Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast Episode 52: Building A Thriving Nutrition Program Even Through A Second COVID Shutdown

The nutrition team at Phoenix Strength and Conditioning has done an incredible job building a nutrition program despite two COVID shutdowns.

Listen to this week’s episode to hear their story! 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How they have increased engagement with their nutrition program

  • Two things they are doing this shutdown that has caused so much traction with nutrition for their members and following

  • How they have expanded their nutrition program to outside their gym

  • How bringing on an additional nutrition coach has allowed them to expand and grow

  • How they are using FREE nutrition talks to increase awareness and capture new leads to their program (that we give to all HSN Mentoring clients)

  • How the team works together to bounce ideas off of each other and expand their program

 

 

You can access A FREE nutrition talk, one of the marketing strategies we discussed in this episode >>here.

Additional Podcast Episodes About Thriving Nutrition Programs during the Pandemic

  • Relaunching Your Nutrition Program with Confidence >>HERE
  • How Cigar City CrossFit Doubled Their Nutrition Program During the Pandemic Using a Simple, Habit-Based Approach >>HERE
  •  

Episode Transcript:

Nicole Aucoin (00:02):
Welcome back to the Grow Your Nutrition Business podcast. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated. We help gym owners and coaches build successful nutrition programs without reinventing the wheel. I’m your host Nicole Aucoin, registered dietitian and founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition, CrossFit HSN and HSN Mentoring. I’m the author of the Basics of Nutrition Coaching Standalone course, which is a crossfit preferred course.

Nicole Aucoin (00:33):
I’m going to teach you how to take one step at a time to build a successful nutrition program where you finally feel confident talking about nutrition to your members and your communities. Today, we are talking with the nutrition team at Phoenix Strength and Conditioning, all the way from Ireland. At the time of this podcast recording, they had been shut down for a second time due to coronavirus for a total of five weeks. They have done an incredible job building a thriving nutrition program and increasing engagement, which is at an all-time high.

Nicole Aucoin (01:10):
In fact, they said last month was their highest grossing month for nutrition year to date. How? Well, we talk all about it on the podcast. Coady, the owner of Phoenix Strength and Conditioning has done an amazing job rallying his team. And really his tone of positivity has set the tone for his staff and his members. In this episode, we discuss increasing engagement of their nutrition program and what they have done. Two things specifically that they have done that have caused so much traction with their members and their following, and really just a fun way to keep engagement with their nutrition program.

Nicole Aucoin (01:49):
How they have expanded their nutrition program. How bringing on an additional nutrition coach has allowed them to grow and expand beyond the walls of their gym. And one thing that they started doing after adding this coach was three nutrition talks to increase awareness and capture new leads to their nutrition program. We give out these nutrition talks, the presentation and speaking notes to all HSN Mentoring clients. In fact, about six months ago in June, we gave out one new nutrition talk, a free community nutrition talk to every CrossFit gym across, it actually helped us get the word out. We’ll be giving out another one in December going into the new year. Lastly, we talk about how they work as a team to bounce ideas off of each other to expand their program. Get ready for lots of laughs and ideas about increasing engagement with your nutrition program and your following. You will get to this episode just after this message.

Nicole Aucoin (02:52):
2020 is about to wrap up. If you are looking to overhaul your nutrition program for 2021, now is the time to start thinking about that conversation beyond a challenge or an informal conversation with your members. HSN Mentoring has a turnkey solution to save you time and not reinvent the wheel when it comes to building a nutrition program from scratch. HSN Mentoring starts with a training process that includes the owner and a coach or just the owner if you’re going to play that role. It includes online modules, homework and six mentoring calls to help you be able to apply all of the information to your facility.

Nicole Aucoin (03:34):
The training teaches you how to set up your nutrition program, how to market your nutrition program, how to coach clients using the habit based approach that we use at Healthy Steps Nutrition, and most importantly, retain your clients. Most gyms will launch with the nutrition challenge, and launching a nutrition challenge in the new year is a great idea, but now is the time you have to go through the training to get your program up and running, to take advantage of all of those new year’s resolutions that people set. All right, let’s get to this episode with Patty, Colin and Zoe from Phoenix Strength and Conditioning, enjoy. Hello. Hi.

Patrick Coady (04:13):
Hey, Nicole, how’s things?

Nicole Aucoin (04:15):
How are you?

Patrick Coady (04:16):
Good. Good.

Nicole Aucoin (04:17):
I’m excited to do this with you guys today. The mentor team is raving about you guys and all of the awesome things that you’re doing. It appears to be slightly colder where you are than where I am at the moment.

Patrick Coady (04:31):
I’m the only one with heating in the office.

Nicole Aucoin (04:35):
Oh, man. You’re making everyone else freeze to death, these poor guys. Awesome. Well, first I just want to say that we are thinking about you guys and we’re super excited with everything that you guys are doing. I think you guys are really setting the tone and I think your story is going to give so many other gyms hope of like, hey, you can make it out of this thriving, right?

Patrick Coady (05:02):
Yeah, absolutely.

Colin Gleeson (05:04):
Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin (05:04):
I definitely want to talk about this pimp my whatever in the world you guys are doing, because I think in this season, we all need something that is funny, and you guys are doing an amazing job, just keeping people engaged and making it really funny. So I definitely want to bring up that, but what else are you guys doing that we can talk about during the podcast that’s going really well or that you guys have done, maybe put a spin on the program that we’ve created to keep your clients engaged?

Patrick Coady (05:33):
I think there’s been so much happening in the last couple of months, it’s been crazy. I think one of the biggest influences on the program in the last couple of months has been hiring Zoe. So Zoe is a new addition to us here. And it has something that, not that we’ve been putting off, but Lindsay had been working with us a lot to try and help us find somebody to fill that role and saying, look, you need to get somebody. You need to get somebody. And because Colin was always on that border of, I’m busy, I’m just about at capacity. I can’t take anymore. And we’re missing lots of opportunities.

Patrick Coady (06:10):
So when Zoe came on board and we were lucky enough to find her, then it just allowed us to open up so many more avenues for us to chase. And there’s been a lot. I think we’ve just really started using the content that you guys are producing a hell of a lot more. We started to putting out the free talks, which we never did before, has been huge for us. We’ve doing the kids program as well, we’ve been going into schools. We’ve started to work with teams. There’s been so many things that we didn’t have a chance to do before. And then with regards, our members are just having time to be more involved and to have more interaction with them since then the lads have more time. Colin now has more time to be interacting with the clients or coming up with new ideas.

Nicole Aucoin (06:59):
And I think the ideas that you guys are coming up with are absolutely amazing. I’m going to have to, myself see some of the pictures that you guys are doing with this pimp my whatever. I hope you guys are posting those on social media, because I think it’s just really funny and people need something that’s funny right now. And I love that you mentioned, hey, us adding an additional coach has allowed us to expand and get into more opportunities. Colin and Zoe, talk to me about how you guys are working together now. And how is it different for you Colin than before, and now that you have Zoe to kind of bounce ideas off of?

Colin Gleeson (07:33):
I think the biggest thing I suppose is we actually now have structures, nutrition meetings between the three of us. So we come together every two weeks and we like clash heads on ideas and we’re brainstorming and we’re like starting out with the social media content for the coming month or whatever. That’s been a huge help just in terms of accountability, both in terms of the ideas as well, because you can be often blowing to some ideas when you’re left to your own. So it’s great having someone else there.

Colin Gleeson (08:01):
And going over and back then always like sharing ideas like me and Zoe were literally talking about like breakfast ideas there. And after like a five minute chat, I’ve now things in my head that I can start devise and format. So it’s at another level when you have another brain and another pair of eyes who are doing the same thing you are.

Nicole Aucoin (08:18):
And it’s fun to work together. Zoe talk to me about how it’s been jumping into this nutrition program to add additional avenues to reach people, but also having the support from Patrick and Colin.

Zoe Lynch (08:33):
Yeah. So obviously at first it was nerve wrecking because I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s my first proper nutrition role I’ve got. It was great to have the glaze, to have their support and also to have your support there as well in terms of resources on how to work with clients, that was really helpful. But it’s very handy having another nutrition coach who you can go to if you’re having a difficult client or just for ideas, like Colin said. Like just chatting about different recipes or it’s a way of learning as well from somebody else, so.

Nicole Aucoin (09:08):
Now, I think we oftentimes when we think about fitness, we go and work with other coaches or we go to different gyms and we hear different cues. And then sometimes we take those cues and we’re like, oh, I can use that with my clients. But it doesn’t always transfer over to nutrition coaching. And I think one of the main times it does is when you do work with a team. I know I’ve gotten so many ideas from Ashley, our director of nutrition and education, and another dietician that we work with.

Nicole Aucoin (09:33):
So I’m so glad that you guys are working really well together and that Colin, one of the things you mentioned is you guys are meeting every two weeks and that is key to making the most out of a team with nutrition because you’re right, you can share all these different ideas and it just helps the growth so much faster. Patrick, you just mentioned, you guys are doing all of these different reaching, all of these people that you were not reaching before. And now in this season with you guys being shut down, I think it’s so much more important, right?

Patrick Coady (10:04):
Yeah. Hugely. I think we had really ramped up the nutrition before we got closed. So we’ve been close now for the past five weeks and we’re due to find out this Friday if we’re allowed to open next week. So fingers crossed, we’ll be open next week. But I think from the first time we were locked down, this is our second lockdown. For the first time we were locked down, so many people came out with that going, you know what? I’m not going to let the same thing happen to me. This lock down, a lot more people were focused on being healthier and being fitter and saw the importance of it. And even I underestimated the update that there would be on the virtual side of things that we did from the gym aspect and the amount of people that were focused and willing to have the accountability of the lads to start out the nutrition during the lockdown.

Patrick Coady (10:47):
So I think it was a huge amount of people took up on that over the couple of weeks. And we had been doing a lot of stuff to keep them engaged as well and not always the serious stuff. During the first lockdown I think we did an awful lot of discussions and talks and stuff. So this time we’re still in the nutrition talks and bringing the education side just off, but we’ve definitely been building the fun into it as well. Just to keep people engaged and keep nutrition and foods one of the four running things through our members groups.

Nicole Aucoin (11:18):
I think that’s awesome that you guys are seeing that uptake and you’re right, it came from you guys building up and ramping up this nutrition program prior to the shutdown so that people knew you could help them. You were already ramping it up before the shutdown happened. And the mentor team was talking about how much engagement you have with the nutrition challenge. You guys were one of the first gyms that was forced to shut down again, we’re like, okay, how can we support you? Let’s build this six week challenge. Let’s create all these new videos that you guys can use it and not have to spend so much time reinventing the wheel with that. But you guys took it to an entirely another level with the engagement. And I’ve mentioned the pimp my whatever, a couple of times. So explain it to the people that are listening, what is this because I think this is a genius idea.

Patrick Coady (12:09):
Colin and Zoe, you want to take this?

Colin Gleeson (12:10):
Yeah. So each week for, is it five weeks we’re running it now?

Patrick Coady (12:14):
Yeah, this is the fifth week.

Colin Gleeson (12:15):
Yeah. So we’re doing like a pimp my series. So week one, it was pimp my … what was the first one? It was a pimp my pasta, was the first one?

Patrick Coady (12:22):
Pumpkin, because it was Halloween.

Zoe Lynch (12:22):
Are you sure? It was the pumpkin.

Patrick Coady(12:25):
It was Halloween.

Colin Gleeson (12:25):
Oh yeah, pumpkin. So it was pimp my pumpkin week one. And basically we’re trying to get as many entries as we can from our nutrition groups, from our online group, but we’ve actually put it out to our members group as well. So we’re getting audiences from all three, which has been great because obviously you just get bigger scope and you have much more people entering it. And then it’s like, okay, you put up your meal or whatever it is and then you just simply upload and enforce. And each week, then it seemed to have gathered more momentum and it’s getting bigger and bigger. And now more people are talking about it and it’s more fun.

Colin Gleeson (12:55):
And each week now I think this week we’re doing a pimp my pizza. Last week we did pimp my pancakes, and it was like each week, there’s more incredible looking pictures then the week before. So you know people are kind of … you know people are putting in more effort. And even for us, like on week one, I was like oh yeah, look, sure. We’ll do it and we’ll post and see what happens. And we never really like personally, I was like, it might not go anywhere. But now as the weeks, I’m like, oh, can’t wait to make this pizza now and wow everybody.

Colin Gleeson (13:21):
It’s kind of gotten to that stage which is great and the interaction is great. And having it on the tree platforms, like our nutrition clients combined, mine and Zoe’s, our online clients that are just hitting with say the Zoom workouts and then our actual members portal from prior as well. So there’s a big audience there, which is, I think that’s made a big, big difference with it.

Patrick Coady (13:43):
I think one of the big things you see as well is it’s causing so much conversation in our Zoom classes. At the start of the class, so we’re logging on early and everyone’s like, oh, did you see the pancakes that Hannah made? Or did you see the baked potato that such and such person, what was in that? Can you share that recipe? So there’s been such talk about food, it’s been fantastic.

Nicole Aucoin (14:02):
That is amazing, because I remember when we were shut down the first time people weren’t logging on for the Zoom workouts. They were logging on to talk to their friends that they couldn’t see in a normal person. Or in a normal day to day, life of lockdown. So I think that’s really cool that you guys are able to foster a conversation about food and healthy eating at the beginning of these Zoom classes. And I didn’t realize, so you guys are letting all of the members vote. So it’s not just you guys voting, everyone’s kind of voting on which one they liked the best. That is awesome. I love that idea.

Colin Gleeson (14:39):
Yeah. Just another thing, just in case we forget it. Like the cook-off series we’ve been doing has been gathering serious momentum. So we’d done like a cook-off series. So it was myself and Dan, it was Zoe and Hannah, Zoe’s the nutrition coach and Hannah is going to be one of the coaches here in the gym. And then it was me and Dan. So you got to a secret package with unknown ingredients taped up. And on the night of the cook-off you open your ingredients and you have five minutes to think of a recipe you want to make, and then you go make it.

Colin Gleeson (15:09):
And the two of you are against each other, and you have a 30 minute clock and you both have to make two different things, and it creates massive banter. On each week, like Patty’s putting up like promotion cards, like you see on the start of a boxing carriage where it’d have two people like face off each other.

Nicole Aucoin (15:24):
Yes.

Colin Gleeson (15:25):
So he’s been creating great attraction with that. And there’s being loads of people like, oh, I can’t wait to go on Thursday. Like we’ve had loads of people log on just to see that and loads people, more looking for the links to look over it. So that has been getting great attraction as well and that’s been a big boost.

Nicole Aucoin (15:40):
I absolutely love that. That idea did not trickle that, I did not know you guys were doing that. That is absolutely amazing. You guys have done such a great job bringing light, talking about nutrition, talking about healthy eating, but making it in a fun way and people need fun right now. Like we’re all a little bit stressed. You guys are doing such a good job making it fun. So all right, let me just, let’s backtrack. Let’s finish the story loop here. Colin, when you guys did it with Dan, you and Dan, who won?

Colin Gleeson (16:09):
I did.

Nicole Aucoin (16:11):
You did? Zoe what about you and Hannah?

Zoe Lynch (16:13):
I lost. Hannah won, yeah.

Patrick Coady (16:18):
By one vote, Zoe, by one vote.

Patrick Coady ((16:25):
The final is Thursday night.

Colin Gleeson (16:25):
Yeah, final is Thursday night.

Nicole Aucoin (16:27):
This Thursday, okay. We’re going to have to show some of our listeners here what this actually looks like. This is hilarious. What are some of the other things that you guys are doing to keep your clients engaged and really build momentum with this nutrition program in this season?

Patrick Coady (16:44):
I suppose just the general engagement using, creating new recipes. I think using your recipes, putting doors into the group. We’re lucky enough that there are clients who have been able to come into the gym on a one-to-one basis. Whereas the last lockdown we couldn’t, but we are allowed to keep that going, so that was huge this time. Again, I suppose the nutrition talks have been a big aspect of us. And Colin, we were talking about something in the meeting last week, about what we’re going to do for people in the lead up to Christmas. We were talking about doing a kind of a challenge.

Colin Gleeson(17:18):
Yeah. Like a mini challenge with our own group, just like an accountability challenge. Like the advent calendar that you guys have. So it’s like, but we were thinking about doing it on a week basis, so it’s like a goal amount of steps maybe on week one. Like how many portions of vegetables week two, as opposed to doing a daily thing where at least if it’s a weekly thing, people can chip away at it. Whereas the daily thing might overwhelm some of our clients and some of our nutrition clients anyway.

Colin Gleeson (17:45):
And so just something like that on the lead up to Christmas, because there is a tendency there for people to kind of drop off and me and Zoe have had hints and some people drop off already. So I think that’ll be a big thing if we can find good things to focus on for maybe the three weeks of December leading into Christmas. It’d be really, really good, hopefully for attention and to create a bit of banter in the group as well.

Nicole Aucoin (18:08):
I love that idea because you’re right. The holidays are the toughest time for people to stay on track. And if you can be proactive with planning what you are going to do to help people stay on track during the holidays, it’s going to be so much easier for them to understand how you’re going to support them. And I think you guys planning it out far in advance allows them to understand, okay, I’m going to stick with nutrition because this coach is going to help me stay on track during this season where I would likely fall off.

Nicole Aucoin (18:34):
Patty, you mentioned the nutrition talks a couple of times and for those people who are not sure what a nutrition talk is, I want to just kind of explain this. We actually gave out a community nutrition talk to all affiliate owners back in June. CrossFit actually pushed it out for us so that the conversation about nutrition could be more prevalent in the community. And basically a nutrition talk is a way for you as a gym owner or your nutrition coaches to establish yourselves as the expert, provide free help, and then call people to action at the end of the nutrition talk.

Nicole Aucoin (19:10):
So maybe you have members of your gym who are not currently using your nutrition program or members in the community, or maybe you partner with a sports team and do a nutrition talk for the families there. We’ve given so many different nutrition talks, but you guys have the speaking notes, you have the presentation and you’re just facilitating it, adding in your own calls to action for the end. When you guys do these and we do them … most people do them through a Zoom meeting, so it can be pretty interactive. Colin and Zoe, do you guys do these together or does one person do one, one month and then another person does another one?

Colin Gleeson (19:43):
So we’ve been kind of working this. I think it’s like every two weeks we’ve been, or two weeks in between each one, we’ve been trying to do a nutrition talk and we’ve been trying to make this as relative to the season and it’s like, stuff coming Christmas and things that like we know people are struggling with. And so I think that’s why they’ve been working well as well. It’s like, we’ve been really trying to gear it towards people who are struggling and so that’s been good. But like Zoe takes one time and then I take the next one and we go back and forth. And then at the end of each one, we’ll do a general Q and A where we both answer questions, so it’s just not input from one nutrition coach.

Nicole Aucoin (20:20):
I love that because sometimes again having those different perspectives, it makes it a little bit easier to host those nutrition talks and for people to hear different things. So I think that’s great that you guys do your own, but then you come together and you’re able to answer questions at the end. We have this new year, new you one that we’re actually releasing to you guys in just a couple of days so you can play on that one for January, knowing that people are more likely to take action around a milestone like a new year.

Nicole Aucoin (20:51):
This will be a great time for you guys to jump on that bandwagon with people and then guide them to get started with you with individual coaching. And the cool thing is you guys have all of these success stories now of people who have been through your program know that you can help them and other people within the community are seeing your nutrition clients do amazing things right now.

Patrick Coady (21:10):
Yeah, it’s fantastic. I think one of the things with the nutrition talks, how it’s been beneficial as well is, in the first few talks looking at the list of people that registered, it was 99% members. But that percentage has changed and there’s more and more people joining the talks now who are not actually members of the gym because we’re putting it out on our general public page these talks, and there’s more interaction from non-members now, which has been slowly building, but it’s definitely, you can see that change coming there.

Nicole Aucoin (21:41):
Which is awesome because when they’re ready, they’re going to come to you for help when they’re ready to pay for help and you’re 1000% right. Another thing that gyms have seen with doing these nutrition talks is re-engaging past members. So maybe past nutrition clients or people that were members of your gym that have fallen off over the years, but they would be interested in getting started with nutrition. Have you guys seen that at all, like past members register as well?

Patrick Coady (22:05):
Yeah, absolutely. I find it really interesting looking down to the list of people who have registered every week. And we’ve got good interaction. There’s been kind of 50, 60 people registering for these talks, which has been fantastic. And we send out the recording then the following day as well. So obviously some people might not want to come onto the Zoom live, but they’ll watch the recording afterwards.

Nicole Aucoin (22:25):
I love that. One of the things that we talk about a lot is re-purposing some of that content. So you guys could even cut pieces of that recording and then send it out to anyone or put it on your blog so that people can then put in their email to get the access to the full recording. So you guys are already making this presentation, why not leverage it, repurpose it so that you don’t have to come up with all new content every single week, right?

Patrick Coady (22:51):
Fantastic, yeah. It’s really good.

Nicole Aucoin (22:54):
What other kinds of things do you think you can contribute to the success of your nutrition program?

Colin Gleeson (23:00):
I think a big thing is how excited and like our energy around everything is, it’s been amplified really. Hasn’t it in the last couple of months?

Patrick Coady (23:10):
Yeah.

Colin Gleeson (23:11):
Just our team here in the gym is class-like, and we bounce off each other really well. The energy is good, when we’re on Zoom because the energy is high. When we’re on the talks, like it’s just all smiles, chats, banter. The crack is always there. There’s never a dull moment, so I think that has been a big, big thing for us in the last one definitely.

Patrick Coady (23:34):
You might need to explain what that is, Colin.

Colin Gleeson (23:35):
What’s that? The crack?

Patrick Coady  (23:38):
The crack.

Colin Gleeson (23:40):
So the crack is the banter, the phone.

Nicole Aucoin (23:43):
I love it. We’re using Ireland language here.

Colin Gleeson (23:46):
Yes.

Nicole Aucoin (23:48):
I could not agree more with you right now because you guys are the leaders of your tribe. But you also have other coaches on your staff that are not nutrition coaches. And talk to me about the conversations you have with them to get everyone on the same page, because you’re right, like your staff all needs to be on the same page with the nutrition program so that trickles down to your members and you guys being excited, gets your staff excited. It gets everyone else excited and they understand, hey, you’re not just selling someone on buying nutrition, you’re really helping them and guiding them, giving them the accountability and the tools they need to be successful and achieve the results they’re looking to achieve.

Patrick Coady(24:28):
Yeah, for sure. Just the team, like the team of coaches here are a really fun bunch of people. It is always good fun. And as Colin said, the energy that’s being put out on everything we do comes across. But at the start of this lockdown, we just put a couple of hours aside. We said, right, come on. Let’s come in and sit down and we’re going to brainstorm. And that’s where we come up with ideas for like the pimp my series, the cooking challenge, all those things with different challenges running for the gym in December.

Patrick Coady(24:58):
And we just came together for a couple of hours, sat down and had some food and just talked. And the ideas that came out of that were just super and everybody knew it and exactly where we were going. So having that meeting at the start of the lockdown, kind of set us all up to deal with that lockdown. And that was the very first week of lockdown. We were coming up with ideas for, right, we’re coming out of this in six weeks, what are we going to do in six weeks to keep members engaged and get right back into it straight away in December and keep them engaged through December? Because we had stuff that we did in previous years in December that we can’t do this year. So just finding the ways around that with the team and discussing it as a whole, I think has been key.

Nicole Aucoin (25:42):
I love that. It really goes back to a group approach. It’s not just Colin or Patty or Zoe. You guys are all coming together with the rest of your staff to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Zoe, how is it working with a team and everyone kind of putting in ideas, but more importantly, you’re able to see those through fruition. You’re able to see these ideas turn into action, turn into the results. I’m sure you guys couldn’t have imagined how much, what did you call it, crack?

Patrick Coady(26:07):
Crack.

Nicole Aucoin (26:09):
The answer was going to happen with the pimp my series or the cook-off.

Zoe Lynch (26:17):
Yeah. Like it’s crazy. When you sit down in a group, there’s so many ideas that like I wouldn’t have thought of. And so it is great and it’s great to see it being put practice. But like Colin said, the energy within the group is just so good. And like also as nutrition coaches, we are promoting the gym side and then the guys that are coaching the classes, they’re always promoting nutrition and it really just comes together. So it’s great to have that atmosphere and the lads are always really happy and bubbly. They’re never in a bad mood. So it kind of lifts your spirits and you get enthusiastic about it then.

Nicole Aucoin (26:53):
I love that. I want to be on your nutrition team. You guys are awesome. I want to have fun with you guys. Talk to me about, I think this season for gym owners is pretty stressful and you guys have been shut down for a second time for five weeks. What words of wisdom can you give for gyms over here in the US or around the world that are being forced to shut down again? Like what would you say to them to let them know that there’s some hope on the other side?

Patrick Coady (27:26):
I know it can be easier said than done, but it’s to try and not let it get you down, to stay positive because your members feed off that. And once you’re doing your best to stay engaged with the members and they’re seeing you with a positive attitude the whole time, every time you’re on a Zoom class, every time you’re doing something, they see you happy and smile and buzzing. And they’re looking forward to coming back through the door. I think, it’s a huge part of it to keep a positive mindset, because if you kind of think, oh God, this is going to get me down. Well, then like it will get you down. So I suppose yeah, one, just being more positive about the whole thing. I know it’s a hard situation. It can be a hard situation to be positive, but we seized up shooting in the first lockdown to make a lot of changes in the gym.

Patrick Coady (28:06):
And before this lockdown, they were really starting to come to fruition. Like we just made, we completely revamped the place and making small changes that were inexpensive, but we used the time like that we’re never going to get that time again to make changes. And it has completely reset what we’ve done downstairs. And it’s been fantastic. Instead, it’s been the changes we made were really, really beneficial. So just using the time wisely. And again, I know it can be easier said than done. Some people could be in different situations than we are, but we’re definitely trying to use our time wisely.

Nicole Aucoin (28:40):
I love that. What about you guys, Colin, Zoe, what would you say to people who are looking to get into nutrition? And I think in this season, it’s easy to help people and you can definitely make such a positive influence and help them make some positive changes when people are stuck at home and they have a little bit more time to cook some meals and really invest that time into their health. What would you say to nutrition coaches that are trying to help people in this season?

Colin Gleeson (29:09):
I suppose the biggest thing is paying attention to what people are struggling with currently. And for our clients, like a lot of people have very similar issues, especially coming up towards Christmas. It’s like, oh, like drinks, like foods, they have a little flip in their mindset. It’s like, okay December, I’m going to ease off, relax. I’m going to eat what I want, drink what I want. It’s just to really, I suppose, a zoom in and focus on how to deal with those situations and really apply it to our own clients and we have been doing that.

Colin Gleeson (29:41):
We’ve been proactively talking about like how we’re going to do it and the thing with the bingo or the thing where we’re going to do week to week in December, where we keep everybody accountable and we like have a set thing to do. Like I think us being proactive, chatting about the ideas for that has been the biggest thing for us. And I think that can be implemented anywhere, not just Ireland, like that kind of philosophy pretty much works everywhere. If you would just understand what will keep people engaged, I suppose what will keep people away from having a rough Christmas in terms of food and drink.

Nicole Aucoin (30:17):
I love that. Zoe, do you have any kind of thoughts on some different things that you’ve done that are helping your clients stay engaged and maybe some words of wisdom for some nutrition coaches out there?

Zoe Lynch (30:29):
Yeah. So I suppose I try to reiterate to people that there’s a lot of things during lockdown that you can control. So like the gyms are closed everywhere, so it’s really, we can’t control that. So there’s no point in dwelling in it. So trying to just reiterate that nutrition is kind of one thing that you can control and you have more time and just to put your time and effort into that and focus and come out better on the other side.

Nicole Aucoin (30:53):
I love that. No, you and Patty are kind of saying the same thing. Hey, let’s focus on what we can control. Let’s turn this obstacle into an opportunity to really have a positive mindset and make the most out of the situation that we’re in. Because if you are constantly seeing negative, you’re going to see more negative. But on the opposite side of that, if you are seeing more positive things and just saying, hey, we’re going to make the best out of this and we’re going to help you the most that we possibly can, let’s do this. Let’s make some fun out of it. I think that is such an awesome way for you guys to not only help your members, but also help other people in the community who might not be members of your gym right now.

Patrick Coady (31:32):
Yeah, for sure.

Colin Gleeson (31:33):
Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin (31:34):
What do you guys see your program looking like in six months from now? And I’ve heard through the grapevine that both Zoe and Colin are almost at capacity with their nutrition program now. And you guys are possibly interested in adding someone else. And I would tell you that they’ve set the bar pretty high and you have to be really funny to be involved with their nutrition program.

Colin Gleeson (31:55):
We literally only talked about this 15 minutes ago, just before the chat. I was like, because Zoe missed our last week’s chat just to do college work and stuff. And Lindsay was like, guys, you need another nutrition coach. And me and Patty just kind of looked at each other and didn’t say a whole lot.

Patrick Coady (32:13):
Oh, God.

Colin Gleeson (32:14):
And then Nicole stopped and we didn’t really talk about it. And then we mentioned it to Zoe today and we kind of had a giggle about it. So it’s funny that you brought it up there.

Patrick Coady (32:22):
We were speaking about this today. Like two months ago we were speaking like Lindsay, she is such a great mentor. I can’t speak about her highly enough. But she was saying like two months ago we were talking about the challenge in January and what January was going to look like, and we were like yeah, yeah, challenge. And I kind of set up and speaking a lot about the challenge that we were going to run. And now we’ve got to December and the two lads are at capacity. It’s our busiest nutrition month. Yes, between nutrition clients, working with schools, working with teams, the lads are at capacity.

Patrick Coady (32:58):
So we had to have discussion another day of listening on our last call with Lindsey was like, the challenge may not be the best idea because at the moment we currently don’t have the space to take on more individual clients at the end of the challenge. So we’re going to put off our challenge for a little while into the new year, just so we don’t sacrifice the amount of time that we’re giving to the clients we have. We want to make sure they are getting the best quality of service. And then look at the challenge for later on in the year. But I assume in six months time, there could be another nutrition coach here as well, hopefully.

Nicole Aucoin (33:34):
Hopefully before that, jeez, we don’t want you guys to be stopping or putting a hold on the amount of people that you can help. And you’re right, 100%. And in a gym setting, when you add nutrition coaches, it’s so much more important there’s a consistent experience because Zoe’s clients are going to talk to Colin’s clients. And if you add another coach, you want to make sure that they fit in the mix well, and that you guys are all giving a consistent message, which means you can’t just hire someone and then have them start immediately. There’s a process to get a coach up and trained. Zoe, how long did it take you to get up and trained from start to when you had your first client on your own?

Zoe Lynch (34:14):
Thinking back, I think it took like a month, maybe a month and a half to two months to get all the coursework finished and to mentor the goalies and do practice run throughs. But I think it was really important because coming in, my mindset might’ve been a bit different to Colin’s, whereas now we’re all running on the same page and our voice is consistent across the board. But yeah, it does take time.

Nicole Aucoin (34:40):
Absolutely. I would imagine it takes definitely a month and a half to two months so that you could get through the training course and then shadow Colin, Colin shadow you, and then you’re on your own. And you’re right, you have to have that consistent, that language and you working with Colin so closely allows you to learn. And I’m sure he’s learning some stuff from you that maybe he didn’t know. And that’s what helps you guys both become better nutrition coaches.

Zoe Lynch (35:06):
Yeah, exactly.

Colin Gleeson (Second Male Speaker) (35:07):
Definitely, yeah.

Patrick Coady (35:11):
I suppose I had to change my mindset at the start when it came to you need another coach, I was going, oh gosh, will we have to work for another coach and genie. And I was putting a lot of debate into it. But now that we have the coach, thank God, there’s loads of work there. So I think I have to get my mind around the same thing when it comes to another coach, because there is so many opportunities in our area that we haven’t even touched on yet and are definitely explored as much as they can be or be explored.

Nicole Aucoin (35:41):
I love that. So in the next six months, you guys can be doing more outreach within your community and going out and doing different partnerships. Corporate wellness is a huge opportunity. I don’t know if it’s the same way in Ireland as it is in the US, but it is a huge opportunity for you guys to get your name out within the community. So it’s not just your nutrition or your members of your gym participating in your nutrition program. And now that you guys have more nutrition only clients and people outside of just your membership, it’s going to continue to grow because those people are going to talk to their friends about the positive experience they’re having with you. And it just kind of exponentially grows, which is amazing.

Nicole Aucoin (36:20):
Now, I do want to mention one thing. So you guys went through the training process. You’ve been using our program for a little bit, but really it’s taken off by say a little bit. It’s really been less than a year, but you guys have taken off the past six months with nutrition coaching. What would you say to someone who’s trying to do everything from scratch versus … well, what did you have with your nutrition program before you started with us?

Patrick Coady (36:50):
We were trying to do some stuff from scratch ourselves previous. And we had another girl here doing some stuff with us. We had a bit of an online course going, but it was absolutely nothing compared to what we have going now. We didn’t speak about nutrition in the same way. We didn’t have that consistent offering. We did like two or three challenges a year, that was it. There was no ongoing nutrition like we’re doing now. And that the program has been just fantastic as regards building that and giving that direction and the mentoring to keep us focused with that.

Nicole Aucoin (37:29):
Colin, what would you say, how has it helped you become a nutrition coach? Instead of you trying to figure out all this stuff on your own, having the support from us that you can really take and run with and do all of your awesome ideas. I think I’ve gotten a few ideas that we could do at our HQ location from you guys, but how has it been helpful for you to at least have the framework of here’s exactly what you need to do, and you can put your own spin on it?

Colin Gleeson (37:54):
Yeah, I think it’s been cool. Like a lot of the knowledge that I had, like I had done some courses previous to HSN, but it really like solidified a lot of stuff for me. And it was like, well, okay. This stuff actually helps people. And I think you don’t really fully understand it until you see like results, which are clients. It’s like, okay, this advice is working. It’s like, some things you’re like, I’m not sure if that would work based off of your own knowledge. And then you put it into practice in real life situations with real people and it’s class. Like it’s really cool to know that your knowledge does change people’s lives. And it really does help people like change their whole outlook on health fitness and other things in life.

Colin Gleeson (38:36):
So I think that for me has been huge and has been, just the feeling of it is amazing. It really, really is. I don’t think people do understand what it’s like to help people like this. But that information that you put out, like once it’s put into practice and you trust in it and you know what I mean? It’s like, you can’t go wrong with it then, it’s 100% right every time. And you feel so good about giving out that content, knowing that it’s working and helping people.

Nicole Aucoin (39:04):
I love that. And you’re not just focusing on one piece of the puzzle, what they’re eating, you’re really looking at the whole person and how you can support them to become the best version of themselves. Not only for them, but for the people around them. You’re looking at stress support, sleep, exercise, all of these things come together to help a client. And I think Colin, one of the things you’re mentioning really is confidence. Like if you’re doing it by yourself, if you’re making a nutrition program from scratch, it can be tough to know, well, is this going to work? Let’s try it out. Let’s do a lot of trial and error and figuring out is this going to work? But you are able to have the confidence from us knowing, hey, this will work. And then you build confidence as you work with your own clients and you see it in practice.

Colin Gleeson  (39:50):
Yeah. I think another cool thing is like the holistic approach with people is so much bigger than I ever thought as well, in terms of nutrition. Like people’s lifestyle practices, but it’s not until you put some of them practices into play for yourself that you really see the benefit. Like if we’re able to be consistent with our habits that we wouldn’t have thought would help people with their nutrition, and then all of a sudden we put it into play and it’s helping us. It does, it really streams confidence truly and you can portray it so much better when you’ve experienced it. And when you’re putting it into practice yourself, when you’re doing everything that you’re putting out and it’s working for you, it’s great. It works really well.

Nicole Aucoin (40:34):
I love that, you have to practice what you preach, right?

Colin Gleeson (40:36):
Yeah, exactly.

Nicole Aucoin (40:38):
Zoe, how has it been for you? As a newer nutrition coach coming on board to the team, going through the training, working with Colin, how confident did you feel when you actually started taking clients on your own?

Zoe Lynch (40:52):
Yeah, so at first, obviously it was very daunting and it wasn’t that I felt, I didn’t know enough. Like I had just finished a degree in nutrition, so I felt like I had all the information, but I suppose trying to make it simple and get it across to people in a simple way was daunting. But HSN and the resources that you have provided to us really, really helps that. Like it just puts it into really simple language and people see it and they know that it’s achievable. It doesn’t make it really complicated. So like just reiteration that, making it a habit and then stuck in the habits and leads to success. So the HSN resources for that I think are just fantastic. And I don’t actually know how I would have worked without them now that I have them.

Nicole Aucoin (41:39):
I love that. Thank you. I can agree with you. I went to school with nutrition. We have a similar degree and we have all this metabolism, all this knowledge in our head and our clients actually don’t care about that at all. Like they do not care. They want you to help them get from point A to point B in the easiest way possible. We’re always looking for a straight line. And sometimes it’s tough when you’re working with clients. And I don’t know, how is it in Ireland when people are looking to make a change or like looking to lose weight. Here in the US it’s like all or nothing. They want to change everything today and see results tomorrow. Is it the same way where you guys are?

Zoe Lynch (42:19):
Exactly the same, yeah. They want like a magic pill that’s just going to change their whole life.

Nicole Aucoin (42:26):
And then unfortunately you have to break the news that like, hey, we’re actually going to take this really slow and I’m going to work with you every step of the way. But if you do take it slow and you follow my lead, you’re going to see those results that you’re looking for, it just might take a little bit longer than you expect, right?

Zoe Lynch (42:43):
That’s it.

Colin Gleeson (42:43):
Nicole, you said something a while ago on it. I talked to Nicole and it stuck in my mind for ages and it was, we live in a microwave society. You said it a while back. And I was just like, aw, like how true it is. Do you know what I mean? Like it is, people want results yesterday and you know what I mean? And they want to do the least amount of work to get results yesterday. It’s massive, like it’s massive.

Nicole Aucoin (43:11):
Well, unfortunate that the trend is everywhere. It’s not just here in the US, but you’re right. And it really takes some coaching and some motivational interviewing skills to help clients understand, hey, instead of you going and doing this all or nothing thing that you failed at before, let’s really take it slow. And Zoe, what you said, just focus on one thing at a time and let’s keep it simple. And let’s stack that one thing once you nail that on top of the next thing, so that you can get the confidence to really do this for the long haul, instead of doing a super restrictive diet for 30 days, and then going right back to your old habits.

Patrick Coady (43:46):
Yeah. I think it’s built in so well from the free intro the whole way through that you’re speaking, it’s so important to speak about those things from the early days. Like if somebody is in for [inaudible 00:44:01] and they have a scan and they’ve got 5% body fat to lose, you’re like, look, this is a four month, five month process. We don’t want to be doing it quick, and you’re speaking about it from the minute you start talking to them about nutrition. You’re never kind of letting them think for a second that this is, you’re going to be done in a month and you’ll be fine. Like you’re setting the realistic expectations right from the start from the first discussion, I think is important.

Nicole Aucoin (44:25):
It’s so important. You’re 100% right and I would say it almost goes even before that free intro in how you guys are doing the nutrition talks and what you guys are putting out in regards to the content that everyone sees. I think they understand this isn’t going to be a pill, or you’re not just going to have me replace all of my food with meal replacement shakes. And it’s not this super quick fix, even though they might think they want that to see those results. They really don’t need that long-term. So I love that you guys are really just integrating the conversation about nutrition into every single part of your client journey in your gym, which is really what I can see from the outside looking in, that’s a huge part of the success that you guys are having.

Nicole Aucoin (45:08):
Any final thoughts, Patty, before we hop off. Thank you guys for coming on and sharing the story. You guys are such an inspiration to gyms around the world that are being forced to shut down again. That hey, there are some things that you can do to keep a positive outlook and keep your clients engaged and have a little fun.

Patrick Coady (45:32):
Yeah, for sure. That’s the way we do things with everything, our classes are to say and we’re very serious about the results and about what we do. But my God, you have to have fun and you have to enjoy it, because if you don’t enjoy something and have a bit of fun doing it, you’re not going to stick with it. Not long-term anyway. So I think that’s definitely something that we bring from our coach and on the floor, right to the gym. Just be positive, have fun. And in these times control what you can, is what we said earlier.

Nicole Aucoin (46:02):
I love it. Thank you guys for jumping on. So excited to chat with you and I’m excited for Lindsay to tell me in at least a month or two, that you have some prospects for who this third person might be for your nutrition coaching program, because there are so many more people in your community that need help and you guys just don’t have the bandwidth to do it.

Patrick Coady (46:21):
It’s a good complaint, I think.

Colin Gleeson (46:25):
Good complaints, yeah.

Nicole Aucoin (46:27):
Awesome. Well, thanks again for coming on and we will chat soon.

Colin Gleeson (46:31):
Thanks very much Nicole.

Patrick Coady (46:31):
Thank you for all the help, Nicole.

Zoe Lynch (46:32):
Thanks Nicole.

Nicole Aucoin (46:35):
Man, this is such a fun team to talk to. I think they’re up to amazing things and really not only supporting their members, but also their community and empowering them to make health a way of life. What sets this gym’s nutrition program apart from so many others is you can just tell it’s fun. They keep their members engaged and they’re so creative with what they do to keep their members engaged. And they were right, when you are working with a team, then you can bounce ideas off of each other, it is so much easier to come up with even better ideas. And it takes intentionality. Colin said, they meet every other week and it’s part of their calendar. And that’s such an important piece of the puzzle that often gets missed.

Nicole Aucoin (47:20):
If you are a gym owner or a nutrition coach, and you’re not meeting regularly with your gym owner or other nutrition coaches on staff, I challenge you to start setting up meetings at least once a month to communicate and brainstorm different ideas on how you can make your nutrition program better. One of the awesome things about HSN Mentoring is that you have mentoring calls with the team and an expert mentor at HSN every single month, so you have an opportunity to bounce ideas and the mentors will give you ideas as well.

Nicole Aucoin (47:49):
After I hit pause on the podcast recording, Colin and Patty were both talking about how the mentoring calls have helped them. And how Lindsay specifically has helped them be able to navigate and really give them a timeline to get things done. And as a nutrition coach, you need accountability too. Life happens, things happen, but you need the accountability to help your program grow instead of trying to do it all by yourself. We can get easily distracted by all the different things going on, but by booking those mentoring calls, it really does help you set a timeline and focus on not all the things, but the right things.

Nicole Aucoin (48:28):
One of the cool ideas that they had was the pimp my blank challenges and people would vote. I love the idea of getting other members voting and picking a winner. And one of the cool things that you could do is if you have a winner each week and you can do this with a challenge, is partner with other local companies and they can promote that challenge and you give away something for them. Maybe it’s a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop or a reassessment at a chiropractic place or something that you can work with other like-minded businesses and promote each other. So love the idea of the member engagement.

Nicole Aucoin (49:06):
Another cool thing that they really talked about was leading by example. And we know that nutrition coaches who lead by example and who walk the walk, they’re able to give examples when their clients are going through a similar situation. Hey, if you struggle with a sweet tooth, I know this really helps me. One of the things that helps me struggling with a sweet tooth is having some Greek yogurt with a few dark chocolate chips in it. And I’ve told that to many of my clients and it works really well. They know that I’m going to be able to help them navigate whatever the situation is because we have been doing it. We walk the walk, we’re able to have the authority to help them because they know we do walk that walk. And it really is at Phoenix Strength and Conditioning their entire team. Everyone walks the walk and they’re all speaking the same language.

Nicole Aucoin (49:51):
One of the things that Patty said that they have done since adding a nutrition coach was doing nutrition talks. Think of these as like virtual nutrition seminars, where you gather people, they log in through Zoom. And it’s a meeting where you start with some basic information helping with navigating the holidays or new year new you. You have a presentation and then you open it up for questions. And at the end, you’re going to call them to action. So if you’re launching a challenge, the call to action is going to be join our nutrition challenge. Or if you are not launching with a challenge and you want individual coaching, awesome. If you’re ready for individualized support, we would love to help you, the next step to get started is X. For us, it’s apply for nutrition coaching and we follow up with them right away.

Nicole Aucoin (50:39):
So nutrition talks are a really great way to get people starting to associate nutrition with you and your brand. So if you are interested in doing one of these nutrition talks, you are in luck because we have decided to give every single gym a virtual nutrition talk, the presentation, speaking notes, a recording of Ashley and I, our Director of Nutrition Education and I doing it, as well as a printable for you to take and implement into your communities. This is a great way to just get awareness about nutrition and see if people are interested. I would definitely record it and then send out that recording to your entire list.

Nicole Aucoin (51:21):
You want people to register for this nutrition talk so that you can follow up with them afterwards and have a call to action to sign up for your nutrition challenge or sign up for individual nutrition coaching. So we are giving you a nutrition talk that you can access. If you click the link below, we will be able to get you access to this awesome new year, new you nutrition talk. We are doing an international nutrition talk day on Saturday, January 2nd. So all of our mentoring gyms are going to be doing this nutrition talk. Most of them will be doing this nutrition talk on Saturday, right after a morning class.

Nicole Aucoin (51:57):
And then the call to action at the end of that is going to either be sign up for their nutrition challenge or sign up for individual coaching. If you are interested in accessing all of this free help, just click the link and you will get access. Thank you so much for joining this episode of the Grow Your Nutrition Business podcast. If you are loving this podcast, I would love for you to share it with a friend, a fellow nutrition coach, a gym owner, who could use some support and doesn’t need to spend all this time reinventing the wheel with building a nutrition program. Until next week.

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About the author

Nicole Aucoin, MS, RD, LD/N

Founder, Healthy Steps Nutrition
Home of CrossFit HSN & HSN Mentoring

Author of Nourish & Healthy Kids Cookbook

Author of The Basics of Nutrition Coaching Course, CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Course

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer