Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast Episode 60: How To Build A Nutrition Program Into A CrossFit Gym

In this episode, Jason and Nicole Aucoin, the owners of Healthy Steps Nutrition and CrossFit HSN, discuss what you really need to know when building a nutrition program into a CrossFit Gym!
 
Adding a nutrition program will:
  • Help your clients see better results
  • Increase the lifetime value of your clients
  • Add a revenue stream
  • Expand your reach to beyond members of your gym
 
Listen for the last thing that we talk about; this is the downfall for MOST gyms!
 
If you love this podcast, check out our new podcast, Nutrition Made Simple!

 

Don’t forget to scroll down; you will find a 7-day jumpstart guide on the blog post for this episode that’s 100% FREE!

Topics Discussed In This Episode

Ensuring A Consistent Message

Are you talking about nutrition regularly in your business or is nutrition only discussed during a challenge. In this episode, Jason Aucoin discussed how he talks about nutrition during classes and how to make it easy for your members to connect the dots between their nutrition and their performance.
The open is right around the corner! Now is the perfect opportunity to be talking bout how proper nutrition will improve performance.
Listen to this week’s episode on the Nutrition Made Simple Podcast, where we discuss nutrition tops for the CrossFit Open! 

Revamping Your Intake Process

The best way to grow a nutrition program in a CrossFit gym is to make it easy for new people to get started with both, nutrition and fitness. Take a minute to think about your ideal clients. What are their goals when signing up for the gym?
For Healthy Steps Nutrition & CrossFit HSN HQ, our clients are looking to feel better, increase confidence, lose weight and look good naked!
We would be doing them a disservice by skipping the foundation of the fitness pyramid, nutrition, and jumping right to fitness. 

Owner & Staff Involvement

Simply put, the importance of nutrition starts at the top and must be consistent down the line from owners, to staff to members.
I truly believe no staff member would not want to help their clients become the healthiest versions of themselves but the truth is most coaches do not talk about the importance of nutrition.

Why?

Because they don’t feel comfortable talking about nutrition. What if they get a question they don’t know the answer to? What if they have to say “I don’t know” to a client.
This can all be avoided if your staff is trained on what your nutrition program entails, how someone gets started, and feels confident when answering the most common questions about your program.
At HSN Mentoring, we recommend that head coaches and people who do the free intro are test clients for the nutrition programs so they can speak from experience. 

7-Day Jumpstart Guide To Building A Nutrition Program

Day 1: Complete The Self-Assessment

Day 2: Start Practicing What You Preach

If you want your members to make nutrition a priority, you need to! 
Start by trying simple recipes and sharing them in class and on your social media. 
Do you struggle with nutrition? Hire a nutrition coach to help you! 

Day 3: Determine Your Nutrition Philosophy

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. 
Your members and followers are overwhelmed with all the different diets out there, you need one simple approach and the systems to keep them accountable. 

Where To Start...

Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little start, and no sugar. 
HSN MENTORING PERK: 
You can feel confident that you are providing your clients with a program that is guided, tested, and proven when partnering with HSN Mentoring. Every client resource and video from HSN HQ are written and backed by Registered Dietitians. 

 

In this episode, Nicole Aucoin and Ashley Osterman discuss our nutrition philosophy at Healthy Steps Nutrition.

Day 5: Provide Free Help

If you aren’t talking about nutrition regularly, your members will not associate nutrition help with you. Build nutrition as part of your content calendar and share nutrition tips regularly.  
Are you looking for inspiration? 
 
HSN MENTORING PERK: 
As part of the monthly subscription for HSN Mentoring, you receive nutrition tips, video scripts email content every month! When signing up for HSN you receive access to one year’s worth of nutrition content to start using right away. 

 

Examples Of Free Help:

Day 6: Identify Who Would Be A Good Fit As Your Nutrition Coach

As a gym owner, you can’t wear all the hats. You need someone to help you head up your program.
The problem is not all fitness coaches make great nutrition coaches!
HSN MENTORING PERK: 
Once you find a good fit to help support your nutrition program, HSN Mentoring trains the owner and the coach to understand the fundamental skills to become an effective nutrition coach. As part of the training process, the coach will undergo a coach evaluation to ensure you feel confident before accepting paying clients. 

 

Above all, you need someone that is passionate about nutrition, someone that is great with people and follow through.  

Who Makes A Great Nutrition Coach?

  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Someone Who Has Been Through A Transformation Themselves

Day 7: Revamp Your Client Journey

We know the best way help your clients achieve the results they are looking for and to grow a nutrition program is to guide new clients to get started on nutrition and fitness from day one. 
This means you need to revamp your intake process and your offerings.
Revamping your intake process is the first thing that we do at HSN Mentoring. 
HSN MENTORING PERK: 
The first part of the training will help you revamp your client journey to create nutrition-only offerings, and a hybrid offering (nutrition and fitness). We provide individual pricing recommendations based on your membership prices and area.

 

Did you know that HSN Mentoring has a turn-key solution for gym owners to build a nutrition program in-house?

HSN Mentoring is the largest nutrition mentorship business in the world, helping thousands of gym owners and coaches build successful nutrition programs.

All training and ongoing mentoring is approved for CrossFit CEUs

Additional FREE Help Related To
Launching A Nutrition Program

Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast Episodes:

  • Episode 56: How To Turn Your Nutrition Challenge Into Recurring Revenue HERE
  • Episode 52: Building A  Thriving Nutrition Program Even Through A Second COVID Shutdown HERE
  • Episode 48: 4 Steps To Getting Your First Nutrition Clients HERE
  • Episode 38: How To Coach Nutrition Using A Habit-Based Approach HERE

Blogs:

  • Everything You Need To Run A Nutrition Challenge In A CrossFit Gym HERE
  • How To Run A Nutrition Challenge (Guest Post For PushPress) HERE

Join The Facebook Group:
Nutrition Made Simple For Gym Owners

Past Webinar Recordings

Live Q&As

Simple tips to help you build nutrition into your gym

Connect with other gym owners who are looking to build nutrition programs

Episode Transcript:

Nicole Aucoin (00:01):
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 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 communities. Today is one of my favorite topics, adding nutrition into a CrossFit gym. Most CrossFit gym owners open a gym because they fell in love with the sport and they want to help others find the same journey to becoming the healthiest versions of themselves.

Nicole Aucoin (01:04):
After speaking with thousands of gym owners, between free calls, speaking at the games and various conferences around the world, I hear the same thing over and over again, Nicole, I know nutrition is important. It’s the foundation of the fitness pyramid. I tell people that nutrition is important, but then the conversation quickly transitions into let’s learn the foundational movements of CrossFit. They skip right over the most important thing and the most important part of helping their clients actually see results and achieve the results that they’re looking for. Adding a nutrition program will help your clients see better results, increase the lifetime value of your clients, add a revenue stream, and also expand your reach beyond just the members of your gym. This was so important during COVID shutdowns. Healthy Steps Nutrition started as a nutrition company in 2012. Later, we expanded to the CrossFit affiliate.

Nicole Aucoin (02:10):
Our business is flipped compared to most people listening on this podcast and almost all CrossFit gyms. But the principles still apply. We know the best option to help people achieve their goals is through nutrition and fitness. At Healthy Steps Nutrition HQ, most of our clients start off with nutrition only, or nutrition and fitness. When they start eating better, they start feeling better. Then we get them in the gym. During COVID shutdowns, our business didn’t skip a beat. In fact, we actually gained so many nutrition only clients. Why? Because it was easy to guide people to get started with a virtual nutrition program. Then when we added and opened up the gym again, we just added them to fitness programs as well. Our HQ location is really our testing ground to see what works and what doesn’t. We help gym owners from experience because we can confidently say what works and what doesn’t. We’ve tried it all.

Nicole Aucoin (03:10):
Just like any program that you want to add in your gym, you can’t just complete a course and then magically the program thrives. If you want to build a nutrition program in a gym, any gym, it comes down to one word, consistency. In this episode, Jason and I give practical tips on how to be consistent and what you really need to know to build a successful nutrition program in a gym. Listen for the last thing that we talked about, this is really the downfall to most gyms. Also, don’t forget to click the link in the show notes. This week, underneath this episode, we will give you a seven day jumpstart guide on the blog post that’s 100% free to help you get started with your nutrition program. We will get to this episode on building a nutrition program in a gym right after this message. Did you know that HSN Mentoring is a turnkey solution to save you time and not reinvent the wheel when it comes to building a nutrition program from scratch? That’s right.

Nicole Aucoin (04:15):
Our mentoring program starts off with a training that includes online modules, homework and mentoring calls. The training teaches you how to set up a nutrition program, how to market your nutrition program, how to coach clients using a habit-based approach. Most importantly, how to retain them. Some gyms will launch with individual coaching while most will launch with a challenge. Either way, the goal is to convert those clients to ongoing coaching after an initial three month program or an initial challenge. Getting started is easy. You just set up a free call. We chat to learn a little bit more about you to see if it’s a good fit. If it is, we invite you to sign up and move forward with the training. You can get your program up and running within four to six weeks. All right. Let’s get to this episode on adding a nutrition program in a CrossFit gym. Jay, welcome to the Grow Your Nutrition Business Podcast.

Jason Aucoin (05:13):
Thanks for having me.

Nicole Aucoin (05:14):
I’m excited to chat with you today. It’s been a while since you’ve been on, since the middle of the first shutdown.

Jason Aucoin (05:20):
Yeah, that was a whole lot of fun.

Nicole Aucoin (05:23):
It feels like a year has gone by since then, and it almost does.

Jason Aucoin (05:28):
For sure.

Nicole Aucoin (05:29):
Well, today we are talking about how to build a nutrition program in a CrossFit gym. This is such an important question because unlike most other fitness facilities, we have this giant pyramid that has nutrition on the bottom, which you painted in our gym. Most people say nutrition is really important and then they completely skip over the conversation to sell people right on fitness to being the best option for them, right?

Jason Aucoin (05:57):
Yeah, for sure.

Nicole Aucoin (05:59):
Today we’re really going to dive into what are some things that we do at our HQ location, what are some best practices after training over 3,000 gym owners and coaches, what are the people that are most successful doing. The first thing I want to talk about is a consistent message. Are you talking about nutrition during a challenge or are you talking about it all the time on a weekly basis, on a daily basis? Jay, one of the things you did the other day when we were coaching, and we’ve done this all the time, right? Questions of the day related to nutrition. One of the things that you did was you carried that conversation into the entire warmup. Talk me through what you did.

Jason Aucoin (06:39):
Yeah. I think it’s important, at least twice a week we have some sort of question of the day that is in or around food. The morning, I think it was last Saturday morning that you’re speaking of, and the question of the day was what did you have for breakfast today? I always like to open up a question of the day because to other people it’s a good way, it’s a great icebreaker. I’m sure a lot of gyms do it. But when you bring nutrition into it, the conversations start happening in the gym. For example, one person will say, well, I tried this from your recipe. Then somebody hears about it. Then other people say, well, I don’t have anything. Then other people are chiming in going, oh, you need to have something. It’s awesome that other people start talking about food because we’re bringing that up and nutrition and how important it is to fuel your body throughout the day.

Jason Aucoin (07:28):
I mean, we’ve got amazing athletes that bust their tushy in the gym, and then if they plateau or they don’t see the results. And I said, well, how much protein are you having throughout the day? Well, I don’t know. I’m not sure.

Nicole Aucoin (07:41):
Or what did you have before you came here? Oh, I didn’t have anything.

Jason Aucoin (07:44):
Nothing.

Nicole Aucoin (07:44):
I ran out of the house. Then you’re talking about, hey, this is an option that I do every morning, super simple. These Costco bags that have fruit and vegetables in them, you definitely need to get them. Now people are all of a sudden getting them.

Jason Aucoin (07:58):
Yeah. That night actually, I told everybody what I was doing. I used the Ascent protein. I do strawberry. I mix it with the little frozen bags of vegetables with some berries in it. That night I had two clients send the gym phone two pictures saying, are these the ones you were talking about? I think people don’t realize the impact of what you say in a class, that it carries over. People think about that stuff. When they sit down to eat, they remember what you tell them.

Nicole Aucoin (08:28):
Absolutely. If performing well is important to them and getting better, they’re going to want to do what they can to get better. Right? If you can give them simple and actionable tips like, hey, try this one thing. Okay. They try it. Now they like it. Great. It’s another tool in their toolbox. I think questions of the day are a great way to just get the conversation started consistently no matter who’s coaching the class. The other thing that the nutrition coaches do that are coaching the classes is talk to members after they get done. Like, hey, how’s it going? I noticed that you’re a little dragging today during the workout. What are you having? Are you feeling your body? Are you hydrated enough? It’s easy to connect the dots with people with fitness.

Jason Aucoin (09:09):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, let’s take water for example. If you’re coming to the gym and you think you’re going to drink the water that you needed before the workout during the workout, you’ve already lost. I remember one time you telling me that up to 20%, 20 to 30% of not having enough water can impact your workouts by up to 20 or 30%. Some of these athletes that come in, I know they’re not hydrated enough just by their workout, their production. I can go up after and say, hey, how is it going? I just started open candid conversation with, how are you feeling right now? Do you like how you feel right now? Then I let them talk and I just listen. Some of the clients that I’m more familiar with and I can joke around with, I might even say, if I come over to your house later and I looked in your pantry, would you say that you eat clean? Because they’ll say no, no, no.

Jason Aucoin (09:56):
I’m eating good, coach. I’m like, well, tell me what you had for… That’s the best one. No, no, no coach. I’m eating really good. All right. Cool. Tell me what you had for breakfast today. Then what did you have for a snack? What did you have for lunch? Awesome. It’s 6:30 PM. You’ve had 70 grams of protein and you’re 200 pounds. You’re trying to make gains. They don’t connect the dots so it’s kind of my job to help them connect those dots.

Nicole Aucoin (10:18):
I love it. It’s easy to have those conversations when people already associate nutrition help with you, right? They know that you can help them. Giving them those simple and actionable tips, and then when they’re ready for a customized plan, when they’re ready for individualized support, they sign up for nutrition coaching. That’s a way to keep the message consistent during classes, but truthfully, it starts before that. What are they seeing on your website? What are they seeing in email content? Are you talking about nutrition on social media regularly? One of the things that we do with gym owners when they sign up for HSN Mentoring is look at their lead nurture. If I opt-in to your new lead campaign, if I enter in my email to get your price sheets or apply for coaching or book a free intro, am I seeing any nutrition-related emails between the time I enter my email address and the time that you call me or the time that I show up for a free intro?

Nicole Aucoin (11:08):
For 99% of gym owners, they say no. That’s an easy thing that you can do. You change it once and then it’s good for a while. Keeping that message consistent is really important. Jay, you and I obviously are super involved with nutrition, but owners need to be on board because you’re the leader of your tribe. You have to be on board with the nutrition program.

Jason Aucoin (11:30):
Yeah, absolutely. If I’m being honest here, up till about a year ago, I hadn’t really gone through the course, the updated course. Now that I went through the updated course a year ago, I feel so much more comfortable talking to clients about nutrition. I know how we can help them. They have a problem, and I know that we can help solve it. By just listening, feeling comfortable talking to them about it, now I can have that conversation with them and I can pair them up with a nutrition coach that’s going to help them, help their goals and help meet those expectations.

Nicole Aucoin (12:03):
I love it. Exactly. You live with me, right?

Jason Aucoin (12:08):
I do.

Nicole Aucoin (12:08):
You’re around nutrition all the time.

Jason Aucoin (12:11):
I didn’t feel comfortable until up to a year ago. How sad is that? It’s almost embarrassing. I probably shouldn’t be saying this on a podcast, but I felt more comfortable with all the gym movements and coaching and cleaning and all of those things, but I avoided it to a certain extent. Now, I mean, the phone rings five to 10 times a day for nutrition and now I welcome it. I absorb it. I’ve cried. If I’m being honest, I’ve had clients when we do a Zoom and I’ve gotten on and they tell me their struggles, I know we can help them. It’s tears of joy because I know where they’re coming from. I’ve been through my own challenge. I’ve lost 50 pounds throughout my career of weight. I know what it’s like. It’s awesome when you actually can help them and you have the answers and the solution, and you can point them in the right direction because fitness is great. I can bust my butt in there for an hour and I can give them all the tools and the nuggets. But the other 23 hours of the day is where they’re really going to need the help.

Nicole Aucoin (13:08):
I love that. To your defense, you were full-time at the fire department, and then a year ago you came over full-time so you didn’t really do any of the free intros and you were coaching one time a week. To your defense, we’re in a better place now.

Jason Aucoin (13:21):
I can start a good IV though, back then.

Nicole Aucoin (13:24):
That’s right. All right. We understand consistent message. Now I want to talk about that kind of you just brought it up, right? Revamping your intake process and guiding new people to get started with both and making it so easy for your members to upgrade their membership to nutrition and fitness. It really starts with the message. First, people need to expect nutrition to be a part of the conversation, but you have to make it easy for people to sign up for both on day one. Jay, I mean, we have more people sign up for nutrition only than we do for the gym because I think it’s a little less intimidating to come and do nutrition than coming to the gym.

Jason Aucoin (14:03):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We have people all the time that are calling. They’re not gym members and they come in on Saturdays, they come on Tuesday nights, they come on certain nights and meet with our nutrition coaches. Yeah, it’s awesome.

Nicole Aucoin (14:16):
From a gym owner standpoint, including nutrition with fitness is going to help your clients see better results. If they see better results, they’re going to stay longer. They’re going to be happier. They’re going to refer more people to you. But for a lot of gyms, they have past clients who maybe moved a little bit further away or found a different fitness, or maybe just got out of their routine. Would they be interested in nutrition coaching? Absolutely. We have quite a few past clients that come back for nutrition only, or clients that maybe paused their membership for the gym for whatever reason but they’ll stay with nutrition coaching and then come back to the gym later. Think about where you could position this nutrition program. It’s not just for your current members but it can be a way for you to onboard new people. Get them started with nutrition and then upgrade them later to nutrition and fitness.

Nicole Aucoin (15:07):
When we think about this situation now and the season that we’re in, I’m talking to gym owners from Canada, from Ireland, all over. They’re physically closed, right? There was two gyms that I’ve talked to in the past week. One of them in Ireland has not had a new member in over eight months because they’ve been closed, right? No new revenue coming in for months and months and months because he wasn’t signing anyone up for virtual fitness, but could he get people started with nutrition only? Absolutely. We actually have a gym that we had on the podcast, episode 52, Phoenix Strength and Conditioning who is in Ireland and actually grew their nutrition program because of all the engagement, all the super creative ideas they had. They built a solid nutrition program during the closures and got people signed up for just nutrition. It is possible. If you’re listening to this podcast and your gym is physically closed, think about how you can use nutrition as the way to onboard new clients until your physical location is open.

Jason Aucoin (16:12):
Yeah, absolutely. I think I’m going to add one other thing too. For the gym owners out there, we’re playing a long game here. If you’re looking for something instant overnight, you have to establish yourself as the nutrition experts, right? Can I tell you how many conversations I’ve had with clients? I’m on the phone with them 15 or 20 minutes. I’ve heard them. I feel them. I’ve taken notes. Then the last question is, do you take insurance? Or something like that. Then that might be the final end for them. But then three months later, four months later, six months later, guess who’s picking up the phone to call? Just because someone does, if they call and you provide the information for them, you send them to your website.

Jason Aucoin (16:51):
You give them healthy, free recipes. Help them. It’s going to come to fruition. It will turn around. You are the expert. They will come back to you and they will have a safe place knowing that when they’re ready, because let’s be honest, not everybody is ready. Not everybody, when they go in to see a nutrition coach. Prior to that, it’s probably pretty intimidating for them.

Nicole Aucoin (17:11):
People have tried so many different diets before they seek out a professional. Dieting isn’t new to them, right? You have to as a coach help them understand the value that you’re providing. Your value as a nutrition coach is not giving someone a meal plan. It isn’t giving them macro numbers. It’s providing them a plan that’s simple and actionable, and then the accountability and support. We have clients that have been with us for literally years as nutrition clients. I’m not giving them any magic secret every time we talk to them. There’s nothing magic about the conversations, but they know I’m going to provide them support and accountability, that our team of dieticians is going to provide them support and accountability. If they hit a roadblock or if they need something, we’re here to help them.

Jason Aucoin (17:57):
Absolutely. I mean, that’s all in a nutshell.

Nicole Aucoin (18:02):
You want to revamp your intake process. You need to figure out how to make it easy for you to sign up for both nutrition and fitness. You need to value your time as a nutrition coach. If you’re an owner, you want to make sure that you’re charging appropriately for your nutrition program. We have an entire podcast which we’ll link in the show notes on pricing and packaging, but you want to make sure that you’re charging and valuing your time. If you run a nutrition challenge, that’s a great way to kick start a program, but make sure you have an option for people to continue after your nutrition challenge is over. Jay, we ran a nutrition challenge as a member retention strategy during the first shutdown and it worked really well. Our members didn’t pay for it. They saw some really great results. We also had non-members pay for the nutrition challenge. If your gym is closed, that could be a good option.

Jason Aucoin (18:51):
Yeah. I think people too at the gym, no matter how much you talk about it, sometimes people just aren’t hearing it. They’re listening but they’re not hearing it. Then all of a sudden, when they did that challenge, now fast forward six, eight, nine months later, they haven’t done that challenge. And if they start falling off track, guess who they’re going to come to now knowing that it’s guided, tested, proven it works.

Nicole Aucoin (19:14):
It’s funny when we think about the progression of the Healthy Steps Nutrition program, it’s gotten simpler and simpler every single year. The more simple you make it, the easier it is for people to implement, the more action they’re going to take.

Jason Aucoin (19:30):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve been through the program. We live it. We preach it. Our kids live it and it’s a way of life for us. I think when it becomes a way of life, it’s easy. It’s a lot easier when it’s a way of life.

Nicole Aucoin (19:45):
Absolutely. Revamping your intake process is highly, highly recommended. We know the best strategy to grow a nutrition program inside a CrossFit gym, any gym in general, is to guide new people to get started with nutrition and fitness. From there, you’re highlighting the heck out of those people that are doing it and your members have [inaudible 00:20:03]. All right, let’s go to the last thing we want to talk about today. There are so many things to talk about when it comes to implementing a nutrition program inside of a CrossFit gym. We’re looking at high-level here. Owner and staff involvement in a nutrition program.

Jason Aucoin (20:20):
Huge. Huge. We just got a new client this morning because of a staff member who heard of a client that was struggling a little bit with a thyroid issue or just with some weight issues. She said, you should speak to one of our nutrition coaches. This coach happen to let me know. I saw that client this morning and took a walk with her and talked to her a little bit about what her concerns, what she’s looking for, her goals. I already had an idea of who I wanted to pair her up with. The reason we got that client was because of our coach, not because of me.

Nicole Aucoin (20:57):
Well, and then there was this communication bridge between, hey, I heard someone who needs help with nutrition. I’m going to put it in Slack so that the person who’s supposed to follow up with them follows up with them and that person gets followed up on. I think I’ve heard so many times from gym owners like, oh yeah, we might just say, oh, go talk to Jason or go talk to Nicole. But then they never actually talked to Nicole because they’re scared. Right? Then that person falls through the cracks. Instead, coaches need to be proactive. Hey, this person mentioned that they need help. Reach out to them so that we can guide them to the best option to help them. I think until the entire staff is on board that nutrition and getting people signed up for nutrition is not upselling.

Nicole Aucoin (21:41):
It’s literally guiding people to the best option to help them achieve their goals. Owners, yes, it trickles down from you. I also want to bring up the fact of bringing new coaches on board. Are you talking about nutrition in your interview process? Are you bringing new coaches on board and letting them understand where nutrition is on your priority list? Getting them some elevator pitches. Getting them some things to talk about so that they feel comfortable talking about nutrition. I truly believe that no coach would purposely not help a client achieve the results they’re looking to achieve or help a business grow, but they’re not going to talk about something they don’t feel comfortable talking about.

Jason Aucoin (22:23):
1000%. That was me. That was me a couple of years ago. I didn’t feel as though I could talk about nutrition the way you guys did. I was actually intimidated by you. I mean, I still am with workouts, but that’s a whole another… Seriously, because for you guys, a lot of the dieticians, it just flows off you and that’s intimidating. As a gym owner, I’m like, man, you guys can make it sound so good. But once I went through the course and then… It takes some practice. We role-played a lot. We practice. I practiced with the coaches. They practiced with me. It was silly. Yeah, but role-playing definitely helps. I think another thing is just follow up. It’s huge. Our phone rings, like I said, five to 10 times a day. You have to call those clients back. They need help. They’re going to find it. It’s going to be you or it’s going to be someone else. Why shouldn’t it be you?

Nicole Aucoin (23:08):
Exactly. If you’re not following up with leads quick, getting them on the phone, it’s going to be a struggle. Jay, we switched something and we haven’t really pushed this out a ton yet. I’m probably opening up a can of worms right now. Sorry.

Jason Aucoin (23:22):
I don’t know what you’re going to say, so now I’m nervous.

Nicole Aucoin (23:25):
We switched something when the gym closed because of COVID the first time, we used to have Book a Free intro on our website. Then I was like, you know what? Let’s just capture these people’s email addresses. Let’s have them apply for coaching.

Jason Aucoin (23:39):
Yeah, it’s great. Now, before I call them, I get an email. This is Nicole and she’s looking for XYZ. Is she looking for nutrition help or physical fitness? Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it’s one or the other. The ones that are nutrition, it also asks a question. What are your goals? What are you trying to do? I already know prior to calling that client that day, hey Nicole, this is Jason from Healthy Steps Nutrition. I noticed that you’re looking for help with weight loss. I noticed that you want building muscle, whatever it might be. Right then and there, they know that I’m engaged because I’ve listened to what they wrote down and now I’m calling them saying, I want to help you achieve those goals. Tell me more. Then by the end, they’re coming in, they’re booking an appointment.

Nicole Aucoin (24:24):
For us, it has helped us tremendously capture leads and get people to sign up versus the Book a FREE intro. I mean, if we’re being honest, we didn’t have a ton of people book free intros before. A couple of month. But now, the people that are applying for nutrition coaching, it’s so much faster. It’s not intimidating to fill out a Google form versus it is intimidating to say, okay, I’m committing to going out of my comfort zone and going to this gym who I’ve never met anyone before to talk about nutrition.

Jason Aucoin (24:57):
It says CrossFit on it. Oh my gosh, that’s going to really be scary.

Nicole Aucoin (25:00):
I think this could be what you could do if you’re listening to this, you’re like, hey, that sounds like an interesting idea. Test it out. Do it as an experiment. Is it working for you? For us, it’s worked great. We are not going back to booking a free intro. Yes. We have people book free intros if they’re looking to come to the gym after they apply, but now we’ve captured their email. They’re in our email funnels. They’re getting information from us on a regular basis. At some point, if they don’t talk to us right now or get signed up right now, they’re more likely to within the first two weeks.

Jason Aucoin (25:30):
Yeah. They’ve had a conversation with us. They’re in our emails that get sent out on a regular basis now. Again, this is the long game. I mentioned this earlier. I think at the beginning I expected when I got done with my pitch, I thought, oh, they’re going to sign up because I did a good job on that one. Then they don’t sign up. At some point, they know that they’re going to come back to you when they’re ready. Maybe it’s a finance issue. Maybe they’ve got other things going on, but when the time is right… That’s why I always have a conversation with them. I’m asking them personal questions, intimate questions. I want to know about them so that they feel comfortable. When they do come in, hey, it’s finally nice to meet you.

Jason Aucoin (26:07):
We’re having those candid conversations. Maybe that’s why the tears have come out a couple of times with people. I think when you get on that level with them and you’re building a relationship with them and they know that they’re comfortable, that you’re going to help them. It’s just opening. It’s lowering the barriers for you as a nutrition coach.

Nicole Aucoin (26:24):
Or a fitness coach.

Jason Aucoin (26:25):
Or a fitness coach.

Nicole Aucoin (26:27):
One suggestion I would have for you, if you have head coaches or front desk staff or people who run free intros that are not nutrition coaches at your gym, I would highly recommend that they are test clients for your nutrition program. Let them see it from experience. It’s so much easier to talk about something when you’re doing it from experience. If you have someone who’s in those roles, maybe you have them be a part of your test clients as you are going through and launching your program. That’s exactly what we have gym owners and coaches do who are going through our mentoring program. At one point during the training process, they have to have some test clients. It’s either the coach practicing on the owner, which is one test client.

Nicole Aucoin (27:11):
Then the other one is a head coach or a front desk person or a person that does a free intro so that everyone is speaking the same language. Well, Jay, any final thoughts here for gym owners who are like, this is the year nutrition has to be done in my program? I have to change this informal conversation or a challenge into a nutrition program. Any final thoughts?

Jason Aucoin (27:34):
Man, from a year ago? I mean, we definitely had a PR year with nutrition this year. I’m totally not taking credit for this whatsoever. But what I am going to say is it’s been a lot of your hard work because of the Instagram and all these different avenues. But call people back, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Because once you go through the program, it’s all of a sudden things start clicking. Yes. I remember picking up the phone and calling you going, I don’t know an objection when they say, I can’t, it’s too much money, 179 or 240 or whatever. You said, well, most of the time our nutrition coaches end up saving our clients money after they get done food prepping or less eating out. All these objections now that I’ve gone through and all these things that come up, I’m so much more comfortable now because I went through the program.

Nicole Aucoin (28:21):
Getting some formal education. If you are a gym owner and you’re looking to build a nutrition program, we would absolutely love to help. You can book a free call with me. That’s pretty much my only job these days is talk to gym owners, do these podcasts. Nutritionist is such a huge piece of the puzzle that’s missing in so many gyms and you opened your gym to help people. You want to guide them to the best option, help them achieve their goals, which has to include nutrition. All right.

Jason Aucoin (28:52):
Yeah, absolutely.

Nicole Aucoin (28:52):
Jay, thanks for coming on the podcast.

Jason Aucoin (28:55):
Hey, thanks for having me.

Nicole Aucoin (28:58):
There you have it, building a nutrition program in any type of gym. Yes. We work with mostly CrossFit gyms and we are a CrossFit gym, but it applies to any gym. Comes down to one word, consistency. As a gym owner, you are the leader of your tribe. You have to be involved with the nutrition program even if it’s not the day-to-day operations. I get it. Gym owners wear a lot of hats and you probably are thinking, I can’t add this hat too, but you need to support the growth of the program and support your nutrition coach. I’ve heard from too many gym owners that they had a nutrition program. They had a coach and the coach left and then the program fizzled out or the program left with that coach. That is not what you want as a business owner. When you add a revenue stream and you start supporting your clients, you don’t want that revenue stream to go away and you don’t want that support for your clients to go away.

Nicole Aucoin (29:52):
This is why we require owners to go through our training. You are the leader of your tribe. If you expect your staff to be bought into your nutrition program, you need to be bought into your nutrition program. This is one of the screening questions that I asked during free calls. After helping thousands of gyms around the world launch nutrition programs, I know without a doubt, owner involvement is vital to success. You don’t have to do all of the things, but you need to know and understand the main things. If you are a gym owner and you are looking to turn an informal conversation about nutrition into a comprehensive nutrition program, we would love to help you. HSN has a turnkey solution that includes training for an owner and a coach to learn how to set up the nutrition part of your business and also the fundamental skills that are needed to become an effective nutrition coach.

Nicole Aucoin (30:54):
Click the link in the show notes to book a free call today. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab the free guide, seven days to jumpstart your nutrition program. Are you loving these podcasts episodes? Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss another episode. 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