Nutrition For Kids

Nutrition for kids:
Helping children get off to a good start.

By Ryan Andrews



What does healthy nutrition for kids look like? In this article we discuss how childhood shapes brain development, metabolism, and overall health. And how to give our children a great start.


Eating patterns built during childhood serve as a foundation for life.  What we eat early on shapes brain development, metabolism, and overall health.

And right now, the top three sources of calories for 2-3 year olds in the US are:

  • milk
  • fruit juice
  • pasta.

Hmmm.  That’s kind of a weak foundation.

But there’s good news. You may only need to make a few small changes to improve your child’s nutritional profile and ensure a lifetime of healthy – and pleasurable – eating.

After all, nutrition affects all aspects of childhood growth, development, and health.

This includes:

  • maintaining a healthy weight;
  • avoiding health problems related to excess body fat;
  • gut health; and
  • brain development and behavior.

Let’s explore these factors a bit more.

Factor #1: Excess weight

In 1980, only 7% of American kids aged 6-11 were obese.

In 2010, it was 18% — nearly one in five.

Now, about one-third (33%) of U.S. kids are classified as overweight or obese.

Why is this a problem?

Health problems and overweight

Carrying excess body fat isn’t healthy, and it sets the stage for both childhood and adult diseases.

For example:

  •  70% of obese teens are already showing signs of cardiovascular disease — a health problem that normally doesn’t appear until decades later.
  • Adipose tissue (fat) secretes hormones and chemical signals; too much fat means inflammation. In kids, this means things like asthma.
  • Fat can accumulate in the liver; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disease in kids worldwide. Children with fatty livers face double the risk of arterial plaque buildup.
  • Over-fat children have impaired insulin sensitivity, glucose disposal, and prediabetes.
  • Over-fat children have higher long-term risk of chronic conditions such as stroke; breast, colon, and kidney cancers; musculoskeletal disorders; and gall bladder disease.
  • Normal growth and hormonal development can be disrupted. This can affect how they develop during puberty, and their future reproductive health. Girls might hit puberty way too early; boys may experience gynecomastia (breast development).

Once a body is overweight at a critical developmental period, it’s very hard to change. Health and physical activity habits established in early life will have effects for decades to come.

Social issues and excess weight

Extra body fat is a psychosocial burden too. It’s no fun to be the fat kid in the playground. Overweight and obese kids and teens face teasing and social exclusion.

The role of nutrition in overweight

Which children are most at risk of being overweight or obese? Those who consume mostly calorie dense foods. (See All About Energy Balance)

As the chart below shows, children’s health and weight results from a combination of factors — most of which we can control.

Source: Carnell S, Kim Y, Pryor K. Fat brains, greedy genes, and parent power: A biobehavioral risk model of child and adult obesity. International Review of Psychiatry 2012;24:189-199.

Factor #2: Gut health

Just like grownups, kids depend on good digestion. But because they’re young and vulnerable, they’re often prone to catching viruses and bacterial infections. The result is sometimes diarrhea, which often signals an intestinal infection.

But not all diarrhea results from illness. A major preventable cause is fruit juice. Juice contains fructose and sorbitol, which contribute to diarrhea in high amounts.

If diarrhea is common, its opposite, constipation is more rare – providing kids eat enough whole plant foods.  But regardless of diet, when a child needs to go and tries to “hold it,” this can cause problems.

Kids who struggle with constipation before the age of five tend to continue struggling with it after puberty.

Side note: If you are a student/researcher in pediatrics, there aren’t many high quality studies on childhood constipation, so feel free to organize some studies.

In the end, poor dietary quality is linked to gastrointestinal disorders.

And just as with adults, the bacterial balance in children’s guts can influence their immune function.

That’s why probiotics could help to improve gut health, resolve diarrhea after antibiotic use, and control inflammation. Even in children. Indeed, a host of child-friendly probiotics are now available.

Factor #3: Brain and behavior

Developing brains need quality nutrients. Poor nutrition (whether linked to excess body fat or not) also contributes to child mood and behavioral problems, such as depression and ADHD, even aggressiveness and violence.

This also includes caffeine. One study found that 8-12 year old children consumed an average of 109 mg of caffeine — the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day. Since one cola contains around 30-35 mg caffeine, that means the average kid drinks about 3 colas a day.

Important note on socioeconomic status

Poor childhood nutrition is a complex social problem. It’s tied to geography and economics.

For instance, in industrialized countries like the US or the UK, the kids eating low-quality, energy-dense foods are more likely to be poor, because these foods are cheaper and easily available.

Conversely, in developing countries where poor kids still eat traditional diets and local agricultural staples, it’s the rich kids whose families are able to afford the “luxury” of energy-dense foods.

This means that in industrialized countries at least, poor childhood nutrition is often linked to poverty.

How can you help improve your kids’ nutrition?

The problem of childhood nutrition can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a parent trying to make healthier choices for yourself and your family. Where to begin?

Start with some simple basics.

  • Choose whole, minimally processed foods. Avoid processed foods that are specifically marketed to kids.
  • Incorporate vegetables and fruits into kids’ daily diet.
  • Supplement with vitamins and minerals if needed, but try to get nutrients from a varied, whole-foods diet first.
  • Help kids regulate their appetite and hunger cues with whole foods and mindful eating.
  • Take the lead. You’re the parent.
  • Adopt healthy habits yourself, so that kids have a role model for their own behavior.

Let’s explore these strategies a bit more.

Strategy #1: Choose whole, minimally processed foods

Kids are a prime target for processed food marketing. Unfortunately, these foods are usually full of junk.

Cut the sugar

Many parents and teachers can tell when kids have eaten sugar; the former little angels are suddenly screaming, tantrum-throwing, wall-climbing demons.

Added sugar also disrupts kids’ natural appetite regulation and contributes to excess body fat, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance.

“But Ryan, my kids don’t eat sugary desserts and almost never drink soda, so they’re fine.” 

Great!  Just keep in mind that ounce for ounce, many breakfast cereals contain more sugar than soft drinks. Same goes for “kid-friendly” brands like Go-Gurt.  Sometimes even frozen fruits will contain lots of excess sugars.

(For more on hidden sugar sources, see here).




Read labels

Whether it’s yogurt or fruit juice, granola bars or trail mix, whether it’s labeled “healthy” or has a leprechaun on the package, read the label.

Look for hidden sugars and other unwanted ingredients. You’ll be surprised at what you find when you pay closer attention.

Get the right stuff

The good news is that kids who eat a varied diet of mostly whole foods will get enough healthy carbohydrates, lean protein, and good fats. Speaking of good fats…

Dietary fats

Dietary fats help kids absorb vitamins. They also help them feel full and satisfied after meals. And they’re necessary to manufacture hormones.

Kids need healthy dietary fats  in the diet — without these fats, kids develop deficiencies, which can lead to growth, eye, body composition, blood lipid, and brain problems.

Dietary fat is even more critical for kids than it is for adults, since they use a higher percentage of fat relative to their calorie intake.

One type of dietary fat – omega-3 fat – is even useful for cognitive development and the prevention of many chronic diseases.

  • EPA/DHA (one type of omega-3 fat) can come from oily fish, but since most kids aren’t exactly keen on that, try sneaking a spoonful of fish oil into a fruit smoothie or supplementing with Barleans Omega Swirl.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another type of omega-3 fat, can come from nuts and seeds such as flax, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or chia. So make raw nuts available as snacks, and try blending up ground flax or chia seed into kids’ cereal or smoothies.

If kids can tolerate eggs (some are allergic), be sure to use whole eggs, as the yolk provides important fat and choline, another essential nutrient for brain development.

Opt for full-fat dairy where possible.

And coconut is a great source of healthy saturated fats. Smash open a fresh coconut together — kids usually think this is hilarious. Or use coconut milk or unsweetened coconut flakes in dishes, and coconut flour in baking.

Small substitutions can add up

Simply switching to less processed, more whole-food versions of things can make a huge difference.

Look at your kids’ daily menu and see where you can make healthier substitutions for processed foods.

A classic parent trick: diluting fruit juice with water; mixing flavoured yogurt with plain yogurt; or cutting chocolate milk with regular milk.

Strategy #2: Incorporate fruits and vegetables

Adding fruits and vegetables is another great and simple way to start improving your kids’ nutrition.

Fruits and veggies come in their own handy packages, are easy to prepare, and full of important nutrients that growing bodies need.

Of course, not all children will love all fruits and veggies right away. Here are some tips to address common problems.

Problem: Kids don’t like the taste of vegetables.
Solution: Prepare vegetables differently.  Try roasting, making into a soup, sneaking veggies into a shake with fruit, or serving them raw. And remember, it might require ten or more exposures before a child embraces a new food. So give it time. Keep trying new options. And keep looking for ways to incorporate veggies into meals.

Problem: Preparation seems inconvenient or difficult.
Solution: Keep prepared vegetables such as pre-washed baby veggies handy. Involve children in vegetable and fruit prep — even young children can do things like snap the ends off green beans, mash avocados, or tear up lettuce for salad. The more involved children are, the more likely they are to try new foods.

Problem: No access  
Solution:  Keep vegetables at home and at school.  Rearrange the fridge to make prepared vegetables accessible and less healthy alternatives harder to reach.

Problem: Fruits and vegetables aren’t cool because they don’t have their own commercial.
Solution: Don’t rely on advertising to make food choices. Teach kids to be media-savvy. Help them understand that advertising is designed to sell stuff – not necessarily with their well-being in mind. And take them shopping with you. Let them explore the produce section and choose some things they’d like to try.

Problem: Peer pressure to eat non-nutritious foods  
Solution: What happens around peers stays around peers.  Focus on eating better at home.

Problem: Parents aren’t eating veggies. 
Solution: Parents eat veggies. You knew we were going to say that, right?

Note, also, that raw veggies can be risky for young kids as they can pose a choking risk. (Then again, so do hard candies, nuts, nut butters, hot dogs, and popcorn.)

Strategy #3: Vitamins and minerals

News flash: Nutrient-poor foods consumed in place of nutrient-rich foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

If a child isn’t getting enough nutrients from his diet, supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids might be useful for cognition and behavioral health. Kids of low socioeconomic status, kids with symptoms of ADHD, and kids with learning disabilities might also benefit from supplementation.

The following are nutrients most often lacking in children’s diets, along with some good whole-food sources of those nutrients:

  • Calcium – beans, greens, nuts, seeds
  • Iron – beans, meat, whole grains, greens
  • Zinc – beans, meat, whole grains, fish
  • Vitamin A – fruits, vegetables
  • Vitamin C – fruits, vegetables (vitamin C promotes iron absorption)
  • Folic acid – whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables
  • Vitamin B6 – whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, meats
  • Vitamin D – fish, eggs, dairy, mushrooms, and fortified foods
  • Vitamin B12 – animal foods (children eating a vegan diet will need a vitamin B12 supplement)
  • Iodine – iodized salt, sea vegetables, dairy, fish. (Why dairy? Disinfectants used in dairy operations leave traces of iodine in dairy products).

Send the kids out to play in the sunshine as often as possible to help them get enough vitamin D, which is crucial for growing muscle and bone development. Right now, most kids don’t get more than 300 IU of vitamin D a day, which is much less than the dietary intake goal of 600 IU/day. For more on vitamin D, see All About Vitamin D.


Water and unsweetened teas are the best thirst-quenchers around. They promote good hydration. And when children get used to the flavor, will prefer these to sugary drinks.

Unfortunately, as things stand, more than 30% of the fructose young children consume comes from sugar-sweetened drinks.

And while cow’s milk is a staple of most kids’ diets, it isn’t mandatory.  Using cow’s milk as a “meal replacement” can result in anemia.

Consider eliminating fruit juices in favor of whole fruit and trying some alternatives to cow’s milk. Then using primarily water and unsweetened tea for your children’s beverages.

Food sensitivities in kids

If your child is sensitive to a particular food and needs to eliminate it, that’s okay.  Just establish what nutrients the food would provide and include other foods that will make up for it (or use a supplement).

For more about food sensitivities, see All About Food Sensitivities.

If you think your child has a true allergy, do get him or her tested.  Allergies can be measured.  Up to 5% of kids experience cow’s milk protein allergy.  If a child has an allergy to cow’s milk, use a non-allergenic beverage in its place.

Foods that commonly cause sensitivities:

  • eggs
  • cow’s milk
  • soy
  • wheat
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • shellfish

Kids and toxins

We’re all exposed to various toxins. And we are always learning more about where toxins can be found. To lower toxin load in children, the following seem to be useful:

Strategy #4: Help kids eat the right amount

Given the right conditions, kids tend to be intuitive eaters. Their body cues tell them how much they need.

Some days they’ll eat more, some days less. Their bodies will naturally regulate their intake over the long term. So trying to count calories for otherwise healthy kids is wasted effort.

Kids’ amazing abilities to self-regulate can be messed up by things like:

  • inappropriate portion sizing
  • processed foods
  • restricting foods
  • labeling some foods as “bad”
  • eating while rushed, distracted, or on the go

Strategies that DON’T work

As a parent, you’ll undoubtedly want to make sure your kids are happy and healthy. So you might:

  • offer them food as a reward when they’re upset;
  • have strict rules about “good” and “bad” foods;
  • push them to finish dinner;
  • try bribing them (“If you finish your spinach you’ll get ice cream”).

Unfortunately, the strategies above only make things worse. Plus, it’s a lot of work for you!

Try these strategies instead

So try these strategies instead. To ensure that kids keep eating intuitively and naturally for life:

  • Serve them a variety of unprocessed whole foods.
  • Serve appropriate portions.
  • Give them the illusion of choice and self-determination (e.g. “You can pick 1 vegetable you’d like to eat tonight”).
  • Let kids stop when they’re no longer hungry (instead of insisting that they clear their plate).
  • Avoid strict “eating rules” or references to children’s weight.
  • Don’t keep unhealthy choices in the house. Make healthy choices abundantly available. Don’t make this a big deal; just make poor choices simply and quietly… unavailable.
  • Involve kids in shopping, menu planning, and cooking.
  • Slow down.
  • Eat together as a family as often as possible; make meal time family time.

Strategy #5: Take the lead

Parents: It’s up to you to take the lead. You’re in charge here.

It’s your job to provide the food. But it’s the child’s choice whether to eat it. When kids are hungry, they’ll eat.

Set a good example of healthy eating yourself.

Ultimately, children pay more attention to what their parents do than what their parents say.  So set a great example, and chances are, your children will follow where you lead.

But what about picky kids?

This is all very well, you might be saying. But my kid won’t eat vegetables, no matter what! How will he get enough nutrients?

No problem. Make sure he eats plenty of:

  • apricots
  • cantaloupe
  • mango
  • peaches and plums
  • beans
  • nuts
  • avocado
  • eggs
  • citrus
  • berries

What about kids who don’t like or can’t tolerate dairy foods? How can they get enough calcium?

Make sure they eat plenty of:

  • broccoli
  • green leafy veggies (sneak ’em into a fruit smoothie if you must)
  • beans/legumes
  • fish with bones
  • calcium-fortified non-dairy milks

And what about those who don’t like meat? How can they get enough protein?

Make sure they eat plenty of:

  • beans
  • peas (kids often love steamed edamame in the pod)
  • nuts
  • seeds

In other words, there’s a solution for just about every potential problem.

General guidelines

While it might seem easiest to focus on daily servings and numbers, it’s smarter to allow for flexibility. Step back and consider the big picture. A few days without 3-5 servings of vegetables is okay.

In general, aim for the following:

  • Vegetables – 3-5 servings/day (serving size = fist)
  • Fruit – 2-3 servings/day (serving size = fist)
  • Beans/legumes/meat/eggs – 2-3 servings/day (serving size = palm)
  • Whole grains – 2-3 servings/day (serving size = fist)
  • Nuts/seeds/olives/avocado/coconut – 2-3 servings/day (serving size = thumb).

Summary & recommendations

How much should kids eat?  They should eat until they are no longer hungry.

What should kids eat? A mix of mostly whole, minimally processed foods.

What should kids drink?  Mostly water and unsweetened teas.

How to ensure healthy bowel movements?  Adequate fluid, physical activity, and whole plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds).

The #1 thing you can do to help your kids?  Adopt healthy habits yourself.

Eat, move, and live… better.

Yep, we know… the health and fitness world can sometimes be a confusing place. But it doesn’t have to be.

Let us help you make sense of it

Your Goal: A Dream With A Deadline

Writing a few sentences down can mean the difference between success and failure. Plenty of studies show that people who take even a few seconds to put their goals on paper are 5 to 10 times as likely to achieve them.

So today, make me one promise. Get out a pen and an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper, and do what most people aren't willing to do . . .

Write out your goals.

The art and science of goal setting

Goal setting is both an art and a science. Most people think that setting goals just means picking something you don't have right now and going for it, but there's more to it than that.

To unlock the power of goal setting, use the following tips:

Goals should be specific and measurable

A good goal can be measured accurately and is specific enough to direct your focus on the change that's most needed or important to you.

I will look really good naked doesn't really give you anything measurable or specific to work on.

However, I will lose 15 lbs of body fat does. It's specific to one area of improvement (body fat) and it includes a measurable outcome (15 lbs).

Goals should be challenging but realistic

Goals must be big enough to inspire you to action, but not so big that you get frustrated with the impossibility of accomplishing them.

If you're 80 pounds overweight, setting a goal of being on the cover of a fitness magazine in 6 months time isn't realistic. But a goal of losing 10 pounds in the next year, while realistic, is too small to be inspiring.

For fat loss, a good rule of thumb is to expect 0.5 to 1 pound of fat loss per week.

If you don't know whether your goal is realistic or not, consult an expert or ask around on the forums. At Precision Nutrition, we'll help you figure it out.

Goals should have short-term and long-term components

When setting your goals, make sure you've got small goals that are applicable to today, bigger goals that are applicable to next week, bigger goals yet applicable to next month, and the biggest goals applicable to next year.

By setting aside little time points, you'll have mile markers on the way to your success. It also helps you appreciate the fact that great long term progress feels like it's happening pretty slowly.

Remember, if you want to drop from 160 at 25% to 130 at 12% in a year, that means you'll have to drop about 25 lbs of body fat in 52 weeks. Over the course of 12 months, that's about 2 lbs of fat a month. So be patient!

Frame your goals around behaviors, not just outcomes

Do you know the difference between a behavior and an outcome goal? Well, a behavior goal is based on something you can directly control and do yourself; an outcome goal is based on the end product of a series of behaviors.

Most people set only outcome goals, such as the following:

  • "I will lose ten pounds in ten weeks."
  • "I will make $100,000 next year."

While these goals are specific and measurable and may be challenging and attainable, one problem is this: they're outcomes. And outcomes are often beyond your control.

After all, you can't control your fat cells and their rate of fat metabolism by just hoping they'll shrink. And you can't force someone to pay you $100,000 per year. What you can control, however, are your behaviors.

So how can you pick better goals, goals based on behaviors? Try these on for size:

Want to lose ten pounds in ten weeks? Then start by understanding what behaviors you can adopt immediately that'll lead to this result. Make these your goals. Here are a few examples:

  • I will exercise for at least five hours per week.
  • I will eat slowly and pay more attention to my intake.
  • I will eat vegetables with every meal.
  • I will avoid alcohol this week.

And how about the financial thing?

  • I will go back to school and get an advanced degree in my field.
  • I will spend most of my time on big, high return projects.
  • I will improve one aspect of my job performance each day.
  • I will duplicate the behaviors of others that are making the amount of money I want to make.

In the end, if you make goals out of behaviors, behaviors you can control, your outcome goals (things like your body composition, salary, etc.) will fall right in line without you having to worry about them.

And one final tip for goal setting is this:

Tell someone about it

Once you set specific goals that you're committed to sticking to, tell someone about them right away and ask that person to hold you accountable.

If a goal is a secret, it's easy to blow it off. If you've got someone holding you accountable to a higher standard, you're more likely to get it done.


A few sentences put on paper can mean the difference between success and failure. So get your pen and pad, and write out a few goals right now.


This article was written by John Berardi, Ph.D. the creator of Precision Nutrition which I use as part of my signature M.E.T.A.morphosis fitness and nutrition transformation program.

Don't Buy A Treadmill

Even a basic home use treadmill should cost a minimum of $1500, don't get an expensive coat rack, save yourself some green and pick up these options for less than half that cost.
Everything fits in a closet, can be used by everyone in the family, in hundreds of different ways, and you can even put together a group workout with friends
in your own home.


The Budget Kit - $95+

A ball, a couple of super bands and a foam roller serves as a great starting point when buying home fitness gear, with a little know how this set-up can give anyone a challenging full body workout.
Bonus, the bands are great for travel workouts.


The Starter Plus - $150+

A step or 'plyo' box, fitness sandbag, a suspension system and a pair of fitness sliders is the perfect next step. Adding these tools to your home gym dramatically increases the variety of work you can do, and, it's this variety which is key to continuing to see results as well as staying motivated to keep working toward your goals.


The Performance Add On - $300+

Your grandmas colorful hand weights won't cut it for very long, especially if you're looking to see greater results. Even small framed mature women can use weights of 50lbs or even more. Resistance should be progressively challenging or your results will plateau. High quality adjustable weights which continue to challenge you as you close the gap between your goals and where you are now will be a priceless investment you'll be glad you made.


If You Get Nothing Else, Get This!

Whether it's to burn fat, boost energy or reduce stress,
effort is the number one metric to track as this is what moves the needle.
MYZONE is a heart rate tracking system which enables you to maximize the efficiency of your efforts, and prove them! With live stream on your phone, a workout tracking calendar, food and exercise image log and social sharing buttons to name just a few of the features that will help you build a positive relationship with exercise like never before.

What get’s measured,
sees improvement
— Karl Pearson

If you're looking to buy any of the products featured on this page simply click through from the images and you'll find yourself directed to a couple of my preferred vendors for these products. These are vendors who I buy from and so feel confident in recommended you do also. They only sell high quality equipment and you can be assured that these products will not fail under your weight, snap or break like some imitators may do.

Join The OTT Network - Ensure You Get Important Health & Fitness Tips

10 Minutes To Fitness - Stairs

For most people time is a major factor with not getting the exercise they know they should do, in the 10 minutes to fitness series you'll learn why, just 10 minutes at a time can be not only achievable, but extremely beneficial.

10 minutes at a time and these short tips can make a world of difference in your health and fitness.

4 Tips For A Healthier 4th

Happy Independence Day

Before you go crazy for hot dogs, burgers and beers check out these 4 pointers to get through this most American of Holidays feeling fit and healthy and oh so good about your free self.

Get out & move - This can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood, a ride on the lakefront, or playing in the park with the kids. The key is to try and work up a little sweat. This will ramp up your metabolism & help offset some of the food & drink later in the day.

Veg’ It Up - Most cookouts will include veggie platters or salads of some kind, so dig in to your veggies before loading up on grilled meats. The extra fiber will help your digestive system move things along smoothly. You’ll feel fuller for longer & crave less of the heavy stuff.

Drink plenty of water – Being well hydrated also improves digestion & helps keep you fuller & therefore less likely to overindulge on the other stuff. You’ve heard the advice of 6-8 glasses a day, I find a good guide is to aim for a glass an hour. In addition, try drinking a large glass first thing in the morning, it’ll kick start your system & you’ll feel better all day.

Take 4 on the 4th - Find a small window of 4 min’s (longer would be better) to just sit quietly, close your eyes & let your mind empty, & breathe slow & deep from your belly. In todays fast paced world we seldom take time out for ourselves, you’ll find a feeling of relaxation come over you as your heart rate and blood pressure both chill out

Enjoy A Happy & Healthy 4th of July.

How Nik Wallenda's Skyskraper Tight Rope Walk Can Impact Your Health

Make Impressive Goals

If Nik Wallenda’s tight rope walk was between two trees in a park just 10 feet apart and only 6 inches off the ground nobody would be impressed (I’d be impressed if I could do it, but that’s another story). As much as that small task might have been a good training exercise in his early days, it wouldn’t attract anything like the worldwide media attention that his historic and record breaking feat in Chicago did.

I’m not suggesting that you go to the extreme of reaching for global attention by attacking your goals over 600 feet above your city. After all, goals need to be achievable otherwise you’ll find yourself getting frustrated in a relentless struggle. Think your goals through carefully, use your past experiences and get expert input to assess what’s possible and always remember, impressive goals with strong efforts lead to greater support from those around you, all culminating in more impressive results. 

Galvanize Your Beliefs

Nik is clearly a man with strong faith and belief, and sure, a part of that comes from religion and is something that he feels is an important element in his success. Many others also find this kind of faith helps them to deal with stressful situations and events, too. Faith comes in many forms, yes, there’s the faith in a higher power to look over and guide you, but there’s also:

  • The faith in your ability to achieve the challenge you’ve given yourself.
  • The faith you get from practice and repetition of tasks, which lead to success.
  • The faith your support system has in you, your abilities, your resolve and dedication.
  • The faith that you will, one day, realize your goal.

As the old saying goes… “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right”. Visualization is a remarkably effective tool in helping to galvanize your beliefs, so imagine yourself as you wish to be. If it’s good enough for athletes, it’s good enough for you. I’d be willing to bet Nik thought long and hard about each and every step on that wire, and about successfully completing the challenge.

Develop Support Mechanisms

We’re human and we falter from time to time, and that’s okay, but being prepared for those times means the chance of success increases exponentially. Nik had plans in place for if something went awry and had specialists on his team to increase his chance of success. While Niks team may have included specialists in rigging and safety procedures, meteorologists and medical personnel, for you, it could mean checking in with your healthcare professional from time to time to assess progress of health related details and acceptable plans to move forward, or perhaps connecting with a certified health coach like myself in order to develop strategies for dealing with challenges you may encounter.

In addition to specialist guidance, Nik has a very supporting and extremely strong family who were behind him all the way. In all the interviews on TV, they can be seen showering him with confidence and support and even his children were relaxed throughout this event, confident their father would complete his given challenge successfully. Share your journey with those closest to you and you’ll quickly find that when you waver in your belief (as we are prone to do from time to time), they will be there to help lift your spirits and get you back on track. Finally, don’t forget the extended support mechanisms you can develop. Nik has his church and of course the media personnel who were at the event wishing him success, but over 600 feet below him there were an estimated 65,000 people cheering him on and going wild on social media. Nik mentioned hearing them made a huge difference as he walked across that penny wide wire. You might struggle to enlist 65,000 followers but try using your church, community groups, friends, family and social media channels to get some cheerleaders on your side. Share your efforts along the way and you could be pleasantly surprised by who gives you a virtual pat on the back or a motivating speech along the way. You may even inspire someone else to get started on his or her own journey.

Half Measures Don’t Work

When Nik left the edge of the building there’s not a chance he ever considered just going half way to see how things went. Instead, he was firmly set on reaching the other side and not once did he waver in his commitment to succeed. He’d set a goal (some would say a crazy one), challenged himself to be the greatest there could be at that task and did everything possible to prepare for success. He was quoted as saying you have to “train 5 times harder”, and that kind of attitude to scaling your goals is what makes impressive results possible.

For you, this all means working each and every day, each and every meal, and each and every workout towards your goal. Whether you want to step on stage at a bodybuilding show, run a marathon, lose 50lbs, or get off your medications, you’ll need to be resolute and establish clear guidelines for how you are willing to live in order to succeed. You can’t step on stage with any chance of success at a bodybuilding show if you eat perfectly but train at 50%, and you can’t expect to lose that 50lbs if you train like you’re possessed by demons but skip breakfast and then eat fast food the rest of the day.

You don’t need to give up fun or great tasting food, and sure you may need some help in adapting or changing your lifestyle to help you get there, but success requires effort. Ask yourself, what will I commit to doing today to move forward in this challenge?

Well-done Nik! Here’s hoping your achievement at over 600 feet above Chicago can inspire someone to succeed in their goals and THRIVE in great health.