The Coptercast with John Berardi: How to become a Change-maker

Introducing the Coptercast

In 2003, I went to a conference up in Toronto known as the S.W.I.S. Symposium. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I went to one of the talks featuring Dr. John Berardi, I was witnessing the very beginning of Precision Nutrition.

Over time, Precision Nutrition grew into one of the real powerhouses in the fitness industry and a company valued at over 200 million USD. In the last 15+ years, PN has brought smarter nutrition coaching to thousands of coaches and people from all walks of life looking to improve their fitness, healthy and body comp.

In short, it’s had a massive impact on the fitness industry.

That’s why when I found out John had just released a new book called Change Maker and he was going to be in the Seattle area, I asked if he had time to share his story.

I wanted to him to talk about the biggest lessons he’s learned about building a business, his views on fitness and nutrition, where he thinks the industry is headed, and everything in between.

Berardi’s Words of Wisdom

1. When it comes to entrepreneurship, the way you start your business doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect.

John Berardi bought a few cameras at Best Buy, snuck into a commercial kitchen at his university, and started filming the first Precision Nutrition video series.

2. In order to break past the ceiling of success and scale your business, you have to develop systems that automate the “groundwork” part of your job.

“Really, 90% of what we [coaches] do is the same thing over and over. So, if we just systematize that part, we then get all this fee time to do the extra 10% with way more people.”

3. If you’re questioning whether you’re in the right field, pay attention to the intersection of your purpose, your unique abilities, and your values.

Berardi realized that he used nutrition as a means of pursing his true purpose: helping other coaches. He wanted to help them see their roles in terms of the tremendous impact they have on the people they train—and discover how to be rewarded for it. This set him on the path to create his newest project: The Changemaker Academy.

4. Don’t mimic what other people in your industry are doing it doesn’t align with your unique abilities.

Just because people you admire and see as successful are business owners doesn’t mean you should run a business. You might be a terrible entrepreneur. Or you might be a great one. But be honest with yourself about your strengths and your passions.

Maybe you’re a great podcast host but other coaches seem to be killing it with long-form articles. Consider digging in and really becoming the best podcaster instead of getting off course to pursue something you think works well for others.

5. You don’t have to be a [coach, paramedic, teacher. etc.] to help people.

The real question is, how do you want to help people?

And once you’ve identified that, what are you measuring to make sure you’re actually making a difference?

About Dr. John Berardi

John Berardi is a Canadian-American entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition coaching, education, and software company. He’s also the founder of Change Maker Academy, devoted to helping you turn your passion for health & fitness into a powerful purpose and successful career.

Berardi has advised Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist, as well as the San Antonio Spurs, Carolina Panthers, US Open Champ Sloane Stephens, and 2-division UFC Champ Georges St. Pierre. He was also named one of the 20 smartest coaches in the world and 100 most influential people in health and fitness.

Berardi lives in Canada with his wife and four children, although they often escape the cold Canadian winters by spending January through April somewhere warmer.

Should you read Change Maker?


If you’re trying to make a living in the fitness industry, you know that building a successful career is not always easy. There’s rarely a clear path to get from where you are now, to where you want to be.

When I first opened my own gym back in 2003, I was just 23 years old and I had no real idea what it was going to take to make it all work.

Only after many years of struggling and learning through endless trial and error did I start to turn the corner and find success. A lot of people in the industry aren’t as lucky and they’re never able to breakthrough past the endless daily grind that many feel stuck in.

That’s why I think everyone that works in the fitness industry should read Change Maker and why I wish I had it many years ago. What I like most about the book is that it lays out a clear path to achieving success by answering tough questions and figuring out what the right path for you is.

Instead of just telling you follow one specific strategy that may or may not be what’s best for you, the book challenges you to dive deep into figuring out your own strengths, abilities, purpose, and values. So if making your living in the fitness industry (or want to) then yes, I think you should definitely read the book.

Change Maker isn’t a cookie-cutter approach or a “get rich” now type of book. It’s a road map to help you work through the challenges all coaches and change makers face and guide to building a rewarding and impactful career that makes a difference.

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