This past weekend, Get Fit 21’s top coaches converged on Salt Lake City for two days of education and inspiration. Gatherings like these give our coaches the ability to refresh their coaching skill set and stay up with the ever-evolving science of healthy living. Last weekend’s summit brought together coaches from across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe to learn from scientists and thought leaders in the area of human performance, motivation, and change.
While it’s impossible to share everything that was learned, here are five takeaways we loved from the event.
Takeaway #1: It’s the Diet
Dr. Benjamin Bickman, the director of the Laboratory of Obesity and Metabolism at Brigham Young University and an associate professor of Physiology and Developmental Biology, discussed the origins of the Standard American Diet (SAD) and then dove into the science of why high-carb, low-fat food is causing Americans—and the whole world—to get fatter and sicker than we have ever been. Dr. Bickman reviewed recent studies on diets higher in healthy fat content and explained the advantages of these diets for insulin sensitivity and thus long-term health. He discussed the changing nature of our food—even fruits and vegetables—that have been modified over time and no longer contain the same nutrient compounds they did even 50 years ago. Dr. Bickman then made specific recommendations for ways people can embrace a healthier diet in today’s world (which we will discuss in later posts).
Takeaway #2: The Education Gap
Dr. Dan Gubler, Chief Science Officer of Get Fit 21, spoke about the enormous education gap that exists in today’s world when it comes to metabolic health. He asked the audience how many years of education they had had in math, science, English or other subjects and then asked the question, “How many years of health classes did you take in school?” Pointing out the lack of such classes in most curriculums, Dr. Gubler spoke on the critical need for more health education, specifically health education that addresses the practical and applicable concerns of food, exercise, and wellness habits.
Takeaway #3: Food Companies Can Be Tricky
In their interactive breakout session, Coaches Whitney Lin and Clarissa Wiser shared several tips on ways to spot unhealthy foods in seemingly safe options at the grocery store and in the menus of popular restaurants. One tip they shared: Look at the food holistically. Weigh the various factors including—which bad ingredients a food contains and in what quantities and also which good ingredients a food contains and in what quantities. Often the choice isn’t obvious, so it’s often a good call to read the first 5-10 ingredients before choosing the better option between two brands.
Takeaway #4: Hurry Up & Fast
Coach Ryan Packer spoke about the power of 4-4-12 and intermittent fasting in his breakout “Performance Nutrition and 4-4-12.” Ryan explained that the 4-4-12 is a great principle to embrace if your goal is to reduce body fat. Fasting between meals and for long periods at night can improve your insulin sensitivity and thus enable your body to become more effective at burning fat. Dr. Bickman also extolled the benefits of fasting in his keynote relating to his research on insulin sensitivity and type II diabetes prevention.
Takeaway #5: Adopting a Growth Mindset
At the end of the day, many people know that they should be eating and exercising. The real magic is helping others become motivated to do something about it. Anthony Rodriguez and Bob Cluff discussed how each of us has a choice of one of two mindsets: A fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
With the fixed mindset, we are accepting that we are the way we are because we are born this way—for good or ill. In the growth mindset, we are acknowledging that we are born with certain characteristics and traits, but we can grow and change through effort, opportunity, and experience. Studies show that students who accept the growth mindset quickly outpace fixed mindset students. Anthony and Bob discussed the implications of this research for people looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle and shared personal tips for how we as coaches and everyday people can better adopt a growth mindset and accept our need for constant change.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to share more specific lessons and discussion from the Challenge Yourself Summit on this blog.