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21st Century Nutrition: Talking Shop with Dr. John Berardi

Posted Mar 30 2009 3:03pm

Normally, my newsletters are “hidden” pages available only to our subscribers, but with the content today, I thought I’d open it up to the rest of the world.  After all, it’s not like you can just get a rock star like Dr. John Berardi to do an interview for your site.  JB has been a friend and incredible resource to me for almost ten years now, and he’s always got great information to share.  So, without further ado, here is EricCressey.com’s exclusive interview with Dr. John Berardi:

EC: First off, it’s hard to believe that over the course of almost 150 newsletters, I never got around to interviewing you.  Thanks for taking the time to jump in on this.

JB: Yea, tell me about it.  I’ve been waiting by the phone for, like, three years now.

EC: Well, now that you’ve gone through all that therapy to get over me neglecting you, we might as well right to it.  To start, fill us in on what you’re up to these days.  I know you moved back from Texas to the North Pole a while back, but I’m guessing that you aren’t building toys and stuffing stockings all year.  What’s new with John Berardi and Precision Nutrition?

JB:  Well, although working with high-level athletes is cool and all, when Santa calls for nutrition advice, you drop what you’re doing and you head north.

In all seriousness, though, I’m actually splitting my time between Austin, Texas and a town called St. Catharines in Ontario.  St Catharines is about 50 min outside Toronto and is basically the Napa Valley of Canada.  The area is a tremendous agricultural gem and because of this, I have a never-ending supply of locally grown produce and wines as well as local, hormone-free, and often grass fed meat.  So now, I’ve got two great towns to call my home.

EC: I hear you.  When I was considering the move to Boston, the lack of grass-fed beef and local wines was a bit of a turnoff, but it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make because I just couldn’t wait to sink my life savings into the Big Dig and the most inefficient state government in the United States - but I digress…

How about the professional side of things?

JB: On the professional side, I just did a tally.  As of last week, the Precision Nutrition community has grown to over 46,000 members in over 97 countries.  I can’t tell you how proud I am that we’ve been able to help out that many people.

And beyond this, we’ve also launched a couple of new programs for members of the community - our Lean Eating Coaching Program and our Clinical Services Program.

EC: 97 countries?  Don’t you want to just give out a few freebies in a few lesser known African nations to bring it to a cool 100?  I would.

Anyway, tell us about these two new things.

JB: First, our Lean Eating coaching program.  Over the last few years, we’ve become coaching experts, working with everyone from recreational exercisers, to folks suffering from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to multiple Olympic medalists.

And as a result of this experience, we’ve developed intensive group coaching programs for men and for women.  Each coaching participant gets to work with us for 6 months.  And the feedback we’ve gotten is tremendous - and so are the numbers.  The average fat loss is 2-3lbs per month while following the program!

In addition, we’re in the process of launching a clinical services suite where we’re taking individualization to a whole new level.  Using things like psychometric profiles, wellness-based blood analysis, and nutrigenomics profiling, we’re now able to take a peek inside people’s psychologies and physiologies to determine the absolute best way to coach them to success.  This is like nothing our industry has seen before and I promise it’s going to shake things up quite a bit.

EC: Very cutting-edge - but I think that’s an adjective we’ve all come to associate with your name over time.  To that end, I was chatting with a colleague recently and your name came up in the conversation.  I told him that what amazed me was that you have not only taken a seemingly “boring” subject - nutrition - and made it “sexy” and “fun,” but have actually done that for close to a decade now.  What’s the secret to your success?

JB:  Well, thanks for saying that, although I don’t know if it’s actually true.  However, if it is, it might be because of a few reasons.

First, I can’t tell you how many “nutrition experts” I’ve met that wouldn’t know a healthy diet if it came up and bit them on the ear.  They may study nutrition.  And they may teach nutrition.  But they don’t practice it.  And that’s why they all seem to possess the same ability to make nutrition super-boring.  It’s not real to them.  They don’t live it day in and day out.

On the other hand, I actually live the Precision Nutrition lifestyle.  365 days a year, I practice what I preach.  And, I’ve been doing exactly that for about 20 years now.  Plus, I’ve worked with a helluva lot of clients, at all levels.  So I pretty much practice nutrition and think about nutrition all the time.  Trust me, it makes a huge difference.

EC: I can definitely attest to that.  Like you, I own my own business and have a lot of competing demands in my professional life, so it often seems that there aren’t enough hours in the day.  In other words, working efficiently and having energy all the time is of paramount importance.  I’ve been following your work since the late 1990s and it’s not only shaped my own personal nutrition practices, but also those of all of Cressey Performance’s clients.

JB:  And, you know, the funny thing is this.  When you do what I do, and you’ve done it for this long, you realize that there are a lot of nuances to eating well.  Sure, there’s the what to eat, the when to eat, and the how much to eat.  And these are all very interesting.   But that’s only scratching the surface.

There’s also the psychology of eating, which is quite fascinating.   There are genetic and individual differences associated with how each of us processes and tolerates foods.  And we haven’t even mentioned supplements yet.  Nor have we talked about all the great new research that’s coming out on food and nutrition every single day!  By exploring each of these very interesting areas, it’s pretty easy to keep things fresh, new, and, hopefully exciting.

EC: That’s a good point.

JB: Also, I always try to keep in mind that nutrition in the present deals in generalities.  There are recommended dietary intakes.  There are food pyramids.  There are general calculations for energy intake.

However, nutrition is evolving in exciting ways.  It’s becoming more individual.  And with blood analysis, genomic profiling, and more in the very near future, we’ll be able to prescribe highly individualized nutrition plans for folks based on just a few simple tests.

Indeed, the future is really exciting when it comes to nutrition.  And I’m happy that I’m in the prime of my career so I can ride the wave of this new nutrition information and technology.

EC: Speaking of “evoluation,” you’ve recently introduced Precision Nutrition: Version 3.0, which piggybacks on the first two installments.  What’s new in this version?

JB:  As our 46,000 members can attest to, I’m relentless about keeping the Precision Nutrition System, the cornerstone of all of our nutrition recommendations, up to date.

pn_kit

So, every year or two, we release a new version.  This time, it’s our 3 rd edition and this edition has improved upon V2 by an order of magnitude.  Now, don’t get me wrong, V2 was great.  However, we’ve completely revised the content, we’ve added three new manuals/sections, and we’ve even given the whole project a facelift.

As of V3, here’s what folks can find:

  • The PN Success Guide
  • The PN Diet Guide
  • The Quick Start Guide
  • The Super Shake Guide
  • 5 Minute Meals
  • The Individualization Guide
  • The Measurement Guide
  • The Plant-Based Diet Guide (Brand New)
  • The Maintenance Guide (Brand New)
  • The Support Guide (Brand New)

In addition, we’re now including Gourmet Nutrition V1, the Precision Nutrition Audio Collection, the Precision Nutrition Video Collection, and The Precision Nutrition Online Library.  It’s a ton of great stuff.  Indeed, it’s everything folks need to know to get the body they want.

EC: Absolutely.  Thanks for helping out with the interview; sorry it took so long for us to make it happen!

JB:  My pleasure.  Thanks, Eric.

To find out more about Dr. John Berardi and his renowned Precision Nutrition System, head on over to PrecisionNutrition.com.

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Have a great week!

EC

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