Opening December 2019: Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach. Where expert coaching, world-class curriculum, and innovative software meet.

Katie Wygant - testimonial card

ProCoach is world-class software that helps you coach more people, in less time, with better results. In one simple, easy-to-use platform, you get the industry’s leading nutrition and lifestyle coaching curriculum—complete with daily lessons, habits, progress updates, and more—ready to be delivered to your clients, with you showcased as the coach. 

Developed over 15 years and proven with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach is built on Precision Nutrition’s continually evolving curriculum—which is based on the latest scientific research, practice-based change techniques, our own clients’ transformative results, and feedback from over 12,000 ProCoaches to date. 

ProCoach gives you everything you need to roll out best-in-class nutrition coaching, effortlessly. Allowing you to turn what you learned in the Precision Nutrition Certification into a thriving coaching practice, get better results with every single client you work with, and add a highly profitable, scalable income stream to your business immediately. 

For more, check out this short video; it provides an overview of exactly how the ProCoach software works:

See how other health and fitness pros are using ProCoach with their clients.

On Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates. 

ProCoach is software that provides health and fitness professionals all the tools they need to start coaching nutrition with confidence—helping clients achieve better, longer-lasting results.

Plus, you can lock in a one-time special discount—and save 30%! (More details below.)

The most reliable and effective system for coaching nutrition.

When your job is to help people get in better shape, focusing on nutrition is the most important and effective step. But there’s a big problem: Piecing together all the details and getting the right systems in place to roll out a fully-functioning nutrition coaching service can be overwhelming.

As one of our ProCoaches put it: “Nutrition coaching felt SO complicated. When it came to offering it to my clients, I didn’t even know where to start.”

At best, most coaches are working with a clumsy combination of spreadsheets, Word docs, texting, email, and maybe a cheap calorie-counting app. They can already tell that as soon as they have more than 5 or 10 clients, it’s going to be chaos.

Despite their best intentions, these coaches struggle to keep their clients on track… which leads to negative feelings of self-doubt, stress, and frustration.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Adding nutrition coaching to your existing services doesn’t have to be so confusing, complicated, or difficult.

With ProCoach, you can seamlessly integrate nutrition into your business—while focusing on what you enjoy and do best: Coaching. Our software will handle all the details, from daily nutrition and lifestyle programming, to built in accountability, progress tracking, and more.

Now, instead of second-guessing yourself, feeling unsure about whether you know “enough” to offer nutrition advice, or worrying about figuring out all the details…

You can have total confidence—feeling energized, optimistic, and excited to integrate nutrition coaching into your business. Knowing you’ve got the world’s most effective and reliable system backing you up.

This means better results for every single client you work with. A stronger business for you. And the ability to help more people. 

With ProCoach, it’s all possible. 

Katie Wygant - testimonial card

Grow your business and work less.

Whether you want to start a new coaching business, or add nutrition coaching to your existing services, ProCoach will help you:

  • Market and sell your services to the people who need it.
  • Coach more people while delivering exceptional results.
  • Connect more deeply with your clients.
  • Spend less time on the admin things that drive you crazy.
  • Spend more time on the coaching things you enjoy.
  • Build a stronger business.

A proven curriculum, created/organized for you.

ProCoach automatically delivers—to your clients, on your behalf—an online nutrition coaching curriculum that helps them:

  • practice new eating habits,
  • troubleshoot their biggest challenges,
  • stay consistent, motivated, and accountable, and
  • radically improve their nutrition, lifestyle, and health.

With you as their coach—answering questions, offering encouragement, and tracking progress through a special dashboard—ProCoach helps you get more people to their goals, reliably and effectively every time.

Develop your coaching expertise.

ProCoach will also help you:

  • Assess clients quickly and efficiently.
  • Deliver daily habits, lessons, assignments from our curriculum.
  • Review client consistency and habit adherence at any time.
  • Track clients’ physical, mental, and behavior changes every week.
  • Communicate clearly and expertly when clients are stuck.
  • Attract new clients with photos, data, testimonials, and straight-up, irrefutable, hard-data evidence of your success as a coach.

ProCoach provides all the tools you need to start coaching nutrition—with confidence.

ProCoach is getting better every single day.

Through our exclusive ProCoach Facebook group, and the regular interviews and surveys we do with ProCoaches, we’re listening closely, responding dynamically, and creating new features every day.

As one ProCoach said: “I’m amazed at how closely you’re listening to feedback and shaping ProCoach in response. You’re saving us time, helping make both our experience and our clients’ experiences better, and much more.”

Indeed, since we opened ProCoach in June of 2016 we’ve released dozens of new features, including the following game changers.

Customized mini-site for every ProCoach

By answering a few simple questions within your ProCoach dashboard we’ll generate a customized mini website for your business, complete with a custom web address.

It’ll lay out your services, including the features, benefits, and hopeful future you’re promising.

Not only will this “do the selling for you,” it’ll also position you as the skilled, experienced, and educated coach that clients need to finally reach their goals.

ProCoach generates your own custom sales page and mini-site.

Done-For-You marketing

Attracting new clients is always a challenge. That’s why, with the help of Pat Rigsby, we created a host of online and offline marketing campaigns for you.

We built these to help you save time and make more money. They come complete with design assets, copy, and deployment instructions.

Now you can easily spread the word about your business and attract the right kind of clients without needing to be a marketing guru to do it.

Done-For-You Marketing is now built into ProCoach.

Quick-Start guides

Whenever onboarding new clients, it’s useful to share something tangible. Both so they feel like they’re getting something amazing for their money and so they can feel like they’re making progress on day one.

That’s why we’ve created these custom Quick-Start Guides. They’ll help set clients up for early success by giving them advice around portion control, workout nutrition, grocery shopping, and meal prep starting on Day 1.

Personalized Quick Start Guides are also built into ProCoach.

Comprehensive Learning Center

Since we first launched ProCoach in June 2016 we’ve made major improvements to our Learning Center.

With articles on every imaginable topic, and an awesome search feature, the Learning Center will teach you everything you need to be successful with ProCoach.

The comprehensive Learning Center included in ProCoach.

ProCoach Workouts (optional)

After working with thousands of ProCoaches to deliver comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle coaching, many began asking us to unlock our vault of expert-designed exercise programs so they can deliver a more holistic, single-platform experience.

As Precision Nutrition’s own coaching programs have offered integrated exercise, nutrition, lifestyle advice for years, we decided to make available our 28 client-proven exercise tracks for you to use with selected clients.

You now have 3 options when using ProCoach. For each client, you can:

  1. Use ProCoach for nutrition coaching only
  2. Use ProCoach for both nutrition and exercise coaching
  3. Use ProCoach for exercise coaching only

The choice is yours.

ProCoach Workouts is now an option you can use with selected clients.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

With our ProCoach Facebook group, you can now work alongside an extremely supportive group of more than 2,500 ProCoaches—including trainers, nutritionists, sport coaches, researchers, therapists, and other healthcare professionals from all over the world.

With case studies, lessons, daily tips, and more, being part of this community will help you expand your network, grow your business, and strengthen your coaching skills.

You’ll also get daily access to our experts and coaches, such as Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Kate Solovieva, Craig Weller, Adam Feit, and more. Ask questions, get feedback and advice, and nerd out on all things fitness and nutrition.

A story from our co-founder, Dr. John Berardi: “Once, I wanted to help more people. But I couldn’t.”

Enter JB:

I started coaching clients about 25 years ago. Back then, there was no such thing as “automated” or “online” coaching.

It was old-school: You met clients in person, you carried a clipboard, and after sessions you’d store handwritten programs on card stock paper in an organizer off to the side of the gym.

I have so many fond memories of my time training clients. But when I think back, there’s one frustration that always jumps out.

I consistently had between 15 and 20 full-time clients. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t find time to add more.

On top of working 45-60 hours every week on the gym floor training these clients, I needed to write programs, organize nutrition habits, do record keeping, manage billing, and nurture new leads.

I needed some time back, but I felt stuck.

I was working my butt off, but not making much money once the gym took their 50% cut of my coaching fees.

I realized that to make even a little more money, I’d have to find more time… which meant sacrificing my own workouts (and health) or the few hours I had left for socializing and sleeping.

After a few years on this merry-go-round, I finally came up with a solution:

I started supplementing my in-person training with online coaching.

It began really well. But whenever my roster reached 25-35 clients, I bumped up against new problems.

Problem 1:

With online clients, I didn’t have much time left for in-person coaching. I ended up doing a ton of administrative work for my online clients: program writing, record keeping, email responses, phone calls, and other routine client management tasks.

I was surprised; online coaching wasn’t the time-saver I had imagined.

Problem 2:

I started losing track of my clients.

Because I had more clients than ever, I started forgetting who was on what program, who had what goals… I sometimes felt like an idiot, asking people “So what program are you on again?” during a session.

The interesting part? Lots of other fitness and health coaches were experiencing the same things. They felt the same frustrations.

I wasn’t a lazy, disorganized, “bad” coach.

I just needed a system.

We all did.

We needed to find ways to do the “human” work of creating programs, listening, connecting with, and motivating our clients.

But we were constantly bogged down by administrative work, like paperwork, scheduling, and receipts.

So I got to thinking:

Couldn’t technology handle much of the repetitive “busywork” of day-to-day administration?

Couldn’t it keep us organized and on track? Monitor clients, even when we were sleeping or doing other things? Send us reminders and alerts?

I started asking: Could I “outsource” all these annoying and time-wasting administrative tasks so that I can take on more clients and do what I do best… coach?

So we built a dream solution to make coaching easier.

One of my best friends, Phil Caravaggio, had an answer.

Trained in systems design engineering, Phil showed me real-life examples of how IBM, Dell, and Apple were using software to simplify and amplify their businesses.

At that moment, I knew exactly what we had to do.

We set out to build a coaching platform that would allow coaches—starting with me—to deliver the highest quality coaching experience to larger numbers of clients.

One year later: Success!

We built a beta version of ProCoach and started testing it with a new batch of clients. Immediately I was able to go from coaching 25-35 clients to 100-150 clients at a time.

All while working the same number of hours—or even less—in a given week.

Chris Poese - testimonial card

15 years later, Dr. Berardi’s early prototype has become Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.

Since then, the Precision Nutrition team has consistently and relentlessly refined the technology, the software, and the curriculum.

We’ve tested its max limits. We’ve broken it on purpose and rebuilt it so it’s stronger. We’ve found all the sweet spots.

For example:

Since we built the beta version of ProCoach, our in-house coaches at Precision Nutrition have coached an average of 5,000 clients per year with the software.

Today we’re able to coach these clients with 20 full-time Precision Nutrition supercoaches (and a group of part-time interns and mentors) who work wherever they want in the world, living life on their own terms.

You’ll notice that’s an average of about 250 clients per coach—and they get amazing results.

What kind of results are we talking about here? Check this out.

See what 365 days of ProCoach can do.

And this video shares some amazing behind-the-scenes client stories.

Bodies, and lives, are changed with ProCoach’s habit-based nutrition coaching.

As you can see, our clients are a diverse bunch. They come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. In fact, they’re probably a lot like your clients.

Which means:

The results you see in the videos above are the exact same results your clients can expect when you start using Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.

Want to see more? Check these out:

  • Precision Nutrition Coaching – Men’s Hall of Fame
  • (225+ men’s before and after photos. Ages 21-70)
  • Precision Nutrition Coaching – Women’s Hall of Fame
  • (375+ women’s before and after photos. Ages 21-74)

Daniel Hennessey - testimonial card

The ProCoach reviews have been stellar.

In June of 2016, we opened ProCoach up to our Certification students and graduates. We wanted to let them test drive the program in their own businesses.

The response has been amazing.

We sold out all available ProCoach spots in a matter of hours—and the same thing has happened each time we’ve opened up new spots, ever since.

To date, our ProCoaches have:

  • enrolled over 100,000 new clients,
  • helped them lose over 965,000 pounds (and counting), and
  • collected nearly $57 million in revenue.

Yep, that’s all within just the first two years!

If you want to try this research-proven, client-tested, reliable system for coaching nutrition with your own clients—join us on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

Erika Volk Gilliland - testimonial card

Deliver nutrition coaching with confidence—and help your clients achieve better, longer-lasting results.

By incorporating ProCoach into your business, and coaching practice, you’ll:

  • Add practice-based nutrition coaching to your existing services, easily.
  • Add a highly profitable revenue stream, immediately.
  • Deliver habits, lessons, assignments from our proven curriculum.
  • Review and track your clients’ consistency and progress every week.
  • Set clients up for long-term, sustainable success.
  • Attract even more new clients with photos, data, testimonials, and straight-up, irrefutable, hard-data evidence of success.

You’ll save time while making more money.

Your clients will get world-class results.

You’ll look like a rockstar coach.

And you’ll feel more in control of your time (and your work) than ever before.

Nikki Strong - testimonial card

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

On Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates.

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

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition, we like to reward the most interested and motivated professionals, because they always make the best students and clients. Join the presale list and we’ll give you 30% off the monthly cost of Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. Remember, last time we sold out within minutes. But by joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to become a confident nutrition coach, help more people live their healthiest lives, and grow your business… ProCoach is your chance.

The post Opening December 2019: Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach. Where expert coaching, world-class curriculum, and innovative software meet. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Level 1: The surprising truth about sugar. Here’s everything you need to know about what it does to your body.

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

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

  • Want to listen instead of read? Download the audio recording here…

++++

Is sugar “good”?

Is sugar “bad”?

It’s hard to know for sure these days.

Which is interesting because…

Sugar is a fundamental molecule in biology.

Human bodies need sugar.

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

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

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

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

Why did we start hating on sugar?

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

Why do some of us fear it so much?

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

Or is it a toxic relationship?

Is it time to part ways?

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

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

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

So why not step back and take a fresh look?

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

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

Yes, we’re biased too.

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

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

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

… that one size doesn’t fit all,

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

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

So here’s our bias in this article.

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

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

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

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

What is sugar?

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

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

This group includes lots of members such as:

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

And so on.

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

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

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

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

Sugars live under the larger umbrella of “carbohydrates”.

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

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

The more complex the molecule, the slower it digests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But we differ in our physiology and behavior.

In all things, humans are diverse and variable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #1:
Does sugar cause obesity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s now statistically “normal”.

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

Obesity rates in the United States

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

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

For comparison:

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

The percentage of body fats in U.S. adults

Does increased sugar consumption explain body weight trends?

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

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

They tell us that, since 1980, Americans:

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

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

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

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

Whether those calories came from sugar is probably irrelevant.

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

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

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

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

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

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

Indeed, sugar quickly became the food of the poor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Sugar Intake vs Obesity Prevalence - 1980-2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how the study worked.

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

Lower carbohydrate:

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

Lower fat:

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

Lower carbohydrate and lower fat diets - comparison

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

On the lower carbohydrate diet:

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

On the lower fat diet:

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

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

So what happened?

Insulin production:

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

Body weight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study 2: Fine, let’s go lower.

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

Here’s how this second study worked:

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

So what happened?

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

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

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

Thus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of these 12 reviews:

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

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

Sweet foods may increase energy intake.

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

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

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

Sweet foods are often processed and highly palatable.

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

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

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

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

What else is going on, besides sugar consumption?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #3:
Does sugar cause diabetes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other factors shape our disease risk, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does fructose contribute?

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

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

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

Let’s take a look.

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

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

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

Possible? Yes.

Daily norm? Sure hope not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #4:
Does sugar cause cardiovascular disease?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s not just one thing.

It’s all the things.

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

There are other factors besides sugar in metabolic disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get real here.

Sugar is not a health food.

It doesn’t nourish us.

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

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

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

But biology is complex.

Diseases are complex too.

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

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

Again, human beings are diverse.

We vary widely in all kinds of ways, including:

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

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

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

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

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

What does this all mean?

Let’s sum up what the science suggests:

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

Yet, after working with thousands of clients:

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

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

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

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

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

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

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

This means you should…

2. Begin with fundamental behaviors.

Sugar is one part in a much bigger puzzle.

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

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

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

3. Become aware of your overall energy balance.

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

Are you eating the right amount for your physiological requirements?

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Maintain a healthy weight.

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

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

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

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

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

Consider…

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

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

Around here, we keep it real.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Help them. Learn about them. Understand them.

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

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

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

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

10. Use data.

Track your health and physical performance indicators.

Schedule regular medical checkups.

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

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

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s evidence-based, practical, and individualized for each person’s lifestyle, preferences, and goals—is both an art and a science.

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

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

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

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Pan XR, et al. Effects of diet and exercise in preventing NIDDM in people with impaired glucose tolerance. The Da Qing IGT and Diabetes Study. Diabetes Care. 1997 Apr;20(4):537-44.

Petro AE, et al. Fat, carbohydrate, and calories in the development of diabetes and obesity in the C57BL/6J mouse. Metabolism. 2004 Apr;53(4):454-7.

Poulsen P, Kyvik KO, Vaag A, Beck-Nielsen H. Heritability of type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus and abnormal glucose tolerance–a population-based twin study. Diabetologia. 1999 Feb;42(2):139–45.

Ramachandran A, et al. The Indian Diabetes Prevention Programme shows that lifestyle modification and metformin prevent type 2 diabetes in Asian Indian subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IDPP-1). Diabetologia. 2006 Feb;49(2):289–97.

Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Comparison of effects of long-term low-fat vs high-fat diets on blood lipid levels in overweight or obese patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Dec;113(12):1640-61.

Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Low-carbohydrate diets impair flow-mediated dilatation: evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2013 Sep 14;110(5):969-70.

Shah NR, Braverman ER (2012) Measuring Adiposity in Patients: The Utility of Body Mass Index (BMI), Percent Body Fat, and Leptin. PLoS ONE 7(4): e33308. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033308
St-Onge M-P. Are Normal-Weight Americans Over-Fat? Obesity (Silver Spring, MD). 2010;18(11):10.1038/oby.2010.103. doi:10.1038/oby.2010.103.

Stanhope KL, et al. Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans. J Clin Invest. 2009 May;119(5):1322–34.

Sumiyoshi M, Sakanaka M, Kimura Y. Chronic intake of high-fat and high-sucrose diets differentially affects glucose intolerance in mice. J Nutr. 2006 Mar;136(3):582–7.

Surwit RS, et al. Differential effects of fat and sucrose on the development of obesity and diabetes in C57BL/6J and A/J mice. Metabolism. 1995 May;44(5):645–51.

Surwit RS, et al. Metabolic and behavioral effects of a high-sucrose diet during weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr;65(4):908–15.

Te Morenga L, Mallard S, Mann J. Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ. 2012 Jan 15;346:e7492.

Te Morenga LA, Howatson AJ, Jones RM, Mann J. Dietary sugars and cardiometabolic risk: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of the effects on blood pressure and lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100(1):65–79.

Tuomilehto J, et al. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. N Engl J Med. 2001 May 3;344(18):1343-50.

USDA Economic Research Service – Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2017 Feb 18]. Available from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-availability-per-capita-data-system/.

Yang Q, et al. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Apr;174(4):516–24.

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

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: Frequently Asked Questions.

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: Frequently Asked Questions.

On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, we’re opening registration for the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, the world’s most respected nutrition education program.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.  It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel both confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

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

For more about the program, check out the frequently asked questions below.

But, first, watch this short video; it provides a full breakdown of the program, including interviews with renowned coaches like Eric Cressey, Molly Galbraith, Adam Lloyd, and Jon Goodman:

Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi gives you a sneak peek at the Level 1 Certification.
(Plus, industry leaders share their thoughts on the program).

 

 

As we’re about to open the program—and last time we sold out in hours—we’re getting lots of questions. Here we’ll answer the most common ones so you can decide if it’s a good choice for you.

  • What is the Precision Nutrition Certification?
  • What will the Precision Nutrition Certification do for me?
  • How was the Precision Nutrition Certification developed?
  • What happens after I get certified?
  • How do I sign up?

What is the Precision Nutrition Certification?

Q: What’s the program all about?
A:

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

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

This means you’ll feel qualified to offer nutrition advice and confident in your ability to coach anyone to better health and fitness.

But, here’s the thing:

You don’t have to currently work in, or operate, a health and fitness practice to benefit from the Precision Nutrition Certification.

Many people who join the program see it as their first major step toward becoming a health and fitness professional. (Often they’re still in the job they plan to leave for this new career).

Yet others complete our certification program simply to learn more about how nutrition influences a person’s health and fitness… so they can eat better themselves and help others do the same.

Q: I heard the Level 1 Certification was recently updated. Is that true?
A:

Yes, it’s a brand-new, completely updated 4th edition.

Since we first launched the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ve been the definitive source of nutrition education for health and fitness professionals who want to catapult their careers and make a difference in people’s lives. Yet we’re never satisfied with yesterday’s success.

Nutrition science is dynamic, new discoveries are made almost daily. And that’s just on the research side. As we continue to coach our own clients (over 100,000 and counting), we’re discovering new methods of helping them achieve real, lasting behavior change.

As we train and certify health and fitness professionals (over 70,000 and counting), we’re also uncovering the best ways to help our Certification students learn, retain, and apply the material.

That’s why we’ve spent the better part of this year re-envisioning and redesigning the program from the ground up.

Here’s what’s new…

New “skills, practice, and action” framework

It’s one thing to read and retain information. It’s an entirely different thing to actually apply what you’re learning and start getting results right away.

This was our focus in this 4th edition: To teach you the theory and to help you practice what you’re learning, so that you can start getting life-changing results with your clients from Day One of the program.

We’ve designed the entire curriculum in a way that helps you immediately apply your new knowledge.

  • Practice-based approach. Along with reading the textbooks, watching the videos, and answering your workbook questions, you’ll also get the opportunity to practice what you’re learning throughout the entire program. By the end, your nutrition coaching skills will be second nature to you.
  • Step-by-step learning process, for immediate results. You can read a chapter in the morning, and use what you learned in your afternoon sessions.
  • Active learning tools. From case studies, to “try it now” exercises, to your own “Learner’s Manual,” we’ll give you all the tools you need to use what you’re learning in the real world, right away.

Newly updated 4th edition of the Precision Nutrition
Level 1 Certification

This latest version of the program is more valuable and practical than ever. Inside you’ll find:

  • 3 unit textbooks, beautifully packaged in a box set—to give you everything you need to know about nutrition, behavior-change psychology, and coaching practice (click here to download the table of contents). Plus, it’s easy to carry from your house, to the car, to the gym, so you can study anywhere!
  • 20 animated instructional video seminars, to help you better understand each chapter (check out a sample video below).
  • Workbook and study guide, with exercises and thought experiments to help prepare you for the end-of-chapter exams.
  • Real-world case studies, drawn from our work with over 100,000 clients, to help you practice and retain the powerful new concepts you’re learning.
  • Over 40 premium coaching tools, including assessment forms and questionnaires, to help you learn more about your clients and unlock their full potential (click here to download an overview of the questionnaires and assessments).

The brand-new 4th Edition of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is beautifully packaged in a box set and packed with the latest research and proven coaching practices.

As promised, here’s “What is a great coach?”—which supplements Chapter 3 of the text. (Remember, every chapter has a video like this, to go along with the text.)

 

 

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, you’ll learn nutrition coaching the right way, from the company that Nike, Equinox, Titleist, and professional athletes worldwide turn to for advice and expertise.

Now, more than ever, our certification is guaranteed to give you a one-of-a-kind education experience—plus the knowledge and confidence to coach nutrition with anyone who comes to you for help.

That’s why top organizations like this come to us for help:

And companies like:

And major media outlets like:

Extremely successful launch of ProCoach

In addition to releasing the 4th edition of our Certification materials, we’ve also launched ProCoach. This cutting-edge nutrition coaching software allows Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification students and grads to use our proven methods with the people they coach in an easy and scalable way.

Precision Nutrition ProCoach

Tested with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach makes it easy to deliver world-class nutrition coaching to clients. Now you can grow your practice while working less and getting better results.

We knew our system was in high demand, but the response to ProCoach—and the results health and fitness professionals are already seeing with their clients—far exceeded our expectations. Once you begin the Level 1 Certification program, ProCoach will be available to you and the people you help, too.

The PN Method validated in scientific journals

The Precision Nutrition method, which drives our Certification and ProCoach programs, was recently validated in 3 peer-reviewed studies. This means that the system you’ll learn in the Level 1 program is truly “evidence-based.” In fact, we’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that successfully coaches real clients every single day. 

Our method was recently validated in peer-reviewed studies, which were published in Internet Interventions, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and Obesity Science and Practice.

Having tested it with over 100,000 clients, we know our system is highly effective at helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it too.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

As a PN Level 1 student, you’ll get instant access to our private Facebook community. Now you’ll be able to learn alongside an extremely supportive group of over 35,000 coaches, physicians, trainers, nutritionists, researchers, therapists, yoga teachers, and other health and fitness professionals from all over the world.

You’ll also get daily access to some of our revered expert coaches like Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Adam Feit, PhD(c), Dr. Helen Kollias, Kate Solovieva, MA Pscyh, and more.

As part of the Precision Nutrition Certification community you can: Ask questions. Get feedback and advice. Nerd out on all things fitness, nutrition, and health.

What will the Precision Nutrition Certification do for me?

Q: Why offer a certification like this?
A:

Because an effective nutrition coaching system is the missing component in the health and fitness industry today.

If a health intervention or exercise program isn’t accompanied by an effective nutrition system, you’ll get mediocre results—no matter how badly the client or patient “wants it.”

The fact is this: Many very good coaches, in a variety of health and fitness fields, see their efforts go to waste because their excellent programs aren’t accompanied by a proper nutrition intervention. And that’s not merely our opinion.

To give you a very specific example: There’s ample research demonstrating that in the absence of nutrition change, even very intense exercise programs with experienced trainers, will yield an average of merely 3 to 6 pounds of fat loss in 6 months’ time.

Think about that: A client would spend $3,000-$5,000 for 6 months with a personal trainer, only to lose a few measly, unnoticeable pounds of body fat. That’s not good.

To give you a counter example, in our Precision Nutrition Coaching program, clients average around 15 pounds of fat loss in the first 6 months. That’s nearly 3 times as effective.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we provide both exercise and nutrition coaching, and that’s the difference.

But keep in mind: Our coaching is 100 percent online. They get those results without ever meeting us in person.

If they work with a coach or trainer while doing Precision Nutrition Coaching (which can help them work harder in the gym and stay accountable locally), they lose closer to 25 pounds of fat in 6 months. That’s over 4 times as effective.

(Of course, nutrition coaching isn’t just about fat loss. It’s also about building strength, improving health, feeling energetic, and more. We’re just using fat loss as an example.)

So something is missing, and that something is nutrition coaching.

That’s why we developed the certification program: To teach health and fitness professionals both the science of nutrition and the art of coaching. Because once you really understand both, on a deep level, you can deliver results that are impossible with exercise alone.

Equally rooted in the latest nutrition science and behavior-change psychology, the Certification offers a proven and practical coaching system that shows you exactly what to do at every stage of the nutrition coaching process—from the very first time you meet with a client, until they reach all of their goals.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Q: What do you mean when you say, “Exercise alone doesn’t work”?
A:

We mean exactly that: Exercise alone doesn’t work.

If a person doesn’t change their nutrition, nothing else they do will matter much when it comes to body composition change (fat loss, muscle gain) and the associated health improvements.

And that’s what 95 percent of people are looking for, isn’t it?

Simply put, the past 25 years of published scientific research show that while exercise alone can promote very small changes in body fat, lean mass, and the associated health markers, those changes are almost negligible.

In fact, one published review, a meta-analysis of more than 700 previous exercise studies done over 25 years, showed that about 6 months of supervised exercise programming will produce only 9 pounds of weight lost.

If we assume 50 percent of that weight lost is fat (which is a safe assumption, based on the research), that means that clients can expect to lose around 4.5 pounds of fat during a 6-month training program.

So, let’s assume a client meets with their trainer four times a week at $50 an hour. That’s $200 per week, $800 per month, and $4,800 for 6 months. All for 4.5 pounds of fat lost? That’s a cost of $1,000 per pound of fat lost.

After all that time and money spent, would an overweight client even notice 4.5 pounds fat loss? Would their cholesterol be significantly lower? Would they feel like they got their money’s worth?

Not likely.

Q: What results can I expect when I integrate nutrition coaching into my current practice?
A:

Again, let’s look at one comparator, Precision Nutrition Coaching, which incorporates both exercise and nutrition.

During the first 6 months of the online-only program, the average fat loss is around 15 pounds. In addition, we see hundreds of reports of clients being taken off blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes medications.

If that client uses our exercise and nutrition system while working with a trainer in-person, they’ll see an average of 25 pounds of fat loss over the course of 6 months.

And the best performers are losing up to 100 pounds in 12 months. It’s quite amazing.

So with the right exercise and the right nutrition programming, supervised by an in-person coach, the cost per pound of fat loss can go down from $1000 per pound to $100 per pound. That’s nearly 5 times the fat loss and 10 times the cost-effectiveness.

If you’re a health and fitness professional, imagine how in-demand you’d be if you could regularly deliver results like that.

It’s absolutely possible. In fact, it’s what we should expect. But no one is teaching this stuff.

Nothing out there covers the specific problem: How to deliver nutrition coaching in an exercise, personal training, health, rehab, or sport coaching environment. And that’s why we created this certification.

We wanted to create a new kind of program: one that helps professionals become body (and health) transformation experts, and one that helps clients get the kind of results they deserve.

The Precision Nutrition Certification is a massive step in that direction.

For more on the kinds of results you can expect, check out this video:

 

 

Q: Would nutritionists and dietitians benefit from this program as well?
A:

Absolutely. In fact, we wish every dietitian would find their way to this program and get involved.

Although RDs have excellent training in all aspects of clinical nutrition, most dietetics programs don’t even offer a sport and exercise nutrition course. If they do, the course is usually too general to be of any use in the field.

Trust us. We know because we’ve taught in dietetics departments. Just because someone has earned an RD or LD credential doesn’t mean they’re done learning. The best dietitians, physicians, trainers, and coaches make lifelong education an important priority.

The Precision Nutrition Certification program would be an asset for every dietitian.

Q: Can I earn CEUs from my training or dietetics organization with this program?
A:

Most likely. The curriculum is pre-qualified for CEUs with the following organizations:

  • ACE (2.0 CECs)
  • ACSM (20 CECs)
  • CDR (16 CPEUs)
  • CPTN (14 CECs)
  • CrossFit® (20 CEUs)
  • NASM (1.9 CEUs)
  • PTA Global (24 CECs)
  • REPs UK (16 CPDs)
  • USA Cycling (15 CEUs)

This means that, if you are certified by any of the groups listed above, CEUs are guaranteed upon successful completion of the course.

We should also note that a host of additional organizations accept our course on a one-off basis. For these, graduates from our program submit a summary of the course and their certificate for review.

How was the Precision Nutrition Certification developed?

Q: What qualifies you to teach a course / offer a certification like this?
A:

First and foremost, we’re practitioners, not just theorists. In fact, we’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that coaches our own clients, in addition to educating health and fitness professionals.

We’re in the trenches every day, coaching thousands of people around the world, from all walks of life. We’re constantly improving our coaching process based on our own learnings from the field, along with the latest research in nutrition science, exercise physiology, and behavior-change psychology.

Our team includes some of the best nutritionists, PhDs, dietitians, and specialists in the industry.

For example, Dr. John Berardi, Precision Nutrition’s co-founder and co-author of the Level 1 program, has had vast exposure to almost every aspect of health, fitness, and nutrition. He’s been:

  • A student of nutrition, completing his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario.
  • A teacher of nutrition at multiple universities, including the University of Texas, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Western Ontario.
  • A competitive physique athlete, winning Mr. Jr. USA in 1995.
  • A personal trainer, running a successful training business in Miami.
  • A researcher who has published studies in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • An author of over half a dozen nutrition books and hundreds of articles in magazines like Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and many more.
  • A consultant to companies like Nike, Equinox and Titleist.
  • A nutrition coach to thousands of everyday people and quite a few pro athletes and Olympic gold medalists.

So apart from being qualified academically, he has a pretty unique perspective—one that’s very well-suited to teaching this material, especially to professionals.

Dr. Berardi has seen the field of nutrition from more angles, both personally and professionally, than almost anyone else teaching nutrition today.

In addition, he’s written chapters for other nutrition textbooks, he’s created Masters-level university courses on sport nutrition, and he’s created nutrition certification material for other certifying bodies.

So he has extensive experience creating academic course material.

But most of all, we think our team is qualified to teach this because we’ve used and tested this very system extensively with our own clients here at Precision Nutrition.

Remember: Precision Nutrition isn’t just a certification company.

Over the past 15 years, through our Precision Nutrition Coaching system, we’ve been quietly conducting the largest body transformation research project in the world.

We’ve had over 100,000 clients go through our nutrition coaching curriculum, doing what is essentially a total exercise, nutrition and lifestyle intervention.

The purpose of this coaching is simple: to help people lose fat, gain lean mass, and completely transform their bodies (and lives).

Now, here’s the thing: Since the entire program is online, we’re able to collect data on everything. And we mean everything.

Because we don’t see clients in person, we can’t “eyeball” things. We need data. So we have detailed psychometric (personality) profiles on our clients. We track compliance and every measurable and relevant behavior. And, of course, we regularly collect photos and monitor body composition and performance outcomes.

As a result of this rigorous data collection, we’re guessing we here at Precision Nutrition know, better than almost anyone else in the world, which variables are most important to body transformation success.

Now, remember, we’re not talking about what we think is correlated to success. We’re talking about what we absolutely know is correlated with success. Success here means compliance, consistency, and ultimately, fat loss, muscle gain, and life-changing health improvements.

It takes a long time to gather this kind of information, especially since no one in the health or fitness industry has ever done anything like it before. But now that it’s been gathered, analyzed, and tested, we believe it’s time to share it.

From there, the Precision Nutrition Certification was born.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Q: How does the Precision Nutrition Certification compare to other nutrition education options?
A:

First, it’s based on real client data and our own coaching experience.

We’re not really a certification organization. We’re coaches. So this is coming from first-hand knowledge that we use ourselves every day.

This certification is based on real client results, and a reliable and reproducible system for monitoring and achieving those results. That’s what you learn when you become Precision Nutrition Certified.

Second, it’s designed specifically for people passionate about nutrition and fitness—including health and fitness professionals. Many of our students are coaches, therapists, physicians, dietitians, and nutritionists working with people who exercise.

That’s very important, because most nutrition courses suffer from at least one of two big problems.

Problem 1: They have little or nothing to do with exercising clients looking for health or body transformation.

Most credible nutrition education today is meant for people looking to become professors, researchers (people who work at universities), or clinical dietitians (people who work at hospitals). If you want to do any of that, you go to college, study for years and get a Ph.D. or an R.D. Both noble professions.

Our co-founder John Berardi got a Ph.D. in the field, so we’re not knocking it. Brian St. Pierre, who co-wrote the textbooks for the Precision Nutrition Certification, earned both a master’s degree and R.D. and worked at prestigious hospitals and research institutes. And both Krista Scott-Dixon and Helen Kollias, our other co-authors, earned Ph.D.s at respected universities.

But neither of those roads teach you how to actually coach an exercising client through a health and body transformation. That’s a very specific skill set, requiring both an understanding of the science of nutrition and—this is critical—a reliable system for coaching it.

So unlike anything else out there right now, the Precision Nutrition Certification does both of those things. It was designed from the ground up, specifically for people who work with, or are looking to work with, clients.

Problem 2: Most of the nutrition certification programs out there are, well, kind of a joke.

We just Googled “nutrition certification” and found thousands of results. Yikes. The situation is bleak.

Of the non-university level nutrition certifications out there, we see plenty of garbage, quite frankly. Weekend seminars, no exams, no studying. Lots of rubber stamping.

Some are more challenging, for sure, and probably a few are even worth the money. We don’t know—we can’t look at the Google results for very long before getting depressed.

We’d like to sum it up this way: If you’re here, reading this, you’ve probably followed us for some time and you probably think a lot like us. And so we suspect you will probably benefit more from the Precision Nutrition Certification than from any other non-university level nutrition education you’re likely to find.

That’s just our gut feeling, so take it for what it’s worth.

But here’s something that’s not a gut feeling, but rather a fact from our own customer-purchase data: A good number of the CEOs and staff of other nutrition companies are Precision Nutrition Certified. We’re not kidding when we say this: We’re the experts that other experts come to for help.

Ron_PN_Team_Member

 

 

Q: Will there be multiple levels of certification?
A:

Yes, two.

This is the first, the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, and includes the textbooks, the online material, and the online exam.

Essentially, Level 1 certifies that you have a solid understanding of nutrition science and coaching. Once you pass the exam, you get a Level 1 certificate acknowledging your completion of that part of the certification program.

Some people will stop there. And that’s cool with us. With the Level 1 certificate, they’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to help people improve their bodies and health through better nutrition.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Master Class is only open to students and graduates of the Level 1 program.

The Level 2 student is required to do an online mentorship, perform regular research reviews, and produce client case studies showing that they can actually deliver results. Level 2 certifies that you can take the theory and apply it with your clients all the way through a successful health and body transformation.

So, unlike other nutrition certification programs, the Precision Nutrition Certification has both a self-paced component where you learn the material (Level 1) and a mentorship component where you practice under the watchful eye of a world-class coach (Level 2).

Those who complete both levels will be among the best in the world at getting results.

Q: How long does it take to complete the Level 1 program?
A:

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is entirely self-paced, so there’s no deadline. You can take as much or as little time as you like.

The pace that seems to work best for most of our students is completing one chapter per week. That means reading the chapter, reviewing the online video, answering the workbook questions, and writing the 10-question exam.

If you follow that structure, you can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week on the certification materials. Since there are 20 total chapters, you’d earn your Precision Nutrition Certification in a little over four and a half months.

But here’s the best part: You don’t need to wait to get certified in order to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition. Since you’ll be learning and practicing from Day One, you’ll be in a perfect position to start helping your clients immediately.

Q: How do I stay committed and on track if the program is self-paced?
A:

That part is easy.

In addition to the printed materials you’ll receive (i.e. textbooks, workbook, client assessment forms), you’ll also get access to our online course platform.

The platform hosts our educational videos, case studies, online quizzes (one per chapter), and innovative learning tools to help you practice and retain the material. It also encourages (and tracks) your progress.

In the end, we built the online platform ourselves based on the best practices of distance-based education. Most students find it the perfect blend of flexibility and accountability. And the proof is in our graduation rate, which is well above the industry standard.

Q: How about Level 2?
A:

The Level 2 program is an in-depth online mentorship that takes 12 months to complete.

And, as discussed above, it’s only available to Precision Nutrition Level 1 students and graduates.

Q: Do I need to have a science degree to become certified?
A:

No. We assume no prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, etc., and so we don’t require a university degree.

Now, if you were terrible in science, you can expect some parts of this certification to be semi-challenging. But if you’re willing to read and understand new concepts, you can definitely learn the material.

Q: Is this program accredited by a national education board?
A:

No, it’s not accredited by any of the national education boards.

If you want letters and a rubber stamp, there are organizations for that. At Precision Nutrition, we’re all about passing on important and life-changing knowledge. We’ll leave all the bureaucratic hoops to other organizations.

However, we should mention that we are recognized as a continuing education provider by the top fitness and nutrition organizations in the world (see below). In addition, as mentioned above, our course material is approved for teaching at the master’s level.

What happens after I get certified?

Q: Once I’m Precision Nutrition Certified, will I be listed on your site?
A:

Yes. And given our exposure online, that’s a big advantage for Precision Nutrition Certified professionals. As we grow our online coaching programs, that advantage will grow with it.

For example: Our coaching clients are often interested in finding a local coach, one who actually knows what the heck they’re doing, to help them out with their new exercise movements, etc.

In the past, we had no one to send them to.

We can’t just send them blindly into the local fitness club with their Precision Nutrition exercise and nutrition program in hand. It would be a disaster.

So with the Precision Nutrition Certification we’re creating an army of health and fitness coaches who actually get it. Coaches who our readers, clients, and customers can trust.

What’s more, by being Precision Nutrition Certified, coaches will be part of a network of local professionals that we trust and that we can refer our own clients to.

Once you’re certified, you’ll have a professional profile in our new online directory of Precision Nutrition Certified Professionals, so you’ll be easy to find when people are looking for local help.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Q: Are there any requirements to maintain my certification?
A:

As a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified professional, you’re required to re-write an exam every two years from your date of course completion to keep your certification current.

Taking an exam every two years will ensure your knowledge is up-to-date, and you’re still practicing at the top of your field.

If you take the recertification exam before your Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification expires, you’ll maintain your status as “certified” in the PN Directory of Certified Professionals. And we’ll send you a new certificate.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Q: What about those people specifically looking for national accreditation?
A:

People come to Precision Nutrition to get certified because they want the best possible exercise and sport nutrition training—from one of the world’s most recognizable exercise and sport nutrition companies.

For those of you looking for some other end, like national accreditation (which often means that the program has been reviewed by your government; and we all know how awesome they are at offering nutrition information), give us a shout at info@precisionnutrition.com.

There are other programs for that and we’ll be happy to point you to those types of certification programs.

Q: What advice will someone be able to offer clients or after completing the course?
A:

That’s a great question and one we cover in-depth in the course.

Most health and fitness professionals are allowed to make nutrition recommendations to otherwise healthy clients. So even without the Precision Nutrition Certification, most folks can make nutrition recommendations. What we’re offering is a much better system for making those recommendations.

The only scope of practice that’s restricted is Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), which means giving nutrition advice to treat or cure disease. You won’t be qualified to do this, and you should never try, unless you’re specifically MNT-accredited.

Q: What are other people saying about the program?
A:

The feedback on the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification has been overwhelmingly positive.

In the past 7 years we’ve enrolled over 70,000 students in the course. And student satisfaction ratings exceed 99 percent, meaning nearly 100 percent of our students rate the course as “excellent.”

And, in case you missed the video above, here are some thoughts from a few of the top coaches in the industry:

Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi gives you a sneak peek at the Level 1 Certification.
(Plus, industry leaders share their thoughts on the program).

 

 

 

How do I sign up?

Q: When does the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program begin?
A:

The next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification Program begins on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019. And there won’t be another one until October 2020.

We’re using a cohort (group) model to accept registrations: Registration is limited to a specific period and group size is limited. This ensures we can support you in your learning.

Q: How do I increase my chances of getting a spot in the next Level 1 group?
A:

To get an early bird chance at registration—because the program really does usually sell out within 24 hours—please sign up for the presale list below.

We’ll send you a special link 24 hours before the general public and that’ll increase your chances of getting a spot.

Q: What’s the special discount I’ve heard about?
A:

If you’re on the presale list below and enroll for the program before the general registration opens, you’ll save up to 30% off the cost of the Level 1 Certification program.

The general public price of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is $119 USD per month for 12 months. However, if you’re on the presale list and sign up on the presale day, you’ll get the opportunity to get it for only $99 USD per month or a one time payment of $999 USD—up to 30% savings.

Q: How can people find out more?
A:

To learn more about the course, and to get on the Level 1 Certification presale list, which gives you a chance to register early, 24 hours before the general public, sign up below.

Once you’re on the list, we’ll follow up with more information about our Level 1 Certification program.

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019.

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

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

The post The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification: Frequently Asked Questions. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class: Frequently Asked Questions.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class: Frequently Asked Questions.

On Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 we’re opening registration for the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification, designed specifically for Level 1 students and graduates who realize that knowing how to coach isn’t enough.

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

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

For more about the program, check the frequently asked questions below.

But, first, watch this short video; it provides a full breakdown of the program, including interviews with superstar coaches, physicians, and trainers like Adam Feit, Spencer Nadolsky, Adam Lloyd, Mary Kate Feit, and Will Boggs:

Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi gives you a sneak peek at the Level 2 Certification.
(Plus, industry leaders share their thoughts on the program).

 

 

Q: So what’s the program all about?
A:

Our highest rated (and most revered) program, the Level 2 Certification provides exclusive training, mentorship, and coaching practice under the guidance of the Precision Nutrition team—resulting in a more rewarding, sustainable, and profitable business for you.

By working closely with a PN Master Coach, you’ll become truly elite, capable of solving complex coaching challenges, delivering unparalleled results to every person who comes to you for help, and standing out from the pack as a genuine client whisperer.

Level 2 also positions you to truly catapult your career with ProCoach, our cutting-edge software that makes it easy to implement and scale the nutrition coaching method you’ve mastered.

What does this mean for you and your business?

Well, aside from the deep satisfaction that comes with mastering your craft, our research also suggests that the average Level 2 coach:

  • gets more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • retains more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • gets better results with those clients, and
  • reports more fun and enjoyment in their coaching practice.

Indeed, as amazing as our Level 1 certified coaches are, recent ProCoach data with over 100,000 clients shows that Level 2 certified coaches have 10 times (!) the retention vs. Level 1 coaches.

Q: Can you tell me a little more about the program?
A:

At its basic level, the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class is a hands-on, practice-based, mentored program that covers both the art and the science of nutrition coaching at the elite level.

It synthesizes everything we’ve learned over the past 15 years of coaching and research in the nutrition field.

That means:

  • We’ve reviewed thousands of academic and clinical studies.
  • We’ve used our system to help (and learn from) over 100,000 clients and patients.
  • We’ve trained and mentored thousands of students.
  • And we’ve collaborated with experts in a variety of fields from psychology to business strategy.

From there, we turned all this education and experience into the comprehensive year-long Level 2 Master Class curriculum.

 

 

Q: Who is the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class for?
A:

We’ve designed this intensive, year-long program to meet the needs of health, fitness, medical, strength, and rehab professionals working to improve the lifestyles, nutrition, and wellbeing of clients and patients.

But you don’t have to work in, or operate, a health and fitness business to benefit from the Level 2 Master Class.

Some students complete it (Level 1 first, followed by Level 2) as their next step to becoming an elite coach because they’re still in a job they hope to eventually leave so they can start working in health and fitness.

Others simply go through the training to be able to help family and friends… or anyone who turns to them for help.

Regardless of your goals, the Level 2 Master Class is designed around “learning relationships”—an instruction method proven to maximize knowledge transfer from mentor to student and help anyone, from any background, leverage their own unique strengths in this field.

Check out this short video to learn more about how the Master Class works, and who it’s for.

People come to Level 2 to develop mastery in (and derive more satisfaction from) their coaching.
They also end up getting more clients, retaining them longer, and producing better results.

 

 

Q: Why offer a certification like this?
A:

Health, fitness, and nutrition are growing rapidly; many people are looking here for interesting career options.

Unfortunately, most health, fitness, strength, and rehab professionals feel they’re missing one or more of the following in their practice:

  • A broad base of nutrition knowledge that reflects the most up-to-date research and practice in the field.
  • A broad base of applied psychology knowledge that helps them understand client/patient motivation and behavior (yes, even the “illogical” stuff!).
  • An ability to deliver and communicate all that great nutrition and psychology knowledge to actually improve people’s lives.
  • An understanding of specific populations (such as athletes or folks recovering from injury) or life stages (such as youth / aging or pregnancy) and how to tailor programs precisely for their needs.
  • The confidence and clarity that comes from having practiced foundational skills consistently, under the direction of qualified and caring mentors.
  • An understanding of how to position their coaching business within a competitive market, and how to run it effectively.

The Level 2 Master Class covers each of these, giving graduates new knowledge, skills, and confidence, which is why we developed the program. It’s for those coaches (or coaches-in-training) who want next-level professional development.

 

 

Q: Is this how you train your own coaches at Precision Nutrition?
A:

Yes, this program started out as our own in-house training program for newly hired Precision Nutrition coaches.

You see, as talented as some of our applicants were, almost none had the training or skills required to coach at the highest possible level, to the Precision Nutrition standard.

So we created an intensive, year-long coaching curriculum for our new recruits and paired them up with one of our Precision Nutrition Master Coaches to form a practice-based mentorship.

We were absolutely blown away by the results. After completing the training, already great coaches were ten times better at creating connection, navigating challenges, and helping people achieve their goals.

Q: How is the Level 2 Certification different from Level 1?
A:

The Level 1 Certification gave you a broad base of nutrition and coaching knowledge, a strong foundation on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Now it’s time to refine this knowledge, tailor it to your needs, and apply it every day.

There are a few major differences between Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 2 is an intensive, highly structured, year-long program.

While Level 1 is a self-paced program, Level 2 is a highly structured, year-long program with daily lessons and regular assignments.

I won’t lie: Level 2 is serious stuff. You’re thinking, reflecting, researching, practicing, and/or interacting every single day. We push you to grow and develop, and challenge all your coaching skills.

When you graduate Level 2, you’ll really feel like you earned it. Anyone can do it, but it takes hard work and dedication.

Level 2 is practice-based and hands-on.

Level 1 is more like a university course, with textbooks, course materials, practice exercises, and exams. Level 2 is more like a graduate-level practicum or apprenticeship with mentoring.

Every day we ask you to practice a Level 2 coaching skill and figure out how to apply what you’re learning in real life.

You also work through real coaching scenarios, step by step; this is real-world problem solving and consists of on-the-ground challenges.

In essence, this isn’t a learning program. It’s a doing program.

As you already know: Clients and patients don’t get healthy by learning about nutrition and exercise. They get healthy by practicing good nutrition and exercise, consistently. (And, often, by seeking out guidance from a skilled coach).

Likewise, you don’t become an expert coach by learning about coaching. You become an expert coach by practicing excellent coaching, consistently (under the guidance of your own coach).

Level 2 goes deeper into the art and science of coaching.

It’s not just a big pile of nutrition science (though we give you plenty of that too).

Fundamentally, Level 2 helps you master the art of nutrition coaching.

(And anything else you might want to coach. The skills are nicely transferable.)

Here’s a quick comparison.

Level 1 Certification Level 2 Certification
Duration Self-paced 1 year, with daily lessons and oversight
Difficulty level Equivalent to upper-level university undergraduate program Equivalent to master’s or Ph.D. program
Ideal for People in the field of health, fitness, nutrition and rehab who want to offer nutrition coaching

People who are not (yet) in the field but who are considering (or making) a career change

Anyone with an interest in nutrition coaching generally

People in the field of health, fitness, nutrition and rehab who want to become elite professional coaches

People who are either working in the field or ready to make the jump immediately

Professionals focused on increasing client/patient retention and results

Structured curriculum Yes Yes
Coaching / mentorship No; self-directed Yes
Evaluated by Exams Completion of lessons

Completion of daily practices

Case studies

Quizzes

Course covers See here for L1 table of contents See here for full L2 syllabus
Textbook / print materials? Yes No; all online
Time commitment Self-paced About 5 hours per week

And, as mentioned above, the average Precision Nutrition Level 2 coach:

  • gets more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • retains more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • gets better results with those clients, and
  • reports more fun and enjoyment in their coaching practice.

Indeed, as amazing as our Level 1 certified coaches are, recent ProCoach data with over 100,000 clients shows that Level 2 certified coaches have 10 times (!) the retention vs. Level 1 coaches.

Q: What topics does the Level 2 Certification cover?
A:

See here for our course overview and detailed syllabus, week by week.

Like our Level 1 Certification, you can think of the Level 2 Master Class as “half nutrition, half coaching”.

Many of our students are already highly trained nutrition or health professionals (such as physicians, rehab specialists, movement coaches). Many are already working in fitness or health care, and already have professional qualifications.

Yet these highly educated professionals are still finding it very challenging (and in some cases anxiety-provoking) to develop effective intervention programs and keep clients and patients engaged, motivated, and on track.

Coaching is the missing piece that links what you know and what your clients can and will do.

So the Level 2 Certification covers things like:

  • Assessing research quality and reviewing clinical studies
  • Body composition
  • Psychoneuroimmunology / psychoneuroendocrinology and the biology of stress
  • GI structure, function, and health (including microbiome)
  • Differences by age; sex/gender; ethnicity/genetic ancestry; sociocultural and demographic variation
  • Male and female fertility / hormonal health
  • Chronic illnesses and disabilities
  • Performance / athletic nutrition
  • Disordered eating and cognitive dietary restraint
  • Appetite, hunger, and environmental cueing of eating behaviors
  • Meal planning and food prep strategies
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Supplementation and medication interactions
  • Sleep and recovery
Q: What if I already know all this stuff?
A:

Then you must run a fantastically successful nutrition coaching business!

Seriously…

The truth is that you may “know” many of the skills we teach, but don’t implement them as well or as consistently as you would like.

And that’s OK.

That’s why we practice, every day.

We only ask that you have a growth mindset. Be open to learning, challenge, experimentation, development and feedback.

Be coachable. Learn what it’s like to be in the client’s shoes.

Show up with an open mind, be receptive, and entertain the possibility that you may not be a rockstar just yet. (Or that you are a rockstar but, that rockstars still have room for improvement too).

IMAGE 5

 

 

Q: What qualifies you to teach a course / offer a certification like this?
A:

Well, for one, I have pretty vast exposure to almost every aspect of fitness and nutrition. I’ve been:

  • A student of nutrition, going on to complete my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario.
  • A teacher of nutrition at the University of Texas, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Western Ontario.
  • A competitive physique athlete, winning the Mr. Jr. USA title in 1995.
  • A personal trainer, running a successful training business in Miami.
  • A researcher with studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • An author of over half a dozen nutrition books and hundreds of articles in magazines like Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and more.
  • A consultant to companies like Nike, Equinox and Titleist.
  • A nutrition coach to thousands of everyday people and quite a few pro athletes and Olympic gold medalists.

So apart from being qualified academically, I think I have a pretty unique perspective—one that’s very well-suited to teaching this material, especially to coaches.

I’ve seen the field of nutrition from more angles, both personally and professionally, than almost anyone else teaching nutrition today.

In addition, I’ve written chapters for other nutrition textbooks, I’ve created Masters-level university courses on sport nutrition, and I’ve created nutrition certification material for other certifying bodies.

So I have quite a bit of experience creating academic course material.

And I’m just one person. Our Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification program was created by a team of experts, including:

  • Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, a specialist in adult education / curriculum design and creator of our Precision Nutrition Coaching program.
  • Brian St. Pierre, RD, MSc, a specialist in performance nutrition and consultant to pro athletes.

Most of all, we’re qualified to teach this because we’ve used and tested this very system extensively with our own clients and coaches here at Precision Nutrition.

Remember: Precision Nutrition isn’t just a certification company.

Over the past 15 years, through our Precision Nutrition Coaching system, we’ve been quietly conducting the largest body transformation research project in the world.

We’ve had over 100,000 clients go through our nutrition coaching curriculum, doing what is essentially a total exercise, nutrition and lifestyle intervention.

The purpose of this coaching is simple: to help people lose fat, gain lean mass where needed, and completely transform their bodies, health, and lives.

Now, here’s the thing: Since the entire program is online, we’re able to collect data on everything. And I mean everything.

Because we don’t see clients in person, we can’t “eyeball” things. We need data. So we have detailed psychometric (personality) profiles on our clients. We track compliance and every measurable and relevant behavior. And, of course, we regularly collect photos and monitor body composition and performance outcomes.

And as a result of this rigorous data collection, I’m guessing that we know, better than almost anyone else in the world, what makes great coaches, and what helps clients change their bodies and lives.

Now, remember, I’m not talking about what we think is correlated to success. I’m talking about what we absolutely know is correlated with success. Success here meaning our clients know and understand what to do. And they do it. Consistently. They improve their body composition, health, performance, and quality of life.

Success here also means our coaches perform at a high level. It means they’re continually training themselves, developing professionally, and refining their coaching skills.

Q: Why is coaching psychology such a big deal to you guys?
A:

Quite simply: The body follows what the mind and emotions do.

Imagine a client who feels:

  • motivated
  • empowered and inspired
  • action-oriented and able to keep moving forward
  • clear on next steps
  • relaxed and confident
  • committed to and fully aligned with the goals of the program
  • flexible, creative, and problem-solving
  • open and receptive to growth and development
  • self-compassionate and self-encouraging
  • proactive and strategic
  • focused and able to prioritize
  • calm, trusting and relaxed
  • positive

Heck, imagine being a coach who feels that way!

This is what sports psychologists have sometimes called “the inner game”.

Change the mind and emotions, change the body.

Coaching psychology gives us specific tools and techniques for helping our clients change… and feel great about it.

This isn’t your Freud or lab-rat-running-mazes psychology though. It’s real-world stuff.

No matter who or what you encounter in your coaching practice, wouldn’t it be nice to feel like you have a clear plan and a system for working with it?

(And ideally, that you yourself feel calm and confident in the process?)

That’s the power of practicing coaching psychology.

IMAGE 4

 

 

Q: Do I need to have a university degree to become certified?
A:

No. We assume no prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, psychology etc., and so we don’t require a university degree.

Now, if you struggled in school, expect this certification to be challenging.

We ask that you be willing to work on your basic skills of reading, writing, communication, self-organization, and time management.

We’ll also ask you to stretch your learning comfort zone. You’ll probably feel a bit challenged at some point in this program.

However, we offer mentorship and guidance. If you’re willing to show up and give it your best shot and work hard, then we’re here to help.

Q: What’s the time commitment?
A:

We ask that students consistently set aside about 5 hours per week for Level 2 coursework.

You won’t always use that much time, and to some degree the schedule is flexible (i.e. you don’t have to show up for class at 9am), but you definitely won’t want to rush through your daily lessons and practices.

Plus, you’ll be working through some complex case studies, doing research, studying for quizzes, and reflecting on feedback from your coach.

These things take focus, cognitive work, and mental presence.

We suggest you give them the time, energy, and attention they—and you—deserve.

And we suggest you think of this time as an investment in you and your professional development, rather than a “cost”.

Q: What results can I expect when applying what I learn in the Master Class?
A:

For more on the kinds of results you can expect, check out this video:

 

 

Q: What advice will someone be able to offer clients after completing the course?
A:

That’s a great question and one we cover in depth in the course.

Health and fitness professionals are allowed to make nutrition recommendations to otherwise healthy clients. So even without the Precision Nutrition Level 1 or Level 2 Certification, you can make nutrition recommendations.

What we’re offering is a much better system for making those recommendations.

At the same time, while Level 2 explores many topics related to health and physiology, it doesn’t give you the credentials to give nutrition advice to treat or cure disease. That’s Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT—and you have to be a registered dietitian or medical doctor to offer it.

Q: Will you also give me business advice?
A:

This is not a business development course.

We won’t talk about specifics like which software is best for managing clients, how to resolve employee disputes, or how to do your bookkeeping.

However, we do help you explore how to tailor your professional services and business so that they match your unique coaching superpowers, values, and priorities.

We also give you access to a group of other Level 2 students who are going through the program with you. This is unprecedented access to a network of engaged, like-minded elite coaches from all over the world.

No matter how clever you are at marketing or accounting, fundamentally you have to offer a great product: your coaching services.

And of course, you’ll continue to be listed on Precision Nutrition’s Certified Professionals directory page.

Q: Am I guaranteed to make money? What’s my ROI?
A:

We guarantee that the Level 2 Master Class will be one of the best coaching experiences of your life. Which is why we offer such a generous refund policy. But there’s no guarantee that the Level 2 Certification program will make you money.

Of course, many people do make more money after graduating from the Level 2 Certification, because they put what they learn into practice, every day, over and over and over.

In fact, our research has shown that the average Precision Nutrition Level 2 coach:

  • gets more clients vs. the average Level 1 coach,
  • retains more clients vs. the average Level 1 coach,
  • gets better results with those clients, and
  • reports more satisfaction in their coaching practice.

Indeed, as amazing as our Level 1 certified coaches are, recent ProCoach data with over 100,000 clients shows that Level 2 certified coaches have 10 times (!) the retention vs. Level 1 coaches.

Commit to coaching mastery and you’ll become a better coach who attracts more clients, keeps the clients you do have, and encourages those clients to refer their friends.

Q: What are other people saying about the program?
A:

The feedback on the Level 2 Certification has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sampling:

“I find that I am becoming equipped to coach clients from all different walks of life. This isn’t ‘surface’ coaching, it gets to the core of human nature, habits, and emotion. Best thing I’ve done for myself as a coach thus far.” —Michelle Mobley Simpson

“PN2 will teach you how to mobilize your personal strengths in ways that will place you among the elite in your field. The program’s coaches are fantastic resources, providing spot-on insights, valuable information, and just the right touch of supportive mentoring.” —Zoe Georgas Johnson

“This course has made me realize that there is no end to the skills and knowledge that can be acquired to make yourself better. These concepts are ones that you can read in the morning and use them in the afternoon.” —Keith Countess

“With 9 years under my belt as a coach, I expected to learn from this course, but not to the extent I have. I have had long-held beliefs challenged and had to reexamine some of my own priorities, making me a better coach and person through increased knowledge and a supportive system.” —Bronwyn Adams-Hooper

And, in case you missed the video above:

Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi gives you a sneak peek at the Level 2 Certification.
(Plus, industry leaders share their thoughts on the program).

 

 

Q: When does the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class begin?
A:

The next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Program begins on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020. And there won’t be another one until October 2020.

We’re using a cohort (group) model to accept registrations: The program begins on a specific day, everyone starts at the same time, and group size is limited.

Q: How do I increase my chances of getting a spot in the next Level 2 Master Class group?
A:

To get an early bird chance at registration—because the program does usually sell out within 24 hours—please sign up for the VIP list below.

We’ll send you a special link 24 hours before the general public and that’ll increase your chances of getting a spot.

Q: What’s the special discount I’ve heard about?
A:

If you’re on the VIP list below and enroll for the program before the general registration opens, you’ll save up to 37% off the cost of the Level 2 Certification program.

The general public price is $349 USD per month for 12 months. However, if you’re on the VIP list and sign up on the presale day, you’ll get the chance to register for only $262.50 USD per month or a one-time payment of $2,625 USD – up to 37% savings.

Q: Is there a guarantee?
A:

Yes there is, and it’s simple.

This coaching program will change your business and possibly your life. If it doesn’t, it’s free.

Here’s how it works.

  • Show up and do your lessons/practices at least 75% of the time.
  • Complete at least 75% of the case studies and quizzes.
  • Finish out the full year of coaching.

At the end, if you don’t think it was hands down, the best coaching experience of your life, we’ll write you a check for every penny you spent and you’ll be on your way, no questions asked.

In short, do what we ask. Follow the program. And, when it’s done, you get to decide whether we did a good job. Simple as that.

IMAGE 3

 

 

Q: What about recertification?
A:

Once you’ve finished the Level 2 Certification Master Class, you’re a PN’er for life. That means two things.

  • You’ll never need to re-certify for the PN Level 2 Certification.
  • You’ll never need to re-certify for the PN Level 1 Certification.
Q: I’m currently enrolled in L1 but haven’t completed it yet. Can I still sign up for L2?
A:

Yes, you can. Although, we do prefer you complete the Level 1 program before enrolling in Level 2. With that said, it’s ultimately up to you.

Q: Can I earn CEUs from my personal training organization with this program?
A:

Most likely. The curriculum is pre-qualified for CEUs with the following organizations:

  • ACE (2.0 CECs)
  • ACSM (20 CECs)
  • AFAA (1.9 CEUs)
  • CDR (20 CEPUs)
  • CPTN (14 CECs)
  • NASM (1.9 CEUs)
  • PTA Global (24 CECs)

This means that, if you are certified by any of the groups listed above, CEUs are guaranteed upon successful completion of the course.

I should also note that a host of additional organizations accept our course on a one-off basis. For these, graduates from our program submit a summary of the course and their certificate for review.

Note: We’re also in the process of qualifying for CEUs with a select number of other international organizations.

Q: How can people find out more?
A:

To learn more about the course, and to get on the Level 2 Certification VIP list, which gives you a chance to register early, 24 hours before the general public, sign up below.

Once you’re on the list, we’ll follow up with more information about the program.

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class on Wednesday, April 8th.

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

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

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

The post The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class: Frequently Asked Questions. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Detoxes, cleanses, and 30-day challenges: How to turn a quick-fix diet into transformation gold.

Detoxes, cleanses, and 30-day challenges: How to turn a quick-fix diet into transformation gold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe not.

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

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

How? By being open, creative, and strategic.

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

Strategy #1: Celebrate their effort.

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

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

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

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

It also shows they’re willing to make changes.

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

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

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

Strategy #2: Learn what drives them.

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

With non-judgemental curiosity, ask:

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

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

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

Next, you might ask (in order):

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy #3: Create a plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy #4: Turn “failures” into feedback.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy #5: Explore their results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave your assumptions at the door.

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

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

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

Not just for a month… but for a lifetime.

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

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

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

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

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

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

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

11 things I’ve learned coaching elite and professional athletes. Lessons from our work with NFL, NBA, UFC, & Olympic champions.

11 things I’ve learned coaching elite and professional athletes. Lessons from our work with NFL, NBA, UFC, & Olympic champions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian’s tactics included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some do. But most don’t.

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

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

I was all ready to go.

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

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

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

This is a good lesson for anyone doing nutrition coaching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if your client doesn’t have a computer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most importantly, his clients got what they needed.

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

What matters is what works for our clients.

6. Perfection is not required.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So he called us.

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

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

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

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

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

Individual needs should come before trends every time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I knew that wasn’t enough.

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

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

I gave them everything they needed, including:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, it applied to both men and women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So keep the long game in mind.

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty unusual for a vegetarian.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But you know what I wasn’t better at?

Playing football.

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

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

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

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

1. Don’t make assumptions.

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

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

Seek to understand rather than to prove yourself right.

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

Elite athletes—they’re just like us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Seek out and celebrate your clients’ superpowers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can help them become their own superstar.

Want strategies to level up your coaching?

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

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

And here’s some great news: Our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class kicks off on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class on Wednesday, April 8th.

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

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

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

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

10 things every successful fitness and nutrition coach does. The best coaches do them every day. How many are you doing?

10 things every successful fitness and nutrition coach does. The best coaches do them every day. How many are you doing?

What makes for a successful fitness and nutrition coach? It’s not just what you know… it’s what you do (every day). Here are some of the practices elite coaches use to get results. Keep track of how many you’ve mastered.

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You know the type. It’s the coach that seems to have to it all together.

They have a long waiting list of eager prospects. Their client results are always impressive. They make great money doing what they love. And, just to make us all a little more jealous, they make it look effortless.

Welcome to the elite coach.

What is it that makes elite coaches so special?

Is it their training? Their hard work and commitment? Their passion? Or do they know something most others don’t?

The answer to all of those question is… yes.

Elite coaches do know something most don’t. But it’s not just knowledge. It’s a set of practices they work on daily.

And this set of practices helps them get better at forming strong relationships with their clients, fostering change, and improving their craft.

Here are the active habits that set elite coaches apart from the rest.

1. Elite coaches practice the art of human connection.

Better coaches aren’t just better at customizing workout and nutrition plans. They’re better with people.

Elite coaches don’t limit conversations to “here’s what you have to do”; they speak to clients in a way that nurtures real human connection.

By asking sincere questions, expressing compassion and being a steady source of support, they help guide their clients around obstacles so they can achieve their goals.

To practice this approach:

Ask leading questions that help clients open up and explore, imagine, or build on past successes. For example:

  • If things were better with your eating/exercise, what would be different in your life? What would you do more of? Less of? Be proud of?
  • Imagine that you have the body and health you want. What did it take for you to achieve it? What did you have to give up?
  • What have you had success with in the past? How can we do more of that and apply it to your health and fitness?”

And once you ask, really listen to their responses. Let them sink in. Learn from them. (For more on this approach, check out: Effective coach talk: What to say to clients and why it matters).

2. Elite coaches ask ‘why’. (Again… and again… and again.)

You’ve probably seen it a million times.

New clients get a taste for how hard it is to change their eating habits, do the extra 10 squats, run another mile, and rearrange their lives for all of it… and suddenly they don’t want it so badly, after all.

Elite coaches have a way of inspiring their clients—in every single session—to want the hard work. They know how to unlock their clients’ deeper motivation, sense of purpose, and inner fire.

How do they do this? For one thing, they know how to ask their clients why.

To practice this approach:

Use the ‘Five Whys’ technique.  Here’s how it works:

When establishing goals with your clients, you ask them why.

Q: “Why do you want to accomplish this?”
A: “Because I want to lose weight.”

Then, whatever answer they come up with, you ask why again.

Q: “And why do you want to lose weight in the first place?”
A: “Because I used to be thinner and am embarrassed by how heavy I’ve gotten.”

Continue asking why for a total of five times. It’s surprisingly challenging—and amazingly effective at getting to people’s core motivations.

(By the way, elite coaches use ‘the Five Whys’ on themselves. Because they know that getting to the heart of their own motivation is the best place to begin.)

3. Elite coaches help the “competition.”

Want to know a secret? To an elite coach, there’s no such thing as competition.

Elite coaches don’t feel insecure about what other coaches are doing because they know how to use their individuality as an advantage in their careers.

Rather than hiding and hoarding their knowledge, elite coaches share that knowledge and facilitate conversations, and in doing so build a trusted tribe around them.

Find your tribe and help make those in your tribe successful, and you’ll be more likely to succeed, too.

To practice this approach:

Get engaged with other people’s content and social feeds.

Take the extra few minutes to leave iTunes reviews on their podcasts; review their books on Amazon; share their Facebook posts; and so on.

These simple actions will help them build their expertise and broaden their reach. As a bonus, you might expand your own social networks in the process.

To take this concept up a notch, consider starting a Facebook group or other social community to serve as a source of mutual support, discussion, and inspiration. You’ll be able to answer questions and help your peers—and position yourself as an expert, too.

4. Elite coaches do less.

“Doing it all” is a myth.

Spreading yourself too thin is a first-class ticket to disappointment and failure. Instead, top-notch coaches figure out what’s truly crucial among their particular market and clientele, and do that.

Elite coaches also know their clients can’t do it all. They know that giving clients just one small habit at a time is far more effective than throwing an ambitious project at them and hoping for the best.

To practice this approach:

Give the ‘one habit method’ a try.

Of all the things your client wants to do and achieve, work with them to figure out which goal is most important to them right now. Then, based on their goal, help choose just one habit to start practicing today.

The habit should be so simple it almost feels “too easy” and it should be something they can do in just five or ten minutes, every single day.

Have your client practice that one habit every day for a minimum of two weeks. Ask them to check back in with you regularly to let you know whether or not they’ve completed the task.

(If you’ve completed any kind of PN coaching, you’ll recognize this ‘one-habit’ method. There’s a reason we recommend it: it’s integral to our coaching method, because it works.)

5. Elite coaches practice the basics.

Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Kick Guy never needed to have the perfect kick. All he had to do was focus on mastering the process and being excellent with all of the pieces. And that was enough to scare Bruce Lee. (Pretty scary.)

Elite coaches are like Kick Guy. They’re willing to practice techniques—even the basic ones—again and again so they can move towards true mastery.

They take this approach to their clients, too, helping them put their own foundation in place and acquire the skills they need to succeed in sustainable change.

To practice this approach:

Go back to basics with something you enjoy doing and consider yourself ‘pretty good’ at. Think back to the very first skills you learned to do that thing.

If you’re a boxer, for example, consider your stance, your hip movement, or your jab. Could you benefit from drills focusing on your core techniques?

Or, if you once struggled with poor eating habits, pay attention at mealtime. Do you still eat as slowly and mindfully as you once did? Would you benefit from paying more attention to how full you feel at the end of each meal?

Pick one elemental thing you could take from ‘good’ to ‘great’ or ‘great’ to ‘positively killer.’ Then work on improving that one thing. Solicit help from a colleague or peer if you like.

It may feel weird to act like a beginner again, but by doing so, you’re on your way to mastery.

6. Elite coaches listen for what they don’t want to hear.

Many coaches (quite logically) focus on trying to strengthen their clients’ motivation—the side of them that is interested in change.

But in the early stages of client development, it doesn’t work. Because that other side—the part that is scared of change and resistant to your efforts—is ridiculously strong. After all, it’s been preventing your client from changing for a long time.

In order to get your clients moving in the right direction, coaches have to do something that might sound a bit paradoxical: they have to hear out the resistance first.

Elite coaches listen for the resistance. They seek it out. Because they know they have to work with it, rather than against it.

To practice this approach:

Listen for your own resistance.

Think of something you’ve been wanting to change, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Tip: think of all the things you’ve been telling yourself you should or shouldn’t do.

Write down the thing you want to change. Then ask yourself:

  • What is GOOD for me about NOT changing? (In other words, how does NOT changing benefit me or help me solve a problem?)
  • What would be BAD about changing? What might I have to give up or lose?

Write down your answers.

How do you feel? Your resistance might feel a little calmer or quieter; you might feel a little more ready for change. Now that you understand your own resistance a little better, you can listen for it in client conversations, too.

7. Elite coaches know when to shut up.

Elite coaches have a lot of expertise, but that doesn’t mean they always vocalize it.

Think about it: When someone asks, “What should I eat after exercising?” an expert answers the question: “You should eat protein and carbs.”

But when a client asks “What should I eat after exercise?” a coach asks, “Tell me about your training program and what you feel you can manage?” Coaches even consider “What do you like to eat after exercise?”

A good coach doesn’t mind being quiet, asking questions or fading into the background a bit.

Many fitness professionals try to be both expert and coach at the same time. But that never works. You can’t talk and listen at the same time. You have to know how and when to switch back and forth between the two.

In other words: you need to know when to stop talking and listen.

To practice this approach:

Try using this ‘expert vs coach’ checklist on yourself:

With your clients, do you spend most of your time…

Expert Coach
Talking and telling… or Listening and reflecting?
Telling them what you know… or Sharing what you’re working on?
Answering questions?… or Asking questions?
Letting the client set the tone?… or Leading the client towards a decision or action?
Pointing and directing?… or Guiding and accompanying?
Taking the spotlight… or Fading into the background?

If you find yourself more on the ‘expert’ side of things, try actively practicing some of the actions on the ‘coach’ side.

8. Elite coaches practice being imperfect.

Lots of health and fitness professionals have high standards; most of us want to walk the walk. Moreover, we want to look like we walk the walk.

So we try to refine our own health habits, working practices, and self-presentation. We know that our bodies are often advertisements for our services, so we worry about looking our best.

But too often, we try to be perfect. And that becomes our downfall.

Sure, on the one hand, a little fire keeps you energized and sharp. But too much pressure is a parking brake on performance.

(Ever choked during a game or competition? You were probably overwhelmed by pressure. It happens to athletes all the time.)

So while elite coaches strive for excellence, they don’t try to be perfect—and they don’t expect their clients to be perfect, either.

To practice this approach:

Try sharing a little of your own imperfect experience with your clients.

When they’re fumbling with something, tell them about a time you felt awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable yourself, either when working on your own fitness and nutrition journey or another time you were struggling to learn something new.

When they’re feeling like a failure, let them know everyone falls down sometimes: share one of your own mistakes—and maybe even how you fixed it.

9. Elite coaches keep it real.

If you work in the fitness and health industry, it’s easy to throw around a lot of ideas.

Stuff like this:

  • “Never eat processed food.”
  • “Always eat local, seasonal, organic food.”

On the surface, it’s hard to argue against either. But really? Unless you’re living in a yurt somewhere and growing all your own food from the ground up, I doubt you’re always eating whole, unprocessed, local, seasonal, organic food.

Which means those nutrition ideals aren’t aspirational—they’re impossible. Even for the world’s top experts.

Elite coaches are willing to do a reality check. They realize that people don’t need a nutritional deity to follow. They don’t need strict codes of conduct that includes words like “should”, “always”, and “never”.

Instead of coaching from a place of fantasy, elite coaches stay grounded. They help their clients make progress, bit by bit.

To practice this approach:

Examine the rules you’ve set.

Consider all the “rules” and expectations around fitness, nutrition, and health. Write down as many as you can think of. Be sure to include words like “should”, “always”, and “never”.

  • You should always…
  • You should never…
  • Being “fit” means you always…
  • Being “healthy” means you never…
  • Eating “nutritiously” means…

Now read your answers and think about whether a client could reasonably “always” or “never” do them.

10.  Elite coaches ask for help.

If you’re coaching other people, it only makes sense that you’ve experienced coaching yourself.

After all, if you’ve never been coached through something, you can’t possibly understand what your clients are experiencing, thinking, and feeling.

Elite coaches know this. They seek out mentorship and get coaching themselves. Sometimes it’s not even fitness related. It might be for their business, or their personal life (like how to be a better parent or partner), or a hobby they’re particularly passionate about.

The important thing is that that they are willing to ask for help, to make themselves vulnerable, to go through the process of change… just like their clients.

And they know how powerful that process of change can be.

To practice this approach:

Make your coaching checklist.

What areas of expertise do you seek?

  • Nutritional science?
  • Coaching psychology?
  • Business strategy?
  • Professional development?
  • General life wisdom?

What kind of a mentor or coach would you like?

  • What kind of a person are they?
  • What sort of reputation do they have?
  • What would you want them to show you or tell you in order for you to feel they were the “right fit.”

Now think about people in your life (whether paid professionals, colleagues or friends) who may fit your criteria. If someone springs to mind, great. Ask if they’d be willing to lend their expertise and support to the thing you’d like help with.

Or if you need to do more research, that’s cool too.

What to do next

Pick one of the practices.

Give some thought to which of these practices you’d like to try out for yourself.

Whichever you select, do you have the skills to incorporate them into your coaching style right now? If not, check out the PN approach to skill development for some inspiration to help you figure out your next steps.

Be an observer.

As you’re coaching, be aware of your style. Are you speaking and giving advice when you could be asking questions? Are you actually hearing what your client has to say, or rushing to find the answer?

Don’t judge yourself too harshly—just start building awareness, for now. That way you can start to get clear on what you’d like to improve upon.

Ask for help if you need it.

Moving from being ‘a good coach’ to being ‘an elite coach’ takes a lot of work, and it can’t be done alone. Look for people you can learn from. Maybe it’s a community member, an old mentor, or an experienced friend.

Want strategies to level up your coaching?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post 10 things every successful fitness and nutrition coach does. The best coaches do them every day. How many are you doing? appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are really healthier? [Infographic]

Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are really healthier? [Infographic]

Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: A nutritional debate fueled by misinformation, baseless ‘superfood’ obsessions, and carbohydrate phobias. Here’s how these tubers compare — and why both deserve a place in your diet.

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A few years back, some crazy nutrition enthusiasts decided to figure out whether white or sweet potatoes were “healthier”.

One group compared the glycemic index and load of sweet potatoes vs. potatoes. They suggested that since white potatoes tend to be higher, they should be avoided.

Another group suggested that sweet potatoes are a vitamin A ‘superfood’, putting them way ahead of their white potato competitors.

And, of course, the carbophobes had their own take: All potatoes should be avoided because they’re too high in carbs and all those carbs will mess with your insulin regulation and cause fat gain.

Nonsense, all of it.

Both white and sweet potatoes, when eaten as part of a balanced and intentional diet, provide a fantastic array of nutrients while contributing to the satiety and deliciousness of any meal.

Check out this infographic to learn more about white and sweet potatoes, and why you should consider including both in your diet. (You can even download them for your printer or tablet).

Want to share this with family, friends, and clients? Click here to download the infographic and print it out, or save it on your tablet.

For an even more comprehensive take on this topic, check out our accompanying article, “Sweet vs. regular potatoes: Which are really healthier?”.

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

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

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are really healthier? [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Forget “career hacks”… Here’s the real key to career success that almost no one is talking about.

Forget “career hacks”… Here’s the real key to career success that almost no one is talking about.

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

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Success secrets.

Productivity hacks.

Tips, tricks, and quick formulas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they really want to know:

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

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

Can’t blame people for asking, though.

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

But here’s the problem:

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

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

In fact, I think it was something completely different.

Something that isn’t often talked about.

I call it “going down the rabbit hole”.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a fresh Autumn day.

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

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

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

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

I was completely unprepared for what he said next:

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

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

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

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

Almost everyone gave the same advice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Throughout, I still fully expected to attend med school.

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

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

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

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

And instead of going to Med School…

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

Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

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

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

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

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

Instead of paddling upstream, I went with the current.

I rode the horses in the direction they were going.

I went down the rabbit hole.

And here I am today.

The hidden costs of having “A Master Plan”.

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

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

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

So, that’s what we do.

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

Unfortunately, this particular approach may have a cost.

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

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

Here’s an approach I like much better.

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

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

From learning everything you can about it.

And from going “all in”.

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

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

Have a look around.

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

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

In some cases, that might be enough.

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

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

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

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

Then there are the thousands of Precision Nutrition Certification graduates.

In the last 6 months I’ve met:

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

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

But here they are today.

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

Each did something that most people don’t.

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

Even before they quit their day jobs.

Even before deciding:

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

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

They went down the rabbit hole.

And they had a blast doing it.

Then came the unintended, unexpected rewards.

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

Stuff like:

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

However, that’s all stuff for later.

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

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

…go explore THAT thing.

Go down the rabbit hole.

You won’t be worse off.

Chances are, it’ll change your life.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

1. ‘Fess up to yourself.

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

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

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

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

That thing? Embrace it.

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

2. Look for role models.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Put your hand up.

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

Attend a lecture and participate in the Q&A.

Write letters to your role models.

Volunteer.

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

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

4. Continue your education.

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

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

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

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

And go all in.

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

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

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Level 1: The ‘deep health’ coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results.

Level 1: The ‘deep health’ coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results.

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

++++

Are you truly transforming your clients’ health?

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

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

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

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

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

Or by the 10th wedding anniversary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s called coaching for deep health.

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

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

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

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

Perfect.

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

(That’s good for your clients.)

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

(That’s good for you.)

++++

The six domains of deep health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the six domains of deep health.

These areas of health are deeply entwined and strongly connected.

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

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

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

Every domain of deep health influences eating and exercise behaviors.

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

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

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

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

But because of this situation, they’re also:

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

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

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

Because of this situation, they’re also:

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

Now… here’s the really cool part:

The problems are connected… but so are the solutions.

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

But there’s a flip side here, too.

Improving one domain can also improve others.

This is the power of deep health coaching.

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

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

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

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

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

Winning.

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

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

Deep health looks different to everyone.

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

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

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

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

Deep health isn’t about rules or ideals.

It’s about exploration and invitation.

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

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

Coach for deep health… and better results

Where do you start?

Easy… just ask your clients. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s on your garbage list?”

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

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

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

But it’s only just the beginning.

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

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

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

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

Deep health detective: Investigate. 

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

Deep health sherpa: Guide. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deep Health Domain #1

Physical health: “How do you feel physically?”

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

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

Great! Now you have a solid direction.

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #2

Emotional health: “How are you doing emotionally?”

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #3

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #5

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

Deep Health Domain #6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Potential followup questions

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

What to do next…

Look at the big picture.

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

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

Dig for connections.

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

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

Client: I eat terribly.

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

And so on.

Collaborate with your client.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Level 1: The ‘deep health’ coaching secret that transforms short-term fitness goals into life-changing results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.