Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast Episode 54: Habit-Based Coaching & Performance Nutrition with Precision Nutrition

Today’s guest is one of our friends at Precision Nutrition, Adam Feit. We love Precision Nutrition because we have the same philosophy regarding coaching — keep it simple and focus on one thing at a time. We both use evidence-based research to provide recommendations when working with clients.

Today, Adam and I discuss:

  • Why habit-based coaching works
  • How to work with athletes and sports performance nutrition
  • What works well when working with kids and family nutrition

 

If you are looking to sign up for the PN coaching course, you can sign up with the show’s link and get access to the same PN course at the lowest rate possible >>Here

About The Precision Nutrition X HSN Partnership

Receive 14 CEUs When Taking The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Course!

Podcast Episodes Related To Habit-Based Nutrition Coaching

  • How To Coach Nutrition Using a Habit-Based Approach >>HERE
  • Mindfulness, Intuitive Eating & Habit-Based Coaching¬†>>HERE
  • How Cigar City CrossFit Doubled Their Nutrition Program During the Pandemic Using a Simple, Habit-Based Approach >>HERE

What The Challenge Guide Includes:

  • Planning Checklist
  • How To Structure Your Nutrition Challenge
  • How To Continue Your Nutrition Program Beyond A Challenge
  • Additional Resources To Plan A Successful Challenge All In One Place

Episode Transcript:

Nicole Aucoin (00:05):
Welcome back to the Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated, which is why we focus on a simple habit-based approach when working with clients. 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 also the author of The Basics of Nutrition Coaching CrossFit Preferred Nutrition course. 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.

Nicole Aucoin (00:51):
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at conferences with a few of the guys over at Precision Nutrition. Last January, Adam Feit, today’s guest on our podcast, and I traveled all the way to Sweden to speak at the CrossFit Coaches Congress. We had so much fun. We’ve had Adam come on and do a few Facebook lives and webinars with us. Every single time, it’s just so fun to talk to him because our philosophies really align so well. Today, Adam and I discuss why we both focus on a habit-based approach, and why it works when you keep it simple with clients, how to work with athletes and sports performance nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (01:32):
Finally, we talk a little bit about kids and family nutrition. Adam works with Precision Nutrition, which is one of the biggest online nutrition coaching courses on the market. They’ve trained over 80,000 nutrition coaches. Two years ago, I reached out to Precision Nutrition to see if we could work together. Our nutrition coaches at HSN were looking for another course to add more tools in their toolbox, and Precision Nutrition kept coming up. They gave me access to the course and I really enjoyed the simplicity, and their philosophy aligned exactly with what we talk about at Healthy Steps Nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (02:11):
Historically, Precision Nutrition launches their course only a few times a year, but since we partnered with them, our clients and people who buy the course through us get access to the course at any time. At least 50% of the HSN coaches have taken this Precision Nutrition course, and the overwhelming feedback is the same. It’s great and it gives coaches more tools in their toolbox. We will get to this interview with Adam Feit from Precision Nutrition right after this message. If you are looking to sign up for the Precision Nutrition course, you can sign up through today’s show link and get access to the same exact Precision Nutrition level one course at the lowest rate possible.

Nicole Aucoin (02:54):
If you are a current mentoring client for HSN, you get even bigger discount on this course. All right, enjoy this episode with Adam Feit from Precision Nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (03:03):
All right. Welcome to the Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast. Adam Feit, from Precision Nutrition, I am so excited to have you on today. Thanks for joining us.

Adam Feit (03:17):
Thank you for another opportunity, Nicole, as you know, it’s always great to get together. I don’t know, I think it’s going to be the new normal. We’re just going to hop on, do a couple of podcasts every couple months, catch up about lives and books and what’s happening in the world. So, appreciate the opportunity again.

Nicole Aucoin (03:33):
Gosh, I get asked about Precision Nutrition often, and I feel like I reference you at least twice a week. People asking, tell me a little bit about Precision Nutrition, what makes them different? I say, “You know what? I love everything that Precision Nutrition stands for. The people are great. I speak with Adam on a regular basis. This year, it’s definitely been more virtual than in-person, hopefully next year we switched that up a little bit. But yeah, our philosophies align so well, and you’ve done such a really good job making it simple for nutrition coaches. I want to dive into what you guys stand for with the habit-based approach, and then we’ll, of course, we’ll talk about athlete nutrition because that’s your specialty.

Adam Feit (04:14):
Well, it’s nice to hear that. I appreciate the kind words, not only from the specialty standpoint, but obviously PN. Like Nicole has said, Precision Nutrition, essentially, we’re the largest nutrition coaching certification software company in the world, and we really try and provide research-based, life-changing nutrition, and I think, now more than ever, lifestyle coaching for everyone. As Nicole said, in terms of philosophies and principles, it really comes down to having that client-centered approach, and helping our clients, helping our customers, helping our coaches build the skills they need to be successful.

Adam Feit (04:52):
As Nicole mentioned, in terms about the habits-based approach, before we even get into habits, we have to understand, hey, what are the daily actions that we can do? What are the things that we can do right now? How can we build those into practices that we can consistently work on? And what skills will those help in the long run? Because I think, now more than ever, we all have goals, right? I want to achieve this, I want to waive that, I want to run a certain time or lift a certain weight, but then we just give them a plan and saying, “Figure it out.”

Adam Feit (05:22):
It’s really nice to talk about our approach and how we, I won’t necessarily say slow cook it, but in reality, we’re really taking the time to build the skills that they need so that they get what they’re looking for now, but in many more years and many more competitions and many more opportunities in the future. This is my fifth year with the company full-Time. I can’t believe now that I’m saying that out loud, and just to see where we’ve gone from and where we’re going, it’s going to be pretty awesome, so thanks, Nicole.

Nicole Aucoin (05:51):
Of course, I think the philosophy of keeping it simple and meeting clients where they’re at is more important now than ever with so much change in people’s lives. Really using that client-centered approach, meeting clients where they’re at, and Adam, I’m sure you’ve seen this, and I see this all the time. Between the two of us and between the two companies, we’ve poached hundreds of thousands of people. There’s a lot of case studies that we can probably pull from, but people think that they need to change everything to see the results they’re looking for today. So, I’m going to change my entire life, all of the practices that I’ve been doing up to the past 40 years, and tomorrow, I’m going to see these instant results.

Nicole Aucoin (06:32):
You and I both know that, that’s not sustainable, and long-term success doesn’t prove that that’s going to work. We really, just as coaches, have to help clients slow down.

Adam Feit (06:45):
Yeah. The change process itself is unique on so many fronts. You alluded to it a little bit earlier about, it’s not going to be long-term successful, but will it be successful? I’ll sit here and tell you, yeah, it can be. There are a small subset of the population, and I’ve seen this in coaching and athletics, as well as nutrition, that give them all of the things, give them a clear cut action plan, tell them to do those things and they’ll do them, and they’ll get great results. But we also know that these come in varieties of transformations, and where are you after 12 weeks is nice, but where are you going to be 40 weeks later, a complete year after that?

Adam Feit (07:24):
Or where are you when you decide to extend your family and then have kids, or build a business, or pivot your business as we’re doing now in 2020? The concept of building all of these skills and the appropriate actions and develop these plans is important now more than ever, because of that idea of sustainability. I’ve gone through it personally, I’ve been in body transformation contest when I was an undergrad, and I figured out nutrition and had really high highs, and I had some low lows, but at the end of the day, where does everything average out? Is this something that I can do now? Is this something that I can do next week if I decide to see family for the holidays, or getting ready for summer vacation when that time would come?

Adam Feit (08:05):
It’s really about adding in all of those elements and making it, not only appropriate, but also sustainable for many, hopefully many years to come.

Nicole Aucoin (08:13):
That’s the key, right? We have to create a plan to set clients up for long-term success, which goes well beyond a super strict diet or a piece of paper that’s going to help them be successful. I can’t tell you how many clients have called us to say, “Will you give me a meal plan?” You actually don’t need a meal plan because you can look that up online. You really need a coach to help guide you, to help navigate when you’re now homeschooling and working from home, and the kitchen is two feet away. You need more support than just a piece of paper.

Adam Feit (08:46):
Yeah. I love how you bring up the idea of support, because as we’re all figuring out many of us, especially as parents, we have homeschooling, we have hybrid options, we don’t have the ability, a lot of us to just continue on as life as it was. So, making those changes in your support system, that could be your partner, or your spouse support system. It could be your environmental support. It could be your social support. It could be how you organize your cooking or prep environment, whatever it might be.

Adam Feit (09:13):
There’s so many threads to this element of the support, that two feet away, anything that’s within arm reach, or a chair push away like I am, it could cause some destruction, or some distractions. That’s what makes coaching so great and so impactful, especially during a time like now. Hire a coach. We all have coaches. Coaches have coaches. Coaches are not on a different platform. They’re not on a different road than any of you. We’re on the same road. We just happen to be maybe a little bit farther down the road.

Adam Feit (09:45):
We’re going through some of the same struggles. We’re going through some of the same constraints. We know what it’s like to struggle with what you might be struggling with because we’re real authentic humans.

Nicole Aucoin (09:55):
That is what makes a coach so great. You have to be able to relate with your clients, show empathy, show authority, but you, going through that walk, and actually saying, “Hey, I know where you’re at because I’ve been there,” allows you to have a deeper relationship with clients to help support them.

Adam Feit (10:18):
Yeah. I’ll commend you, Nicole, checking out your Instagram a little bit as your business has adapted and pivoted, but asking questions like, hey, I don’t always feel like showing up to working out, or I’m not a big fan of this Olympic lift variation. I’m curious to know what yours are, and maybe some of the obstacles you face. It’s a challenge, I think, for all fitness professionals. It’s not like we’re fishing for likes. It’s not like we’re fishing for opportunities to just make our business better. It’s about an opportunity for us to connect, and sometimes life does get crazy.

Adam Feit (10:49):
We just got out of a huge launch for Precision Nutrition. Head has been down. Haven’t really known what’s going on in the world besides a few pretty historical events lately, and actually checking in and taking a pulse on, hey, how are my clients doing? What are some of the things people are facing right now? It’s an opportunity for us to get better as coaches, but it’s, as you pointed out, it’s an opportunity to truly connect on a level that is, not only just needed for success, but also enjoyment of the relationship.

Adam Feit (11:17):
I can’t stress that enough for coaches in general, to actually take some more time develop that client coach relationship. Because we know as coaches, we know from the research, and we know from the hundreds and thousands of people we both have worked with that, that’s going to be a huge predictor of motivation and long-term success when we’re talking about creating change.

Nicole Aucoin (11:36):
Long-term success for your clients, but also long-term success for your business so that you can retain those clients. As a nutrition coach, you don’t want to start with zero clients every month. One thing that I’ve learned, and the program has evolved over the years, is making it more simple actually retains clients longer, not the opposite effect.

Adam Feit (11:56):
Yeah. I’ve been seeing on the Facebook groups, we’re going through a lot. I’m in Massachusetts, so I’m part of The Massachusetts Independent Gym Owners Facebook group. I’m sure a lot of the states have something similar, where we’re trying to figure out the support. We’re trying to figure out exactly what the laws are. But hearing the struggles, hearing the areas of concern where coaches are looking for opportunities to either add more value to their client services, to find or make up for lost revenue, and I actually … There’s parts of me that sit there and go, how come we weren’t offering this before?

Adam Feit (12:26):
You talk about that all the time at HSN, like the pyramid itself foundation is nutrition. We can do all of the things. I’ve seen this at every level of athletics. I’ve seen it with so many clients. We are crushing ourselves with the workouts. We are crushing ourselves with the sales and the marketing, but yet, we’re not addressing one of, if not the most foundational aspect of improving body composition, of improving quality of life, of improving sustainable life skills. It is a big deal. I hope if there’s one big pivot that is happening in our current society right now is we’re going to get a better and a deeper emphasis on the value of proper nutrition.

Nicole Aucoin (13:04):
I see a change which is exciting for me. More gyms are realizing, I need to add this piece of the puzzle because it’s missing. It’s a way to retain my clients, and it’s an additional revenue stream. Precision Nutrition’s philosophy of keeping it simple, focusing on one thing at a time, looking at a holistic approach of not just what’s going in their body, but support system and all the other aspects to help support a client achieve their goals is so important. But Adam, I want to segue into what really you specialize in, and that’s sports performance nutrition, athletic nutrition, the high level athletes that you’ve worked with over the years in the role that you play within the company to provide coaches additional support.

Nicole Aucoin (13:51):
We’ve had this conversation many times about performance nutrition, and it still starts at the base with the habit based approach. But tell me some of the myths that you see often with performance nutrition.

Adam Feit (14:08):
Only some of the myths. I don’t know how much time we have [crosstalk 00:14:10]. I know, between both of us, we can really go down the rabbit hole, right? One, I’d love, because I spent a lot of time in my career working with kids. When I say kids, I’ll say less than 21 years of age, college, high school, secondary school, etc. I love the concept of, if it’s really expensive, or it’s behind a locked case in a supplement store, it works. On top of that, if I know somebody’s super powerful, super famous, super athletic, super is probably getting paid a super amount of money to endorse it, it is the thing.

Adam Feit (14:45):
That’s a huge myth, for a number of reasons. Why? Because again, you have that idea of endorsement, so there’s a conflict of interest there. Number two, we know the supplement industry is not regulated. All of these claims can be misinformed, can be outlandish. Those are actually one of the skills that actually helps some of my clients look at it and say, “Are you reading a nutrition facts label or are you reading a supplement label?” Because they’re going to tell you two different things, and obviously not to focus so much what’s on the front of the label, but also on the back.

Adam Feit (15:16):
I think, in terms of the myth, number one is, it’s not always about more expensive, it’s not about this person endorsed it, etc. It’s not about, is it locked up behind a glass case and you need the manager to grab the key? I think that’s huge. I think another myth that comes into play is this idea that, because I’m insert super awesome, amazing, incredible athlete here, at any age. We’re talking AAU, we’re talking youth sports, we’re talking college university, or even semi-pro and professional, that you need all of the things. You need the fine tuned macro percentage ratio that is set to your blood type or you’re meeting with another person.

Adam Feit (15:58):
It’s gotta be to the decimal point correct. That’s not going to be the case, because when we talk about coaching, especially at Precision Nutrition, we have this idea of nutritional level. Just because you’re a super, incredibly athletic, your training age might be very high, but your nutrition age might be very poor. You can ask anybody at the company. I’m sure you have stories, I know we were catching up about some of the high level athletes we work with when … Your time at UF and whatnot, doesn’t mean they’re super great on the field court arena pitch. They’re going to be super great in the kitchen or they’re going to be super great in the grocery store.

Adam Feit (16:32):
I think it creates a really nice challenge of, how do I give them what they want by ensuring that me, as their coach, I’m giving them what they actually need. I enjoy that the most. It’s a little bit of persuasion, it’s a little bit of skill acquisition, it’s a little bit of teaching and understanding, but you’ve got to make it work. I think, as you alluded to earlier about meeting them where they’re at is a really, really good start.

Nicole Aucoin (16:57):
I love what you just said. I have to give them what they want, but I also need to give them what they need. Oftentimes, what I’m sure we’ve both found with professional athletes and high-performance athletes is two very different things, and what they want and what they need. They try to skip all of the steps to get to the last step. To be honest, it’s probably going to be super frustrating for clients if you do give them what they want, because they have no idea, even the foundational steps, to get there, right?

Adam Feit (17:29):
Yeah. Let’s take the meal plan for instance. I think we’ve all seen variations of it over the years. It’s X amount of grams of this, Y amount of ounces of that. It’s sauteed, it’s grilled, it’s broiled. It’s something like that. You’re going to do it three, four, five, six times a day, and then you’re going to eat it at a specific time of day. But then, are you helping them build the skills of, well, how are they preparing the food? How are they orchestrating their environments? How are they making it work on vacation or navigating it when they get stuck on a airplane when that was a thing? I look at those as simply just their tools.

Adam Feit (18:03):
Can they be useful with certain clients? Absolutely. But by giving them what they want, by ensuring you give them what they need, you can blend that. If I might use, for instance, Precision Nutrition, we talk about palm sizes of protein. I know for most people, that’s going to be three to four ounces of protein, that could be anywhere between 18 and 25 grams of actual protein. I may not connect with that athlete of saying, oh, just eat eight palms of protein. However, if I say eight palms of protein, which is about 160 to 180 grams of protein, or 240 grams of protein, whatever it might be, I can give them different ways of looking at things.

Adam Feit (18:43):
Or I can, if they want, things be weighed out and they want it calculated. It’s going to be X, it’s also could be Y, or it could be Z. Giving them a spectrum or a continuum of, how would you like to best receive this information? I think it satisfies the analytical, I need the numbers, and I need the time, and I need the percentages, but then, you can break that down into more practicality of, so it’s approximately this, and you might get that from something you normally eat like that. I think it’s really important. You kind of almost set the menu. I hate to use a pun there in terms of working with food and nutrition coaching, but give them options and see what’s going to resonate best with them as they continue to move forward.

Nicole Aucoin (19:23):
What I’m hearing you saying, you need to be flexible with your approach as a nutrition coach. When you’re talking about giving them X, Y, and Z, it’s also figuring out how you are going to get X, Y, and Z. If we’re talking about getting 160 grams of protein, all right, have you ever made a Crock-Pot recipe with chicken so that you don’t have to eat the pre-made chicken every day? Or if you are in a pinch, can you get a rotisserie chicken and cut it up? Absolutely. Let’s talk about the how, not just, “Hey, I want you to do this.” I think that’s the missing piece for so many nutrition coaches, is they forget to talk about the how.

Adam Feit (19:58):
Yeah. I love how you bring up chicken because I’m actually going to share something that just happened this weekend. I bought an instant pot. It was an impulse buy. Well, are you a fan of the instant pot?

Nicole Aucoin (20:09):
There are some recipes that taste good there.

Adam Feit (20:11):
Yeah. I’ve never been able to really figure it out. Okay? I have a PhD. You think I’d be able to figure out the appropriate amount of water or liquid in there that I would not get a burn signal, but everybody’s raving about this. But I’m like, no, I’m, old-fashioned, I’m either going to grill it in a batch. I’m going to put it in an oven in a batch, or I’m just going to put in the Crock-Pot, because I can put in the Crock-Pot for four hours and not deal with it. I made the first batch of my own homemade chicken noodle soup.

Adam Feit (20:39):
Bought a chicken. It was like five or six bucks. Bought some carrots, bought some salary, bought some parsley, bought some onions, did all that thing, figured it, and I was like, wow, I have legit chicken noodle soup that took an hour, once I figured out all the pressurizing and all that. It was a new skill. But now I added one to my toolbox, where if I don’t have four hours for that, and I want to be lazy, or I don’t want to think about it, I can go back to that. But I also have this new option here as well. When we talk about like the protein instance, it’s finding out where they are. What is their competency level in the kitchen?

Adam Feit (21:13):
What is their competency level and their confidence level going to the grocery store? And are they getting suckered in to the language that they see on the front of the label? Adding all of that into the pot of all these skills, it’s important to look at, yes, once you teach them what to eat, great, but what are we working on in terms of how they’re preparing it, how to maybe have these conversations with their support system? Because if you’re eating differently than somebody else in your household, there’s going to be an opportunity to discuss that.

Adam Feit (21:44):
There are so many different elements that great nutrition coaches will take care of instead of the click on this, give me your email and I’ll give you a meal plan. There’s no support past that, whatsoever.

Nicole Aucoin (21:55):
It’s really tough to build a relationship with a client if you’re just giving them a piece of paper. By looking at, okay, where is your skill level in the kitchen? Let me help you, let me meet you where you’re at, and not overwhelm you with too much information at one time, and say, “I don’t really care that you’ve never prepped anything in the kitchen. We’re going to prep all of your meals, everything,” which is an impossible task for most people. I was just at our neighbor’s house. There was a kid’s birthday party. We were all in the backyard. Don’t worry, we weren’t inside.

Nicole Aucoin (22:26):
We were talking about an air fryer, and someone was like, “I have an air fryer. It’s been sitting on my counter and I’ve never used it.” I’m like, “Well, you need to use that thing because it is easy.” “But it’s just intimidating. Okay, what if it doesn’t work and then I wasted all this food?” I think that’s a struggle for a lot of people. They’re like, “I’m going to stick with what I know, because I don’t want to waste anything, or I don’t want to spend any extra time.” When in reality, if you try something in the air fryer, oh my gosh, maybe the whole family will eat it, maybe our support system will not like it because it’s crunchy, and now everyone will be on board and it’ll be easier for you to stay on track.

Adam Feit (23:02):
Yeah. That’s an incredible invention, and by far, I think the biggest contribution to nutrition coaching. The air fryer has changed my family’s game. To go back to that, now French fries are a regular part of our meal plan because we don’t need oil. We can control the ingredients, and it’s something that we all can eat. But I can make homemade chicken nuggets in there, and just cut that up appropriately. I can cook other sources of protein in there, like steak. I can cook my vegetables in there.

Adam Feit (23:33):
But I think you bring up such a great point is there is going to be that element of, but I have to learn something new. I have a hammer and everything just looks like nails. No doubt. If you’re hammering everything together, it’s going to hold it together. But what happens if you learned a new tool? Would you have better structure? What happens if all of a sudden you had a screwdriver and then now you had screws? You’re going to have better structure. You’re going to have better support. It’s probably going to withstand maybe some of the hurricane winds that might be in the area.

Adam Feit (24:03):
Understanding that and actually sitting with that and recognizing like, no, no, no, it’s so much easier if you just did it the night before. Well, it could be, in your eyes and in your experience, but a great coach will take their time, meet their clients where they’re at and take the time to slowly develop those skills and open them up to new possibilities. That eventually will be more effective, that eventually will be more efficient. Until then, take your time, and if they still want to do it that way, find out how they can do it that way a little bit better, a little bit easier.

Nicole Aucoin (24:35):
Love that. What are some other things that you should be taking into account when you work with athletes on their nutrition?

Adam Feit (24:41):
Give them something that they’re going to succeed at right away, almost like an easy win. Like, my son’s playing basketball right now. They just jammed the hoop up. In one year, they went from like eight feet all the way up to 10, and I’m like, ooh, that’s a big one. Those easy wins, those easy baskets, they’re not so easy to come by anymore. So, give them something that they’re going to be successful at right away. But then, also give them something that they have to stretch a little bit, but it’s still doable. Okay? The 10 foot rim, for instance, with my son. He can get it. Is he making it at every single basket like he was with the eight foot rim? No, but they warm up on the eight foot, and then maybe they progressively get to the 10.

Adam Feit (25:20):
In terms of nutrition coaching, so for athletes, I know that the research behind, let’s say post-workout shakes. We know it’s changed over the years. It’s no longer, you need to get in, and as soon as possible, but if it’s an easy strategy for them to saying, well, when I go work out, I always have a shake right after. Great. That’s an easy win. I’m going to teach you how to build something really, really quickly, because you might have class after this, or you might be shuttling the kids, whatever it might be. But so that might be the easy win. Then the stretch goal, or something that’s going to be a little bit outside of their reach of accomplishing, without a little bit of effort and a little bit of knowledge or a little bit of prep work might be to make sure that you have that prepared, already set up prep meal ready for dinner.

Adam Feit (26:03):
There’s going to be something that I’m going to nail this out right away to build up my confidence with the tasks that my coach had given me. But I’m also going to put something just a little bit of a stretch. As you said, I’m going to come in, and we’re going to prepare all your food for the whole week. Well, we know that as a Sunday ritual, and that’s going to take like the whole day if they’re not used to it, if they don’t know those hacks. But what would it look like if I only prepared the meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in advance, or if I did my nightly ritual, and the night before I put everything in a Ziploc bag and I let it marinade or sit in the refrigerator so that when I got home, it was ready to go.

Adam Feit (26:37):
For me, working with athletes, it’s give them something that they’re like, yes, I am winning right now. Athletes love the win, wherever it is, on the court, on the field, in their gym. Get them thinking, feeling like a winner. But then, give them something also that they’ve got to work on those skills appropriately because that’s going to continuously move them, once they get that, they’ve mastered that, all right, we’re onto the next one. I really look at it almost like a long-term athletic development model in training. I’m not going to give them the most advanced Olympic lifting variation or the most advanced periodization cycle, but we’re going to give them something they’re really great at, and then I’m going to inch them along to just push them a little bit further.

Nicole Aucoin (27:14):
I love the example that you just gave with the protein shake, because that’s such a common thing. Athletes think that they absolutely need to have a protein shake after they work out to be successful and get all the gains that they need. When in reality, we know that it matters more if they’re getting enough protein throughout the day, than in that exact moment after the workout. But we also know that most athletes don’t get enough protein in throughout the day. So, can they get that little win and get that protein shake? And you say, yes, have a protein shake. Let’s walk through what type of protein you’re having. Let’s check out the bag to make sure it is tested and it is proven, that actually what is in the bag is what it says on the label and then we can go to prepping one dinner.

Adam Feit (28:02):
Yeah. Especially now, in terms of what’s happening with quarantining and campuses being shut down or people being in isolation, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions. I think since the last time we talked about getting ready for what campus life could be and then realizing what it is right now. Simply by giving an athlete, for instance, I’ll use a campus athlete, for instance, hey, here are all the best choices. These are awesome. It’s wild, Alaskan caught salmon. It’s eggs. It’s 93%, or maybe 97% lean beef. All of these what we would call gold star high quality, lower fat options. Yeah, that’s great, but how are they making that work in their dorm room?

Adam Feit (28:43):
Can we find the wins? Can we find the silver linings with some of the other choices that they’re making on a regular basis? Hey, if it’s tuna packets, if it’s egg whites, if it’s Greek yogurt, if it’s protein powder, that hey, maybe it’s not the best quality, but it is certified safe through the NSF, or Informed Choice. We’ll start there, and we’re going to keep on it, and we’re going to keep on it moving forward, and eventually progress them when they are ready, when they are most able, because there are so many other variables, especially right now, affecting the choices that they make and how often they make them, and the greater good of where that falls in line with their goals.

Nicole Aucoin (29:18):
No, it’s interesting that you bring up dorms and college athletes right now. We have a few athletes that I still personally work with, and the emotional support that we’re having to provide them is so different because it … Everything has changed for them. Their whole life, up till now, has revolved around sports. Now, they’re not practicing with all of their team anymore. Some of their seasons are gone completely. Their whole, mentally, it’s just completely different. Their whole world is turned upside down. You’re right, let’s just get those little wins. For a lot of, especially college athletes, they’re getting food made for them in the cafeteria. They have limited choices to begin with, with exactly what they can eat.

Nicole Aucoin (29:59):
It could just be, as a nutrition coach, let’s create a plate that’s balanced based on what you have available to you and let’s just work on that. We don’t need to talk about prepping food if you are not prepping any food.

Adam Feit (30:12):
Yeah. Especially like you talked about the on-campus athletes, they’re going to have a typical two meals a day meal block plan, or I think our first years of the college that my wife works at, first years they have to have three. Well, you throw in what’s going on in the world right now. Now, they have to pick up their food. So, now all their food is in a box lunch format, because now maybe they can’t congregate and eat the all you can eat buffets, or they can’t go to the carving stations. Now, you have the challenge as a coach of don’t just tell them to, let’s say make half their plate veggies from the salad bar, because now they don’t have access to the salad bar.

Adam Feit (30:47):
Maybe they only have certain items. Now they’re spending more money that mom and dad don’t know about yet on Uber Eats, and DoorDash and all of these deliveries. Instead of saying, well, this is all you have to do, realizing what they’re doing. Now, okay, hey, Nicole, talk to me, where do you usually go? Do you go to Domino’s? Do you go to Taco Bell? What are your go-tos? Let’s see. Let’s look at the menu. How can we make some better choices? Guess what? If you still want to get all those extra fancy value meals and high calorie comfort foods, where can we put that during the week where it’s not going to take you away from your goals?

Adam Feit (31:21):
And it might help replete some of the, let’s say muscle glycogen and stores that we had from training that we’ve got to fix. I love that piece because kids, especially they’re like, “Ah, man, chicken and rice, broccoli, quinoa. No, that’s gross.” It’s like, no, we don’t have to go there, but let’s see what you got and let’s make the most of it while we can, so that we’re kind of meeting in the middle. I think that’s the best part with working with athletes at any level, is you’re going to have to negotiate.

Adam Feit (31:51):
You’re going to have to find ways because they’re going to be very set in their ways, old or young, and if they’re super young like their parents, you got your work cut out for them, because the kids aren’t the ones buying these stuff, the parents are. Now you add in the element of family dynamics, you add in the element of, I live on campus dynamics. I think it’s really unique. It’s awesome. Something I really enjoy.

Nicole Aucoin (32:12):
No, wait, you bring up another good point with family nutrition and the younger ones, and I think it’s so important. We’re launching a family nutrition challenge in January for all the gyms that are running our program. One of the things we talk about is your entire family … Parents have to be involved. Parents have to be on board with a kid nutrition program no matter what level, because it’s really not fair for one kid to have to eat completely different than the rest of the family. You don’t want to, as a coach, foster a negative relationship with food, especially with teenage girls. Everyone should be eating healthy food.

Nicole Aucoin (32:47):
You frame the conversation with young athlete nutrition on how it’s going to help them perform and recover better, not on anything else, is the way I typically frame the conversation. I’m sure you do something similar.

Adam Feit (33:00):
Yeah. Actually, when I first started with PN, I co-founded a gym that was actually 80% female athletes in high school. These conversations that we were having, yes, they were with parents, but it was with the positive mindset of like, we’re not getting into these other areas. You’re here, you’re spending money to improve your performance. A better performance is going to decrease the risk of entry, which is going to improve your ability to be recruited, which is going to help you financially, hopefully get a scholarship for athletics, but also to put you in a position to ultimately succeed. So, finding those links of connection can make that argument for, hey, have you ever thought about eating a little bit more performance-based?

Adam Feit (33:40):
Instead of just eating what was convenient, you were eating something that was going to actually move you closer to where you want to go. I think, back to the parents, I know, I think it’s the Satter’s Division of Responsibility of eating. We talk about, what are the roles of the parent and what are the roles of the child or the young athlete, whatever it might be? To understand exactly who is in charge of what and the roles each person has in that relationship is going to help you with your nutrition coaching in those conversations you have with those families.

Adam Feit (34:10):
Whether that’s a huge extended family, or it’s somebody that is trying to figure out, maybe they’re working double time right now and there’s not a lot of parent and kid interaction. There’s a lot of elements here that, if we, as coaches take a little bit more time to front load some of the research and actually understand our clients and their situations, we can do some really great things.

Nicole Aucoin (34:30):
Absolutely, and you’re really setting kids up for success for their entire life. This isn’t just an area that’s going to help them in this season, it’s really going to set them up forever.

Adam Feit (34:41):
Yeah. My research that I just got done with, explored a lot with confidence within coaches, but one thing I noticed that just kept coming back to me is that people, they’re going to feel better about themselves when obviously they have successes, when they get those wins, when they know that I can do that because I’ve done that, and I can do it again. But when we start looking about this idea of modeling and watching others, so now, I’m the young child and I’m watching what my guardians are doing, or not doing and how they’re acting or not acting, etc. What we saw was that kids or young athletes, it’s going to be very hard to relate to people on a whole nother level.

Adam Feit (35:20):
This is my “beef” with like, well, what’s that athlete doing? What’s LeBron doing? What are all these people doing? It’s like, you’re not going to be able to do that, but what are the kids in their class doing? What are some of the other people on their team? As a parent or as a coach, comparing what they’re doing, or maybe some of the things or the newfound inspirations with somebody that they can relate to, because my son does want to hear that dad eats his vegetables, but what does my son’s friend do? His cool kids, are they all doing that because … Eating vegetables at school.

Adam Feit (35:55):
Fully transparent, I struggle with that with my son. It’s important when we’re building up confidence, when we’re trying to build up this confidence for our kids, is don’t just say, because I said so, or you’re going to do it, because when I was growing up, that’s all we had. There’s a lot of elements to that conversation, but getting an idea of kind of what other kids are eating, whether that’s friends, whether that’s cousins, putting them in the right mindset of, hey, these are people like me and they’re eating these things and they didn’t turn green, or they didn’t throw up when they ate something that was orange. These are things that could definitely help.

Nicole Aucoin (36:28):
Absolutely. I feel like you set me up for the cookbook. I’m sure you didn’t intentionally or unintentionally do that, but-

Adam Feit (36:34):
Not at all. No, this is ranting, going on my own personal problems with my kids.

Nicole Aucoin (36:40):
I think that’s so true. If your kids see someone else doing it, they might be more inspired to try to do the same thing. We were having a conversation with our kids at the dining room table almost a year ago. We hope to inspire other kids to eat healthy, hence the cookbook. What’s really been cool is to watch other kids look at our kids in every single recipe, and say like, “I want to try it because Birdie and Cooper are doing it.” You’re 1000% right, and I’m seeing it firsthand with the cookbook that we just released. As a parent, if you are struggling to get your kids to eat healthy, maybe you have cousins or neighbors who eat … Those kids eat a little healthier, have your kids go over there for dinner one day.

Nicole Aucoin (37:25):
I guarantee they’re going to try something new. I go into a gymnastics facility every four to six weeks, and every single time I go, I bring something new for the girls to try, because guess why? They’re all going to try it because I asked them all to, and because everyone else in the team is trying it. The cool thing is, is after they try, whatever we taste test for the time that I’m there, I ask them to raise their hand. Whose first time was it trying this thing? How many of you liked it? How many of you would eat this again? Always, new hands go up every single time. It’s because everyone else around them tried it. You’re 1000% right.

Adam Feit (38:05):
Yeah. Peer pressure works until it doesn’t. But in the meantime, while you can, absolutely take advantage of that. I think, to even go back to the preparation part, my kids, I’ve got an eight year old son and a six year old daughter and very different with their eating preferences. However, regardless of what they’re cooking or what I’m cooking, they’re always involved in the process. If my son may not want to eat that green thing, he’s going to help me cut it. He’s going to help me pour the measurements out. They’re going to be actively involved in that because I’m going to be ready for that opportunity when he or my daughter says, “Hey, can I try that?”

Adam Feit (38:43):
I’ll be like, “Yeah, yes, absolutely. I want you to understand what goes into it. I want you to be part of the experience.” I think that might be something too for the parents is don’t get upset if they’re not going to actually ingest it. Take your time, involve them in the process, and they’re going to surprise you out of nowhere. And they might even sneak it when you’re not looking. So, watch out for that.

Nicole Aucoin (39:02):
Absolutely. Getting your kids involved in the kitchen is such an important thing. It’s messy, it takes extra time, it’s definitely a little bit more of a process when you’re prepping, but it’s so good for them just to be involved. I think what I’ve realized in this season is, it’s given us a little bit more time to slow down and actually spend more time with the kids, and we are all involved in the kitchen, and it’s just part of our nightly routine. Hopefully this challenges someone to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen with their kids, because I think that’s a great, healthy habit to establish at a super young age. Anything else you want to bring attention to before we hop off today?

Adam Feit (39:41):
I think, to just go back, I know we were supposed to talk about athletes and we went all over the place, but with the athletes thing, in terms of motivation, it’s okay. Nicole, you had brought up about challenges, right? I think, in our industry of health and fitness, or psychology, whatnot, we get into this notion of like rewards are bad. Don’t just continually look for something, don’t do it for a cash prize. Don’t do it for that. But they work, and they work for different types of people at different types of times and in different situations.

Adam Feit (40:15):
When you have opportunities to reward, maybe it’s not an all time thing, something that we’re talking a lot about right now, or like intermittent rewards, are you rewarding those behaviors? Are you complimenting? Whatever the actions might be, involve them in the process, especially with athletes. Whether that is a challenge, whether that is getting them to try different things, again, it doesn’t have to be a cash prize, it doesn’t have to be a shaker bottle, whatever it might be, but maybe as a coach, they’re trying some things and they like that recipe. Then, maybe you actually got the ingredients for them so they could try it out on themselves, whatever it might be.

Adam Feit (40:48):
Going back to the athlete nutrition, understanding that your influence as a coach can be super impactful with how you craft that conversation, but also their interpretation of that situation. If they’re doing really well and they did something that made you proud, let them know about it. That small token of man, maybe that is a month’s worth, or a week’s worth, or a meal on a meal delivery plan. Maybe that is a gift card to that restaurant that they said they finally started to like.

Adam Feit (41:17):
Whatever it might be, putting in that effort now, because it’s authentic and you care about them, it’s going to multiply itself over 10, 15, 20. I can’t give you an actual number, because I’m just speculating, but I know it’s going to come back to you in a more positive manner.

Nicole Aucoin (41:30):
I love that. You have to reward the bright spots. You have to draw attention because those successes lead to motivation to continue. If you see something positive, say it, talk to people. Awesome job. I’m really proud of you. You got into a situation that could have been really tough, and you handled it perfectly great job. I think for any business owner saying that with your employees, any time you can do that with your kids, like, “Hey, I’m really proud of you by the way you handled X, Y, and Z.” It’s going to positively reinforce the behavior that you want to see. I love that. One more type of challenge is you can get local partners to sponsor things.

Nicole Aucoin (42:07):
It doesn’t have to cost you anything to run a challenge and do different prizes. We give out prizes weekly for participation, not for results. If they participate every week, then we have local partners that will raffle off something and it gives them some exposure to our following. But we are also not paying for a prize, which is a really great strategy to help build local partnerships. Lots of different ideas, but I love that idea of just making sure that you’re cognizant of the awesome things that your clients are doing, and really circling back around to that client-centered approach.

Adam Feit (42:44):
Yeah. Nicole, I love how you bring up, celebrate the process, not the outcome there, because they may not reach their goal. It may have been too lofty, it may have been too out of reach, but you supported them along the way. I actually just posted on my personal social media about we get in these habits of ranking and recording, and we want everybody to know about it, but are you taking the time as a coach to review the successes that went really well, or the habits that went really well on a certain day, or all of a sudden it was that bright spot? I think that’s crucial.

Adam Feit (43:17):
The more good you can find out of these situations, it’s going to empower them to continue on that path. When things start to get difficult, when things start to get a little bit crazy, they know that they’ve done it before, they can continue to do it again. That’s a really great trait of a coach. Continuously look for the progress, not what is at the end of the road of that outcome.

Nicole Aucoin (43:37):
Awesome. Adam, thanks for coming on. I appreciate you and all that you do, and I’m excited to continue to work with you guys at PN in the future.

Adam Feit (43:45):
Right back at you, and no shameless plug whatsoever, but I got to throw this in there. I don’t know if we’re going to do video or not, but I’m a verified Amazon customer. I love the cookbook that Nicole and her family had put together for healthy kids cookbook, 100% kid approved recipes. I’ve got two kids. We are putting it to the test this week. Incredibly laid out, simple to do, and just really well put together. Nicole, thank you for that, and I look forward to seeing many more in the industry of health and fitness. So thanks.

Nicole Aucoin (44:17):
Thank you for all your support.

Nicole Aucoin (44:21):
I hope you enjoyed that episode with Adam Feit from Precision Nutrition. PN and HSN work really well together for a few reasons. Number one, our philosophy is the same. We focus on a simple habit-based approach. Number two, we’re both data driven. Combined, we’ve worked with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. That’s a lot of clients to see what works well and what doesn’t. Guess what? We both see the same exact thing. The simpler you make your nutrition program, the easier it is for people to follow.

Nicole Aucoin (44:55):
If they follow it consistently, they’re going to see success.if they see success, that gives them motivation to continue. If you are looking for some free help to market your nutrition program, I have something awesome for you. One of our favorite things to do is a nutrition talk. Think of a virtual nutrition seminar. We are going to give you one to do. The presentation, the speaking notes, and a printable for you to give everyone that registers. You can use this to reengage past clients and even capture new leads. People are more likely to take action around a milestone, and this will be a great time to do a nutrition talk in the new year.

Nicole Aucoin (45:36):
Healthy Steps Nutrition has claimed January 2nd as international nutrition talk day. Hundreds of gyms using the HSN mentoring platform will all be doing this nutrition talk, and you can do it too, to empower your community to become the healthiest version of themselves. Then, at the end, you give them a call to action, sign up for your nutrition challenge, sign up for individual coaching program. All you need to do is click the link in the show notes, and we will give you instant access to the presentation, speaking notes, a recording of us doing it so you feel confident when doing it yourself.

Nicole Aucoin (46:10):
One last thing, did you love this episode? Please make sure you subscribe and review this podcast. Do me one more favor. Please share it with a fellow nutrition coach or gym owner. Our mission is to empower gym owners and coaches to feel confident when talking about nutrition, and we need your help to get the message out there. 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