We’ve had tens of thousands of people walk through the doors here at Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance and as you can imagine, we’ve learned a thing or two (to say the absolute least).
The biggest and most influential things we’ve learned, is what works and what doesn’t work. We’ve done surveys, interviews, and interacted with so many clients at this point that it allows us to cater to exactly what people truly need in order to be successful in a coaching program.
Because of that, we have the experience and knowledge to bring you this article – so whether you’ve made it in our doors yet or not, we can help you out by showing you what we’ve learned from so many others just like you.
So without further ado, here are 11 things we’ve learned from coaching nutrition to people who have failed over and over…
1. Emotion Trumps Logic.
Using habits and emotional based decisions over metrics, numbers, and logic works much better in the long run for 75% of the people we see. Some people do great with calories and macros, because they’re analytical individuals – which is great!
Those systems work extremely well, for some. But some isn’t all and that’s where so many coaches drop the ball and to add to that, they usually only work for a given amount of time. We all know, you can’t track macros forever…
What we’ve found, is that most people eat based off emotions, feeling, and cravings and very few people eat based off fuel, performance, and recovery.
Whether that’s ass backwards or not, it’s reality and we’ve learned to base our nutrition coaching off that. It creates more adherence and consistency, which as we know are truly the biggest keys to successful nutrition.
Building habits, intuition, and awareness of what, why and how to eat will be the best skills to build in your client.
2. Environment Shapes The Results Seen.
Where you work, where you eat, where you live, where you train, where you hang out…
Who you work with, what you eat, who you live with, who you train with, who you hangout with…
These are all things in our environments. The crazy thing is that all these little moving parts in life dictate about 75% or more of the results we see. Our environment influences our decisions and outcomes more than just about anything else.
The best part about it, though, is that we have control over it. That’s why one of the biggest things we teach, is changing our clients environment to support them more on their journey to lose more weight, build more muscle, or whatever their goal may be. And although sometimes it can be extremely difficult to audit your environment, it’s a necessary action step towards more success.
3. Don’t Try To Perfect It, Try To Make It Less Bad.
So many people struggle because they see “Shredded Suzy” from instagram and how perfect her 97 containers of meal prepped organic food look stacked on the kitchen counter… or something along those lines.
When in reality, they should be focusing on making their own lifestyle, environment, or nutrition just a little less bad.
Instead of meal prepping every single meal of the week, try walking on your lunch break. Try getting a little more sleep than you currently are. Try drinking a little more water.
It’s not cool, extreme, hardcore, or sexy to say take it slow with your fat loss plan…
But the truth we’ve come to realize, after working with literally thousands of people, that, is that taking it slow and building sustainable habits just works better and keeps people losing weight for longer.
And this is a perfect example of how to do just that. Make things less bad, worry about perfection later (or never).
4. Add In, Don’t Subtract out.
This is a perfect one to follow up with the last…you’d think I did it on purpose 😉
This is simple, yet so effective.
Instead of “Eliminating _____ from your diet”, try “Add in ______ to your diet”.
See when we eliminate, we’re creating more rules and rigidness. This never works long term. Flexibility and implementation do work, though. Plus what happens when we tell you not to do something? You want to do it even more, we all know this from being kids and having parents tell us no.
But the beauty here is that it naturally eliminates the things you probably should be doing less of.
When we “Add more protein” we naturally eat healthier, drop calories a bit, and have more satiety – which will naturally help us improve metabolism, drop body fat, and cut cravings out.
You can do this with MANY different habits but the principle remains the same, add things in and stop taking things away.
5. There Is No Magic Ingredient or Super Food, There’s Nutrients.
I do not care what Dr. Oz says, there is not super food or magic meal that will help you lose more fat or cure any disease. It all takes time, patience, and many combinations of foods, nutrients, macros, training, etc…
As much as I wish it was as simple as “Eat this”, it’s just not.
So the biggest thing to realize and teach your clients is that this is a false hope. The more we can realize that there are many moving parts in this fat loss game, the more successful we all can be.
It’s not that we learned this from working with so many people, it’s that we’ve learned we need to teach this because so many people unfortunately believe or have hopes that this is true.
6. Every Single Person Is Different.
The reason we’re so successful at transforming bodies, is because everything we do has an individualized approach. We understand that you are different than him and her.
So when we approach nutrition, everyone’s plan is slightly different. We may have two people following a similar strategy, but the habits and order of operations for each person is likely completely different. Because that is how success is built, period.
From body type to goals to hormonal profile to lifestyle stressors to routines… EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.
So why on earth would 8 people follow the same meal plan?!?! They just shouldn’t.
We pride ourselves in individuality and the fact that the world’s top coaches all practice the same exact thing. So our suggestion for you, is to make your nutrition plan completely customized to YOU or to your specific client (for you coaches out there).
Here’s a small list of things that vary person to person:
- Meal frequency
- Meal timing
- Calories consumed
- Intermittent fasting
- Calorie cycling (if at all)
- Macronutrient ratios
- Micronutrient ratios
- Ingredients (what’s liked and disliked)
And like I said… “Small List”, because this really can go on and on. But if you can dial even just these 8 things in (or even ½ of them!) you will see double the success.
7. Involve Their Loved Ones (Accountability and Support).
If you do not include their spouses, family, friends, or whoever they see on a daily basis, adherence drops significantly.
Things come up, social events happen, and people we surround ourselves with don’t eat according to our nutrition plan, this is life and that’s ok!
But if we neglect to tell anyone about our nutrition plan, they will not support us because they do not know we need the support. Not to mention, they’re a hell of a lot more likely to encourage us to eat that pizza and drink that beer with them more often – but we can’t get mad at that if they do not know our goals and plans.
So when we start a client on a nutrition plan, we encourage them to tell their loved ones immediately so they can have even more support and less of a self-conscious feeling about the journey they’re embarking down.
We all know the feeling of getting a salad at a dinner table full of burgers… It’s uncomfortable, unless we just tell them.
When we tell them all that we’re trying to lose weight, get healthy and just generally feel better about ourselves AND we’d appreciate their support and accountability… Nobody will ever give us shit again, guaranteed.
8. When You Create An Open Goal, Peer Pressure Is Eliminated.
This is going to build off the last… We encourage clients to be open about their goals.
By this we mean tell the world! Post it on Facebook, tell your entire family, join a support group, chat about it in the gym, etc… The more people who know, the more accountability you have.
But when we tell all these people, we also eliminate the peer pressure of doing things that may affect our results because nobody is going to try and get you to fall off your nutrition plan if they know you’re doing it!
Many do not realize this, because they’ve never stopped to share what they’re trying to achieve with those around them. Focusing on this has significantly increased success rate with our clients.
9. There’s Times You Go Hard and Times You Relax.
Strict and rigid diets don’t seem to work very well long term, but in the short term… they can.
Now this may sound contradicting to what I’ve said multiple times thus far, but hear us out.
See sometimes a client just needs to go hard. They need a strict plan, they need more structure and they need an exact plan to follow. But making it clear that this is not permanent is the key to making that work.
So we do implement meal plans, dialed in macros, and very detailed nutrition programs at times. This works for anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks long, but any longer we see detriment.
So this strategy can be used when setting a big goal and having enough time to truly stick to the plan. When clients have 12 weeks uninterrupted (for the most part) and they want to see some drastic results, we’ll implement some very detailed plans.
But after that, we ease off and create a more intuitive approach to slowly bring them back to a realistic plan – that will last long term.
So the point here is simple, sometimes you can go hard! Sometimes you need to take a full weekend or even week off your nutrition plan completely. And sometimes (most of the time), you need to be more intuitive with your eating.
Knowing when to do these things is the key.
10. Metrics Aren’t Everything, But They Do Matter.
If you’re not tracking where you are now, how will you get where you want to be? You just can’t.
That’s why we do believe in using metrics with our clients. Even if that’s a notepad and pen, journaling their meals and workouts. This will build more awareness and more accountability – FOR FREE.
And to bounce off #9, there may come a time where you need to dial things in and go hard at it. Well if you don’t have metrics, you can’t even start that process because in order to dial in calories and macronutrients for a more specific meal routine – you need to know how to adjust based off where they’re starting from.
This is also a great way to track progress with their body. We all know that measurements, weigh in’s, etc… are crucial for success, because it shows us if we’re heading down the correct path. This is HUGE for the client because then they know it’s working! So many clients will get down on themselves because they don’t see the big shifts like others see in them. On top of that, it is the only way WE as coaches know that the system is working for the individual.
The main point here is that everyone needs some form of metrics, whether that’s one simple way or 5 different more complicated ways. Read the client, or yourself, and implement whichever is most necessary at the moment.
11. Community Is A Massive Key To Seeing Results.
Community is why Vigor is what it is (which is amazing).
We’ve created a culture inside our community and it develops outstanding results, over and over again.
The thing is, you can’t mimic this. It’s not something we had a formula for. It was years and years of passion and giving as much value as possible.
When you give more and love what you do, it bleeds into your results. So I can’t explain how to create this, the only thing I can suggest is to go find a community that you can thrive in.
Whether you’re a client looking for results or a coach looking to grow, community and culture is the key to both of those things.
It’s the atmosphere that drives you to push yourself.
It’s the environment that guides you towards the right decisions over and over.
It’s the support and accountability from all the like-minded people, striving for the exact same thing, surrounding you every single day.
It is #11 on our list because it really is the most important. It trumps the macros, the systems and the training program… It is what separates average results from great results.