Top 10 Lessons For Your Leanest and Healthiest 2013
SUMMARY: During the last 10 years, the Precision Nutrition team has helped over 15,000 people lose over 250,000 pounds of body fat. Along the way we've learned some important lessons about what it really takes to lose fat and get healthy. I'll share ten of them in this article.
We've all seen amazing before and after photos, the kind where the transformation is so huge it looks like two different people are posing.
At Precision Nutrition, we literally have thousands of these jaw-dropping transformations. But the photos only tell one small piece of the overall story of body transformation.
Well, in this video (and the accompanying article) we'll tell you exactly what they did. And how you can do it too.
Over the past 10 years, our team has coached thousands of people in what many people consider to be the World's Largest Body Transformation Program. We've helped thousands lose fat, get healthy, and change their lives.
The results have been incredible. To date, over 250,000 pounds have been lost and thousands of lives changed.
After working with all these people, and charting their progress and behavior changes, we've pinpointed 10 key lessons that make the program work; lessons anyone can follow to achieve an amazing body transformation.
These are things that you can use immediately to help you lose fat and get healthy, no matter where you're at now.
LESSON 1: PUT NUTRITION BEFORE EXERCISE
When most people think about losing weight or getting in shape, they think about exercise. They sign up for a gym, hire a personal trainer, or grab a book or a magazine to find a workout plan. But while exercise is a crucial part of losing weight and getting healthy, I'd argue that it's not the most important piece.
Research shows that with exercise alone you can expect to lose only about half a pound to one pound per month. That's less than inspiring. Sad, really.
So if exercise alone gets dismal results, what does work? Simple: Focusing on nutrition and eating habits. With a program that combines both nutrition coaching and an exercise program, you can expect to lose five times more fat in the same one-month period.
That's why in Lean Eating we spend the majority of our time coaching nutrition. And that one detail makes a huge difference in the kind of results our clients get. Of course, you can't ignore exercise. Which is why we also have one of the most comprehensive exercise programs on the web built into the program for free.
But when it comes to losing fat and getting in shape, we know the majority of our resources and time should be spent on helping clients with their nutrition and eating habits.
Takeaway: Yes, you should exercise. But you must put nutrition first.
LESSON 2: FIND A BIG MOTIVATOR
We've all heard that to make a big change, motivation must come from inside. And it's true. We all need a "reason why" -- a real purpose and a sense of why losing fat and getting in shape is important to us.
But sometimes you need extra motivation to actually start making change. You need a big motivator that pushes you into action.
In Lean Eating, we have our big motivator: Cash. And lots of it. Each round we give away $75,000 of our own money to clients who have the best body transformations.
We even fly across the country to surprise our Grand Prize winners at their homes or at their offices with giant checks.
Not only do our finalists and Grand Prize winners lose fat and completely change the way they look -- they walk away with thousands of dollars. Now that's motivation.
Takeaway: What's your big motivation? How can you make it even bigger?
LESSON 3: FIND SOMETHING TO LOSE
Throughout our body transformation, we need to be held accountable. There needs to be something at stake, something to lose if we don't follow through or if we drop out early.
In Lean Eating, we take away all of the risk to our clients by guaranteeing results as long as people stick with the program for the full year and do 80% of what we tell them to do.
If they follow the program, they will have an amazing body transformation. If for whatever reason they don't, we'll give their money back, no questions asked.
But if they drop out on their own accord before the year is up -- or if they don't do at least 80% of what we ask -- then we not only don't give them their money back, we spend it on frivolous parties to celebrate their departure.
Okay, I'm just kidding about the party. However, we do enforce client commitment.
The principle here? The harder it is to quit, the easier it is to succeed.
Takeaway: Raise the stakes and put something a risk to keep you going.
LESSON 4: CHOOSE PROOF OVER THEORY
Most people get lured into trying out untested theories, and have only disappointment and wasted time to show for it in the end.
No one wants to start an exercise or nutrition program where the success rate is zero. Yet a lot of people invest their time and money in something where they're not quite sure if it works.
In Lean Eating, we take away all doubt by showing our clients' before and after photos. These photos answer questions like:
- "Does the program work?”
- "Who else have you helped?"
- "Are there people like me who've done this?"
If you're looking for results, only commit to a program that can prove it actually works. In Lean Eating, we show you exactly what the program is capable of, before you begin. In fact, you can even talk to our clients directly on our forums.
That kind of transparency is only possible when a program really works. Success doesn't hide.
Takeaway: Commit only to a proven program and leave the theories for everyone else.
LESSON 5: DO ONE SMALL THING AT A TIME
My colleague Dan John once put it this way: "If something is important, do it every day; if it's not important, don't do it at all." That's especially true in body transformation.
In Lean Eating, we reach out to you daily, and we give you one small act to do, each and every day. Any less, and you lose momentum; any more, you get overwhelmed.
Sadly, some people find this out the hard way. They make a heroic effort to change every part of their life, from the time they wake up in the morning to the kinds of foods they eat to adopting a new workout program and dozens of other changes.
This all-or-nothing attitude may work for a week or two, but pretty soon they'll crash and burn and be right back where they started. That's why it's important to practice one small thing at a time instead of trying to make a mad-dash for the finish line.
In Lean Eating we don't worry about the past or the future. We focus on TODAY.
We ask ourselves, "What healthy habit can our clients follow today that will propel them forward?"
These small, daily habits slowly stack on top of each other until eventually our clients have a healthy set of eating and exercise habits they practice consistently.
Takeaway: Turn your commitment into a single, daily action.
LESSON 6: MAKE IT A LITTLE TOO EASY.
Most people attempt to change too much at once. But that makes it nearly impossible to change anything at all. That's why whatever one small thing you decide to do, you must be confident that you can do it consistently. A habit doesn't become a habit by practicing it only a few times.
In Lean Eating, on the other hand, we give our clients one thing to practice at a time, and we ask a simple question:
"On a scale of 1 to 10 -- 1 being not confident, and 10 being very confident -- how confident are you that you can do this one habit every day?"
If the answer is a 9 or a 10, you have your new habit and can start practicing it immediately. But if you answer anything other than a 9 or a 10, you need to make the habit easier until it becomes something you're confident you can do consistently.
If your one small habit is to eat five servings of vegetables every day, you must answer with a 9 or 10 before starting. If you don't answer with a 9 or a 10, you simply need to make it easier.
Instead of eating five servings of vegetables every day, could you eat 3? What about 2 servings of vegetables every day? What about 1 serving of vegetables every day?
Whenever you can answer a 9 or a 10 -- "Am I confident I can do this habit every day?" -- you have your new habit.
During the process of scaling down your habit, you may realize it seems ridiculously simple. It may seem too easy. That's perfect.
If it seems so easy that you have to roll your eyes, you know you can do it consistently. And you can gradually increase the difficulty over time.
Takeaway: Make everything you commit to easier until you have at least 90% confidence you can do it.
LESSON 7: FIND SOMEONE TO ANSWER TO
You need someone in your corner who helps keep you accountable and picks you up when your motivation wanes.
In Lean Eating we send daily emails reminding our clients to log into our custom software to read and practice their new habits, go over the workouts, and chart their progress. In fact, once our clients log in, they have to answer either "yes" or "no" to a small selection of questions to let their coach know what they did.
- Did they practice their new habit today?
- Did they do their workout?
- Did they read their new lesson?
If the client answers yes, they'll click a box and a green check mark will appear on the screen. If they answer no, a red X will appear instead. Not only does this show the client how compliant to the program they are, it also shows their coach how the client is doing.
This accountability helps our clients stay on track even when things get tough. And of course, their coach is always there to help in whatever way they can.
Takeaway: Put someone in your corner to hold you accountable.
LESSON 8: MEASURE ACTIONS, NOT OUTCOMES
We can't control outcomes, but we can control our actions that may lead to those outcomes. In other words, you can't focus on losing 20 pounds since it's an outcome that's out of your control. Every day you step on the scale, you're focusing on what you don't have.
"I still have 17 pounds to go. I'm not even close to there yet. This is so frustrating."
Instead of focusing on the outcome, our clients focus on their action, the small, healthy things they do consistently every day. Instead of focusing on what they don't have, they turn their attention to what they do have.
- "I'm going to do my workout today."
- "I'm going to practice my new habit and eat 5 servings of vegetables."
- "I'm going to read my lesson and contact my coach if I have a question."
Actions practiced daily and built up over time, lead to amazing results. Focusing on outcomes only leads to frustration and despair.
Takeaway: Track what you have control over, your actions.
LESSON 9: LET YOUR COACH TRACK RESULTS
While you're busy with your daily habits and behaviors, you'll need someone -- a coach, a trainer, a friend who's made a similar transformation -- to monitor your progress and make small adjustments if needed.
This frees you to focus on the most important thing within your control: your daily behaviors.
In Lean Eating, our coaches closely monitor each client's progress, photos, and daily compliance to see if their behaviors match their goals. If they do, our coaches are there to offer support and answer questions. But if the coach sees something that needs tweaking, they can make an educated decision to change one small thing to help steer the client back on the right path.
Takeaway: Find a coach or mentor to monitor your progress and save you from "wondering and worrying."
LESSON 10: CHOOSE A SUPPORT GROUP
Here's something you've probably heard before: "You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with."
But this isn't just some sound-byte. It really applies, especially when we're talking about amazing body transformations.
People who have a strong network of friends, co-workers, family members, or even complete strangers on the Internet often have more dramatic transformations than someone who goes at it alone.
With a good support network you can connect with people when you're excited, confused, or wondering what to do next. You'll have people around you who can offer feedback, guidance, and support.
Our clients in Lean Eating have the ability to connect with their coach or with other Lean Eaters in the members-only forums. When you have a bunch of cool people all focused on one goal, it's truly amazing what you can accomplish.
Takeaway: You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely and build a good support group.
10 BODY TRANSFORMATION LESSONS FROM LEAN EATING
There you have it; 10 lessons for an easier and more successful body transformation:
1. Realize that exercise alone doesn't work.
2. Find a big motivator.
3. Find something to lose.
4. Choose proof over theory.
5. Do one small thing every day.
6. Make your commitments a little too easy.
7. Find someone to answer to.
8. Focus on behaviors, not outcomes.
9. Let your coach track the results.
10. Get a support network.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
So what do you do with all of this? Here's what: the key is to make one simple change right now. Don't try tackling all 10 (that violates most of the lessons!)
Instead, take an inventory of which of the 10 you already have. Do you have a support network? How about mentor or a coach? If not, it's time to get one.
Next, take an inventory of the things you don't have. Do you have confidence in the workout and nutrition program you're following? Do you need to be less heroic and more in tune with your small daily habits?
Pick one thing, and start there.
Of course, in the Lean Eating coaching program, we take care of all 10 of those things and much more. If you'd like to work with us, we'd be happy to help.
But remember -- what you do is not nearly as important as actually doing something. You won't get anywhere if you don't start. So go through the 10 Lessons, pick one thing, and do it right now.
Because getting started is the most important lesson of all
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you’d like to learn more about losing fat and feeling better, here's something you need to see. We've created two free 5-day video courses that show you how to get control of your eating and your health.
To get started, simply click one of the links below:
In these free courses you'll discover:
- The 5 things you need to know about nutrition.
- Exactly what foods to eat to lose fat — at every meal.
- The best way to exercise to lose fat.
- Exactly how much time you need to exercise.
- How to make delicious meals with a few simple ingredients.
- Why you don’t need supplements to lose fat.
- Which four supplements work the best, if you choose to use them.
- The one thing that separates those who lose fat and those who fail every time.
Until next time,
Dr John Berardi is the director of the world’s largest body transformation project. In the last 5 years, his team has helped over 15,000 clients lose more than 250,000 pounds of body fat. (That’s more total weight loss than all 13 seasons of the Biggest Loser combined). For more on his one-of-a-kind program – Lean Eating Coaching – click here.