I work with them every day; so I know how awesome Precision Nutrition’s coaches really are.
Today you get to meet one of them, Jonathan Pope. This way you can find out too.
There’s hardly a product or program offered by PN that Jonathan Pope hasn’t been involved with in some way.
First he bought and studied and practiced the PN System. Next, he signed up for and completed one of the inaugural Certification courses. Then he signed up for PN Coaching.
Not because he really needed to lose fat. As a lifelong athlete, Jon wasn’t overweight. Instead, he signed up for PN Coaching because he wanted to experience PN’s coaching from the inside. He wanted to go through the process.
Why this obsessive fascination with all things PN?
“I’d been following Dr. John Berardi’s work for years,” he says. “I identified with the training philosophy.
“It’s about doing what works for the long term. Giving clients the right tools for a lifetime.”
And Jonathan, more than most people, understands why that’s important. Meaning he understands it literally. Right down to his bones.
An avid athlete from childhood, Jon grew up in Utah.
A hard-playing kid who loved to push himself, he excelled at snowboarding, skateboarding, basketball, and other sports.
“Basically, I’d try anything,” he says. “As long as it challenged me, I wanted to see if I could do it.” Intensity was his middle name.
By college, Jon’s focus was baseball. At first, he hoped for a career in the sport. At the very least, he expected to play through college.
But the universe had other plans. Instead of dazzling, Jon was struggling. “It was all I could do to get through each day.” After one elbow surgery, a ruptured spleen, and multiple minor injuries, his body said: Enough.
Once, he’d set his sights on continual improvement. Now, his goal was simply to hold on.
“At that point in my life my identity was wrapped up in being a really good athlete, and the dream was quickly coming unraveled. I didn’t know how to deal with that.”
So what did he do? Exactly what he’d always done best.
“I continued to push myself.”
After just one year of college baseball, Jon’s body “betrayed” him.
He may not use the word, but it’s what he felt when he learned that he wouldn’t be able to go on.
“Five surgeries in five years,” he sighs. Two for his elbow. Two for his knee. One for his shoulder.
To the uninitiated, baseball may not look like a rough sport.
Players don’t swing sticks at each other or tackle each other or punch each other in the face. But repetitive strain is a continual risk, and baseball can do a serious number on ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Jonathan needed help to repair his body. And in the aftermath of all that medical attention, he had plenty of time for thinking.
One of the questions that troubled him most was why this had happened in the first place. Fit, active, and healthy as he was, why had he succumbed to repeated injury?
“I remember getting out of bed every morning wondering why nearly every joint in my body hurt. I spent a lot of time alternating between feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I had failed myself. It was easy to turn inward and shut out the rest of the world.”
“Eventually I realized no one was going to fix this for me. I had to take action.”
The fact was, two decades of intense training without a proper system or plan had amounted to unconscious self-abuse. It’s not that he’d wanted to harm himself. It’s not that he’d meant to harm himself.
But lacking important information and guidance, he had harmed himself.
He’d beaten himself up — and none of his coaches had stopped him. Worse, some had probably even contributed to the problem.
That made him sad, angry — but more than anything, curious.
Frustrated by what had happened and by the quality of rehab he was getting, Jon began a relentless quest for answers.
Smart, determined, and highly focused, he studied, consulted and interned with the best in the business, including strength coaches, physical therapists, manual therapists, and PhDs — among them, some PN staffers.
“I needed to figure it out. Sure, I’d pushed myself. Moderation is not my forte.
“But how could I train better and safer in the future? How could I help other people do the same?”
By now, Jon was committed to finding solutions — not only for himself, but also for others like him.
The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn — and the more he felt driven to share his knowledge.
Coaching became his natural career choice.
Having graduated from University of Northern Colorado with a BSc in exercise science, it wasn’t long before he was working at a corporate gym.
But there, he became frustrated by the lack of creative control. A go-getter from the get-go, Jon needed to put his intelligence and drive to work at building something from the ground up.
“If I’m going to do this, I really want to do it the right way. I want to offer genuine help to people,” he remembers thinking.
That’s what prompted him to open his own business (along with PN Coach Craig Weller) — Rogue Performance, with programs in fitness and weight loss as well as athletic training specifically designed for team sports, mountain sports, and endurance sports.
The opposite of a one-size-fits all gym, Rogue quickly became known as a place where athletes of all ages and all levels could find community and support for their goals. Clients loved the individualized attention and the unique, long-term approach to fitness.
From the beginning, nutrition counseling was a big part of what Rogue offered.
“I could create a bigger impact in a shorter time — for myself and for my clients — just by adjusting diet,” Jon says. His PN Certification gave him the tools he needed to help people get real results.
Eventually, he developed online programming at Rogue. From there, it seemed only obvious to join PN, where his skills, experience, and knowledge would benefit even more people in need.
Jonathan has designed programs for everyone from stay-at-home moms to professional-level athletes, and from teens to men and women in their fifties, sixties, and beyond.
He loves the challenge of helping diverse clients with different goals.
“It’s so great when people begin to change. Not just their bodies — but inside,” he says.
“They gain confidence. They take charge of their own lives outside the gym. It’s amazing to see clients blossom when they’re challenged in the right way and given support and encouragement.”
Maintaining high yet realistic expectations is key to success. “Pushing your limits and doing difficult things in the gym prepares you to do the same outside the gym,” he notes.
“There’s always room for improvement and growth.”
Jonathan lives in Denver, where he continues to enjoy snowboarding, mountain biking, and rock climbing, among other outdoor pursuits.
“My sports of choice these days don’t match my natural physical gifts,” he notes. “So training the mind has become more important than ever.”
Not that pushing himself has ever been a problem. “My ‘downtime’ is probably most people’s ‘playing hard’,” he says with a laugh.
But these days, mindful of what can happen when we push too hard, too much, too relentlessly, Jon also seeks to balance the intensity — to train smart as well as hard. Travel and time spent with his long-time girlfriend round out his work and gym routines.
And no matter what, Jonathan would never ask a client to do something he wouldn’t be willing to try himself.
In the end, it’s all about intelligent training. Training with a plan and a purpose. And training with sensitivity to the individual and that person’s goals.
“Training doesn’t have to be an endless cycle of hard work and bitter disappointment,” Jonathan says.
Instead, training should be as fun as it is focused.
Like Jonathan Pope himself.