But First, Do You Even Want a Nutrition Program at Your Gym?
A gym owner is all too aware that nutrition underlies much of the success their members want. Members often are coming to the gym to lose weight or “lean out” – when much of that work is best accomplished in the kitchen.
Nevertheless, before jumping into offering nutrition services at your gym, get clear if you really want to. Yes, they can help results and even member retention by way of those results. BUT, a nutrition program is not so simple to set-up, run, and grow to a significant portion of your revenue.
It’s much easier to come up with sales projections than to actually make sales – particularly in nutrition. And the business model and offerings for your gym are not going to be the same for a nutrition program.
That’s not to say you can’t develop a successful CrossFit nutrition program for your gym. Certainly, members at a gym are a warmer audience for nutrition change versus sedentary individuals. However, it’s easy to think that a nutrition program is a simple addition to your gym revenue. The reality: it will take a good amount of time to implement and scale.
Just like there are “shiny distractions” in the fitness industry, there are at least, if not more so, shiny distractions in the nutrition industry. Your members are inundated by conflicting messaging about supplements, quick weight loss, and metabolism hacks at every turn, as well as surrounded by highly-palatable processed foods that are all-too-easy to overeat and often tied to psychological coping mechanisms. While what to do is relatively simple, helping members make those changes is not.
Again, that’s not to say nutrition programs aren’t worth it. Of course helping others improve their diet is a worthwhile cause! It’s just that it might not be the service you want to provide. And if you (or someone at the gym) is not passionate about leading the nutrition program, it will be bring more headache than profit.
Ideas for Successful CrossFit Nutrition Programs
But, assuming you are still “in” to run a nutrition program… The good news is there are lots of ways to do it. It doesn’t have to be a 1:1 coaching model (which doesn’t scale particularly well). You may find you are better off simply outsourcing 1:1 needs to a licensed nutritionist in your area you trust, and maybe there is some referral compensation.
Events – such as group programs and challenges – can be great options for CrossFit gyms for several reasons. First, it scales your time well. Unless you have a full-time nutrition role at the gym, doing group events are ways to minimize the work of these additional services.
But more so, your members already love group events! They show up for group classes each day because of the camaraderie and friendly competition. That’s the same factors at play in nutrition challenges. The group environment can help foster that motivation for nutrition habit change just like it does for exercise.
Do not overly fixate on developing the perfect program or challenge. Nutrition is an iterative process where most everyone needs to go through many programs to “get back on the horse,” or just learn about their own habits and preferences.
Potentially these events occur quarterly, but it’s best to start with 1 or 2 per year to test the waters before planning out an overly zealous program. OptimizeMe Nutrition’s ready-made #800gChallenge® and Lazy Macros® gym challenges are great options for group events.
(And, it’s always important to make sure you services are operating within the proper scope of practice; see here for more information about that. Most of the time, gym owners will not be a CrossFit “nutritionist” or develop individualized CrossFit meal plans. Instead, they often focus on promoting healthy habits like eating more fruits and vegetables.)
Capitalize on the New Member Motivation
In addition to periodic events, another nutrition aspect of your program may be a intro program for new members upon joining. Most members are highly motivated to make nutrition changes when signing up, so you can take advantage of that!
Maybe you have a simple 4-week group coaching program for all new members. This helps get them going on the right foot as well as helps you set expectations around nutrition as an essential foundation to their results.
If the gym doesn’t want to run nutrition programs, again, maybe there is a nutritionist or even short online course author with which you can collaborate.
Resources to Become a Nutrition Coach
If you want to learn more about how to teach your members nutrition, sign up for the Three Pillars Method™ Masterclass for Coaches. In this course, you will learn the essential physiological principles underlying all diets, as well as sustainable progression for members for their weight, health, and fitness goals (yes, all three!!).
Completion of the masterclass allows you to apply for affiliation with OptimizeMe Nutrition (like CrossFit® affiliation) to license the nutrition names and programs in the Masterclass to replicate with your members.
Also, check out the podcast episode below! It covers the topics in this post in greater detail.