole, minimally processed foods.

If you’re a fitness professional / nutrition coach:

  • Understand the basics of ketosis, ketogenic diets, and ketone supplementation. Know when, how, and for whom ketosis might be appropriate. If in doubt, learn more from trusted medical and research sources—which, again, does not include random people of the Internets.
  • Help people understand as much as they need to understand in order to make an informed choice, with your guidance. Your clients will likely have questions. Prepare your answers in advance.
  • Refer out: If you think a client might benefit from a ketogenic diet or ketone supplementation for a health condition, work with their doctor to support things like meal planning and keeping a food journal that looks for correlations between diet and how they feel.

If you have a specific health problem that a ketogenic diet (or ketone supplementation) may help with:

  • Consult your doctor first. Discuss any research findings or potential dietary modifications with someone who actually went to med school. If you’re on any medications, make sure nothing you do will interfere with their effect.
  • Carefully monitor and track any dietary modifications. First, you want to stay safe; second, you want to know if what you’re doing is having any effect. So decide how you’ll know if your dietary changes are “working”, and track those indicators closely.

More to this than you realized?

After reading this article, you might feel like nutrition is more complex than you thought. We get it. In the age of 24/7 health news and fitness-celeb podcasts, it’s tough to get the real story.

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

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools 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, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

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.

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Arnott, Robert, Stanley Finger, and Chris Smith. Trepanation: History, Discovery, Theory. The Netherlands: Swets and Zeitlinger, 2003.

Asadi-Pooya AA, Nikseresht AR, Yaghoubi E. Old Remedies for Epilepsy: Avicenna’s Medicine. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2012;14(3):174-177.

Bailey EE, Pfeifer HH, Thiele EA. The use of diet in the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Feb;6(1):4-8.

Chang P, Augustin K, Boddum K, Williams S, Sun M, Terschak JA, Hardege JD, Chen PE, Walker MC, Williams RS. Seizure control by decanoic acid through direct  AMPA receptor inhibition. Brain. 2016 Feb;139(Pt 2):431-43.

Cox PJ, Kirk T, Ashmore T, Willerton K, Evans R, Smith A, Murray AJ, Stubbs B, West J, McLure SW, King MT, Dodd MS, Holloway C, Neubauer S, Drawer S, Veech RL, Griffin JL, Clarke K. Nutritional Ketosis Alters Fuel Preference and Thereby Endurance Performance in Athletes. Cell Metab. 2016 Jul 26. pii: S1550-4131(16)30355-2. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.07.010. [Epub ahead of print]

Cox PJ, Clarke K. Acute nutritional ketosis: implications for exercise performance and metabolism. Extreme physiology & medicine. 2014 Oct 29;3(1):1.

D’Agostino DP, Pilla R, Held HE, Landon CS, Puchowicz M, Brunengraber H, Ari
C, Arnold P, Dean JB. Therapeutic ketosis with ketone ester delays central
nervous system oxygen toxicity seizures in rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp
Physiol. 2013 May 15;304(10):R829-36.

Greco T, Glenn TC, Hovda DA, Prins ML. Ketogenic diet decreases oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial respiratory complex activity. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 2015 Oct 13:0271678X15610584.

Hall KD, Chen KY, Guo J, Lam YY, Leibel RL, Mayer LE, Reitman ML, Rosenbaum M, Smith SR, Walsh BT, Ravussin E. Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016.

Hashim SA, VanItallie TB. Ketone body therapy: from the ketogenic diet to the oral administration of ketone ester. J Lipid Res. 2014 Sep;55(9):1818-26. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R046599.

Henderson ST. Ketone bodies as a therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease. Neurotherapeutics. 2008 Jul;5(3):470-80. doi: 10.1016/j.nurt.2008.05.004.

Hertz L, Chen Y, Waagepetersen HS. Effects of ketone bodies in Alzheimer’s disease in relation to neural hypometabolism, β-amyloid toxicity, and astrocyte function. J Neurochem. 2015 Jul;134(1):7-20. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13107.

Hippocrates, Epidemics VII, 46.

Jha SK, Jha NK, Kumar D, Ambasta RK, Kumar P. Linking mitochondrial dysfunction, metabolic syndrome and stress signaling in neurodegeneration. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jun 21. pii: S0925-4439(16)30157-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2016.06.015.

Kesl SL, Poff AM, Ward NP, Fiorelli TN, Ari C, Van Putten AJ, Sherwood JW,
Arnold P, D’Agostino DP. Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood
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Pinckaers PJ, Churchward-Venne TA, Bailey D, van Loon LJ. Ketone Bodies and Exercise Performance: The Next Magic Bullet or Merely Hype? Sports Med. 2016 Jul 18. [Epub ahead of print]

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decreases tumor cell viability and prolongs survival of mice with metastatic
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Volek JS, Noakes T, Phinney SD. Rethinking fat as a fuel for endurance exercise. Eur J Sport Sci. 2015;15(1):13-20. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2014.959564.

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Wilder RM. (1921) The effect on ketonemia on the course of epilepsy.Mayo Clin Bull 2:307.

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The post The Ketogenic Diet: Does it live up to the hype? The pros, the cons, and the facts about this not-so-new diet craze. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

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

++++

Are you truly transforming your clients’ health?

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

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

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

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

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

Or by the 10th wedding anniversary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s called coaching for deep health.

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

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

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

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

Perfect.

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

(That’s good for your clients.)

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

(That’s good for you.)

++++

The six domains of deep health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the six domains of deep health.

These areas of health are deeply entwined and strongly connected.

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

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

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

Every domain of deep health influences eating and exercise behaviors.

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

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

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

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

But because of this situation, they’re also:

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

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

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

Because of this situation, they’re also:

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

Now… here’s the really cool part:

The problems are connected… but so are the solutions.

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

But there’s a flip side here, too.

Improving one domain can also improve others.

This is the power of deep health coaching.

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

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

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

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

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

Winning.

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

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

Deep health looks different to everyone.

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

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

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

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

Deep health isn’t about rules or ideals.

It’s about exploration and invitation.

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

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

Coach for deep health… and better results

Where do you start?

Easy… just ask your clients. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s on your garbage list?”

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

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

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

But it’s only just the beginning.

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

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

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

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

Deep health detective: Investigate. 

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

Deep health sherpa: Guide. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deep Health Domain #1

Physical health: “How do you feel physically?”

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

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

Great! Now you have a solid direction.

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #2

Emotional health: “How are you doing emotionally?”

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #3

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #5

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

What to do next…

Look at the big picture.

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

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

Dig for connections.

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

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

Client: I eat terribly.

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

And so on.

Collaborate with your client.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s where we come in. If you’d like to learn everything you can about nutrition—especially how to use it to help yourself and others—consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.  The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post Level 1: The ‘deep health’ coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

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

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

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

 


 

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

After all, truly fit people have washboards, right?

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

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

Sound familiar?

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

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

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

I call this the comparison game.

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

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

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

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

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A secret about comparison: Everybody’s doing it.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others.

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

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

But we don’t look to just anyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But aren’t you worth it? 

5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others physically.

Strategy #1: Focus on actions, not outcomes.

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

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

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

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

Especially when we see others succeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How? By the simple act of daily journaling.

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

Every day, simply write:

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

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

Strategy #3: Eliminate your comparison triggers.

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

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

And your life just isn’t like that. 

Or it could be:

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself:

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

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

Strategy #4: Transform your social networks.

Go ahead, Marie Kondo your newsfeed.

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

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

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

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

Strategy #5: Seek meaningful connections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genuine conversations beat silent comparison. Every time.

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

We all know this.

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

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

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

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

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps them fully value their own body, effort, and progress—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post “Why can’t I look like them?” How the comparison complex makes you hate on your body—and 5 ways to beat it for good. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

You’re tracking your eating and exercise meticulously but not seeing results. Has your metabolism slowed to a crawl? Are your hormones off? Is it really possible to GAIN weight from eating too LITTLE? Here’s what’s really going on—and how to solve it.

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“How can I be eating so little, and still gaining weight?”

Have you ever felt this way? (Or had a client who has?)

In my years as a coach, it’s a question that’s come up time and time again—from both clients and fellow coaches.

They’re confused. Frustrated. Maybe even angry. (Or certainly “hangry.”)

Despite doing everything they can, including eating less—maybe a lot less—they’re still not losing weight. In fact, they might even be gaining.

Do a quick Internet search and you’re bound to find lots of explanations.

Some folks say that the laws of energy balance apply, and that people aren’t counting calories properly. Others call it “starvation mode”, or some weird metabolic or hormonal problem.

So what’s the deal? Is there something wrong with them? Are their bodies broken? Is it all in their heads?

Or can you actually gain weight from eating too little?

Let’s find out.

Truth: Thermodynamics don’t lie.

You’ve probably heard the phrase—the laws of thermodynamics—before. Or maybe you’ve heard it as energy balance. Or “calories in, calories out.”

Let’s break down what it actually means.

Thermodynamics is a way to express how energy is used and changed. Put simply, we take in energy in the form of food, and we expend energy through activities like:

  • basic metabolic functions (breathing, circulating blood, etc.)
  • movement (daily-life activity, purposeful exercise, etc.)
  • producing heat (also called thermogenesis)
  • digestion and excretion

And, the truth is…

Energy balance (calories in, calories out) does determine bodyweight.

  • If we absorb more energy than we expend, we gain weight.
  • If we absorb less energy than we expend, we lose weight.

This has been tested over and over again by researchers, in many settings.

It’s as close as we can get to scientific fact.

Sure, there are many factors that influence either side of this seemingly simple equation, which can make things feel a little confusing:

However, humans do not defy the laws of thermodynamics.

But what about unexplained weight changes? That time you ate a big dinner and woke up lighter? When you feel like you’re “doing everything right” but you’re not losing weight?

Nope, even if we think we’re defying energy in vs. energy out, we’re not.

And what about that low carb doctor who implies that insulin resistance (or some other hormone) mucks up the equation?

While hormones may influence the proportions of lean mass and fat mass you gain or lose, they still don’t invalidate the energy balance equation.

Yet, as the title of the article suggests, it is easy to understand why folks—even internet-famous gurus and doctors—get confused about this.

One reason why…

Measuring metabolism is tricky.

The fact is, your exact metabolic demands and responses aren’t that easy to measure.

It is possible to approximate your basal metabolic rate—in other words, the energy cost of keeping you alive. But measurements are only as good as the tools we use.

When it comes to metabolic measurement, the best tools are hermetically sealed metabolic chambers, but not many of us hang out in those on the regular.

Which means, while we may have our “metabolism” estimated at the gym, or by our fitness trackers, as with calorie counts on labels, these estimates can be off by 20-30 percent in normal, young, healthy people. They’re probably off by even more in other populations.

Of course, if we could accurately measure how much energy you’re expending every day, and then accurately measure exactly how much energy you’re taking in and absorbing, we could decide whether you were truly “eating too little” for your body’s requirements.

But even if we could know this outside the lab, which we can’t, it wouldn’t be useful. Because energy output is dynamic, meaning that every variable changes whenever any other variable changes (see below).

In other words, unless we can exactly measure energy inputs and outputs from minute to minute, we can’t know for sure what your metabolism is doing and how it matches the food you’re eating.

So, most of the time, we have to guess. And our guesses aren’t very good.

Not only that, but the idea of “eating too little” is subjective.

Think about it. By “eating too little”, do you mean…

  • Eating less than normal?
  • Eating less than you’ve been told to eat?
  • Eating less than feels right?
  • Eating less than you need to be healthy?
  • Eating less than your estimated metabolic rate?
  • Eating less than your actual metabolic rate?

And how often does that apply? Are you…

  • Eating too little at one meal?
  • Eating too little on one day?
  • Eating too little every day?
  • Eating too little almost every day but too much on some days?

Without clarity on some of these questions, you can see how easy it is to assume you’re “eating too little” but still not eating less than your actual energy expenditure, even if you did some test to estimate your metabolic rate and it seems like you’re eating less than that number.

Most times, the problem is perception.

As human beings, we’re bad at correctly judging how much we’re eating and expending. We tend to think we eat less and burn more than we do—sometimes by as much as 50 percent.

(Interestingly, lighter folks trying to gain weight often have the opposite problem: They overestimate their food intake and underestimate their expenditure.)

It’s not that we’re lying (though we can sometimes deceive ourselves, and others, about our intake). More than anything, it’s that we struggle to estimate portion sizes and calorie counts.

This is especially difficult today, when plates and portions are bigger than ever. And energy-dense, incredible tasting, and highly brain-rewarding “foods” are ubiquitous, cheap, and socially encouraged.

When folks start paying close attention to their portion sizes using their hands or food scales and measuring cups, they are frequently shocked to discover they are eating significantly more than they imagined.

(I once had a client discover he was using ten tablespoons of olive oil—1200 calories—rather than the two tablespoons—240 calories—he thought he was using in his stir-fry. Oops.)

At other times, we can be doing everything right at most meals, but energy can sneak when we don’t realize it.

Here’s a perfect story to illustrate this.

A few years ago Dr. Berardi (JB, as he’s known around here) went out to eat with some friends at a well-known restaurant chain. He ordered one of their “healthier” meals that emphasized protein, veggies, and “clean” carbs. Then he finished off dinner with cheesecake.

Curious about how much energy he’d consumed, he looked it up.

Five. Thousand. Calories.

Incredibly, he hadn’t even felt that full afterwards.

If the calorie content of that one meal surprised someone with the expertise and experience of JB, how would most “normal” eaters fare? Good luck trying to “eyeball” things.

Also imagine a scenario where you were under-eating almost every meal during the week and maintaining an estimated negative energy balance of about -3,500 calories. Then, during one single meal, a “healthy” menu option plus dessert, you accumulated 5,000 calories.

That one meal would put you in a theoretically positive energy balance for the week (+1,500 calories), leading to weight gain!

Seriously, how would you feel if, after eating 20 “perfect” meals in a row and 1 “not so bad” meal, you gained weight? You’d probably feel like your metabolism was broken.

You’d probably feel like it’s possible to gain weight from eating too little.

But, again, the laws of thermodynamics aren’t broken. Rather, a whole bunch of calories snuck in without you realizing it.

Even more, the dynamic nature of metabolism can be confusing.

Another reason it can be easy to believe you gained weight eating too little (or at least didn’t lose weight when eating less) is because your metabolism isn’t like a computer.

For instance, you might have heard that one pound of fat is worth 3,500 calories, so if you cut 500 calories per day, you’ll lose one pound per week (7 x 500 = 3,500).

(Unless, of course, you downed 5,000 calories in a single meal at the end of the week, in which case you’d be on track to gain weight).

Except this isn’t how human metabolism works. The human body is a complex and dynamic system that responds quickly to changes in its environment.

When you undereat, especially over a longer period (that part is important), this complex system adapts.

Here’s an example of how this might play out:

  • You expend less energy in digestion because you’re eating less.
  • Resting metabolic rate goes down because you weigh less.
  • Calories burned through physical activity go down since you weigh less.
  • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (daily-life fidgeting, movement) goes down and you expend less energy through the day.
  • Your digestion slows down, and you absorb more energy from your food.


Your body will also adjust hormonal feedback and signaling loops. For instance:

  • Appetite and hunger hormones go up (i.e. we want to eat more, are more stimulated by food cues, may have more cravings).
  • Satiety hormones go down (which means it’s harder for us to feel full or satisfied).
  • Thyroid hormones and sex hormones (both of which are involved in metabolic rate) go down.

Your planned 500 calorie daily deficit can quickly become 400, 300, or even 200 calories (or fewer), even if you intentionally exercise as much as you had before.

And, speaking of exercise, the body has similar mechanisms when we try to out-exercise an excessive intake.

For example, research suggests that increasing physical activity above a certain threshold (by exercising more) can trigger:

  • More appetite and more actual calories eaten
  • Increased energy absorption
  • Lowered resting or basal metabolism
  • Less fidgeting and spontaneous movement (aka NEAT)

In this case, here’s what the equation would look like:

These are just two of the many examples we could share.

There are other factors, such as the health of our gastrointestinal microbiota, our thoughts and feelings about eating less (i.e. whether we view eating less as stressful), and so on.

The point is that metabolism is much more complicated (and interdependent) than most people realize.

All of this means that when you eat less, you may lose less weight than you expect. Depending how much less you eat, and for how long, you may even re-gain weight in the long run thanks to these physiological and behavioral factors.

Plus, humans are incredibly diverse.

Our metabolisms are too.

While the “average” responses outlined above are true, our own unique responses, genetics, physiology, and more means that our calorie needs will differ from the needs of others, or the needs predicted by laboratory tools (and the equations they rely on).

Let’s imagine two people of the same sex, age, height, weight, and lean body mass. According to calculations, they should have the exact same energy expenditure, and therefore energy needs.

However, we know this is not the case.

For instance:

  • Your basal metabolic rate—remember, that’s the energy you need just to fuel your organs and biological functions to stay alive—can vary by 15 percent. For your average woman or man, that’s roughly 200-270 calories.
  • Genetic differences matter too. A single change in one FTO gene can be an additional 160 calorie difference.
  • Sleep deprivation can cause a 5-20 percent change in metabolism, so there’s another 200-500 calories.
  • For women, the phase of their menstrual cycle can affect metabolism by another 150 calories or so.

Even in the same individual, metabolism can easily fluctuate by 100 calories from day to day, or even over the course of a day (for instance, depending on circadian rhythms of waking and sleeping).

Those differences can add up quickly, and this isn’t even an exhaustive list.

If you want to dig really deep into the factors that influence our energy balance, check this out:

The multifactorial nature of body weight.

In the end, hopefully you can see how equations used to predict calorie needs for the “average” person might not be accurate for you. And that’s why you could gain weight (or not lose weight) eating a calorie intake that’s below your measured (estimated) expenditure.

It’s also why some experts, who aren’t knowledgeable about the limitations of metabolic measurement, will try to find all sorts of complicated hormonal or environmental causes for what they think is a violation of thermodynamics.

The answer, however, is much simpler than that.

The estimates just weren’t very good.

And yes, water retention is a thing.

Cortisol is one of our “stress hormones”, and it has effects on our fluid levels.

Food and nutrient restriction is a stressor (especially if we’re anxious about it). When we’re stressed, cortisol typically goes up. People today report being more stressed than ever, so it’s easy to tip things over into “seriously stressed”.

When cortisol goes up, our bodies may hold onto more water, which means we feel “softer” and “less lean” than we actually are. This water retention can mask the fat loss that is occurring, making it seem like we aren’t losing fat and weight, when in fact we are.

Here’s an example.

A good friend of mine (and former high school hockey teammate) was struggling to make the NHL. He had played several seasons in the AHL (one step down from the NHL) and had just been called up to the pros.

The NHL club wanted him to stay below 220 lbs (100 kg), which was a challenge for him at 6’2”. He found that eating a lower-carb diet allowed him to maintain a playing weight around 218 lbs.

Yet his nutrition coach told him it was OK to have some occasional higher-carb days.

Unfortunately for him, he had one of these higher-carb days—going out for sushi with his teammates—right before his first NHL practice.

The next day, when reporting to the NHL team, he was called into the GM’s office to get weighed. He was 232 lbs (105 kg).

Thanks, carbs and salt!

My friend was crushed. Even worse, two days later he was back to 218 lbs.

OK, but what if I track my intake and expenditure meticulously?

You might be nodding your head, beginning to realize how complex metabolism is. How inaccurate calorie counts can be. How variable we all are. How much the body seeks to maintain the status quo. And how poor we are at estimating our own intake and expenditure.

But what if you are meticulously tracking intake? Logging your meals? Counting your steps? Even hitting a local research lab to measure your metabolism? And things still aren’t adding up?

Well, it goes back to what we’ve discussed so far:

  • The calorie counts of the foods you’ve logged might be higher than expected, either because of erroneous labeling or because of small errors in your own measurement.
  • Your energy needs might be lower than calculated (or even measured). This may be because…
  • You’re expending less energy through movement than your fitness tracker or exercise machine suggests.
  • You have less lean mass as you think, or it may not be as energy-consuming as you expect.
  • You’re absorbing more energy in digestion than you realize (for instance, if your gastrointestinal transit time is slow, or your microbiota are really good at extracting nutrients).

Maybe you’re just missing some data.

As mentioned above, while you’re probably not outright lying, it could be that you’re also “forgetting” to account for the few bites of your kids’ chicken nuggets that you didn’t want to go to waste. Or that extra spoonful of peanut butter. Or the large glass of wine you counted as a ‘medium’. Likewise, the calorie counts on those food labels can be (and often are) off.

Maybe you’re counting your workout as high intensity, even though you spent much of it sitting on a bench between low-rep strength sets. Maybe you were so hungry afterwards, you ate more than you intended (but figured it was all going to muscle-building, so no biggie).

It happens; we’re all human.

Measuring and tracking your energy intake carefully can help.

When we measure and track for a while, we become more aware of what we’re eating, get a more realistic idea of our portion sizes, and help ourselves be consistent and accountable.

But measuring and tracking definitely is not a perfect strategy.

It can be stressful and time-consuming. Most people don’t want to do it forever.

And it may misrepresent the “exact” calories we consume versus the “exact” calories we burn, which can lead us to believe we’re eating less than we’re burning, even when we’re not.

What about legitimate medical problems?

Whenever we arrive at this point of the discussion folks usually ask about whether underlying health problems, or medications, can affect their metabolism, weight, and/or appetite.

The answer is yes.

This includes things like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), certain pharmaceuticals (corticosteroids or birth control), severe thyroid dysfunction, sex hormone disruption, leptin resistance, and more.

However, this is less common than most people think, and even if you do have a health issue, your body still isn’t breaking the laws of thermodynamics.

It’s just—as discussed above—that your calorie expenditure is lower than predicted. And a few extra calories may be sneaking in on the intake side.

The good news: weight loss is still possible (albeit at a slower pace).

If you truly feel that you are accurately estimating intake, exercising consistently at least 5-7 hours a week, managing your sleep and stress, getting expert nutritional coaching, and covering absolutely all the fundamentals, then it may be time to consider further conversations and testing with your doctor.

So what can you do?

If you feel your intake is less than your needs, (in other words, you’re eating what feels like ‘too little’) but you still aren’t losing weight, here are some helpful next steps to try.

Measure your intake.

Use whatever tools you prefer. Your hands, scales and spoons, pictures, food logs, etc. It doesn’t matter.

Track your intake for a few days or a full week, to see if it adds up to what you “thought” you were eating. We are often surprised.

Sometimes, just the act of tracking increases our awareness of our intake, which helps us make better choices.

Be compassionate with yourself.

It may feel like being strict or critical is a good approach, but it isn’t. It just makes you more stressed out.

Conversely, research shows that being kind and gentle with yourself (while still having some grown-up honesty about your decisions) helps you have a healthier body composition, make wise food choices, stick to your fitness goals better, feel less anxious and stressed, and have a better relationship with food overall.

There are going to be meals or days where you don’t eat as you “should”. It’s OK. It happens to everyone. Recognize it, accept it, forgive yourself, and then get back on track.

Choose mostly less-processed whole foods.

Foods that aren’t hyper-rewarding or hyperpalatable are harder to over-eat. They don’t cause hypothalamic inflammation and leptin resistance.

They have lots of good stuff (vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, phytonutrients, disease-fighting chemicals, etc.) and are usually lower in calories.

And they are usually far better at keeping you full and satisfied.

Choose whole foods that you enjoy and will eat consistently.

Play with macronutrient levels.

Some people respond better to more carbs and fewer fats. Others respond better to higher fats and few carbs.

There’s no single best diet for everyone. We all have different preferences, and even different responses to foods and macronutrients. So play with this a bit, and find what works for you.

Own your decisions.

Let your adult values and deeper principles guide you when you sit down to eat. Make food choices by acknowledging the outcome you would expect.

Avoid playing mental games like “If I’m ‘good’ then I get to be ‘bad”, or “If I pretend I didn’t eat the cookies, then it didn’t happen”.

Face your behavior with open eyes, maturity, and wisdom.

Accept that all choices have consequences.

And appreciate that it’s OK to indulge sometimes.

If you are still having trouble, get coaching.

Behavior change and sustained weight loss are hard. Especially when we try to go it alone.

Seek out a qualified and compassionate coach or professional who can help you navigate these tricky waters.

(Might I suggest Precision Nutrition Coaching?)

If you’re a coach or professional, here’s how to help people with this.

If you’re working with clients or patients as a service provider, be empathetic. Remember, it can be incredibly easy to believe that we’re “doing everything right” and yet not seeing results.

Instead of jumping to conclusions or rushing in with reasons why your client isn’t succeeding, instead, follow these steps:

Step 1: Be compassionate and curious.

Understand that most people in this space are probably frustrated and/or beating themselves up. Don’t dial up some “tough love” and call them liars.

Be empathetic and gently curious.

Step 2: Gather (accurate) data.

Have people show you what they’re doing to the best of their ability. Pictures, food logs, tracking apps… whatever suits their level of ready, willing and able.

While meticulous tracking isn’t usually a good long-term solution, it can help both of you to get some more accurate data.

Step 3: Have a crucial conversation.

If you think this means being Coach Hardass, you are off the mark. Remember:

  • You are both working together in an alliance against the problem, not against each other.
  • You both want your client or patient to succeed.

Bring facts to the table, not opinions. What you see and what they see are likely different.

Step 4: Help them feel safe.

If someone is hiding from you foods that they ate, that is at least partly your responsibility.

For whatever reason, the individual doesn’t feel comfortable telling you they aren’t doing what they think they should.

This needs to be explored together. Slowly. Gently. With a curious, and non-judgemental mind.

++++

A final note on body composition.

Before wrapping up I wanted to mention something important.

In this article I decided to focus only on the body weight implications of the energy balance equation because that’s all the equation really describes (i.e. net transfers of energy).

Changes in body composition (i.e. your relative proportions of lean tissue and body fat) are, if you can believe it, much more complicated and far less comprehensively studied.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps each individual overcome their unique nutrition challenges—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post Can you gain weight from eating too little? No, but here’s why it’s so easy to think you can. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

“Here’s what you should eat… ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The diet problems that drive people crazy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy problems to solve? No.

Are they solvable? Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

Now it’s your turn. 

* We’ve combined closely-related categories.

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

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

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

But what if you realized this behavior occurs…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think about meal planning on a continuum. 

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

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

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

A great place to start: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try it, and observe what happens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If no, try following these steps:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A simple way to start: 

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

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

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

We’re going for progress here, not perfection.

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

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

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

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

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

But let’s go back to our continuum concept:

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

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

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

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

Remember: Progress, not perfection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps each individual overcome their unique nutrition challenges—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

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

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

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post Exclusive data: Overcome the 8 biggest diet challenges, based on 100,000 client results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Glen and Katrina spent the past 12 months transforming their eating habits, health, bodies, and lives with personal help from a PN coach. And now? They’re our latest Grand Prize winners. See how we surprised them with $25,000 each, and meet the rest of our July 2019 Precision Nutrition Coaching winners.

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Every six months, in our Precision Nutrition Coaching program, we give away more than $125,000 to the men and women who have the most incredible, inspiring body transformations.

Yep, that’s more than $250,000 a year.

And today, you’ll meet our latest amazing winners.

These folks started working with us in July 2018 and—over the course of the past year—completely transformed how they eat, move, look, and feel.

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

What’s more, they did all of this without extreme diets or crazy workout routines. There were no meal plans or off-limit foods. No unbreakable rules. No deprivation. And perhaps best of all, no guilt.

Each person simply committed to making a change, stayed consistent, and used the accountability and support of one of our dedicated coaches.

$25,000 Grand Prize Winner: Katrina

Lost 41 lbs and 38 total inches!

Age: 44 years
Weight Lost: 41 lbs (from 170 lbs to 129 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 38 inches (from 225 inches to 187 inches)
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Katrina McKinney loved to run.

She started fifteen years ago, tackling her first marathon in 2008.

She loved logging the miles, loved the community, and loved the fact that running had helped her go from her heaviest adult weight to her lightest.

But she couldn’t sustain it.

Running 30 or 40 miles a week wasn’t always compatible with her busy work schedule, and inconsistency with that mileage opened the door to injury.

Also, while she knew a lot about fitness and nutrition, she couldn’t consistently apply her knowledge. It was tempting to look for the easy fix, like the latest supplement or the hot new trendy diet.

“I was always trying something,” Katrina says.

But in the end, Katrina’s nutrition and fitness efforts always felt random.

No matter what she did or what progress she made, she always seemed to return to the same old condition—tired, discouraged, and overweight.

Then she got married, and while her life got better, her fitness got worse.

After work, it was all too tempting to discuss the day with her husband, Keith, over a bottle of wine or an extra-large portion of their evening meal. She started skipping workouts and missing runs. Over time, those extra calories added up.

Finally, both Katrina and Keith reached a breaking point: They knew they had to do better.

After all, if they were struggling with health and fitness now, in early middle age, what would happen later?

“I wanted to set us up for a healthy future.”

Enter Precision Nutrition. Taking a leap of faith and investing in their long-term health, Katrina and Keith signed up for coaching—together.

It wasn’t long before their rituals began to change. Instead of bonding over a beer, they’d start the day with a gym date and close it with a conversation about that week’s nutrition habit or the most recent lesson in the program.

This mutual encouragement proved crucial to their success.

“Even though our experience was different, we were always there to support each other. It’s like we were on the same train, even if we sometimes rode in different cars.”

The kids also came along for the ride. “They weren’t always giddy about eating so many veggies,” Katrina admits. But they were game to try. “The youngest happens to love licorice. I’ll never forget her smile when I showed her that fennel smells and tastes like her favorite candy!”

It was that mindful approach to cooking, eating, exercise, and sleep that made the biggest difference to Katrina. Day after day, she made small, consistent efforts. She stopped thinking in terms of depriving herself. Instead, she took care of herself.

The number on the scale seemed to take care of itself, too.

For Katrina, watching her weight drop was a thrill. Better yet was the experience of flying through the hills on a long trail run, and feeling as energetic after the race as before it.

Best of all was her newfound ability to listen to herself, to trust her inner voice.

For example, that inner voice prompted Katrina to quit a 12-hour challenge race after seven hours in the heat and torrential rain. Instead of pushing herself beyond her limits, or just sticking it out to drink beer and eat junk food, she opted to leave–and enjoy a cozy supper with Keith.

Other times, the inner voice gave Katrina the encouragement she needed to decline that extra drink at a social event so she could prioritize sleep.

Often, Katrina’s inner voice nudged her to get outside and connect with nature. To listen to the babble of the stream, to feel the stones under her feet.

These days, people ask Katrina what she’s been doing to get so healthy and happy.

“Honestly, it isn’t hard,” she says. It’s really about slowing down, listening, making one small positive choice, and then another.

“Focus on the process instead of on outcomes. What you do to and with your body matters,” she says.

“Most of all, remember that you’re worth it.”

Want to get results like Katrina? Learn more about the Precision Nutrition Coaching Program for Women.

$25,000 Grand Prize Winner: Glen

Lost 52 lbs and 33 total inches!

Age: 57 years
Weight Lost: 52 lbs (from 243 lbs to 191 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 33 inches (from 262 inches to 229 inches)

An avid rower, Glen Schultz knew it may be time for a change the day he tried to get in the racing shell—and wouldn’t fit.

Though active, Glen, like many of us, had arrived at middle age carrying some extra baggage around his middle.

He couldn’t squeeze into his suits, either. Invited to a wedding, he had to make a trip to the Goodwill store to find something formal to wear.

But these were just irritations. Annoying, yes, but also funny. It was the confrontations with mortality that Glen found harder to shrug off.

First, his wife’s mother passed away. Then, he lost his own mother. A former classmate died of a stroke.

And he found himself dwelling on the reality that in his mid-50s, he had fewer years ahead of him than behind. With a loving wife and two teenage boys to raise, he didn’t feel ready to cut those years even shorter.

His medical checkup was the final straw.

“You’re pre-diabetic,” his doctor told him, and then mentioned something about “medications.” That’s when Glen decided to take control of his health.

He signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching, began to follow the habits and workouts, and bit by bit his mindset and waistline both started to change.

“In the past, I’d never really thought about how I eat,” he says.

Glen knew all about what he should eat, and why. But it turned out that slowing down, taking time, and reflecting on his choices made all the difference.

“Instead of going for that midnight ice cream, I’d write down how I was feeling.”

Afterwards, he might still hit the freezer for a snack, but he took a smaller portion and enjoyed it more.

Midway through his year of coaching he went for another checkup. This time, his blood work came back clear. He wasn’t pre-diabetic any more. And his GP had to cancel an upcoming appointment with a cardiologist.

Glen didn’t need it. His heart was in great shape.

That bin of “too small” clothes at the back of his closet? Now Glen found himself raiding it for something to wear.

In fact, he had to buy a new bin for the “too big” clothes.

The first item he tossed: that Goodwill suit he’d had to buy for the wedding a few months earlier.

Eventually, it got to the point where all his clothes were too big.

“I think I’ll have a ceremonial bonfire,” he laughs.

These days, Glen is rowing again. He bikes to work sometimes, and takes long walks on the weekends. His wife, who supported him from the start, has joined the coaching program herself, so they share their successes and challenges.

Glen’s old pattern was to do things the way he’d always done them and to fix every problem himself. To repair the broken bathtub, even though he didn’t know anything about fiberglass. To wear his hair the way he’d always worn it, even if it went against his natural part.

But his year of coaching has taught him the value of accepting help from the pros.

It turns out that bathtub repair guys really know how to work with fiberglass, barbers really understand hair, and PN coaches really know how to guide people towards greater fitness and health.

“You could wander in the vastness of what’s out there on the internet forever and get lost. Or you could ignore the flotsam and jetsam and get real help,” Glen says.

Also, you don’t need to be Michael Jordan or Lebron James to do this program.

“I can’t overstate it. This works for regular people. It really works.”

Want to get results like Glen? Learn more about the Precision Nutrition Coaching Program for Men.

Meet our other Women’s winners:

Marie

$10,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 39 years

Weight Lost: 36 lbs (167 lbs to 131 lbs)

Total inches lost: 29″ (217″ to 188″)

As a perfectionist, if I wasn’t able to do everything perfectly, to a T, I would often fall into a ‘why bother’ mindset. What I love about PN is that it is made for ‘real-life,’ ‘normal’ people! At times it is almost too easy, but that is the beauty of it! If you just follow along, one step at a time, just trying to be ‘one percent better every day,’ you’ll see amazing, lasting, and sustainable results!

– Marie

Laurie

$10,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 54 years

Weight Lost: 38 lbs (195 lbs to 157 lbs)

Total inches lost: 24″ (235″ to 211″)

I was looking for a program that would lead to positive, life-long, sustainable changes for my health and well-being. PN Coaching put me in control of my journey by providing thorough, well-researched information; lots of helpful advice; and supportive, empathetic, insightful coaching (much appreciated!). By helping me tailor my own program, I was choosing something meaningful and doable for me. I found that small changes done consistently led to amazing results.

– Laurie

Kathleen

$2,500 women’s Winner:

Age: 50 years

Weight Lost: 21 lbs (143 lbs to 122 lbs)

Total inches lost: 20″ (215″ to 195″)

As an avowed do-it-yourselfer, I spent a year studying the PN website and trying to follow the guidance on my own. I made some progress, but what a difference a year of PN Coaching made! Not only did I celebrate my 50th birthday leaner, healthier, and more confident than I had in decades, I got there in a way that felt natural, sustainable and easier than I ever imagined.

– Kathleen

Marilyn

$2,500 women’s Winner:

Age: 70 years

Weight Lost: 51 lbs (217 lbs to 166 lbs)

Total inches lost: 56″ (259″ to 203″)

I joined PN hoping to lose weight, and I did. A wonderful, unexpected bonus was that, along the way, I found my true, authentic self, and discovered how to align my life with my values. Thank you for giving me the calm and peace I need!

– Marilyn

Mia

$2,500 women’s Winner:

Age: 37 years

Weight Lost: 21 lbs (168 lbs to 147 lbs)

Total inches lost: 10″ (216″ to 206″)

I made the commitment to PN to regain my health, happiness, and confidence—but most importantly to establish myself as a top priority again. My transformation has been both challenging and exciting, but through PN I have formed and reinforced healthy habits that will support my continued consistency. BOOM!!

– Mia

Donna

$2,500 women’s Winner:

Age: 61 years

Weight Lost: 26 lbs (145 lbs to 119 lbs)

Total inches lost: 20″ (211″ to 191″)

Precision Nutrition is the “magic pill” I’ve been looking for most of my adult life. I’ve tried everything, but never experienced this success, which I achieved even while dealing with a new autoimmune inflammatory diagnosis that causes pain and a treatment that causes weight gain. It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago I could hardly walk, and although it has been an uphill climb it’s been worth every step. The daily inspiration, encouragement, and guidance I received from PN has touched every area of my life. I’m so very thankful to finally be healthy and fit enough to enjoy my retirement years (hopefully soon) and my grandchildren!

– Donna

Sarah

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 24 years

Weight Lost: 45 lbs (180 lbs to 135 lbs)

Total inches lost: 33″ (229″ to 196″)

I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally free. I’ve lost pounds and inches, and I gained a confident, happier, energetic lifestyle with a sense of purpose. By prioritizing my health, I am able to have the fullness of a life rooted in unshakable faith: in myself, in my relationships, and in my daily choices.

– Sarah

Joanne

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 64 years

Weight Lost: 52 lbs (222 lbs to 170 lbs)

Total inches lost: 51″ (266″ to 215″)

I feel reenergized, stronger than I’ve ever been, living a much more active and fulfilling life, and dedicated to always taking care of myself from now on, even when ‘life happens.’ PN has been there, week after week, encouraging, supporting, and providing solid information as I’ve made changes both inside and out. PN has sparked a real joy in me in learning again. I know now it is never, ever too late!

– Joanne

Sibylle

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 40 years

Weight Lost: 20 lbs (125 lbs to 105 lbs)

Total inches lost: 17″ (198″ to 181″)

Having been a lifelong yoyo dieter, PN was going to be a last-ditch effort to get my eating under control and to make lasting changes. While it wasn’t all smooth sailing, I feel that PN taught me the fundamental skills and gave me the mindset to finally find balance in my life, stop obsessing over food, and get into the best shape of my life! Through PN’s lessons and the support of my coach, Denise, I developed the necessary tools to lead a healthy, balanced life.

– Sibylle

Yami

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 32 years

Weight Lost: 27 lbs (162 lbs to 135 lbs)

Total inches lost: 29″ (226″ to 197″)

PN Coaching has been so much more than a physical transformation, it’s been a journey that’s transformed my mental capacity to understand my real strengths. I am convinced that small incremental changes over time make a big difference. I’m taking with me skills to make this a lifetime lifestyle change, and the motivation and desire to keep learning and continue to grow.

– Yami

Cheryl

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 56 years

Weight Lost: 38 lbs (212 lbs to 174 lbs)

Total inches lost: 24″ (241″ to 217″)

PN has given me the tools to understand that change comes from the inside and works its way out. The journey is ongoing, but instead of fear, the foundation is now being built on pride, love and compassion.

– Cheryl

Michelle

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 39 years

Weight Lost: 14 lbs (145 lbs to 131 lbs)

Total inches lost: 19″ (216″ to 197″)

I started out with PN desperate to lose weight. But at the end of this, what has really changed my life is what I have gained—healthy, sustainable habits; workouts that have challenged me and made me stronger; and unshakable confidence in my body and all the amazing things it can do. PN has helped me shift my entire way of thinking, and while I’m happy with my physical transformation, what I am really so grateful for are all the changes on the inside.

– Michelle

Sabrina

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 46 years

Weight Lost: 57 lbs (252 lbs to 195 lbs)

Total inches lost: 28″ (278″ to 250″)

What has impacted me the most in PN is learning the difference between hunger and eating for boredom or emotions. PN has given me the tools to be aware of what my body needs to be healthy and maintain that health for the rest of my life.

– Sabrina

Kelly

$1,000 women’s Winner:

Age: 54 years

Weight Lost: 43 lbs (181 lbs to 138 lbs)

Total inches lost: 43″ (237″ to 194″)

I’ve had an amazing year with PN Coaching. I lost weight, became physically stronger, and dug deep into the issues that had held me back from being the fit person I’d always wanted to be.

– Kelly

Meet our other Men’s winners:

Gavin

$10,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 34 years

Weight Lost: 27 lbs (181 lbs to 154 lbs)

Total inches lost: 20″ (230″ to 210″)

I joined PN to transform my body. Not only did they deliver on that, but they reignited my love of great food and cooking!

– Gavin

Rich

$10,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 59 years

Weight Lost: 39 lbs (213 lbs to 174 lbs)

Total inches lost: 22″ (242″ to 220″)

I joined PN to support my wife, with few expectations of my own. Along the way I admitted to myself that my hesitation to join had to do more with my own self-doubt and history. Previously, I had not kept up new eating habits, saw food as a reward, and hoped exercise would overcome bad eating habits. PN really helped me become more aware of my body’s signals and become more mindful of how these affect me, eventually leading to a physician- and wife-approved healthier me!

– Rich

Paddy

$2,500 men’s Winner:

Age: 44 years

Weight Lost: 64 lbs (225 lbs to 161 lbs)

Total inches lost: 34″ (248″ to 214″)

Over the past year I feel I’ve taken back control of body. I’ve learned to listen to my body to understand when I need rest and what food I need. The best thing over the past year: I’m pretty much pain-free.

– Paddy

Scott

$2,500 men’s Winner:

Age: 50 years

Weight Lost: 18 lbs (248 lbs to 230 lbs)

Total inches lost: 4″ (264″ to 260″)

PN Coaching was the catalyst for me to change my life and the direction it was heading. Knowing someone was there who ‘had my back’ allowed me to become accountable to myself and it brought out parts of me I had forgotten were there. Truly a life changing program physically, mentally and spiritually!

– Scott

Raj

$2,500 men’s Winner:

Age: 41 years

Weight Lost: 29 lbs (163 lbs to 134 lbs)

Total inches lost: 20″ (214″ to 194″)

The Precision Nutrition program does a stellar job of providing tools (presenting habits such as “Make Time,” “Eat to 80% Full,” and “Plan to eat Whole Foods”) through which you can restructure and reshape how you approach nutrition and fitness in your life. It enables a client to drive personal growth via INCREMENTAL change, which I’ve learned is the best way to achieve lasting change. Externally, I’ve lost 40+ pounds in the past 18 months, about 30 of that in the past year alone. Over the same timeframe, I’ve fundamentally changed my identity from someone who was just “getting older” to someone who clearly prioritizes nutrition and fitness and is a challenge-seeking leader.

– Raj

Wade

$2,500 men’s Winner:

Age: 47 years

Weight Lost: 26 lbs (190 lbs to 164 lbs)

Total inches lost: 21″ (242″ to 221″)

For me the PN Journey was all about my ‘inner game.’ I learned the outer, physical changes were not possible until I changed my inner-self. PN Coaching and specifically Coach Scott helped me recognize that my beliefs, old scripts, and the story I was telling myself were no longer serving me, and in fact weren’t even mine or true to begin with. As soon as I was able to analyze, question, and change them, everything started to change for the better. I felt a shift, improvement, or a ‘release’ in myself internally. With that, the external changes began to flow easily in all areas of my life.

– Wade

Jim

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 48 years

Weight Lost: 33 lbs (201 lbs to 168 lbs)

Total inches lost: 21″ (241″ to 220″)

Simply put, Precision Nutrition changed my relationship with food to a much healthier and sustainable one. By doing this, the changes in my life have gone beyond the basic measures of weight and girth. I feel more energized and more in control overall, and I even set a new personal best on a recent half marathon, by 16 minutes.

– Jim

Nathan

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 35 years

Weight Lost: 28 lbs (202 lbs to 174 lbs)

Total inches lost: 17″ (238″ to 221″)

Prior to PN, I didn’t really feel comfortable in my own skin. My body had changed over the past few years in ways I wasn’t happy with, and I felt helpless. However, as the year progressed, PN helped me build up habits and take control of my physical and mental health. Now I take the time each week to plan and prep for fun new recipes, and I get excited for my daily workouts, finding new ways to grow and challenge myself.

– Nathan

Ben

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 26 years

Weight Lost: 15 lbs (197 lbs to 182 lbs)

Total inches lost: 22″ (243″ to 221″)

My journey with PN has been incredible. I was challenged in ways I didn’t expect, and was taught the core skills I can use to stay healthy for the rest of my life. Getting fit is simply a decision: Once you make it, PN has you covered for the rest.

– Ben

Mike

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 38 years

Weight Lost: 28 lbs (213 lbs to 185 lbs)

Total inches lost: 15″ (248″ to 233″)

Precision Nutrition has been an amazing experience for me. The program has equipped me with straightforward tools and techniques that I can use forever to maintain long-lasting health. I couldn’t be happier with results.

– Mike

Charles

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 39 years

Weight Lost: 29 lbs (179 lbs to 150 lbs)

Total inches lost: 29″ (229″ to 200″)

Having been physically active for most of my life with martial arts, sports, and weight training, I hit a roadblock when I injured my back in my late 20s and had to stay in bed for nine months. Since then, I have been struggling with back pain, disk problems, etc., and I thought I was doomed to recurring injuries every few months. I thought I knew what I was doing because of my background in fitness, but PN has taught me things I never learned in all my years of training. I have been injury-free for the past eight months, and I feel better than I have in years! With my new priceless PN habits, I really have no words to say with how thankful I am! PN truly helped me change my mindset, my body, and the way I see life and myself in this world. I feel good, and I feel that I am more conscious and mindful of everything. Thank you, PN.

– Charles

Ashwin

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 31 years

Weight Lost: 26 lbs (174 lbs to 148 lbs)

Total inches lost: 8″ (225″ to 217″)

The biggest impact that PN Coaching has had on me is that I’ve BECOME that person who sees himself as someone who trains consistently, eats well most of the time, and takes good care of himself every day. Even though I used to train before and sort of knew the optimal food choices to make, there was always a gap between what I knew and what I ended up doing. PN has helped me develop the skillset required to effectively bridge this gap, and for that I’m forever grateful.

– Ashwin

James

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 54 years

Weight Lost: 32 lbs (221 lbs to 189 lbs)

Total inches lost: 22″ (259″ to 237″)

When I began with PN Coaching, I thought it was just a one-year program. It’s not; it’s a lifetime of healthy habits. PN Coaching taught me how to be engaged through the lessons and workouts, and to focus on the habits that helped me achieve the greatest reward: better health. This is my life now, and I have never felt mentally, physically, and emotionally healthier than I am right now. I am proud of what I have accomplished with the help of Coach Jonathan and the PN Team.

– James

John

$1,000 men’s Winner:

Age: 44 years

Weight Lost: 37 lbs (203 lbs to 166 lbs)

Total inches lost: 26″ (247″ to 221″)

What has really changed for me in the course of this program is what has eluded me with every previous effort to finally ‘get in shape’: a sustainable lifestyle shift. The weight has come off, I’m stronger, healthier and more energetic, but more importantly, for the first time in my adult life, I’m confident that I can maintain it. It’s not one big thing, it’s everything: My entire lifestyle has changed over the course of a year.

– John

Meet a few hundred more Precision Nutrition clients.

To view all the men’s and women’s finalists from the July 2019 Coaching Program, click the links below.

To view all the men’s and women’s finalists from all of our Precision Nutrition Coaching programs, click one of the links below.

Of course, if you’re interested in working toward a body or health transformation of your own, consider joining our next Precision Nutrition Coaching group. We’re opening up a few spots in the coming weeks.

Want to transform your body and health?

As you probably know, you won’t overhaul your body this dramatically by just logging time on a treadmill or reading health tips on Twitter. 

Awesome, lasting, wow-what-happened-to-you transformations usually require personal attention from an expert coach.

And here’s the good news: Precision Nutrition Coaching will be accepting new clients very soon, at our lowest, most accessible price ever.

If you’re interested and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list.

Being on the presale 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.

[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].

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

The post Precision Nutrition Coaching Grand Prize Winners: July 2019. We just surprised our latest winners with more than $125,000 in prizes! appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Precision Nutrition clients usually start out hoping for a better body. They walk away with much more, including surprising mental shifts that lead to happier, richer lives. Today we feature 14 of their Postcards From The Future, showcasing what can happen with the right kind of support.

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Most of the folks who sign up for Precision Nutrition Coaching are after a strong, healthy, nice-looking body that makes them proud and keeps them feeling good for decades.

After 12 months — and, believe me, a lot of hard work — that’s what most achieve. (For more on their physical changes, check out our Men’s and Women’s Hall of Fame).

However, despite all the amazing before and after photos, despite the fantastic weight loss, despite the gains in strength, there’s one thing that really makes them light up.

They’ve become capable, confident, and free.

That’s worth thinking about.

You see, Precision Nutrition Coaching is both research-driven and personal. This means we use the latest scientific findings to help coach people through the unique challenges in their own lives; whether physical or emotional ones.

It’s part physiology. Part psychology. Part science. Part art.

And it typically leads to fantastic physical changes: Our clients lose weight, gain strength, go off meds, shed scary medical diagnoses, and more.

For most clients, these changes are only the tip of the iceberg. Because their improved bodies have now become vehicles for accomplishing inspiring things.

Indeed, they’ve become ready, willing, and able to tackle challenges they were previously afraid of, even incapable of.

About the Postcards From The Future exercise.

We often ask clients to envision where they’ll be in the future. What their new bodies will look like. What they’ll feel like. What they’ll be able to do.

But we take it one step further. We ask them to write ‘Destination Postcards’: Personal notes from their future selves to their current selves to inspire, motivate, and encourage.

Kinda like:

“Hey John, the weather’s great here. You won’t believe it but Dr. Smith, for the first time in years, gave us a clean bill of health. Plus, get this, we just ran a 5K. Can you imagine?!?”

Then, at the end of the program, we ask clients to make it real. To share photos and stories of what they are now able to accomplish after working with us.

The submissions are always incredible. And today I’m going to share a few.

These clients started out obese, or overweight, or injured, or bogged down, or unconfident, or feeling incapable, or imprisoned by all of the above.

Now, they’re climbing mountains, cycling on top of the world, and vaulting railings that stopped them before. Most importantly, they’re full of hope and looking forward to the adventurous, active years still ahead of them.

(Be sure to check out both the front and back, which describes the accomplishment, by tapping on each postcard.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want some 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 and fitness pros (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 Postcards from the future. [Inspiring photos] 12 months of healthy movement and nutrition. A stronger body. And achievements that could change your life. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Just one year ago, these 20 men were inspired to make a change. They wanted to take control of their health and fitness. To eat healthier, move better, and get stronger. And that’s exactly what they did.

Now, after 12 months of Precision Nutrition Coaching, they’ve transformed their health, bodies, and lives more than they ever thought possible. 

They also have the chance to win part of the $125,000 in prize money we’ve committed to the latest round of top clients. Scroll through these amazing photos and vote for the finalist whose transformation impresses you most.

++++

Every year in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we help men and women all over the world dramatically improve their eating habits, exercise routine, and lifestyle.

They lose weight, gain strength, and completely transform their bodies, health, and fitness.

We also give them a big, motivating goal to shoot for: $250,000 in cash prizes.

Consider it an antidote to the “you must suffer and feel guilty to get in shape” message you typically get from the fitness industry.

See, guys come to us wanting big changes:

  • They want to lose weight, build muscle, and shed body fat.
  • They want to feel physically and mentally strong.
  • They want to make healthier food choices, consistently.
  • They want to stop worrying about their health.
  • They want to start doing all the awesome things they previously wanted to do but thought they couldn’t.

Above all, they want to become the fittest, strongest, healthiest versions of themselves.

In our experience, big, inspiring, life-changing goals like these are a whole lot easier to achieve when there’s a huge bonus at stake.

So, every six months, we divvy up a big pot of prize money for the best transformations among our male and female clients.

For the current group—which started in July 2018 and is wrapping up now—we’ve committed $125,000.

And right now, we need your help to choose our Men’s Grand Prize winner.

Help choose our Men’s Grand Prize winner (Top prize = $25,000)

The guys below started their Precision Nutrition Coaching journey in all shapes and sizes, and they hail from all parts of the globe. They’re a diverse group with one thing in common: They finally have the bodies and health they’ve wanted for a long time, and they’re confident they’ll stay this way for good.

How’d they do it?

No crash diets. No Biggest Loser-type bootcamps. And no full-time chefs.

Just research-based nutrition and lifestyle habits practiced daily with personalized help from our expert coaches.

To vote for the guy you think should win the $25,000 Grand Prize, scroll through the photos below. Make your choice by clicking the “Vote for Finalist” button under the one you think achieved the best transformation.

But please don’t stop there. Once you’ve seen all the finalists and selected your #1 choice, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

At the bottom you’ll need to verify your choice. To do this, click the “Place your vote” button. This will log your vote and help us make our decision.

Thanks for your help!

Finalist #1

Lost 27 lbs and 20 total inches!

Age: 34 years
Weight Lost: 27 lbs (from 181 lbs to 154 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 20 inches (from 230 inches to 210 inches)
Vote for Finalist #1

Finalist #1 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #2

Lost 29 lbs and 20 total inches!

Age: 41 years
Weight Lost: 29 lbs (from 163 lbs to 134 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 20 inches (from 214 inches to 194 inches)
Vote for Finalist #2

Finalist #2 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #3

Lost 39 lbs and 22 total inches!

Age: 59 years
Weight Lost: 39 lbs (from 213 lbs to 174 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 22 inches (from 242 inches to 220 inches)
Vote for Finalist #3

Finalist #3 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #4

Lost 52 lbs and 33 total inches!

Age: 57 years
Weight Lost: 52 lbs (from 243 lbs to 191 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 33 inches (from 262 inches to 229 inches)
Vote for Finalist #4

Finalist #4 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #5

Lost 26 lbs and 8 total inches!

Age: 31 years
Weight Lost: 26 lbs (from 174 lbs to 148 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 8 inches (from 225 inches to 217 inches)
Vote for Finalist #5

Finalist #5 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #6

Lost 18 lbs and 4 total inches!

Age: 50 years
Weight Lost: 18 lbs (from 248 lbs to 230 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 4 inches (from 264 inches to 260 inches)
Vote for Finalist #6

Finalist #6 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #7

Lost 24 lbs and 18 total inches!

Age: 60 years
Weight Lost: 24 lbs (from 157 lbs to 133 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 18 inches (from 216 inches to 198 inches)
Vote for Finalist #7

Finalist #7 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #8

Lost 64 lbs and 34 total inches!

Age: 44 years
Weight Lost: 64 lbs (from 225 lbs to 161 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 34 inches (from 248 inches to 214 inches)
Vote for Finalist #8

Finalist #8 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #9

Lost 37 lbs and 26 total inches!

Age: 44 years
Weight Lost: 37 lbs (from 203 lbs to 166 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 26 inches (from 247 inches to 221 inches)
Vote for Finalist #9

Finalist #9 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #10

Lost 26 lbs and 21 total inches!

Age: 47 years
Weight Lost: 26 lbs (from 190 lbs to 164 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 21 inches (from 242 inches to 221 inches)
Vote for Finalist #10

Finalist #10 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #11

Lost 18 lbs and 13 total inches!

Age: 36 years
Weight Lost: 18 lbs (from 142 lbs to 124 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 13 inches (from 212 inches to 199 inches)
Vote for Finalist #11

Finalist #11 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #12

Lost 15 lbs and 22 total inches!

Age: 26 years
Weight Lost: 15 lbs (from 197 lbs to 182 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 22 inches (from 243 inches to 221 inches)
Vote for Finalist #12

Finalist #12 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #13

Lost 29 lbs and 29 total inches!

Age: 39 years
Weight Lost: 29 lbs (from 179 lbs to 150 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 29 inches (from 229 inches to 200 inches)
Vote for Finalist #13

Finalist #13 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #14

Lost 33 lbs and 21 total inches!

Age: 48 years
Weight Lost: 33 lbs (from 201 lbs to 168 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 21 inches (from 241 inches to 220 inches)
Vote for Finalist #14

Finalist #14 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #15

Lost 28 lbs and 15 total inches!

Age: 38 years
Weight Lost: 28 lbs (from 213 lbs to 185 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 15 inches (from 248 inches to 233 inches)
Vote for Finalist #15

Finalist #15 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #16

Lost 28 lbs and 17 total inches!

Age: 35 years
Weight Lost: 28 lbs (from 202 lbs to 174 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 17 inches (from 238 inches to 221 inches)
Vote for Finalist #16

Finalist #16 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #17

Lost 16 lbs and 14 total inches!

Age: 46 years
Weight Lost: 16 lbs (from 196 lbs to 180 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 14 inches (from 232 inches to 218 inches)
Vote for Finalist #17

Finalist #17 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #18

Lost 17 lbs and 14 total inches!

Age: 31 years
Weight Lost: 17 lbs (from 167 lbs to 150 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 14 inches (from 224 inches to 210 inches)
Vote for Finalist #18

Finalist #18 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #19

Lost 32 lbs and 22 total inches!

Age: 54 years
Weight Lost: 32 lbs (from 221 lbs to 189 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 22 inches (from 259 inches to 237 inches)
Vote for Finalist #19

Finalist #19 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #20

Lost 22 lbs and 12 total inches!

Age: 39 years
Weight Lost: 22 lbs (from 230 lbs to 208 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 12 inches (from 252 inches to 240 inches)
Vote for Finalist #20

Finalist #20 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Confirm your choice for the Men’s $25,000 Grand Prize winner

When confirming your vote, it’s important to remember that we’re not rewarding the best bodies per se. We’re rewarding the most incredible transformations.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we certainly don’t expect folks to start off looking like fitness models. Heck, we don’t even expect folks to end up looking like fitness models.

We’re looking for winners who’ve made the most dramatic changes in their own bodies, starting from wherever they were at the beginning.

That’s because our coaching is for men and women of all shapes and sizes. And your vote should reflect who you think achieved the most dramatic changes over the last 12 months.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Want to transform your body just like these men did?

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 Precision Nutrition Coaching: July 2019 Men’s Finalists. Help us give away $125,000! appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Only a year ago, these 25 women were feeling frustrated. They were inspired to eat healthier, move better, and feel stronger, but unsure how to make a change that would really stick.  

Now, after 12 months of Precision Nutrition Coaching, they’ve taken control of their health and fitness for good—transforming their health, bodies, and lives more than they ever thought possible.

They also have the chance to win part of the $125,000 in prize money we’ve committed to our latest round of top clients. Scroll through these amazing photos and vote for the finalist whose transformation inspires you most.

++++

Every year in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we help men and women from around the world dramatically improve their eating habits, exercise routine, and lifestyle.

They lose fat, gain strength, and completely transform their bodies, health, fitness, and lives.

We also give them a big, motivating goal to shoot for: $250,000 in cash prizes.

Consider it an antidote to the “you must suffer and feel guilty to get in shape” message you typically get from the fitness industry.

See, women come to us wanting big changes:

  • They want to lose weight and/or shed body fat.
  • They want to gain strength and/or lean mass.
  • They want to make healthier food choices, consistently.
  • They want to feel at ease, instead of stressed out, around food.
  • They want to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.
  • They want to start doing all the awesome things they’ve always wanted to do, but thought they couldn’t.

Above all, they want to become the fittest, strongest, healthiest versions of themselves.

In our experience, big, inspiring, life-changing goals like these are a whole lot easier to achieve when there’s a huge bonus up for grabs.

So, every six months, we divvy up a big pot of prize money for the best transformations among our male and female clients.

For the current group—which started in July 2018 and is wrapping up now—we’ve once again committed $125,000.

And right now, we need your help to choose our Women’s Grand Prize winner.

Help choose our Women’s Grand Prize winner (Top prize = $25,000)

The women below started their Precision Nutrition Coaching journey in all shapes and sizes.

They’re a diverse group with one important thing in common: They finally achieved the bodies and health they’ve wanted for a long time, and they’re confident they’ll stay this way for good.

How’d they do it?

No crash diets. No Biggest Loser-type bootcamps. And no full-time chefs.

Just research-based nutrition and lifestyle habits practiced daily with personalized help from our expert coaches.

To vote for the woman you think should win the $25,000 Grand Prize, scroll through the photos below. Make your choice by clicking the “Vote for Finalist” button under the one you think achieved the best transformation.

But please don’t stop there. Once you’ve seen all the finalists and selected your #1 choice, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

At the bottom you’ll need to verify your choice. To do this, click the “Place your vote” button. This will log your vote and help us make our decision.

Thanks for your help!

Finalist #1

Lost 21 lbs and 10 total inches!

Age: 37 years
Weight Lost: 21 lbs (from 168 lbs to 147 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 10 inches (from 216 inches to 206 inches)
Vote for Finalist #1

Finalist #1 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #2

Lost 38 lbs and 24 total inches!

Age: 54 years
Weight Lost: 38 lbs (from 195 lbs to 157 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 24 inches (from 235 inches to 211 inches)
Vote for Finalist #2

Finalist #2 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #3

Lost 52 lbs and 51 total inches!

Age: 64 years
Weight Lost: 52 lbs (from 222 lbs to 170 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 51 inches (from 266 inches to 215 inches)
Vote for Finalist #3

Finalist #3 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #4

Lost 27 lbs and 29 total inches!

Age: 32 years
Weight Lost: 27 lbs (from 162 lbs to 135 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 29 inches (from 226 inches to 197 inches)
Vote for Finalist #4

Finalist #4 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #5

Lost 45 lbs and 33 total inches!

Age: 24 years
Weight Lost: 45 lbs (from 180 lbs to 135 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 33 inches (from 229 inches to 196 inches)
Vote for Finalist #5

Finalist #5 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #6

Lost 41 lbs and 38 total inches!

Age: 44 years
Weight Lost: 41 lbs (from 170 lbs to 129 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 38 inches (from 225 inches to 187 inches)
Vote for Finalist #6

Finalist #6 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #7

Lost 26 lbs and 20 total inches!

Age: 61 years
Weight Lost: 26 lbs (from 145 lbs to 119 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 20 inches (from 211 inches to 191 inches)
Vote for Finalist #7

Finalist #7 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #8

Lost 36 lbs and 29 total inches!

Age: 39 years
Weight Lost: 36 lbs (from 167 lbs to 131 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 29 inches (from 217 inches to 188 inches)
Vote for Finalist #8

Finalist #8 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #9

Lost 51 lbs and 56 total inches!

Age: 71 years
Weight Lost: 51 lbs (from 217 lbs to 166 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 56 inches (from 259 inches to 203 inches)
Vote for Finalist #9

Finalist #9 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #10

Lost 43 lbs and 43 total inches!

Age: 54 years
Weight Lost: 43 lbs (from 181 lbs to 138 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 43 inches (from 237 inches to 194 inches)
Vote for Finalist #10

Finalist #10 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #11

Lost 14 lbs and 19 total inches!

Age: 39 years
Weight Lost: 14 lbs (from 145 lbs to 131 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 19 inches (from 216 inches to 197 inches)
Vote for Finalist #11

Finalist #11 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #12

Lost 21 lbs and 20 total inches!

Age: 50 years
Weight Lost: 21 lbs (from 143 lbs to 122 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 20 inches (from 215 inches to 195 inches)
Vote for Finalist #12

Finalist #12 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #13

Lost 57 lbs and 28 total inches!

Age: 46 years
Weight Lost: 57 lbs (from 252 lbs to 195 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 28 inches (from 278 inches to 250 inches)
Vote for Finalist #13

Finalist #13 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #14

Lost 20 lbs and 17 total inches!

Age: 40 years
Weight Lost: 20 lbs (from 125 lbs to 105 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 17 inches (from 198 inches to 181 inches)
Vote for Finalist #14

Finalist #14 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #15

Lost 36 lbs and 41 total inches!

Age: 35 years
Weight Lost: 36 lbs (from 188 lbs to 152 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 41 inches (from 233 inches to 192 inches)
Vote for Finalist #15

Finalist #15 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #16

Lost 12 lbs and 9 total inches!

Age: 41 years
Weight Lost: 12 lbs (from 122 lbs to 110 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 9 inches (from 195 inches to 186 inches)
Vote for Finalist #16

Finalist #16 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #17

Lost 48 lbs and 36 total inches!

Age: 39 years
Weight Lost: 48 lbs (from 240 lbs to 192 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 36 inches (from 271 inches to 235 inches)
Vote for Finalist #17

Finalist #17 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #18

Lost 39 lbs and 39 total inches!

Age: 57 years
Weight Lost: 39 lbs (from 156 lbs to 117 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 39 inches (from 226 inches to 187 inches)
Vote for Finalist #18

Finalist #18 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #19

Lost 34 lbs and 25 total inches!

Age: 46 years
Weight Lost: 34 lbs (from 192 lbs to 158 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 25 inches (from 239 inches to 214 inches)
Vote for Finalist #19

Finalist #19 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #20

Lost 27 lbs and 18 total inches!

Age: 44 years
Weight Lost: 27 lbs (from 145 lbs to 118 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 18 inches (from 208 inches to 190 inches)
Vote for Finalist #20

Finalist #20 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #21

Lost 23 lbs and 24 total inches!

Age: 31 years
Weight Lost: 23 lbs (from 169 lbs to 146 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 24 inches (from 231 inches to 207 inches)
Vote for Finalist #21

Finalist #21 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #22

Lost 38 lbs and 24 total inches!

Age: 56 years
Weight Lost: 38 lbs (from 212 lbs to 174 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 24 inches (from 241 inches to 217 inches)
Vote for Finalist #22

Finalist #22 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #23

Lost 40 lbs and 26 total inches!

Age: 37 years
Weight Lost: 40 lbs (from 285 lbs to 245 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 26 inches (from 266 inches to 240 inches)
Vote for Finalist #23

Finalist #23 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #24

Lost 35 lbs and 20 total inches!

Age: 32 years
Weight Lost: 35 lbs (from 159 lbs to 124 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 20 inches (from 213 inches to 193 inches)
Vote for Finalist #24

Finalist #24 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Finalist #25

Lost 25 lbs and 22 total inches!

Age: 51 years
Weight Lost: 25 lbs (from 168 lbs to 143 lbs)
Total Inches Lost: 22 inches (from 224 inches to 202 inches)
Vote for Finalist #25

Finalist #25 selected!

After reviewing all the finalists – you can change your vote at any time – click “Place your vote” at the bottom of this page to record your choice.

Confirm your choice for the Women’s $25,000 Grand Prize winner

When confirming your vote, it’s important to remember that we’re not rewarding the best bodies per se. We’re rewarding the most incredible transformations.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we certainly don’t expect folks to start off looking like fitness models. Heck, we don’t even expect folks to end up looking like fitness models.

We’re looking for winners who’ve made the most dramatic changes in their own bodies, starting from wherever they were at the beginning.

That’s because our coaching is for men and women of all shapes and sizes. And your vote should reflect who you think achieved the most dramatic changes over the last 12 months.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Want to transform your body like these women did?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for getting the body and health they want. 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 Precision Nutrition Coaching: July 2019 Women’s Finalists. Help us give away $125,000! appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Check out this FREE 5-day Secrets of Body Transformation course to learn the world’s most effective strategies for losing fat, building strength, and living a healthier life.

The post The Secrets of Body Transformation – Free 5-Day Course appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

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.

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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.

Source: Health1

Listen in as 8 Precision Nutrition Coaching clients talk about their experiences with the program. Learn how their bodies, mindsets, and outlooks changed for the better.

The post Precision Nutrition Coaching: What are ACTUAL USERS saying about it? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

From ruining your progress to making you feel like a failure, food cravings aren’t your friend (no matter what they say). In this article, we break down the real reasons you can’t stop over-snacking, and explain how to combine smart behavioral strategies with healthy junk food alternatives—so you can finally conquer your cravings.

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Have you ever stared at a pile of crumbs, with a belly full of shame, and wondered, ‘How did I let this happen?’

We can relate. Because almost everyone can relate.

Besides driving you to eat, cravings can drive you nuts—making you feel like an out-of-control failure who can’t keep from overindulging.

But you aren’t powerless against these urges, even if it seems that way.

The secret to winning the cravings game?

It’s not about eliminating your cravings altogether. That’s wishful thinking.

It’s not about building your willpower, either. Relying solely on self-discipline all-too-often ends with a binge (and then a whimper).

No, the way you conquer your cravings is by outwitting them.

How? By understanding why, where, and when they occur and creating a strategic action plan ahead of time.

Think of it as learning junk food jiu-jitsu.

And if you’re ready, you can start today.

Here 5 simple strategies—along with 16 delicious recipes—to help you get off the cravings train for good.

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Dig to the root of your cravings.

No one hates on themselves when they crave a salad, Super Shake, or a grilled chicken breast.

But most cravings are closely tied to junk food and have little to do with true hunger. And each time you indulge these urges you reinforce the behavior, creating a “cravings cycle” that can hijack your progress… and your sanity.

The cravings cycle works like this:

First comes the urge (the craving), followed by the behavior (finding a food that satisfies that craving). Then, you get the reward (eating the food you wanted). That last part is accompanied by a release of dopamine, giving your brain a “hit” of pleasure1.

From there it can snowball: The more often you reward your brain, the more likely it is to stimulate the craving, and the stronger that craving may become.

Find your trigger

Ever had your mouth water at the mere sight of a McDonald’s drive-thru? Or smell that movie popcorn and make a beeline for the concession stand—even though you swore you’d skip it this time?

Cravings are often brought on by environmental cues such as sight, smell, taste, location, or company. So tracking when and where your cravings occur can you help you figure out what triggers them. From there, you can adjust your environment and habits to disrupt the cycle.

Each time you experience a craving, jot down the answers to these questions:

  • What are you craving? (A specific food? A certain flavor or texture?)
  • Where are you? (Note your location, but also any smells or visual cues—like a restaurant billboard or commercial.)
  • What are you doing? (Driving? Working? Watching TV?)
  • What are you feeling physically? (Shaky? Lightheaded? Tense?)
  • What are you feeling emotionally? (Happy? Cranky? Rushed?)
  • What are you thinking? (For instance: ‘I might as well eat this… I’ve already blown my diet.’)
  • Who are you with? (Be very specific.)

This isn’t a one-time exercise. Try it for a couple of weeks so you can see what patterns emerge. And trust us, there are almost always patterns.

To make it easy for you, use this cravings journal, which takes you through the process step-by-step.

Change your patterns.

Let’s say you tend to reach for ice cream an hour after dinner every night. According to your notes, you’re not even really hungry; you’re just craving something sweet, salty, or crunchy… or maybe a combination of the three.

Or perhaps you’ve noticed that every day after your 2 pm conference call, you saunter down to the office cafeteria “just to see if there’s anything new.” (There’s not.) And you end up with a 500-calorie “treat” you didn’t need or even truly want.

You’ve just identified a pattern. Now you can disrupt the cycle with these smart behavioral strategies.

Strategy #1: Give your craving a timeout.

Yes, the strategy traditionally used with willful toddlers can also work with Rocky Road.

Notice your snack urge, and sit with it for five minutes without taking action.

This isn’t about exercising willpower. It’s about pausing just long enough to let your conscious mind say, ‘Hey, I’m in charge here!’ This gives you the chance to evaluate all your options, and make a rational decision, rather than a reactionary one.

Are you actually hungry? Or are you bored or stressed or procrastinating?

Does a steak or baked potato sound good, or is it just those donuts in the break room?

These are the kinds of questions you can ask yourself.

Granted, you may still decide to go ahead and indulge. After all, maybe you’re truly hungry. Or perhaps you’re just not having your best day. (Trigger alert.) And that’s okay.

Don’t consider this a failure.

In your efforts to break your cravings cycle, you won’t be perfect. Simply think of this as an opportunity to gather more data about your cravings, so you better understand them for next time. (And give yourself a pat on the back for taking five minutes.)

But here’s the really important part: You don’t have to choose between giving in to your cravings and depriving yourself.

There’s a space in between the two, and that’s where you can really break the cravings cycle.

Strategy #2: Choose an activity that doesn’t involve chewing.

What happens if you step away from the freezer and go for a walk, clean up your phone’s camera roll, or make a new Spotify playlist?

By immersing your mind or body in an activity long enough, you may run the urge all the way out of your system.

That’s because cravings are often psychological rather than physical. And with the exception of very strong grief or trauma, intense feelings don’t usually last longer than 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not really hungry, the craving will likely dissipate.

You’ve probably even experienced a form of this “diversion therapy” before. Ever get so involved in a project that you actually forget to eat lunch? Or the afternoon flies by, and you didn’t even think about a snack? Same concept, only this time, you’ll do it on purpose.

Once you sense a craving, choose an activity you can really dig into, such as:

  • working on a project you’re passionate about
  • crossing an item off of your daily to-do list
  • responding to a few emails
  • calling a friend
  • playing an instrument or video game
  • shooting hoops in the driveway
  • coloring a page or two in a coloring book
  • exercising, gardening, or cleaning

Remember, you’re looking to activate and occupy your mind and/or body. So, while different activities may work better for different people, watching TV probably won’t help (and in fact, is often a trigger).

Strategy #3: Try an experiment.

Hunger and cravings tend to come in waves, rising and falling throughout the day.

It helps to understand how this feels. That’s why we often suggest our healthy clients (those without any pre-existing health conditions) try a fasting experiment. For 24 hours, they don’t eat (they’re reminded to stay well hydrated, though). Although some are afraid they’ll be “starving all day long,” that’s not usually what happens.

Yes, they get hungry. Yes, they get cravings. But these feelings come and go, and for many folks, this can be both eye-opening and empowering. In a sense, fasting forces them to “lean in” to urges, and accept “it’s okay to be hungry.”

Do they waste away? No.

Do they collapse from exhaustion? No.

Does the world end? No.

Again, this isn’t about testing your willpower or denying yourself. It’s about giving you a fresh perspective, and reducing the anxiety, discomfort, and urgency you feel the moment hunger or cravings arise.

Strategy #4: Indulge your cravings—under the following conditions.

Really craving a chocolate bar? Okay, have one. But choose a pricey, high-quality chocolate. Eat it slowly, and savor the experience. Though it seems counterintuitive, clients tell us they eat far less of the chocolate (or any craved food) this way. And research shows the same.

Or even better, try this unconventional strategy from Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., Precision Nutrition’s Director of Curriculum. She tells her clients they can have any snack they want, but it has to be purchased—right before eating—from a grocery store that’s 15 minutes away.

She’s discovered that half the time, people decide it’s not worth the effort.

What about clients who do set out for the grocery store? By the time these folks arrive, they sometimes don’t even want the snack because the craving’s gone.

Precision Nutrition Master Coach Dominic Matteo has used a similar method with his clients. It goes like this:

You can eat it, but you have to make it.

That’s right: Potato chips need to be sliced from actual potatoes and cooked in the air fryer. Cake needs to be baked in the oven. Ice cream needs to freeze.

Sound ridiculously impractical? Sure, it does, and that’s the point.

It helps answer this question: How hungry are you, really? Besides, this is exactly what people have had to do for most of human history. (Sans the air fryer, of course.)

One important consideration for both of these strategies: They work a lot better if your kitchen pantry and office desk aren’t full of ready-to-eat temptations.

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

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

Strategy #5: Eat the right foods during the day.

Though cravings can happen any time of day, nighttime cravings and overeating are very common.

At PN, we don’t necessarily like to tell people exactly when or how many meals to eat. It’s okay whether you eat a couple of times a day or several, or if you have most of your food in either earlier in the day or later. So long as it’s working for you, it’s all fair game.

But over the years, our coaches have discovered clients who overeat at night are often restricting their intake throughout the day—knowingly or unknowingly.

For example, they might be skipping breakfast and having a salad with little or no protein for lunch. By dinner, they could be making solid choices rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but their appetite is already in overdrive. So it’s no wonder they’re feeling snacky before bed.

What you eat during the day matters. Not so much what you eat on any given day, but what you eat most days.

Fiber (especially from low-calorie vegetables) helps fill you up, and protein keeps you full longer between meals. This makes eating a combination of these nutrients, in sensible portions at regular intervals, key for regulating appetite.

Through years of experience, our coaches have found that even small adjustments to eating habits, such as adding a daily breakfast with a healthy dose of protein and veggies—along with reasonable amounts of smart carbs and healthy fats—can help curb after-dinner overeating.

The message here is simple: If you have a voracious night-time appetite, look at what you’re eating the rest of the day. You may find if you do a better job of nourishing your body at other meals, you won’t hear that little “feed me!” voice when you’re about to brush your teeth.

Junk food alternatives: Marketing trick or healthier treat?

Answer: It depends.

“Healthy” snacking options are everywhere, from frozen yogurt to those keto-friendly “fat balls” that keep showing up on your Instagram feed.

These junk food alternatives can be helpful, but there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind.

First, these shouldn’t be your only strategy. There’s evidence2 suggesting that when people purposely choose a “healthy substitute,” they often overeat later.

So in order for junk food alternatives to be helpful—instead of harmful—they need to be used in conjunction with other strategies, like the ones in this article. Otherwise, you’re just continuing the cravings cycle with a different type of food.

Second, not all substitutes are created equal. Though they include labels like “organic,” “gluten-free,” or even “low calorie,” store-bought junk food alternatives are often made with a delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt or other brain-pleasing ingredients.

In fact, they’re frequently manufactured to be easy to eat in large quantities. So sure, these products might be slightly better choices than straight up junk food. But they’re unlikely to help you avoid overeating when cravings strike.

But hey, it’s not all bad news.

Chosen wisely, healthy substitutes could help change your taste preferences. If you become accustomed to eating homemade, no-sugar-added ice cream, you may start to crave that instead of the store-bought stuff.

After that, maybe the next step is switching to fresh fruit when you crave something sweet. You’re still dealing with a craving, but you’re making progress toward prioritizing healthier foods.

Eventually, you may start to crave fruit itself, and in most cases, craving fruit isn’t too big of a problem for anyone.

For these reasons, choosing junk food alternatives that contain mostly whole-food ingredients, can be made at home, and aren’t extremely calorie-dense is your best bet.

Decide if you want the real thing.

Arguably, truly enjoying a full-fat ice cream in a reasonable portion beats a compulsive, automatically-gobbled pint of a “healthy substitute” that leaves you with a weird chemical aftertaste. And no matter what your goals are, you absolutely have the right to choose to indulge from time to time.

So before opting for a junk food alternative by default, decide whether or not you truly want the “real thing.” Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you had it?
  • Are you actually hungry? Or do you just feel like eating?
  • Do you think you can eat it slowly, mindfully, and stop when you’re about 80 percent full?
  • Will you be able to feel happy and satisfied after eating it? Or are you more likely to feel guilty and regretful?

If you decide you want to eat the real thing, enjoy it. Savor it, and then move on. (And note all of this in your cravings journal.)

If you decide the real thing isn’t worth it or that you don’t really want it all that badly, go for a swap that’s both wholesome and satisfying.

And remember, not eating anything is also an option. If you’re not truly hungry, you may find doing one of the activities listed earlier helps relieve the craving.

Satisfy your craving with a healthier substitute.

Disrupting the cravings cycle is key, but it takes time and practice to master it.

And no matter how in tune you are with your appetite, emotions, and eating habits, there are going to be times when you have a craving, truly feel hungry, and want another choice.

That’s when healthy junk food alternatives come in handy.

And you won’t find better options than the 16 recipes that follow, created by Precision Nutrition Chef Jennifer Nickle.

Most of these treats can’t be whipped up in just a couple of minutes… and that’s a good thing. Because they take a little time and effort, they may even help disrupt your cravings cycle. And though they taste indulgent, they’re made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

So go ahead: Enjoy them all… just not all at once.

Recipes: 16 junk food alternatives to satisfy your craving

If you’re craving: Chocolate…

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 16 servings

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 4 tbsp cacao powder
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.
  2. Divide mixture equally into eight small containers. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Kraft®
Chocolate Mousse
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 220
Carbs 10g Carbs 17g
Fat 5g Fat 16g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Spicy potato chips…

Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt

prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans (in pod)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½  tsp wasabi paste or powder
  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add edamame and cook for two minutes.
  3. Drain and toss hot beans in a bowl with coconut oil, salt, and wasabi. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt
Miss Vickie’s®
Jalapeno Potato Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 260
Carbs 9g Carbs 29g
Fat 5g Fat 15g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 4g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Coffee ice cream…

Espresso and Cacao Nib Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brandy
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the prunes, instant coffee, cocoa powder, protein powder and brandy until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Add the unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk in a slow stream.
  3. Add the yogurt and cacao nibs, and pulse until just combined.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Espresso & Cacao Nib
Häagen Dazs®
Coffee Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 98 Calories 250
Carbs 10g Carbs 20g
Fat 5g Fat 17g
Protein 5g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Fudge…

Spiced Date and Almond Balls

prep time: 30 minutes | makes about 30 servings

  • 2 cups chopped almonds, divided
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½  tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼  cup warm honey
  1. Using a food processor, blend dates, figs, water, spices and one cup of the almonds into a paste, scraping down the sides as you go.
  2. Form mixture into one-inch balls.
  3. Roll each ball in honey and coat with remaining almonds.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Date and Almond Balls
Eagle Brand®
Maple Walnut Fudge
Per serving Per serving
Calories 90 Calories 180
Carbs 14g Carbs 18g
Fat 3g Fat 12g
Protein 2g Protein 2g
Fiber 2g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Frozen yogurt…

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops

prep time: 15 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 portions

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup water
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into small paper cups or popsicle molds.
  3. Place popsicle stick into the center of each and freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
Ben & Jerry’s®
Strawberry Banana Low Fat Frozen Yogurt
Per serving Per serving
Calories 70 Calories 120
Carbs 12g Carbs 23g
Fat 1g Fat 1g
Protein 4g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Savory potato chips…

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

prep time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes to marinate | makes 4 to 8 servings

  • 6 baby cucumbers, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¼ cup rice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.
  2. Chill and marinate for thirty minutes.
  3. Refrigerate up to ten days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Lay’s®
Dill Pickle Chips
Per ½ recipe Per ½ recipe
Calories 25 Calories 270
Carbs 6g Carbs 26g
Fat 0g Fat 17g
Protein 1g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Strawberry shortcake…

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese

prep time: 10 minutes, plus 10 minutes to marinate | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • Sea salt, for garnish
  1. Mix together strawberries and vinegar. Let marinate for ten minutes.
  2. Top with cottage cheese or yogurt. Garnish with salt.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese
Duncan Hines®
Strawberry Shortcake
Per serving Per serving
Calories 56 Calories 300
Carbs 5g Carbs 51g
Fat 1g Fat 8g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: A frozen margarita or daiquiri…

Watermelon “Gazpacho”

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  1. Combine watermelon, sparkling water, and mint and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with raspberries. Serve ice cold with a soup spoon.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Watermelon “Gazpacho”
Frozen Margarita
Per serving Per serving
Calories 60 Calories 200
Carbs 15g Carbs 30g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 1.5g Protein 0g
Fiber 3g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Chips and onion dip…

Spiced Yogurt and Veggies

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • 1 cup vegetable crudites
  1. Mix yogurt, herbs, and salt in a small bowl. Chill and refrigerate for up to four days.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with raw vegetable crudites.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Yogurt and Veggies
Ruffles®
Onion Dip & Regular Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 66 Calories 340
Carbs 8g Carbs 28g
Fat 2g Fat 23g
Protein 3g Protein 4g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Chocolate ice cream…

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 12 servings

  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 cups 1% chocolate milk (or chocolate unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder, and salt until a chunky paste forms.
  2. With blender running, slowly add yogurt, protein powder, and chocolate milk until everything is combined; stop blender.
  3. Add dark chocolate chunks and pulse.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 103 Calories 300
Carbs 12g Carbs 26g
Fat 4g Fat 19g
Protein 5g Protein 5g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: French fries…

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 20 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 1 (½ lb) sweet potato, skin on, cut into ½ inch batons
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread onto baking tray in a single layer.
  3. Bake for about twenty minutes, turning once, until golden brown.
  4. Let cool for ten minutes on tray before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
McDonald’s®
French Fries
Per serving Per serving
Calories 126 Calories 350
Carbs 20g Carbs 46g
Fat 4.5g Fat 17g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 4g

If you’re craving: Peanut butter cups…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight chilling | makes 12 servings

  • 3 cups water
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp Chia seeds
  1. Blend water, dates, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add mixture to a large bowl with chia seeds. Whisk well.
  3. After ten minutes, whisk again. Ladle mixture equally into six small containers.
  4. Chill overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding
Reese’s®
Peanut Butter Cups
Per serving Per serving
Calories 148 Calories 220
Carbs 22g Carbs 24g
Fat 6g Fat 13g
Protein 4g Protein 5g
Fiber 7g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Cookies…

Almond oatmeal cookies

prep time: 20 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes| makes 12 cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • ½  cup almond flour
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, and wet ingredients in another large bowl.
  3. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well until incorporated.
  4. Form twelve small balls and place onto a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for ten minutes.
  6. Remove from tray and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Almond oatmeal cookies
Pepperidge Farm®
Oatmeal Cookies
Per serving Per serving
Calories 175 Calories 195
Carbs 10g Carbs 33g
Fat 10g Fat 8g
Protein 12g Protein 3g
Fiber 3g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Bar food, like Buffalo chicken wings…

Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites

prep time: 25 minutes | cook time: 25 minutes | makes 6 servings

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp store-bought tandoori spice paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix yogurt and tandoori paste together in a large bowl until combined. Add cauliflower and toss to coat well.
  3. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for twenty-five minutes or until dark and crispy. Garnish with lime wedges.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites
Perdue®
Buffalo Style Chicken Wings
Per 140g serving Per 160g serving
Calories 70 Calories 320
Carbs 8g Carbs 2g
Fat 3g Fat 20g
Protein 4g Protein 36g
Fiber 2.5g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Italian ice or sorbet…

Mango and lime granita

prep time: 1 hour | makes 8 servings

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced & zested
  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow tray and freeze.
  3. After thirty minutes, scrape the partially frozen mixture using a fork. Scrape again every thirty minutes until frozen and flaky.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Mango and lime granita
Häagen Dazs®
Mango Sorbet
Per serving Per serving
Calories 40 Calories 150
Carbs 10g Carbs 38g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 0g Protein 0g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Vanilla ice cream…

Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • 1 ½ (14 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk and add the honey, ginger, saffron, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of coconut milk mixture with arrowroot starch until smooth; pour back into the pot, whisking as you go.
  3. Squeeze out and remove the vanilla bean, and pour the mixture into a food processor or blender; add the yogurt and salt and slowly blend until thick and frothy.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 140 Calories 330
Carbs 9g Carbs 25g
Fat 12g Fat 22g
Protein 2g Protein 7g
Fiber 0g Fiber 2g

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.

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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.
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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].

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References

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

1. Carter, A., Hendrikse, J., Lee, N., Yücel, M., Verdejo-Garcia, A., Andrews, Z. B., & Hall, W. (2016). The Neurobiology of “Food Addiction” and Its Implications for Obesity Treatment and Policy. Annual Review of Nutrition, 36, 105–128. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27296500

2. Cohen, D. A., & Babey, S. H. (2012). Contextual influences on eating behaviours: heuristic processing and dietary choices. Obesity Reviews: An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 13(9), 766–779. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667220/

The post Conquer your cravings: Break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

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].

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References

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Christakis NA, Fowler JH. The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 26;357(4):370-9.

Emmons KM, Barbeau EM, Gutheil C, Stryker JE, Stoddard AM. Social Influences, Social Context, and Health Behaviors Among Working-Class, Multi-Ethnic Adults. Health Educ Behav April 2007 vol. 34 no. 2 315-334.

Alison L Hill, David G Rand, Martin A Nowak, Nicholas A Christakis. Infectious Disease Modeling of Social Contagion in Networks. PLoS Computational Biology, 04 Nov 2010 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000968

Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Baker M, Harris T, Stephenson D. Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review. Perspectives on Psychological Science March 2015 vol. 10 no. 2 227-237

Hruschka DJ, Brewis AA, Wutich A, Morin B. Shared Norms and Their Explanation for the Social Clustering of Obesity. Am J Public Health. 2011 December; 101(Suppl 1): S295–S300.

Junge C (2011, May 24). How your friends make you fat—the social network of weight.

Lin N, Ye X, Ensel WM. Social support and depressed mood: a structural analysis. J Health Soc Behav. 1999 Dec;40(4):344-59.

Robinson E, Thomas J, Aveyard P, Higgs S. What everyone else is eating: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of informational eating norms on eating behavior. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 114 (3), 414-429.

Szalavitz M (2013, March 26). Social Isolation, Not Just Feeling Lonely, May Shorten Lives.

Umberson D, Karas Montez J. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. J Health Soc Behav. 2010; 51(Suppl): S54–S66.

Vartanian LR, Herman CP, Wansink B. Are We Aware of the External Factors That Influence Our Food Intake? Health Psychology. 2008, Vol. 27, No. 5, 533–538.

Wang D (August 2014). An Empirical Study on the Influence of Social Networks and Menu Labeling on Calorie Intake in a University Dining Hall.

Wansink B. Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2004. 24:455–79.

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

Source: Health1

If you’re new to health, fitness, or nutrition coaching you’ve probably worried — at least a little — about how you’re going to get clients. Especially in this age of paid search, Facebook ads, and more. Well, worry no longer. These simple, fast, and free client acquisition strategies will help you get your first few clients. Or, if you already have a few, they’ll help you get a few more.

++++

After coaching over 50,000 health, fitness, and wellness professionals through the Precision Nutrition Certification program, I’ve learned that new coaches (or coaches going out on their own for the first time) struggle most with one thing:

Getting new clients.

That’s totally understandable.

Beyond the early discomfort many new pros feel around learning “sales” and “marketing”, it’s also easy to get a little intimidated when looking at established brands and seeing the big audiences they’ve built, the content they’re creating, or the ads they’re running.

“JB, how can I compete?”

“I don’t even know the first thing about marketing funnels.”

“And who’s got that kind of money to invest in ads?”

While I can totally empathize with these feelings, I’ve got some good news:

You don’t have to compete!

Instead, you have to start at the beginning, just like those companies did. You start by going from zero to a few clients. Then you go from a few clients to a few more.

Even better news?

Getting your first few (or your next few) clients is cheap and easy.

You don’t need to master SEO, or spend money that you don’t yet have on Facebook ads, or build a big Instagram following.

Yes, those are the things getting attention today. But, for someone just starting out, they’re a distraction from the real work, which I’ll share below.

Indeed, use any of the three strategies I’m about to share and you’ll be shocked and amazed at how cheap and easy it is to attract your first few clients.

But, before the strategies, do you even know what you’re selling?

If I pressed, you’d probably give me a bunch of really smart answers:

“JB, of course I know what I’m selling!”

“I’m selling evidence-based nutrition coaching!”

“I’m selling my thousand years of education and master-level expertise!”

“I’m selling my slick, efficient online coaching platform!”

And I’ll say:

No you’re not.

Here’s something that might sound confusing at first, but will change the way you view your business, and how powerfully you attract clients.

No one wants nutrition, exercise, or lifestyle coaching.

No one wants daily practices, new habits, or lessons and thought exercises. No one wants custom workouts. No one wants diets, meal plans, or menus.

No one wants the product or service you’re selling.

What people want is to become a better version of themselves.

This image (from this excellent post) says it all:

You see, people don’t buy a university degree or certification, they buy the promise of ending up more knowledgeable, smarter, and (maybe) more employable.

People don’t buy canvas shoes or fancy sunglasses, they buy the idea of looking cooler, having special things, and making a fashion statement.

Likewise, people don’t buy nutrition coaching, they buy a hopeful vision of their future, one where they are healthier, stronger, and happier.

In other words, you’re not the subject of sales pitch, your client is.

Make them the hero of the story.

In essence, it’s your job to show them how working with you will turn them into an “Awesome person who can do rad stuff!”

(For more on this, with lots of examples, check out: How to sell sustainable coaching in a world of ‘overnight abs’. 6 strategies for better client buy-in and a stronger coaching business.)

For now, onto your “get a few new clients” strategies.

Strategy #1:
Survey Selling

Survey selling is something we do extensively, and very effectively, at Precision Nutrition. But we do it in a more complex, “scaled-up” kinda way.

You probably don’t need all that.

Which is why I love sharing this simpler way of doing survey selling from my friend Jon Goodman, of the Personal Trainer Development Centre and OnlineTrainer.com.

Jon’s strategy involves creating a simple survey (using Google Forms) that you can post on social media to attract the exact kind of client you’re after.

Here’s how to do it.

First, think about the type of person you want to serve.

Write down your ideal client’s:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Specific goal
  • Potential limitations

Here are two examples of what you might come up with:

My ideal clients are 20-30-year-old guys who want to lose a bit of fat and put on 5-10 lbs of muscle and have no serious injuries.

My ideal clients are 45-55-year-old females who want to lose no more than 10 lbs of fat but feel like they’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work.

Next, create a Google Form.

(If you don’t know how to make a Google form, click here for a tutorial.)

When starting a new survey, according to Jon’s method, you’ll need to create:

  • a title
  • a compelling description,
  • a few demographic + contact info questions

Here’s an example of what you might come up with:

Feel free to copy the exact format above, adjusting the title and description to match what you’re offering.

When it comes to the description, here’s the formula:

“I’m looking for {number of people}  {gender} ages {age range} who live in {your location} and are looking to {goal}. If this is you, please fill out the form below.

All eligible applications will be contacted by phone.”

Once you’re happy with the form, click “Send” at the top right and select the link icon in the pop-up window. This will give you a direct link to your form.

Be sure to save that link somewhere.

Finally, enable notifications so that you’ll be emailed every time a prospective client submits a completed form. To do this, go to your Google Drive, select your form, and click on the header titled “Responses”.

Then click the “Create spreadsheet” icon, which will redirect you to a Google spreadsheet.

In the spreadsheet page, click “Tools” at the top and select “Notification rules”.

A window will pop up with an option to have the system email you whenever users submit, either immediately, or collected into a daily digest. Select your preference.

Finally, share your survey on Facebook, Instagram, wherever.

For example, on Instagram change your description link to your survey link and upload a pic saying that you’re taking on clients (specific to the type) and use the script below, which directs people to click the link.

And, on Facebook you’ll share a status update with the same script (below) that links to your form. Here’s your script:

***I’m looking for {number of people} {gender} ages {age range} looking to {goal} that live in {location}.***

I am looking for {gender} who want to:

-{benefit 1}

-{benefit 2}

-{benefit 3}

Spots are extremely limited and I’m only looking for {number of people} who are ready to make a change today. To apply, fill out the quick survey below and I’ll be in touch if you meet the requirements:

===> {link to your Google form}

The benefits you include will vary but they should speak to the hopeful future I described earlier. In other words, list things that help them envision becoming an “Awesome person who can do rad stuff!”

Again, for lots of examples of this, check out my new article: How to sell sustainable coaching in a world of ‘overnight abs’. 6 strategies for better client buy-in and a stronger coaching business.

Note: You can use this method on any platform, via email, whatever. Just get the message out there and send people to your survey.

Be sure to call them right away.

Ideally you’ll call people within 20 minutes of them filling out your survey. I don’t care what you’re doing. Strike while it’s hot.

Go through the same process that you would on any other sales call.

(If you’re not sure how sales calls should go, check out Jon’s article: Selling Personal Training in 5 Steps).

Keep following up.

If they answer, it’s a great call, and you sell/book them in for an appointment, and they show up… go ahead and dance your happy dance.

If they don’t answer, if they answer but don’t book an appointment, or if they answer and book an appointment but don’t show up… keep following up once a week for the first month. And once a month after that until they become a client or ask you to stop calling.

And, folks, that’s pretty much it.

If you decide to try this method, you’ll be up and running with your first post, for free, inside of 30 minutes. And, most people who try it, report getting 1-3 new clients within a day or two.

No joke.

Even if you think this is too simple, or couldn’t possibly work, try it anyway. People constantly tell me that they would have never expected something like this to help them… but that it did, big-time.

Strategy #2:
The “Tell People What You Do” Challenge

In our ProCoach Facebook group we recently did a 2-week challenge. Coaches were encouraged to do something incredibly simple (yet radical in 2018, it seems).

They were asked to talk to people.

You know, like, real people. In real life.

Specifically, we asked them to tell one person a day what they do. That person could be anyone: the barista that frothed the milk on their latte, the cashier at the grocery store, or the lady sitting next to them on their commuter train.

The goal was to develop a “script” about what they do, get comfortable talking about it, and maybe even get a new client or a referral.

Our coaches went nuts. It kinda blew everyone’s minds.

Some of our coaches felt that icky stretch feeling you get when growth is happening. ProCoach Melissa Dow found she had to override her usual instinct to wait for people to come to her. “It was uncomfortable, but that’s where learning begins, right?” she says.

Many found they got better at it along the way, like ProCoach Beth Balcezak Daugherty who found that although she often felt hesitant before reaching out, most people thanked her afterwards. “It got easier!” she reassures us.

ProCoach Jen Kates also found it got easier: “IT DOESN’T SUCK, AND IT’S ACTUALLY A LOT OF FUN ONCE YOU GET OVER THE HURDLE!!!”  (Note: The caps and exclamation points are hers.)

At the conclusion of the challenge, many coaches remarked on the tremendous potential of this simple act.

“The biggest takeaway from this process for me was just how many opportunities there are hidden in plain view.” said ProCoach Simon Dannapfel.

Interested in trying this challenge yourself?

Here’s how to do it:

Build your elevator pitch.

Begin by making sure you can actually describe what you do without rambling and without boring listeners with irrelevant details.

A simple way to do this is to fill in the following blanks.

“I help {kind of person}

to {action/benefit}

so that they can {brighter future/more inspiring benefit}.”

Here are some examples of what you might come up with:

“I help {new moms}, to {get active and eat better}, so that they can {drop their baby weight and feel more energy}.”

“I help {busy executives}, to {find time in their schedule for healthy habits}, so they can {finally get their health under control}.”

“I help {young athletes}, to {improve their movement quality}, so that they can {dominate on the playing field & injury-proof themselves}.”

“I help {people in their 60s and 70s}, to {begin a new movement practice}, so they can {walk, jump, run, & play with their grandkids}.”

Next, pick a person (any person) every day to talk to.

Approach folks however you like to get the conversation started.

If you’re not sure how to do that without coming off creepy, break the ice with something like this:

“Hey!

I’m doing this 2 week challenge where I have to tell someone about what I do, and you’re who I chose today!”

“Is that cool?”

Then lay the elevator pitch — or something like it — on them.

And, if they seem interested, expand on it.

If you make a genuine connection, ask if you can follow up.

The conversation could end pleasantly but without any real interest on their part. That’s totally fine. You will still benefit from the practice.

However, should they express real interest, keep the conversation going with something like:

“Hey, thanks for listening today. Mission accomplished on the contest!

Before I roll, you seemed kinda interested in {some aspect of what you talked about} and a really cool resource just popped into my head that I’d love to share.

Could you write down your email address so I can send it over?
(Alternatively you can get their cell number, FB page, or whatever).

Just so you know, “no” is a fine answer here. After all, we just met. However, I do think you’ll dig it. And I promise not to bug you beyond that.”

Then give them something awesome!

If they share their email address, wait a day and follow up with a cool article, some recipes, an infographic, an inspiring YouTube video, whatever you think will be helpful and is in line with what you talked about.

It doesn’t have to be your own content. Just something that’s high quality and will be genuinely helpful.

“Hi!

It’s {your name], we met yesterday at {place} and we talked about {topic}.

Wanted to follow up with {the thing I promised}, which I think you’ll like.

Here’s the link:

{link to the thing here}

No obligation to {watch it, read it, etc}. I just thought it might help.”

If they respond, remind them about your services.

If they follow up, reply with a casual reference to your services.

“Thanks for the note!

I’m so glad you liked {the thing you sent}!

I don’t know if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in this… but I’m running this program that starts in two weeks.

I’ll be working with {number of people} {gender} ages {age range} looking to {goal} that live in {location}.

Spots are extremely limited and I’m only looking for {number of people}.

Let me know if you’re interested by filling out this super-quick survey below.

===> {link to your Google form}

Again, no pressure. Just sharing this in case you, or a friend, might be interested.”

So there you have it.

A step-by-step guide on how to talk to people, and how to follow-up in a non-creepy, not-overly-pushy kind of way.

The point of this exercise is to show you that there are potential clients everywhere.

You just need to speak up so they know you’re there.

Strategy #3:
Leverage Your Existing Communities

Many of us belong to one group, or a host of them, either online or in-person.

These are often unrelated to health and fitness, which — in this case — is a good thing as it gives you the opportunity to share what you do with a novel audience.

For example, you might be part of:

  • A Facebook group for new moms, because hey! You have spit-up on your shirt too!
  • A Saturday morning bring-your-dog-and-hike group. People who love dogs and all-terrain boots??! Your tail is wagging.
  • An online forum for people who dig classic cars. Mustang Fastback? I’m all in.
  • A faith community where you worship once a week plus participate in community service activities together.
  • A weekly online mastermind group of career-change-entrepreneurs. You all have great stories about the day you broke free from corporate shackles.

If you do it right, these groups can be an amazing source of new clients.

ProCoach Carolina Belmares has a great story of how she used this method.

Carolina is from Mexico, but currently lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. She joined a Facebook group for Mexican women living abroad.

Carolina was genuinely excited to connect to this group of women and took her time getting to know them. She responded to people’s posts, and posted her own successes and woes living abroad as a Mexican woman.

She took note of the tone and “vibe” of this group, and generally just tried to be kind, helpful, and supportive to the other members without talking much about what she does for a living.

After a while, she posted about her coaching work.

It was more of a “this is my life story” kind of post, but she also happened to mention that she was an online nutrition coach and dropped some information about a program she was running that was starting soon.

In Carolina’s words, “The response was beyond insane.”

Not long after she posted, her tally was:

714 reactions to the original post

181 comments asking for more information

259 new “Likes” on her personal coaching Facebook page

83 brand new subscriptions to her mailing list

Too many private messages to count

Not bad for a free group that you were interested in hanging out with anyway.

To try this method yourself:

Consider the groups you’re currently a member of (online or in person).

If you’re not a member of any, consider whether there are any groups you’d like to be a part of and would be good candidates for your coaching. (Remember, it’s better if they’re not fitness or nutrition groups).

Engage with the group in an authentic, helpful, supportive way.

Don’t just go joining groups to make your elevator pitch as “pitching” in groups is universally frowned upon. Instead, become a real part of the community and only talk about what you do if it’s relevant to the conversations already going on.

If a fitness or nutrition topic comes up, bingo!

Be the biggest keener in the room. Help answer questions. Offer support. Send people helpful links, articles, videos, and other resources. But, still, hold back a little on mentioning your services.

After you’ve built some trust and genuine connections, mention your services.

Have your information easily available if people want it, but don’t be pushy about it. If you need a ratio to work with, then let’s say for every 10 genuine, non-work related comments, you can slide in something about your coaching.

In the end, joining a group is one of the most mutually beneficial methods for building your practice. You’ll have access to a wide audience to which you can extend help and support, but you’ll also connect with “your people”.

Bonus Strategy:
Send People To The Right Place

So you’ve employed one or more of the free strategies above… and your prospect list is growing. Awesome!

These prospects will likely have questions about your expertise, experience, the services you provide, and — most importantly — how you’ll help them improve their habits, health, and body.

Answering these by chatting one-on-one works. In fact, it’s one of my favorite options since it offers a personal touch. However, if you’re an online coach, or your prospect list is booming, you may need something more scalable.

That’s where a “landing page” comes in.

Your landing page lets people know who you are, what you’re offering, what your credentials are, who you’ve worked with, and how you can help them live the hopeful future they’re dreaming of.

With Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach we automatically generate this for ProCoaches. After answering a few simple questions within their ProCoach dashboards they get a customized mini-site for their business, complete with a custom web address. It lays out their services including the features, benefits, and hopeful future they’re promising.

Not only does this “do the selling for them”, it also positions them as the skilled, experienced, and educated coaches their clients need to reach their goals.

Example custom mini-site we generated for one of our ProCoaches.

Whether your landing page is a Facebook profile, a single web page, or a full-blown mini-site is up to you. The key is to make sure you have a place to send prospects that’s clear, compelling, and increases their desire to work with you.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

In this article we’ve outlined a few highly effective strategies for getting a few new clients, or the next few after that. Begin with…

Knowing the “why” of what you’re selling, not just the “what”.

Spend time thinking about what prospective clients want their lives to be like. And how you can start connecting your coaching to those outcomes.

Again, you’re not selling your superstar nutrition knowledge, your sleek online program, or even health coaching.

You’re selling possibility to your clients: the possibility to feel, look, and move better; to gain more confidence, strength, and resilience; to have a better life.

Refine your elevator pitch.

Come up with a concise way of describing how you help people.

“I help {kind of person}

to {action/benefit}

so that they can {brighter future/more inspiring benefit}.”

Pick a challenge, any challenge.

The above strategies only work if you practice them. Not just once, but consistently. (Remember, they get easier the more you do them!)

So pick one of the client-attracting methods above. Any one will do.

And get started today.

I mean, like, right now.

Even if you don’t know how to do it perfectly yet, start anyway. Because perfection is often the enemy of action.

Stay consistent.

Once you deploy one, or more, of the methods above, challenge yourself to stick with it for at least a month.

For extra points, use a calendar to track your consistency and your results. At the end of the period, evaluate your progress. Did it work? If not, was there something about the way you executed it that could be refined?

Practicing these methods will show you precisely where you need to grow.

Does your voice shake every time you talk to a new person? No sweat, that just means you need more practice talking to strangers.

Did your Google Form get zero clicks? Maybe you need to work on your written communication.

Did someone call you a know-it-all jerk on your Facebook group? Maybe you need to practice coming off as less judgmental and more compassionate.

Failure isn’t possible here. Everything you get back from this practice is simply feedback to inform future growth.

Learn to follow up.

In all of these methods, following up is key.

Remember that when people are considering change, they often start out with ambivalence. They’re kinda interested in taking the leap, but also kinda scared and inclined to stay safe under the covers.

Following up with people can gently move them towards ready-to-take-a-leap.

But selling without looking sleazy is an art. If you push too hard with people, it can have the opposite effect.

In your early follow-ups with someone, aim simply to be useful and offer support. Send them cool content, ask them about their challenges, and encourage them.

When you sense some interest, subtly mention your services, in a “no pressure” kind of way. Let them know you’re available when they’re ready.

Ready to build a thriving coaching practice?

Tested with over 100,000 clients now, Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach makes it easy to deliver the sustainable, research-proven nutrition and lifestyle coaching discussed in this article to anyone who needs it… from paying clients and patients, to family, to co-workers, to loved ones.

Want to coach in-person? Online? A combination of the two? Whatever fits your ideal lifestyle, it’s all possible with ProCoach.

With the ProCoach curriculum, coaching tools, and software, you’ll be able to turn what you learned in the Precision Nutrition Certification into a thriving practice, getting better results with dozens, even hundreds, of people while working less and living life on your own terms.

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

On Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates.

If you’re interested and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list. Being on the presale 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 professionals, because they always make the best students and clients. Join the presale list and we’ll give you 30% off the monthly cost of Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. Remember, last time we sold out within hours. But 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 help more people live their healthiest lives, grow your business, and worry less about time and money… ProCoach is your chance.

The post 3 simple, fast, free strategies for getting coaching clients… even if you don’t like marketing. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1