PN Nutrition & Exercise Coaching Course.
In this course Dr. John Berardi will share some key lessons - and a host of essential resources - to help you start adding effective nutrition coaching to your toolbox right away.
Once you start applying these ideas and resources, you’ll immediately become a better coach, and a more effective health and fitness professional.
In the first video, you’ll learn:
Why you need nutrition coaching in your practice.
How Precision Nutrition is coaching nutrition.
What you can expect to learn in this course.
How to get the most out of this course.
Sep 1: Assess
The first step in the PN coaching process is Assessing clients.
As a coach, you need to have a clear, step by step, repeatable, and trusted system for assessment. Having a standardized set of forms and questionnaires lets you get accurate, useful, action-oriented information as efficiently as possible. (It also helps you repeat the same great process with each and every client).
At PN, we use a wide range of forms, questionnaires, and worksheets to assess/track everything from body measurements, eating habits, time use, stress, blood chemistry, and a lot more. Today, I’ll share a few of these forms to give you an idea of how they work.
1. Initial Assessment & Triage questionnaire
Start here. This questionnaire covers the basics when working with new clients. It’s thorough while also being simple and clear.
2. Ready, Willing, and Able worksheet
How ready, willing, and/or able is your client to make changes? This form can help you assess a client’s starting point, as well as how consistent they’re likely to be with nutrition habits.
Note: While filling out this worksheet (or after) you can also ask clients what might make them more ready, willing, and able. Their answers can give you interesting insight as you co-create their action plan.
3. Eating Habits Questionnaire
Instead of starting with a food journal, this eating habits assessment gives you a broad overview of a client’s nutritional skill and consistency.
5. Wrap Up
As mentioned above, we use a host of different assessments with our clients, based on their goals, where they’re at in the program, and their limiting factors.
Sep 2: Advise
In the previous video JB shared a host of assessments for working with new clients. Now let’s talk about how to use what you learned in the assessments to plan their nutrition strategy.
As with all good action plans, your nutrition strategy should:
Match a client’s goals, readiness, willingness, and ability to actually do what you’ve asked them to do.
Balance getting results with a client’s ability to execute and how quickly they’re willing to go.
Be based on daily practices and build on a “5 S” model of habit change.
Note: The “5S” model includes practices that are simple, segmental, sequential, strategic, and supported. For more detail on each, check out this article.
How to Create an Action Plan
As you think through today’s lesson, here’s how you can start practicing creating action plans with your clients.
Review the forms you downloaded yesterday. You can also download today’s “Guide to Nutritional Levels” and “4 Circles” below.
Try the assessment questions out on yourself, on a hypothetical client, or on a real client that you’re currently working with.
Look at the responses you get to the questions.
Ask yourself: If I had to assign this client three habits in a logical order, what would those habits be? And why?
See if you can come up with a “5S” action plan based on what you learned about your client.
Guide to Nutritional Levels
Want a simple framework for determining what level each of your clients is at? Then check out this guide to nutritional levels.
The 4 Circles exercise
This exercise, which you can do together with clients, helps you work backwards to break down a bigger task into smaller behavior goals.
In the end, after a proper assessment, it’s time to create an effective action plan. Hopefully today’s lesson has given you some new tools for doing just that.
Of course, once your client has an action plan, you’ll want to track what they’re doing and how it’s working. And that leads us to the next lesson…
Sep 3: Measure
So far I hope you’ve collected a lot of great information using the assessment forms and questionnaires I shared the other day.
I also hope you’ve come up with a smart, strategic, and targeted action plan that suits your client’s goals, nutritional level, readiness, and ability to execute.
Next up, it’s time to track what your client is doing and how it’s working.
So, today, we’ll look at how to measure your client’s progress and use that data to help guide your decisions.
Just so you know, we use many different types of progress indicators in our Precision Nutrition Coaching program as well as our PN Level 1 and Level 2 Certification courses.
Here are a few worksheets that’ll help you get you started.
Type 1: Outcome measures
To track body composition and health outcomes:
Type 2: Process metrics
To track athletic/performance indicators with more advanced clients:
Type 3: Behavior metrics
To track client consistency:
At this point in the coaching process you will have:
assessed your client,
made recommendations based on what you’ve learned about them, and
measured what they’re doing and how it’s going.
These ongoing measurements will give you important clues as to how you can modify their program based on what’s working and what isn’t. In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll look more closely at this idea as we discuss the next step
Sep 4: Adjust
As you probably know, coaching is an iterative process.
This means you try something, monitor the results, measure if things are working or not, and then – based on the results of your measures – decide what to do next.
Today, we’ll look more at that last step in the process; adjusting a client’s plan based on what they’re doing and how it’s going.
As discussed in the video above, if a client is rockin’ it, you’ll probe to learn what they’re doing to be so successful. This way you can use these “superpowers” to help them succeed with new and possibly more challenging habits.
If your client is struggling, you’ll look for both their limiting factors and their “hidden” advantages. You can use these to overcome their current struggles and turn them into successes.
To think through a client’s limiting factors and advantages – as well as how to turn those into new daily practices – check out the worksheets below.
Limiting Factors and Advantages
In making changes, clients will have both limiting factors and advantages (or “superpowers”). Here’s how to identify them and use them in the service of their goals.
An Appropriate View of Progress
Always looking ahead towards your goals, and never looking back at how far you’ve come, is demotivating. This worksheet helps identify victories, make space to celebrate them, and build momentum for the new habits ahead.
At this point in the coaching process you will have:
assessed your client,
made recommendations based on what you’ve learned about them,
measured what they’re doing and how it’s going, and
made adjustments based on their superpowers and limiting factors.
This model is highly effective but leaves out two important components of coaching: Education and Support. Which will be discussed in the final step.
Sep 4: Educate & Support
When working with clients, everything they learn should be in direct support of a daily practice or habit they’re working on.
Got a great article on workout nutrition you’d like clients to read? Great! Share it when they’re specifically trying to improve workout nutrition through a daily practice.
Want clients to learn more about the difference between “natural” carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup? Awesome! Share it when working on a carb-related habit.
By delivering learning materials that are directly related to the skills your clients are actively practicing, you’ll be sharing information when they’re most primed for learning. (Plus you’ll be reducing the risk of distraction and information overload).
But great coaching goes beyond education alone; it often relies on the coaching relationship you build with each client.
In fact, over the years I’ve learned that a coach’s success is dependent on how effectively they create connection with a client, how they go about educating the client, how they communicate, and how they make the client feel supported.
Here are a few preferred strategies for helping clients feel better supported:
Encouragement is important at the beginning of a change process; the “courage phase”. At this time, a client is committed but not yet capable. They need someone cheering them along.
Establishing a cadence of accountability lets clients know you’re holding them accountable in a way that is regular and predictable.
Having a positive progress focus helps clients concentrate on the good things that are happening because progress is rarely linear and sometimes feels slow.
Making the committment to celebrate positive progress means letting clients know progress is a big deal and that you’ll be celebrating victories with them.
Proactively identifying obstacles in advance is important as real challenges and problems will come up. Even better than solving these problems as they arise? Steering around them in the first place.
Weekly meal prep: Mastered. (Infographic)
The best calorie control guide. (Infographic)
What should you eat when sick? (Infographic)
Workout nutrition illustrated. (Infographic)
I hope with this course you’ve learned a lot and have started using some of the frameworks, techniques, and resources that were shared in this course.
Of course, there’s a lot to know to become a world class coach. Plus, it takes a lot of practice to get good at the coaching techniques outlined here. (Like all other skills, you can’t expect to master them overnight).