Foundation of Food


Sherman Merricks, the owner and head Coach of Dynasty CrossFit in Gainesville, Florida, shares about the gym’s nutrition program and why they have found success with it.

BP: First off, what does your nutrition offering at Dynasty CrossFit look like?

SM: Our nutrition offering is basically a one-on-one setting for the most part. Maybe once or twice per year we run some type of six-week nutrition challenge. The people who have the most success are the ones that stick to the plan for at least three months.

BP: Why do you have these offerings?

SM: We have these offerings because we know nutrition is the foundation of any good exercise program. We can continually give our clients excellent training sessions, but if they aren’t eating properly, the results will be slower and they’ll never reach their full potential.

BP: How do you get members to maximize use of the nutrition offerings you have?

SM: We have a nutrition coach on staff who’s also a physician, so we try to keep our members informed on why it’s important to eat right. We also post success stories and highlight our members who are very serious about their nutrition.

BP: How do you get participants to maximize their time in the program?

SM: We tell them to give the program time. Three months at a minimum to get on the right track, but if someone is looking for sustainable life-changing results, we tell them to be prepared to stick with the program for at least 12 months. Most of the people who walk through our doors haven’t worked out or eaten properly in many years, so we tell them a year is what it will take to become what they want or even better than they dreamed of.

BP: What success have you found?

SM: We’ve found success in holding our clients accountable and not taking every person who walks through the door. If the person doesn’t seem very interested and ready to fight through the tough times, we may not take them as clients. We know we can’t help everyone, so we want to make sure they’ll be a good fit for us and vice versa. So, we start each potential nutrition client off with what we call a “No-Snack Intro” which is a 20-minute consultation where we talk about their goals, their past and how we can help — if we think we can.

BP: What challenges have you found?

SM: Some challenges we’ve found in the past are we really didn’t know our ideal client, so we were just trying to help everyone and really ended up not helping anyone for the most part. Also, being in Florida you must work under a registered dietitian so that made it hard to help our clients and others, but we began working with Healthy Steps Nutrition, and Nicole Aucoin has created an awesome program for anyone looking to really grow their nutrition offerings.

BP: Any tips on maximizing revenue of your nutrition program?

SM: Really make nutrition an integral part of your introduction process. We start everyone off with one-on-one personal training, so we really talk about the importance of nutrition from Day One, and even if our clients decide it isn’t right for them on Day One, they know eventually to really get to where they want to be they must get serious about the food they eat. If someone has been working out at my gym for a year and doesn’t think they’ve made life changing improvements, we know nutrition is the missing piece for most of these people. Contrary to popular belief you can’t out train a bad eating regimen, and I see so many people trying to do this.

BP: Anything else to add?

SM: Nutrition offerings are not only the best thing for 99 percent of the people that walk through our doors; it can also help you increase your ARM (Average Revenue per Member). Many don’t want to feel “like a sales person” but there are a couple things wrong with this logic. First, if you’re not offering and recommending what your clients need, you’re doing them a disservice. Two, everyone is selling something; the problem is most people don’t know it. As a mentor for Two Brain Business, I get to talk with many gym owners, and the common theme is everyone thinks they need x more members, but that’s a never-ending trail. So, a way to help more people is to have them paying you for fitness and nutrition guidance, as what we do works. If not, they’ll end up doing a program that promises a quick fix or something they can’t stick to long term and never reach their goals. 

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at