Simple Nutrition And Exercise Log

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to introduce you to fitness and nutritionist expert Dr. John Berardi. With his simple philosophy he shares his strategies that has helped people improve their overall performance and health through his program, Precision Nutrition.

Today, Dr. Berardi share with us one of his methods that he has been using, from his early days, it’s been a critical factor when it comes to fat loss.

Let’s take a look at that is.


Craig:  You talked about the how you use the struggling periods as a way to go back and look at things and how they have made an impacted on you.  Can you share with us the importance of writing down or recording things? Some people have never done any food journal or even writing their workouts down.

John: Yes, the truth is when I started training I actually kept records because back then I didn’t have a computer, or any of the technology that people have access to now.

So, for me, it was pretty much old school. I used a sharpened number two pencil, and a spiral bound flip notebook, it was good enough for me at the time. I kept records of each workout. I’d weigh myself regularly and enter my weight in my notebook, and I would write my nutrition plan down in the same kind of book so that everything was time correlated.  It was a really primitive way of tracking.

The interesting part but also really sad is when I moved to London, Ontario to do my PhD, I think I was maybe 25 at the time, and I had been keeping records, since I was 18.  I had about seven years of records, when my car was broken into and all my records disappeared. Someone stole all the things out of my car including all of my workout journals. So, I don’t know if there’s a bunch of young punk kids that ended up getting really brawny after stealing my stuff, but nevertheless, I still continued to keep journals after that.

When I keep records I don’t like to make them too complicated; I write it down and let it lie. No judgments associated with it. I am not second guessing myself. I am not asking “Am I doing the perfect stuff?” I find people can paralyze themselves by judging their journal. Whether you keep a personal journal of your thoughts or of your workouts its important just to write it down, then be REFLECT ON IT OVER TIME TO SEE WHAT WORKED AND WHAT HASN’T WORKED.

Usually at the time you write it all down you probably won’t have the clarity of insight to see what’s working but you’ll see it when you look back in retrospect. This is kind of bigger picture stuff, so I don’t know if it’s helping people immediately lose fat, but the idea is you JUST WRITE IT DOWN. It only takes a few seconds every day.

Another trick I have for writing a journal that’s even simpler than writing the stuff down in a notebook is to get a large desktop calendar.  I’m talking the huge calendars with the big blocks for the dates. What I often do for myself, and I recommend it to my clients is just basically keep a nutrition and exercise log on this calendar.

Therefore every day that you’ve successfully completed your workout that on your scheduled or some type of physical activity, whether it’s at the gym, or you went for a walk, you put a slash in one direction. Every day you felt you’ve successfully finished a nutritional good habit, I use habit rather than saying a “perfectly designed diet” you put a check in the opposite direction.

The idea is you basically get a big X mark on the days that you’ve been successful and on the days that you’re not successful there’s either only one slash or no slashes. It gives you a great way at the end of each month to look back and say, “How well did I really do this month?” I find a lot of people don’t have good memories, they remember the past through rose colored glasses.

So, they think, “I did a really great job this month. I don’t understand why I’m not losing fat.” But if they actually had calendar they would have seen that maybe they were only 50 percent compliant with what they should have been, so it’s a great way to keep track, it also a nice way to project goals into the future.

Rather than having complicated goals it’s great to just have a SIMPLE set of behavior goals. Just think how easy it is to ask yourself. “Can I get 90 percent of the days for October checked off, Yes? I did my workout? What about my nutrition habit?” You’d be surprised how often accomplishing SIMPLE goals leads to PHYSIQUE PROGRESS. It seems very simple and I know sometimes people want to dig for deeper physiological changes, but this type of stuff works very, very well and it’s easy to record. People are often underestimating how powerful it is.

That’s all for today. Join us in part 3 when the doctor will give and idea of how many calories we really need.