5 Engagement Strategies To Increase Awareness & Participation in Your Facility’s Nutrition Program.


Are you a gym owner who’s starting or started a nutrition program? If so then this article is for you! Increasing awareness and participation in your new program will be the most challenging with existing clients. Engagement strategies will be huge when trying to grow your nutrition client base.

Gym owners get into this business to help people live a longer healthier life. Somewhere along the way they realize that increasing awareness of all the programs is hard work! Almost as hard as working out! New clients are highly engaged because there are systems and processes that educate them about the program from the time they start. However, existing clients are another story.

In this article we will discuss 5 nutrition program engagement strategies every gym owner should be using to increase awareness of their nutrition program, and get current clients involved.


What Are Nutrition Program Engagement Strategies & Why Are They Important?

Engagement strategies are a plan of action to build awareness and foster relationships with current clients, potential clients, and followers.

Nutrition program engagement strategies are important because they help to ensure the success and impact of a gym owners nutrition program. By actively engaging in nutrition topics with existing and new members, organizations can better understand their clients needs, preferences, and barriers to program participation.

This information can then be used to refine the delivery of content to better meet the needs of potential clients, resulting in increased program uptake and improved health outcomes. Additionally, engaging existing members with nutrition content can help to build trust, and foster a sense of community and support, leading to greater long-term success and sustainability of the program.

Effective engagement strategies can also help to identify and address potential challenges early on, enabling gym owners to take proactive measures to overcome them.

5 Engagement Strategies Every Gym Owner Should Use!

Gym owners wear all the hats when it comes to managing their facilities. Streamlining the process of getting current gym members on board with the nutrition program is key to its success. Not only will participation help clients live a long healthy life, but it will also help the gym owner increase their revenue.

Let’s get right into our five tips!

Tip #1 - Make Sure Nutrition Messaging Starts From The Top

registered dietitians from healthy steps nutrition having a staff meeting

What we mean by this is that the gym owner and coaches are like a “teacher” when it comes to the nutrition program. They should lead by example and practice what they preach. The owner or manager must start the process by teaching the coaches about the program who then educate the clients aka. the students. This hierarchy is especially important because if you skip a step, then the chain is broken, and your staff won’t be speaking the same language.

This lack of consistency will ultimately lead to confusion, and the message about the program won’t be clear or consistent.

What is a “nutrition message”?

Not all of your staff members are going to be nutrition coaches. This is why it’s important to educate your entire employee base when starting a nutrition program.

Topics to educate them on are:

  1. What is the nutrition philosophy?

    1. Macro or Habit based coaching

  2. How does a member get started or find out more about the program?

  3. How does the general process work?

It’s also extremely helpful for the owner and the coaches to all go through the program so they can share their experience first hand. Having them be the “student” really helps them educate gym members on the process and the program.

Tip #2 - Start Incorporating The Conversation Of Nutrition Into Classes

engagement strategies of a group crossfit class listening to coach

Nutrition questions of the day are a great place to start when incorporating nutrition conversation into your group classes. This can even work with personal training clients.

Once or twice a week make it a standard operating procedure to ask a “nutrition question of the day”. We have a complete list of nutrition questions of the day we give to our HSN Mentoring clients. Some examples are:

  1. What did you eat for breakfast today?

  2. How much water do you drink on a daily basis?

  3. What did you put in your coffee today?

  4. What is your favorite source of protein?

How Do Nutrition Questions Of The Day Work?

I like to designate a day and call it something. Wellness Wednesday is snappy and sounds good. All classes start out with a “Hey, how’s everybody doing today? It’s Wellness Wednesday and so today we are going to be asking a nutrition question to help you reflect. What did everyone eat for breakfast today?”

From there the coach will go around the class and listen to the answers. This often times creates a lot of engagement with members who don’t know each other which helps build community. Typically there is a lot of giggling and laughter which is great.

After members volunteer their answers, the coach is educated ahead of time how to close the discussion. This is done through education and instruction from the nutrition coach. Ahead of time the nutrition coach has educated the staff how to answer the nutrition question of the day and provided resources if necessary.

Many gyms facilitate the education to coaching staff by the nutrition coach sending a short video to the coaches with the weekly nutrition question of the day with the answer and discussion points to go along with it.

Tip #3 - Launch Your New Program With A Nutrition Challenge

engagement strategies by Nicole Aucoin administering a nutrition challenge kick off seminar

Many gyms we work with launch their nutrition coaching program with a nutrition challenge. We are not advocates of running multiple challenges a year, and getting caught in that “challenge trap”. However, making a big deal of a nutrition program that kicks off with a challenge or “kickstart” is a great way to start. Doing so makes it easy for members to join the program without feeling “committed” just yet. Additionally they are encouraged to invite other family members or friends to join as well.

At HSN Mentoring a focus we have is teaching gym owners and nutrition coaches how to run challenges the correct way. This ensures members and clients know that a challenge is not a quick fix 30 day “thing”. But instead it’s to be used as the beginning of a new way of life that includes accountability and ongoing support.

Many of the gyms using our program will see 30-50 people sign up for their first nutrition challenge. Such a great way to intro this new program. If gyms present their program correctly, many of these participants will turn into ongoing nutrition clients after the challenge is over.

Challenges are also a great way to get a fast ROI and also help your members learn how healthy eating can change their life. It’s like dating. Woo them with the challenge so that converting to ongoing coaching is a no brainer.

Tip #4 - Implement Goal Setting Sessions

nicole aucoin high fiving a client in the gym

Goal setting sessions are an amazing way for coaches and owners to stay engaged with their current clients. On a quarterly basis each client is offered a time to meet in person individually with the owner or coach.

During this meeting which typically lasts about 20minutes coaches will ask members about their long term and short term goals in regards to both nutrition and fitness.

We ask questions like…

  1. How do you rate your fitness/nutrition on a scale from A-F?

  2. What would you like to improve on in both areas?

  3. What is going well in both areas?

  4. What is a long term and short term goal in each category?

  5. What are you most proud of over the last 3 months?

From this conversation we engage with the member which builds trust. They walk away with a free way to improve in the areas they want to improve in. For fitness this could be exercises to help them get their first pull-up. For nutrition its a way for us to intro the program by providing a free Inbody scan which can them their biometrics. We give them a couple free tips on how to improve their nutrition and health in addition to on ways to further their progress by paid programs.

Goal setting sessions around a challenge are a great way to offer that challenge up to your current members. At my gym, we do a drawing for a free challenge entry to anyone who has participated in a goal setting session that quarter.

Tip #5 - Highlight Your Current Nutrition And Fitness Clients

nutrition program engagements strategies of showing a client success story

After you get that first successful client it’s extremely important to highlight the heck out of them! There is no better way to get more people in your program than to talk about the people doing your program.

Research shows that testimonials work! 92% of users read customer reviews before purchasing a product or a service. Making it simple for people and create a an amazing highlight SOP for your nutrition coach!

I realize that in the beginning you won’t have any clients. If this is you, then using your initial test client or practice client as your first highlight testimonial is where you need to start. We wrote an amazing blog regarding using your client testimonials in social media and marketing. Use this as a resource and lesson on how to get started with client highlights and testimonials.

Think of all the times you rely on reviews and comparisons before you purchase a product. The same holds true for your nutrition program. Members are more apt to give it a try if they see the success of others. Learning someones experience through a testimonial speaks volumes for many consumers.


These strategies to help engagement with members are extremely important. From this article I hope that action is taken. Just like we suggest to implement one new habit a time with nutrition clients, we suggest that gym owners implement one new strategy at a time in order to ensure the strategy becomes a habit.

As a recap; in the context of each tip you will find a resource or bulleted list to help get started with implementation. Remember that perfection is the enemy of good. Taking action by doing something, is better than not starting anything at all. 

Free Help For Gym Owners & Nutrition Coaches

WATCH & LISTEN: Top 3 Mistakes New Nutrition Coaches Make & How To Avoid Them – HERE

WATCH & LISTEN: 3 Tips To Feel More Confident When Working With Nutrition Clients – HERE

WATCH & LISTEN: Prioritizing Mental Health In Your Gym And Nutrition Coaching Program With Dr. Christina Migliara – HERE