According to a recent PushPress survey, gym clients who combine nutrition and fitness services spend 2.5 times as much as those who choose fitness only. Therefore, there’s a huge opportunity for gym owners to increase revenue with nutrition coaching.
Despite this, many gym owners are hesitant to offer nutrition coaching. Some think it might take too much time or energy. Others just aren’t passionate about the nutrition aspect. No matter the reason, choosing not to offer nutrition coaching leaves potential revenue on the table.
Or as Dietitian Nicole Aucoin said, “If you truly want to help people make meaningful change, you’re doing them a disservice by not addressing nutrition, and providing support and accountability beyond fitness classes.”
This is part of the reason Aucoin, a gym owner since 2016, started Healthy Steps Nutrition. The company offers nutrition coaching mentorship, a certification and business systems training. There’s also a ready-to-go nutrition program app that gyms can roll out to their clients.
The results speak for themselves: Healthy Steps Nutrition currently works with 400 gyms. Gyms from CrossFit to functional fitness use the nutrition program to help thousands of clients become healthier. And all the while helping gyms earn thousands of additional nutrition revenue.
Three Steps To Implementing Nutrition Coaching:
1. Figure Out Your Philosophy.
The first step gym owners should take is having a solid understanding of “what it is they stand for,” Aucoin explained. If one coach at your gym is promoting macro counting and another is on the keto train, there’s a disconnect. This causes confusion for clients and doesn’t look good for your gym.
“There’s so much misinformation out there about nutrition, and you need a clear direction on what you stand for,” Aucoin said. “And what nutrition philosophy you’ll be delivering to your clients.”
Doing so is much easier if all your coaches are on the same page.
That’s where Healthy Steps Nutrition comes in. Their team of dietitians and PhDs provides structure through six weeks of online education and individualized mentorship. The program is about a habits-based, holistic approach to nutrition for long-term success. By the end of the education, you and your coaches will all be on the same page about your gym’s approach to nutrition coaching.
2. Outline What You Offer.
The second step is to provide a clear overview of your nutrition services, including packages and pricing.
Often times, nutrition conversations happen casually in passing at the gym. At some point, members will choose to turn to a professional for help instead of asking sporadic questions. When that happens, your business should take advantage of this revenue opportunity.
Or sometimes, gyms do have a nutrition program but it lacks structure and clarity. If members aren’t quite sure what they’d be paying for, they’re not likely to buy.
Therefore, it’s important to set clear expectations and to offer a structured service with clear pricing. So clients know exactly what they’re getting and your coach knows exactly what they must provide to clients in return.
This is why Healthy Steps Nutrition clients follow a structured program. The program includes monthly, in-person coaching and regular remote touch points. All made easier with the multi-faceted, HSN app. The app allows them to communicate regularly with their coach and track their habits. Clients also receive regular content designed by HSN professionals.
3. Choose The Right Coaches.
One mistake Aucoin sees from gym owners is taking on nutrition coaching when they’re not passionate about it. A problem arises then because you’re likely not going to be as good at it if it doesn’t excite you.
Nutrition coaching is a “completely different skill set” than coaching fitness classes, Aucoin explained. So the right person needs to be in the role. Healthy Steps Nutrition can teach anything about coaching knowledge, but the person in the role has to want to do it.
With that in mind, Aucoin said it’s often best to outsource if you don’t have someone in house that fits the bill. Experience has shown her that nurses, teachers and social workers often turn out to be great nutrition coaches. In addition, people who have been through a transformation themselves often end up being passionate coaches.
“Don’t force someone into a role that they’re not going to be good at. Find someone who walks the walk and who's passionate about nutrition,” she added.
Your 2023 Nutrition Coaching Game Plan:
The New Year is a great time to start nutrition coaching. Aucoin said a simple and effective way to start is with a short-term, nutrition gym challenge. She recommends launching one that has a specific start and end date for up to 40 members.
The key here, Aucoin explained, is to ensure the coaching doesn’t end when the challenge ends.
“You need a clear path for how you’re going to support clients after a challenge is over,” she said.
This is where ongoing nutrition coaching comes in. The goal is to convert 20 of the 40 challenge participants into ongoing nutrition coaching. This way, you have a good starting base for ongoing gym revenue that helps the clients, the coach and your business.