Nutrition Making Happy, Healthier CrossFitters

Making an effective nutrition program.Like any and all CrossFit gyms, one of CrossFit H-Town’s goals is making people healthier.

But, just doing WODs might not do the trick. “Exercise to a certain point can only help so much,” said Theo Tsekouras, co-owner of the Box’s two locations in Houston, Texas.

Food, it seems, is the next step.

Tsekouras shared that over the past six years, H-Town’s nutrition program has been something of an evolution. Alongside his wife, the other owner of the Box, Tsekouras said they both bring a lot of education from the medical community to the table. And while most CrossFitters push Paleo, it isn’t everything to everyone. “[My wife and I] realized that quite honestly that as good as Paleo is, not every person needs Paleo,” he said.

With that mentality, the question then became how to deliver the nutrition message? H-Town’s Four Elements/CrossFit introduction classes were so packed with information that a nutrition message would have been lost. “So, what we ended up doing was doing a monthly nutrition class,” said Tsekouras. “It’s part of the membership and this is a time for them to understand what it is that we do.”

At the end of the hour-long program, athletes are offered a one-on-one consultation with a nutritionist to develop a meal program. Six to eight weeks later, there is a follow-up and measurement. Tsekouras offers this service completely free to his members despite having to pay the nutritionist $50 for each visit. “The return that I get from people signing up for the one-on-one consultation or the food program — the $50 is made back easily,” he said.

This fact could have something to do with H-Town having its own personal chef. Every week, a list of meals will be displayed. For about an average of $9.50-$10 per meal, members can order as many or as few as they’d like. The chef will then whip them up and deliver them to the Box, along with grab-and-go meals that will also be available for purchase.

Finding the chef was an answer to a big problem. “Unless you can physically go with each person to the grocery story, or every day be in their kitchen and help them cook and give them ideas and recipes, it’s hard to implement that stuff. As much as people are dedicated, they usually fall off three to four weeks,” said Tsekouras. “We’ve made it so easy for them to not fail with eating correctly that we have our own executive chef at the gym.”

Plus, by having someone like the chef on the Box’s staff, Tsekouras said it allows for a consistent message on what H-Town believes in terms of nutrition to be spoken.

By using testimonials to educate potential new members on what his gym offers, and by sending out email reminders and such, people are encouraged to continue to pursue nutrition. However, Tsekouras is aware of needing to constantly improve and advised other Boxes looking to start and grow their own nutrition program to do the same. “Get feedback from your members,” he said. “What did they like? What did they not like? What was the best thing about the program? What can we make better?”

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