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Way back in the year 2000, T Nation introduced the world to a young fellow named John Berardi. Over the years that followed, his influence changed the way most athletes and lifters looked at nutrition.
John went on to coach a wide variety of pro and Olympic athletes, start Precision Nutrition, and advise companies like Apple and Nike. After cranking out his new book, Change Maker, he finally had time to sit down with T Nation and talk shop.
T Nation: In 2009 you told us about your experiment to gain muscle as a plant-based (meatless) bodybuilder. What did you learn?
Dr. John Berardi: I’m always up to some kind of experiment. For example, I did a six-month intermittent fasting experiment, where I experimented with each of the popular intermittent fasting protocols, tracked everything, and reported all my findings.
There’s also the time I helped 34 readers adjust their urinary pH and alter the body’s acid/base status using greens supplements. And the time I experimented with essential oils to increase testosterone and IGF levels (and it worked).
I share all this so the anti-vegan crowd doesn’t start thinking me a dirty, tree-hugging, vegan hippy – just because I dared not eat meat for a month – and then dismiss the rest of this interview. (If they want to accuse me of anything, call me a dirty, science-loving, self-experimenting, nutrition junkie.)
To your question, in the late 2000s, a lot of people in the strength and bodybuilding communities believed that plant-based proteins were inferior, and it’d be difficult, if not impossible, to gain muscle on a plant-based diet.
Most people in the nutrition science community knew this wasn’t true. But old ideas die hard and misinformation is rampant. So I tested the idea publicly.
On the positive side, it worked. In just over a month of hard training and overfeeding, I gained about seven pounds of body weight with five coming from lean mass gain and two from fat mass.
Again, over a decade ago, vegans were very much in the minority. And I think this experiment helped open people’s eyes to the fact that if you’re strength training, eating enough total protein, and getting a caloric surplus, muscle can be gained… animal protein or not.
On the negative side, however, I have to admit to struggling with the high volume of plant-based foods. In the beginning I had a constantly bloated stomach. In fact, my normal 32 inch waist circumference would balloon up to 42 inches by the end of the day.
My abs were visible but they were sticking out an extra ten inches. And, oh, the flatulence! After a few weeks of adaptation (and the addition of a digestive enzyme) things got a little better. But the distention never totally abated.
Yet that was over a decade ago. Nowadays, there are so many food and supplement options for plant-based eaters that I suspect, if I were to want to do this kind of experiment again, I could do it more easily and with less GI trouble.
T Nation: Vegan diets are making a huge comeback right now because of concerns over the environment and the treatment of conventionally raised animals. Do you have any suggestions for those who want to go vegan and still be able to build muscle and improve their performance?
Berardi: Most folks who follow me know I’m a “dietary agnostic” or, if I were to use more current social parlance, you could call it “diet fluid.” In other words, I don’t believe any one type of eating is inherently better – from a health perspective – than another.
Further, as a student of human physiology and biochemistry, I know that our bodies are wonderfully plastic. Give the body hard strength training and our muscles, connective tissues, and bones adapt. Give the body meditation and mindfulness practices and our brains adapt. Similarly, people can quickly adapt to high fat or high carb, all meat or no meat, as long as whatever style they choose is executed intelligently.
I’ve also spent 30 years as a coach. In coaching, you have to put your own biases aside. I call this “client-centered coaching” and it focuses on questions like: Who is my client? What do they want? How can I help them get it? This instead of foisting “my way” onto them.
So, if a client wants to go carnivore… great! But let’s make sure they do it right to avoid the inherent problems associated with cutting out all plant-based foods (i.e. certain nutrient deficiencies, lack of fiber, eating too few calories, struggling in the gym, etc).
If they want to keto… cool! Just let’s make sure they do it better than the average person who does keto, so they avoid the inherent problems associated with cutting out carbs (similar to the problems above).
If they want to vegan… awesome too! But it’s important to make sure they do it thoughtfully to avoid the problems with eating only plant-based foods (different nutrient deficiencies, risk of low protein intake, risk of too few calories, etc).
Heck, even a “balanced, mixed diet” comes with its own set of concerns that have to be navigated and strategized around. As I always say to clients, it doesn’t matter how you want to eat, I can help you do it better, in a healthy way, that increases your probability of reaching your goals.
So, when it comes to muscle building and performance, any of these diets can work as long as you:
- Train appropriately for your goals. Easier said than done since there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how to train for your goals. Plus it’s difficult to force your body to adapt to a training stimulus after the newbie gains are gone. This takes a mix of correctly-designed programs, hard training, and appropriate recovery.
- Eat enough food. No matter what your macro split is, or what diet du jour you’ve decided to follow, you need enough calories to support hard training and muscle growth. When you eliminate entire food groups it’s an added challenge to get all the calories you need. So, if you’ve decided to eliminate animal foods (or plant foods, or carbs, or whatever) you have to be more diligent about making sure you’re eating enough of everything else.
- Eat enough protein. If you train hard, with adaptation in mind, there’s no getting around the fact that you have to get enough dietary protein. Again, eliminating animal foods makes this more challenging, but not impossible. As with calories, you just have to be more diligent. You might even need to write things down and track them over time to ensure you’re not fooling yourself.
- Adjust your training based on your diet. In some cases, if you’ve decided to follow a specific diet that restricts certain nutrients – or that requires you to fast for extended periods – you may have to adjust your training to accommodate this. This could mean lowering volume and/or intensity because of your dietary selection. Or, in some cases, increasing it.
T Nation: Okay, so you’ve helped vegans, keto dieters, paleo eaters, and everyone in between get fitter. What experiences and thoughts have lead you to becoming such an open-minded practitioner?
Berardi: Well, for starters, pragmatism. The Precision Nutrition team and I have worked with over 200,000 clients all over the world. That’s not possible with a closed-minded approach to food and fitness. If your attitude is “my way or the highway” then most people will choose the highway. Rightfully so.
Secondly, intellectual curiosity. I’m a curious person. I’m always wondering why things are this way or that way, and why people behave this way or that way.
Intellectual curiosity demands that you ask questions, be open to all the answers you receive, and then try to “map” those answers to a broader worldview, one bigger and more complex than you could’ve come up with on your own. The “one best diet” (or way of training, or way of being) can’t work if we hope for honest intellectual curiosity.
Third, observation. If your world is small and simple, or you’re just young, you don’t have enough observations to understand what’s going on. Your sample size is too low. As my sample size grew over the years it was hard to miss that, yes, there are healthy, muscular, high-performance omnivores. But that there are also healthy, muscular, high-performance vegans.
Likewise, there are healthy, muscular, high performance low carbers and high carbers. When faced with a broader picture like this, you either have to figure out what all these people have in common, and create your understanding of the world based on that, or you stick your head in the sand and pretend what’s true isn’t.
In the end, while it may feel safe and affirming to choose one way of looking at the world, and to join a tribe of like-minded people which supports it, that safety and affirmation will eventually become a prison of your own making.
T Nation: Speaking of tribes, there seems to be an “us versus them” mentality among dieters and diet pros. Dieting has become controversial over the last few years.
Berardi: You’re right, there’s some pretty fervent tribalism when it comes to the various styles of eating nowadays. And it’s easy to understand why.
The internet, as amazing as it is – and for all the massive advantages it’s brought us – has amplified certain human tendencies that lead to an us vs. them situation.
First, it’s hastened what’s been called “the death of expertise.” Once upon a time, specialized knowledge was hard to come by. In such an environment, small groups of people (experts) can learn a lot about a particular subject and the gap between their knowledge and the public’s becomes wide.
These individuals, when sanctioned by gatekeepers (like the media, book publishers, etc), became trusted, even revered, and unquestioned. In essence, in simpler times, there was only one source of what was seen as truth.
Those days are mostly gone. Nowadays, info and specialized knowledge are easy to find and often free. Thanks internet! So now, anyone can learn what once only a few could. Also, the internet has largely eliminated gatekeepers, meaning that anyone with a big enough megaphone can share whatever information they’re learning.
These innovations – coupled with certain abuses of trust over the millennia – has lead to the death, or erosion, of expertise. As a result, today there are many, often competing, sources of truth. This, functionally, means people get to pick the one(s) they like the best and align with them. It also means they have to defend against the believers of “fake truth.”
Second, the internet has made it possible for like-minded people to form bigger, more powerful movements and amplify conversations. Before the internet, if you had contrarian beliefs, it would’ve been difficult to get anyone to listen to you. Too few people in your home town would share your convictions. And, even if you drew together a small following, your sermons, at the local diner, would pretty much end after paying the bill.
But nowadays, with the internet, you have access to a huge megaphone that reaches the entire world. A conversation that would’ve ended after apple pie can gain a groundswell of momentum as like-minded people across the globe – for better or worse – gather to your ideas.
Of course, this isn’t a new trend. People have always, and will always, be people. It’s just that nowadays it’s all amplified. The number of people with megaphones, and the size of their megaphones, is bigger than ever before. And the filters between them and others are smaller.
Third, distance plays a role. It’s way easier to insult, denigrate, and offend sitting behind a screen, with distance between you and that person. Again, historically, discussions and debates happened in person. Social pressure – or the threat of a knuckle sandwich – kept most people in line. Nowadays, behind a keyboard or mobile phone, that pressure is gone. And our best selves are going too.
Finally, ego. Because modern “conversations” are happening in a big public forum, the drive to avoid embarrassment, or protect one’s ego, can be extraordinarily strong.
Faced with the threat of this kind of embarrassment, “saving face” and “being right” can overtake one’s drive to learn and grow. Because of this, as folks get more and more entrenched in their ideas, the divide between “camps” becomes too wide. No common ground can be reached.
In the end, the first two are facts of modern existence – the “cost” of innovations like the internet. And, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trade away the magic of the internet and all it affords us just because the carnivore eaters and plant-based eaters can’t get along.
Interestingly, the third and fourth are where our opportunities exist. As individuals, we can choose to prioritize learning over appearing right in public. We can work on becoming more evolved, controlling our primitive ego’s whims. We can choose, as we already do dozens of times every day, to show up as our best selves both in person or online.
Or, if living up to a higher standard isn’t motivating enough, maybe not looking like an idiot will keep us on the straight and narrow.
Jay Z reminded us of this twenty years ago in The Takeover: “A wise man once told me don’t argue with fools. ‘Cause people, from a distance, can’t tell who is who.”
But this was said over 100 years ago by Mark Twain: “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
And, before that, 3,000 years ago by King Solomon: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.”
Maybe it’s time people finally learned it.
T Nation: Do you think the average person would be more likely to get fit if today’s leaders and influencers were more open minded?
Berardi: No, not really. While I’d love to see more open-mindedness in our field (and others), I don’t think philosophical differences, bad intellectual leadership, or any other conceptual frameworks are in the way of most people’s ability to achieve goals. Rather, the problem is with how modern life is constructed.
In general, save for a few specific jobs, our requirement to move/exercise is next to zero. Foods high in energy density are abundant and cheap. We’re financially and socially rewarded for engaging in high stakes/high stress opportunities. And there are no rewards in place for resting and recovering.
So, until there are some major cultural shifts, things – on average – are only going to get worse. There needs to be incentives and rewards for eating more fruits and veggies and daily movement. Our orientation to work has to shift so that stress is mitigated and sleep/rest are better encouraged. And we need more connection to community (real, in-person communities) and more time in nature.
Sure, some individuals, through heroic personal effort, will buck the trend by committing to “dieting” and “training” practices. But, to ask the general population to take these on as their main hobbies as a means to manage body weight feels like a losing epidemiological solution.
Bottom line: Rugged individualism isn’t going to solve the world’s obesity epidemic. Widespread progress will only be made through environmental, cultural, and policy changes.
T Nation: You’ve recently talked about your use of the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. Most people assume that someone who’s as conscientious about health and fitness as you would be almost immune to acquiring autoimmune issues. Do you mind sharing what made you go on this diet and if the diet did what you had hoped?
Berardi: I’m happy to share. But, to begin with, you’re right. There seems to be this inherent, subconscious bias in the health and fitness community that makes people believe that working out and eating well somehow guards against the perils of the human condition.
Just lift weights, eat your proteins and veggies, say your prayers, and take your vitamins and you, too, can stave off weakness, sickness, even death.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, when someone dies relatively young, or is diagnosed with something like cancer or a degenerative condition, “but they were so healthy… working out all the time and eating so well… maybe they weren’t that disciplined.”
In fact, I’ve even seen people become detectives looking for some kind of dietary transgression (too much sugar!) or suboptimal lifestyle choices (not enough meditation!) as the causal factor.
So let’s get it straight. While exercise and nutrition are powerful interventions, they can’t prevent or cure all manner of ailments. Like, for example, my autoimmune disease.
For me, it all started out a year ago when a bunch of skin lesions appeared on my body and some chronic knee pain that became unbearable. After seeing a host of docs, I was diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, autoimmune conditions where your immune system attacks your skin and joints.
Determined to get to the bottom of things, and not wanting to take powerful corticosteroids as my treatment, I tried a wide range of interventions to get things under control. When the dust settled, I was able to control all symptoms with UVB light exposure and following the autoimmune protocol diet.
To your question, the AIP is a restrictive diet (you pretty much eat meat and certain vegetables), very much like an elimination diet. It’s designed to control inflammation, heal the gut, and reduce the intake of foods that could trigger the immune system to overreact.
Interestingly, while the AIP did nothing for my skin lesions, within two weeks it cleared up my knee pain. I went from not being able to squat 135 pounds pain-free to squatting 350 pounds, for a few reps, in just about two months’ time. While I wasn’t about to start breaking powerlifting records just yet, this felt nothing short of a miracle.
From there I began to reintroduce certain foods to see which would aggravate my knee pain, if any. During this reintroduction phase I learned that dairy, soy, and nightshade vegetables were a no-no. They’d cause excessive respiratory symptoms (mucous, congestion) and a recurrence of knee pain.
Now, a full year later, if I totally avoid all three my knees feel great and I don’t have to be so strict on the AIP diet. Although I did end up loving this way of eating and follow it with about 80% compliance, by choice.
As mentioned, though, this did nothing for my skin lesions. For those, I needed UVB light exposure, a known psoriasis treatment.
Sunlight contains both UVA and UVB. UVA leads to melanin production and a tan. Unfortunately it’s what also leads to a higher prevalence of skin cancer. UVB doesn’t lead to tanning at all; it’s actually what’s responsible for sunburns. But it’s highly effective at increasing vitamin D production and that leads to management of skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo.
I ended up buying a UVB light box, which looks like a single panel tanning bed, and hung it on the wall in my bedroom. With just two minutes of exposure a day, one minute on the back, one minute on the front, I can keep the lesions at bay.
With all that said, both the AIP and UVB interventions are doing a great job of treating the symptoms. Yet, when living at home, the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis comes back without treatment. This is leading me to a deeper investigation of what the root cause is and whether I can figure out a strategy to put me into “permanent” remission.
Interestingly, our family spent last winter away from home. This summer too. And all my symptoms disappeared while away, without UVB treatment. So, right now I’m investigating whether I’m “allergic to our house”, testing for a bunch of airborne allergens, including mold, and doing some additional blood tests.
Based on the reading I’ve been doing, I’m starting to suspect that we have mold in our home and that, coupled with a personal sensitivity to mold, is at work. But that’s just a guess. I’ll let you know what I find after this next wave of testing.
T Nation: There seems to be a pervasive belief that anything outside of a diet and a workout plan is just a waste of money. But you seem to be a believer in unconventional therapies and health/fitness tools. What are some of the things you do that are outside of the norm?
Berardi: Essentials oils are one. After seeing the explosion of research looking at essential oils and their ability to influence various physiological pathways, I decided to run a few experiments with them.
I know it’s unpopular to even suggest that EOs might have benefit, especially among the so-called “evidence-based” community. And I’m sure this is because of the aggressive and absurd claims made by some of people in the pro-oil community, many of whom are financially incentivized to make these claims.
However, to ignore thousands of studies and case reports is equally absurd. Again, honest intellectual curiosity demands going beyond black-and-white thinking and searching for truth in shades of gray.
I’ve written in detail about a few case studies on the use of blue spruce and balsam fir for testosterone and IGF-1 respectively. I also discuss the use of frankincense for joint pain.
The latter is really interesting as frankincense essential oil comes from resin of the boswellia tree. Boswellia is highly touted in the supplement world for joint pain and arthritis. Ironically, some of the same people taking boswellia in supplement form still end up mocking its use as an essential oil.
I’m also playing around with light therapy. We know different wavelengths of light enter the cells and trigger different biochemical processes. And data are emerging that therapeutic doses could influence inflammation, collagen formation, hair growth, and more.
So, in addition to the very evidence-based UVB therapy I’ve been using for psoriasis, I’m also starting to experiment with red light therapy. Again, many of the claims are outrageous. And this is what leads some folks to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Don’t be like them! Red light therapy probably isn’t going to cure cancer. But it might be a useful addition to an injury recovery protocol, for one example. It’s also been shown to be a more effective treatment for hair loss than hormone-regulating drugs like finasteride and dutasteride
Another example is cannabis. I remember, two decades ago, working with a national team, full of multiple-time Olympians and Olympic medalists, who regularly used cannabis a few times a week, claiming that it helped with their recovery from high intensity, CNS-demanding strength and power workouts.
“On the nights I don’t use cannabis,” one told me, “I struggle to sleep and I wake up stale and sore. On the nights I do use cannabis, I sleep great and wake up feeling refreshed.”
My knee-jerk reaction: This was just a way to justify their recreational drug use. But then came the curiosity. Could this be a real thing? What if they’re right? We started measuring things and, yes, it looked as if cannabis was acting as a recovery aid in certain circumstances.
Nowadays, with legalization in many places, the evidence is mounting that cannabis might offer some real benefits in a host of populations. Is it the panacea that marketers are making it out to be? No. These exaggerated claims are just more of the same nonsense as above. But, again, just because claims are exaggerated doesn’t mean that there aren’t also some real effects.
One final example, cold water circulation during sleep. There are these temperature regulation pads – ChiliPad is the market leader – that you can place between your mattress and fitted sheet. They’re designed to keep your body at a constant temperature by circulating cold water through a series of barely perceptible “channels” in the pad.
Research shows that a lower temperature sleep environment leads to lower body temperature and that’s associated with higher quality sleep and better recovery. Historically, to achieve this, I had to adjust my thermostat to lower the temperature of my entire house. Now, with devices like the ChiliPad, I can lower the temperature of my bed only.
While this has definitely improved my sleep (I love setting the ChiliPad to about 58 degrees and then burrowing into my dark covers) I’ve heard it’s absolutely life-changing for menopausal and post-menopausal women.
T Nation: Okay, back to conventional ideas. Does losing fat all come down to calories in and calories out? A lot of coaches are going that direction, but this seems to have caused an “eat anything, nothing is bad, just be in a caloric deficit” trend.
Berardi: Another great example of the divisiveness of the fitness and nutrition space! Body weight IS determined by energy balance. For sure. One-hundred percent of the time. If you don’t think so, nearly every piece of scientific literature disagrees with you.
This means that “true” weight loss only happens when you take in fewer calories than you burn. And “true” weight gain only happens when you take in more calories than you burn. However, here’s where things get tricky…
You can lose weight without an energy deficit. I help MMA fighters do it all the time. They can lose 20-30 pounds in a few days without being in a deficit. It’s water weight. And it counts as “weight.”
This is one of the reasons folks get so confused and end up saying things like: “calories in vs. calories out didn’t seem to hold true for me.” It’s damn hard to figure out what kind of weight you’re gaining or losing in response to diet and exercise changes (or non-changes) unless you’re doing regular DEXA scans.
The thing is, though, you can’t lose what we call “body stores” (fat weight or lean weight) without being in an energy deficit. That loss of stored nutrients requires using more energy in a day (or week or month) than what’s coming in.
But, again, there are lots of ways this gets confusing for the average person. Lots of ways for it to feel like you’re gaining weight even when you’re not overeating. Or feel like you’re losing weight when you’re not under-eating.
Again, shifts in water weight can cause this confusion. People may think they’re gaining or losing fat without a change in energy balance when it’s actually just shifts in body fluid.
Barely perceptible daily changes can cause this confusion. People may think they haven’t changed their exercise or eating, but small changes, impossible to eyeball, creep in and make a difference.
This is what leads some people to believe that medical conditions or hormones “break” the energy balance equation. But they don’t. All hormones and medical conditions do is change one (or both) sides of the energy balance equation, making it difficult to eyeball the math and come up with a predictable outcome.
Of course, this entire conversation focuses on weight management. And it’s this very weight management debate that seems to be the fad of the day. Yes, just like there are equipment fads and nutrition fads, there also seem to be argument fads. It’s quite literally popular to argue about this in 2019.
Sadly, this obscures the fact that there are all sorts of other important goals that can’t be accounted for in this weight gain vs. weight loss, calories in vs. calories out debate.
“What you eat doesn’t matter as long as you create a calorie deficit” is absolutely true if all you’re after is weight loss. However, if you also want health, longevity, and performance, then the quality of what you eat does matter. As does the type of exercise you’re doing, how you’re managing sleep, and how you’re managing stress.
All oversimplification of this complex topic does is to make one look, well, simple.
T Nation: What have you changed your mind about over the years regarding nutrition? Would you disagree with your younger self?
Berardi: I’ve changed my mind about lots of little nutrition details. For example, many of us used to think that post-workout nutrition was so critical that if we didn’t get our fast-digesting carbs right after training we’d be wasting our training efforts and handicapping our adaptation to exercise.
We now know this isn’t true, that post-workout nutrition may only be important for a few training scenarios, and that it may only have a small effect.
Likewise, we used to think that breakfast was super important, as was frequent, every-few-hours eating. If you didn’t eat every few hours you’d be slowing your metabolism and hampering muscle gains.
Again, not true. We now know that the metabolic response to food is related to calorie intake only. Eat 3,000 calories in two meals or over six meals and the metabolic response is the same. (And it’s not very big). Also, the effect of 3,000 calories over two meals vs. six meals may not have a significant impact on muscle development either.
But I consider these the small details that literature corrects over time. Paying attention to the research and correcting course when new, compelling evidence enters the picture is par for the course. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
The biggest thing I look back on and feel ashamed of was an over-reliance on rules and black-and-white statements in my early days. For example, 16 years ago, I published an article right here on T Nation called “7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs” with rules such as:
- Eat every 2-3 hours, no matter what, between 5-8 meals per day.
- Eat complete (all the essential amino acids) lean protein with each meal.
- Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each meal.
- Ensure carb intake comes from fruits and veggies with the exception of workout and post-workout drinks and meals.
- Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat with an even mix of saturates, monounsaturates, and polyunsaturates.
- Drink only non-caloric drinks, the best choices being water and green tea.
- Eat mostly whole foods (except workout and post-workout drinks).
Nowadays I cringe when reading these.
T Nation: Wait, a lot of people had success following those rules…
Berardi: It’s not necessarily because they’re wrong. Yes, following them has lead to many, many fantastic physiques… as long as there’s appropriate training, dialed-in caloric intake, and attention paid to sleep and stress management.
Rather, I cringe because they’re so definite. Rigid. Black and white. “Only”… “every”… “no matter what”….
What can I say, I was 29 years old, still a grad student, and only had to look after my studies and my physique. Now, 16 years, four children, and countless “grown up” responsibilities later, I look at things a little differently. And I coach differently.
I now know that you could eat eight times a day or once a day and still end up with similar results if your calorie intake is equivalent. So I help people find the right number of meals for their preference and lifestyle.
I now know that as long as you get enough total protein over the course of the day, and that you’re getting a complementary mix of amino acids if some of your sources have limited amino acids, your muscle growth and performance will be just fine. So I help people set protein goals for the day and reliably hit them.
Now, I will say that if you’re training really hard for adaptation, are in the elite category of your activity, or are at the upper threshold of your genetic potential, finessing meal frequency, protein timing, and the other variables above could give you marginal performance gains. Maybe.
But marginal performance gains are only relevant at the margins. This means that most people (the ones in the meat of the bell-shaped curve) don’t need to play with marginal gain-type interventions.
For them, finding an approach that helps them stay consistent with exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress management over the long haul is where it’s at. I now know this: Flexibility is consistency’s ally. Rigidity is consistency’s enemy.
T Nation: Your book, Change Maker, is a guide for professionals looking to make a difference with their work. What’s the most important takeaway they’ll get from the book?
Berardi: There are a few things that I’m really sad about in the health and fitness space. One of them is the fact that, despite thousands of certifications, seminars, websites, and gurus promising advice, it’s difficult for even the most experienced professionals to turn their passion for health and fitness into a meaningful career and measurable success.
That sucks. Over the last 30 years I’ve watched as countless health and fitness enthusiasts join the field — eager to work in an area they’re excited about, optimistic about helping change lives — burn out quickly, broke and disillusioned.
It’s not for a lack of care or attention. Nor a lack of passion or commitment. It’s because there’s no clear blueprint for success.
That’s where Change Maker comes in. It’s a go-to career guide for both those new to the field, looking for a head start, and experienced experts looking for a fresh approach. The six steps revealed in the book will help folks…
- Choose their specialty based on their unique strengths
- Discover their deeper purpose and values
- Identify what their clients and customers really want
- Figure out how to deliver that thing in the most awesome way
- Get clients, make money, and manage a thriving business
- Nurture and protect their most precious asset: their reputation.
- Create a life-long, growth-oriented continuing education plan.
I know there are a ton of T Nation readers who are already — or eventually wanting to be — trainers, nutritionists, functional medicine docs, group instructors, rehab specialists, health coaches, and more. This book is for them.
Leaning on my 30 years of experience, it’s designed to help them do more of the work they find joy in, turn their clients and customers into raving fans, and their careers into something powerful, meaningful, and change-making.
T Nation: Sounds awesome, where can people find out more?
Berardi: I want to get this book into the hands of everyone it can possibly help. So I put together a special package that contains the first few chapters, the activities, scripts, and worksheets from the book, and the frequently asked questions. And this package is totally free. Folks can download the free chapters and bonuses here.