6 tips for a fitter and healthier you | Precision Nutrition

6 tips for a fitter and healthier you

By John Berardi, Ph.D.


If you’re visiting this page, chances are you’re ready to, once and for all, take control of your health and your fitness.

You’re ready to look better and, most importantly, to feel better.  And if that’s the case, I’m glad you found your way!

You see, the health and fitness world can be – scary.   With so much information out there, it’s really easy to find yourself lost, frustrated, and powerless.

But, guess what?  It doesn’t have to be that way.

You see, with just a few tweaks in the way you look at food and exercise, you can virtually eliminate the frustration and confusion.

With a few simple strategies, you can virtually guarantee yourself success.

So that’s what we’re going to cover in today’s lesson.  6 important tips, complete with video lessons, that you can use to live your healthiest and happiest.

1. Do less.

In this video, I discuss the Lean Eating Method, including a rule that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people at first: to achieve more, you have to do less.

People make change hard on themselves by attempting to change too many things at once. They try to overhaul their diet, their exercise habits, their finances, their relationships, etc., all at once — and each of those changes is probably made up of 10-20 smaller behaviors that have to change. That’s a big mistake.

My own experience as a coach (and plenty of emerging research) shows that people can typically change only one behavior at a time.

Read that again: One. Behavior. At. A. Time.

Human beings are impatient. We want instant gratification. We want everything now — or better yet, yesterday. In fact, one particular client from last summer’s Lean Eating program wrote a critique of the plan, essentially saying that he would have preferred had we taught him all the habits and behaviors at once, instead of doling them out over the course of the program.

That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? I mean, if there are things he could have done from the very beginning, why did we wait 4 or 5 months to have him do them? Couldn’t he have done more?


You see, doing more is the problem! It’s what everyone tries to do. They go in guns blazing, making massive changes across the board, only to collapse in a heap of exhaustion and self-loathing when the first promise to themselves is broken. Of course, you COULD change more than one thing at once, but not for long, and never for long enough to see lasting, sustainable improvement — which is what you really want, isn’t it?

Oh, and that guy who complained that we should have taught him everything at once? He happened to lose 50 lbs doing it our way — and won the $10,000 prize for the best body transformation!

Accept the fact that you can only change one behavior at a time, and you will succeed. Try to change more than one thing at a time, and you will fail. It’s really that simple.

2. Focus on your nutrition — exercise doesn’t work.

In this video, I discuss the exercise myth.  You know, the one perpetuated by fitness clubs across the globe telling us that as long as we exercise a few times a week and eat a “sensible diet”, whatever that means, we’ll have a sizzling sex life and cover model abs.

Well, I’ve got 20 years experience and a whole binder full of studies that suggest otherwise.  In fact, two recent studies have shown that exercise alone, isn’t all that effective for helping people lose fat, gain lean, and improve their body composition. I know it’s hard to believe.  But it’s totally true.

One, done at the University of Texas, showed that with 6 hours of strength + cardio exercise per week for 3 straight months, participants only lost 1lb of fat vs. their completely sedentary counterparts.

Another, done at the University of Oklahoma, showed that with 5 hours of strength + cardio exercise per week for 2.5 months, participants only lose 1.5lbs of fat vs. their sedentary counterparts.

Of course, I’m not telling you this to convince you that exercise is no good.  Rather, I’m trying to make a much more important point.  And that point is this.  Exercise ALONE isn’t very effective at promoting weight loss. However, when you combine a proper exercise program PLUS the right nutrition habits, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s contrast the results of the studies above with the results of our last few groups of Lean Eating clients.  Over the course of 6 months in Lean Eating, our Lean Eaters lost, on average, 15 lbs of body fat, while gaining 5 lbs of lean.  But that’s just the average!  Check out the video above for some jaw-dropping transformations.

So, if you’re hoping to change your body significantly this year, whether you like it or not, you’re gonna have to nail down your diet.  Research has proven it.  Years of experience have validated the research.  And the sooner you realize it, the sooner you’ll be on track to awesome results.

3. Find a social support network.

In this video, I discuss how weight gain can spread like a virus.  Indeed, a few months ago, we reviewed a provocative study here on the site. The study looked into patterns of weight gain and obesity in communities, and the conclusion was this: Weight gain is contagious.

Now, of course they didn’t mean that someone could cough on you and a few days later you’d wake up with a fever and fifty extra pounds around your waist. Body fat doesn’t spread like a germ, but it does spread. The study concluded that it spreads through the behaviors we pick up, most of the time subconsciously, from those around us.

Fortunately, leanness also can also be contagious.  If you hang out with people who INSPIRE you, who LIFT YOU UP, inevitably you’ll find yourself inspiring others, and lifting up those around you.

Decide today to go out and add some more fitness-minded people to your life. Start small. If you don’t have anyone, find someone. If you’ve got one person, find a second. If you’ve got two people, find a third. Find a training partner.  Join a group class. Find a friend of a friend who’s done what you want to do and just ask them for help.

Really, if you don’t have a strong social support circle, people who can help you, people who inspire you, people you can lean on, then that’s one of the first things that needs to improve this year.

4. Give yourself an incentive or reward.

In this video, I discuss the two main motivational factors for inspiring change – reward and punishment.  Otherwise known as the carrot and the stick.

Truly, over the last 20 years I’ve coached people in all different types of environments.  And the most inspiring results, accomplished by the most motivated people, always seem to come when there’s a big reward in place.  That’s why, in the Lean Eating program, we offer $100,000 in prize money.  $25,000 to the best male body transformation, $25,000 to the best female body transformation. And lots of additional prizes for other top transformations.

It’s a reward big enough to help folks overcome the inertia that keeps most people from getting fit.

This year, if you’re committing to getting in better shape than ever before, what’s your incentive going to be?  Are you going to have a body transformation contest with your friends?  With your work colleagues?  Is money going to be on the line?  A vacation somewhere special?

It doesn’t matter what the incentive is.  But there has to be one.  And it has to be big enough to keep you focused when your motivation wanes.  Which it always does, even if for just a little while.

5. Take a risk.

On the other side of reward, we’ve got punishment.  The stick.  It’s the yin to reward’s yang.  And it’s equally important when you’re trying to change your habits and your body.  In fact, I’ve called it “the best kept secret in weight loss.”

I learned a lot about this principle in a book called “The Blackmail Diet.”  It this book, Dr John Bear mentions that experts can tell you what to do to lose weight.  But all of this advice doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you’re not forced to stay on the plan when the motivation wanes, when things get hard, when life gets in the way.  Even famous fiction author Steven King writes about this principle in the context of quitting smoking.

So, you’ve got your reward down.  Now let’s pick your punishment.  What uncomfortable thing are you gonna use to keep yourself motivated, to create pressure to succeed?

One of our 2009 Lean Eaters choose a can of dog food.  That’s right, he made a public declaration that he’d stick to the Lean Eating program for 6 months and lost at leas 25lbs.  And if he didn’t?  He’d eat a nasty can of dog food at work, in front of everyone.

Guess what?  He ended up a men’s finalist.

6. Do something — anything — right now.

In fitness and in life.  If you don’t do it now, it’s not likely you’ll ever do it.

I know, I know, you like to “do your research”, read, learn, reason, and decide. But, the Chinese have a great saying that tells you exactly where that gets you:  one who deliberates fully before taking their first step will spend their entire life on one leg. And the Americans have a simpler one: just do it.

I’ve found that those who just do it, need 3 things.  First, they need a sense of importance.  At some deep level, you need to genuinely feel that changing your habits and your body is really important.

Second, you need confidence.  Not necessarily in yourself (although that helps).  After all, almost everyone starting something new lacks confidence.  No, you need confidence in your plan.  You need to really believe that the plan you’re about to follow, will work.

Third, you need a willingness to act.  You see motivation comes and goes.  And the trick is to strike when the iron is hot.  To act decisively when the motivation is there.  And in the video below, I’ll tell you the story of how one client made the decision to lose weight and to quit smoking.  It’s pretty cool.

The key is to do something positive, anything, right now. To be decisive, and act in a way that brings you even an inch closer to your dream.  If you can do it on your own, go for it. If you need help, get it. It doesn’t matter what it is.  As long as it’s positive and you can do it in the next 5 minutes.

Coaching from the world’s top nutritionists. $250,000 in cash prizes each year. Are you in?

Registration to join Precision Nutrition Coaching kicks off on January 15th, 2020. If you want to get in the best shape of your life and take a shot at the $250,000 in prize money we give away to coaching clients each year, we strongly recommend you put your name on the presale list below for Precision Nutrition Coaching.

We can only work with a limited number of clients. And spots sell out every time we open them up. So adding your name to this list gives you a huge advantage. First of all, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you’ll receive a big discount at registration.

So put your name on the list below. Because, as always, clients are accepted on a first come, first served, and when spots are gone, they’re gone.