When these clients joined Precision Nutrition Coaching in January of 2020 to improve their health and lives, the plan was straightforward: Follow the program and trust the process.
Two months in, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Nothing in life was straightforward.
Overnight, many were facing food shortages, financial instability, and overwhelming uncertainty.
It would have been understandable for these five people to press pause on their health and fitness efforts.
But they didn’t.
Instead, they listened to the little voice in their heads that said: ‘keep going.’
Every person highlighted in this article faced challenges in the past year: medical issues, forced business closure, heightened anxiety, the loss of a loved one… The list goes on.
Despite these obstacles, they kept showing up for themselves—chipping away at their goals, a little bit at a time.
Over the course of 12 months, they achieved incredible physical transformations.
Even more impressive? The unexpected ways these five people changed their lives, and the powerful lessons they took from their experiences.
Victor: In the midst of grief, he lost 25 pounds and found a new purpose in life.
In his early forties, Victor Salgado, now 47, developed diabetes. He managed this condition with three to four injections of insulin every day. He also took eight other medications to treat additional health concerns, including high blood pressure.
That was Victor’s life for nearly five years.
In 2018, desperate for change, he signed up for coaching with a PN-Certified Coach. In that year, he lost nearly 50 pounds and, on the advice of his doctors, he stopped taking insulin injections and blood pressure medication.
“For the last two years, I haven’t taken one single prescription medication—not a shot,” he says proudly.
Victor’s experience working with a coach made him realize he wanted to help others too, so he became a personal trainer and earned his Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. (And in the fall of 2020, he graduated from the Precision Nutrition Level 2 program!)
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there. Towards the end of 2019, Victor was struggling again.
“I’m a veteran suffering from PTSD. For a while, I wasn’t doing enough to keep myself busy. And when that happens, your mind goes to other places.”
Victor knew he needed something to focus on, a place to direct his energy. He thought back to his experience working with a coach, and signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching.
Right before he joined, Victor, newly married, moved from South Carolina to California to be with his extended family. “Adjusting to a new family life in a new place was very challenging.”
In addition to adapting to a new, well, everything, Victor soon faced another challenge: The pandemic.
The gym where Victor had just begun to find comfort and community shut down.
He tried to adapt his gym workouts to at-home ones, but affordable equipment was hard to come by. So he took up running.
Even when temperatures rose to unbearable levels (think: 130℉), Victor found a way to make it work. “I woke up at 3:30am to be outside by 4am. Even then it would already be 97℉.”
At one point, his neighbors asked if he was getting tired of running every day. His answer?
“I got tired of taking insulin three to four times a day, pricking my finger three to four times a day. That got me tired. But running? No.”
Eventually, he built some workout equipment out of metal bars and concrete. (He calls it his “Fred Flinstone” gym.) Every now and then, his 11-year-old daughter will ask to train with him, which makes him smile.
Toward the end of the year, Victor and his wife contracted COVID-19. “My heart rate became really high. My doctor suggested I dial back my workouts, so I eased up. But I didn’t stop. Eventually, my heart rate went back to normal.”
Victor’s mother-in-law, who lived with him, also contracted the virus. She passed away shortly after, in December of 2020.
“That was one of the most challenging things I’ve had to endure in quite some time. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t developed a mindset of resilience with the help of PN, I would’ve been paralyzed.”
After making it through one of the most difficult periods of his life, Victor decided to do something to pay it forward.
“I’ve been working on establishing a coaching business. Yesterday, I began training my first online client.”
Silvia: A scary diagnosis made her believe she’d never run again. But she regained her strength and defied the odds.
In her early thirties, Silvia Pontuschka was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both of her hips.
“It felt like I was being handed a life sentence of misery,” she remembers.
By her mid-thirties, the pain had become so severe that she found it difficult to walk. She would wake up in the middle of the night stiff and in agony.
“I was afraid of my future,” she recalls. “Was this something I just had to live with forever? Would I have to have a hip replacement in my forties? I felt so limited in terms of what I was allowed to do. The pain felt like a reminder that life would never be ‘normal.’”
Silvia knew she couldn’t just wait around to see what would happen. She had to take action.
Silvia had previously signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching, but didn’t make it through the whole year due to the stress of an international move.
This time around, she felt ready to fully commit, but she knew she’d need as much support as possible. After Silvia chatted with her sister about her plans, her sister volunteered to do a weekly check-in for added moral support.
“That sealed the deal for me. It was the push I needed to sign up,” she says.
Silvia quickly found her groove. She maintained much closer contact with her PN coach this time around. She also trained at her gym three times a week, and over the course of a few short months, she felt her body getting stronger.
But soon, COVID-19 meant her gym had to close.
Silvia tried to make the best of the situation. She decided to turn her living room into a makeshift gym, and took advantage of the program’s minimal equipment workout routines.
This worked for Silvia at the start. But eventually, she felt something was missing when she trained alone.
So, she found another accountability partner—a workout buddy.
Soon, Silvia’s daily workouts became the anchor of her day, helping her to stick to a routine when everything else seemed turned upside down.
After weeks, then months, Silvia noticed her body becoming stronger.
“Four modified push-ups before needing a break became seven, then ten, which then became sets of full push-ups.”
And the debilitating pain in her hips?
It was still an issue halfway through the year, so she decided to employ a strategy from her PN Coaching lessons: She kept things simple.
Silvia added one glute-focused exercise to her routine. And as she felt able, she gradually added more targeted exercises to support her hip mobility.
“Showing up continually and slowly increasing my strength, mobility, and the length of my daily walks for the last six months of the program resulted in better flexibility, less pain, and the ability to do something I thought was no longer possible: go for runs!”
Silvia even began to look for more ways to move her body. She took daily afternoon walks, opted to use her condo stairs instead of the elevator, and sought out hills on her bike rides.
“The more I moved, the more I realized my body is designed to do exactly that. Every movement became a way to honor my body and admire how marvelous it is.”
The best part: “This was all achieved not by being perfect and doing grand gestures, but by just showing up and doing what I could do with the time, energy, and resources I had in the moment.”
Bradley: He regained control of his health after a decade of pain—and lost 80 pounds.
A decade ago, Bradley was in a car accident, which broke his back in four places, leaving him with ongoing pain.
A few years later, he developed sciatica-like pain due to arthritis, which made exercise almost unbearable. Not long after, he developed rashes, which his doctor treated with a steroid regimen.
And with that treatment came unwanted weight gain.
The extra weight aggravated his previous back injury and further limited his ability to work out.
“I was completely broken, physically and mentally. I was hopeless.”
As Bradley reached a low point, he connected with someone who’d recently finished Precision Nutrition Coaching. They told him the program could help, and Bradley was game to try anything—so he signed up.
“When I started out, I couldn’t do any of the exercises without severe pain. I had to take it very easy,” he remembers. Bradley focused on stretching daily, taking walks on his treadmill, and practicing the program’s eating habits.
Within a few weeks, he began to notice weight loss.
Then the pandemic hit. Yet another roadblock. Bradley could hardly believe it.
As a healthcare lab technician, Bradley was thrown into a grueling schedule performing COVID-19 tests. Like many other frontline workers, the demands of his job left him with little energy for his own health.
Every day provided another legitimate reason for Bradley to break the momentum he was building with nutrition and fitness. But he kept leaning on a big, undeniable reason to keep going:
“I had to get myself better. Not just for me, but for my family.”
So he did what he could, when he could, and worked on “just a little bit better” each day. He continued to lose weight.
The more Bradley lost, the better he felt. After nearly a decade of feeling stuck, the ball was rolling.
Bradley felt like he was finally getting his health back on track.
“Losing weight was almost easy after a while, because I wasn’t focused on losing weight, but on healing,” Bradley says.
By the end of the year, Bradley had lost 80 pounds and 53 total inches. And with the reduced strain on his body, his pain levels went from debilitating pangs to mild, occasional aches.
Now, he’s finally back to his favorite hobby: bowling in leagues and tournaments.
His biggest takeaway?
“Completing the program during the pandemic made me realize that I can make time for my health, no matter the circumstances.”
Lindsey: When her business shut down, she found solace in nutrition and fitness, losing 14 pounds in the process.
At 34 years old, Lindsey Marvin’s weight, insomnia, and anxiety were at an all-time high.
Money was tight at the taproom and restaurant Lindsey owns with her husband. The business is a labor of love for the couple, so she was working 14-hour days back-to-back to keep it afloat.
That mean Lindsey’s health and wellness fell to the bottom of her to-do list. “I was stress-eating the first thing I saw just so I could get back to work. I felt totally out of control,” she says.
One day, Lindsey realized some of her favorite clothes weren’t fitting anymore.
And the idea of putting on a swimsuit? No way.
That marked a turning point. “Going to the beach is my absolute favorite thing, so I knew I needed to make some changes.”
The previous year, Lindsey saw her husband lose 60 pounds with the help of Precision Nutrition Coaching. “He was more confident and in control than I had ever seen,” she says. So she decided to sign up too.
Nearly halfway through the coaching year, a curveball: Her restaurant was mandated to shut down due to COVID-19.
“Seeing the restaurant emptied out was very emotional for me,” Lindsey says. “Starting and growing a small business is like having a baby. The thought of it failing is traumatic.”
But that empty space that initially felt so uncomfortable to be in?
Lindsey got creative and turned the empty taproom into her own personal gym.
She used bags of sugar as weights. She filled kegs to varying levels and used those too.
“After I started working out in my makeshift workout space, I started to regain some feeling of control over the situation,” she recalls.
Despite all the uncertainties she faced, this was a place where she could let it all go and focus on doing something for herself.
“Moving my body every day and planning my meals made everything else feel doable. I learned to control what I could and stop stressing about the things I couldn’t.”
Lindsey was making progress not just physically, but mentally too.
Working with her doctor, Lindsey slowly weaned off the medication she’d been taking for anxiety and insomnia. At the same time, she picked up some new coping strategies.
“I started knitting before bed instead of watching TV or scrolling through my phone. It was just enough mental stimulation to keep me from boredom, and it occupied my hands so I didn’t want to snack late at night.”
When gyms were allowed to reopen their doors, Lindsey took one of the Precision Nutrition Coaching lessons to heart: She stepped out of her comfort zone and tried something new.
She joined a (real) gym and hired a personal trainer.
“I had reservations about having a trainer. But having Coach Gillian support me made me feel more open to trying it. I absolutely love being coached now.”
By the end of 2020, Lindsey lost 16 total inches and gained a new approach to looking after her health:
“When I started PN, I was obsessed with the number on a scale. I thought I needed to spend hours weighing food, and always be perfect. Now I know it’s about an accumulation of small things that add up to something bigger. I don’t need to go all out on anything. I just need to think about myself, what I want, and be a little bit better every day.”
Philip: At 61, he got his health and fitness back on course with small, simple shifts in the right direction.
When Philip Davis started Precision Nutrition Coaching, he was on a “gentle, but nonetheless apparent, downward slide.”
While he’d always done a fair amount of walking, Philip’s friends pointed out that he would choose the least hilly route on their walks. He also noticed he was winded climbing the steep hill to his home.
Philip knew his physical fitness was in decline.
And the health markers he was keeping track of—blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat percentage, and weight—were all going up.
“I was starting to not like how I looked in the mirror. My clothes weren’t fitting as well. And on one occasion, a pal even commented on my ‘dad bod’!”
Philip knew he didn’t want physical decline to become his new normal.
But he debated what to do next: Stay on the same course? Or start moving more and eating differently?
Philip knew his huffing-and-puffing up the hill was related to what he calls poor eating choices: too much wine at dinner and a tendency to frequent neighborhood bakeries.
So when he joined the program, he was eager to improve his diet. But knew it would be a process, and that his efforts could backfire if he felt deprived.
He understood that he wouldn’t be able to completely change his habits overnight. But what he discovered was that he didn’t have to. (Check out PN’s body transformation research to find out why.)
Philip told himself that if he “just kept showing up,” he would be able to adopt new habits—healthier habits—that would stick.
The way Philip sees it, forming new habits is like sailing a boat. If you change a boat’s direction by a few degrees, this slight adjustment can dramatically alter its final destination.
Throughout the year, Philip experienced occasional “lapses.” Instead of being discouraged by these setbacks, he focused on how he could improve a little bit each day.
And the steep hill to his house? Philip barely notices it now.
He enjoys his daily walks up his neighborhood’s steep hills.
In fact, Philip and his wife now seek out hills on their daily walks:
“There’s one particular walk we take in the mornings that includes a 500-foot elevation gain in half a mile. That’s when I feel all those squats from the PN exercise program proving their worth!”
Twelve months later, Philip is 15 pounds leaner and quite a bit stronger.
“I have a more proactive outlook on my health and fitness that will serve me well today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.”
Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.
It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021.
If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.
- You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
- You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].
Precision Nutrition Coaching Success Stories: January 2020 is written by Jessica Lau for www.precisionnutrition.com