I think I'm pretty fortunate that I know the people I know in this industry through various connections. I dare say I know one of the best in the business thanks to some contacts and some coincidental timing. I consider myself very fortunate have known one particular guy long before he grew into the super smart dropper of knowledge bombs he is today. This last Sunday I attended the Nutrition Seminar at Cressey Sports Performance, and of course the guy that ran this show was their old intern and a former college teammate of mine, Brian St. Pierre.
I not only decided this was a good one for me to go to because I like hearing Brian talk and value his opinion, but I also know I can always use more help when it comes to nutrition coaching. Brian works for Precision Nutrition, a company that offers a Nutrition coaching certification. It's a really helpful course for those that need to up their game in that category (for your clients and yourself a bit). I took the course and finished it in November.
Brian and the folks at Precision Nutrition are really good at making eating better simple. Instead of making you eat 500 calories and hate life to get to your goals they show you how to form better habits that will eventually turn healthy eating into second nature. I wanted to point out a couple of things I walked away with from this great day of content.
"Think small then think even smaller"- These words will make goal setting and habit forming in the nutrition realm for clients easy. Food can be a touchy subject for many so you have to think small. OK sure you want a person to knock of the package of M&Ms as a 3PM snack or their Friday afternoon McDonald's trip, but as obvious as those things seem to be. They are not always that obvious to that person and there could be some sort of mental or emotional attachment to those things. Start with a small victory somewhere and it will give them confidence that they can do this.
Pick another target (or path of least resistance)- Building off the things I mentioned above, sometimes a guy is attached to his 11PM ice cream sundae for reasons he sure as hell isn't telling you right off the bat. Pick another target and who knows eventually he may become less attached to it and give it up on his own.
People are often attached to a food for a very deep emotional reason, 90% of the time you will not be able to get by that wall off the bat. Find something else for them to succeed at, build a rapport and then they will (hopefully) let you behind that wall. Trust is a bit like a house of cards, hard to build and can very easily be broken.
Positive Positive Positive- I'll say this right off they bat for this one, I am just as guilty as the next person of this. No matter how badly you want to give that "what were you thinking with this food choice?" look. Deep breath and focus on something positive with that, if you have to do a small criticism sandwich, have at. Other than that try to keep the messages as positive as you can and look at what they do well. Take what they do well and exploit it, even if it's something small. It can make them feel more confident and then bang they're hitting their goals and you are coach of the year for them.
Last note on being positive, you may be the only positive influence on someone's life. With that thought, no matter how drastically this person needs help, continue to be that positive influence. It's not your job to stage a one person intervention and tell them what's wrong with them. They probably already know it thanks to their doctor or some other professional. You never know how much of a difference you are making for someone by just helping them feel successful.
That's all I got today guys, go out and get after it today!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS