For the vast majority of CrossFit athletes, Coaches and members, nutrition is a top priority. Without proper nutrition, a lot of the hard work that is experienced day to day is all for not.
However, without a nutritionist onsite, how can Affiliates and Coaches properly instruct members in implementing good nutrition plans? Nick Lobotsky, a Coach at CrossFit NYC: The Black Box, who has gone through the CrossFit Nutrition Trainer course, believes that a lot of conveying proper nutrition comes via leading by example.
“After I changed to [the Paleo diet] I found my health, energy and all was better,” recalled Lobotsky. “I introduced it to my wife, who had all kinds of food allergies — namely, she could not eat raw fruits and vegetables, and couldn’t eat any kind of nuts. When we had her try out the Paleo diet, within about a week or two she found out she could eat all those things all of a sudden. Since then, we haven’t really turned back.”
Inside the Box, conveying proper nutrition is never an easy topic. “Nutrition is kind of like religion,” said Lobotsky. “No matter what you talk about, it makes one person angry … I usually wait until I have a little bit more rapport with the client, as opposed to just going up to someone just out of class and saying, ‘You need to clean up your diet,’ because that almost always ends poorly.”
Usually, Lobotsky will hold off on the nutrition conversation until the members feel comfortable enough to ask for his advice.
If faced with resistance, Lobotsky politely explains that good health and fitness requires diet and exercise — not exercise alone. “I tell them, ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet,’” he said. “So usually, I wait for them to express some kind of concern, whether it’s with their health or fitness or anything, and then I start approaching their diet.”
Not all of Lobotsky’s members are interested in immediately going Paleo. Therefore, he finds the greatest success by working out compromises. For example, if members want a Big Mac, he’ll ask if they really want a Big Mac, or just a burger. “If it’s just the burger, how about just go to one of the burger joints around?,” he suggested.
To Lobotsky, this makes more sense because the food at a local restaurant isn’t as processed — it’s the lesser of two evils. “It’s getting better ingredients into your diet,” he said. “Then, if they see results from that … now, when you get that burger, get it without a bun. It takes small steps.”
When Lobotsky began Paleo he also had to take small steps, so he completely understands. “I think that’s the hardest part for a lot of people,” he said. “They think they have to do it immediately. That’s when they see the failure, instead of taking these smaller steps one at a time.”
Lobotsky will touch base with clients ranging from once a week to every couple of months. And, as the seasons change, he knows that his coaching must shift as well. In the summer and around holidays, members are likely to spend weekends eating unhealthily and drinking beers. When he makes contact, he reminds them the weekend is over — it’s time to clean up their diet and get back on the wagon. “I try to keep in contact with as many clients as I can, not just in the gym, but also outside the gym,” said Lobotsky.
It’s important for Lobotsky to continually teach members how to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether that’s a quick text, a brief conversation in the Box or taking a member out to dinner to show them how to order, Lobotsky will go the extra mile to help establish that side of the health spectrum. How can you do the same?