“If I can do it, you can do it.”

You’ve heard that fitness advice. Maybe you’ve even said the words yourself.

(Sheepishly raises hand.)

And it’s time for this cliché to end.

Especially when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and health.

Because most of the time: 

It’s not true. 

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean someone else can do it.

More importantly, this phrase backfires, making people feel worse than before.

Here’s why, and the fitness advice you might want to offer instead.

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When we use this fitness advice, we usually have the best of intentions.

Maybe we’re trying to relate to a client: “Hey, I’ve been there!”

Or perhaps we’ve felt inspired by any number of news stories. Think: Blind man climbs Everest.

But there’s a problem.

No two people are exactly the same.

We might, as coaches, think we’re comparing apples (our life) to apples (our client’s life). But more likely, our client knows they’re an orange… and feels misunderstood and alienated—usually for one (or all) of the following reasons.

#1: Someone’s background impacts their health.

Things like where we’re born, how we grew up, and what we do for work shape how we eat, move, and live. They also affect our ability to change for the better.

Technically, these factors are called social determinants of health. And they can influence us positively or negatively.

Examples of social determinants include:

  • Income
  • Education
  • Job stability
  • Work conditions
  • Food access and security
  • Housing and environment
  • Early childhood development
  • Social community
  • Neighborhood environment
  • Access to affordable and high-quality health care

Social determinants can be more important than lifestyle choices in influencing health, according to the World Health Organization.

Here’s how this can play out with clients.

You tell someone to hit the gym. If you can muster the effort to get to the gym on a busy schedule, so can your client, right?

Well no, not necessarily.

Especially if they work long hours and don’t have childcare.

Or maybe you suggest “more veggies” to a virtual client.

You don’t like veggies either, you say, but if you can find a way to eat them, your client can surely figure it out. Except, your client lives with their mother-in-law who cooks all of their main meals, which tend to include few veggies. In your client’s home, everyone thanks the cook, whether they like the food or not.

Does your client have some options? Sure—but not as many as someone who has more control over their dinner plate.

There are thousands of ways social determinants of health can make what’s possible for you (with some hard work) straight up impossible (or a whole lot harder) for someone else. Some social determinants of health are really hard to recognize—especially if you haven’t walked in that person’s shoes. So heed this universal rule of thumb: Don’t make assumptions.

#2: Every person’s body is unique.

Let’s assume you and your client have the same social circumstances.

Is it okay to say “if I can do it, you can do it?”

Spoiler alert: Nope.

Because genetics also play a role. 

Say you’re a person who puts on muscle easily. For you, maintaining a lean, athletic physique means working hard in the gym and keeping a close eye on your nutrition.

Of course, those two things require effort. Maybe a lot of effort.

But a person who has a harder time building muscle, and tends to store fat around their middle thanks to their genes?

They’re not going to get the same results as you—even if they eat and exercise exactly the same way. Those are the genetic cards they’ve been dealt.

So no—they can’t “do it” just because you can.

#3: Some people are luckier than others.

Most people who’ve worked hard to get where they are don’t want to admit that the universe might have helped them out a bit.

Imagine this: You’re an athlete competing at the CrossFit Games.

The final workout—the one that decides who’ll win—happens to be deadlift-focused, something you’re specifically great at. (If it’d been snatches, it’d be a totally different situation.)

When you win the CrossFit Games after that final workout, it doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard. But did you also benefit from the luck of the draw? Yup.

Perhaps a more relatable example: Maybe you met a coach or friend—just as you’re ready to make a change—who revolutionizes how you think about nutrition and fitness. And that sets you down the path to a healthier lifestyle.

In an alternate universe, where you didn’t meet that amazing coach at the right time, it might’ve taken you a whole longer to get where you are today.

The point: Don’t discount the “right place, right time” effect.

3 better ways to help your clients

Use all three together—or pick  what works best in a given conversation.

1. Use limited relatability.

Say someone’s going through a divorce, and their coach has been through one, too. It could be tempting to offer advice like:

“I know this is a hard time for you. My divorce was brutal! But I managed to stay on top of my nutrition while going through mine, so I know you can do it.”

Ouch.

There’s a better way to use the experiences you have in common with a client, without making assumptions about their situation.

It’s called limited relatability, which helps you relate, while also allowing your client to feel heard and understand.

To master the technique, use this simple two-step formula.

Share your experience: “I know what [fill in the blank] looks like for me.”
Get curious about your client’s experience by asking an open-ended question: What does it look like for you?”

Translated to a real-life coaching conversation, you might say something like:

“That sounds tough. When I was struggling with binge eating, I felt so powerless and frustrated. What are you feeling in this moment?”

2. Notice and name the bright spot.

This strategy is all about taking a moment to appreciate and applaud what your client has just shared.

You might say:

“You know what? It actually takes pretty amazing self-awareness to identify and acknowledge that this is a barrier for you right now. What does it feel like to have such a firm grasp on your situation?”

Or maybe:

“We can talk problem-solving in a second, but before we do that, I want to pause and tell you that it’s amazing you’ve pinpointed this as an issue. I don’t know if you’d have been able to do that six months ago!”

This can be really effective because the client isn’t expecting to pause. They’re expecting ways to move forward. You’re giving them a moment to stop, take stock, and reflect on their awesomeness before taking action.

3. Inspire them with their own accomplishments.

Let’s say your client’s apprehensive about the idea of shutting down earlier to get more sleep.

Instead of that old “if I can do it, you can do it” advice, try highlighting their past accomplishments. That could sound like:

“You know what? You actually told me this exact same thing a couple of months ago about going to the gym. And now you’re going regularly! We can talk about specific strategies to make going to bed earlier more doable, but also, remember how far you’ve come.”

Basically, instead of saying “if I can do it, you can do it,” you’re saying, “if you can do this one thing, you can do this other thing!”

You’re showing them that you see their hard work.

And most importantly, because of that hard work, you believe in them.

When you use the above strategies with your clients, you’ll accomplish something that the phrase “If I can do it, so can you” just can’t:

You’ll help them feel heard, seen, and valued.

That’ll go a long way towards strengthening your relationship—and ultimately help your clients get better results.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Truly horrible fitness advice: “If I can do it, you can do it.” appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

The moment Dr. Karin Nordin exited the Zoom call, she knew she’d made a crucial mistake.

It was her first coaching session with a brand-new client, and from the get-go, things felt a little off.

The client (let’s call her Dierdre) was feeling emotional. Within minutes, tears were shed.

And when Dr. Nordin offered advice, Dierdre swiftly rejected it.

That’s when Nordin, a mild-mannered person and seasoned professional, did something out of character:

She got mad.

Instead of applying her coaching expertise, she found herself ranting at Deirdre, challenging her excuses, and trying to force her to change.

Naturally, the more insistent Nordin got, the more obstinate Deirdre became.

By the time she closed her laptop, Dr. Nordin knew without a doubt… that client wasn’t coming back.

What do you do when you screw up?

Turns out, you can learn from Dr. Nordin’s experience. 

Nordin’s a PN Certified coach, a curriculum advisor to Precision Nutrition, and has a PhD in Health Communication.

She also considers herself a pro at making mistakes. Well, not just making mistakes, but growing from them.

Her academic and professional expertise is in something called growth mindset, which views mistakes and failures as springboards for improvement.

(And yes, the term “growth mindset” is almost a cliché these days, but it’s an actual research-based psychological discipline, and something we can all benefit from.)

Here’s how Dr. Nordin bounced-back from her mistake—and how you can do the same.

(For even more helpful coaching advice, sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter, The Smartest Coach in the Room.)

Step 1. If you feel compelled to fix it right now… wait.

You know that almost barfy feeling you get when you mess up?

Dr. Nordin feels it too. After her conversation with Dierdre, “I felt vomity and gross for a while. I kept thinking, ‘I handled that so poorly, this is the worst’.”

While her natural impulse was to try to fix her mistake, she chose to wait a full 24 hours before taking action.

“We want to be able to react in a neutral state, or as neutral as possible,” she explains. “And that can take a bit of time.”

In other words, the classic ‘sleep on it’ advice still applies. Of course, that can take a bit of discipline (especially if your tendency is to fix things right away.)

“I knew I’d be thinking about it while I lay in bed at night,” says Nordin, “but with a bit of distance I was able to respond to the situation much better.”

The takeaway: Your inclination might be to try to make things right, immediately. But don’t rush. You’ll likely respond from a calmer, more rational headspace the following day.

Step 2. Practice radical responsibility.

A big part of coaching is helping clients recognize the autonomy and control they have over their choices and actions.

This is empowering: Clients begin to realize they have what it takes to change their habits, and achieve their goals.

That same principle applies to coaches, too. Especially after we’ve goofed up.

“I find it very useful to take a ‘radical responsibility’ perspective,” says Nordin.

“No matter the situation, I say to myself: Let’s just pretend for a moment that 100 percent of this is my fault. Then, on that basis, I ask myself: What can I do about it?”

Depending on your mistake, the answer might be obvious.

For example, if you gave a client information that turned out to be wrong, simply own up to the mistake and provide them with the correct details.

But even if the mistake was more cringe-worthy, Nordin says acknowledgment is still a good way to go.

In the case with Dierdre, Nordin waited 24 hours—and then penned an email that went something like this:

Hey Dierdre, 

I know our conversation got really heated, and I apologize for that. What you do in your life is 100 percent your choice—not mine.

I totally understand that you don’t want to move forward with coaching, and I’ve refunded your deposit. 

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

The takeaway: Resist the temptation to blame the client, deny the mistake, justify it, or sweep it under the rug. Take ownership for your actions, and do your best to right the wrong. This approach is not only more professional—it’s also more empowering.

Step 3. Look for the growth opportunity.

Once you’ve done the right thing on behalf of the client, consider what you can learn from the experience.

“My mistake taught me a lot about my coaching practice and how to market myself as a behavior change coach,” says Nordin.

Her biggest realization?

That she hadn’t properly communicated to Dierdre what to expect in their coaching session. “I think she expected someone who would just listen to her and help her sort through her emotional issues, whereas my coaching is more about habit change.”

And yes, client resistance is a normal part of change. But if Nordin had given Dierdre a better idea of what her behavior coaching typically entails, they might have avoided the conflict.

“It wasn’t Deirdre’s fault. Many people don’t know what behavior change coaching is all about,” adds Nordin. “I need to do a better job helping people understand what to expect when they work with me.”

The takeaway: Don’t beat yourself up for your mistake. Instead, focus on how you can use it as a learning experience. Aim to come up with at least one thing you’ll work on improving or do differently next time.

Step 4. Get curious with yourself.

In addition to professional growth, mistakes can be an opportunity to understand ourselves better.

Sure, sometimes mistakes are just mistakes—caused by inexperience or lack of knowledge. But they often point to areas where we can dig deeper.

“This is especially the case if it becomes a pattern,” says Nordin. “For example, if you find yourself repeatedly getting aggravated or tense, you might be projecting your issues onto the client.”

After the situation with Dierdre, Dr. Nordin asked herself, “Why did I get so mad about that?”

Ultimately, she decided that her emotional outburst had been triggered by some personal issues that she’d been neglecting.

So, being the growth-minded person she is, she decided to explore them with a therapist.

The takeaway: Do some honest self-reflection. Sure, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” (That’s a Sigmund Freud quote, in case you’ve never seen it.)

On the other hand, some blunders (especially repeated ones) could serve as a wake-up call, or even a personal breakthrough.

Yes, mistakes might suck in the moment. But if you can approach them with curiosity, an open mind, and a dose of compassion, they just might make you a better coach—and a happier person.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post So you made a mistake with a client—now what? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

“I’ll be happy when I fit into my old Levi’s.”

(They really did make your butt look good.)

Have you ever said something like that?

Or how about:

“I’ll be happy when I earn a six-figure income.”

“I’ll be happy when my kid gets into a good college.”

“I’ll be happy when I meet my person.

Truth is, most of us have a belief like these floating around in our psyche.

If you’re a coach, you’ve probably seen this too:

Clients who believe they’ll only be happy when they reach a certain weight, body fat percentage, or athletic achievement.

“Enjoy the journey? Pfft. It’s all about the destination,” they say.

Of course, some eagerness to cross the finish line is normal, and totally okay.

And hey, having goals is awesome. 

Goals give you a sense of purpose and direction, and encourage you to grow beyond your previous capacities into a wiser, better version of yourself.  Plus, research shows that goal-setting is a sign of confidence, commitment, autonomy, and motivation.1,2

The problem is, some people perpetually delay their happiness thinking a better life is always just on the horizon.

But in this article, we’ll discuss this counterintuitive fact:

Reaching a goal won’t always make you happy.

In fact, focusing too much on the outcome of your goals can make you miss the potential you have for happiness RIGHT NOW.

If you think that might be you (or a client), check out the quick three-step process below.

This quick exercise will benefit anyone who feels:

  • Like their life is on hold until they’ve reached their goal
  • Like their goal is making them miserable
  • Worried their goal may not be sustainable, or even possible

Sound familiar? Read on.

Enjoy your goals (and life) more, in 3 steps.

These steps are a mix of “thinky” work—to bring awareness to your beliefs and behaviors—and “doing” work. (Tip: It’s the doing that will actually change those limiting beliefs and behaviors.)

Thinky-brain and doing-body, activate!

Step 1: Find out what your “I’ll be happy when…” beliefs are.

Grab a scrap of paper and brainstorm all your “I’ll be happy when…” beliefs.

You might have many.

For example:

“I’ll be happy when…

  • … I have visible abs.”
  • … I move into a bigger house.”
  • … I finish top five in my next triathlon.”

Anything goes.

Once you’ve done a proper brain dump, pick one from the list to focus on—preferably the one that feels most important and urgent.

Step 2: Uncover how you’ve been holding yourself back.

Now it’s time to do a little digging.

Consider:

What are all the things you’re waiting to do or feel until you achieve your goal?

These aren’t only the things you’re excited for, but ones you’re not “allowing” yourself to have just yet.

For example: “Once I’m 20 pounds lighter, I’ll…

  • … let myself wear the clothes I like.”
  • … start dating again.”

Or: “Once I’m making six figures, I’ll…

  • … feel like a success.”
  • … start taking weekends off.”

Or: “Once I meet my soulmate, I’ll…

  • … finally feel confident.”
  • … go on a Mediterranean cruise.”

Chances are, you’ll come up with a range of things—some trivial and some very meaningful—that you’re not allowing yourself to experience. Likely because of a belief you don’t deserve to do or feel those things until you’re “better.”

Well, we’ve got a surprise for you…

Step 3: Stop waiting, and live.

Once you realize you’ve been holding yourself back from feeling good about yourself, and doing all these cool, meaningful things, it may explain why you’ve been so impatient to just get there already.

It may also explain why you perhaps haven’t been enjoying the process of getting to your goal.

Somewhere inside, there’s a part of you that believes your life can’t really start until you achieve your goal. And that you’re not “supposed” to have good things happen to you until you’re leaner, faster, stronger, or more successful.

This might be an uncomfortable realization. Uncovering that belief might make you feel sad, relieved, angry, or any combination of emotions.

You may want to take some time to unpack those feelings. However, nothing creates significant change more than action.

So, pick the easiest, lowest-hanging next tangible step to start living and feeling the way you want.

For example:

  • Create a dating profile, using pictures of what you look like right now.
  • Buy a pair of shorts, a muscle tank, a sundress, or whatever item of clothing you’ve been waiting to wear—in your size—and wear it proudly.
  • Consider how you’re already successful: Feel excited to show up to work? That’s success!
  • Stand tall, and say nice things to yourself about your worthiness as a person.
  • Book a solo fun weekend trip for yourself. (It’s not a Mediterranean cruise, but it’s a start.)

Bottom line: Allow yourself to feel and do the things you would if you’d achieved your goal, even if you haven’t achieved it yet.

This might feel uncomfortable. But with some practice, you’ll discover…

Happiness isn’t the effect of achieving goals. It’s the cause.

Once you stop holding yourself back, you might find your goal becomes less important. (Maybe your happiness doesn’t hinge on fitting into those jeans, after all.)

Or perhaps the goal is still important, but you enjoy the steps you need to take to get there more now that you’re no longer putting your life on hold.

Either way, you’ll likely find that whether or not you’ve achieved your goal, you’re starting to behave, live, and feel like the kind of person who would achieve it.

Because even though accomplishing a goal feels good, people usually don’t want the outcome of the goal so much as they want to become the kind of person who gets that outcome.

You’re not just able to bench X weight. You’re a fit person.

Your kid didn’t just make it into an Ivy League. You’re a good parent.

You don’t just make six figures. You’re a smart and capable professional.

You didn’t just win the race. You’re a winner.

This is the secret to why the process above works. Because whether or not you’ve made it to your own personal finish line, your identity starts to shift towards the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be.

Why?

You’re doing the things that kind of person would do.

The best part?

You’re not waiting anymore.

You’re just living.

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References

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

1. Eckhoff DO, Weiss J. Goal setting: A concept analysis. Nurs Forum. 2020 Apr;55(2):275–81.

2. Locke EA, Latham GP. New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2006 Oct 1;15(5):265–8.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post “I’ll be happier when I lose weight” is a recipe for regret. Here’s the counterintuitive solution. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

It started with Arnold.

Growing up in Argentina, Nicolas Gunn watched loads of American movies and, like many teenagers in the 1990s, became inspired by the Terminator himself.

Gunn hung posters of Arnold Schwarzenneger on his wall and started hitting the gym with his friends, talking supplements and training techniques.

He dove into learning everything he could about “all the bro science,” as Gunn puts it.

The passion endured, becoming Gunn’s focus at university. He finished “Licentiate en Nutritión” (roughly the same as a Registered Dietitian in the United States) and, after a brief stint as a personal trainer, worked as Chief of Food Service at several hospitals for many years. “But I was always more interested in body composition than clinical work,” he explains.

Meanwhile, he and his wife explored their passion for adventure and travel. And when Gunn was 35, they decided to move to New Zealand, a warm-weather, English speaking country they loved.

There was just one problem: The Nutrition Society of New Zealand—the organization where Gunn would like to be registered as a dietitian, doesn’t accept overseas experience. He’d have to start from scratch, and it’d likely take years to gain his credentials back.

Gunn preferred to start an online coaching practice anyway, so he registered with a governing body with fewer requirements and turned his passion for muscle into a marketable niche.

Today, Gunn’s coaching business, Stamina Holistic Nutrition, focuses on serving women and men between the ages of 35 and 50, helping them build muscle for both aesthetics and better health.

In just two years, he’s gone from one-on-one consults with clients to coaching dozens online. He recently hired two new staffers and sees the company growing exponentially from here.

“I’m helping not only my clients, but also other nutritionists and coaches with what I’ve learned about scaling this business,” Gunn says.

Want to know all the details? Here’s how he made it happen.

Precision Nutrition Certified Coach Nicolas Gunn

Why did you decide to get Precision Nutrition Certified?

New Zealand’s accreditation system for nutrition differs from Argentina’s. But that’s only part of the story.

Gunn had taken a few years off to travel before embarking on a coaching business in his new country. So he decided to give his nutrition (and coaching) knowledge a refresh.

“I knew I needed a course to strip off the rust. In my research, I found the Precision Nutrition Certification. It was science-based, available online, and had great reviews—including from other dietitians and nutritionists.”

Expecting a simple refresher, Gunn was surprised by how much of the information in the course was new to him.

“Once I got into it, I realized there was a lot that I didn’t know. Especially the stuff about body composition—I didn’t learn that stuff at uni.”

Another new element: change psychology.

“In the Cert, I learned about the psychology of change. Again, I’d taken a course or two at uni but never went that deep. And it’s really the most important part of coaching.”

(Want health, nutrition, and coaching insights delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter, The Smartest Coach in the Room.)

Other than your own interests, why specialize in muscle gain?

Sure, back when he had Arnold posters taped to his wall, Gunn was interested in gaining muscle because of how it looked.

But today, he’s an advocate of muscle for reasons that go way beyond aesthetics.

“Muscle, as well as overall strength, isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s also about health,” he says. “I used to think that performance, aesthetics, and health were all separate things, but really, they all overlap.”

As Gunn’s clients build muscle, he says they not only look better and train better, they also feel better, sleep better, and become more productive at work.

“Clients will say to me, ‘Before, I couldn’t lift anything that was slightly heavy, and now I can rearrange the furniture in my house by myself.’ Things that were hard or impossible before are now doable. That’s really life-changing.”

And yes, the aesthetics matter too.

“Changing their body composition does give clients a confidence boost,” Gunn notes. “Some of my clients have started dating again and found partners after years of having very little self-confidence.”

What are the typical challenges for clients 30-50 who want to gain muscle?

“Compared to a younger population, people in the age bracket of 30 to 50 are more likely to have other health conditions or pre-existing injuries to work around,” says Gunn.

“With this population, there may also be some lingering misconceptions about nutrition.”

Like protein intake.

“I’ve noticed that protein intake is very low in this population in general. They worry that a high-protein diet will harm their health, damage their kidneys, and so on. Younger people might know more about the value of protein, but someone in their late 30s or 40s might still be skeptical.”

Despite these differences, Gunn says the basic principles of nutrition—like eating whole foods, lean protein, healthy fats, smart carbs and vegetables—still apply.

And that’s, of course, where coaching comes in.

Are more women interested in gaining muscle these days?

“Definitely,” says Gunn.

He admits the common belief that lifting heavy will automatically make you “bulky” is still around, but he thinks that’s changing a lot.

“The women I talk to know the importance of lifting weights. They know that lifting won’t make them bulky if they don’t want that. And sure, maybe they want to look better—but mainly, they want to get stronger.”

In the latter half of his age demographic (40s to 50s) the emphasis on health increases.

Gunn observes that women who are perimenopausal or menopausal want to maintain muscle mass as they age, keep up their overall energy levels, prevent osteoporosis, and protect their overall health.

What would you say to a coach who is thinking about focusing their business on a niche market?

“It’s definitely worth doing,” Gunn says. “For one thing, I’ve found that having a niche really helps when it comes to marketing yourself and setting yourself apart.”

Gunn says his business is consistently growing as a result.

“It’s also given me more confidence in my expertise,” he says. “When I took the PN Cert, I realized that some of the things I’d learned had become outdated. Now, every time I give advice or write a blog post, I feel good about what I have to say. I can confidently say I know my stuff.”

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Precision Nutrition Certified Coach Spotlight: Nicolas Gunn appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Here’s an unpopular opinion…

Macro-style food logging and tracking (think: MyFitnessPal) is NOT the best way to coach your clients on nutrition.

There, I said it. Now hear me out…

I’ve been a nutrition coach for over 10 years and have worked with more than 1,000 clients. I now use my knowledge and skills to help gym owners and coaches grow and systemize their own businesses, so I get to see how coaching methods work on a large scale.

I’ve tried many different nutrition coaching styles over the last decade: entirely macro-based, habit coaching with food tracking, and entirely habit-based with no macros at all.

What if I told you that when I stopped having clients count macros, they experienced:

  • Better results
  • Higher compliance
  • A happier journey
  • Less stress
  • Better eating intuition
  • A longer coach/client relationship

Well, that’s exactly what happened.

Make no mistake: I don’t hate macros. They definitely have their place.

(Related: The complete guide to using—and coaching—macros.)

But for 99 percent of clients, I just think there’s a better way.

So what is it?

Photos, people. Photos.

I have clients track what they eat by taking a picture of their meal.

It’s simple, easy, and effective—and as a result, you get high compliance.

But the best part? It provides way more information and coaching opportunities than conventional tracking.

I know what some of you are saying:

“You can’t determine calories or macros with only photos!”

It doesn’t matter.

When it comes to food, there are more important details to address than WHAT clients are eating.

And photos help you see what macro-tracking can’t: the full picture.

To get the most out of them, though, you’ll need to know what to look for.

I have a method for that.

I call this method The 5 Ws.

Who, when, where, why, and what.

Let me explain each, along with the coaching opportunities they present.

(And for more nutrition, health, and coaching advice, sign up for PN’s FREE weekly newsletter, The Smartest Coach in The Room.)

1. Who are they eating with?

Who someone eats with can impact the food choices they make, as well as the amount of food they consume.

Have you ever had a friend who eats super healthy? Ever find yourself making healthier choices while eating with this person?

The inverse is also true. It’s more tempting to go wild on a Friday night when your friend, partner, or coworker is indulging, too.

Sometimes, simply helping your client gain awareness that they tend to overeat around a certain person can be a game-changer. (And no, I’m not suggesting they end the relationship.)

2. When are they eating?

Did your client  (unintentionally) wait until 3 pm for lunch because they got busy or didn’t plan properly?

Here’s an example of when this kind of info can be super useful. If you uncover a pattern of missed meals, you can look at why that’s happening and either:

  • Option 1: Help your client build more structure into their day to prevent missing meals
  • Option 2: Come up with “if-then” scenarios for when it does happen. Example: “IF I miss my lunch, THEN I will get XYZ meal/snack”

3. Where are they eating?

You can learn a lot from looking at your client’s eating environment.

Are they sitting at their desk in front of their keyboard, working through lunch? They might not be taking the time to chew their food thoroughly, which could lead to overeating.

Here, you might work on eating to 80 percent full as a next step.

(Learn more: How to eat until 80% full)

Are they sitting on the couch watching TV? They might be chowing down mindlessly, another reason folks overeat.

In this case, you might focus on learning to eat slowly.

(See: The 30-day slow eating challenge.)

Are they eating at a dinner table? That’s great! They appear to set time aside for meals and are developing great habits here. (Can you say bright spots?)

Does their food appear to come from their own kitchen, or is it in takeout containers? If your client logs chicken, broccoli, and sweet potato on a traditional food tracking log, you don’t know if that’s homemade or picked up from a local fast-casual restaurant, potentially laden with hidden oils and lots of sodium.

This could be an opportunity to educate them on different food preparation techniques, and explain why a home-cooked meal could be a better choice for their goals.

4. Why are they eating?

As coaches, we’d really benefit from asking this question more often.

Do people always eat out of hunger? Hardly.

People eat for a plethora of reasons, and hunger is often not the driving force. For example, people frequently eat because they’re happy, sad, stressed, tired, thirsty, or bored, or it could be due to environment, habit, culture, or tradition.

If you find that a client’s stress eating, you could help them find ways to better manage their stress, such as meditation and exercise.

Or perhaps they’re a social butterfly, and for them, eating is part of the social experience.

You can collaborate with your client on ways to make the best choices possible while celebrating with their friends and family—rather than feeling like they have to stay home.

Ignoring the many reasons why your client eats can make them feel like there’s something wrong with them. Instead, help them develop the tools to lean into their WHY in a positive way.

5. What are they eating?

To me, this is the least important question. Because in my opinion, there’s not a great coaching opportunity here.

If your client isn’t making great choices, more than likely, one of the other 5 Ws is at play.

How does it work, exactly?

Here are some practical tips for putting this strategy into practice.

Use photo logging when onboarding clients. For the first two weeks working together, I have clients take daily photos of their meals.

Then, they upload the photos into folders organized by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks, for example.

After the first two weeks, I let the client choose if they want to continue taking photos.

Look for patterns. You might notice your client is frequently skipping breakfast or snacks while feeling hungry throughout the day.

These patterns provide a great starting point for your coaching.

(You can encourage your client to look for patterns as they eat by using resources like Precision Nutrition’s Eating Behaviors Journal and How Food Feels Journal.)

Make it collaborative. I don’t typically do official “reviews” of client photo logs.

You never want your client to feel like they’re being graded.

Instead, try asking questions about their photos rather than making statements about what you see.

For instance, you might ask: How did this breakfast work for you? How did you feel a few hours later?

Let your client suggest next steps. Once you’ve worked together to identify some areas for improvement, ask your client what they feel like they could change with confidence.

This is where they decide on a new action to practice.

My goal isn’t to persuade you to abandon macros.

(Especially if that approach is working great for you.)

Rather, I want to share an alternative tool that’s profoundly affected the way I coach.

Give it a try.

I know it can be scary, but in my experience with over a thousand people, you’ll get better results and much happier, more balanced clients in the end.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post How I stopped tracking macros with my clients—and started seeing better results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Reviewed by Karin Nordin, PhD

“More hugs.”

Ever seen a health professional write that on a prescription note?

Probably not.

Though we’re often told to improve our health by eating right, moving regularly, sleeping well, and taking the recommended meds, it’s less common to be told to focus on our relationships.

That might be a mistake.

Because here’s what we’re discovering:

Social health is vital—and in some cases, it’s a bigger priority than exercise or nutrition.

The impact of poor relationships is so severe that some experts have argued physicians should screen for social isolation just as they screen for heart disease or diabetes.1

One study even found that satisfaction with relationships at midlife is a better predictor of long-term health than cholesterol levels.2 (Not to exaggerate the findings of one study, but it does illustrate the importance of social wellbeing.)

If you’re a health coach, relationships may impact your clients’ progress as much as how friendly they are with salad, or the daily steps they average.

The good news: We don’t need hundreds of new friends to improve social health. (And actually, a few quality relationships may be better than lots of weak connections.3)

In this article, we’ll provide three strategies you can use to help clients (and yourself) leverage quality social health—and health overall.

Read on, friend.

What does “social health” mean anyway?

Hope this doesn’t offend anyone but…

We aren’t that different from monkeys.

Okay, maybe you don’t pick through your mate’s back hair for snacks.

But much like our genetic cousins, we humans are social animals. So much so that it’s impossible to separate our physical health from our social health.

As the graphic shows below, the two are that intertwined. 4,5

Graphical depiction of the importance of social health. The title says "The Power of Other People." Icons and text show that we rely on other people for food, electricity, health, and many other things. Our friends can make us more likely to change—and they can also stand in our way of change.

What if your social group doesn’t encourage health?

Your nacho-loving beer buddies.

Your “just one more helping” family member.

The cast of Arrested Development that keeps you glued to the couch.

You’ve probably heard the advice: “If you want to be healthy, hang out with healthy people.”

The advice is well-meaning, based on results from the Framingham Heart Study that revealed just how impactful our social context is. (One finding: You’re more likely to be happy, depressed, or obese if your closest friend is happy, depressed, or obese.6)

Despite this, we love our beer buddies, sloppy and loud as they are. And Grandma’s pie-pushing comes from love. And no one wants to live in a world where dysfunctional family sitcoms don’t exist.

Our social circles often define our identities; we’re very attached to our familiar groups. This remains true even if the friend, family, or professional group we belong to isn’t necessarily good for us.2

For many, the idea of leaving a stressful or unhelpful social base is up there with being asked to live on a desert island… naked and alone… with snakes.

If someone suggests you swap an unhealthy social group for a healthy one, you’ll almost surely dig in and resist. (And your clients will do the same.)

That’s why when addressing clients’ social groups, coaches should listen more than they advise, and draw out a client’s own wisdom.

Try asking:

“Is this relationship still benefiting you? How does this relationship relate to your current goals, priorities, and values?”

After reflecting on those questions, a few clients might decide they need to find new friends or roomies.

But not usually.

And that’s okay—because as a coach, you still have three powerful strategies to help clients strengthen their existing social bonds, so they can improve their overall health.

Strategy #1: Amplify the coach-client relationship

You’re part of your client’s social network.

In fact, there’s a fancy-pants name for the coach-client bond: the therapeutic alliance. It refers to the level of trust and rapport between a practitioner and the person they’re helping.

A strong therapeutic alliance can help a person feel supported and understood while surfing the tides of change.

And get this:

Client results are up to 85 percent dependent on the therapeutic alliance.

The stronger that relationship, the better the results.

How do you strengthen this bond?

✔ Highlight your clients’ awesomeness. Point out their strengths and what they’re doing right. As much as possible, try to see your client from a compassionate, non-judgemental, and positive perspective.

✔ Embrace client-led coaching. Help clients identify their own limiting factors and propose their own solutions. You’re a knowledgeable guide, but only a client knows what’s best for themselves.

✔ Listen and validate. When a client is suffering, they probably don’t need you to search PubMed for more evidence. More than facts, your clients often need understanding, support, and creativity to get them through the tough stuff.

(Want to build trust and connection with clients? Read: “I’m a coach, not a therapist!” 9 ways to help people change while staying within your scope.)

Strategy #2: Create intentionally welcoming spaces

Take a critical look at the virtual and/or in person gathering spots you oversee as a part of your coaching practice.

Are they places where members feel welcome, championed, and safe?

Do clients want to hang out in these spaces?

If you decide your coaching community needs some work, consider this advice from Precision Nutrition super coach Jon Mills, PN2, who’s been building and maintaining successful coaching communities for years.

Know who you’re welcoming—and who you’re not.

Many coaches see themselves as the coach for everyone. That’s a mistake, says Mills. “When you welcome everybody, you by default welcome nobody,” he says.

Think deeply about the type of clients you want to attract and retain. Then consider what they might want from a community—and what might repel them.

For inspiration, consider what Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly, the gym Mills runs in Vancouver, British Columbia did to cater to the queer community:

  • Posted a pronouns policy
  • Offered non-gendered restrooms
  • Hung a pride flag in the front window

Those details helped clients know immediately whether the space was for them, Mills says.

Communicate your values and expectations.

Post a code of conduct. This helps clients know the rules that help keep your community safe and welcoming.

As an example, in our Precision Nutrition Facebook communities, our first rule is this:

Be respectful.

And we explain what we mean by that.

Everyone wins: Members know what to expect, and how to behave.

Uphold your group rules.

Don’t just pay lip service to values like helpfulness and respect.

You must actively reinforce them, Mills says. “It’s worse to have a code of conduct and not enforce it than to have no code of conduct at all,” he says.

Rule reinforcement is especially important if, like Mills, you coach clients who often feel unwelcome in typical spaces. When done right, you can create an atmosphere like the (now online) Valkyrie martial arts studio did pre-pandemic:

Valkyrie invited people to register for couch time—just as you’d register for sweating it out in a class. On any given day, you could find people chatting, laughing, and bonding.

For them, the studio was more than a gym. It was home.

Small group coaching: Where individualized attention and supportive group dynamics meet

For more than 21 years, Alwyn Cosgrove has gathered and stored data for every single training session with clients at Results Fitness, the gym he owns in Santa Clarita, California. That information—from roughly 40,000 yearly sessions—functions like an ongoing research study.

And it‘s led to a counterintuitive finding:

Clients do better when they train in small groups than when they work one-on-one with a coach or trainer.

This remains true even when clients are following different programs, Cosgrove says.

“You’d assume people would get better results when working only with a trainer because they’re getting more individualized attention,” says Cosgrove. “But the less individualized attention in a group setting seems to be offset by group dynamics.”

That might be because fellow clients “get” each other, allowing them to cheer one another on in ways friends and family may not be able to.

Strategy #3: Rally the support of family and friends

In coaching more than 100,000 clients, we’ve noticed something:

Most people focus on their shortcomings rather than their successes.

This negative focus tends to discourage and demotivate people.

That’s why, “at some point in virtually all of my clients’ journeys, we’ll have a conversation about building a cheer squad,” says Mills.

When friends and family support a client’s goals, values, and priorities, that client tends to be successful. There’s a sense of “we’re in this together,” says Precision Nutrition super coach Toni Bauer, PN2.

(Want to help clients get clear on the kind of support they need, and who to get it from? Use this FREE worksheet: Social Support Form)

But friends and family usually need a few pointers.

Because they can sometimes also be the people who (often unintentionally) sabotage a client’s progress by…

… Asking, “Hey, want some ice cream?” while scooping out two big bowls.

… Making comments like, “Wow, you’re eating less than usual. Are you okay?”

… Guilt-tripping, saying, “Oh come on, drink with us!” or “I made this cake just for you! Don’t hurt my feelings, now.”

As much as possible, try to allow the client to lead this solution-finding mission, says Bauer.

If you jump in with too many suggestions, your client will likely continually tell you, “No, that won’t work. You just don’t understand my friends/family.”

When brainstorming ways to overcome sticky issues with family and friends, Bauer suggests you ask questions like:

▶ Has there been a time in your life when trying something new has worked smoothly in your household? If so, what was that like?

▶ Could you tell me how you’ve communicated with your friends or family in the past? Let’s discuss what worked and what didn’t.

▶ What’s the easiest, low-hanging-fruit change you can make that’s minimally disruptive to your friends’/family’s habits?

After contemplation, clients might come up with their own ideas.

If they get stuck, however, ask:

Do you need help with this? Are you interested in hearing some ideas that have worked for other clients?

If they say yes, you might tell them about that client with a nut allergy who asked her wife to only buy ice cream with nuts. The client knew she wouldn’t be tempted by nut-loaded ice cream, and it allowed her wife to keep a sweet treat in the house.

(For help navigating resistance from friends and family, read: 3 counterintuitive strategies for getting loved ones to support your healthy lifestyle.)

Our social circles don’t have to be perfect to benefit us.

It’s nice when goals align with with loved ones:

Your household sits down and EVERYONE wants to try your new kale loaf.

But really, whose life is that??!

In reality, just like us, our friends and family are a mishmash of virtues and vices.

But that’s not what defines us.

Instead, it’s our willingness to accept and support each other wherever we’re at, that makes relationships so life-giving.

Social groups may never be ideal, but they can usually be improved by building on what’s already working, and adding on as needed.

With this mindset, your beer buddies may continue to love their brews, but cheers to you even if you decide to opt for seltzer.

(And who knows, maybe seltzer pong could be a thing.)

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References

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

1. Larrabee Sonderlund A, Thilsing T, Sondergaard J. Should social disconnectedness be included in primary-care screening for cardiometabolic disease? A systematic review of the relationship between everyday stress, social connectedness, and allostatic load. PLoS One. 2019 Dec 19;14(12):e0226717.

2. Malone JC, Cohen S, Liu SR, Vaillant GE, Waldinger RJ. Adaptive midlife defense mechanisms and late-life health. Pers Individ Dif. 2013 Jul 1;55(2):85–9.

3. Umberson D, Montez JK. Social relationships and health: a flashpoint for health policy. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51 Suppl:S54–66.

4. House JS, Landis KR, Umberson D. Social relationships and health. Science. 1988 Jul 29;241(4865):540–5.

5. Eisenberger NI, Lieberman MD, Williams KD. Does rejection hurt? An FMRI study of social exclusion. Science. 2003 Oct 10;302(5643):290–2.

6. Bzdok D, Dunbar RIM. The Neurobiology of Social Distance. Trends Cogn Sci. 2020 Sep;24(9):717–33.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Social connections: Could they be even more important than cholesterol? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Liz Durant was unstoppable.

She packed 25 marathons into eight years before advancing to ultra-marathons—all while juggling a demanding career in accounting and finance, raising three kids, moving frequently, and squeezing in some competitive tennis, too.

At 45, Durant was offered a job as a personal trainer at a local gym. She decided to take it, jumping at the chance to share her love of running in a meaningful and purposeful way.

She dove headfirst into her new hustle, working to gain expertise in nutrition (through the PN Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications), endurance, and women-specific coaching.

Any given week, she’d teach 10 group fitness classes; spend 20-30 hours training in-person and online clients; train for her next race; chip away at certifications and other continuing ed; and of course be there for her family and friends too.

By her early 50s, Durant noticed it was getting harder to meet the demands. Hot flashes kept her awake at night. Injuries became commonplace. Durant felt burned out, struggling to keep up with her schedule.

She came to accept that she was entering a new phase of life. With help from a coach, Durant made adjustments to her lifestyle and nutrition habits.

“I had to really assess what was essential, and let go of some things that were not,” Durant says. “I practiced balancing my clients with my own training needs, and prioritizing my ‘big rocks’—sleep, stress, movement, and food.”

Before too long, Durant was back to feeling good and crushing her schedule.

And that’s how it hit her.

She would focus her coaching business, Affinity Fitness, on women just like her: 50-somethings who want to maintain an active, busy, healthy life, even while dealing with the realities of aging.

And that’s how she ended up finding her niche as a nutrition coach. Here are four illuminating lessons Durant learned from her experience—plus tips for you to try, too.

Precision Nutrition Certified Coach Liz Durant.

Lesson #1: Make it personal.

The more intimately you understand what your clients are up against, the more effectively you can support them.

Durant knew: “The 50s are a perfect storm of physical and lifestyle changes.”

Here are her clients’ top challenges, plus how she targets them.

It’s been a while since they prioritized themselves.

Many women in their 50s have spent years or decades caring for others, losing touch with their own bodies and needs in the process. (Durant has also found preliminary research on disordered eating and empty nest women, which aligns with anecdotal evidence from her coaching practice.)

Durant helps clients practice listening to their bodies, so they can relearn signals like hunger and fullness cues.

They’re experiencing hormone changes.

As a result, many clients notice decreased energy.

“Performance and training start to suffer,” Durant notes. “Then your sleep is disrupted because of hot flashes. Plus, you’re more prone to injury.”

To address this, Durant helps clients adapt training and recovery to their bodies’ evolved needs. She also focuses them on improving sleep and managing stress by shutting off screens and winding down earlier in the evening than they’re used to.

Day-to-day life suddenly looks different.

Women this age are often experiencing significant life adjustments (becoming an empty nester; retiring). This means disrupted eating and exercise patterns.

Durant helps clients get a balance of lean protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, and veggies—often portioned for a slowed metabolism. (Hint: She uses the PN Macro Calculator. “The report that comes out of that is gold.”)

And Durant coaches them on a big takeaway from her own experience: “Being nimble is key. Don’t beat yourself if you need to re-prioritize your life to fulfill your basic needs. Progress, not perfection.”

Lesson #2: Specialize even within your specialty.

The clients in a given market or niche will have things in common, but it’s important to leave room for personal preference.

For example, while some of Durant’s clients love training online, “others have looked forward to getting back into the gym.”

To accommodate both groups, Durant offers online, limited in-person, and hybrid coaching models.

“I have several clients who travel south in the winter. We train in the gym when we can, and when we can’t, we use Zoom. My clients love the consistency and flexibility,” she says.

Meanwhile, Durant offers three different packages:

  • Sprint: Program design with just a bit of support
  • Marathon: Program design with individualized nutrition support
  • Ultra: Program design, customized nutrition recommendations, and a weekly Zoom training session

“It’s all about finding what works best for individual clients.”

Lesson #3: Listen to your audience—not everybody else.

When Durant was getting her coaching business off the ground, she tried Facebook ads to get visibility. It’s standard marketing, but it didn’t work.

So, she thought more carefully about the women she wanted to coach. What are they interested in? How do they spend their time? What would be of real value to them?

It hit her like a sack of potatoes: Just like Durant, her clients were huge fans of the Instant Pot. She’d been running free workshops at the local library, plus paid sessions in clients’ homes. Why not take it to Facebook Live to get more folks interested in what she had to offer?

Liz started doing free sessions on meal planning and prep, plus recipe demos right from her kitchen. Immediately, she had an influx of new clients.

“It’s been awesome!” Durant says. “So much so, I am considering developing an online course on the Instant Pot for runners. Simplify their lives and give them more time to run!”

This kind of approach can take some experimentation, Durant warns—but it helps to keep an open mind. “Throw something at the wall and see if it sticks. Try something for a month and see what happens,” she suggests.

Lesson #4: Think about the change YOU want to make.

Durant says specializing has helped her get clients, especially by word-of-mouth. But much more than that, it’s brought a clear sense of purpose and meaning to her work.

“I love helping women take care of themselves after they’ve spent so long taking care of others,” she reflects.

And for Durant, this mission has opened the door to a more large-scale vision: “I feel like there’s a notion in my generation that a big part of our purpose is to care for other people, even at the expense of our own health,” she says. “I want to change that.”

Durant—who’s now 59— believes we’re on the verge of a societal shift, where women of all ages are becoming more willing to prioritize themselves, and topics like menopause are becoming less taboo.

“Women are starting to understand that self-care isn’t selfish. And besides, when we take the time to prioritize our own wellbeing, we are more effective at taking care of others anyway!”

Clients pick up on this sense of purpose. They begin to envision a new future for themselves, too. They get results. They tell their friends.

“When we’re north of 50, we have an opportunity to create a new blueprint for ourselves,” says Durant. A new vision we can choose to think of as me, 2.0.”

With this new vision in mind, Durant is leading the way.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Four lessons on finding your niche as a nutrition coach appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

“I can’t stop thinking about food.”

Ever felt that way?

It’s normal to think about food a fair bit, and occasionally overeat.

But what about when thoughts of food crowd out almost everything else? When you feel an anxiety that’s only relieved by eating?

Or when it seems like you don’t have any control over what, when, and how much you eat?

It might make you wonder…

“Do I have an addiction?”

Many of us throw the word “addiction” around lightly when we talk about our relationship with food.

But some people—including, perhaps, some of your clients—are truly suffering.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What food addiction is.
  • How it’s different from overeating.
  • Why certain foods have more “addictive” qualities than others.
  • Who’s most vulnerable.

(Quick heads up: As a coach you can’t diagnose food addiction, but you can support and be an ally to your clients dealing with it. You’ll also want to refer out to a qualified practitioner. Learn more about that here).

Let’s get into it.

What is food addiction?

Food addiction means having emotionally-driven, persistent, and uncontrollable urges to eat—even when you’re not physically hungry.

It affects 2-11 percent of people in Western countries. (The rates are highest in the US, with some research showing as much as 11.4 percent of the population could be affected.)1

With rates so high, you likely know someone with food addiction. Or maybe you’re the one struggling.

How do you know?

Here are some signs of food addiction:

  • Craving increasingly large amounts of (usually) high-calorie processed foods in order to feel pleasure, energy, or excitement, or to relieve negative emotions, physical pain, or fatigue.
  • Spending so much time thinking about and getting food, and recovering from overeating, that it crowds out recreational activities, professional obligations, and relationships.
  • Continuing to overeat despite negative effects like digestive problems, unwanted weight gain, or mobility issues.
  • Experiencing withdrawal-like effects—irritability, low mood, headaches or fatigue1,2—when you’re not eating.

How is food addiction different from other forms of overeating?

If you overeat at most of your meals, or have the occasional out-of-control binge eating episode, are you addicted to food?

Not necessarily.

Pretty much everyone experiences periods of overeating, and/or instances of binge eating.

As the following continuum shows, it’s only when urges and compulsive behavior around food become severe, frequent, and chronic that a person can be diagnosed with an eating disorder or food addiction.3,4,5

A table showing the continuum of eating. From green to red, it includes the spectrum of balanced eating to food addiction. Balanced eating means you generally eat to match energy expenditure. (Although you may have occasional—often unintentional—episodes of both overeating and undereating.) Passive overeating means yu often eat more than you need, but you don’t use food to alter or numb your emotions, and you’re not distressed over your habits. Loss-of-control eating means that occasionally, eating feels compulsive, excessive, and out-of-control (e.g. “Whoa, I really overdid it at the Crab Festival this year.”) Binge eating disorder (BED) is when you binge eat at least once a week for at least three months. Bingeing means eating a large amount—often quickly and in secret—to the point of feeling uncomfortably full. When you eat, you feel out of control, and often feel guilt or shame afterward. Food addiction is similar to BED, but you may also compulsively “graze”—eating smaller amounts of food almost constantly, often with a feeling that you can’t stop. When you do stop, you may feel withdrawal-like symptoms, creating a hard-to-escape cycle.

As you may notice, binge eating disorder and food addiction share several major similarities.

But food addiction—which more closely resembles a substance use disorder—is more severe than BED because it causes even more life disruption.

How food addiction happens

Food addiction isn’t caused by one single thing.

For example, you can’t just blame it on genetics.

Factors like the amount of stress in someone’s life, how they respond to that stress, how lonely they feel, where they live, and who they spend time with also make an impact.

In other words, like most health issues, food addiction arises out of a jumble of biological, psychological, and social factors. (This multi-dimensional approach to understanding illness and health is called the biopsychosocial perspective.)

A Venn diagram showing how the biopsychosocial model works, and what areas of life are included in the three areas: biology, psychology, and social context.

Let’s go into those categories now.

Biological factors: How does your body work?

In early human history, food scarcity happened on the regular.

To survive, humans evolved to overeat when food was abundant, especially when that food was tasty and calorie-rich.6,7,8 (Jackpot: avocado tree.)

But now, the instinct that once helped us survive makes it hard to stop eating.9

Highly-processed foods—especially those with a combination of sugar, fat, and salt—are the most difficult to resist.

Much like drugs and alcohol, these foods trigger a range of rewarding, feel-good neurochemicals, including dopamine. Highly-processed foods have this effect even when you’re not hungry.10,11,12

(In contrast, whole, unprocessed foods aren’t very rewarding when you’re not hungry, and it’s usually easier to moderate your intake of them.5,13)

These days, highly-processed foods are so accessible that you have to rely on your ability to self-regulate, or control your behavior, in order to resist them.

But people who deal with compulsive overeating (including those with food addiction) often have a hard time self-regulating.

Here’s why:

People with compulsive overeating may…

▶ Struggle with impulse control, possibly because the planning, strategizing center of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) is impaired. This might be a hallmark of all addictions, and can contribute to poor recovery outcomes.14,15

▶ React more easily and intensely to stressors. They have a higher level of cortisol release than others.16 And because stress can trigger addictive behaviors, people who are more physically sensitive to stress may be more likely to use food (or drugs or alcohol) as a way to cope.

▶ Get more pleasure from food (at first).17,18 They may have a bigger dopamine response to highly-processed foods, more motivation to seek out that response again, and stronger cravings.19

▶ Get less pleasure from food over time. When you often overeat highly-processed foods, dopamine receptors become less responsive to those foods.20 This means that a bigger “hit” of food is required to achieve the same pleasurable effect.21,22,23

Dopamine: Why we like it, and how it hooks us.

Dopamine release happens in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region famous for its role in registering pleasure and reinforcing learning.5

Lots of things give you little dopamine boosts…  eating a tasty meal when you’re hungry, connecting with friends and loved ones, and achieving goals. However, certain activities and substances—like drugs, gambling, and (yes) highly-processed foods—can produce unnaturally high surges of dopamine.

Here’s why that can become a problem:

The greater the dopamine response, the more pleasure you experience. The more pleasure you feel, the more motivated you are to repeat it.

When you experience a dopamine surge, you learn to associate pleasure with the specific activity or substance that caused it.

As that learning continues, your prefrontal cortex and your reward system get hijacked. You become focused on getting more of the thing. And you have trouble experiencing pleasure from anything else.

Over time, your brain adapts to these floods of dopamine.

This is called tolerance. Tolerance drives you to chase more of the pleasurable thing, yet you rarely feel satisfied.

This is the addiction cycle.

(Want to know more about what food characteristics people find irresistible—and even addictive? Read: Manufactured deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating.)

Psychological factors: What’s your mindset?

When we ask clients, most of them say they’re more likely to overeat when they’re feeling stressed, tired, or sad.

Research supports this observation: Stress, depressed mood, anger, boredom, and irritability are common triggers of binge eating.16,24

Binge eating often further triggers feelings of guilt and shame, and these feelings may promote more addictive behaviors.25

Because binge eating and food addiction are associated with challenges regulating emotions,26,27 food can be used as a way to self-medicate and temporarily feel better. (Foods with sweet tastes are especially effective at elevating mood and suppressing pain.28)

Food addiction is also associated with a history of trauma and abuse, and is found alongside a number of other mental health disorders like depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychosis,29 and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).30

(Want to support clients with trauma while staying in your scope? Read: How trauma affects health and fitness—and prevents client progress)

Although many people think of addictive eating as a form of “self-sabotage,” here’s a more compassionate, useful way to think about it:

For the person struggling, food is simply a safe place, a comfort to turn to when life feels overwhelming.

Social factors: What’s around you?

In animal research, addictive eating behaviors only happen when they’re given highly-processed foods.5

This isn’t to say that processed foods cause addictive eating. It’s just that their presence, combined with other biological and psychological vulnerabilities, makes food addiction more likely.

And due to social factors, some people are exposed to highly-processed foods more often than others.

Imagine you live in a “food desert”—an area that has poor access to affordable, fresh, and minimally-processed food. If all you can get at your local grocery store is packaged snack foods, white bread, and maybe some canned fruit, your nutrition and appetite will be harder to manage.

Similarly, not having enough money to buy healthy foods on a regular basis can make an impact. Naturally, you might do like our ancestors and “stock up” when calories are available. Some research supports this: Higher rates of food insecurity are associated with disordered eating behaviors like binge eating.31

You can also pick up on social cues around food.

If you’ve grown up with friends and family that regularly overeat, or use food to soothe, comfort, or entertain, they might encourage you (explicitly or implicitly) to do the same.

Even when you want to change, swimming against the current can be hard.

The irony of diet culture

Despite some progress through movements like body positivity and “Health at Every Size,” modern culture still prizes thinness.

In order to achieve that thinness, many people diet incessantly.

Here’s how that backfires:

When you think you can’t have access to something (in this case, food you find delicious), you end up wanting more of it.

This is called the limited access paradigm, and it explains why very restrictive diets not only often fail, but may even make people more likely to overeat and binge eat.32

[Facepalm.]

That’s why recovery from compulsive overeating and food addiction often focuses on body awareness, mindful eating, and developing a positive relationship with food—not dieting.

Interested in checking your bias towards thinness as a coach? Read: Are you body-shaming clients? How well-meaning coaches can be guilty of “size-bias.”

Help with food addiction: 3 ways to support clients (or yourself)

Health and nutrition coaches can’t diagnose or treat a food addiction, or any kind of eating disorder. But you can start the conversation, and be an essential part of a client’s recovery team.

If you’re reading this article because you’re struggling, we’ll suggest some ways to support yourself too.

1. Create a safe, compassionate, and encouraging environment.

If a client comes to you with some deep stuff, don’t feel like you have to figure out their childhood or fix their biology.

Instead, focus on understanding their current situation, helping them feel safe, and developing a trusting relationship.

The best ways to do that? Practice empathy and active listening.

(Read more about empathy and listening skills: “I’m a coach, not a therapist!” 9 ways to help people while staying within your scope.)

Because people with food addiction and binge eating disorder may be more sensitive to reward,33,34,35 coaches can also help “reward” clients in more affirming ways.

Meaning: Give them lots of praise. Celebrate every “win” you see.

And if a client comes to you feeling shame over a certain behavior or feeling, reassure them that this isn’t evidence of their inadequacy. Missteps and imperfections are human. Feeling sensitive to them is just a sign that they want to do better for themselves.

If you’re struggling with food addiction:

You’ll benefit from self-compassion and non-judgement too. Try not to blame or criticize yourself for “causing” this or “being too weak” to pull yourself out of it.

Be your own buddy: People are much better at changing when they come from a place of love and support.

For more practical, self-compassionate ways to feel better, read: “How can I cope RIGHT NOW?” These self-care strategies might help you feel better.

2. Drop the nutrition lecture.

Yes, maybe you’re a health or nutrition coach.

But in this case, focusing too much on nutrition (especially calories and energy intake) can backfire.

Clients struggling with food addiction are usually already overly concerned with what and how much they’re eating—and they probably feel tremendous shame around that.

➤ Instead of nutritional value, focus on how foods make clients feel.

You can ask (with kindness and genuine curiosity): “When you eat [insert trigger food], how do you feel in your body? And what thoughts come up?”

Although sometimes uncomfortable, this exercise can help clients identify foods that do feel good in their bodies, and align with their values. Over time, this can build a more positive, practical relationship with food.

➤ Help clients develop awareness around their triggers.

Ask gently: “What was going on before you started to feel the urge to eat? Where were you, who were you with, and how were you feeling?”

When you’re aware of your patterns and habits, it’s easier to find opportunities to re-route them.

(Here’s a worksheet that helps clients identify and disrupt unproductive eating habits: Break the Chain worksheet)

➤ Collaborate to come up with eating-replacement activities.

Stress is a common trigger for overeating, so ask your client to make a list of activities that calm them down, and bring them joy.

Note that overeating isn’t “forbidden.” Clients always have the option to use this coping mechanism.

But they can also slowly develop alternative behaviors to eating—which they may learn to prefer over time.

If you’re struggling with food addiction:

Here are three small actions you can take to start helping yourself feel better:

  • Focus on how foods make you feel rather than their caloric value.
  • Use the Break the Chain worksheet to develop awareness of your triggers.
  • Create your own personal list of replacement activities.

3. Refer out.

If you suspect your client has food addiction, you may want to start with this worksheet: The Yale Food Addiction Scale. While you can’t diagnose your client (unless you’re also a qualified mental health or medical health professional), you can use this tool to begin a conversation.

Most importantly, empower your client to seek help outside of your coaching. Remind them that seeking professional help takes courage and wisdom, and that you’ll be with them along the ride.

For most people, a family doctor is a good place to start. Family doctors can perform a formal assessment, then refer to appropriate help, whether that’s a licensed therapist, a psychiatrist, or another health professional.

If your client wants help finding a therapist, find one that’s trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be effective in managing and treating addictions and disordered eating.

You might be the first (and only) person your client has confided in.

Take your role seriously, display acceptance and compassion, and help your client get the care they deserve.

If you’re struggling with food addiction:

You’re not supposed to do really hard things by yourself. It often takes a team of support, so reach out.

Talk to a trusted loved one for moral support, and consult your family doctor or a licensed psychotherapist to get professional help.

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It means you have your own back.

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References

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

1. Imperatori, Claudio, Mariantonietta Fabbricatore, Viviana Vumbaca, Marco Innamorati, Anna Contardi, and Benedetto Farina. 2016. “Food Addiction: Definition, Measurement and Prevalence in Healthy Subjects and in Patients with Eating Disorders.” Rivista Di Psichiatria 51 (2): 60–65.

2. Schulte, Erica M., Julia K. Smeal, Jessi Lewis, and Ashley N. Gearhardt. 2018. “Development of the Highly Processed Food Withdrawal Scale.” Appetite 131 (December): 148–54.

3. Berkman, Nancy D., Kimberly A. Brownley, Christine M. Peat, Kathleen N. Lohr, Katherine E. Cullen, Laura C. Morgan, Carla M. Bann, Ina F. Wallace, and Cynthia M. Bulik. 2015. Table 1, DSM-IV and DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Binge-Eating Disorder. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

4. Bonder, Revi, Caroline Davis, Jennifer L. Kuk, and Natalie J. Loxton. 2018. “Compulsive ‘Grazing’ and Addictive Tendencies towards Food.” European Eating Disorders Review: The Journal of the Eating Disorders Association 26 (6): 569–73.

5. Davis, Caroline. 2013. “From Passive Overeating to ‘Food Addiction’: A Spectrum of Compulsion and Severity.” ISRN Obesity 2013 (May): 435027.

6. Brown, Elizabeth A. 2012. “Genetic Explorations of Recent Human Metabolic Adaptations: Hypotheses and Evidence.” Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 87 (4): 838–55.

7. Neel, James V. 2009. “The ‘thrifty Genotype’ in 19981.” Nutrition Reviews 57 (5): 2–9.

8. Wiss, David A., Nicole Avena, and Pedro Rada. 2018. “Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution.” Frontiers in Psychiatry / Frontiers Research Foundation 9 (November): 545.

9. Davis, Caroline. 2014. “Evolutionary and Neuropsychological Perspectives on Addictive Behaviors and Addictive Substances: Relevance to the ‘Food Addiction’ Construct.Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation 5 (December): 129–37.

10. Lutter, Michael, and Eric J. Nestler. 2009. “Homeostatic and Hedonic Signals Interact in the Regulation of Food Intake.” The Journal of Nutrition 139 (3): 629–32.

11. Small, Dana M., Marilyn Jones-Gotman, and Alain Dagher. 2003. “Feeding-Induced Dopamine Release in Dorsal Striatum Correlates with Meal Pleasantness Ratings in Healthy Human Volunteers.” NeuroImage 19 (4): 1709–15.

12. Kelley, Ann E., Brian A. Baldo, and Wayne E. Pratt. 2005. “A Proposed Hypothalamic-Thalamic-Striatal Axis for the Integration of Energy Balance, Arousal, and Food Reward.” The Journal of Comparative Neurology 493 (1): 72–85.

13. Monteleone, Palmiero, Fabiana Piscitelli, Pasquale Scognamiglio, Alessio Maria Monteleone, Benedetta Canestrelli, Vincenzo Di Marzo, and Mario Maj. 2012. “Hedonic Eating Is Associated with Increased Peripheral Levels of Ghrelin and the Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoyl-Glycerol in Healthy Humans: A Pilot Study.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 97 (6): E917–24.

14. Garavan, Hugh, and Karen Weierstall. 2012. “The Neurobiology of Reward and Cognitive Control Systems and Their Role in Incentivizing Health Behavior.” Preventive Medicine 55 Suppl (November): S17–23.

15. Volkow, Nora D., Gene-Jack Wang, Dardo Tomasi, and Ruben D. Baler. 2013. “The Addictive Dimensionality of Obesity.” Biological Psychiatry 73 (9): 811–18.

16. Gluck, Marci E. 2006. “Stress Response and Binge Eating Disorder.” Appetite 46 (1): 26–30.

17. Davis, C. 2009. “Psychobiological Traits in the Risk Profile for Overeating and Weight Gain.” International Journal of Obesity 33 Suppl 2 (June): S49–53.

18. Moreno-López, Laura, Carles Soriano-Mas, Elena Delgado-Rico, Jacqueline S. Rio-Valle, and Antonio Verdejo-García. 2012. “Brain Structural Correlates of Reward Sensitivity and Impulsivity in Adolescents with Normal and Excess Weight.” PloS One 7 (11): e49185.

19. Wang, Gene-Jack, Allan Geliebter, Nora D. Volkow, Frank W. Telang, Jean Logan, Millard C. Jayne, Kochavi Galanti, et al. 2011. “Enhanced Striatal Dopamine Release during Food Stimulation in Binge Eating Disorder.” Obesity 19 (8): 1601–8.

20. Wang, Gene-Jack, Nora D. Volkow, Panayotis K. Thanos, and Joanna S. Fowler. 2009. “Imaging of Brain Dopamine Pathways: Implications for Understanding Obesity.” Journal of Addiction Medicine 3 (1): 8–18.

21. Bello, Nicholas T., and Andras Hajnal. 2010. “Dopamine and Binge Eating Behaviors.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 97 (1): 25–33.

22. Davis, Caroline, Robert D. Levitan, Zeynep Yilmaz, Allan S. Kaplan, Jacqueline C. Carter, and James L. Kennedy. 2012. “Binge Eating Disorder and the Dopamine D2 Receptor: Genotypes and Sub-Phenotypes.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 38 (2): 328–35.

23. Davis, Caroline A., Robert D. Levitan, Caroline Reid, Jacqueline C. Carter, Allan S. Kaplan, Karen A. Patte, Nicole King, Claire Curtis, and James L. Kennedy. 2009. “Dopamine for ‘Wanting’ and Opioids for ‘Liking’: A Comparison of Obese Adults with and without Binge Eating.” Obesity 17 (6): 1220–25.

24. Frayn, Mallory, Christopher R. Sears, and Kristin M. von Ranson. 2016. “A Sad Mood Increases Attention to Unhealthy Food Images in Women with Food Addiction.” Appetite 100 (May): 55–63.

25. Craven, Michael P., and Erin M. Fekete. 2019. “Weight-Related Shame and Guilt, Intuitive Eating, and Binge Eating in Female College Students.” Eating Behaviors 33 (April): 44–48.

26. Tatsi, Eirini, Atiya Kamal, Alistair Turvill, and Regina Holler. 2019. “Emotion Dysregulation and Loneliness as Predictors of Food Addiction.” Journal of Health and Social Sciences 4 (1): 43–58.

27. Cassin, Stephanie E., and Kristin M. von Ranson. 2005. “Personality and Eating Disorders: A Decade in Review.” Clinical Psychology Review 25 (7): 895–916.

28. Gibson, E. Leigh. 2012. “The Psychobiology of Comfort Eating: Implications for Neuropharmacological Interventions.” Behavioural Pharmacology 23 (5-6): 442–60.

29. Stunkard, Albert J. 2011. “Eating Disorders and Obesity.” The Psychiatric Clinics of North America 34 (4): 765–71.

30. Hardy, Raven, Negar Fani, Tanja Jovanovic, and Vasiliki Michopoulos. 2018. “Food Addiction and Substance Addiction in Women: Common Clinical Characteristics.” Appetite 120 (January): 367–73.

31. Hazzard, Vivienne M., Katie A. Loth, Laura Hooper, and Carolyn Black Becker. 2020. “Food Insecurity and Eating Disorders: A Review of Emerging Evidence.” Current Psychiatry Reports 22 (12): 74.

32. Babbs, R. K., F. H. E. Wojnicki, and R. L. W. Corwin. 2012. “Assessing Binge Eating. An Analysis of Data Previously Collected in Bingeing Rats.” Appetite 59 (2): 478–82.

33. Loxton, Natalie J., and Renée J. Tipman. 2017. “Reward Sensitivity and Food Addiction in Women.” Appetite 115 (August): 28–35.

34. Loxton, Natalie J. 2018. “The Role of Reward Sensitivity and Impulsivity in Overeating and Food Addiction.” Current Addiction Reports 5 (2): 212–22.

35. Eneva, Kalina T., Susan Murray, Jared O’Garro-Moore, Angelina Yiu, Lauren B. Alloy, Nicole M. Avena, and Eunice Y. Chen. 2017. “Reward and Punishment Sensitivity and Disordered Eating Behaviors in Men and Women.” Journal of Eating Disorders 5 (February): 6.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Food addiction: Why it happens, and 3 ways to help (or get help). appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Reviewed by: Pam Ruhland, PN2, Certified Intuitive Eating Lay Facilitator

What is it? | Principles | Weight loss | Mindful eating | Advice for coaches

Many people think they know what “intuitive eating” means.

And a lot of them are wrong.

They’ll say things like:

“Intuitive eating is eating whatever you want, whenever you want.”

“If you’re not on a diet, you’re already eating intuitively.”

Or everyone’s personal favorite: “It just means ‘listen to your body.’”

But none of those are accurate, at least not according to the people who coined the term.

And that matters.

Whether you’re interested in practicing intuitive eating yourself, or you’re a coach considering using it with your clients, you’ll want to know what intuitive eating is and isn’t—so you can decide whether it’s the right tool for the job.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • The 10 principles of intuitive eating.
  • Why intuitive eating might be right—or wrong—for you (or your clients).
  • A number of handy ways to try intuitive eating—starting today.

Ready? Let’s dig in.

++++

What is intuitive eating?

First popularized by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their 1995 book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, intuitive eating rejects diet culture, a set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance, and shape above health and well-being.

This framework enthusiastically welcomes people of all sizes, helping them to improve their relationships with food, mind, and body without encouraging them to lose an ounce.

Intuitive eating also forgoes typical eating rules (think weighing, measuring) and instead helps people rediscover body cues like hunger and fullness.

That sounds great, of course. But can it really work?

For many people, intuitive eating can be powerfully transformative.

By the time we hit our 20s, most of us are eating for lots of reasons besides actual hunger.

6 pm? Time for dinner.

Bored? Let’s see what’s in the fridge.

Rough day? Give me a spoon and some cookies n’ cream.

But imagine how life might work out if we ate like babies.

Babies naturally eat intuitively, stopping when they’re full, no matter how much milk or formula is left.

They don’t go to battle with themselves thinking, “I want more. But, no, I shouldn’t. But, my gosh, it tastes so good. A little more won’t be so bad, right? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I stop?! Okay, I know. I’ll do 250 crawling laps around the room to burn off the extra milk…”

Intuitive eating helps people get closer to this natural instinct again.

The 10 intuitive eating principles

If you want to understand what intuitive eating has to offer, the 10 principles are a great place to start. One way to use these principles: Work through them in order. Master one, and then move on to the next, which is what the creators originally intended.

Principle #1: Reject the diet mentality.

Intuitive eating isn’t about weight loss, and that’s precisely what attracted Lisa Dahl, PN2, a Certified Intuitive Eating Lay Facilitator.

She’d noticed that many of her clients felt stressed and upset when they stepped on the scale or tracked their measurements. So when she discovered intuitive eating, she shifted her entire coaching practice away from weight loss.

That shift had a major impact on Dahl’s clients and her coaching: “When we removed the diet mentality, we shifted our focus to behaviors and actions that were making them feel better—regardless of the number on the scale. It became a much more positive experience for both of us.”

If you’re interested in trying this approach, think about your goals outside of weight loss by using a thought experiment called The 5 Whys.

You start with the question: What do you want to accomplish? And then ask yourself why five times to get to the root of what you really want.

Often, people start by saying they want to lose weight. By the end, they end up with goals about confidence, happiness, and having a good life—all of which can be achieved without weight loss.

To learn more about how to use The 5 Whys to reject the diet mentality, see: Are you body-shaming clients? How well-meaning coaches can be guilty of “size-bias.”

But what about people who “need” to lose weight?

This is a loaded question. But there are a few important points to consider.

➤ #1: Not everyone who’s “overweight” or “obese” is unhealthy. Just as not everyone who’s at a “normal” body weight is healthy.

➤ #2: Focusing on weight loss simply doesn’t work for everyone. If it did, people would go on one diet, get the results they want, and never diet again. It’s safe to say that’s a pretty rare occurrence.

“We have to get rid of this idea that weight loss is always a good choice. It’s just not,” says Precision Nutrition Coach Jon Mills, PN2. “We tend to think that if you lose weight, you’ll get healthier. But if that comes with disordered eating, extra stress, and more body issues, weight loss isn’t the healthy choice.”

➤ #3: People who “need to lose weight” are constantly getting lectured about their bodies. 

“I have so many clients who, every time they go to the doctor, no matter what the problem is, the doctor’s like, ‘You should lose weight,” says Mills. “We don’t need more people in the world being like, ‘Hey, have you considered losing weight?’ That messaging is saturated.”

If a person decides intuitive eating is right for them, regardless of their size, that’s their choice to make.

Principle #2: Honor your hunger.

The more we try to resist hunger, the more we want to eat. (Thank evolution for that one.)

And once we get extremely hungry? Our plan to eat a perfectly portioned chicken breast with a side of kale becomes a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and a side of cheesecake.

The solution? When you’re hungry—eat.

But that begs the question: How do you know when you’re truly hungry? Try ranking your hunger on a scale of 1-10. Usually, we think of 7 as “time to eat,” but what feels right for you might be different.

Letting your hunger guide you may mean eating at new and different times.

For instance, you may normally eat breakfast at 9 am out of habit. But maybe you’re super hungry right after you wake up at 7:30 am. Or you may find you’re not actually hungry until 10 am. Whatever your body tells you, go with it.

Principle #3: Make peace with food.

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.

“When people are restricting really hard, that pushes them into binge eating and shame eating and emotional eating. You’ll never address a restriction problem with more restriction. It just doesn’t work,” says Mills.

If you’ve ever gone on a super restrictive diet and then crashed and burned face-first into a tub of caramel popcorn, you know what we’re talking about.

The goal of making peace with food is to avoid situations like that. But in order to get there, intuitive eating says you need to welcome yourself to eat that caramel popcorn whenever you want.

You’re probably wondering: Won’t unconditional permission lead to donuts the size of people’s heads coupled with a lifetime without vegetables?

Not usually.

Quite often, the opposite happens. Once people allow themselves to eat what they really want, their cravings suddenly don’t feel as urgent. That yearning for a whole box of cookies eventually turns into a more manageable desire for just one or two.

Fair warning, this principle can take a while to master.

One thing that might help: Self-compassion, which is an attitude of generosity, honesty, and kindness towards yourself. Try to notice what you say to yourself when you eat—especially if you are going for foods that you haven’t given yourself permission to eat in the past. If your internal chatter is negative, take a deep breath and consider: “Is this how I would talk to someone I love?” If not, think about what you might say to a friend who is trying to break free from a negative relationship with food. Then say those words—to yourself.

For a full rundown of how to give yourself permission to eat, along with several ways to use self compassion, see: Solutions for stress eating.

Principle #4: Challenge the food police.

The food police are those little people in your head telling you not to eat such a big portion, that this food is “good,” and that food is “bad.”

Of course, once those annoying head mates deem a food “bad,” that food becomes all the more attractive and irresistible.

So stop using phrases like “good foods” “bad foods” and “cheat meals,” recommends Denise Allen, a Precision Nutrition Women’s Coach.

If you’re planning a special meal that goes outside of what you’d normally eat, you could try calling it a “choice” meal instead of a cheat one, Allen says. Even better, don’t label it anything at all. It’s just a meal—there’s no need to assign morality to it.

“Language and words matter so much, and how you talk to yourself about this process makes a difference,” Allen adds.

To learn more about labeling foods, see: We’ve told 100,000 clients, “There are no bad foods.” And we’re not about to stop. Here’s why.

Principle #5: Discover the satisfaction factor.

Taking pleasure in what you eat—enjoying food that you truly like in a comfortable environment—helps you innately decide when you’ve had “enough” to eat, whatever that means to you.

To do it, consider transforming your meals into an event.

Rather than scarfing things down over the sink or in the car, sit down—at a table. Maybe put some mood music on. Then consciously think about:

  • What does your meal taste like?
  • What’s the texture like?
  • What does the chair you’re sitting in feel like?
  • Who are you eating with? Is that part of your meal enjoyable?
  • What’s good about your experience of eating this meal?

Principle #6: Feel your fullness.

As you eat, look and listen for the signs you’re no longer hungry.

Imagine your fullness on a scale from 1 to 10. One is “I don’t feel like I’ve eaten at all” and 10 is “I’m completely full and can’t eat any more.” Five is something like “I’ve eaten some food, but I definitely have room for more.”

A scale from 1 to 10 showing the spectrum of how it feels to move from hunger to fullness. 1 is “Get. Me. Some. Food. Now.” 2 is “Got the edge of my hunger taken off, but just barely.” 4 is “I’m feeling better, but I’d be mad if I had to leave the table right now.” 6 is “I’ve got a bit of fuel in the tank now, but don’t feel super satisfied.” 8 is “I’m feeling energized, like I could go for a walk and have room for a gelato, but I also don’t need one.” 9 is “Feeling very content, but I would not want to move around a whole lot right now.” 10 is “My abdomen feels a little tight, and I’d kinda like to lie down.

Ask yourself (or your client): What level of fullness feels right to you? Some people might want to be at a 7 or 8 when they’re done eating. Others might want to get closer to 9 or 10.

If you struggle to stay tuned in for an entire meal, try checking in just three times: during the first, middle, and last bites. (Of course, the middle bite will usually be approximate.)

Experiment until you figure out what’s right for you.

Principle #7: Cope with your emotions with kindness.

Intuitive eating nudges you to ask important questions, especially when you find yourself turning to food when you’re not physically hungry. Rather than berating yourself, you gently explore what’s really going on by asking yourself:

“What do I really need? Is it connection? Better relationships? Am I feeling tired, stressed, frustrated?”

Those questions might lead you to much more nourishing solutions that happen to be located far outside of the kitchen.

“Intuitive eating is about being willing to listen, trust, and respect your thoughts and body,” Dahl adds. “It’s not a free-for-all; it’s actually about digging deep. It takes time, patience, practice, and self-compassion.”

One great resource to get you (or a client) started: The Break The Chain Worksheet, which helps you examine what’s really behind experiences like stress eating, cravings, and feeling out of control around food.

Principle #8: Respect your body.

Stop measuring your body against outside standards of how it “should” look. Instead, try to accept your body as it is.

In a world where we’re bombarded with images of what our bodies are “supposed” to look like, this is often a challenge. But it’s crucial.

All bodies are different, and for many of us, it can be helpful to accept that our bodies may never look like the ones on the cover of fitness magazines. With intuitive eating, you’re encouraged to lean into that and practice not feeling bad about it.

Principle #9: Movement—feel the difference.

Choose movement that feels good to you, and that you genuinely enjoy.

Hate running? Don’t force it. Love Zumba? Stick with that.

Or maybe you don’t like purposeful workouts at all. In that case, you might just focus on moving your body as much as possible throughout the day.

Principle #10: Honor your health—with gentle nutrition.

Intuitive eating is basically the opposite of most other approaches when it comes to how they handle the nutrition piece. Generally, diets focus on the relative health of various foods and what to eat before anything else.

Intuitive eating, on the other hand, deliberately does the opposite. You focus first on tapping into hunger and fullness signals, emotional awareness around food, and body respect.

Then you start talking about practical points like how much protein you need or the idea that adding veggies to your meal is usually a good move. And even when you consider these nutritional fundamentals, you do so hand-in-hand with pleasure. This isn’t about forcing yourself to eat nutritious foods that you hate. As Precision Nutrition super coach Kate Solovieva says, “It does not matter how good kale is for you, if you hate kale.”

Who should try intuitive eating?

When it comes to choosing an eating strategy, it’s all about picking the right tool for the right job.

So consider your (or your client’s) goals before making a decision on whether to try intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating fits these goals:

✓ Improving your relationship with food

✓ Recovering from disordered eating

✓ Reducing guilt around food

✓ Letting go of diet culture

✓ Getting to know your hunger and fullness signals

✓ Living as well as you can for as long as you can

For these goals, intuitive eating isn’t the best choice:

✓ Purposeful weight loss or body composition changes

✓ Preparing for an athletic competition or performance that has specific nutrient needs

✓ Changing the way your body looks for a modeling or acting job

Caveat: Intuitive eating principles can benefit athletes and people who get paid for their appearance when combined with other nutritional strategies. But again, intuitive eating isn’t meant to be used for purposeful weight loss, and it alone probably won’t help them reach their goals.

An alternative: Mindful eating

Intuitive eating and mindful eating often get confused, probably because they’re similar in many ways.

A side-by-side comparison showing the differences and similarities between intuitive and mindful eating. Intuitive eating and mindful eating both: encourage enjoying and savoring food, use hunger and fullness cues to decide when and how much to eat, help you examine feelings around food, and teach the difference between psychological and physical hunger. The differences are that only mindful eating is compatible with intentional weight loss and body composition changes, and only intuitive eating has a single agreed-upon set of principles.

Here’s yet another alternative: blending mindful eating and parts of intuitive eating with nutrition fundamentals.

That’s what we do at Precision Nutrition. We’re agnostic when it comes to the best way to eat, but we do incorporate some principles of both mindful and intuitive eating with our clients and in our certification.

We teach clients how to sense into their hunger and fullness, notice and name the thoughts and emotions that trigger cravings, and to eat slowly and deeply enjoy every bite.

In addition, we show clients how to include protein and veggies with meals. And for people interested in fat loss, we explain how to tap into hunger and fullness cues to eat to 80 percent full.

Where to go next: Intuitive eating advice for coaches

Whether or not you agree with the premise of intuitive eating, it’s worth exposing yourself to the methodology, Mills says.

Aside from the book by Tribole and Resch, you might also want to check out some of the following resources:

Some coaches reject intuitive eating without truly exploring it, Mills points out. “But it speaks to a really prevalent demographic, which is people who have been deeply hurt by diet culture. And when you understand that context, intuitive eating makes perfect sense.”

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Intuitive eating: How to make it work for you (and your clients) appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Reviewed by Toni Bauer, PN2, NBC-HWC

People ask: “What’s the average health coach salary?”

But what most folks really want to know something else:

Can you make a good living doing this?

In other words, should you:

  • Invest in a nutrition- or health-coaching certification?
  • Launch a part-time coaching business on the side?
  • Quit your job in another field so you can focus 100 percent on coaching?

Here, you’ll find answers, so you can make these important career decisions with confidence. 

For this article, we tapped the expertise of some of the most successful coaches who’ve earned our Level 1 certification, which, by the way, is recognized by many as the industry’s leading certification.

You’ll hear from:

▶ Someone who left a six-figure corporate executive job—and then found a way to make even more as a health coach. He shares exactly what he did to get where he is today.

▶ Several founders of expanding health-coaching companies who hire full-time coaches. You’ll learn what they look for in job candidates.

▶ A man who netted more than 50 regular clients during his first two years of coaching by finetuning his niche and raising his rates.

Thanks to their insights, industry reports, and our own internal survey data, you’ll discover:

Average annual salary ranges for full-time and part-time coaches

An income calculator created especially for coaches

Three business strategies that separate average-earning coaches from those who are super earners

Health coaching: Is it a viable career?

Let’s get real: This economy isn’t great for some job seekers.

But if you type “health coach” into a job search site, you’ll end up with thousands of results. It’s no wonder that, this year, LinkedIn listed health coaching as one of the fastest growing careers.

Driving this growth: the healthcare industry, which increasingly taps health coaches to motivate patients to practice a range of habits, saving between $286 and $412 per patient per month in insurance costs.1

(FYI, throughout this article, we quote pricing in US dollars.)

But medical practices and insurers aren’t the only people looking for health, nutrition, and wellness coaches. Others include:

  • Healthcare practices, such as physical therapy and chiropractic offices
  • Lifestyle companies that offer coaching as part of a larger package of options
  • Fitness centers and spas
  • Coaching apps
  • Established coaches who have more clients than they can serve on their own

In other words, now’s a great time to break in.

Even better, the pay is more than decent.

Your health coach salary, however, will depend on whether you run your own business or work for someone else. Let’s start with self-employed coaches.

What’s the average self-employed health coach salary?

We calculated these yearly rates based on data collected from hundreds of coaches. Keep in mind, these numbers are averages: Some coaches make less; some make more.

A lot more.

Estimated yearly income: $40,000 to $240,000+

Okay, that’s obviously a huge range. As with any business, the amount of money you make depends on many factors, including how much you charge each client, your levels of interest and motivation, the time you can commit, and the results you can deliver.

To see all the possibilities for how much you can make as a coach based on your unique circumstances, check out the calculator below.

Perks:

You’re the boss. You set your rates, hours, niche, packages… everything.

You’re in charge of your earning potential. The more clients you take on, the more you can earn. And if you attract more clients than you can handle? You have the option of hiring coaches to work for you.

What’s the average health coach salary if you work for a company?

If self-employment isn’t right for you, there’s another option. You can work for a company that employs health and nutrition coaches. And while you won’t have as much control over your earning potential, you can still make a great living.

The salaries listed below are based on industry reports, our internal data, and interviews with several coaching companies. Know that these ranges are averages. Some companies pay more; others less.

Full-time salaries: $40,000 to $75,000

Part-time salaries: $20,000 to $40,000

Perks:

You can focus completely on what you love: coaching. “It’s incredible for people who love the coaching side of coaching, but don’t love the entrepreneurial or administrative side, such as billing, lead generation, and marketing,” says Molly Galbraith, founder of Girls Gone Strong and author of Strong Women Lift Each Other Up.

You’ll usually use already-developed protocols and lessons to guide you through the coaching process. “If you’re a coach who isn’t quite ready to go out on your own, it can function like training wheels,” says Galbraith.

Real, restful, 100 percent work-free vacations exist. Because you’re often not the only coach on staff, you have others to cover for you when you want to put your phone on silent.

What companies look for when hiring new health coaches

Below you’ll find what several hiring managers told us they like to see in job candidates. Ideal candidates:

Possess a nutrition or health coaching certification (or are willing to get one).

Have a passion for helping people.

Exude the qualities of a “good” coach, such as emotional intelligence, empathy, active listening, professionalism, and communication skills.

You may wonder: Do you need coaching experience?

For some companies, yes.

Others, like Stronger U Nutrition, are willing to hire and train new coaches, especially if they’re coming from a complementary career such as the service industry, human resources, or organizational leadership, says founder Mike Doehla, PN1, a former human resources manager.

“This was me,” he says, “I was in another career before I became a coach. People can break into this later in life and have a fruitful career.”

Want to earn six figures? Use this calculator to estimate your health coach salary.

If you’re a self-employed coach, our Health Coach Salary Calculator uses your income goals to help you determine:

  • How many clients you can maintain in the time you have available to coach.
  • How much time you can spend with each client based on the type of coaching you want to provide.
  • What you’ll need to to charge each client per month to meet your income goals.

Here’s the really cool part: The calculator will estimate everything else you need to take into account (expenses, taxes, extra cash goals) and how they affect your bottom line.

Once you get your results, feel free to tinker with the numbers. Want to have fewer clients? Bump up your price per client. Think you could charge a little more and keep your client numbers the same? Go for it!

Bottom line: This calculator will help you wrap your head around what needs to happen in order to make your health coach salary dreams a reality.

Health Coach Salary Calculator
How much money can you earn? Let’s find out.

© Precision Nutrition

Health Coach Salary Calculator

Coaching income goal

Coaching service

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INCOME
How much money do you want / need to earn from coaching each month?
MONTHLY COACHING BUSINESS EXPENSES

MONTHLY COACHING BUSINESS EXPENSES

These are purchases that are necessary to support your coaching business.

These expenses are important to track because:

  1. they impact your final take-home pay from your coaching business, and
  2. they’re deductible from your taxable income.

For more specific guidance on eligible business expenses, consult your government business tax regulations (e.g., the IRS).

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LIVING EXPENSES

These expenses tell you how much it costs you to live your life each month.

For example, food, rent, gas, clothes, and costs for your home. These expenses are important for estimating how much additional income you’ll want/need to earn from coaching.

If you don’t want to include Living Expenses into your coaching business calculations, you can enter 0 in this field.

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OTHER INCOME

OTHER INCOME

This is income from any other source(s) besides coaching.

For example, income from another job (or multiple other jobs), rental, or investment income.

Enter the gross number here (i.e., your other income pre-tax).

If you’re entering other self-employment income, enter your taxable income amount (i.e., your income after removing business expenses).

If you don’t want to include Other Income into your coaching business calculations, you can enter 0 in this field.

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COACHING BONUS CASH GOAL

This is the total amount of additional cash on hand that you’d like to have each month. This is extra cash after covering your business and living expenses.

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TAXES

TAXES

This rate could be anywhere from <10% to 35%+, depending on your total income.

To find your effective income tax rate, you can look at your previous tax return or appropriate prior tax payments. Or do an internet search for the rates in your city / county / state / territory.

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TIME
How many clients do you have time to coach?
TIME AVAILABLE FOR COACHING

TIME AVAILABLE FOR COACHING

We break down your time into two categories: 1) Business time, and 2) Coaching time.

Your coaching time is the amount of time that you have available each week to spend on coaching, specifically.

It’s calculated by removing the total time that you spend on business-specific activities (i.e., non-coaching activities related to your coaching business).

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TIME PER CLIENT: DESIGNING YOUR COACHING SERVICE

TIME PER CLIENT: DESIGNING YOUR COACHING SERVICE

This section is a space for you to estimate how much time you’ll spend on each individual client.

Knowing your total time per client will allow us to get an estimate of how many total clients you’re able to take on, given the time that you have available for coaching.

These detailed estimates will also help you realistically plan your schedule in a way that meets all of your clients’ expectations.

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How to set your rates as a self-employed health or nutrition coach

Our Health Coach Salary Calculator will help you zero in on a salary range that makes sense for your life and goals. To start thinking about how to translate that into real life, consider these questions.

Question #1: Do you specialize in a niche?

Rather than work with everyone and anyone who could use some help, many coaches focus on a specific type of client or area of expertise. Depending on what your client population can afford, it might make sense to charge more (or less) than the going rate.

Real-life examples: Precision Nutrition certified coach, Stephen Beard, CHC, CPT, PN1, initially decided to target corporate executives, which makes sense given his former career as an executive in retail.

Galbraith zeroed in on women. Jon Mills, PN2, a coach with a thriving nutrition and training practice, specializes in the queer community.

(We’ll explore how to define your niche a little later.)

Question #2: Will your business involve high-volume coaching, super-individualized coaching, or a blend of the two?

Some coaches opt for volume, working with 100 or more clients. They keep their rates relatively low (say, $50 to $150 a month) and save time by leaning into virtual health coaching, group sessions, and/or pre-written lessons, workouts, and protocols. This is known as low-touch coaching.

Other coaches do the opposite, charging a premium (think: $500 or $1,000 a month) for lots of one-on-one attention and personalization, also known as high-touch coaching. This allows them to keep their overall number of clients low—usually somewhere between 5 to 30—while still making a good living.

And, of course, some coaches use a blend of those approaches.

(To learn more about the many different ways to set up your health-coaching business, watch: The 7 Best Coaching Business Models.)

Real-life examples: Beard built a high-touch business to attract the corporate execs he chose to target.

Doehla, on the other hand, launched Stronger U Nutrition, a virtual coaching business that serves a larger number of clients. He’s since hired dozens of coaches to help with the client load, and recently sold his app-based company to Self Esteem Brands, the parent company of Anytime Fitness.

Question #3: Where do you live? (Yep, even if you’re trying to work out your virtual health coach salary.)

As a general rule, coaches who work with clients locally or in person are able to charge more in cities and economically-booming areas than in rural and economically-depressed locations.

Even if you’re working virtually, it can be helpful to take cues from your fellow coaches in the area. That’s because the local going rate (or the going rate in other comparable areas) is more likely to correspond with your cost of living than the average rate in a place that’s not similar to where you live at all.

Real-life example: When Beard moved from Miami to Orlando, he learned that Miami’s $95-per-hour rate for personal training was too high to attract clients in Orlando, who were used to paying closer to $75.

So that $75-per-hour personal training rate is what he used to calculate his coaching rates.

“Logically, if someone is willing to pay that rate for help with proper movements and corrective exercises, they’re going to be willing to pay at least that much for a package that also includes nutrition coaching, which is the most important piece of the weight loss puzzle,” Beard says.

His math looked like this: $75 x 2 days a week x 12 weeks.

Then Beard subtracted $50 for a new client discount. That gave him his rate: $1,750 for a 12-week package. Now, a little more than two years later, he’s charging $4,000 for 12 weeks. (We’ll explain how he reached that phenomenal rate in the next section.)

Three secrets of “super earners”

Not long ago, in one of our Facebook coaching communities, someone asked, “What’s the going rate for coaching?”

Dozens of people commented. Coaches said they charged $250 a month, $500 a month, $1,000 a month—even $2,500 a month.

Many newer coaches, of course, wanted to know: How does someone get to the point when they can charge that much?

So we tracked down several super earners and asked them. Based on their answers as well survey data we’ve collected from our coaching community, we teased out a few secrets.

(For a deeper dive into our survey data, read: How Much Should You Charge?)

Secret #1: Believe in your value.

According to our survey of more than 1,000 coaches: Those who feel “completely confident” in their skills charge more than coaches who are only “somewhat confident,” or “a little confident or less.” They aspire to the highest rates in the industry—and also feel worthy of those rates.

People who lack confidence, on the other hand, tend to have the lowest rates in the industry, explains Matthew Walrath, PN1, founder of Beyond Macros. (Walrath himself charges around $2,500 a month to help health and nutrition coaches build their businesses.)

Often, he finds they’re mired in one or more of the following thinking traps.

▶ “Who am I to be charging this much?” 

Imposter syndrome makes it difficult for coaches to firmly state their rates, Walrath says. “They stutter over their pricing.”

Sound familiar? You’ll want to read: “5 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome.”

▶ “I wouldn’t pay that much for coaching. Why would someone else?” 

Truth is, you wouldn’t pay that much for coaching because you, most likely, don’t really need coaching—at least not with the same intensity that your clients need it, Walrath explains.

“As Precision Nutrition coaches, we’ve already invested in learning how to manage our nutrition, so the amount we’re willing to invest in coaching is probably pretty small,” he says.

Walrath suggests you consider a problem that you would pay someone $500+ a month to solve.

Maybe it’s that tutor your kid needs to finally pass algebra.

Or the physical therapy that’s finally freeing you from chronic pain.

Or the person who walks your dog while you’re at work, which means your new couch lasts years rather than days, the garbage and recycling bins remain upright, and putrid packages are deposited outdoors rather than in.

For stuff like that, as long as you have the money, no price is too high, right?

And that’s how your clients feel about you.

“When you solve a problem for someone, you’re able to charge what a transformation is worth,” says Walrath.

➤ “I wouldn’t be able to afford myself!” 

Thankfully, you don’t need to afford yourself. You only need a handful of clients who can afford you—and these people really do exist.

Within his first two years of coaching, Walrath attracted more than 50 people willing to pay $500 a month. That was too many clients for him to coach on his own, which is why he’s since hired two full-time coaches to work for him.

Secret #2: Specialize in a niche or special population—and be willing to change your mind.

Both Beard and Walrath started out focusing on corporate executives, which seemed to make sense. If anyone can afford to pay $500 to $2,500 a month for coaching, it’s execs.

Problem is, Walrath didn’t know many top-level managers, which made it difficult to attract them.

And, as Beard learned, company directors might all have the same job title, but they hire coaches for hundreds of different reasons.

One executive might want help with food sensitivities. Another might want to lose fat. Still another may want to find ways to eat healthier while traveling.

That diverse set of problems made it difficult to nail down an irresistible program and marketing message.

To figure out your niche, Walrath suggests thinking about three questions:

➤ Who do you know?

➤ What do you love to do?

➤ Who needs your help?

Those questions got Walrath thinking about CrossFit. It was something he loved to do. As a result, he already knew hundreds of CrossFit enthusiasts who wanted help with nutrition, sleep, and stress management.

Similarly, Beard decided to work with people with diabetes. He has type 1, which allowed him to understand the health challenges faced by that population of people. He also knew many people with diabetes already and felt driven to help them.

Secret #3: Raise your rates over time.

The super coaches we interviewed increased what they charged as they gained clients, experience, and education. In other words, they built up their health coach salary over weeks, months, and years.

Here’s how to follow in their footsteps.

  1. Start with whatever rate you’re comfortable charging. Let’s say it’s $200 a month. In your marketing, you might frame your fee as a “new client discount” or an “introductory rate.”
  2. As soon as you get one client, bump up your rate by $50. So now your rate for new clients is $250.
  3. Keep bumping your monthly rates up by $50 as you sign up more clients and grow in confidence.

How often you up your pricing is up to you.

Some coaches bump up their rates for every single new client. Others do it only after they’ve reached a certain client threshold—say every 10 to 15 clients.

There are no right or wrong answers.

Similarly, some coaches keep their existing clients at the same rate and only increase rates for new clients. Other coaches raise their rates for everyone.

“You go up and up until you get to the point that you are charging what you want to charge and it doesn’t feel so scary,” Walrath says.

Don’t care about making a six-figure nutrition coach salary? That’s okay.

Actually, it’s pretty common.

“Many coaches aren’t chasing money. They’re chasing good work-life balance and fulfillment,” says Doehla.

That’s why lots of coaches choose to work with people who can’t pay $500 or more a month. Rather than focus on earning top rates, these coaches might:

  • Set their rates based on what their target community can afford.
  • Offer sliding scale prices.
  • Use a Pay What You Want (PWYW) model, which is, surprisingly, more profitable than many people think, finds research.2,3 Precision Nutrition super coach Jon Mills, PN2, once worked at a gym that switched to a PWYW model for workshops. End result: Regular attendees chose to pay more than the previous rate. Lots of newcomers signed up as well. Overall, the gym netted roughly the same as a flat-fee based workshop.

These pricing models also allow coaches to work with underserved communities, which can be incredibly rewarding, not to mention noble.

(Read how 7 coaches have used these alternative business models: Redefining Success in Health and Fitness Coaching.)

The unquantifiable perks of health coaching

Regardless of how much or how little they’re making, many coaches will tell you that they don’t do this for the money. Instead, they do it for the things money can’t buy.

We’re talking about:

➤  That feeling you get when you’ve helped someone transform their life for the better. 

➤ Doing what you love—all. day. long.

➤ Knowing that your job will never stop you from living your life.

Before becoming a coach, Beard worked six days a week and traveled most weeks out of the year. After missing out on a series of important family events and get-togethers with friends, he decided, “I’m done with this career.”

“All of the money I was making wasn’t making me as happy as I thought it would,” says Beard. As a coach, Beard’s now earning more than his former corporate salary. But the income isn’t what makes coaching worth it to him.

It’s actually being able to spend time with his nieces and nephews during the holidays, he says.

“That’s priceless.”

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References

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

1. Jonk Y, Lawson K, O’Connor H, Riise KS, Eisenberg D, Dowd B, et al. How Effective Is Health Coaching in Reducing Health Services Expenditures Med Care. 2015 Feb;53(2):133–40.

2. Viglia G, Maras M, Schumann J, Navarro-Martinez D. Paying Before or Paying After? Timing and Uncertainty in Pay-What-You-Want Pricing. J Serv Res. 2019 Aug 1;22(3):272–84.

3. Chao Y, Fernandez J, Nahata B. Pay-what-you-want pricing: Can it be profitable? Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 2015 Aug 1;57:176–85.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Health coach salaries: Here’s what you can expect to make in a year. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

What are macros? | How to calculate your macros | How to track your macros | Macros troubleshooting and FAQs | What to eat on a macro diet | How to measure portions | Macros and consistency | Macros for weight loss | Macros and alcohol

Lose weight, gain muscle, and perform better.

But in exchange, you have to do math.

Still with us?

Then maybe you’d like to learn how to count macros.

Counting macros is a way to track food intake using grams of protein, carbs, and fats (macronutrients) instead of calories. 

The advantage of focusing on macronutrients over calories is that it tells you a bit more about the quality of your food, and how it affects your body.

The disadvantage of tracking macros is that you have to plan, measure, and record everything you eat. And then you have to do math to add up your macronutrient tallies at the end of each day.

For most people, that can be a bit confusing and intimidating, especially when you first get started.

That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to everything macros.

You’ll learn: 

  • What macronutrients are and what foods contain them
  • How to calculate and track your personal macronutrients
  • Why macronutrients aren’t the full story when it comes to health
  • Who macronutrient tracking works best for (and who it doesn’t)

Let’s go.

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What are macros, anyway?

Macros, or macronutrients, are large groups of nutrients.

There are three main macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

(Technically, alcohol is a fourth macronutrient, but nutrition plans don’t focus on it because it doesn’t offer much in terms of health benefits.)

Most foods and beverages are made up of a combination of these three macronutrients. But many foods have one dominant macronutrient that provides the majority of the calories.

For example:

  • Brown rice is mostly carbohydrate but also has a bit of protein and fat.
  • Cashews are mostly fat but also contain protein and a bit of carb.
  • Lean chicken breast is mostly protein but also contains some fat. It doesn’t contain any carbohydrates.

Title of the image is “Macronutrient proportions in different foods.” Image shows three pie charts in a row. The first pie chart is labelled “Brown rice.” The macronutrient split is 85% carb, 8% protein, and 7% fat. The second pie chart is labelled “Cashews.” The macronutrient split is: 21% carb, 11% protein, and 68% fat. The third pie chart is labelled “Lean cooked chicken breast.” The macronutrient split is: 0% carb, 81% protein, and 19% fat.

Each macronutrient provides a certain number of calories:

  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • (1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories)

As a result, tracking macros means you’re automatically tracking calories. 

Why are macronutrients important?

Your body breaks down macronutrients to perform specific jobs in the body.

For example:

  • Proteins break down into amino acids, which can affect our muscle composition, and are involved in creating mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
  • Carbohydrates break down into sugars, which give us energy for immediate use, but also storage.
  • Fats break down into fatty acids, which help form certain structures of our body, like our brain, nervous system, and cell walls.

So, in addition to impacting your body weight and composition, macronutrients can impact how you feel, perform, and even behave.

How to calculate your macros

If you’re eager to get your personalized macros plan, a heads up before you start:

Once you get your macro numbers, you’ll want to stick to them for at least two weeks.

It takes that long to determine whether any changes you notice are due to your plan working (or not working), or just regular body fluctuations.

After two weeks, you can evaluate how things are going, and adjust your calories / macros up or down as needed. All of the methods below provide estimates of your daily calorie and macro needs, so in most cases, it takes some experimenting before you find what works for you.

Ok, let’s crunch those numbers.

Step 1: Calculate your energy (calorie) needs.

Macro counting is based on the calories in, calories out (CICO) principle: When you take in more energy than you burn, you gain weight, and when you take in less energy than you burn, you lose weight.

(Learn why CICO is indisputable: Calories in vs. out? Or hormones? The debate is finally over.)

So before you work out your macros, you have to figure out your energy (calorie) requirements, based on your body, lifestyle, and goals.

Here are two ways to do that.

Option 1: Use our Macros Calculator.

There are plenty of nutrition calculators out there, but ours is—lowkey brag coming up—special.

Most calculators determine your maintenance calorie needs using static formulas. Then, they simply chop 500 calories per day or lower the calories 10 to 20 percent below maintenance—no matter how much weight someone wants to lose or in what time frame.

Our Macros Calculator does two things that are unique:

  • It factors in the date you want to achieve your goal by. For example, the time you plan to take to gain muscle or lose weight.
  • It accounts for metabolic adaptation. As you lose weight, you burn fewer calories. As you gain weight, you burn more calories. In other words, your body tries to compensate for weight loss by slowing your metabolism a bit, and for weight gain by speeding up your metabolism a bit. Other calculators don’t consider this.

An illustration of the Precision Nutrition Macros Calculator for Calories and Portions surrounded by fruits, grains, fish, and vegetables.

Nutrition Calculator

How much should you eat? Let’s find out.

© Precision Nutrition

To use it, plug in your personal details and goals, and you’ll get your estimated daily calorie needs.

If you use our calculator, you can just skip Step 2 below. Because along with your calorie estimates, you’ll also get recommendations for your ideal macronutrient ratio—or the option to customize it yourself.

Option 2: Use the chart below.

For people who love by-hand calculations, we’ve got you.

First, find your activity level and goal below.

Then, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by the corresponding multiplier.

Daily calorie estimator

Client goal
Lose weight Maintain weight Gain weight
Lightly active
(<3 hrs / wk)
10-12 12-14 16-18
Moderately active
(3-7 hrs / wk)
12-14 14-16 18-20
Very active
(<3 hrs / wk)
*
14-16 16-18 20-22

* Competitive athletes—who are often active for over 15 hours per week—have even higher needs.

For example, a lightly active 170-pound person who wants to lose weight would eat between 1,700 and 2,040 calories each day.

Women should generally start at the lower end of the range, and men at the higher end. Or, start in the middle and see what happens. If you’re not seeing the desired results, adjust calorie intake up or down accordingly.

Note: These short-hand multipliers become less accurate as you move away from “average” body weights. For individuals who are very light, very large, or very muscular, our macros calculator above might be more accurate.

Step 2: Determine your macronutrient ratio.

Your macronutrient ratio (also called your “macronutrient split”) refers to how much of each macronutrient you’re eating.

For most people, a good split is 15 to 35 percent protein, 40 to 60 percent carbohydrates, and 20 to 40 percent fat. 

(This is just a framework. You can modify these proportions according to your preferences. And if you follow a high fat or high carb diet, your numbers may go outside these ranges.)

By adjusting your macro ratio based on your age, sex, activity levels, goals, and preferences, you can personalize your eating plan for your optimal health.

Use our Macros Calculator as mentioned above, or the formulas below.

We’ll cover each macronutrient one at a time.

Protein

Your protein needs will depend on your weight, activity level, and goals.

We calculate protein first because it’s essential for so many aspects of good health, including fat loss, muscle gain and maintenance, and athletic performance and recovery.

Use the charts below to figure out how much protein you need in grams per pound or kilogram of bodyweight.

PROTEIN NEEDS IN G/LB
Maintenance / improve health Fat loss / body recomposition  Muscle gain
Lightly active
(<3 hours/week)
0.6 to 0.9 0.7 to 1.0 0.8 to 1.1
Moderately active
(3-7 hours/week)
0.7 to 1.0 0.8 to 1.1 0.9 to 1.2
Highly active
(>7 hours/week)
0.8 to 1.1 0.9 to 1.2 1.0 to 1.3
PROTEIN NEEDS IN G/KG
Maintenance / improve health Fat loss / body recomposition  Muscle gain 
Lightly active
(<3 hours/week)
1.3 to 2.0 1.5 to 2.2 1.8 to 2.4
Moderately active
(3-7 hours/week)
1.5 to 2.2 1.8 to 2.4 2.0 to 2.6
Highly active
(>7 hours/week)
1.8 to 2.4 2.0 to 2.6 2.2 to 2.9

If you’re new to healthy eating or have a hard time getting protein into your diet, start with the lower end of the range.

If you’re ready for more advanced nutrition protocols, or you’re a dedicated exerciser, aim for the higher end.

So, a 170-pound nutrition beginner who’s lightly active and wants to lose fat might choose the factor 0.8 g/lb from the range 0.7 to 1.0.

170 pounds x 0.8 = 136 grams of protein / day

A highly active 165-pound experienced lifter who wants to gain muscle might choose the factor 1.2 g/lb from the range 1.0 to 1.3.

165 pounds x 1.2 = 198 grams of protein / day

Note: For professional athletes, lean individuals trying to get very lean, and experienced lifters trying to minimize fat gain when adding body weight, protein requirements may go as high as 1.5 g/lb or 3.3 g/kg.

Fat & Carbohydrates

How much you eat of these two macros depends on, well, what you like.

First, figure out how many calories and what percentage of your macros you have left over after protein.

The formula looks like this (recall each gram of protein has four calories):

Total calories – (Total grams of protein x 4 calories) = Fat and carb calories

To get your protein percentage, divide calories from protein by total calories:

Calories from protein / Total calories = Percent of total calories from protein

Now, subtract your percent of protein from 100 to get your percent of fat and carbohydrates. (Home stretch, folks!)

100 – Percent of calories from protein = Percent of fat and carbs

Then you can decide how you want to split fat and carbs.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • In general, the more active you are, the greater your carbohydrate needs.
  • The minimum threshold for fat is 15 to 20 percent of total calories.
  • Research shows that low-fat and low-carb diets work equally as well for weight loss.1

Let’s say, after a person subtracts their percent of calories from protein, they have 75 percent of calories left over to use on either fat or carbs. And they decide to do 50 percent carbs (4 calories per gram) and 25 percent fat (9 calories per gram).

Here’s how to do the math:

Carbohydrates:

Total calories x 0.5 = Carbohydrate calories

Carbohydrate calories / 4 = Grams of carbohydrates

Fat:

Total calories x 0.25 = Fat calories

Fat calories / 9 = Grams of fat

Keto macros: How low carb can you go?

The ketogenic diet was originally developed to treat epilepsy. Physicians discovered that fasting reduced the frequency of seizures, but so did an extremely low-carb diet.

Eventually, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts got wind of the diet and thought, ‘If the ketogenic diet mimics fasting, maybe I can get ripped without having to drop calories too low and lose all my gainz.’

A couple of decades later, everyone is eating cauliflower-crust keto pizza. (It’s actually pretty good.)

In terms of the macros split, the ketogenic diet consists of about 70-90 percent calories from fat, with the remaining 10-30 percent of calories coming from a mix of carbohydrates and protein combined.

(For comparison, a standard “low carb” diet is about 50 percent fat, 30 percent protein, and 20 percent carbohydrate.)

Unless you’re trying to stay in ketosis for medical reasons (to reduce seizures), less strict versions of the keto diet—which allow higher amounts of protein and carbs—are more sustainable for most people, especially athletes trying to maintain performance and muscle mass.

(Interested in trying—or coaching—the ketogenic diet? Here’s your primer: The Keto diet plan: Your complete how-to guide.)

How to track your macros

Once you’ve determined your macros, you’ll want to track them to ensure that you’re meeting your macronutrient goals each day.

Most people use an app like MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, or Macros+.

There are a couple of advantages to using an app:

  • You have a quick reference guide for how much of each macronutrient a serving of a food contains
  • The app will add up your macros for you (and let you know how many you have left for the day)

Or, you can keep track of your macros by hand, using a paper journal and a nutrition database like the USDA’s Food Data Central  or SELFNutritionData.

With either approach, record the foods you’ve eaten at each meal, along with how many grams of each macronutrient each food contains.

Many people find it helps to plan meals the night before or the morning of. This helps you strategize ahead of time, building meals that meet your macro goals, instead of choosing food reactively when you’re starving and—oh man, that giant burrito looks good.

Most apps also allow you to save meals. So if you tend to repeat meals every once and awhile, having pre-entered and -calculated food combinations can make tracking more efficient.

If you plan on dining out, logging ahead of time can be a good strategy for sticking to your macros. Check out the menu before you get to the restaurant, and do your best to estimate the macros of the meal you’ll order.

5 common questions about macro tracking

Once you’ve figured out your macro numbers, you might feel like you have the key to all your future health and fitness goals.

Until you actually have to eat.

“Wait…how do I do this in real life?!”

Here are some of the most common questions people have about tracking macros, and what to do.

Question 1: What do you eat on a macro diet?

As you get used to tracking your macros, you’ll learn which foods are high in protein, carbs, and fat.

But one thing macronutrient counting doesn’t take into account is micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, usually found in whole, minimally processed foods).

Micronutrients are necessary for good health. And though you probably could hit your macros by crushing pizza, french fries, and protein shakes, we wouldn’t suggest it.

As a macro counter, it’s up to you to ensure you eat a diet that meets your macro- and micronutrient needs.

One simple way to do that?

Hit your macros primarily through a variety of minimally processed foods that are naturally rich in micronutrients: lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, and pressed oils.  

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the graphic below. You can see that while some foods fit neatly into certain macronutrient categories, other foods are more of a mix.

Title of image is “Foods and their macro groups” Image shows a Venn diagram, with the three main overlapping circles being protein, carbohydrate, and fats. Foods high in each macronutrient are listed within their respective circles groups. Where the circles overlap, the foods that contain a mix of macronutrients are shown. The protein circle lists: chicken & turkey breast, extra-lean beef, game meats, egg whites, lean fish & seafood, and protein powder. Where protein and fat overlap, it lists: tofu, whole eggs, non-lean red meats, bacon & sausage, fatty fish, full-fat yogurt, and cheese. The fat circle lists: butter & ghee, cream & cream cheese, mayonnaise & dressings, olives & oil, avocado & oil, coconut & oil, and nuts & nut butter. Where fat and carb overlap, it lists: hummus, granola, ice cream, chocolate, baked treats, and fries & chips. The carbs circle lists: grains, pasta & bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes & sweet potatoes, vegetables & fruit, honey, syrup & jams, and sweetened drinks. Where carbs and protein overlap, it lists: non-fat cottage cheese & Greek yogurt, low-fat & non-fat milk, beef jerky, and lentils & beans. Where carbs, proteins, and fats all overlap, it lists: tempeh & edamame, pizza & fried chicken, full-fat milk, and some protein bars.

(For a more detailed version of the above image, check out our handout: The Macros Chart.)

Question 2: How do I measure my food?

It’s not quite Sophie’s choice, but people still wonder:

Should I measure food by volume (with a measuring cup) or by weight (with a food scale)?

Use a food scale for the best results. Measuring by weight will always be more accurate than measuring by volume.

For example, depending on whether they’re whole or chopped, a cup will fit about 100 grams of almonds. But if those almonds are finely chopped, they’re easier to pack in, and a cup may fit 200 grams.

On a scale, 100 grams will always be a 100 grams, no matter if the almonds are whole or chopped.

But if your only option is measuring cups and spoons, that’s ok. Just be sure—especially in the beginning—to measure everything, rather than eyeball it.

People tend to overestimate what a “tablespoon” or “cup” looks like, sometimes unintentionally doubling their portion.

Note: Cooking certain foods like grains, pasta, and meat, can change their weight and volume. So, if you measure a food raw, log it raw. If you measure it cooked, log it cooked. 

If weighing and measuring your food feels tedious and soul-shrivelling, there are other tracking options.

For example, you could track your intake using hand portions. Our  Macros Calculator provides hand portions too, so you don’t have to meticulously measure everything (unless you want to).

(Learn all about hand portions here: How your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb can help you avoid the hassle of counting calories.)

Question 3: How important is it to precisely hit my macros?

Consistency will get you the results you want.

But that doesn’t mean you have to hit your macros exactly every single day.

If you’re having a bad week (or year) remember that 50 percent consistency is better than giving up completely.

(Need proof that you don’t need to be perfect to get results? Read: One million data points show what it REALLY takes to change your body.)

If you feel like you’re really flailing, just prioritize meeting your protein goals each day. A diet higher in protein will help reduce hunger, preserve muscle, and help improve overall health.

Overall, aim for consistency over perfection. Try to get close to your daily macro goals, but don’t force yourself to eat if you’re not hungry.

And if you’d rather have half an avocado than a bowl of oatmeal? Don’t stress about swapping fat for carbs.

Question 4: Can you use macros for weight loss?

If your goal is to lose fat, it’s a good idea to use some kind of method to track food intake, at least for a period of time.

Many people use calories. But macros account for calories, and have the added value of telling you a bit more about food quality (like the amount of protein, fat, or carbohydrate in a food).

Especially for weight loss—where the goal is usually to lose fat but maintain lean mass—tracking macros can help ensure you get enough muscle-preserving protein while still eating fewer calories than you burn.

Use the protein recommendations chart above to find the protein range for your goal and activity level. If your goal is to lose fat, minimize hunger, and preserve muscle mass, choose the upper end of your range.

From there, figure out your carb and fat allowances, remembering that to lose fat, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn—also called a calorie deficit—for a period of time.

Question 5: How do I track alcohol?

Just because alcohol isn’t included in typical macro plans doesn’t mean you can’t have it.

But you should track it, since it contains calories.

The most common way to do this is to use some of your fat or carbohydrate grams to account for the alcohol. 

For instance, if you’re having a beer, 12 ounces is approximately 155 calories.2

If you want to exchange it for carbohydrates, do the following equation:

155 calories / 4 calories per gram = 38.75 grams

So you could log your lager as 39 grams of carbs.

Or if you’re having a glass of red wine, a 5-ounce serving is 127 calories.3

To use fat grams for that glass:

127 calories / 9 calories per gram = 14.1 grams

So you could log your vino as 14 grams of fat.

Or, just use a combination of carbs and fat, by dividing the calories however you see fit and repeating the steps above.

What to do next

Ready to get started? Here are some things to keep in mind before you begin.

Know what you hope to accomplish.

Macro counting works well for people with specific goals.

As you progress towards or even achieve your goal, consider if you want to continue counting macros. Some people enjoy counting them indefinitely, but most eventually get tired of tracking.

Truth is, macro counting is just one of many nutrition strategies you can add to your toolbox.

(Want another awesome strategy? Read: The 30-day eating challenge that can blow your mind—and transform your body.)

Treat macro counting as an experiment.

The first macro split you try might work great. Or not.

Whether you succeed or fail, don’t use it as a proxy for your self-worth.

Gather your data, and just see what happens. Stay open-minded, and use the outcome of your experiment to inform your next choices.

Did you enjoy tracking macros, and feel closer to your goals? Cool! Keep going.

Did all the measuring and counting feel too finicky and left you stressed out? Try a different way of improving your nutrition.

(And if you REALLY loved working with macros, you might like our continuing education course: How to Coach a Macros-Based Diet.)

It’s okay if macro counting isn’t for you.

Full disclosure: At Precision Nutrition, macronutrient counting isn’t our go-to method of regulating food intake. At least, not for most people.

Macro counting works—especially for high-level, advanced goals, like preparing for a physique competition or a major athletic event.

But despite the fact that macro counting can be super flexible, it’s also a lot of work. Especially compared to other methods of “watching what you eat,” which can be just as effective.

For most people and most goals, there are less labor-intensive ways to get results. Here are some ideas:

(Want to compare different methods of food tracking? Read: Macros vs. calories vs. portions vs. intuitive eating.)

Remember that we eat food, not nutrients.

Food is so much more than grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. And meals aren’t just a chance to hit your macro goals.

Meals are also an opportunity to experience pleasure, spend time caring for your body, and share with people you love.

Every meal is a chance to connect—with yourself and with others. And every food choice is an opportunity to direct, shape, and remake your health.

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References

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

1. Sacks, Frank M., George A. Bray, Vincent J. Carey, Steven R. Smith, Donna H. Ryan, Stephen D. Anton, Katherine McManus, et al. 2009. “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.” The New England Journal of Medicine 360 (9): 859–73.

2. “FoodData Central.” n.d. Accessed July 15, 2021. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/344427/nutrients.

3. “FoodData Central.” n.d. Accessed July 15, 2021. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173190/nutrients.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post How to count (and track) macros for fat loss, muscle gain, and better health appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

What helps you chill out, feel more satisfied at meals, and sustainably lose fat?

The practice of eating to about 80 percent full.

Eating to 80 percent full means you stop eating when you’re just satisfied. Not still hungry, but not stuffed or even completely full. It’s about feeling content, with a little room left over.

The reason we love this practice so much for weight loss?

You still get to be satisfied at meals, but over time, you’ll likely end up in a calorie deficit.

(It also has a bunch of other benefits, which we outline in the infographic below.)

Sounds great!

Thing is, sometimes putting a number to fullness level freaks people out. They want to get it right. They’re afraid they’ll overshoot.

“But how do I know when I’m 80 percent full?! I don’t have a stomach gauge!”

Well, a couple of things:

First, learning to pay attention to how your body feels—so you can assess your fullness level—takes some practice.

Second, the exact number doesn’t matter so much.

What’s most important about this habit is the act of slowing down, paying attention to your appetite cues, and eating a little less than you’re used to.

To learn more about the benefits of this practice, plus eight steps to make it feel more natural, check out this infographic.

Download the infographic for your printer or tablet so you can access the steps whenever you or your clients want to practice this healthy eating ninja move.

To put this mindful eating strategy into regular practice, download a printable or tablet-friendly version of this infographic so it’s always handy when you or your clients need it.

And, if you’re a health and fitness coach, share this with your clients and watch for improvements in their motivation, dedication, and results.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post How to eat until 80% full (and why it’s a key practice for weight loss) appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Most successful nutrition, fitness, and health coaches will tell you…

Client intake forms are crucial.

That’s because, as the saying goes, “If you aren’t assessing, you’re guessing.”

And guessing about what your client wants and needs can leave both of you feeling frustrated.

For example, people who struggle with their weight are likely to overeat. But guessing at what’s causing them to overeat doesn’t usually work.

It could be their lack of sleep.

Or their stress levels.

Or their home environment.

It could even be a combination of all three. 

Take Riley, who initially came to Precision Nutrition super coach Jeremy Fernandes, PN2, seeking weight loss.

After answering some stress-related questions on an intake form, Riley told Coach Jeremy:

“I knew my life was stressful, but I’ve never seen it in black and white. Wow.”

This new awareness gave Coach Jeremy an opportunity to identify—and start with—Riley’s most immediate coaching need.

For the first several weeks, Riley experimented with a variety of stress relief practices. In the end, those practices were the turnkey that allowed Riley to address nutrition and fitness.

And Coach Jeremy might not have known to start with stress reduction without doing a thorough client intake.

That’s why we devoted a whole story to the client intake process.

You’ll learn:

▶ How using a client intake form can make you a better coach.

▶ The questions you really need on a client intake form.

▶ Exactly how and when to use an intake form for the best results.

FREE Client Intake Form for health coaches!

Download and use our FREE fillable and printable client intake form. It’s the form we created for our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification students.

 

Use it as-is, or as a starting point to make your own.

Want to get it right now? Download it here.

++++

5 ways to use a client intake form to be a better health or nutrition coach

Aside from identifying immediate coaching needs, there are several ways a strategic coaching intake form and session can enhance your coaching practice. Here’s how.

#1: Highlight strengths you can build upon.

You’ll be able to see what clients are already doing well, and capitalize on that. Be sure to tell your clients what you notice they’ve already mastered.

#2: Identify limiting factors that might hold your clients back.

Let’s say a client tells you they want to get in the best shape of their life. But, through the intake, you see that they’re caring for an infant. They’re also going to night school. And working full-time. Clearly, their time is limited.

Unless you work together to find time for nutrition and exercise, it’s likely that the “best shape of their life” isn’t going to happen, no matter how brilliantly you design their programming.

#3: Get the conversational juices flowing.

You can use your clients’ intake questionnaire answers to find ways to connect. Get curious, ask questions, and form that coach-client bond.

#4: Smoothly segue into sensitive topics.

Imagine a client who thinks the key to losing weight is eating bananas. Just bananas. They’re frustrated because they’re not making progress.

When you look at their intake, you see that this person is only sleeping four hours at night.

You can now redirect the conversation without having to convince them their bananas-only approach won’t help them. Instead you can say something like:

“I noticed you’re not sleeping that much. How do you think that’s impacting your eating habits?”

#5: Overcome something called “the righting reflex.”

There’s a concept in motivational interviewing known as the righting reflex. (If you’ve done the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification, you may already know about it.)

The righting reflex is a coach’s tendency to jump in and steer their clients in a predetermined “right” direction.

But even if the right direction seems like a no-brainer (we all need more veggies, don’t we?), this sets up a dynamic where you argue for one thing (veggies!)—and your client digs in and argues against it (“I can’t eat more veggies because…”)

(It’s okay. We’ve all been there.)

A well-rounded intake helps you overcome this reflex by nudging you to ask follow up questions. By its very nature, the intake isn’t about prescribing and fixing. It’s about listening and learning.

Questions every intake form should have

Intake forms are about more than just stats, goals, and food. Ideally, they provide you with a well-rounded picture of your client’s health and life.

That’s why the best intake forms include questions about:

▶ Goals and desired outcomes: Does your client want better energy levels? Improved fitness? A different body composition?

▶ Current nutrition and lifestyle practices: What are their eating habits, food preferences, training habits, and sleep patterns?

▶ Nutrition and lifestyle knowledge: What have their past experiences with weight loss or gain been? How long have they been training?

▶ Body composition and measurements: What’s their current height and weight? What are their girth measurements?

▶ Social support and environment: Who do they live with? Who does the cooking in their house? How’s their support system?

▶ Health needs and limitations: Do they have any major health issues? Food allergies? Do they take medications?

▶ Function and physical capability: Do they have any pain? How’s their athletic performance?

▶ Psychological state and mindset: How ready  are they to change? What are their emotions like right now?

Additionally, the intake form is a great place to capture communication preferences and style.

On this form, you can also add a medical disclaimer that requires clients to clear any new fitness or nutrition changes with their medical provider.

(For an extensive client intake template, see our FREE download above.)

Offer the intake form after your client has committed to coaching.

Many new nutrition, fitness, and health coaches ask: “Should I offer an intake session as a marketing tool? You know, a free service in order to seal the deal with a new client?”

Our take: Nope.

You really want to charge for the time you spend on this assessment.

That’s because the intake is an extensive process. It involves a lot of time for a client who may or may not commit.

So rather than give away a free intake, you might instead provide a free discovery call. Think of that call as a speed date. You’re using it to see whether you and the client are a good fit for one another.

Then have them complete the intake form after you’ve made the sale.

How to talk to clients about the intake form

It doesn’t have to be complicated. To broach the topic with new clients, you might say:

“I’m going to send you a detailed intake assessment because I want to get to know you. I want to learn more about your history, your goals, what you’ve done in the past. This will give me a 360-degree view of you.”

You might wonder: Is it better to do the intake together? Or give the client the intake form to fill out?

Usually, clients reveal more about themselves when they complete an intake form on their own.

Assigning it as “homework” gives them time to mull over questions. They might also be more honest about negative feelings like shame, anger, and guilt without having to make eye contact with you.

But this isn’t true of everyone. You’ll encounter clients who’re resistant to filling out the intake form. In that case, you might dedicate one of your first sessions to verbally going through the intake form together, almost like you’re interviewing them.

Or, you could devote 10-ish minutes of your first few sessions to diving into one or more aspects of the intake form, gradually building a relationship with your client over time.

What if a client doesn’t fill everything out?

That happens, and it’s okay.

You can say, “I noticed you didn’t answer this question on your intake form. Can you tell me more about that?”

Some clients will tell you that they’re overwhelmed. Or that the form included too many questions for them to process. In those cases, go over remaining questions in your next session and fill in the answers yourself.

Other clients might say, “I’m not ready to talk about that right now.” That may mean the questions triggered a trauma, stressor, or tension that they don’t yet feel safe enough to talk about.

In that case, back off, saying something like, “Okay, we can table that for now. Let’s focus on something else.”

What to do after your client gives you their intake form

You don’t have to act on all of the information at once. That would be overwhelming—for you and your client. So think of the intake form like a living document, one you expand on over time.

When your client sends you the form:

  1. Affirm that you received it, making sure to touch on one of their answers. For example, you might say, “I see you’ve tried a lot of diets in the past, and you want this one to be your last. I’m here to help. Let’s do this!”
  2. Set up time for a kick off meeting. This is when you go over the form, ask any questions you have, and start discussing how you’ll move forward.
  3. During the kick off meeting, review their responses. If needed, ask any follow up questions by saying, “Tell me more about…” or “I see you do shift work. How does that affect your sleep?”
  4. Make sure to mention positives. You might say, “Let’s build on your strengths. What do you feel you already have in place that might help you on this journey?”

You’ll also want to mention anything your client has shared that’s particularly sensitive or vulnerable. This applies even if the client’s revealed information that puts you miles outside your coaching lane.

For example, a client might tell you about their messy divorce or how they were molested as a child.

Unless you’re qualified as a mental health professional, you’re not here to help with these issues. At the same time, not acknowledging such a revelation could seem cold, or imply you’re uncomfortable talking about serious stuff.

To smoothly navigate back to your coaching lane, you might say, “I really appreciate that you were so honest and that you shared so openly with me.”

Then shift gears to your expertise, which is nutrition and health.

You might transition with something like, “So tell me, how is this showing up in your food behaviors today?”

(For more conversational ninja techniques for staying in scope, see: “I’m a Coach, Not a Therapist.”)

What to do after the kick off meeting

Once you’ve gone over your intake form and fully understand your client’s background, you’re ready to work together to set priorities. Use what you learned from the intake process to help your client define specific, clear, concrete goals that address their deepest motivations.

After all, you should know them pretty well by now.

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post The client intake form: What it is and how to use it. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

“Am I doing this right?”

Self-doubt. Like a rusty sidecar on your coaching motorcycle, it rattles along next to you, no matter how long you’ve been doing this.

It might creep in when a client comes to you with a problem you’ve never dealt with before, or when a client complains, “I’ve done absolutely everything you’ve suggested—and nothing’s changed!”

Oof.

We can feel our armpits prickling too.

Here’s a secret: Even the best health-and-nutrition coaches sometimes question their skills and knowledge.

And actually, that’s a good thing.

But eventually, you do need to break those chains of self-doubt in order to help your clients figure out next actions, and be their trusted guide.

In this article, we’ll share five tools to stress-test your knowledge when you’re feeling unsure, and help you determine the best next steps for your clients.

We’ve borrowed these tools from scientists. (They’re experts in knowledge acquisition, and using what they’ve learned to inform future decisions.)

As a coach, these tools will help you feel smarter—and more comfortable facing novel coaching scenarios. Your clients will get better results. And usually, that leads to more referrals.

(In other words, everyone wins.)

Let’s learn.

Tool #1: Get comfortable with the phrase: “I might be wrong.”

Helen Kolias, PhD, is Precision Nutrition’s science advisor.

Every week, Dr. Kollias wades into the comments of PN’s Facebook communities, offering a well-researched take on the most controversial health and nutrition topics.

What’s interesting about Dr. Kollias:

Even if someone’s assertion sounds like “the Earth is flat” quakamamie, she still checks PubMed to see if they’re onto something.

“It doesn’t matter how much I think I may already know,” Dr. Kollias says. “As a scientist, I’m trained to think, ‘Could I be wrong?’”

She does this to avoid a psychological trap known as confirmation bias: The tendency to look for and hoard information that confirms what we already believe, while simultaneously ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

To combat that bias, she and other scientists are trained to wonder, “How might I be wrong?” 

And they search for evidence that supports their wrongness.

In essence, by exploring how they might be wrong, scientists are able to continually move toward what’s more right

For coaches, embracing wrongness offers similar benefits. It helps us know, with growing confidence, what does and doesn’t work, and for which clients.

Of course, for most of us, the idea of being wrong is about as appealing as swallowing a hornet.

To get over that discomfort, we only need a little practice. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Google the opposite of what you think is true whenever you’re searching for information.
  • Regularly ask, ”What if I’m wrong?” Wonder, “Are there other ways to see this situation? Where are my blindspots?” And because you can’t always see your own blindspots…
  • Encourage others to oppose your opinions by saying things like, “Tell me how I’m wrong” or “I may not have all the answers, so if you know more about this than I do, I’m curious to learn.”

This is useful for clients too.

When clients say, “I can’t control myself around chocolate” or “I can’t eat sugar,” ask: “What if that’s not true?”

Help clients get past their own stuck beliefs, so they can explore what’s really possible.

Confirmation bias: Do you have it?

We have a tendency to think that confirmation bias is something that trips up… other people.

Hmm, let’s see.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Do you listen to people or organizations who don’t align with your health views?
  2. When you Google a health topic, do you click on results that disagree with what you already believe?
  3. Are you familiar with arguments against what you believe? For example, if you’ve embraced veganism, can you cite reasoned arguments for eating meat?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you might be biased, at least a little bit.

And you’re also normal.

It’s natural to seek information that confirms what we believe and ignore information that doesn’t. It’s how our minds work.

The question isn’t whether we have confirmation bias, but rather:

Are we doing anything to counter it?

Being aware of your own blind spots and regularly challenging them can dramatically widen your scope of knowledge and make you a better coach (and maybe even a better human).

Tool #2: Discern between reliable information and BS.

For more than 21 years, Alwyn Cosgrove has gathered and stored data for every single training session with clients at Results Fitness, the gym he owns in Santa Clarita, California.

“I’ve seen more workouts by 9 am on a Monday than anyone could do in a year. That’s how much information I have at my fingertips,” says Cosgrove, who also owns Results University.

That information—from roughly 40,000 yearly sessions—functions like an ongoing research study. This allows Cosgrove to make informed choices based on his own massive data set, so he can confidently answer questions like:

  • If someone only has time to do one type of training, what’s more effective: power, strength, or cardio?
  • What’s better for strengthening the core: crunches or stability work?
  • Do clients improve faster when they work one-on-one with a trainer or when they work in small groups of four?
  • Will you gain strength faster if you do shoulder presses while standing? Or while seated?

(By the way, the answers to the above questions—based on Cosgrove’s data: Power, stability work, small groups, and standing.)

Maybe you’re not like Cosgrove and you neither have decades of experience, nor hundreds of thousands of data points.

So, how do you choose the best actions for each person? 

Well, a safe bet is to start with nutrition and lifestyle fundamentals that, evidence says, have the highest likelihood of creating a positive impact.

(Learn more: 5 Universal Principles of Good Nutrition—That EVERYONE Can Benefit From.)

But beyond those evergreen fundamentals, when determining the value of a new diet, exercise, or supplement, you’ll need to develop, well, a BS-meter.

There’s a lot of buzz out there about “cutting edge” ways to achieve better health. Here’s how to know what to trust:

When considering research and scientific resources…

Prioritize meta analyses and reviews that summarize findings from an area of research (like Cochrane reviews), or position statements from government and nonprofit groups, like the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, and American College of Sports Medicine.

Check the “materials and methods” section to see who participated in the study. Consider: How is your client similar to the study population? How is your client different?

Look for trusted curators of research. If you’re a member of PN Academy, check out “Research Insider,” which brings you easy-to-read research summaries. Or consider subscribing to examine.com, an independent company that analyzes and summarizes nutrition research.

(Sharpen your scientific BS-meter even more: How to read a scientific study.)

When evaluating health experts…

Pay more attention to seasoned pros, who have decades of experience and are still successful, and less attention to “hot” newcomers.

Be wary of people who dispense advice in fields they haven’t studied. In other words, dermatologists know more about your skin than they do about your cardiovascular health.

Listen to people who talk like scientists. True experts are candid about the pros and cons of various strategies, admit what they don’t know, are open-minded, and use qualifiers when they talk. See “Can you trust this expert?” below for specifics.

Can you trust this expert?

Out there in the world wide web, you can find a person, website, or study that supports almost anything.

So how do you sort the truth from fiction? Here are some hints.

How True Experts Talk  How Non Experts Talk
From what we know so far, this seems to be the case, in this particular population and setting. This is absolutely true. [Full stop.]
We found this result in this population, but more research is needed. We don’t know how it might affect other populations. This is a miracle cure! This is THE answer!
This adds to the body of work that has shown…. This proves it.
If you do this thing, you might see an improvement. On the downside… This supplement will do EVERYTHING. There are no downsides.
Future research might prove this wrong. There’s nothing that would ever change this result.

Paradoxically, true experts may actually sound less confident than pseudo-experts. 

That’s because they’re careful and take their recommendations—and the consequences of those recommendations—seriously.

They’re not completely confident, because you can’t have unbridled confidence unless you don’t know what you don’t know.

Tool #3: Know about nuance.

If you’ve been with Precision Nutrition for awhile, you’ll find we use one phrase a lot:

It depends. 

How much protein do you need? It depends.

Is wine bad for you? Depends.

Should I eat more broccoli? Also… depends.

Why does so much depend? Because:

No one finding applies to all people in all situations all the time.

We know this from science:

Younger people have different protein needs than older people. Wine poses different health risks to men than it does to women. Broccoli is a great veggie choice for most people, but turns others into a fart factory.

So when considering any research finding—positive or negative—always ask:

When is this true? And when isn’t this true? 

People are unique, and context matters.

Tool #4: Use experiments to test ideas.

Every year, our Precision Nutrition coaches encounter a few clients desperate to lose the last few pounds.

And often those last few pounds are based on a number from…long ago. (Maybe their wedding day weight. Or their pre-pandemic weight.)

Thing is, in addition to body weight creeping up, lots of other things have changed over the years. Like how much time someone has to devote to exercise, or how much control someone has over cookies entering the house.

Which can make that long-ago scale number a lot harder to reach.

They long for that “magic” number, but “they’re either unable to do the incredibly hard work of restricting that much—or they DO restrict a lot and still don’t lose those last few pounds,” says Precision Nutrition coach Pam Ruhland.

To these clients, Ruhland often suggests a counterintuitive experiment: Part with the scale for a month.

Surprise: Ruhland’s clients often emerge transformed, telling her, “I thought I needed to lose more weight. But I’m actually happy where I am.”

At Precision Nutrition, our coaches use experiments like the above a lot—because they help clients test strongly held beliefs that may or may not actually be true for them.

Beliefs like:

  • “I’ll only be happy if I have a six-pack.”
  • “If I let myself get too hungry, I’ll eat the whole fridge.”
  • “This supplement is going to fix everything.”

The only way to find out if these beliefs are true, is to test them. To do so, use this advice, from Cosgrove:

Know what you’re measuring, and get a baseline. Are you measuring happiness? Sleep quality? Body composition? Record your starting point, so you have something to compare to later on.

Change ONE thing at a time. Scientists call this “controlling variables,” and it helps you to know what actually worked (or didn’t). So, don’t take the supplement and start doubling down on your hill sprints.

Wait at least two to three weeks. Clients may step on their scale tomorrow and decide, “It’s not working! NEXT!” But caution them: It usually takes a few weeks for any intervention to have an effect.

Consider graphing your data. Sometimes change isn’t perfectly linear. (Good days and bad days, you know?) Graphing helps you see visually whether things are (overall) improving, staying the same, or getting worse.

For more advice on setting up experiments, read: “3 diet experiments that can change your eating habits—and transform your body.”

Tool #5: Use failure as feedback—and not as evidence of your worthlessness.

It’s pretty rare for any scientific discovery to take place without a long, arduous process of elimination.

Katalin Karikó is a scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. Back in the 1990s, when she wanted to study how messenger RNA could be used to fight disease, no one would fund her.

No one believed her idea could work. 

Undeterred, she spent decades doing experiments, most of which taught her one thing: how not to use mRNA to fight disease.

These failures proved enormously valuable: They eventually led to vaccines that have been key in fighting COVID-19.

Nutrition coaching is a similar process.

It’s frustrating when a series of actions fail to help a client move forward. But it’s precisely this process of elimination that helps clients figure out the practices that work—for them.

The more they try and test, the more they personalize nutrition, fitness, and health actions for their body, goals, and life.

To embrace this process of figuring out what works (often through valuable failure), use the 6-steps we teach our Level 1 certification students:

1. Assess and gather data.

What are your client’s goals, needs, and skills? In other words, who are they, what can they do, and what do they want? Include any baseline measurements for variables you want to track.

2. Understand and explore.

Be curious about your client’s background, story, and situation. Get to know them as a whole person, and build their trust. (Tip: Talk like a “true expert,” as mentioned above.)

3. Strategize and plan.

Hypothesize what might work most effectively for your client (based on what you uncovered in steps 1 and 2). Then, draft a plan to test that hypothesis.

4. Choose one action to try.

Drawing from the plan you’ve drafted, give your client some options, then let them choose their next action. Make sure this action is meaningful to them, and that they feel confident about their ability to do it.

5. Observe and monitor.

How well is your client able to do the thing? And how consistently? What are you and your client learning?  Record how your client does, and any new information you learn about them.

6. Analyze and evaluate.

Assess how things went, based on both successes and failures. (Remember, it’s all useful feedback.) Use what you discover during this step to choose another action to move your client closer to their goal, and return to step 3.

Colorful graphic representation of a 6-step coaching process that starts with planning and never ends.

It’s by embracing this never-ending step-by-step loop that our coaches eventually reframe failure.

Instead of labeling mistakes or lack of client results as “I’m a sorry excuse for a coach,” they come to believe: “I need to fail to learn from my mistakes.”

Feel the fear—and use science anyway.

We want you to know: It’s normal to doubt yourself, especially…

  • early in your coaching career
  • when facing a challenging client or situation
  • when you’re not sure if your advice is actually going to work

So we’d like to leave you with two thoughts.

First, you don’t need all the answers.

What you need: a process for revealing next actions.

The five tools in this article give you exactly that. By trusting and using these science-based tools, you’ll always uncover what’s right for each client.

Second, like it or not, fear is part of this process. 

As Precision Nutrition coach Jon Mills told a new coach who was struggling:

“Fear is what makes a coach great, and if we need to be without fear in order to start something new, we would never do anything.”

<!—Snippet to hide June 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

–>

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

<!—Snippet to hide March 2021 launch

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post The 5-step method that turns “I don’t know what I’m doing!” into a coaching superpower. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Reviewed by Helen Kollias, PhD


What is collagen? | Collagen vs. gelatin | Joint pain | Skin health | Hair growth | Protein content | Gut health | Pregnancy and postpartum | Should you take collagen?

Every morning, thousands of people dump some white powder into their coffee or tea.

That white powder is collagen, and it’s (still) having a moment.

Many people (maybe yourself or your clients included) use it because of the claims that it can improve skin, hair, joint, bone, and gut health. And also that it’s the “cleanest” and “most absorbable” protein source. (At least, that’s what the collagen supplement companies say.)

But do collagen supplements actually work?

In this article, we’ll find out.

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What is collagen?

Collagen is an important structural protein in the body found in our skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

As we age, we produce less collagen. (Hi, wrinkles and creaky joints.)

While there are at least 16 different types of collagen, types I, II, and III make up 80 to 90 percent of the collagen in our bodies.1

Where does collagen come from?

Collagen supplements are usually derived from bovine hide (bovine collagen) or fish (marine collagen). These generally come in a flavorless powder that dissolves in liquid. They can also come in pill and liquid form.

Collagen can be found in foods too. Bone broth, certain cuts of meat and poultry, and fish (especially the skin) are all good sources.

Some brands promote vegan or vegetarian collagen options, but these products don’t contain collagen. Instead, they contain nutrients that may promote collagen production, such as vitamin C.

Hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, and gelatin: What’s the difference?!

Well, the first comparison is easy: Hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are actually the same thing.

“Hydrolyzed” just refers to the processing—using heat, enzymes, or acid to break apart protein chains into shorter chains, or peptides.

The claim is that hydrolyzed protein, or shorter peptides, are easier to absorb than longer-chain proteins. However, research doesn’t support that theory, particularly in the case of collagen. 2

Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen. It’s liquid at high temperatures and gels at low temperatures. (Think: Jell-O, which contains gelatin.)

Nutritionally, collagen and gelatin are essentially the same. The main difference? Gelatin is a whole lot cheaper. (More on that later.) And in fact, much of the research used to support collagen’s potential benefits—such as collagen regeneration in muscles and tendons3,4—is actually research on gelatin.

The real benefits of collagen supplements

Here’s a rundown of what we know about collagen supplements.

Collagen for joint pain

Of all the buzzed-about benefits of taking collagen, this is one of the most well-studied. (Hey, we want to play tennis without knee pain!)

Some research suggests that type II collagen could potentially support joint health when taken with vitamin C.3 The vitamin C part is important, since the body needs vitamin C in order to make collagen.

That said, reviews and meta-analyses have failed to find collagen supplementation benefits people with joint conditions like osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, the breakdown of the tendons.5,6

One common argument is that since collagen is generally made from bone and cartilage, it should contain everything we need to repair these parts of our body. However, most of the amino acids in collagen are ones we can make on our own (like glycine, proline, and alanine) or ones that we can’t use very well in our body (like hydroxyproline).7

Bottom line: Some research shows collagen may help with joint concerns when taken with vitamin C, but the evidence overall is weak.

Your body doesn’t care about advertising.

Many collagen supplements are marketed for specific concerns, like wrinkles or joint pain.

And it would make sense that if you’re lacking collagen in your skin or joints, you could just supplement with collagen to take care of it, right?

However, eating more collagen doesn’t necessarily equal more collagen wherever you want it.

Instead, your body determines where the amino acids from collagen (or any protein source) you ingest will go.

Meaning, amino acids are more likely to be used to build enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters—or build/maintain lean tissue—than they are to smooth out your crow’s feet.

So, just because that collagen brand says it’s for skin or sore knees doesn’t mean your body will use it for that purpose.

Collagen for skin health

Collagen is what makes our skin plump and elastic. That’s why collagen and collagen-enhancing ingredients are common in skincare products. Similarly, collagen supplements promise to increase skin elasticity and combat wrinkles “from the inside out.”

While collagen has the potential to improve skin, the evidence isn’t definitive.

Taking collagen may stimulate hyaluronic acid production in the skin, which keeps skin moisturized and plump.8,9 And one review did find that collagen supplements increased skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.10

But collagen supplements do nothing to reduce collagenase, an enzyme we all produce that degrades our collagen stores over time. So, positive effects from taking collagen supplements can only be maintained if you continue taking those supplements indefinitely.

Further, many of the studies on collagen for skin health (as well as other areas of health) have been funded and run by the companies who’ve created the products. Industry-funded studies aren’t always biased, but it’s a risk.

Last thing: There are more reliable ways to enhance collagen production and maintain collagen stores in your skin:

  • Using skincare products with vitamin C 11, retinol/retinoid acid12,13, glycolic acid, and/or hyaluronic acid14
  • Wearing sunscreen15

Bottom line: More research is needed, but collagen supplements may help (minimally) with skin health.

Collagen for hair growth

Collagen contains some of the amino acids needed to produce keratin, a protein found in hair.

But currently, there’s no evidence that taking collagen will make your hair grow faster, thicker, or stimulate hair regrowth.

Bottom line: Don’t rely on collagen to make your hair grow.

Collagen as a protein supplement

Despite the claims of being “superior” and “highly absorbable,” collagen is not an ideal protein source. In fact, until pretty recently, it was considered a “junk” protein that wasn’t used for much of anything.

There are a couple of reasons why.

Reason #1: Collagen is an incomplete protein.

That means it doesn’t contain all nine essential amino acids (EAAs).7,16 (Collagen is missing tryptophan, as shown in the graphic below.) Your body can’t make EAAs, so it must get them from food.

Incomplete proteins have a place in a healthy diet, but to get the most bang for your buck, collagen is simply not worth the cash due to its status as a low-quality protein.

A bar graph showing how collagen protein and whey protein compare to each other in terms of essential amino acids. Collagen is overall lower in EAAs, and is missing the amino acid tryptophan.

Collagen lacks tryptophan and is overall lower in EAAs than whey.

 

Reason #2: Collagen is low in other EAAs.

Because of this, even when tryptophan is added, collagen still scores low in terms of quality compared to other proteins like whey, casein, or soy.

(To understand protein quality and why it matters, read our guide to choosing the best protein powder for you.)

Also, if you want to enhance workout recovery, muscle gain, or muscle retention, collagen isn’t your best bet.17 Muscle protein synthesis requires the amino acid leucine, and collagen has very little of it.18 (Learn more about leucine in our article on BCAAs.)

Bottom line: Collagen is not the best quality protein supplement.

Collagen for gut health

Collagen is rich in amino acids glycine and proline, and has some glutamine. Some say these amino acids have the potential to help heal the gut lining and promote digestive health, particularly in people with “leaky gut.”

However, while intestinal permeability is associated with certain digestive diseases, it doesn’t have direct symptoms.

While there’s some research showing glutamine and glycine may be helpful for intestinal health, robust evidence is lacking.19

(To learn more about how to improve gut health, check out this comprehensive resource on probiotics.)

Bottom line: It’s unlikely that taking collagen improves gut health.

Collagen in pregnancy and postnatal recovery

Collagen is high in glycine, which is considered a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it).

But new research shows it’s conditionally essential—meaning you might need to get some from food—in the later stages of pregnancy (~35+ weeks). This is due to increased nutritional demand to form a baby’s collagen stores.20

This has led some prenatal nutrition experts to suggest supplementing with collagen during pregnancy, especially in the later stages.

While this isn’t a bad idea, it’s not necessary if you’re getting adequate complete proteins through your diet. (Protein needs in late pregnancy are 1.52 grams/kg of body weight per day.21) Whole-food proteins like meat, fish, protein powders, and dairy contain more than enough glycine to meet your needs.

(The only exception is vegans, who may not get enough glycine in late pregnancy from whole foods. But collagen isn’t a vegan option anyway.)

On a related note, some women swear supplementing with collagen helped them heal and recover post-pregnancy. There’s no evidence showing supplementing with collagen is better than eating a diet with enough protein. However, collagen is safe for new moms, so if this is an approach that interests you, have at it!

Bottom line: Collagen may be helpful for women who are pregnant or postpartum, but it’s no better than eating a healthy diet with enough protein.

Should you take collagen supplements?

Ultimately, that’s up to you.

Here’s a quick recap of the potential benefits and their quality of evidence:

A table showing the potential benefits of collagen supplements, the level of evidence for each, and any relevant recommendations. There’s weak evidence collagen supplements may help with joint health and skin health, but very weak evidence for everything else.

Collagen supplements might help minimally with joint and skin health, but are unlikely to help with anything else.

 

Here are some other factors to consider when making your decision.

Supplement quality varies.

There are some concerns about heavy metal contamination with collagen. So, look for third-party tested options to ensure purity and quality. (Read the “purity and quality” section of our article on protein powders for specifics.)

Gelatin is a safe, cheap alternative.

Not only is gelatin much cheaper, it may be safer. That’s because, in most countries, regulations for food production are much stricter than regulations for supplement production.

And remember, key research used to support collagen supplementation was actually done with gelatin.

Get enough dietary protein and vitamin C.

It’s probably not worth spending money on collagen if you’re not already doing these two things.

Aim for a minimum protein intake of about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (0.36 grams per pound). That said, many people can benefit from more:

  • Adults over 65: 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day (0.55 to 0.91 grams per pound)
  • Athletes and active people: 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day (0.55 to 1.0 grams per pound)
  • People who want to change their weight or body composition: 1.6 to 3.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (0.75 to 1.5 grams per pound)

In terms of vitamin C, adult females need 75mg a day, while adult males need 90mg. It’s safe to supplement up to 2,000 mg a day.22

FYI, research on collagen and vitamin C used 48 mg of supplemental vitamin C, so you don’t need to megadose to stimulate collagen. Also, solo vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen synthesis.23 Neat!

More collagen isn’t necessarily better.

Exercise, sleep, water—it’s possible to get too much of anything.

Considering that collagen’s benefits are minimal, taking extra doesn’t make sense. (If you choose to take collagen or gelatin, 10-15 grams per day is likely sufficient, which is the quantity studied in most joint and tendon research.)

Because collagen is a low-quality protein, it shouldn’t replace other forms of protein in your diet. That’s when we could cross over from “can’t hurt, might help” territory into the “possibly harmful” zone.

Currently, we don’t have research comparing collagen to higher quality sources of protein, such as meat and whey, which would help us find out if collagen really is “special.”

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References

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

1. Lodish H, Berk A, Lawrence Zipursky S, Matsudaira P, Baltimore D, Darnell J. Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. W. H. Freeman; 2000.

2. Alcock RD, Shaw GC, Tee N, Burke LM. Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations After the Ingestion of Dairy and Collagen Proteins, in Healthy Active Males. Front Nutr. 2019 Oct 15;6:163.

3. Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross ML, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):136–43.

4. Lis DM, Baar K. Effects of Different Vitamin C-Enriched Collagen Derivatives on Collagen Synthesis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019 Sep 1;29(5):526–31.

5. Liu X, Machado GC, Eyles JP, Ravi V, Hunter DJ. Dietary supplements for treating osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Feb;52(3):167–75.

6. Fusini F, Bisicchia S, Bottegoni C, Gigante A, Zanchini F, Busilacchi A. Nutraceutical supplement in the management of tendinopathies: a systematic review. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2016 Jan;6(1):48–57.

7. Phillips SM. Current Concepts and Unresolved Questions in Dietary Protein Requirements and Supplements in Adults. Front Nutr. 2017 May 8;4:13.

8. Shigemura Y, Iwai K, Morimatsu F, Iwamoto T, Mori T, Oda C, et al. Effect of Prolyl-hydroxyproline (Pro-Hyp), a food-derived collagen peptide in human blood, on growth of fibroblasts from mouse skin. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jan 28;57(2):444–9.

9. Ohara H, Iida H, Ito K, Takeuchi Y, Nomura Y. Effects of Pro-Hyp, a collagen hydrolysate-derived peptide, on hyaluronic acid synthesis using in vitro cultured synovium cells and oral ingestion of collagen hydrolysates in a guinea pig model of osteoarthritis. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010 Oct 7;74(10):2096–9.

10. Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz MLW, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):9–16.

11. Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr;4(2):143–6.

12. Kang S. The mechanism of action of topical retinoids. Cutis. 2005 Feb;75(2 Suppl):10–3; discussion 13.

13. Kligman LH, Duo CH, Kligman AM. Topical retinoic acid enhances the repair of ultraviolet damaged dermal connective tissue. Connect Tissue Res. 1984;12(2):139–50.

14. Shin J-W, Kwon S-H, Choi J-Y, Na J-I, Huh C-H, Choi H-R, et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Dermal Aging and Antiaging Approaches. Int J Mol Sci [Internet]. 2019 Apr 29;20(9).

15. Bukhari SNA, Roswandi NL, Waqas M, Habib H, Hussain F, Khan S, et al. Hyaluronic acid, a promising skin rejuvenating biomedicine: A review of recent updates and pre-clinical and clinical investigations on cosmetic and nutricosmetic effects. Int J Biol Macromol. 2018 Dec;120(Pt B):1682–95.

16. Eastoe JE. The amino acid composition of mammalian collagen and gelatin. Biochem J. 1955 Dec;61(4):589–600.

17. Oikawa SY, Kamal MJ, Webb EK, McGlory C, Baker SK, Phillips SM. Whey protein but not collagen peptides stimulate acute and longer-term muscle protein synthesis with and without resistance exercise in healthy older women: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;111(3):708–18.

18. Alcock RD, Shaw GC, Tee N, Burke LM. Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations After the Ingestion of Dairy and Collagen Proteins, in Healthy Active Males. Front Nutr. 2019 Oct 15;6:163.

19. McCarty MF, Lerner A. Perspective: Prospects for Nutraceutical Support of Intestinal Barrier Function. Adv Nutr. 2021 Mar 31;12(2):316–24.

20. Rasmussen BF, Ennis MA, Dyer RA, Lim K, Elango R. Glycine, a Dispensable Amino Acid, Is Conditionally Indispensable in Late Stages of Human Pregnancy. J Nutr. 2021 Feb 1;151(2):361–9.

21. Elango R, Ball RO. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy. Adv Nutr. 2016 Jul;7(4):839S – 44S.

22. Vitamin C [Internet]. [cited 2021 May 21]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

23. DePhillipo NN, Aman ZS, Kennedy MI, Begley JP, Moatshe G, LaPrade RF. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018 Oct;6(10):2325967118804544.

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

<!—Snippet to hide

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Do collagen supplements actually work? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

The memo came on a Friday.

My close friend—let’s call her Beth—had been pulling 12-hour shifts as a hospital screener in the early throes of COVID-19.

With a draining and stressful job, an energetic 2-year-old, tensions at home, and the intense emotional upheaval of a global pandemic, Beth was completely spent.

Her schedule was crammed to the minute. Days were fueled by coffee, evenings by wine. “Sleep” meant tossing and turning with anxiety. Exercise felt impossible.

Previously a runner and rock climber, Beth hardly recognized herself. It felt like she’d aged a decade in just a handful of months.

So on this particular Friday, after an especially exhausting shift, Beth arrived home, turned off the car, and sighed.

While trying to summon the energy to get out of the car, she picked up her phone and, on autopilot, checked her email.

And there it was: a well-meaning memo from her employer offering self-care strategies to its stressed-out staff. It concluded:

“Use your time at home to RELAX and RECHARGE.”

Beth threw down her phone. Her head slumped to the steering wheel, and tears burned her eyes.

“Relax and recharge?” she scoffed when she told me about this later.

“My time ‘off’ is for taking care of my kid, cooking, cleaning, bringing the cat to the vet, and a million other to-dos. I’m lucky if I get a few hours of sleep. Home is not a place to recharge. It’s Job #2.”

If self-care advice makes you want to smash your phone—in anger, sadness, or shame—we’re with you.

Now more than ever, folks have more responsibilities and obligations than they can possibly manage.

Advice like “put your feet up with a good book” or “schedule a massage” sounds trite or even absurd when you’re trying to answer emails, empty the dishwasher, and keep a daring toddler from hurling herself off a bookcase.

And yet.

Folks still do want to prioritize their health and wellbeing, which creates a frustrating paradox where self care feels both more needed, and more impossible, than ever.

“For the people who do find a way to take time for themselves, the difference is remarkable,” says Precision Nutrition Coach Pam Ruhland.

What we’ve seen from coaching over 100,000 clients is that even folks with the biggest barriers and toughest schedules can end up thriving: moving better, feeling better, looking better, and generally operating more like the person they want to be.

If you’re having a hard time taking care of yourself, or you’re coaching someone who is, here are three strategies we’ve seen work—in real life.

Challenges with self-care aren’t just personal. They’re systemic.

Self care is harder for some than others.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the stark differences in people’s job safety, workload, and flexibility—affecting the time, energy, attention, and other resources available for self-care.

And we know that women carry the brunt of domestic, parenting, and emotional labor; are paid less on average; and often work more hours to build professional credibility and seniority.

COVID has made this situation worse: Data suggest1 2 that regardless of their employment situation, women are putting in more hours doing housework and child care than before the pandemic.

Furthermore, people from marginalized groups—including racialized peoples, people with disabilities and mental health issues, and people with lower incomes and less financial security—have additional barriers to taking care of themselves and their health.

While we’d love to address all those problems with this article, we’ll focus on what we do best: Helping coaches and individuals improve their health.

We can’t solve the systemic issues in one go, but we can acknowledge them while providing solutions you and your clients can use today.

3 strategies for prioritizing self care even when it’s really, really hard

Strategy #1: Start with just 5-10 minutes per day.

I recently chatted with another friend of mine, who I’ll call Laura. She’s currently enrolled in multiple certifications, runs her own counseling business, works part-time at a shelter, and has two children and four pets. (Oh, and she’s juggling all this during a pandemic, of course.)

Laura lamented to me that she habitually wakes up, grabs her phone, and dives into her business’s Instagram feed before she even gets out of bed.

I asked if she’d consider taking a little time for herself in the morning to say, read a book.

“Sure,” she said. “I’d love to wake up each day and read, meditate, do yoga, and have a leisurely breakfast with my kids… but it’s just not happening.”

Laura’s reaction might seem almost comical—how did taking a few minutes to read turn into that?—but so many of us can get caught in an all-or-nothing mindset.

“I try to encourage clients to focus on activities that are truly doable for them,” advises Ruhland.

“This can be anything that moves you forward: a five-minute meditation; having older kids help in the kitchen so you can read a news article; adding an extra veggie serving to one meal; or doing 10 minutes of online yoga. Whatever gives them a taste of, ‘this is for me.’”

Five minutes a day might not feel like enough time, but it can help you start to show up for yourself (it helps family and friends get used to it, too).

And if you’re used to doing nothing, just doing something can feel surprisingly good.

How to try it:

  1. Make a list of small, 5-minute activities that would help you check the “self care” box.. Pick ONE to try every day for a couple weeks.
  2. After that, consider adding more minutes, or another short self-care activity, to your routine.
  3. Remember: Self care isn’t just about nutrition and exercise. It’s also about your emotional and mental health, the people around you, your environment, and your overall outlook on life. (We call this “deep health.” Learn more about it here.)

Strategy #2: Embrace the three Ds: Delete, Delegate, Do Less.

It’s 6 a.m. and your alarm goes off.

You blink.

Suddenly it’s 6 p.m., the kids need dinner, the dog needs to be walked, your boss is waiting on those TPS reports…

Where the heck did the day go?

If this is you, PN Coach Dominic Matteo recommends grabbing your schedule and a Sharpie… and getting ruthless.

(Friendly nudge: This might involve reassessing your boundaries with loved ones, and/or asking them for help.)

How to try it:

  1. Get clear on exactly how you’re spending your time. Hint! Use PN’s Planning & Time Use Worksheet (or keep a time diary for a day) to get granular. Now you’re ready to scrutinize.
  2. Delete one or more activities. Are there obligations that aren’t actually necessary? Habits (TV, TikTok) that actually don’t serve you anymore? What would happen if a given task doesn’t get done at all? What might be the worst outcome?
  3. Delegate whatever you can. Consider each task and ask yourself, “Who else can do this?” Could your partner pack the lunches? Could a neighborhood kid cut the grass? Can your kids fold (ahem, “fold”) their own clothes? What’s the worst that could happen?
  4. Do less. Challenge yourself: What is “good enough” for this thing? If you’re used to shooting for A+, then what would an “A-” or a “B+” look like?

Strategy #3: Separate your “shoulds” from your “coulds.”

Funny thing: Sometimes we’re so used to thinking about what we “should” do, we forget what we really want or need to do.

But needless “shoulds” just end up stealing our time, wasting our energy, and keeping us from feeling healthy and fulfilled.

If we take a more critical look at our “shoulds,” we might find they’re not all that necessary:

“I should let my kids help make breakfast, even though it takes longer.”

“I should put on makeup before I go to the post office.”

“I should listen to the board of education meeting.”

“I should fix that leaky pipe by myself.”

Sure, we could do those things. But should we? Are they really the most valuable use of precious time?

Similarly, there might be some erroneous “should nots” in there, like: “I shouldn’t let my kid watch TV,” or “I shouldn’t pay extra for pre-cut veggies,” or “I shouldn’t go home if my coworkers are still at their desks.”

How to try it:

  1. Notice and name. Next time you hear that little voice in your head saying, “you should do this…”—pause. Notice it. Name it: That’s your “should” voice. Decide if you want to keep that “should,” or let it go.
  2. Duke it out. Realistically, you’ll always have more valuable activities to choose from than time in the day. Want some help? Try this worksheet, Tournament of Priorities, which guides you through assessments of what’s more important to you at a given time.

Remember: You’re in charge of what you prioritize, and what trade-offs you’re willing to make. Ultimately, you get to decide what is most important to you.

It’s time to put YOU back on the list.

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References

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

1. Del Boca D, Oggero N, Profeta P, Rossi M. Women’s and men’s work, housework and childcare, before and during COVID-19. Review of Economics of the Household. 2020 Dec;18(4):1001-17.

2. Adisa TA, Aiyenitaju O, Adekoya OD. The work–family balance of British working women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Work-Applied Management. 2021 Feb 5.

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

<!—Snippet to hide

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Feel like you’re failing at self care? It’s not your fault—but we have solutions that can actually help. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Every month, tens of thousands of people ask Google:

“How much water should I drink?”

And Google points them to stories that go something like this:

“Most people are dehydrated—and they don’t know it.”

They list headaches, constipation, bad breath, and other dehydration dangers. And they encourage you to guzzle water, lest you dry up like a sad raisin.

In reality, however, the answer to “how much water should I drink?” is incredibly short and simple:

If you’re thirsty, drink something. If you’re not thirsty, don’t worry about it.

Sooo… why doesn’t this article end right here?

Because there are a few exceptions.

(And maybe you’re one of those exceptions. Feel free to skip ahead if you’re an athlete or exerciser, you’re pregnant, or you’re over the age of 65.)

Plus, I’m guessing you might not believe that staying hydrated is so simple.

So let’s walk through how much water you should drink together.

Want to know exactly what to drink?

Download our complete guide to liquid nutrition. You’ll learn:

  • That you don’t have to swear off the drinks you love in the name of better health and nutrition.
  • How to make beverage choices that match your lifestyle, taste preferences, and goals, no matter what your starting point.
Image shows the cover of our "What should I drink?" infographic guide to liquid nutrition.

Download your FREE ‘What Should I Drink?!’ PDF guide here.

Consider this visual resource the uncomplicated answer to every question you (or your clients) have ever had about what to drink.

Why do you need water?

You might’ve already heard:

Your body is more than 60 percent water.

It uses that fluid for some obvious things—blood, sweat, tears—and some less obvious things: regulating body temperature, helping your body make hormones, and stopping your brain from smashing into your skull when you’re doing burpees.

It’s true that chronic dehydration can raise your risk for a host of problems no one wants to have: kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and negative cognitive and physical performance.1

But there’s a difference between chronic dehydration (being mildly dehydrated a lot of the time) and acute dehydration (which is more severe, and requires timely intervention).

Most people are not chronically dehydrated.

When I give workshops, I often go through client case studies—asking the audience to tell me what they would suggest.

Without fail, someone raises their hand and proclaims: “The first thing I’d do is have them drink more water.”

“Why?” I ask.

That’s when they tell me: “Well, most people are dehydrated.”

This is a misconception. According to the Center of Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the average US adult easily meets—and even surpasses—their water needs.2

Thirst: Actually a pretty reliable sense.

Most people are like my new puppy, Charley.

Photograph of cute fluffy white dog who is not dehydrated.

Charley’s cute, right? She’s also not dehydrated.

Charley drinks when she’s thirsty, and she does just fine—no special formulas or calculations required.

And our sense of thirst works just as exquisitely.

A part of our brain, called the lamina terminus, monitors blood volume and blood osmolality (the ratio of salt to liquid), among other factors, to determine whether the body needs more or less fluid. If blood volume drops and osmolality rises, the brain turns up that dry feeling in our tongues and throats.3

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How much water do you need?

Humans need about 3 liters (101 ounces) of fluid per day, though the exact amount will vary from person to person.

Depending on someone’s diet, about 34 ounces (1 liter) of that will probably come from food, especially if they’re eating watery foods like veggies, fruit, prepared oatmeal, or yogurt.

That leaves about 2 liters (67 ounces) to get from beverages.

So the old “drink 8 cups of water a day”—which adds up to 64 ounces—is actually a pretty good general rule.

However:

How much water you need will depend on a range of factors, like age, weight, health status, and activity level, to name a few. If you’re small and sedentary, you might need less than 3 liters. If you’re in a larger body and also exercise in a hot humid environment, you’ll need more.

That’s why thirst is probably a much better gauge than forcing yourself to guzzle a predetermined volume.

Unless, however, you’re an athlete, elderly, or pregnant.

Does coffee really dehydrate you?

Caffeine increases fluid output somewhat, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever had a cup of coffee before boarding a flight. (Damn you, airport cappuccino.)

Those extra trips to the restroom, however, don’t necessarily lead to dehydration.

In one study, researchers asked men to drink either four cups of coffee or four cups of water.

Though the coffee drinkers produced slightly more urine over 24 hours, they were no less hydrated than the water drinkers.4 Other research found the same with cola.5

Bottom line: A cup of coffee, tea, or cola are just as hydrating for you as the same amount of water.

(For more about the pros and cons of coffee, see: All About Coffee.)

How much water should athletes and exercisers drink?

Though your thirst mechanism works well during rest, it doesn’t function as well during activity.

We’ve known this since the 1930s when researchers asked a man and a dog to walk just under 20 miles (32 km) in the 104F (40C) heat of Boulder City, Nevada. Both the man and the dog could drink whenever they wanted. But only the dog finished well hydrated. The man, on the other hand, lost about 6 pounds (3 kg) of his body mass through water loss.6

Research shows that, when people doing intense exercise rely on thirst alone, they tend to under consume fluid, replacing only about half of what they lose.7

People can lose 1-2 percent of their body weight very quickly when they’re exercising intensely in a hot, humid environment. That’s enough to raise heart rate, body temperature, and your perception of effort.8 For aerobic efforts, like cycling, it’ll also slow you down.9

In addition to the liter of fluid you get from food, consume at least 3 liters (101 ounces) of fluid on the days that you exercise.

That breaks down as follows:

  • 1 liter (34 ounces) before and during exercise
  • 1 liter (34 ounces) after exercise
  • 1 liter (34 ounces) throughout the day, with roughly 1-2 cups of water with each meal

During long-duration and/or intense exercise, of course, you lose more than just water. This includes sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes—and it’s important to replace those, too. Otherwise you risk hyponatremia (sodium deficiency).

So, instead of plain water, consume an electrolyte beverage (such as a sports drink) for exercise lasting more than an hour in intense heat and/or humidity or more than two hours in any condition.

How much water should you drink during pregnancy?

When you’re growing a human, your blood volume increases, which boosts your overall fluid needs.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to consume roughly 1 liter (34 ounces) more during pregnancy than you consumed before. If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough, check your urine. (See Are you hydrated? below.)

If your urine is pretty dark, you’re probably underdrinking. If it’s light to clear, you’re doing great.

How much water should older people drink?

When elderly folks are admitted to the hospital, they’re often dehydrated.

That’s probably because, as we get older, our thirst mechanisms don’t work like they used to. Neither do our kidneys. Certain medications can increase urine output, too. Plus, our bodies don’t seem to hold as much fluid.10

All of that increases our risk of becoming dehydrated.

If you’re 65 or older:

  • Drink an additional 8 to 16 ounces (.25 to .5 liters) of fluid—over and above your level of thirst.
  • Consume whatever beverage you enjoy—an electrolyte drink, iced tea, or even diet cola. (For more on why hydration is more important than worrying about artificial sweeteners, read: Should you drink diet soda?)
  • Monitor your urine and drink up if it’s bright yellow or darker. (See Are you hydrated? below for specifics.)
  • Know the symptoms of dehydration: dark urine, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth.

How much should I drink to lose weight?

A few years back, researchers did a series of studies that found drinking water could increase calorie burning. 11 12

However, the researchers predicted an extra 2 liters (67 ounces) of water might only boost energy expenditure by about 96 Calories.

For context, that’s about the number of calories in a medium banana.

Maybe you’re thinking: Doesn’t water at least dull the appetite, helping people to eat less?

It might.

One study found that downing half a liter (16 ounces) of water before meals helped people eat less and consequently lose weight.13

You can also take small sips of water between bites, which will help you eat more slowly. (And actually, eating slowly is one of the best ways to regulate your food intake. Read more: How slow eating can transform your body.)

How to calculate your water needs

How do you make sure you’re hydrated?

You have two options.

Option #1: Drink when you’re thirsty

This super-simple option works for most people, including:

✓ People who live in cool-to-moderate climates

✓ People younger than 65

✓ Non-athletes

Option #2: Monitor your urine

Some people occasionally suffer from acute dehydration.

Like when lots of stuff is coming out of both ends due to food poisoning or an infection. Or when exercising intensely in a hot climate.

As long as they replace what they lost, it’s no big deal.

How do you know if you’ve replaced what you’ve lost?

The answer: Check your toilet.

The more dehydrated you are, the greater your urine osmolality (saltiness).

Luckily, you can also assess osmolality through color: The greater the osmolality, the darker your urine.

If you compare your urine color to what’s shown on the chart below (see “Are You Hydrated?”), you’ll get an answer that’s almost as accurate as an expensive hydration test that your physician or trainer would run in the office.14

This option works best for:

✓ People who live in hot, dry environments and worry about dehydration

✓ People whose jobs make on-demand drinking difficult (such as a healthcare worker who wears a mask for a 12-hour shift)

✓ People who exercise moderately in hot and/or dry environments

✓ People who are pregnant

✓ People age 65 and older

Are you hydrated?

Use this chart to assess your hydration status.

The colors assume you’ve peed in a cup.

If you don’t want to do that (who does?) just assume that the toilet water will dilute your urine color by 1 or 2 shades.

This charts shows how to gauge your hydration level, based on the color of your urine. If your urine is almost clear to pale yellow, you're well hydrated, and you can drink according to thirst. If your urine is bright to slightly dark yellow, you need to hydrate with one to two glasses of water. If your urine is dark yellow to brownish yellow, you're very dehydrated, and should drink one liter of water as soon as you can. Please note that toilet water will dilute urine by one to two shades.

In summary, you’re probably doing just fine.

In terms of hydration, with the above exceptions in mind, you can keep going along just like my puppy Charley.

Drink when you’re thirsty, and hopefully not from the toilet.

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References

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

1. Kavouras SA. Hydration, dehydration, underhydration, optimal hydration: are we barking up the wrong tree? Eur J Nutr. 2019 Mar;58(2):471–3.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daily Water Intake Among US Men and Women, 2009-2012.

3. Zimmerman CA, Leib DE, Knight ZA. Neural circuits underlying thirst and fluid homeostasis. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 Aug;18(8):459–69.

4. Killer SC, Blannin AK, Jeukendrup AE. No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 9;9(1):e84154.

5. Tucker, Matthew A., et al. Hydration Status over 24-H Is Not Affected by Ingested Beverage Composition. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 34, no. 4, Mar. 2015, pp. 318–27.

6. Dill DB, Bock AV, Edwards HT. Mechanisms for dissipating heat in man and dog. American Journal of Physiology-Legacy Content. 1933 Mar 31. Available from: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajplegacy.1933.104.1.36

7. Kenefick RW. Drinking Strategies: Planned Drinking Versus Drinking to Thirst. Sports Med. 2018 Mar;48(Suppl 1):31–7.

8. Meade, Robert D., et al. Ageing Attenuates the Effect of Extracellular Hyperosmolality on Whole-Body Heat Exchange during Exercise-Heat Stress. The Journal of Physiology, vol. 598, no. 22, Nov. 2020, pp. 5133–48.

9. Carlton A, Orr RM. The effects of fluid loss on physical performance: A critical review. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2015 Dec 1;4(4):357–63.

10. Mazi I, Amabebe E, Igbokwe VU, Obika LF. Age-Associated Osmoregulatory Alterations in Thirst, Drinking Pattern and Arginine Vasopressin Secretion in Man. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.9790/0853-1807047180

11. Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Franke G, Birkenfeld AL, Luft FC, Jordan J. Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Aug;92(8):3334-7.

12. Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, Tank J, Adams F, Sharma AM, et al. Water-induced thermogenesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015–9.

13. Parretti HM, Aveyard P, Blannin A, Clifford SJ, Coleman SJ, Roalfe A, et al. Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT. Obesity. 2015 Sep;23(9):1785–91.

14. McKenzie AL, Muñoz CX, Armstrong LE. Accuracy of Urine Color to Detect Equal to or Greater Than 2% Body Mass Loss in Men. J Athl Train. 2015 Dec;50(12):1306–9.

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

<!—Snippet to hide

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

 

The post ‘How much water should I drink?’ appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Reviewed by Helen Kollias, PhD


Basics | Advice | Foods | Exercises | Psychology | Supplements | Pregnancy

Before we tell you how to lose belly fat, we’d like to say this:

There’s nothing wrong with belly fat.

In fact, in many cultures, it’s desirable to have some extra squish.

Certainly, at various points in history, luscious roundness was the look. (Google “Renoir’s bathers” or “Rubens’ nudes.”)

And yet, in modern popular culture—despite some progress celebrating more diverse body shapes—we still overwhelmingly glorify the six-pack and the itty-hourglass waist.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with those shapes either.)

Either way, many of our clients come to us wanting to lose belly fat.

Which is why we’re covering the topic.

Fair warning: This story will be different than what you usually find on the web in a magazine. That’s because we’re going to give you practical, realistic, big-picture answers.

(And those answers might not be what you expect.)

Indulge in some navel-gazing, and explore this topic with us.

Why belly fat even matters

You might’ve noticed: Regardless of body fat, people are shaped differently.

And it turns out, where we store fat matters.

Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat

If you sliced someone’s belly open (gross), you would find fat in two places.

This illustration shows the two types of fat that reside in the belly region. Subcutaneous fat is close to the surface, and is the kind you can pinch. Visceral fat is deeper, and surrounds your organs.

▶ The padding just under the surface of the skin: This type of fat, called either subcutaneous fat or peripheral fat, is relatively benign.1,2

▶ Deep in the abdomen, often surrounding vital organs like the liver, stomach, and intestines: Called visceral or central fat, this contributes to chronic inflammation, the formation of arterial plaque, and blood clots.3 It’s also associated with an increased risk for metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.4,5

Generally, if someone has more subcutaneous fat, they’ll also have more visceral fat—but not always. Occasionally, a person can appear quite lean, with little subcutaneous fat, but still have higher levels of visceral fat.

Okay, but why do I have belly fat?

Well, as you’ve probably heard, where we store fat relates to hormones, genetics, and certain medical conditions.

Things that can increase visceral fat include:

  • A higher body fat percentage: Although genetics and hormones will determine how fat is distributed, people with more body fat are more likely to have higher amounts of belly fat.
  • Being a man: Compared to premenopausal women, men are more likely to carry extra fat around their midsection. That’s because their visceral fat stores seem to absorb a greater proportion of dietary fat.6
  • Being postmenopausal: Mostly due to hormonal shifts, women tend to experience a shift in body fat distribution post-menopause, with a decrease in leg fat, and an increase in abdominal fat.7
  • Aging: As fat cells age, they secrete more inflammatory factors and also get redistributed from subcutaneous stores to visceral depots.8
  • Having chronically high levels of cortisol: Visceral fat soaks up and breaks down excess cortisol.9
  • Having certain gene variants: Several genes have been linked to body fat distribution. (If you’re into that kind of stuff, the genes are: TBX15, HOXC13, RSPO3, CPEB4, and LRP5.) While all people carry these genes, certain versions of these genes predispose a person to carry fat around their midsection, compared to their hips and legs.10,11

We can’t do anything about our age, sex, or genes. (Sorry). But we do have control over a few other things.

And we’re about to get into just that.

“Belly fat” after pregnancy: It might not be what you think it is

Immediately postpartum, women will lose about 13 pounds (bye baby, placenta, and other tissues).

After that, more weight loss may slowly occur as the uterus returns to its regular shape, and fluid levels normalize.12

Many women find, however, that their bodies, especially their bellies, look different—even if they return to their pre-pregnancy weight.

This is likely because their abdominal tissue stretched to accommodate their fetus. Now it’s fluffier, and doesn’t compress tissues and fat as well as it used to.

Lingering diastasis recti—a separation of the abdominal muscles—can also make the abdomen look more rounded.

(If diastasis is giving you problems, see a pelvic physiotherapist. They can assess the degree of diastasis, give you safe ways to move your body, potentially repair some of the abdominal separation, and improve symptoms.)

Though strengthening key core muscles (like the transverse abdominis) can help both issues, it takes time.

With so many other changes going on in your life (remember sleep?), this news can be tough to swallow.

At the same time: Your body just did a really amazing thing.

So while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to work on your body after pregnancy, make sure you approach that work with love, compassion, and a heck of a big high five.

How to lose belly fat, in 6 steps

If there’s a trick to incredible results, it’s this: the ability to practice basic (sometimes boring) health behaviors over and over again.

Wait!

Come back!

Hear us out.

What we’re about to share will probably trigger your inner “I know this already” voice. You might roll your eyes and think there’s nothing new here. Nothing “cutting edge” or “sparkly.”

But, if you use these steps, you’ll see results.

Results you can actually sustain.

And hey, that would be pretty thrilling.

1. Know why you want to change your belly.

This will help you set clear goals and stay motivated.

Maybe you’re thinking, “This is easy. I’m here because I want to lose belly fat! Step 1 is now complete!”

Easy there, partner. Let’s get specific:

  • Has your doctor told you to lose weight for health reasons?
  • Are you pretty healthy, but feel like your pants are getting tighter, and you just wanna know what’s up?
  • Are you looking to get totally shredded, with visible abs?

Whatever your reasons, you’re welcome here.

However, if you’ve decided to slim down for your health, let’s dig a little deeper because, beyond a certain point, getting a leaner midsection isn’t healthier.

Yes, larger midsections—over 37 inches (94 cm) for men, and over 31 inches (80 cm) for women—are correlated with:13,14,15,16

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dementia
  • All-cause mortality

And yet, plenty of people fall well under these waistline parameters—and feel pretty fit and healthy too—but they’re unhappy with their bellies.

(By the way, plenty of people fall above these parameters and are also healthy—and happy with their shape.)

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your body for aesthetic reasons, it’s worth considering:

Sometimes when we go through tough stuff—a divorce, dealing with a sick parent, a job loss—we look for other ways to feel better and more fulfilled. Like, “getting ripped.”

And getting a flat (or flatter) stomach won’t fix those problems.

In fact, sometimes getting hyper-lean creates new problems and stress.

(Learn more about the tradeoffs: The cost of getting lean.)

Because of that, lots of clients have found value in learning to accept their softer sides, rather than fight them.

Some did that through learning to view their bodies through the eyes of a loved one—such as a toddler who cuddles up to “stomachy” because it’s so squishy and comfy. Or, they’ve learned to appreciate their bodies for what they can do.

So, know your reasons for wanting to change.

And whether that change is worth the effort.

2. Accept (even if begrudgingly) that there’s no trick to spot-reducing belly fat.

We all want the easy way out of stubborn problems.

Especially when life (laundry, sick relatives, rebellious teenagers, injuries, and what’s that smell in the heating duct) feels challenging enough.

Plus, there’s no shortage of books with titles like The Belly Shrinking Diet or magazines promoting “4 Exercises to Give You Abs in 4 Weeks” to make us think that spot-reducing is not only possible, but easy.

Argh.

But just like you can’t lose fat only off your left tricep, you also can’t lose it just from your belly.

Belly fat loss goes along with overall body fat loss, which usually goes along with changes to diet and exercise.

Why are we telling you this? Because the sooner you give up on what doesn’t work, the sooner you can move on to what does.

Note: We’re excluding surgical and pharmaceutical treatments from our strategies to lose belly fat. To date, these are the only reliable methods to “spot-reduce” fat from the abdomen. Liposuction and body contouring can surgically remove fat from the belly, and hormone replacement therapy can change how fat is distributed in the body.17

Can you lose belly fat fast?

How quickly you can lose belly fat depends on how quickly you can lose fat all over your body.

To lose an inch of fat around the waist, it takes about 4-5 pounds of overall weight loss, according to our analysis of over 1000 clients.

With consistent effort, our clients generally have lost between 0.8 to 2 pounds a week.

Meaning, within a month or so of reasonably consistent healthy habit changes, people can lose up to an inch off their waists.

To learn more about how consistent you have to be to get results check out: What It REALLY Takes to Lose Fat, Get Healthy, and Change Your Body.

3. Consume a diet centered around minimally-processed foods.

While there aren’t any foods that will magically shrink your belly (celery juice, get outta here), highly-processed, highly-palatable foods can easily derail efforts to get leaner.

Why?

They’re just really easy to overeat.

(Need more convincing? Read: Manufactured Deliciousness: Why You Can’t Stop Overeating.)

Meanwhile, minimally-processed foods—like lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—are more satisfying.

Specifically, we’ve found, in coaching more than 100,000 clients, that most people have an easier time losing fat when they consume:

  • 1-2 fists of veggies per meal, which helps fill you up on fewer calories
  • 1-2 palms of appetite-regulating protein-rich foods (chicken, yogurt, tofu, or eggs) per meal
  • Fiber-rich whole grains, fruit, and legumes in place of refined foods most of the time

Specific amounts vary from one person to another.

Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘That’s not that helpful, PN.’

You’re right, but we have a solution for that: our free nutrition calculator below. Click the ‘get started’ button, answer a few questions, and it’ll instantly give you the calories, protein, carbs, and fat you need to achieve your goals (along with a nutrition plan that shows you what to do).

An illustration of the Precision Nutrition Macros Calculator for Calories and Portions surrounded by fruits, grains, fish, and vegetables.

Nutrition Calculator

How much should you eat? Let’s find out.

© Precision Nutrition

If you want to know how to upgrade your food choices, reference this handy infographic: ‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body.

Trans fats and belly fat

Trans fats, an ingredient often found in processed foods, may actually cause belly fat:

In one study, rats were fed either a high saturated fat diet, or a high trans fat diet. After eight weeks, rats on the high trans fat had significantly more visceral fat, compared to the rats of the high saturated fats diet.18

(And the only reason we don’t have a similar study in humans is because the negative health effects of trans fats are so indisputable that such a study would be unethical.19,20,21)

Trans fats are often listed as “partially hydrogenated oil” on ingredient labels, and are found in many shelf-stable baked goods, crackers, and cookies. So try to reduce or eliminate those foods.

4. Eat slowly, until 80 percent full.

You might assume people need a strict food tracking method to start losing fat, but we just haven’t found that to be the case.

This is especially true when they learn to listen and respond to their internal sense of hunger and fullness, a skill known as internal appetite regulation.

By relaxing, eating slowly, and tuning into their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, most people can make phenomenal progress.

This is truly a ninja skill when it comes to weight management.

To learn about how this habit can transform your relationship to food—and your body, read: Slow Eating: The Challenge That Can Blow Your Mind.)

5. Find movement that you like.

You can’t burn away belly fat with abdominal exercises or vibrating waist belts.

[Shakes fist at infomercials.]

And while you might have read that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to boost visceral fat loss,22 there’s an important caveat:

Exercise only works if you do it consistently—and long term.23

In other words, one exercise-until-you-hurl session isn’t gonna flatten your belly. Neither will two. Or three. Or seven. Or fifteen.

It takes session after session after session—week after week, month after month—to see and maintain results.

So if you love HIIT workouts more than ice cream, great. Keep it up.

On the other hand, if the idea of sprints and burpees makes you want to hide in your closet, know that you’ve got options—lots and lots and lots of options.

Ideally, to lose belly fat, you’d combine some form of resistance training with some form of cardio.

But you ultimately want to exercise in a way that’s doable, pain-free, and enjoyable—because that’s the exercise you’ll do regularly.

(Sweaty salsa, anyone?)

Can supplements reduce belly fat?

Periodically, a new supplement promises remarkable results.

But do any of them actually work?

Below we explore what the research has to say about the effectiveness of five supplements often promoted for fat loss:

Compound Will it help? Findings
Phosphatidylserine (PS) Not likely PS was proposed to decrease stress, and thereby also visceral fat. However, there’s little support that PS decreases either the stress response or abdominal fat.24
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) Not likely There’s no reliable evidence that CLA helps with site-specific or general weight loss.25
Green tea extract Maybe, but minimally There is some evidence that green tea extract improves weight loss.26 However, support that it specifically targets belly fat is minimal, and only in non-lean individuals.27
Caffeine Not likely There is moderate evidence that caffeine suppresses appetite that leads to weight loss, and increases metabolic rate temporarily. But the weight loss isn’t specific to belly fat.28,29
Capsaicin Not likely There is some evidence the capsaicin may increase metabolic rate temporarily. However, this doesn’t translate to belly fat loss.28

If you just read this list and felt a big “womp woommp” of let-down, we don’t blame you.

Through clever marketing campaigns and dramatic anecdotal success stories, we’re constantly being sold on the miracle pill.

Sadly, it just doesn’t exist.

The good news:

Now that you know this, you can stop wasting your money, and empower yourself to practice the daily nutrition, movement, and lifestyle habits that do work.

6. Approach all of the above with self-compassion, instead of criticism.

Self-compassion is an attitude of generosity, honesty, and kindness towards yourself. It helps you see yourself clearly, and then take steps to help yourself.

But being nice to yourself to lose belly fat? Well, it sounds like a load of hooey, doesn’t it?

It’s not:

Research shows self-compassion is linked to healthier eating and more consistent exercise habits30,31—as well as lower rates of anxiety and depression, less perceived stress, and greater well-being overall.32,33,34

Conversely, self-criticism is linked to unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as higher rates of anxiety and depression.35,36

(Ok, fine. Not hooey.)

So what does self-compassion look like in practice?

There are three main elements:

Mindfulness: This is when you’re aware of what you’re doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing, but you’re not judging yourself for it.

Example: “I’m feeling bad about my belly. And I notice that I also feel frustrated and impatient to change…”

Common humanity: Acknowledging that you’re not alone—that everyone goes through what you’re dealing with at some point.

Example: “That’s okay. So many people struggle with aspects of their appearance.”

Self-kindness: Being generous and decent to yourself.

Example: “Take a deep breath. This body has carried me through a lot. Maybe I can do something small to care for it right now.”

(For more compassionate strategies, read: “How can I cope RIGHT NOW?”)

Welcome to the journey

We just told you about six ways to reduce belly fat.

But they’re just the start.

A healthy body is the result of many habits that support all dimensions of your life. It includes your relationships, your mental well-being, your emotional health, your surroundings, and your spiritual life. At Precision Nutrition, we call this deep health. It’s a whole-person approach that addresses all of the dimensions of life—and not just the physical.

(To learn more about deep health, read: The deep health coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results.)

You don’t want to have ripped abs but feel awful inside, right? That’s why your deep health journey might lead you to change your environment, explore your values and your identity, and line up lots of support from family, friends, medical practitioners, and maybe a coach (if you have access to that kind of service).

Finally, know that there are some things about your body that you may not be able to change (thanks aging, hormonal changes, and other life adventures).

So, while we encourage you to pursue your best body and life with all the zest you have… well, we’ll still like you if you decide not to change at all.

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References

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

1. Karastergiou, Kalypso, Steven R. Smith, Andrew S. Greenberg, and Susan K. Fried. 2012. “Sex Differences in Human Adipose Tissues – the Biology of Pear Shape.” Biology of Sex Differences.

2. Björntorp, P. 1996. “The Android Woman–a Risky Condition.” Journal of Internal Medicine 239 (2): 105–10.

3. Trayhurn, Paul. 2005. “Adipose Tissue in Obesity—An Inflammatory Issue.” Endocrinology 146 (3): 1003–5.

4. Lee, Mi-Jeong, Yuanyuan Wu, and Susan K. Fried. 2013. “Adipose Tissue Heterogeneity: Implication of Depot Differences in Adipose Tissue for Obesity Complications.” Molecular Aspects of Medicine 34 (1): 1–11.

5. Karpe, Fredrik, and Katherine E. Pinnick. 2014. “Biology of Upper-Body and Lower-Body Adipose Tissue—link to Whole-Body Phenotypes.” Nature Reviews. Endocrinology 11 (2): 90–100.

6. Nauli, Andromeda M., and Sahar Matin. 2019. “Why Do Men Accumulate Abdominal Visceral Fat?Frontiers in Physiology 10 (December): 1486.

7. Ambikairajah, Ananthan, Erin Walsh, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari, and Nicolas Cherbuin. 2019. “Fat Mass Changes during Menopause: A Metaanalysis.American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 221 (5): 393–409.e50.

8. Sepe, Anna, Tamara Tchkonia, Thomas Thomou, Mauro Zamboni, and James L. Kirkland. 2011. “Aging and Regional Differences in Fat Cell Progenitors – a Mini-Review.” Gerontology 57 (1): 66–75.

9. Drapeau, V., F. Therrien, D. Richard, and A. Tremblay. 2003. “Is Visceral Obesity a Physiological Adaptation to Stress?Panminerva Medica 45 (3): 189–95.

10. Schleinitz, Dorit, Yvonne Böttcher, Matthias Blüher, and Peter Kovacs. 2014. “The Genetics of Fat Distribution.Diabetologia 57 (7): 1276–86.

11. Loh, Nellie Y., Matt J. Neville, Kyriakoula Marinou, Sarah A. Hardcastle, Barbara A. Fielding, Emma L. Duncan, Mark I. McCarthy, et al. 2015. “LRP5 Regulates Human Body Fat Distribution by Modulating Adipose Progenitor Biology in a Dose- and Depot-Specific Fashion.” Cell Metabolism 21 (2): 262–73.

12. Widen, E. M., and D. Gallagher. 2014. “Body Composition Changes in Pregnancy: Measurement, Predictors and Outcomes.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68 (6): 643–52.

13. Lean, M. E., T. S. Han, and C. E. Morrison. 1995. “Waist Circumference as a Measure for Indicating Need for Weight Management.BMJ 311 (6998): 158–61.

14. Ross, Robert, Ian J. Neeland, Shizuya Yamashita, Iris Shai, Jaap Seidell, Paolo Magni, Raul D. Santos, et al. 2020. “Waist Circumference as a Vital Sign in Clinical Practice: A Consensus Statement from the IAS and ICCR Working Group on Visceral Obesity.Nature Reviews. Endocrinology 16 (3): 177–89.

15. Ntlholang, Ontefetse, Kevin McCarroll, Eamon Laird, Anne M. Molloy, Mary Ward, Helene McNulty, Leane Hoey, et al. 2018. “The Relationship between Adiposity and Cognitive Function in a Large Community-Dwelling Population: Data from the Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) Ageing Cohort Study.The British Journal of Nutrition 120 (5): 517–27.

16. Alberti, K. G. M. M., Robert H. Eckel, Scott M. Grundy, Paul Z. Zimmet, James I. Cleeman, Karen A. Donato, Jean-Charles Fruchart, et al. 2009. “Harmonizing the Metabolic Syndrome: A Joint Interim Statement of the International Diabetes Federation Task Force on Epidemiology and Prevention; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; American Heart Association; World Heart Federation; International Atherosclerosis Society; And International Association for the Study of Obesity.” Circulation 120 (16): 1640–45.

17. Salpeter, S. R., J. M. E. Walsh, T. M. Ormiston, E. Greyber, N. S. Buckley, and E. E. Salpeter. 2006. “Meta-Analysis: Effect of Hormone-Replacement Therapy on Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Postmenopausal Women.Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism 8 (5): 538–54.

18. Dorfman, Suzanne E., Didier Laurent, John S. Gounarides, Xue Li, Tara L. Mullarkey, Erik C. Rocheford, Farid Sari-Sarraf, Erica A. Hirsch, Thomas E. Hughes, and S. Renee Commerford. 2009. “Metabolic Implications of Dietary Trans-Fatty Acids.Obesity 17 (6): 1200–1207.

19. Oteng, Antwi-Boasiako, and Sander Kersten. 2020. “Mechanisms of Action of Trans Fatty Acids.” Advances in Nutrition 11 (3): 697–708.

20. Souza, Russell J. de, Andrew Mente, Adriana Maroleanu, Adrian I. Cozma, Vanessa Ha, Teruko Kishibe, Elizabeth Uleryk, et al. 2015. “Intake of Saturated and Trans Unsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of All Cause Mortality, Cardiovascular Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” BMJ 351 (August): h3978.

21. Dhaka, Vandana, Neelam Gulia, Kulveer Singh Ahlawat, and Bhupender Singh Khatkar. 2011. “Trans Fats-Sources, Health Risks and Alternative Approach – A Review.Journal of Food Science and Technology 48 (5): 534–41.

22. Dupuit, Marine, Florie Maillard, Bruno Pereira, Marcelo Luis Marquezi, Antonio Herbert Lancha Jr, and Nathalie Boisseau. 2020. “Effect of High Intensity Interval Training on Body Composition in Women before and after Menopause: A Meta-Analysis.Experimental Physiology 105 (9): 1470–90.

23. Wu, T., X. Gao, M. Chen, and R. M. van Dam. 2009. “Long-Term Effectiveness of Diet-plus-Exercise Interventions vs. Diet-Only Interventions for Weight Loss: A Meta-Analysis.Obesity Reviews.

24. Kingsley, Michael I., Daniel Wadsworth, Liam P. Kilduff, Jane McEneny, and David Benton. 2005. “Effects of Phosphatidylserine on Oxidative Stress Following Intermittent Running.Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 37 (8): 1300–1306.

25. Gaullier, Jean-Michel, Johan Halse, Hans Olav Høivik, Kjetil Høye, Christian Syvertsen, Minna Nurminiemi, Cecilie Hassfeld, Alexandra Einerhand, Marianne O’Shea, and Ola Gudmundsen. 2007. “Six Months Supplementation with Conjugated Linoleic Acid Induces Regional-Specific Fat Mass Decreases in Overweight and Obese.The British Journal of Nutrition 97 (3): 550–60.

26. Hsu, Chung-Hua, Tung-Hu Tsai, Yung-Hsi Kao, Kung-Chang Hwang, Ting-Yu Tseng, and Pesus Chou. 2008. “Effect of Green Tea Extract on Obese Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.Clinical Nutrition 27 (3): 363–70.

27. Chen, I-Ju, Chia-Yu Liu, Jung-Peng Chiu, and Chung-Hua Hsu. 2016. “Therapeutic Effect of High-Dose Green Tea Extract on Weight Reduction: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.Clinical Nutrition 35 (3): 592–99.

28. Watanabe, Mikiko, Renata Risi, Davide Masi, Alessandra Caputi, Angela Balena, Giovanni Rossini, Dario Tuccinardi, et al. 2020. “Current Evidence to Propose Different Food Supplements for Weight Loss: A Comprehensive Review.Nutrients 12 (9).

29. Tabrizi, Reza, Parvane Saneei, Kamran B. Lankarani, Maryam Akbari, Fariba Kolahdooz, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, Somayyeh Nadi-Ravandi, Majid Mazoochi, and Zatollah Asemi. 2019. “The Effects of Caffeine Intake on Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 59 (16): 2688–96.

30. Dunne, Sara, David Sheffield, and Joseph Chilcot. 2018. “Brief Report: Self-Compassion, Physical Health and the Mediating Role of Health-Promoting Behaviours.” Journal of Health Psychology 23 (7): 993–99.

31. Sirois, Fuschia M., Ryan Kitner, and Jameson K. Hirsch. 2015. “Self-Compassion, Affect, and Health-Promoting Behaviors.” Health Psychology: Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association 34 (6): 661–69.

32. Allen, Ashley Batts, and Mark R. Leary. 2010. “Self-Compassion, Stress, and Coping.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4 (2): 107–18.

33. Neff, Kristin D., Kristin L. Kirkpatrick, and Stephanie S. Rude. 2007. “Self-Compassion and Adaptive Psychological Functioning.” Journal of Research in Personality 41 (1): 139–54.

34. MacBeth, Angus, and Andrew Gumley. 2012. “Exploring Compassion: A Meta-Analysis of the Association between Self-Compassion and Psychopathology.” Clinical Psychology Review 32 (6): 545–52.

35. Guertin, Camille, Kheana Barbeau, and Luc Pelletier. 2020. “Examining Fat Talk and Self-Compassion as Distinct Motivational Processes in Women’s Eating Regulation: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective.Journal of Health Psychology 25 (12): 1965–77.

36. Longe, Olivia, Frances A. Maratos, Paul Gilbert, Gaynor Evans, Faye Volker, Helen Rockliff, and Gina Rippon. 2010. “Having a Word with Yourself: Neural Correlates of Self-Criticism and Self-Reassurance.NeuroImage 49 (2): 1849–56.

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

<!—Snippet to hide

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

 

The post How to lose belly fat, according to science. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Definition | Do they work? | BCAAs vs whey | BCAAs vs. EAAs | BCAAs vs food | Bottom line

“Get ripped with BCAAs,” says the company that sells them.

“I took BCAAs and had way more gains,” says guy at the gym.

“Taking BCAAs twice a day helps recovery,” says fit human on Twitter.

With all the talk, it’s enough to make any muscle-conscious person wonder: Should I be taking a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement!?

Unless, however, you’re a molecular biologist with a specialty in muscle development. (That’s me.)

Or you’re someone like Stuart Phillips, PhD, one of the world’s top protein researchers. He’s the principal investigator at McMaster University’s protein metabolism lab—one of the most prolific protein metabolism labs in history, publishing more than 250 research papers that have been cited more than 32,000 times.

When making BCAA claims, people often cite research from Dr. Phillips’ lab.

Yet Dr. Phillips doesn’t recommend BCAA supplementation—for anything.

So if THE expert on BCAAs doesn’t recommend them, why do so many people swear by the supplement?

And what other, less expensive options might work just as well or better?

Let’s find out.

What are branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)?

Before we get into what BCAAs are, let’s talk about amino acids in general.

Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. There are 20 different amino acids, divided into three categories.

A Venn diagram showing the types of amino acids, including essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids, conditionally essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids.

Amino acids can be divided into three categories: essential amino acids, conditionally essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids.

Your body can make some amino acids—these are called “non-essential”—but they have to get others from food. These are called essential amino acids. Conditionally essential amino acids can be made by the body some of the time, but not under times of stress—like after a tough workout, or when you’re sick.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a subgroup of three essential amino acids (EAAs):

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Valine

Of the three BCAAs, leucine is the most researched, and appears to offer the biggest physiological benefit. It stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is when muscle cells assemble amino acids into proteins. This process is key if you want to build muscle strength and size.

Around the turn of the millenium, Dr. Phillips was one of several researchers who helped figure out that leucine was the star of the muscle-building show, because of its stimulating effect on protein synthesis.1-4

When his and other studies were published, people in the muscle-building universe got excited.

Their thinking went like this:

But hold up, muscle-building universe—don’t get too excited…

Do BCAAs work?

Probably not—for many reasons. Here we go into just three of them.

Reason #1: Leucine can’t build muscle without other amino acids.

Here’s an analogy: Think of muscle as a brick wall.

Granted, this will be an unusual wall that someone builds and destroys over and over again—but visualize a wall nonetheless.

When it comes to building that wall, leucine is the most important brick. The wall doesn’t get built without it.

But leucine can’t finish the job all by itself. You also need histidine bricks, lysine bricks, methionine bricks, and many other amino acid bricks.

If you only have a pile of leucine bricks? No wall.

If you have a pile of leucine, isoleucine, and valine (the BCAAs)? Still no wall.

You need bricks from all 20 amino acids.

Bottom line: To build muscle, you need all the amino acids, not just leucine.

Reason #2: Leucine doesn’t work like lighter fluid.

People wrongly assume: The more leucine (from BCAAs, EAAs, or whole protein) you take, the more protein synthesis you get. And more protein synthesis means bigger muscles.

Light those muscles up, baby!

Except the mechanism is more like a dimmer switch, Dr. Phillips explains.

Leucine will turn up the protein synthesis switch—but not indefinitely.

It doesn’t continually make the lights brighter and brighter until it’s just you and the sun hanging at the gym, getting infinitely more swole.

Here’s how it actually works:

About 0.5 grams of leucine turns on the lights, initiating muscle protein synthesis. You’ll find that much in an egg—or any other food that contains at least at least 5 grams of complete protein.4

You’ll max your wattage somewhere around 2-3 grams of leucine, though the exact amount will vary based on your sex, body size, and age.4-6 You’ll find roughly that much in a meal that contains ~20-30 grams of complete protein, found in:

  • 3-4 ounces of meat
  • 3-5 eggs
  • 1-2 cups of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese

Bottom line: Leucine turns up muscle protein synthesis, but only to a point.

Reason #3: BCAAs don’t go straight from your mouth to your muscles.

They first have to make their way through your intestines, and into the bloodstream. (And many don’t.)

Amino acids compete with one another to enter little doorways (called transporters) to get into the bloodstream. And they can only use the doors specific to their amino acid type. If you flood your GI tract with single amino acids from a BCAA supplement, the doors reserved for single amino acids will get backed-up. Instead of your bloodstream, they end up in your toilet.

And the ones that do get into the bloodstream? They still have to find their way into your muscles. (Again, many don’t.)

That’s because leucine can only get into a muscle cell if another amino acid (called glutamine) happens to be leaving the muscle at the same time. So if you have a ton of leucine—and not enough glutamine—leucine either can’t get into the muscle cell at all or it does so very slowly.

Bottom line: Leucine needs glutamine to effectively get into muscle cells.

What’s best: BCAAs vs. whey protein vs. EAAs vs. food

Let’s start with the truth, straight from Dr. Phillips’s email to me when I told him about this story: “BCAAs are a waste of money… kind of sums up my position.”

Here’s why:

If you want to supplement, spend your money on Essential Amino Acids (EAAs). You need all of the EAAs to build muscle, not just leucine.

But, for most people, even EAA supplements aren’t necessary. And they may not be superior to… food. Truth is, we don’t fully understand the complexity of the interactions between amino acids and other nutrients in the body. It’s likely that the ratio of amino acids is more important than the absolute amount of one amino acid or nutrient.

Luckily, we evolved eating whole foods that likely (naturally) have the ratios we need to function well.

In other words, the best “supplement” may be the one that you slice with a knife, spear with a fork, and mash between your molars before swallowing.

The #1 source of amino acids

Yogurt, chicken, rice combined with beans, and other protein-rich foods contain all of the amino acids that most people need for muscle development. And, they cost less than supplements.

The “just eat real food” approach will work for you if:

You’re ready, willing, and able to eat protein-rich foods throughout the day. Data shows muscle growth is maximized by a daily protein intake of 1.6-2.2 grams/kilograms (g/kg) body weight. Try to distribute protein throughout the day, with an intake of about 0.4-0.6 g/kg per meal (assuming you eat about 3-4 meals per day). For specific protein recommendations based on your sex, age, and body size, use our macros calculator.

You’re under age 65. It takes less protein to stimulate protein synthesis when you’re younger, making it pretty easy to get all you need from food.

The #2 source of amino acids

Let’s say consuming 1-2 protein portions per meal sounds unlikely. In that case:

Whey protein is your next best option.

As the chart below shows, when compared to other protein powders, whey contains the most leucine and EAAs per scoop.8,4

(Read “How to choose the best protein powder” to fully understand how these options stack up.)

Whey protein is a great option for:

People who don’t really like protein-rich foods. If you’re not sure if this describes you, write down what you ate in the last few days. Then check how many palm-sized portions of protein you tend to eat per meal. If you’re not getting 1-2 palms of protein per meal, whey might save the day.

You’re trying to lose weight—and you’re hungry. You might want to periodically mix up a simple whey protein shake to stop the growlies—for relatively few calories.

You’re 65 or older. Protein needs go up as we age. At the same time, some older people either feel less hungry or have trouble chewing and digesting certain protein foods. All of this makes it more difficult to get enough protein from food alone.

You’re trying to gain muscle while losing fat. Usually, when people gain lean mass (which includes muscle), they also gain a bit of fat along with it. Conversely, when they lose fat, they also lose some muscle.

(No one ever said life was fair.)

But you might be able to minimize your muscle loss if you eat more protein while cutting calories, finds research.9

Compared to a steak, whey protein is relatively low calorie, making it easier to boost your protein consumption without also boosting your calorie intake.

So, if you’re older, or wanting to increase protein consumption in an easy, calorie-minimal way, whey’s a good protein source to add to the roster.

The #3 source of amino acids

For the vast majority of people, either whole foods or whey protein offers everything they need.

But EAAs might be a good option if:

You’re an athlete who’s trying to shed fat for a competition. Whey protein isn’t calorie dense. But in those rare situations where every single calorie counts, it might make sense for you to use EAAs instead, which provide your muscles with the essential building blocks, at very few calories.

You can’t stomach protein powders. Some people have trouble digesting whey and other protein powders. Or they could be allergic to dairy. In those cases, EAAs might be a better option.

You don’t mind the flavor of EAAs. Fair warning: they’re bitter.

When should you consume protein? Before, during, or after exercise?

Maybe you’ve heard that you should consume protein right after a workout—in order to take advantage of something called “the anabolic window.”

But this is a misinterpretation of the research.

Yes, exercise does make muscles more sensitive to protein synthesis. In other words, the anabolic window is real. But that window remains wide open for a long time. Eating meals within two to four hours of your workouts puts you well within it.

And most people, unless they’re fasting, are going to eat within four hours of a workout.

Bottom line: BCAAs (usually) aren’t worth it.

Even after you read this, maybe you still want to try BCAAs. Or you have a client who’s itching to experiment with them.

That’s okay!

Because the best way to find out whether anything does or doesn’t work for you is this: run an experiment.

How to experiment with BCAAs if you really, really want to try them.

Before you start, decide on a few metrics to track. You could measure your:

  • Appetite, on a 1 to 10 scale before and after meals.
  • Weight or girth measurements
  • Power / strength output at the the gym

Jot down your baseline(s).

Then go ahead and start taking BCAAs.

After a few weeks, check back in. How do you feel? What progress are you making? Is the supplement working? Have you seen a difference?

If yes, keep doing what’s working.

If no, that’s helpful information that could save you some money.

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References

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

1. Plotkin DL, Delcastillo K, Van Every DW, Tipton KD, Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Isolated Leucine and Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation for Enhancing Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2021 Mar 18;1–10.

2. Drummond MJ, Rasmussen BB. Leucine-enriched nutrients and the regulation of mammalian target of rapamycin signalling and human skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 May;11(3):222–6.

3. Churchward-Venne TA, Burd NA, Mitchell CJ, West DWD, Philp A, Marcotte GR, et al. Supplementation of a suboptimal protein dose with leucine or essential amino acids: effects on myofibrillar protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in men. J Physiol. 2012 Jun 1;590(11):2751–65.

4. Phillips SM. The impact of protein quality on the promotion of resistance exercise-induced changes in muscle mass. Nutrition & Metabolism [Internet]. 2106 Sep 29;13(64). Available from: https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0124-8

5. Available from: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0202-y

6. Moore DR. Maximizing Post-exercise Anabolism: The Case for Relative Protein Intakes. Front Nutr. 2019 Sep 10;6:147.

7. Fernstrom JD. Diet-induced changes in plasma amino acid pattern: effects on the brain uptake of large neutral amino acids, and on brain serotonin synthesis. J Neural Transm Suppl. 1979;(15):55–67.

8. Gorissen SHM, Crombag JJR, Senden JMG, Waterval WAH, Bierau J, Verdijk LB, et al. Protein content and amino acid composition of commercially available plant-based protein isolates. Amino Acids. 2018 Dec;50(12):1685–95.

9. Longland TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CJ, Devries MC, Phillips SM. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):738–46.

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

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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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

 

The post What Are BCAAs—and Are They Worth It? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1

Every day, Lina wore a ring that continually monitored her heart rate, sleep quality, and activity levels. Most evenings, she excitedly examined its data.

“It’s amazing. It changed my life,” she told anyone who asked. “You should totally get one!”

Jeron? He was a different story.

He, too, used a device to track his sleep. But the more his smartwatch revealed, the more he tossed and turned.

Lina and Jeron are among many people who use devices to track weight, body fat, running speed, steps, calories burned, calories consumed, heart rate, body temperature, respiratory rate, brain waves, and more.

Thanks to modern technology, we can know more about ourselves (and our clients) than ever before.

But does everyone benefit from so much information? 

Who will respond as Lina did? And who will respond like Jeron?

In this article, you’ll find answers to those questions, as well as:

Data and gadgets are cool. But depending on context and perspective, they have the potential to help or hurt a person’s health efforts.

Here’s how to know what’s right for you (or your clients).

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Data points help people understand how they’re doing.

Let’s say someone wants to improve their health. To reach that goal, they might decide to replace their nightly ice cream with a piece of fruit.

To see if that change is working, they could measure:

  • a behavior, such as how often they’re doing the action. For instance, they might track how often they ate fruit instead of ice cream after dinner.
  • an outcome, such as their cholesterol level or blood pressure. Outcomes can either be objective (like bloodwork) or subjective, such as someone’s stress or energy level.

Either way, the information is a progress indicator, helping assess whether a change is actually working.

But is tracking progress always a good thing?

5 surprising truths about data tracking

Truth #1: Different types of people thrive on different types of data.

Some people respond great to data.

Other people, however, can become anxious.

Rather than seeing their weight, heart rate variability, or sleep quality as a way to judge the effectiveness of what they do, some folks view these metrics as a statement of who they are.

When someone takes data personally, they might step on the scale and feel hopeless, thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”

Or they’ll look at a sleep-tracker and think, “My sleep sucks—I must be broken!”

A PhD candidate at Colorado State University, Kayla Nuss, MA, MS, PN1, has focused much of her graduate research on the relationship between data trackers and motivation to exercise.

Based on her findings as well as research by others,1,2 she says people are more likely to take data personally if they:

See the behavior they’ll track as a chore, making comments like, “I have to do this to lose weight.”

✓  Don’t feel they have a choice. Someone might say, “I don’t want to exercise, but my doctor told me I have to.”

Do the behavior to avoid feeling guilty. In other words, they exercise because they don’t want to feel bad about not exercising.

(You’ll learn more on how to help people see data differently a little later.)

Truth #2: A measurement is only useful if it helps you make a decision.

For many people, wearable devices offer a fun diversion and satisfy curiosity.

Without an action plan, though, devices are interesting, but not helpful.3

Consider the difference between:

  1. Someone who tracks their mile splits to see if their new training plan is improving their running speed.
  2. Someone who tracks their mile splits because their watch does it automatically (so why not?).

The first person will eventually be able to make a decision: Keep following the same training plan—or talk to their coach about making an adjustment.

The second person has only a bunch of numbers—and possibly some frustration. They may even become overtrained if they continually push themselves to beat their mile splits, without following a training plan that ensures adequate recovery.

Truth #3: Some trackers spit out inaccurate data.

The reliability of a tracker, research says, depends on a number of factors: the part of the body it monitors (finger, wrist, arm, chest), the tracker’s algorithm, the sensors used, and the activity being monitored.4,5

The least accurate progress indicators include:

Distance: Though technology has improved in recent years, some trackers overestimate your distance when you move at faster speeds, and underestimate your distance at slower speeds.

Trackers with GPS technology are usually more accurate than ones without it, though dense tree foliage and tall buildings can interfere with GPS signals.6-8

Sleep quality: Sleep trackers tend to overestimate hours slept and sleep efficiency, and underestimate the number of waking moments.9,4

Calories consumed: Generally speaking, calories are tough to measure, regardless of the tool. As a result, the calories listed on menus and food labels can be off by as much as 20 percent.10 (And that’s not the only thing that throws off calorie counts, as we detail in this infographic: The surprising problem with calorie counting.)

Calories burned: Trackers that estimate your calorie burn often do so based on laboratory averages, with large margins of error (around 10 to 23 percent).11,4 (Read more: The problem with tracking calories burned.)

Consumer fitness trackers are off by about 30% for total daily calorie expenditure. And for aerobic exercise, the devices show errors between 9% and 23%. Here’s what that looks like for a 300-calorie workout.

Now, if someone’s using a tracker merely to get a sense of a general trend or pattern, this lack of accuracy may not matter so much. But if they’re basing important decisions on these readouts? Problems develop.

Let’s say someone’s watch reports that they burned 400 total calories during a run. So they think, “Yay! I ran hard. Now I can eat 400 extra calories.”

Not so fast.

First, they might think they are eating 400 calories, but really consume as many as 480, thanks to that wishy-washy calorie math.

Second, also due to wide error margins, they may have really burned as few as 320 calories.

Finally, the numbers shown on the device aren’t all extra calories burned by the activity itself.

Anytime you see “calories burned,” it also includes the number of calories you use through normal, resting metabolism—and would have burned whether you ran or sat completely still. (For a 180-pound person, for instance, that resting metabolic rate is about 1.2 calories per minute.)

End result: They can easily end up eating 160-plus calories beyond what they expended.

Truth #4: High-tech trackers do motivate some people—for about three months.

When many people get a new smart device, they become absolutely obsessed. They wear it all the time. They study their data. They try to beat their step, mile, or speed counts.

It all works like magic.

Until it doesn’t.

“We humans get bored super quickly. We buy a fancy gadget thinking it will solve all our problems, and use it every single day for a few weeks or months,” says Kate Solovieva, MA, Pn2, a Precision Nutrition master coach.

“But then we take it off that one time in the shower. Or the battery dies, and the charger is in the other room, so we toss the gadget in our underwear drawer. For now. Two years later, we’re looking for a charger for our NEW fancy gadget, and find the old one in the drawer, and think… ‘Oh yeah!’”

Researchers call this the novelty factor.12,13 By the end of a year, only about 10 percent of people are still using their trackers, one study found.14

Truth #5: High-tech trackers can demotivate some people.

This is especially true of trackers that come with preset goals, such as sleeping a certain number of hours or walking a certain number of steps a day.15

When someone continually falls short of the goals the tracker sets, they can feel discouraged. Not only do they stop using the tracker, but they may also give up trying to improve the activity they were tracking, says Nuss.

“For some people, the tracker is the right tool. For others, it’ll lead to a persistent feeling of, ‘Geez, I suck.’”

How to know if data tracking will help your client

When it comes to data, there are basically three types of people:

  • People who benefit from a lot of data
  • People who benefit from some data—but who don’t need a heck of a lot of it
  • People who can be harmed by an overemphasis on data

Here’s how to figure out which category a client falls into.

People who benefit from a lot of data tend to:

✓  Be numbers-oriented. These clients often have engineering, actuarial, or accounting mindsets.

✓ Have more advanced goals. This includes elite athletes, bodybuilders, models, and other people who get paid based on how they look or perform. For them, a slight variance is the difference between placing first or 10th.

✓ See data as information—nothing more. Regardless of their profession, the numbers don’t define them. They aren’t part of their identity. For them, data can be helpful—because they can view it as just that.

People who benefit from some data tend to:

✓ Have simple goals. They want to look or feel better, to get in shape, or feel more energetic, among other things. And, while some data definitely will help them to progress, they don’t need a ton of it.

✓ Don’t get overly wrapped up in the numbers. An unexpected occurrence (like sudden weight gain) could bum them out, for sure. But with a little coaching, they’re able to turn their focus away from “That sucks” and over to, “Okay, that’s interesting. What should I try next?”

People who can be harmed by an overemphasis on data tend to:

✓ Have an unhealthy obsession with food and/or fitness. These clients can become so fixated on the numbers that they can’t think of anything else.

✓ Have unclear core values. When clients don’t define how a goal aligns with their deeper values, they never feel good enough—no matter what the numbers say. Think: The person who always wants to lose five pounds, no matter what they weigh.

✓ Have inaccurate or miscalibrated standards. Many recreational exercisers, for instance, beat themselves up for not having elite performances. They don’t have a realistic sense of what to expect.

✓ Be anxious about the activity they plan to track. Rather than feeling motivated by a sleep tracker, they might toss and turn even more.16

✓ Have perfectionistic thought patterns, aka “not-good-enough-itis.” When talking about a measurement, they insert themselves into the story. Failing to meet a timed workout goal quickly becomes “I’m slow” or “I suck” rather than “I’ll get it next time.”

✓ Be so competitive that they get injured or overtrained. Rather than take an off or easy day, they might try to get in more steps, beat their previous personal best walking time, or destroy the competition during the Workout of the Day.

Help clients use data effectively.

It’d be great if all clients saw measurements merely as a way to test the effectiveness of their action plan. But that’s not how a lot of people start out.

Here’s how to help clients view data as feedback.

Define progress.

Add specificity to hazy goals like “lose fat” and “get strong.”

Lose fat might become “get my body fat percentage below 25 percent.” And “get strong” might become “be able to get up off the floor while holding one of my grandchildren.”

Also, tie those specifics to a deeper value by asking, “Why?” over and over. (See our 5 Whys worksheet for specifics.)

The conversation might go like this:

Coach: That’s great that you want to get stronger. Could you tell me a little more about that? Why is that a goal for you?

Client: Well, I used to feel strong and now I don’t. I want to feel like I used to.

Coach: Great answer! Let’s dig even deeper. Why do you want to feel like you used to feel?

Client: Well, it kind of sucks being this weak. I used to be able to do things easily. Take groceries. It wasn’t always hard for me to carry the bags into the house. Now it is.

Coach: That’s really insightful. Why do you want those activities to feel easier?

Client: By the time I’m done with my shopping and errands, I’m so exhausted I can barely stand up, let alone hang out with my grandkids. I don’t want to be the grandma who can’t do anything. I want to be right there with them.

Coach: Bingo! Keep that strong grandma image front of mind. It’ll help keep you motivated. Now, let’s take a look at some ways to measure your progress.

Talk about how you’ll measure progress.

Nutrition coaches work with clients to create an initial action plan, based on what the client needs to do to get to where the client wants to go.

Then they break that plan down into one small, specific action to try—say eating one extra serving of veggies a day—and come up with a way to test it.

The test might track behavior, looking at how consistently the client ate an extra serving of veggies. Or the test might track an outcome, perhaps how energetic the client feels each day.

Either way, it’s testing the action—and not the person doing the action. 

To explain all this for a client interested in fat loss, you might say:

Coach: I know your goal is fat loss, but I’m not too concerned with whether you’re losing weight right now. For the first several weeks, we’re going to work on a few foundational skills that’ll help make changing how you eat feel a lot easier. It’s similar to investing now for a big payoff later.

Client: So…. I don’t need to weigh myself right now?

Coach: Actually, if you’re comfortable with it, it’d be great if you would. Tracking your weight will help us to get a better idea of your true baseline. Does that sound okay to you?

Client: Yeah, I think so. But I really want to lose weight now.

Coach: I get it. It’s really hard to wait, but it’ll be worth it. Scale weight can fluctuate a lot, so it helps to look at the trend over time opposed to just one point in time. Just know that if the trend isn’t moving downward over time, we’ll work together to determine the reason and then tweak the original plan.

Client: Yep. I can give that a try.

Coach: That’s great. And if you can’t, that’s okay. If this brings up negativity for you, we can switch to a different tracking method. Okay?

Client: Yup. Got it.

Focus on patterns.

No one improves in a consistent linear fashion. Usually it’s a two-steps forward, one step back process. An athlete might crush every single workout one week, lag the following week, only to return week three to hit another personal best.

See the chart below for a visual for someone interested in fat loss.

Graph showing how body weight fluctuates overtime.

The following conversation shows how you might help drive this home.

Client: Ugh, my weight is all over the place! I gained 4 pounds in one day. How is that even possible? This is stressing me out.

Coach: I hear that. It’s actually totally normal for your weight to vary from day to day. My weight has gone up by as much as 5 pounds in 24 hours based on my hydration status alone. So let’s not worry about a number from just one day. Let’s pay attention to the overall trend.

Client: How does that work?

Coach: Well, we want to look at patterns—and use those patterns to make decisions. For example, when one of my clients stopped eating dinner in the dining room and instead started eating in front of the TV,  their weight trended up over time.

Another client struggled to sleep at night whenever they drank two cups of coffee instead of just one. In other words, we’re not looking at just one occurrence. We’re looking for a trend. Does that make sense?

Client: Yep, got it. That thing you said about coffee? Totally me.

Alternative ways to track progress

It’s easier for clients to see patterns when they write things down.

By filling out a worksheet before trying a new behavior and again after practicing that behavior, they’ll be able to feel good about everything they’ve done right.

These templates can help.

Habit assessment for clients with simple goals

Sleep assessment worksheet

Social support assessment

Stress & recovery assessment

3-day diet record

80 percent full journal 

Eating slowly journal

Emotional eating journal

Meal consistency worksheet

Time diary

Consider using a different tracking method.

If a client becomes more anxious despite your efforts to help them see measurements as feedback, it’s time to make some changes.

You might:

Ask your client to collect data, but not look at it. For example, some smart scales can be programmed to send data to the coach, but not display a weight to the client.

Run an experiment. Suggest your client part ways with an anxiety-producing tracking method for two weeks. During their break, they might track differently (or not at all).

Instead of using a sleep tracker, for example, they might track an energy rating, and sleep quality. Or, rather than trying to hit a specific heart rate during a workout, they could use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

After two weeks, reassess. Did their anxiety go down?

Empower your client. You, as the coach, don’t have to know all the answers. So rather than immediately suggesting a different tracking method, you could put it back on your client. You might ask any of the following:

“I’m hearing that the scale is bringing up a lot of anxiety for you. Totally understand. I’d love to explore this a little further if you don’t mind. What other methods might we use to measure how you are doing? What do you think will work?”
“From the outside, it doesn’t seem like this tracking method is working for you. Would you agree? Is there another way of tracking your progress that you think might work better?”
“So your workout performance is trending down. And it sounds like you feel personally attacked by the numbers. That’s okay. It’s quite normal actually. But I’m curious how you feel about leaning into the opposite. What’s good about finding out this information? Is there a way you can use this data to your advantage?”

Don’t make it about you.

As much as possible, try to resist any urge to convert clients to your personal tracking solution.

Sure, your favorite tracking method might work great—for you.

And it might even help many of your clients.

But there will always be someone who doesn’t fit the mold. 

“As a coach, always consider that the opposite of your experience is possible,”  says Solovieva.

“If a smart tracker is the best thing that ever happened to you, be open to the idea that it could be harmful to someone else. And if trackers send you to a dark place, understand that they could actually work really well for some of your clients.”

In other words, know your personal bias, keep an open mind, listen deeply, and encourage clients to be a part of the decision-making process.

That way you’ll help clients discover the best tracking method for them—whether that entails lots of data or hardly any at all.

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References

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

1. Nuss K, Moore K, Nelson T, Li K. Effects of Motivational Interviewing and Wearable Fitness Trackers on Motivation and Physical Activity: A Systematic Review. Am J Health Promot. 2020 Jul 14;890117120939030.

2. Kerner C, Goodyear VA. The Motivational Impact of Wearable Healthy Lifestyle Technologies: A Self-determination Perspective on Fitbits With Adolescents. Am J Health Educ. 2017 Sep 3;48(5):287–97.

3. Frie K, Hartmann-Boyce J, Pilbeam C, Jebb S, Aveyard P. Analysing self-regulatory behaviours in response to daily weighing: a think-aloud study with follow-up interviews. Psychol Health. 2020 Jan;35(1):16–35.

4. Shin G, Jarrahi MH, Fei Y, Karami A, Gafinowitz N, Byun A, et al. Wearable activity trackers, accuracy, adoption, acceptance and health impact: A systematic literature review. J Biomed Inform. 2019 May;93:103153.

5. Mahloko L, Adebesin F. A Systematic Literature Review of the Factors that Influence the Accuracy of Consumer Wearable Health Device Data. In: Responsible Design, Implementation and Use of Information and Communication Technology. Springer International Publishing; 2020. p. 96–107.

6. Takacs J, Pollock CL, Guenther JR, Bahar M, Napier C, Hunt MA. Validation of the Fitbit One activity monitor device during treadmill walking. J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Sep;17(5):496–500.

7. Gilgen-Ammann R, Schweizer T, Wyss T. Accuracy of Distance Recordings in Eight Positioning-Enabled Sport Watches: Instrument Validation Study. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2020 Jun 24;8(6):e17118.

8. Boolani A, Towler C, LeCours B, Blank H, Larue J, Fulk G. Accuracy of 6 Commercially Available Activity Monitors in Measuring Heart Rate, Caloric Expenditure, Steps Walked, and Distance Traveled. Cardiopulm Phys Ther J. 2019 Oct;30(4):153.

9. Evenson KR, Goto MM, Furberg RD. Systematic review of the validity and reliability of consumer-wearable activity trackers. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015 Dec 18;12:159.

10. Center for Food Safety, Nutrition A. Guidance on Developing and Using Databases for Nutrition Labeling [cited 2020 Aug 13].

11. Tedesco S, Sica M, Ancillao A, Timmons S, Barton J, O’Flynn B. Accuracy of consumer-level and research-grade activity trackers in ambulatory settings in older adults. PLoS One. 2019 May 21;14(5):e0216891.

12. Jakicic JM, Davis KK, Rogers RJ, King WC, Marcus MD, Helsel D, et al. Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss: The IDEA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016 Sep 20;316(11):1161–71.

13. Finkelstein EA, Haaland BA, Bilger M, Sahasranaman A, Sloan RA, Nang EEK, et al. Effectiveness of activity trackers with and without incentives to increase physical activity (TRIPPA): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016 Dec;4(12):983–95.

14. Shin G, Feng Y, Jarrahi MH, Gafinowitz N. Beyond novelty effect: a mixed-methods exploration into the motivation for long-term activity tracker use. JAMIA Open. 2019 Apr;2(1):62–72.

15. Kerner C, Goodyear VA. The Motivational Impact of Wearable Healthy Lifestyle Technologies: A Self-determination Perspective on Fitbits With Adolescents. Am J Health Educ. 2017 Sep 3;48(5):287–97.16.

16. Baron KG, Abbott S, Jao N, Manalo N, Mullen R. Orthosomnia: Are Some Patients Taking the Quantified Self Too Far? J Clin Sleep Med. 2017 Feb 15;13(2):351–4

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—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.

<!—Snippet to hide

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 personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

–>

The post Health and fitness trackers: Do they help… or hurt? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Source: Health1