John Berardi, PhD, CSCS, Co-Founder of Precision Nutrition, is back for round 2! In the last episode, we discussed the importance of mentorship and how John uses Precision Nutrition as a vehicle to help others find the relationships they need to make meaningful changes in their lives.
This week we’re digging into what John and his team have learned about mastering behavior change, and applying that to industries outside of the fitness and nutrition space.
You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
When John is talking about behavior change, he likes to use the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Essentially, that adage means that, unless someone wants to drink the water, unless they want to change, nothing else can have an impact.
But John disagrees. You can’t make the horse drink – but you can make it very, very thirsty.
That’s what coaching behavior change is: you can’t force or trick anyone to change, but you can put them in a position where they decide to change themselves; you can make them thirsty.
Coaching with Psychology
Most fitness and coaching programs are very prescriptive: eat this, don’t eat that, do these exercises, and do this number of reps. The coach positions themselves as an expert who tells the person being coached what to do.
It’s the easiest possible way to coach, but it’s not effective. People join programs, lose focus from other parts of their life, “fall off the wagon,” then go back to the gym… But now they’re less fit, more dejected, and their behavior hasn’t changed. It’s a vicious yo-yo.
Precision Nutrition does things differently, and they incorporate change psychology: building practices and habits that integrate with your life as it is today to develop skills that you can take with you into the future.
They want to engage with the client in a way that recognizes the realities of their life and helps them make changes that are lifestyle-based, instead of project-based.
Practice > Skills > Goals
Practice leads to skills, and skills lead to goals.
You can use Precision Nutrition’s style of coaching to achieve any goal, not just fitness goals. First you develop skills or habits, then those skills help you achieve your goals. But the development of those skills doesn’t come naturally. It comes through daily practice.
Willpower is Irrelevant in Real Behavior Change
John says that willpower is irrelevant in real behavior change because it speaks to the very thing that he wants to avoid when trying to coach change.
He doesn’t want you to white knuckle your way to any lifestyle change – he wants it to feel like a natural part of your existence.
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