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I demand proof


The truth is, there are a lot of bogus “experts” out there, giving nutrition, exercise, and supplement advice by day while swilling Guinness and noshing on bread sticks by night.  So, how does one know who to trust?  Come on now…it’s simple.  Demand proof!

During the last few weeks, I’ve been on the road a lot.  Presenting at nutrition and exercise conferences, meeting with researchers, hanging out with “fitness experts,” and visiting with some of my athletes – that’s the drill.

And usually I have a great time on these tours.  I get to see different cities, visit with friends and clients I don’t get to see every day, and I get to learn new stuff.

However, after this recent wave of travel, the only thing I came home with was a chip on my shoulder.

Now, for those of you that actually know me, you’ve probably recognized that, in general, I’m a pretty nice guy.  Mostly polite.  Rarely confrontational.  Open minded.  And quite forgiving.

Indeed, those in my inner circle probably also recognize that I rarely ever “call out” other nutrition and exercise experts or pick fights in this capacity.  In many ways, my philosophy has been “live and let live.”

However, today, I have to break form. Because, quite frankly, within the last 2 months I’ve met more BS-talkin’ fitness hypocrites than Bruce Lee can shake a nunchaku at.  And I’ve gotta tell ya.  I’ve had enough!

Now, before going off, let me clarify something. Some of these BS’ers seem like really nice people…they do.  They seem friendly, generally honest, and sincere in the advice that they’re giving.

But friendliness and sincerity aren’t the barometer for what makes good nutrition and exercise advice.  Not even close.

You could have the nicest trainer in the world.  But if that trainer injures you or charges you 100 bucks an hour for no results, that’s another thing entirely.  At that point, screw sincere.

Paleo, schmaleo

As you might imagine, this chip on my shoulder comes as a result of one very specific “nutrition expert” that, for this particular article, will remain nameless.  But let me give you a little background before I flip this guy off publicly.

As many of you know, the current “en vogue” term for eating lean meats, vegetables, and healthy fats is “paleo nutrition.”  You know, eating like our paleolithic ancestors and whatnot.

In fact, over the past few months I’ve heard at least 10 different experts talking about how we should be following the “paleo diet.” Now, I’ve got no problems with the “paleo diet” concept in general – although if you talk to any archeologist or anthropologist, you’ll quickly learn that there was no single “paleo diet.”

In our evolutionary past, different cultures ate a wide range of naturally available foods depending on where they lived and what tools they had at their disposal.

Anthropology aside, overall, I think this current concept of what people are referring to as a “paleo diet” is pretty close to how many people should be eating.  Indeed, in many ways, it’s similar to what we recommend in the Precision Nutrition System.

So, make no mistake, you won’t find me taking much issue with the so-called paleo diet.

However what you will see me taking issue with is this…

Doctor, heal thyself

About a month ago, I was at a seminar with an expert who’s a big “paleo diet” proponent.  I did a talk about optimal sports nutrition.  And he took the stage to talk about his ideas on the paleo diet.  Fair enough.

During his 2 hour talk, which was given to a group of nutrition neophytes – in other words, people who we here at PN call Level 1 clients – he traced the history of “paleo nutrition” and then went on to vehemently preach the complete avoidance of ALL grains, ALL dairy, and ALL legumes.

Yes, Even These Grains

Apparently, our genome is a few million years old.  And, of course, we’re not meant (by god, or by nature, or by the boogeyman) to eat ANY grains or dairy or legumes.  Yes, that’s right even corn (on the cob), peanuts (raw), and green beans, are 100% off limits. Because, of course, they’re grains and legumes respectively.

Of course, to add to this, our expert above then punctuates his seminar with another “fact.”  Apparently his  best nutrition advice is to eat only lean meat and vegetables – but not very much.

Because we should also be following the principles of calorie restriction.  And this means eating less than 70% of our maintenance needs.

Now, again, my motto is always “live and let live.”  So I’m not here to take issue with this particular advice.  So I’ll leave it at this…it’s not exactly what you’ll find in the Precision Nutrition System.

But what you REALLY won’t find in the PN System is this…

About 1 hour after the end of the seminar, I found Mr. Militant A. Nutrition noshing hors d’oeuvres and swilling Guinness at a restaurant.  And about 2 hours later, I watched as he polished off about 1/2 a loaf of white bread in addition to his main course.

Ironically, meat and veggies.

As the night progressed, he apparently wasn’t contented with his 2 or 3 grain-based Guinness beverages.  So he ordered more.  Indeed, he drank no less than 6 pints that night.

Guinness – Tastes Great.  Made From Grains

Pardon my french.  But what an asshole.

This guy spent the better part of the afternoon trying to convince beginners – people who likely had better things to be concerned with than corn on the cob and peanuts – that they should never eat grains, dairy, or legumes.  Because these are dietary evils.

And then, once he had crucified each of these food groups, he went on to bang the calorie restriction drum.

Then he spent the better part of the evening getting wasted and overeating.  With lots of grains thrown in for good measure.

Seriously, f- him. And the extra 20+lbs of body fat he’s hauling around on his muscle-less frame.

Who are we getting our advice from?

A nutritional hypocrite who’s 20lbs over fat.  I don’t know about you.  But this isn’t the type of guy I want to be taking my advice from.  Indeed, I wish guys like this would just get the heck out of my field.

Seriously.  I don’t have a problem if someone doesn’t have a strict diet.  Not at all.

However, please don’t get on a stage, present yourself as a nutrition expert, preach some ridiculously restrictive diet, tell us how overwhelmingly important that diet is, and then break every rule you presented on stage within 2 hours of stepping off it.

It’s sad really.  And maddening.

Now, lest you think this guy is an isolated, extreme example, think again.  I speak at about 12-15 conferences a year.  And rather than the exception, this guy is more or less the norm!

For the most part, I’m the only guy who’s snacking on mixed nuts, venison jerkey, chopped up fruits and veggies, and greens drinks when on the road.

Even at health and fitness events.  Even in the speaker’s lounge.  With a few notable exceptions, it’s usually just me and my ziploc baggies.

You must demand proof

While this sort of thing really gets under my skin, I can’t imagine how it must make you readers feel.  Especially if you’re just trying to pick your way through the current maze of confusing nutrition advice.

So many experts, so many theories, what’s a person to do with it all?  Well, that’s easy.  Demand some proof for a change.

I know you probably aren’t used to asking for it.  But truly, it’s the only way you can decide if someone really knows what they’re talking about.  Or if they’re just a hypocrite.

Sure, a masters degree or doctoral degree is nice.  So is a medical degree.  But even these credentials aren’t proof.  Indeed, they’re meaningless if the credentialed doesn’t:

  • Practice what they preach, eating properly both at home and on the road.
  • Look like they practice some sort of healthy lifestyle, with a lean body and good amount of muscle mass, healthy skin, hair, and nails, and more.
  • Show you evidence that they can and have helped others get outstanding results, the kind of results you’re looking for.

The Cosgrove files

A few years back, I was lucky enough to attend a seminar that Alwyn Cosgrove was putting on.

First, a bit about Alwyn.  For starters, he runs a super successful semi-private training studio in Santa Clarita, California.  Indeed, he’s definitely one of the top body transformation specialists in the world today.  In addition, he’s a fantastic presenter.

So, as I was sitting in the audience enjoying his presentation, I noticed that whenever Alwyn discussed a training or nutrition idea of his, he first backed up the idea with a few published studies.  And then he backed it up with a real-life person who benefited from his advice.

In other words, he showed a before and after picture as well as case study data such to demonstrate proof that his ideas were more than theories.  To demonstrate proof that they actually worked on real people paying him real money for real results.

One of Alwyn's Long-Term Fat Loss Clients, Pattie.
One of Alwyn’s long-term fat loss clients, Pattie, lost 155lbs at Results Fitness, Alwyn’s training studio in Santa Clarita, California

After the seminar, in which he showed dozens of before/after picture sets, I went up to talk to Alwyn.  And I asked him this question – “how many before and after picture sets do you actually have.”  “Oh, hundreds,” he replied.

Later on, during a visit to Alwyn’s gym in California, I verified this claim.  The guy has pictures in the hundreds – of people making fantastic progress using specific training ideas, the same ones he teaches in his seminars.

Another Cosgrove fat loss client, Maria, lost 32lbs in 12 weeks at Results Fitness
Another Cosgrove fat loss client, Maria, lost 32lbs in 12 weeks at Results Fitness.

The Precision Nutrition files

This type of proof is something we’ve always strongly believed in around here.  In fact, for years we’ve done the same thing.  Every one-on-one client.  Every PN Challenge contestant.  Every Lean Eating Coaching participant.

We’ve asked them to document their progress.  With photos.  And body composition data.

Not only does this process help the client stay on track, knowing that the camera will be coming out soon and that they’d better be ready.  It also helps us here at PN prove that we know what the heck we’re talking about.

As discussed above, there are a lot of so called experts out there practicing the worst kind of nutritional hypocrisy.  Walking around over fat and unhealthy.  Preaching about the wrong nutritional priorities.  And then not following any of these so-called nutritional priorities themselves.

It’s sad…but, to be honest, it’s motivation for us.  We’re motivated to make sure that no one ever lumps us into that category.

The Precision Nutrition results

Now, it’s true that not everyone always agrees with everything I say when speaking at an event.  And they might not agree with everything I outline in the Precision Nutrition System. And that’s ok by me.  Especially since the good nutrition experts probably agree on 90% of what they teach anyway.

But let’s get real here.  Are most nutrition disagreements anything more than nit picky nonsense?  Seriously, how can anyone argue with the Precision Nutrition results?

I personally walk around at 8% body fat or less year round.
And I’ll have you know I verified this very fact last weekend with a really cool new ultrasound body fat testing device.

I practice exactly what we preach in the Precision Nutrition System.
Anyone who’s ever seen me speak at an event, anyone who works out at my gym, anyone who’s ever invited me over for dinner knows this all too well.  And I’ll share my grocery receipts, my restaurant receipts, and open my fridge and cupboard to anyone that asks to see them.

And, probably most importantly,I’ve got reams of case studies showing that the PN System works.
And it works well.  Check out these before/after picture sets.  Most of them are from our Lean Eating Coaching For Men and Lean Eating Coaching For Women programs.

Lean Eating coaching member, Peg, lost 26lbs and 7% body fat during the 16 week online coaching course
Lean Eating coaching member, Peg, lost 26lbs and 7% body fat during the 16 week Lean Eating online coaching course
Lean Eating Coaching member, Kirk, lost 33lbs and 7% body fat in the 16 week program
Lean Eating Coaching member, Kirk, lost 33lbs and 7% body fat during the 16 week Lean Eating online coaching course
Lean Eating Coaching Beth lost 20lbs and 8%
Lean Eating Coaching member, Beth, lost 20lbs and 8% body fat during the 16 week Lean Eating online coaching course
Lean Eating Coaching member, James, lost 14 lbs and 6% body fat during the 16 week program
Lean Eating Coaching member, James, lost 14 lbs and 6% body fat during the 16 week online Lean Eating coaching course
Lean Eating Coaching member, Carrie, lost 20lbs and 8% body fat during the 16 week online coaching program.
Lean Eating Coaching member, Carrie, lost 20lbs and 8% body fat during the 16 week Lean Eating online coaching course
Mark lost 28lbs during the Precision Nutrition Challenge
Mark lost 28lbs during the 2007 Precision Nutrition online challenge
Amanda lost 15lbs and 10% body fat following the Precision Nutrition System
Amanda, a PN coaching client, lost 15lbs and 10% body fat following the PN System
Billy lost 85 lbs following the Precision Nutrition program.
Billy lost 85 lbs following the principles outlined in the Precision Nutrition System

Hmmm…I wonder if Precision Nutrition really works?

You know, I started out this article kinda angry.  But wow!  Looking at these pictures somehow calms me down.  A little, anyway.  Until I next cross paths with Mr. Militant Nutrition.

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