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What You Need to Know About Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating Program (Before You Sign Up)

precision nutrition lean eating coaching

Have you been trying your best, but can’t do it alone? The books aren’t enough? You need more support and guidance, someone there with you in the trenches?

Yeah, it’s hard to diet alone. And it sucks.

That’s why Precision Nutrition runs the Lean Eating coaching program. It takes the proven science and methods found in the literature, and puts a human touch on it, giving you a coach to work with for 12 months.

And they throw in $250,000 in prize money, in case that motivates you!

Since I’m Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified, I have a sort of ‘insider perspective’ into the mindset of the coaches and their philosophies.

I’m going to answer your questions about Precision Nutrition coaching to see if the Lean Eating program is right for you.

Sure, I’m a little biased. But that’s only because I’m a big fan. I was such a big fan of the original PN system that I went on to take the PN certification in order to improve my sports nutrition coaching’s effectiveness.

Speaking of which, don’t forget Coach Levi’s own nutrition coaching! 😉

Since not everyone is an endurance athlete looking for sports nutrition coaching, you might be a better fit for one of PN’s in-house coaches through the Lean Eating program.

After you read this, you’ll have a pretty good idea for making your decision.

What Lean Eating Includes

Here’s a glimpse of what you get:

  • A structured, year-long nutrition program to help keep you consistent.
  • An expert coach to give you feedback, make adjustments to your program, and help keep you accountable.
  • Strategic daily nutrition practices that fit into your lifestyle.
  • Expertly-designed training programs, customized to your skill level, goals, and time available.
  • $250,000 in prize money. We stack the deck in your favor and give you something positive to shoot for.
  • Guaranteed results. Stick with us for a year, and if you don’t get what you’re looking for, you get a full refund.

That’s the sales pitch.

Here’s what it really means:

They provide a plan for the entire year. But you can take it day-by-day.

It’s a structured, year-long nutrition program that they developed and organized. But it’s not a book or a chart. There’s no information overload. Instead, you get to digest it in daily lessons sent to you.

The length of the program helps to build habits, and the small lessons make it easier to jump right in and get started.

You’ll have a coach to personalize everything for you.

You get access to an expert coach (with much more training and experience than I have). They’ll watch your progress and give you feedback on what you’re doing well and where to improve. And you can ask them questions, because it’s a real person!

Along the way, they’ll help you make adjustments to the program to fit your needs. If you remember, the PN system is the framework, which is then individualized to your own lifestyle. If you just buy the book, you’re on your own. But in the coaching program, your coach helps do that!

This also helps keep you accountable, since there’s someone other than you involved.

They don’t do meal plans.

If you were worried there would be a strict meal plan that would dictate what you have to eat, how many meals per day you have to eat, and the like, have no fear. It’s nothing like that.

Meal plans and diets aren’t really that useful or sustainable. People often feel like they’re either “on” them or “off” them. They feel like they’ve failed and are beyond hope if they’re not eating perfectly at every meal. Our approach is completely different: We help you build a set of sustainable habits that will serve you for the rest of your life. This means you get to choose – with the help of your coach – which foods are best for you, when to eat those foods, and how much to eat of them.

So you can be a vegetarian, follow the Paleo diet, eat frequently, fast intermittently, or just about anything you want!

They provide a workout program, too.

Getting fit is awesome! If you’re not sure where to start, though, it can be intimidating. So the PN team provides a training program to go along with your new-found nutrition habits.

Plan on 5-6 exercise sessions per week that include a blend of resistance training and cardio. These are the types of workouts that can be done at the gym or at home (you could buy $50 worth of equipment or simply do bodyweight workouts).

Money is a motivator.

I don’t remember any daily habits that made a point about being motivated by money, but let’s face it – money motivates people very, very well. That’s how the world works these days.

It’s hard to get motivated by “work hard on this health and fitness thing because it will decrease the chances of you getting sick when you’re 80 years old.” The money is coming sooner, and the money is relatable. Everyone knows how nice it would be to have a lot more money. Few people know how not fun it is to have Alzheimer’s.

So, just think of the money as a possible bonus. Since you don’t get all $250k, of course. The grand prize is $25k, with a men’s grand prize winner and a women’s grand prize winner. Then there are some $5k and $2k prizes for runners up.

If it doesn’t work, you get your money back.

They’ve been coaching for years (over 35,000 people have been coached so far,) they have a system that works, and it works for so many people. There are so few people it doesn’t work for that they guarantee it works.

Specifically, they say to “stick with us for a year, and if you don’t get what you’re looking for, you get a full refund.”

This also means, you can’t go a few months and then say, “I don’t feel like eating healthy anymore, give me my money back.” Much like you can’t buy a gym membership and then get a refund if you didn’t go. So, think long and hard about this commitment!

The basics of the program aren’t exactly a secret. They even tell you in advance why it works…

precision nutrition binder

The 8 Lessons of Lean Eating

These are the guiding principles behind the coaching philosophy.

1. Measure what you want to improve.
2. Take photos.
3. Do something every day.
4. Make it easy.
5. Practice only one habit at a time.
6. No “wondering & worrying” questions.
7. Get a little help from your friends.
8. Be accountable to someone.

That’s really what it boils down to.

It’s not about eating specific food groups or eliminating others, taking pricey supplements, calculating your exact caloric intake, or any of that stuff that gets shoved down your throat in the news.

With Lean Eating, rather than dive head first into an entirely new lifestyle, you work to slowly build habits and master them before moving on. Diets come and go, but habits stick with you. What’s great is this makes the benefits extend far beyond the first year.

The main focus of the program is to strategically help you improve your eating and exercise habits – all within the context of your day-to-day life. We don’t give you a crazy diet or exercise program to follow; instead, we help our clients build the habits they need to get results that last for the rest of their lives.

But you do have to measure and track progress. That’s one of the biggest keys to success (and one of the reasons those activity trackers are so helpful).

To help with that, your coach is there to hold you accountable. They’re going to check in with you, and you don’t want to let them down.

Similarly, since you need a lot of support, there’s a social component – the Lean Eating private forum. You can interact with people with similar goals and you know they’re serious.

It works. Almost always. That’s why they guarantee the results.

Note: For even more detail, you can review the lessons here: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/8-lessons

What I Know About Precision Nutrition’s Coaching

What you don’t know until you’re in there is the nitty-gritty day-to-day stuff and how it’s going to fit your routine.

That’s where you need to hear from people who have enrolled in and completed the program.

Let’s start with the basics…

A Day In The Life of a Lean Eating Coaching Client

The beginning is simple. Just check in to the website for the day’s lesson. You’ll have about 5-10 minutes of reading.

Then you actually have to do the lesson. And your workout.

You’ll likely spend some serious time on the cooking and meal prep.

But once you’ve finished, you get to check off whether or not you completed a specific behavior for that day. It’s that daily accountability for you and your coach. And it’s satisfying.

That process repeats itself each day.

Once a week, you’ll weigh yourself and record that. Once per month, you’ll take progress photos (and upload for your coach if you’re so inclined). You’ll thank yourself later.

When you’re feeling good, share some words of encouragement on the forums or in your private Facebook group. If you’re feeling stuck or stressed out, look for words of encouragement in the forums!

The Feedback I’ve Been Hearing

This is what I’ve found were common experiences:

“It starts slow.”

Since the program is based on habits, and you only get a new habit about every 2 weeks (since they want you to master each habit one at a time,) it might feel like it’s starting slow. Some people find this discouraging, which I can totally understand, because that’s when your motivation level is highest.

Of course, at six months in, you’re focusing on one new habit but potentially practicing about 12 habits in total! So it certainly picks up and at that point (assuming you’re still involved,) you’ll probably be happy it started slow.

“I had to devote significant time to cooking and meal prep.”

What’s nice is that you don’t have to buy expensive food or supplements. Just the standard grocery store and farmer’s market fare. You might even save money eating like this. But… be prepared to cook!

“The weekly measurements were too much.”

Weekly weigh-ins and check-ins seem commonplace to me, primarily working with athletes who enjoy tracking their workouts and looking at numbers.

But for some people, it sounds like that can feel like too much. I guess you have to find a middle ground – enough measuring and tracking to be useful and influential, not so much to be annoying or off-putting.

“It’s easy to ignore.”

Though you have a coach, and you get personal attention, it is online. Emails, message boards, your smartphone, the internet. That’s all much easier to ignore than a personal trainer in your home, or scheduled appointments with a local nutritionist (at a significantly higher price point, too).

You can ignore it and your coach isn’t going to show up at your door and scold you.

“This fits my introverted personality.”

Interestingly, some people specifically liked that it was online. Some self-proclaimed introverts totally preferred the online aspect. Rather than ignore it, they were drawn to it.

If you’re introverted, regularly participate in online forums and Facebook messaging, or just get weirded out at the thought of meeting with a personal trainer in real life, this might be right up your alley.

“It’s a mixed crowd.”

Though diversity is often considered a good thing, it can be distracting in this situation.

See, your Lean Eating classmates are going to be different from you. Some might be thinking about their health for the first time, while others will already be on detailed nutrition programs and just looking for a little more structure and organization. Some might be on restrictive diets that don’t even match up with the 8 lessons mentioned earlier.

It’s like being a college freshman all over again. It’s up to you to adapt.

“Print out your materials!”

You might think the Lean Eating program includes a textbook. It doesn’t. You’re on your own for the Precision Nutrition and Gourmet Nutrition cookbooks.

You get study materials and documents online, but if you want to keep them for reference, be proactive about it. I’ve heard some horror stories of people finishing the program then being totally cut off from the course materials. So, save them as PDF files or print them out.

“Where is the smartphone app?”

For being an online-based coaching program, you’d think it would be a high-tech system. In the beginning, it probably was, but not today. Everything needs to be mobile-friendly.

People have been complaining that there’s no app. And I agree – there should be a smartphone app. That would certainly make it easier to access the lessons – and make it harder to ignore.

People have gone so far as to set up private Facebook groups as unofficial Lean Eating classrooms.

“My coach is freaking awesome.”

It’s tough to get into specifics because there are lots of coaches and each coach has lots of students (even I can’t tell you the coach:student ratio).

You don’t pick your coach. It’s not one-on-one.

What’s it like then? Imagine being on a sports team with one coach, but many players. Or think of it as having a cyber coach.

But more often than not, people had great things to say about their coach in regards to availability, engagement, responsiveness, etc. Just think in terms of Skype, email, and private messaging, opposed to in-face meetings and personal phone calls.

“I’m so happy!”

This type of coaching helps you get your mind right. Simple habits, not strict meal plans. Letting go of perfection, focusing on consistency (and 90% compliance). Finding a new attitude.

And it must be working, because most people say they’re happier doing this than they ever were on typical diets.

“It was worth every penny!”

Most people agree it was well worth the cost of admission. One person said they felt like they got a personal trainer, nutritionist, and a therapist as part of the program!

That’s a steal for $99 a month.

Some say the worst part was that they had to buy all new clothes after losing the weight and transforming their body! 😉

*Note that there was a recent price hike from the $99/month to something like $179/month now. At $99, I always thought it was a great value. At $179, it’s still a bargain compared to having a personal trainer at $500-750 month, but it’s steep. It would seriously make me question whether I should look for a local coach to work with where I’d get more personalized attention. Precision Nutrition does publish a list of their certified coaches on the website, after all!

precision nutrition lean eating winner

Who would get the most from PN Lean Eating?

  • “I want to lose weight, look better naked, and feel more energetic, but I have no idea where to start.”
  • “I’ve been reading the literature, and I know what to do, but I have trouble sticking with a plan for more than 3-4 days.”
  • “I’ve tried all the fad diets, but I’m not getting the results I was promised.”
  • “I’m too busy to exercise and eat right.”

If any of those statements sound like something you’d say, Lean Eating might be right for you. If you don’t know where to start, or you can’t seem to put it all together, this is going to help.

As long as you realize that success still takes hard work, time, and determination, even with their help, you’ll likely succeed.

Who this is NOT for:

There are definitely some people who aren’t going to get what they need out of this program.

If this is you, you do NOT need to sign up for Precision Nutrition’s coaching:

  • If you already have a coach.
  • If you already have a support group and/or accountability.
  • If you’re truly dedicated, highly motivated, and have super strong will power.
  • If you’re already at 8% body fat and need to go from “lean and cut” to “shredded.”
  • If you’re a high-level athlete with sport-specific demands.

If you have a coach or a support group already, and you like them, great! You don’t need this program.

And with those types of goals, the Lean Eating principles are perfectly applicable, and some of the coaches on staff would be more than qualified, but you would want more personal attention and more focus on the advanced strategies than the Lean Eating program can provide.

So be realistic. If you fall into the “NOT” for you category, don’t do it. (Endurance athletes, you’re welcome to talk to me about coaching!)

But if it sounds like your thing…

When can I start?

They open the program twice per year – in January and July. So if you want in, you have to get on the pre-sale list and watch the calendar.

The next opening is on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016. If you’re on the pre-sale list, they’ll let you register on the Tuesday beforehand.

So get on this list: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/pn-coaching-presale-list

Spots sell out every time they open them up! Literally within hours.

Getting on the pre-sale list is the smart way to do it. Make up your mind early, before that Tuesday, because then you can register on the earlybird day and save quite a bit of money! (I think it’s 20% off.)

 

Any questions, go ahead and post them in the comments and I’ll see if I can get you an answer!

 

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2 Comments
  1. Does Precision Nutrition work?

    • @Cathy

      Yes it does, if you put in the work, too!

      It might not work for everyone, but it’s about as close as you can get to a diet/nutrition/coaching program that adapts to a wide variety of people.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

usa cycling certified coach


pn1 certified coach
Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
Coach Levi's Mom
Hometown, PA