Why You Need to Prioritize Nutrition

prioritize nutrition

As a gym owner, how much emphasis are you placing on nutrition at your Affiliate? Ensuring nutrition is a priority for every member will increase your retention rate and amplify the results of your program.

Understanding the Need for Nutrition

When meeting with new clients, consider how many of your clients are looking to lose weight, decrease body fat percentage or manage a disease. There is a common misconception that doing the workouts without the nutrition component will yield the results clients are looking for. The appropriate nutrition directly plays a role in each of these goals by as much as 70 to 80 percent. When the focus is on nutrition, you are more likely to see results faster and therefore, increase overall retention.

Starting to Prioritize Nutrition

The initial challenge of shifting the mindset to prioritize nutrition at an Affiliate includes: Understanding how to talk about nutrition with clients, ensuring all the Coaches can articulate the same program and starting with nutrition from the first initial client meeting. Let’s look at how we can do each one of these to kick-off your focus on nutrition.

Learn new client’s nutrition habits by asking questions during their initial meeting and on-ramp sessions. Asking questions sets the foundation for understanding the client’s lifestyle. This will also help in goal setting at a later time:

  • Can you walk me through a typical day of meals?
  • What do your portions look like for each component of your meal?
  • What types of foods are included in each meal?
  • When do you eat?
  • Do you typically eat out or prepare your foods?
  • Do you travel and how does that impact your eating habits?

Ensure all Coaches understand and buy into the same nutrition program. Before starting any nutrition program, every Coach at the gym should understand and believe in the program so that mixed messages are not being delivered to clients:

  • Implement learning sessions with the Coaches regarding the nutrition program.
  • Provide factual data and results from the nutrition program.
  • Provide talking points to the Coaches regarding the program.
  • Practice meal planning with the Coaches.

Understand how to talk about nutrition on a daily basis so that it becomes automatic for all Coaches and clients.

  • Each client should have a unique nutrition plan based on their goals, and this should be the focus of conversations.
  • Conversations should be centered around goals and action steps to reaching those goals. Examples: A client who is eating healthy but is not seeing results may need support with tracking and portion size. A client who eats out every day may need help making healthy swaps and meal preps.

Setting a Baseline

During a client’s first visit, you want to collect an appropriate baseline to track their progress. We don’t want to focus on the number on the scale, so doing biometric testing will provide a complete view of the client’s starting point. Once the testing is complete, interpret the data for the client. Most clients don’t realize where they actually are in regards to BMI and how it is impacted by nutrition.

Integrating Nutrition Into Your On-Ramp

 Have you considered adding nutrition into your on-ramp or Foundations program? Here’s an example of how it would look:

  • Day 1 The Plate Method: Explain to clients how to create a balanced plate.
  • Day 2 Liquids: Explain to clients the importance of water and liquids to avoid.
  • Day 3 Fueling for Workouts: Eating appropriately before and after workouts.
  • Day 4 Eating Out: Eating out while sticking to a balanced plan.

From there, the client has a foundation to start on their nutrition journey.

Putting it All Together

Nutrition should be at the top of your priority list if you are looking to take the member experience to the next level. Once you make nutrition the foundation of your Affiliate, you will see the lifestyle changes happening in your clients. In future blog posts, we will discuss how to address nutrition with athletes and kids.

Nicole Aucoin
Nicole Aucoin is a registered dietitian and founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition,​ CrossFit HSN and HSN Mentoring. HSN Mentoring is the largest nutrition-business mentoring program in the world. Helping over 700 gyms world-wide, HSN provides a turn-key solution to gym owners looking to take their nutrition program and offerings to the next level. Nicole has a podcast, Grow Your Nutrition Business, where each week she interviews fellow thought leaders in the community and provides actionable steps to help you build your business.


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    August 22, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Great article, broken down into manageable chunks, I cannot follow it consistently, but easy to follow when you revert back to the pull of sugar, put the extra 10 on and then decide pull ups are just too hard with your personal weight vest on!

  2. Avatar

    Christian Habermann

    August 26, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Really nice post and well thought out schedule or plan to utilize. Nutrition education is so vital for any gym as its really the nexus of crossfit and solid community building. It’s no wonder why nutrition & fitness challenges have been so popular. Great post & illustrates accountable which is so important. Measurement is key too and having a handy tool to measure progress helps a ton too. Triib.com has some great tools for all here. Thanks for sharing Nicole!