Selling Supplements


There’s a cycle to CrossFit: workout, lay on the floor, get up, drink protein. But Larris Hutton, the owner of CrossFit Prelude, said although he sells SFH protein powders at the Box, he does not push the supplements on his members at the gym.

Because Hutton said what works for one CrossFit athlete may not work for another. For Hutton, he believes a Coach needs information from each individual to best determine the right supplement for them.

In order to find that solution, however, Sarah Strange, a personal trainer and nutrition consultant at NC Fit and contributing writer for Robb Wolf’s blog, said there must be a culture of talking about nutrition in the Box. “What we’ve found is a lot of people that join a gym, they won’t bring up nutrition with you. You have to kind of bring it up with them. You have to kind of make it a priority in your gym,” said Strange.

Before recommending any type of protein supplement or diet plan to his clients, Jake Maslin of Elite Nutrition first tries to understand the client’s biggest needs. From there, he said he can break down a protein conversation in three ways: discovering how much he or she is training, if the member likes protein-dense foods, and how long he or she has led an active lifestyle.

Before purchasing a protein supplement to sell at a Box, Maslin recommends looking at three things to ensure you’re offering the best to your members: ingredients, if it has been tested and protein per gram. “Here in the U.S., the FDA has to prove that a supplement is not good for you, as opposed to the supplement company having to prove that [it is good], and then being approved to be sold. That’s really important, because in Canada, it’s the other way around. There, if you want to make a supplement, you have to prove it is quality before it goes to market. It’s the reverse here,” explained Maslin.

In addition, Ryan Andrews, a coach and writer at Precision Nutrition, encourages looking at the base of the protein – meaning if it’s dairy-based, hemp-based or whey – and then understand how you, or a member, digests the supplement. “It’s not like one source from pea protein versus whey protein is drastically worse or better. They’re all going to be about the same. They’re all highly processed in a way to concentrate the protein. You’re going to get a lot of protein, no matter the protein supplement or what source,” said Andrews.

If an Affiliate offers quality options, Maslin then sees an advantage to selling supplements. “It’s a way to offer your service to members. But if a Box were to do that, I think it’s useful [to] explain to members why that’s important. Otherwise, it might not be financially viable for the Box owner,” said Maslin.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.