When clients come to me looking for a nutrition and fitness overhaul, the most common thing they say to me is this: “I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.”  On the one hand, I’m flattered – they believe that my company, Peak Health, has the secret all figured out, and that’s why we’re able to transform client after client with our unique approach.

But on the other hand, know this: there is no secret.  And there never will be.  Successful programs are fully transparent from the initial consultation all the way to the intended outcome. If a diet, coach, program, or trainer is promising you big results only with lots of supplements, super-restrictive diets, no-days-off exercise regimens, or without regard for your actual lifestyle, family, career, and budget constraints – then run as far as you can in the other direction.

The services I offer via Peak Health can be summarised into terms we’re all familiar with: personal training and nutrition planning.  But the not-so-secret ingredient I add, and what I truly believe is the key component of my successful programs, is accountability coaching.

So what is accountability – and who is a coach?

Accountability[1] means “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions.”  Coaching[2] is the act of helping a person change in the way they wish and go in the direction they want to go.  When we combine terms, accountability coaching becomes the act of helping a person change for the better by holding them responsible for their actions.  The accountability coach is a strategist, partner, and cheerleader, with an unrelenting optimism for others’ success and a dash of tough love.

And that, dear readers, is what I actually do for a living.

The fitness and nutrition programs I design at Peak Health are completely bespoke, client to client – but they contain important similarities.  First of all, whether I’m creating a program for weight loss, muscle gain, mobility improvement, injury rehab, or any other fitness goal, I will include progressive resistance training, a daily steps (or movement) goal, and a sleep target.  There is nobody (and no body) who doesn’t benefit from clearly defined, regular, and intentionally-programmed activity and sleep routines.

Next, whether I’m planning nutrition around fat loss, improved muscle composition, chronic disease management, successful aging, or any other dietary outcome, I will recommend a majority whole-foods intake, a daily calorie and macronutrient range, and a hydration target.  There is nobody (and again, no human body) who doesn’t benefit from a return to biologically functional foods, consistent eating habits, and plenty of water.

After goals are defined (and yes, at Peak Health we use SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound), I design program strategies that break down the goals into straightforward, repeatable actions.  These actions are then communicated via daily habits[3], the content of which are simple and easily quantified.  Those daily habits, agreed upon between coach and client, are what I follow up on each and every day with each and every client, to make sure the little things we do add up to the big changes we want to see.

So often clients will come in with lofty, larger-than-life goals – “I want to lose 10KG in 10 days” or “I want to go full Keto AND run a marathon next month.”  While I’m intrinsically more of a “hell yeah – reach for the stars!” type of person, professionally I find that helping people translate their (at best, vague or improbable; at worst, impossible) expectations into steps that we can both measure and execute is at the heart of the Peak Health consultation and programming process.

Our conversation might look something like this:

Client: “I want to lose 10KG in 10 days!  Can you help?”

Me: “I can tell you’re eager to lose weight – and I’ve helped hundreds of folks lose weight and keep it off long term.”

Client: “Yeah, I want that – but I definitely need to see big results early or I’ll lose motivation.”

Me: “Let’s talk about results.  Research[4] shows that people who lose weight healthfully and keep it off can lose 0.5-1.5KG per week, safely.  I can design a program that helps you hit that target with an everyday calorie deficit, weekly workout schedule, and daily check-in with me, your coach.  It won’t happen in 10 days, but how would it feel if the 10KG you lost was kept off for 10 years?”

Client: (after a beat) “That would actually feel….amazing.”

And I assure you – it would.

Success in any wellness domain takes only three things: intention, a plan, and a person to hold you accountable to the intended plan. When I decided to call my company Peak Health, I was a bit conflicted.  Would clients assume that I only worked with clients who were at the pinnacle of their fitness – or constantly striving for that?  Would the name infer that the only goal worth pursuing is to be at the absolute top of your game – and that nothing less would suffice?  To be clear, I sincerely hope not, on both accounts.

Peak Health is actually about helping you navigate the variable terrain of your wellness journey – the peaks and the valleys – and keeping your gaze ever-focused on the next climb, no matter how desolate or seemingly expansive the current depression.  Life will always be a series of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and the concept behind Peak Health is to constantly envision (often, with revision) the next wellness chapter within your own personal odyssey.

To return to our initial lamentation – I’ve tried everything, and nothing works! – ask yourself this: have you tried honest adherence over time to a reasonable-but-challenging series of better habits, intentionally planned and continuously monitored by a certified coach?  If not, the secret of peak performance is not outside your reach.

You’ve simply never given yourself the chance.

[1] https://www.range.co/blog/accountability-in-the-workplace

[2] Thanks to International Coaching Community for this working definition https://internationalcoachingcommunity.com/what-is-coaching/

[3] To this end, I recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear for why this method works for nearly everyone

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047752