{Part 2} A Registered Dietitian and CrossFit Gym Owner’s View On The New CrossFit Nutrition Course

Did you miss part 1 where we discussed a high level overview of the new CrossFit Nutrition Course and where this course fits in when you look at the bigger picture of recent CrossFit initiatives?

On November 17th, I received over a dozen text messages, emails, and Facebook messages with a screenshot of an email they received titled, “Introducing the New CrossFit Nutrition Course.”
 
Multiple gym owners, business mentors, and other business owners that contribute to CrossFit asked the same question, “Nicole, is this you?” 
 
At the time, my husband, Jason, and I were in Tennessee with our media team visiting two gyms that run the Healthy Steps Nutrition Mentoring program, Whole Strength CrossFit and Nutrition and CrossFit Whitebelt Athletics. We captured their stories and interviewed some of their clients to provide them with high-quality testimonial videos to promote their nutrition programs. 
 
I was trying to stay focused on the day’s mission; create amazing content for the CrossFit gym owners, but obviously, I started getting curious. 
 
A new CrossFit Nutrition course? What was it about? Who is the target audience? There are already two CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Courses focusing on a habit-based approach; we released one of them in 2020. 
 
I checked my email and realized I received the same email to my personal email, where I initially registered for the open years ago. Interestingly, the original email did not go to the email that our affiliate was under; it went right to my personal email.
 
Well, that answered one question. The target audience was the public (members of CrossFit gyms), not trainers. Although many trainers will sign up for the CrossFit Nutrition Course because it is one of the cheapest courses available for CEU credits.
 
I took a quick look and was happy that it was promoting a habit-based approach. The cost was cheap, only $120. 
 
I was flying home from Tennessee the next day, and we had a drive back to the airport, so I decided to sign up for the CrossFit Nutrition Course and see for myself what the course was all about. 
 
You can read the full write-up HERE. 
 
Since then, more people have asked my thoughts on the course and how I think it will impact nutrition programs in gyms. I hope it inspires more gym owners to prioritize nutrition now and offer nutrition coaching in-house that CrossFit Headquarters is prioritizing nutrition and habit-based coaching.
 
It’s nice to see that the mainstream recommendations coming from HQ match the nutrition philosophy of the two CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Courses and how we have been teaching gym owners to coach clients on nutrition since 2015.  
 
If you are a gym owner or coach who is looking to introduce habit-based coaching this course is a great introduction to the concept at a low cost. I would 100% recommend taking the CrossFit Nutrition Course. 
 

If you are a gym owner who offers habit-based coaching and accountability, I would be promoting your program more than ever. Highlight clients who have done awesome with your program. The fact that CrossFit Headquarters is promoting habit-based coaching now is going to give you authority because you already offer this service inside your affiliate. 

 
Most gyms will launch a nutrition challenge in January.
 
If you are looking to add a habit-based coaching program to your gym, kicking off your program with a challenge to build awareness, capture success stories, and gain momentum with your nutrition and accountability program is a great idea.
 

Healthy Steps Nutrition is offering a one-day training to provide gym owners with everything they need to plan, launch and execute a habit-based health and nutrition challenge on Thursday, December 3rd. You can lock in your spot HERE. 

As a gym owner and dietitian who has built a seven-figure business coaching clients on nutrition, I see this course is the beginning of a funnel for something bigger. 
 

 

The launch of this course bypassed gym owners and went straight to members. 
 

 

The course by itself is a great resource. It’s well-written and comprehensive. There isn’t a shortage of nutrition information on the internet or books available on Amazon.
 

 

Members at a CrossFit gym don’t need another course; they need a personalized plan and a coach to keep them accountable. 
 

 

Coaches and business owners who offer habit-based coaching understand the value in a nutrition coaching program isn’t in a course; it’s through accountability and support.
 

 

Taking the next step and paying for accountability was mentioned in the CrossFit Nutrition Course under tips to stay on track. They listed two options; a 3-month nutrition challenge or hiring a personal nutrition coach. 
 

 

It will be interesting to see what CrossFit Home Office does with this funnel of people who are interested in nutrition ad habit-based coaching. 

 

In my opinion, there are two options: start promoting health coaching through CrossFit Precision Care or guide clients to sign up for habit-based coaching at their affiliates. 

 

 

I’ve seen a few gym owners ask about an affiliate link for the course so that they could get a revenue share of the course. 
 

 

A potential kickback from the course is worth nothing compared to the value of nutrition coaching.
 

 

Let’s Do The Math:

At Healthy Steps Nutrition HQ, we have two tiers of nutrition.
Annually the lower tier habit-based coaching and accountability value is $1,758 per person.
Annually the higher-tier nutrition coaching and accountability program value is $2,688.
(This is just for nutrition and accountability, no fitness.)
 
If I were a gym owner who didn’t offer nutrition and didn’t want to offer nutrition, I would be asking for a kickback if my members signed up for health coaching and nutrition coaching through CrossFit Precision Care.
 

 

CF Health IG is already posting on social media and sending emails about their health/nutrition coaches to get people to join the waitlist.
 
There is already professional media branding the nutrition course and CrossFit Precision Care together, which could be confusing to the public. 
At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we’ve invested over $500,000 into professional media since 2018 on app videos, client resources, marketing materials and taking our media team to capture stories of gym owners and clients. We give all the media to gym owners and coaches who use the HSN platform to promote their nutrition programs. I understand how time-consuming and expensive creating professional media is; most gym owners don’t have the time or financial resources to create this. It is going to be impossible for gyms to compete with that. 
 

 

A few months ago, I mentioned to senior leadership that they should create a directory or add a checkbox to the affiliate map to highlight CrossFit affiliates who offer professional nutrition coaching within their affiliates. 

Not all CrossFit gyms offer nutrition coaching, but more and more have realized they need to in order to help their clients truly reach their goals and become the healthiest versions of themselves. Adding nutrition coaching within a gym will diversify revenue streams, which has proven even more valuable since COVID and the restrictions on gyms. 
 

 

Will I recommend it to our clients or members of our CrossFit gym? No.
 

Healthy Steps Nutrition already has a professional curriculum through the HSN app paired with accountability and support through our coaching program.

 

 

None of our members have asked me about it at our gym. They know we are the nutrition experts. We have relationships with them. If they want help with nutrition, they will come to us not going to CrossFit HQ for health coaching.

What Is The Motive Behind The New Nutrition & Health Initiatives Through CrossFit Precision Care & Where Do CrossFit Gym Owners Fit In

When CrossFit Precision Care launched, gym owners started asking questions regarding the health coaching component. Many gym owners offer this service within their affiliates. When senior leadership was addressed with concerns, they told gym owners, including myself, that they were not aware of the details of the program and that the impact on gym owners “was overlooked.”

 

Someone recently asked in a Facebook group, “Was the fact that gym owners were overlooked lazy, ignorance or intentional?”
 
Based on events over the past three months, I think there was a combination of ignorance and intentional decisions.

 

Let me explain.
 
Julie Foucher is one of the co-founders of CrossFit Precision Care. She has never owned an affiliate neither have the two doctors who founded Wild Health. They created a program that was only through their lens of helping people get healthy. How could they understand the impact it would have on affiliate owners if they never worked in an affiliate or were an affiliate owner? 
 
When this program was launched and announced they actually asked gym owners to promote it for them. That was one of their main lead strategies, members of CrossFit gyms. 
 
Julie knew gym owners offered habit-based coaching because I was on her podcast in January of 2020 (prior to Eric buying CrossFit) explaining how Healthy Steps Nutrition helped gym owners build habit-based coaching programs and why more gym owners should be doing it. 
 

 

Since 2016, I’ve contributed to CrossFit to promote habit-based coaching and provided education to affiliate owners to build habit-based coaching programs within their affiliate. 
 
Prior to COVID, I was flying out to CrossFit Headquarters in Santa Cruz, to be a part of the DDC meetings and promote nutrition and habit-based coaching within the affiliate.
 

 

I had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who work for CrossFit and have built some amazing relationships with people who share the same passion for helping people get healthy throughout those years.
 

 

With the change of ownership and no more DDC/CrossFit Health meetings, it had been over 1.5 years since I had seen everyone.
This past year, I was asked to speak at the CrossFit Games on nutrition again. 
 

 

There were a lot of new faces, and a huge presence and support for affiliate owners. I was introduced to Gary Gaines in the affiliate lounge one day by Danielle Hale. I had met her multiple times over the years because she organized some of the people coming to the DDC (CrossFit Health) meetings. 
 

 

Gary asked what I did, and I told him that most gym owners know nutrition is important, and most have no idea how to build a comprehensive nutrition program in-house. Nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit, yet most gym owners skip over it. HSN provides gym owners a solution to offer a professional nutrition coaching program in-house to support their members. He said, “Let’s talk next week.”
 

 

We got on a call soon after the games and during that call, he mentioned they were organizing affiliate gatherings throughout the US. He asked me to speak at the Florida CrossFit Affiliate Gathering, and I said yes. 
Danielle Hale is the community manager for CrossFit. She was also on the call with Gary and I. Danielle oversees the district reps for CrossFit. These are appointed individuals who have their boots on the ground and are affiliate owners. They see what is going on first-hand and are the liaisons to HQ.
 

 

Danielle helped district reps organize these events. During a call with all of the district reps, she mentioned that I would be speaking at the Florida Gathering on building nutrition programs.
 

 

Soon after her call with the reps, I got multiple emails from district reps to speak at their events or help their gyms with nutrition. District reps were told to find speakers that would provide value to gym owners. They didn’t have a budget to pay for these speakers.
 

 

I was scheduled to speak at five New York, Florida, California, Washington, and Atlanta.
 

 

At one point, she asked to get on a zoom call with me and she said, “Gym owners need this. Would you like to speak at anymore?”

 

 
I said I wanted to stick with the five I committed to and would be happy to re-evaluate as I would be paying for all of my travel expenses and need to take time away from my family and work for these trips.
 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do them. It was a fantastic excuse to see all of the gym owners who run our program in those areas and an excellent way for me to help fellow gym owners.
Less than two weeks before the NY event, Danielle asked me to get on a call. It was the night before a podcast was released, with the California rep, encouraging people to go to his event and him saying that I would be speaking at that one.

 

 
She said I was removed from all of these events because “I overstepped her” but couldn’t articulate why.
 

 

I was at a loss. 

 

 
I was encouraging gyms to go to these events. I was planning to teach gym owners how to build habit-based coaching programs in-house. How could I speak at the games but not at these events? It didn’t make sense. Why was I removed?
 

 

Finally, she said, “The partnership team said I was not able to speak at the event.”
 

 

The partnership team?
Who is that?
How can I be a CEU provider, the CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Course author, speaker at the Games, and speak at the FL event but not any of these other events?
I asked her to speak to Gary. At the time, it didn’t make sense. They say they want tools over rules.
 

 

I wanted to provide tools to gym owners for free, let me help. I had already gotten my travel for the NY event and planned the trip. I told gym owners that I would be there.
 

 

The next day, I emailed Gary and Danielle separately. I asked them to keep me on the event as I already told people I would be there, planned the trip, and wanted to provide gym owners with free help to build a professional nutrition coaching program in-house using a habit-based approach. We know habit-based coaching increases profitability and sustainability for CrossFit gym owners.
 

 

Isn’t that what you both want?
 

 

They opened the emails a number of times and never responded.
 

 

During the FL gathering, I received a message from a NY gym owner. “Nicole, what’s going on? Are you still coming to NY? I just got an email saying you can’t make it from our district rep, and they were trying to find someone to replace you with someone from CrossFit Health.”
 
At the time, I didn’t think twice about being replaced by someone at CrossFit Health. CrossFit Precision Care wasn’t released yet.
 
October 2nd was the day of the NY CrossFit Affiliate Gathering. I never received any formal notification from CrossFit HQ, Danielle, or Gary that I wasn’t speaking.
 

 

I decided to go to the event to say hi to the gym owners, who I told I would be there and talk to Danielle to find out what I did.
 

 

Within 10 minutes of being there, she asked a gym owner who was talking to me to sit down, then looked me in the eyes and said, “Why are you here? It is so unprofessional for you to be here. You need to leave.”
 

 

I was unsure what she meant by unprofessional. I was asked to speak at this event. Danielle approved an invite that went out to all NY gym owners, saying I would be speaking at the event that the district reps asked me to speak at. I paid for my travel and prepared a professional presentation to speak at these events to help gym owners because I am a gym owner who understands how to build a nutrition program in-house.
 

 

I asked her to step outside because I didn’t want to cause any commotion. She said, “Absolutely not.”
 

 

I did not raise my voice. I left the event I was on the schedule and asked to speak at by the district rep.
 

 

It’s interesting how someone wheels so much power and is an “advocate for gym owners” yet treats an affiliate owner the way she treated me.
 

 

I’m an affiliate owner who has figured out how to build a successful habit-based coaching business within an affiliate and I’m passionate about helping others do the same.

 

 

When I asked Gary, her boss, if she would be held accountable for her actions, I was told, “There was a miscommunication, and it won’t be addressed.”
 

 

As a leader, you have a responsibility to hold people accountable for their actions.

 

 

I sent Eric Roza an email right after that event on October 2nd asking to speak to him. It was opened multiple times with no response. I was told he was out of the office and within two weeks, Jason Dunlop, the new President of CrossFit, and Gary Gaines asked to get on a call. 
 
Within 72-hours of the NY event, CrossFit Precision Care was released. It started making sense to me.
 
They didn’t want me helping gym owners build habit-based coaching programs because HQ wants gym owners to send their members to HQ to pay HQ for this service.
 

 

Where did Danielle get the directive? Was it Eric or Julie? I’m going to guess it wasn’t Eric as he has been out of the office for many weeks now.
 

 

Julie Foucher spoke in my spot at the next event I was scheduled to speak at in California.
 
Last week, a 10-year affiliate owner set up a free call with me because he now wants to add a professional nutrition coaching program in his gym. His story was like most, they run nutrition challenges, and their program ends at the end of a challenge. He attended a recent gathering where Julie Foucher spoke and said it was easy for him to realize there is no financial benefit for affiliates regarding CrossFit Precision Care. He said he should have been offering this in-house, and now the launch of this program, it is pushing him to do so.
 

 

More and more gym owners have realized they need to prioritize nutrition beyond a challenge or an informal conversation.

 

 

Here’s what I know.

 

 

Habit-based coaching and accountability will increase retention of members, allow gym owner to build deeper connections with their membersand adds a revenue stream that doesn’t rely on a physical location being open. It increases profitability and sustainability for gym owners. This is something that gym owners desperately need after the last two years.
 
When launched, CrossFit Precision Care only had options that included health/nutrition/habit-based coaching with all of their packages. Advocates for gym owners were not involved in creating this program nor did they know the details to show any issues that could have been prevented.
 
The new CrossFit Nutrition Course is a well-written course focusing on a habit-based approach. It will get people thinking about changing their habits slowly instead of FAD diets.
 
During the course, two tips were mentioned to help people stay on track with their habits and nutrition; joining a 12-week nutrition challenge or hiring a nutrition/health coach.
 

What will CrossFit HQ do with this list of people who need help to stay on track; encourage them to find a local affiliate who offers habit-based coaching or encourage them to sign up for a program through CrossFit Precision Care?

 

Time will tell…

Final Thoughts About These Initiatives For Gym Owners

HSN Mentoring provides affiliate owners the tools needed to offer habit-based coaching in-house. After being on the schedule to speak at five events, I was actively removed and Julie Foucher replaced my speaking spot at the California event. This makes me think that someone doesn’t want gym owners offering habit-based coaching in-house they want gym owners to send their members to CrossFit Precision Care for this service. 

 

My hope is that more gym owners are inspired to use a habit-based approach and offer accountability and support programs for their members within their affiliate, like these gym owners.

January is a great time to launch a program. 

 

Most gyms that partner with Healthy Steps Nutrition launch their programs with a 28-day challenge to kickstart the program then offer an ongoing nutrition coaching program for members to continue after the challenge. Gym owners who follow our framework convert at least 50% of challenge participants to an ongoing nutrition and accountability coaching membership after the challenge. 

 

If you are looking to launch a nutrition program, I’m hosting a one-day training on Thursday, December 2nd, with everything you need to plan, launch and execute a 28-day habit-based nutrition challenge. 

ONE-DAY TRAINING INTENSIVE

Everything You Need To Run A Habit-Based Health & Nutrition Challenge In A CrossFit Or Gym

Thursday, January 6th 10AM - 4PM EST
Only 15 Spots Left

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