Where to Go with Nutrition Education

nutrition education

Erika Snyder, the head Coach at CrossFit ONE Nation Waltham in Waltham, Massachusetts, dives into the importance of nutrition education and how to choose what to pursue:

BP: Why is nutrition education a key investment?

ES: Nutrition is to your body as fuel is to a car. If you feed your body with less than desirable fuel, it just won’t run well. Our bodies are built to perform mental and physical tasks every day. Over time, if we are not supplying it with what it needs to perform these tasks, it will slowly break down. Nutrition allows us to optimize our performance daily and function well as human beings.

BP: In your nutrition program, you offer a personal nutrition coach. What does his or her nutrition education background look like and why?

ES: We truly believe there is incredible value in measuring and observing repeatable data in CrossFit and nutrition. Our staff has 10-plus years of experience of lecturing others all over the world on this subject, but more importantly, testing our knowledge with our people. It’s no question that education, written information and credentials are great. However, there is no substitute for testing a theory, finding results and continuing to tweak wherever it’s needed. The results are proof enough when we see our members reach their goals based off of the markers they set for themselves. These markers can be weight, feeling, mood, how clothes fit or an improved time in a workout. No matter how they choose to measure it, the results don’t lie.

BP: How do you decide not only what nutrition education to pursue, but who on your staff pursues it?

ES: The key is passion. The people on our staff who consistently work with members on nutrition have a passion for educating people outside of the hour we coach them. Nutrition in many cases is not just, “Eat this and you’re good to go.” Everyone is different. Nutrition is letting go of pre-conceived information that is usually outdated, taught to them years ago. It’s teaching how to establish good eating habits for life and not just 30 days. Anyone can coach nutrition — they just have to walk the walk and be ready to educate far beyond a surface level menu.

BP: What are the benefits of educating your staff on nutrition?

ES: The biggest benefit of educating your staff is the ability to reach more people in your gym and create long-lasting change. Our staff adds value coaching our athletes to health through fitness, but nutrition is the missing link to many people’s plateaus in progressing. It’s another piece of ONE Nation where I am proud to say we are not just a gym. We want to provide the tools daily for people who want to learn how to live healthy, fulfilling, long-lasting lives. Nutrition is a huge part of that. Lead by example is a sentence I do not take lightly. It has to start from the top where we have to walk the walk and talk the talk to be able to teach the people we care about.

BP: Any tips or advice when it comes to choosing nutrition education?

ES: If you go the Coach route, whoever you choose to work with, you have to trust them. They should be concerned with more than just telling you what to eat. They need to care and understand your background, personality traits and have a genuine interest in where you want to go. They should also be the kind of person that’s 100 percent OK with telling you things you might not want to hear to help reach your goals. Lastly, they are capable of creating a plan and manageable steps for you to take where you will be challenged, but encouraged, to succeed for the long haul.

If you want to go the route alone and research yourself, get comfortable with the idea of testing and re-testing different ways of eating. Setting a standard for yourself and identifying what works and doesn’t work for you will require a lot of awareness, honesty and self-discipline. Your reasons for implementing these changes need to be stronger than your excuses. Whatever you choose, it has to make you feel good, exercise well and show you results, whatever that may look like to you.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.