John Berardi, PhD is a founder of Precision Nutrition, the largest private nutrition coaching company in the world, and he is one of North America’s most popular and respected authorities on fitness and nutrition. John has made his mark as a leading researcher in the field of exercise and nutritional science, as a widely read author and writer, and as a coach and trainer who has helped thousands achieve their health, fitness and performance goals.
John got his start in the fitness industry when he was a Masters student, and in 1999 he published his first article online.
“I was just so excited about the things I was learning in the exercise and nutrition realm”
He shares that the Internet was the ultimate platform to teach others what he was learning in the professional journals he was reading in the library, and be releasing his own content, he was able to build a following.
John got invited to speak at events, and did his first conference in 2004. After, he was approached by the eventual co-founder of his company, who tried to convince John to build a website. At the time, there were very few websites, let alone expert ones.
They built their first website and put free articles up, but at the time, didn’t have a business model.
“We were just writing, engaging our passion and collecting names”
When they had built an email list of 30,000 people, it was pointed out to them that they had a good base for a business offering information products and coaching services.
“We wondered if there was a way to help more people on a larger scale”
Precision Nutrition has now coached 45,000 people over the last 10 years, which has led to their certification for fitness professionals. They offer Level 1 and Level 2 certification, and John says that they have become good at providing their clients with the tools to become a better fitness coach, and not just teach content.
He believes that just setting goals doesn’t help people achieve them. You have to look at the goal and ask what skills are needed to be developed. Then, you can break the skills down into the daily practices to be implemented.
“You’re applying a system design kind of thinking to the accomplishment of goals”
By offering Pro Coach, starting in 2016, Precision Nutrition has made their own coaching platform available to fitness professionals to use for their clients. This has doubled the amount of clients on the platform in only two and half months.
He feels that newer businesses try to compare themselves to his company and where they’re at, with 100 employees. John and his partner were able to grow it by re-investing profits back into the business so they can hire talented people and build better things.
“If you build stuff that people will want, then you’ll make a profit and you’ll be able to invest that back into the business”
He notices a trend that when entrepreneurs do split testing, they put far less energy into the quality of the material that they’re testing.
John forces himself to do the biggest impact things each week and not over commit, as he realizes that things to do will always come up.
“Once PN started to grow, I realized if I didn’t sit down and decide what’s important to me, this thing would just take over my entire life”
He sets up non-negotiable boundaries, or what he calls “guardrails”, such as taking a day off each week or limiting the amount of hours he works in any day to 7.
He discovered that doing education online was operating within his own specific abilities, versus travelling often and speaking to crowds. John started using video and even built a studio in his house. By doing so, he has the advantage to broadcast to 50,000 people instead of just a few hundred from a stage.
It took having a family to understand the real difference between effectiveness and efficiency. This understanding allows John to think of his guardrails as assets, and not liabilities.
He adds that sometimes people get seduced by what others have accomplished and start following the other person’s business model. To prevent this, he advises people to get “world class” at the thing you’re good at.
“The one thing that we do (at PN), that I think is so important, is discovering your unique abilities…”
When you start spending more time in your unique ability set, a lot of things will start to change for the better.
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