Earning my Fitness & Nutrition badge!



Hi all, as an example of how to earn a Merit Badge, I wanted to provide a write up of how I structured my 1) expert interview, 2) practical work, and 3) special project, around the topic of Weightlifting:

Expert Interview

Leather places some emphasis on mentorship, and everyone can agree that there’s a special benefit in sharing knowledge person-to-person. Scouts should consult an experienced person or persons (potentially even other scouts!) for knowledge or advice prior to beginning their practice period.

In my case, I’ve talked to six different trainers on how to achieve my goals. I quickly learned that competitors combine old-fashioned bodybuilding/strength training methods with modern Paleo lifestyle and diet practices, and also that there are major differences in method between bodybuilding and strength training.

In my scout logbook, I would note my consultations with various coaches (since these are local businesspeople, I’m not including their names here)

  • Bootcamp coach (energy balance method)
  • Crossfit coach (Paleo + mixed modal exercise)
  • Crossfit Strength coach (strength & conditioning method w/olympic lifts)
  • Bodybuilding coach (Paleo + emphasis on protein intake)
  • Powerlifting coach (“bulking” then “cutting” periods)
  • Olympic lifting coach

Hands-on Practice

As a scout learning a new skill, 8-20 hours, over several hands-on sessions, should be spent familiarizing yourself with it. This could be crafting time, exploration, practice with a partner, or solo application of what you’re learning. Be sure to ask other scouts for guidance or assistance as you go!

My lifting patch “hands-on practice log” looks like this:

  • Over a year of powerlifting training (3x week) and accessory work; learn proper form for the major lifts, some Olympic lifts, and many accessory exercises
  • Logged my food intake, body weight, and exercise daily during this time
  • Listened to multiple audiobooks and podcasts on the topic of fitness and nutrition, for guidance on changes to diet and lifestyle, and made many changes

Final Project

After gaining practical experience in their topic, a scout puts that practical experience into action with a “showpiece” or project. A scout learning electrical play might, with another scout’s help, conduct a play scene incorporating several different types. Or, a scout might construct a custom piece of equipment.

For my Weightlifting patch, I practiced specifically for two events: a powerlifting meet, and a NAS (North American Strongman) “show” (competition). In the powerlifting meet, I did two different lifts, each at three different weights, and in the NAS event, I did four events combining strength and endurance.


When their interview, practice, and project are done, a scout should tell their troop about their process, and take questions on what they learned. This isn’t a formal presentation, but effort should be made to convey the major lessons. This should take 10-15 minutes in the monthly online web meeting.

For my Fitness & Nutrition (weightlifting) patch, this isn’t yet complete. When I’m able to attend a web meeting and talk through my work, I’ll be approved to find a suitable patch (if there isn’t one already in the badge catalog) and add it to my shirt, vest, sash, or neckerchief! It will also appear credited to me in the online Scout Roster.

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