Breaking Old Habits

Recently, I had a chance to introduce Dr. John Beradi the author of  Precision Nutrition. Not only has he co-author several fitness and nutrition books, but he has published numerous articles for magazines like Muscle and Fitness, Testosterone and so many more.

I am happy that his able to rejoin us today for part two of this series. So lets get right into it.


Craig Ballantyne: Yeah, I’m glad that everyone had excellent feedback and so many questions for John. Even popping over to the forum at Precision Nutrition to check out all the excessive information there.

So, what we are going to focus on first is the mindset and the lifestyle changes people need to make. Looking at what he’s seen that has worked really well. Then we’re going to move on into some rapid fire nutrition stuff towards the end. John, does that sound good to you?

John Berardi: It sounds great to me.

Craig Ballantyne: Awesome, awesome. So here’s the first question for you.  It’s about how to get people involved. To have them take the first step and figure out what is that critical step that hooks them into getting started.

So I guess what we’ll take a look first is the person who’s voluntarily coming  to you and saying that they want to get involved. They want to take that first step. They don’t know where to start. What do you do to help them take that first step and what do you think is probably the most important thing that can really get them hooked on a lifestyle change?

We talked last time about the fish oil, and I forget the other one basic nutrition change that you guys have everyone make right away.  However, what else is there in terms of mindset and habit forming?

John Berardi: Well, you know, referring back to the last time we sort of started people off with the simple habit that they can do immediately, and that they feel confident that they can do it.  It will actually change the way the body works while having a psychological impact on it as well.

So, what we’d start people off with is FISH OIL and a MULTIVITAMIN. There has been loads of research showing some cool impact, even in small doses. We use much larger doses to get a therapeutic effect, but even in small doses.

I’ve seen data from the UK, the US, and Canada looking at something as simple was giving someone some fish oil and a multivitamin each day and how it impacts not only their sort of attitude but also their behaviors. We’ve seen some really, really positive things. What we’ve seen with our clients is an definite increase in motivation and decrease in depression. Which is absolutely a fantastic initial physiological change when you want someone to start a new exercise program.

Ok that’s on the physiology side, but I love the question today, it’s sort of on the mental side. What can you do to get people hooked, what can you do to get them motivated right upfront when they first come in and say, “Hey listen, I need to change something about my body, and I want to do that now?”  How do you get them to follow through with that? It’s a really interesting thing that I’ve discovered over the years – I study this sort of change aspect of coaching, in particular – is I think we misunderstand motivation.

I think people in the fitness industry, in particular, misunderstand it, and across other industries. Really, the only people who are looking at these properly are people in the psych field, particularly people who are in sort of coaching and counseling for things like addiction behaviors and stuff like that.

What we find is that MOTIVATION is actually really, really CRITICAL upfront. It’s the initial thing to helps us overcome the inertia of let’s say either sedentary lifestyle or just the routine pattern we have whether it’s using drugs and alcohol, whether it’s using food in an inappropriate way, whether it’s being completely sedentary. We need a certain sort of surge of motivation to overcome this inertia of our old habits because our old habits are easy to follow.

The consequences of them may be very trying on our lives. We may be overweight or we may have bad relationships because of addictions, but that habit repeatedly is really easy because we’re on auto pilot. I find it interesting because that upfront motivation. It’s often the extrinsic stuff that works the best.  And we see this all the time.

That’s all for today. Join us in part 2 of this interview series as we take a look at what gets people motivated.