John Berardi is a health and nutrition advisor to companies such as Apple, Equinox and Nike. He has also worked as a nutrition coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs and several Olympians, including Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton racers, and speed skaters.
Berardi’s interest in health and fitness was sparked early on in life. Born prematurely and requiring life support for his first few weeks, he grew up with a host of issues related to being a preemie: He was chronically underweight, struggled with eating, and had asthma and allergies. ‘My work today is a natural extension of that experience,’ he says. That’s because through proper nutrition, exercise, and protein and vitamin supplements, he was able to correct many of his health issues and gain muscle and strength.
Berardi, 39, completed his Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry at Western University. He’s an athlete himself, competing as a sprinter in masters-level track-and-field meets.
Born in Philadelphia, Berardi lives in the Niagara region of Ontario with his wife and two young kids. Here are some of his tips for getting the most out of life.
Pay it forward: ‘Having mentors made all the difference to me. That’s why I started coaching and mentoring: to help other people make meaningful changes, whether it’s an Olympian or anyone who wants to look and feel better.’
Go deep: ‘I focus my energy on what I call ‘deep health,’ which comes from a balanced diet of fresh whole foods; sufficient exercise combined with rest; clean air and water; and living with purpose and joy.’
Eat for health: ‘Each meal is an opportunity to do something positive and healthy for our bodies. My family builds meals around a big portion of vegetables. We add healthy fats such as olives, coconut oil, raw nuts or avocados. Then we add a source of protein like eggs or meat.’
Fit in exercise: ‘Building a home gym was one of the best family decisions we’ve ever made. For the kids, we even got a set of miniature dumbbells and a small exercise bike! Now, rather than worrying about who’s going to watch the kids while we work out, we all hit the gym together.’
Take a hike: ‘If stress creeps in, I’ll work on breathing and meditation exercises, or go for a hike in the woods. These help me to relax and focus on what’s important.’