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Starting, Scaling and Staffing a Nutrition Business in Your Gym

Picture of Lindsey VanSchoyck

Mike (00:02):

Got your macros dialed, but confused about how to run a nutrition business? This episode of Two-Brain Radio is perfect for you. Today, we talked to Lindsey VanSchoyck, Two-Brain’s nutrition business expert. She’ll tell you how to start and price nutrition programs, find coaches and improve efficiency. Grab a healthy snack. I’m back with Lindsey right after this. What if you could avoid a bunch of mistakes that are going to cost you money? Well, you can. Head to twobrainbusiness.com and click free tools at the top. You’ll find a monstrous pile of resources that contain the collective wisdom of a host of gym owners, including the one and only Chris Cooper. Retention, marketing, hiring, selling, or buying a gym. It’s all there for free. No catches, just free help. Click the free tools link in the show notes and avoid all the potholes on the road to profit. It’s Two-Brain Radio, I’m Mike Warkentin here with Lindsey VanSchoyck. She’s the owner of CrossFit Final Call with two locations in Illinois. She runs the nutrition and wellness programs there. She’s also a nurse practitioner. She’s got credentials from Working Against Gravity and Precision Nutrition and in her office hours every week, she helps Two-Brain Business clients build and grow their own nutrition businesses. Today, she’ll help you do the same. Lindsey. How are you today?

Lindsey (01:03):

I’m good. How are you?

Mike (01:05):

Great. Thank you so much for being here. This nutrition is such a fascinating topic and so many people are interested in putting this program in their gym because it could really grow revenue. I’m really excited to talk to you about it today.

Lindsey (01:16):

Yeah, you too.

Mike (01:17):

Let’s get right into it. I want to know. First of all, how long have you been running a nutrition program and why did you start one at your gym?

Lindsey (01:23):

So we opened our first location in the fall of 2017. And we pretty much started with nutrition right when we got going. We had a PT client come to us and he was wanting to lose some weight and just work on his health and fitness. And so he asked me, can you help me with nutrition? And I was like, we don’t have this started up yet. So pretty much we researched it and got our nutrition program going really quickly after we found out that it was a need and a want in our community. And so since then, it’s just really taken off. In our gyms, nutrition probably brings in a third of our revenue in both locations. So it’s not only helping our gym’s business, but it’s also helping our mission and vision, which is to make our community the healthiest community in Illinois.

Mike (02:12):

Yeah. And that’s really interesting, because I’ve had the same experience at our gym where for a long time, we were pretty good, I think at fitness coaching, but we didn’t offer nutrition programs because it was outside our realm of expertise. And eventually my wife realized that this was a huge need, just like you did. And you realized that early on right away, but it took us about five years. And we’re like, wow, if we could add in some nutrition coaching, we would probably help our clients get dramatically better results, and when we did, they did. And it happened exactly like that. The second thing that you mentioned that’s really interesting is that it brings in a third of your revenue. And so Chris Cooper’s written about this a ton where he said originally there were sort of three ends of your business. You’ve got group coaching, personal coaching and nutrition. And now with the COVID crisis, we found that there might be a fourth one that’s online coaching. The cool part about nutrition is that can be online. Correct?

Lindsey (02:57):

Right, right. So we didn’t really lose any of our nutrition clients when the quarantine started. Honestly, we probably got more nutrition clients just because people were struggling with their nutrition. You’re stuck at home. Like all you want to do is eat and cook and do those things with your kids. And so we kind of joke that people have gained the COVID 19, cause we’ve had members that are like, Oh, I just completely lost track of my nutrition and my fitness. And I just couldn’t stay on top of it. So it’s definitely a need. And I think, if anything, COVID kind of showed us that if we’re not offering nutrition in our gyms, we need to be because people that had diabetes and hypertension and those underlying metabolic disorders were hit hardest with the COVID disease and had the most fatalities with it. So if you’re offering those services to the members in your gym, like you’re helping them combat those chronic diseases to that. If something like this ever happens again, they’re going to be more well off in the long run because we know that you can’t out-exercise bad diet.

Mike (03:59):

Right. We had the exact same experience. Our nutrition program at our gym continued and actually grew during COVID. We weren’t able to sell any fitness memberships whatsoever, but people were actively contacting us despite the fact that we weren’t doing any marketing asking about nutrition. So it was the exact same thing. And let’s be honest, stress is high. People are drinking more, just like you said, people are eating more. So it’s all the stuff that they need some help with right now. And a lot of them are really looking for accountability, you know, as I’m sure you found where they’re just like, I am struggling with life right now. Tell me what to eat. Tell me when to work out and help me. So let’s get right into the details. Gym owners, a lot of them know that they want to do nutrition or think that they should, but they really struggle to get a program going. Maybe they’re intimidated or they don’t know what to do. You know, in the brief section, how did you start this program and how do you make it grow?

Lindsey (04:46):

So I think you first have to lay out the process as to how you want your nutrition program to run. So if you’re just flying by the seat of your pants, you’re probably not going to give everyone the same accountability. You’re not going to give them the same nutrition prescription. And so you really need to kind of develop that process as to how you want your nutrition program to be. And as a gym owner, you may not want to run your nutrition program, but you’re probably going to have to start that process. So that way you can pass that program onto someone else. So you need to develop your SOPs, your operating processes. You need to decide what you want your nutrition program to entail, how you want to price it, what your nutrition coaches want to make, all those types of things.

Lindsey (05:28):

And then you have to find, once you get those processes going, test it out on your coaches. They can be your best asset. They can give you feedback on how they liked the nutrition program. They can give you changes that you think you should make, and all those kinds of things. And then once you get it rolling, you can start finding those great nutrition coaches. So they’re normally someone that has maybe had results through your nutrition program. We found it really helpful to hire like health care professionals, like nurses are great nutrition coaches, right? They care about like health and fitness. That’s why they went in to become nurses. And they also have some of that medical background knowledge that they can explain like what high blood pressure is and what diabetes is. And so they can help their clients understand why that’s so important.

Mike (06:10):

I love what you said about testing it on coaches. That’s a really great piece of advice that people can do is you almost get a freebie there, right? Where you can kind of work out the kinks on people who are going to give you honest feedback and then make the thing great for when you launch it to clients. You mentioned pricing and staffing. Those are huge issues. We’re going to dig into those in more detail in just a sec. The first thing I want to ask you though, is if someone’s listening right now, give them a couple of steps, what is the first thing that they should do? So they’re just like someone who’s listening has no idea how to start a nutrition program. What do they do? Like are they looking to get some sort of credential? Do they start with pricing? What do they do right away?

Lindsey (06:43):

So if you have no idea how to coach nutrition, you might want to get some kind of coaching certification and Precision Nutrition is a great certification to go through. It teaches you all about motivational interviewing and digging into the client’s goals. But nutrition coaching doesn’t have to be complicated. A lot of it is just accountability and helping people change those habits. We aren’t really focused on like numbers and stuff like that. It’s like changing those lifelong habits that are going to build up over time. Those small changes like cutting out the soda, cutting out the sweets, stuff like that, where they make those changes overall, or for a long time, they’re going to add up to big results. Cause we don’t want them to think that this is a quick, easy process. Like nutrition is hard and it’s a lot of, sometimes you’re like their counselor, like they just need someone to talk to and vent to.

Lindsey (07:33):

And that’s a lot of what nutrition coaching is. But to get your program started, I normally would say launch it with a challenge. It doesn’t have to be a complicated challenge. It could be like a 30-day nutrition challenge. So what you do is during those 30 days, you meet with your clients twice, at the beginning of the challenge and at the end of the challenge, like a 15-minute consultation, beginning and end, you get their measurements, you see what their daily habits are, look and see what they’re looking for, what their goals are and kind of give them a plan, a plan of action. So, maybe the first week you quit drinking soda, maybe the second week you add in veggies to your meal, maybe the third week, you try to limit your drinking of alcohol and then add them to a Facebook page, like create a nutrition challenge Facebook page, add tips to that Facebook page.

Lindsey (08:23):

And then just kind of send out once a week, a weekly tip. It could be a healthy breakfast consists of this, post your breakfast ideas in the group page. The next thing could be, post your lunches. It gives them idea of what a healthy lunch is, just make it not super complicated, but kind of launch that with the nutrition challenge and then make sure before that challenge ends, you have some kind of ongoing nutrition option ready to go because you don’t want to do a challenge and get people interested in nutrition and then have nothing to offer them afterwards.

Mike (08:55):

Right? So this sounds to me a lot like what Josh Martin said in a previous episode here on Two-Brain Radio, where it’s not about teaching the squat, it’s not about teaching like muscle protein synthesis and all the finer points of nutrition. It’s about behavior modification. And if you can do that and get someone to work out and show up at the gym, you can get them to drink a little bit less soda. You can do some general things. And of course, nutrition is highly nuanced and very complicated at the highest level, you could do multiple PhDs on it. But if you can start with dude, eat a few more vegetables and then do that twice a week, as opposed to no times a week, that’s a huge step forward. So that’s really interesting where some people may be over complicated and they’re intimidated by the whole concept of nutrition because they’re not registered dieticians and so forth, but they can just start with behavior modification. And a challenge like you said, is a great way. We actually have plug and play challenges available to Two-Brain Business clients, to teach them exactly how to do this, where you just download the stuff and you run through it and it tells you what you can make on the thing. How you staff it, all sorts of stuff like that. It’s a great resource. If you’re a Two-Brain Business client, ask your mentor about that. This brings up one interesting point, registered dietitians, do you need to have, or be one?

Lindsey (09:59):

You need to look at your state laws as to what you can do. In most states, what we just talked about is not giving a prescription. We’re not giving medical nutrition. You’re not giving them numbers to follow. You’re not giving them meal plans. So in almost any state, you can give them little pieces of accountability and that’s all nutrition coaching really is right?

Mike (10:21):

So it’s habits-based stuff.

Lindsey (10:23):

Yeah. Rather than getting into the sciencey stuff of it. You are going to have those clients that do need the sciencey stuff too. And when it comes to like curing someone’s diabetes and trying to get them off high blood pressure medicine, you probably are going to need to refer them to their physician and work kind of more medical nutrition therapy wise. And in a lot of states you’re not qualified or credentialed to do that. You just have to make sure that you check your state laws and that you’re following your state laws, in every state, you should be able to do nutrition coaching. It’s just to what extent you can do that in.

Mike (10:55):

So that’s a huge piece of research then too, when you’re starting this out, do some simple checking and make sure that you can do what you want to do. And there are ways to kind of exactly like you said, modify your program so that you’re well within the laws, you’re not going outside your scope of practice. And there are ways to work with dieticians if you need to in certain cases. Here where I’m at, we actually don’t, we’re not required to work with a dietician, but we do. We happen to have one as well. And she’s great because she helps our clients access insurance. So there’s some interesting ways that you can kind of figure things out, but do that research when you start your program, for sure. A huge one. This is a big one. I know this one has come up a number of times. So we’ll ask the big question. How do you price this stuff? Is it more valuable than fitness coaching, less valuable? How do you price this?

Lindsey (11:38):

So in our gym, we charge more for nutrition coaching than we do for CrossFit. We base our nutrition coaching rates on our PT rates. Because you’re getting, it’s comparable to private training, right? Like it’s not a group, you’re not in a group. You’re getting personalized attention to you. So at our gym, our PT rates are $65 an hour. So we kind of have two parts to our nutrition program. We have our initial nutrition program, which lasts three months or 90 days because we know that it takes about 90 days for people to really get a grasp on nutrition. If they do nutrition with you for 30 days, they’re not going to get those lifelong habits ingrained that they need to be successful. So for those three months, we charge more because it takes more work. They need a lot more education, a lot more accountability, all those types of things.

Lindsey (12:28):

So for the first three months we have added up how much time each coach spends with the client. It equals out to be about seven hours. So our PT rate is 65 an hour for seven hours. You do the math, but it ends up being $150 a month for three months split up over the month. So what that includes is the client gets a one hour nutrition consult. So during that hour, they sit down with the coach. They really get to know their client, the client and the coach get to build that relationship about trust and stuff like that. They get a lot of nutrition education, they get an InBody scan and they set goals. So they set those smart goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive. And they set long term and short term goals. So, they have the one hour nutrition consult and then that leaves about two hours a month for them to get nutrition coaching.

Lindsey (13:21):

So they also get a 30 minute check-in each month, an in person check in, and then that leaves the coach about 15 minutes a week to do their check-ins, accountability check-in. So whether it’s food log check-ins, asking about their goals, asking about what went well. It just gives that coach 15 minutes throughout the week to just interact with those clients. Then after that our clients can move to ongoing nutrition, which we only charge 75 a month for that. Roughly they get one 15 minute in person consult where we do their measurements and whatnot. And then it still gives that coach 15 minutes a week to do their check ins with the client.

Mike (14:00):

So if I’m hearing this properly, it sounds like your nutrition challenge rates are a little bit more group CrossFit rates, right? Where you’ve got these two group programs where it’s not as high touch, it’s not as personalized, it’s general, right? But then you’ve got personal training and you’ve got personalized nutrition coaching where it sounds very high touch. You’ve got a coach who’s meeting with someone regularly, goal setting, all that stuff. There’s a lot of touch points in there. It sounds like a really valuable service to me.

Lindsey (14:25):

Yeah, like our group CrossFit rate is only—not only, it’s 115 a month, so our nutrition is that higher value. Sometimes we’ll run different challenges that are more in depth. And we might charge a little bit higher for those, but we don’t run nutrition challenges that often, we kind of make them like you want to get in that nutrition challenge if we have it. So we always do the beginning of the year nutrition challenge, because everyone wants to get back into their health and fitness for that new year’s resolution. And then we’ll do a nutrition challenge before the Open this to try to get people on track before the Open. But our clients and our communities know that those are the only two challenges that we run a year. Cause we don’t want to devalue our nutrition program. Not that challenges do, but like we know that people get so much from individual coaching, that we want them to follow that program rather than just doing a challenge.

Mike (15:17):

Yeah. And it’s like an easy access point, right? Where you get, you’re getting people to like, maybe who’ve never done nutrition challenge or done anything with nutrition. This helps them just try it out, realize it’s maybe not scary. I can do it, find some successes. And then you’ve got the program set up where they can just slide right into that, which is great. My wife has the same concerns with stuff where she doesn’t want to run, you know, 28 day challenges necessarily because exactly like you said, nutrition coaching and making changes through nutrition takes like 90 days to see some results. It’s not like a quick fix thing and the crash diets and things like that. They, you know, you could lose some weight on a crash diet, but it generally doesn’t stay off. It’s not sustainable. Building sustainable practices over 90 days sounds a lot more reasonable. So I’m on the exact same page with you on that. When we’re talking about all these different things that coaches have to do, let me ask you this. How many clients, you know, can one person manage reasonably or when does it become overwhelming? And when it does, how do you find staff to deal with that?

Lindsey (16:10):

So I think it’s individualized, right? It depends on your nutrition coach. We have six nutrition coaches between two of our locations.

Mike (16:20):

Are they dedicated just to nutrition?

Lindsey (16:21):

So one it’s her full time job. She does nutrition coaching. She’s actually, is the head of our nutrition program, because like you said in the intro, like I’m a nurse practitioner, we run two gyms, like I handle and oversee the nutrition program, but I have the luxury of kind of deciding who I want to coach nutrition with. And then she takes on the majority of nutrition clients. So like for her it’s her full time job. Like she has no problem managing 50 nutrition clients at a time.

Mike (16:47):

Five zero?

Lindsey (16:47):

Yeah. She’ll do 50 and have no problem with it. She just is very detailed and keeps good records. And she wants to, she tells me her cap and I know what she can handle. But then I have another nutrition coach who has two girls that are below one and she coaches the 5:00 AM CrossFit and she doesn’t want more than like 10 nutrition clients at a time. So it’s really having that conversation with each coach and deciding this is what I can handle and making sure that you’re constantly communicating with them to make sure that you’re not overwhelming them because you don’t want to overwhelm them so much that your clients aren’t getting what they paid for. And aren’t getting that really good nutrition service.

Mike (17:26):

Yeah. But that said, you’ve got one person who can comfortably handle 50 because you’ve documented procedures, you know, exactly how much time it takes per client and you’ve budgeted everything, set her schedule. And so she’s probably having a great time servicing 50 clients who are getting great results. And then you can scale back for others based on how much time it takes and the efficiency that you’ve created with your systems. Right.

Lindsey (17:45):

Right. And that coach that has 50 clients at a time, like she used to be a full time registered nurse and she quit her job to do nutrition coaching because with all those clients, she was able to make her RN salary and able to make her own schedule and make it flexible and work from home and do all those kinds of things. And so just, it was her passion. And so it worked out really great for her.

Mike (18:05):

And I imagine as someone gets more experienced, there are efficiencies that can be found in the time per client. That still the service standard stays high, but the time to deliver it and goes down.

Lindsey (18:14):

Yeah. And it’s making sure that you have those processes in place and that your coaches know exactly what to do and helping them deliver it and communicating with your clients, like how do you want us to check in? And we haven’t found like a really great software yet that we like love doing nutrition coaching through, we’re working through that. But that would be a huge step too, just because it would save a lot of time doing that.

Mike (18:39):

Yeah. That is something that when we were putting out our software article, we heard that in the Two-Brain Business growth group, a lot of gym owners are not satisfied yet with the software that they have for managing their gyms. They’re also not satisfied totally with the personal training and nutrition software. I’ve heard that some of the personal training stuff is better, but I’ve heard that the nutrition aspects of that are also, they’re often not great. Is that your experience as well?

Lindsey (19:02):

Yeah. It’s not great. Like you need something that can integrate MyFitnessPal, that you can message with them privately and they can upload pictures and their weights. And there’s just not a good program that does all of that stuff out there right now.

Mike (19:18):

So if any software developers are out there listening, that is a market hole that needs to be filled and you’d have some Two-Brain clients banging your door down right away if you developed a great nutrition app. I want to ask you about how you find staff. But because we touched on that already, I’m going to ask you a better question first. How do you pay staff members in a nutrition program? What’s the best way to do that?

Lindsey (19:36):

Pay them? Is that what you said?

Mike (19:37):

Yeah.

Lindsey (19:37):

So we pay 4/9ths on everything. 44%. For our full-time nutrition coach, the one that was an RN, she handles all of our corporate nutrition because that is a huge task on its own. Just like initiating those conversations and having meetings and all that type of stuff. So she also gets paid commission off of her corporate challenges that she seals. So, say we get a $5,000 corporate nutrition challenge deal. She’ll get 10% of that challenge just for doing all the work. And then she’ll get 4/9ths of however many people that she coaches out of that challenge.

Mike (20:18):

  1. And the 4/9ths model, the beauty of that is that your staff costs are tied to revenue. So whenever someone brings in a client and signs someone up at a hundred bucks and makes 44, the gym makes a chunk. But the interesting part, just a very quick breakdown for people who aren’t in the Two-Brain family, 4/9ths, the largest percentage is going to go to the coach. OK. After that, you’ve got 22%, 2/9ths, that you’re going to allocate to fixed costs and that’s like overhead and so forth. And just keeping the lights on at the gym. And then 3/9ths is going to be profit. So 33% is the profit margin that gyms target. So that’s the breakdown there. And the great part about this model as it applies to nutrition is that there’s not a staff cost that isn’t tied to actual revenue. So it’s very tough to lose money on that. Have you found that in your experience that this is just a bonus for everyone?

Lindsey (21:09):

Yeah. You can’t, I mean, you’re not losing anything, there’s no expense to starting a nutrition program. I mean, eventually once you get started, you can invest in an InBody scan, but that’s only going to bring revenue to your gym. Not be an added expense.

Mike (21:21):

Yeah. And there’s ways I’ve heard of people and we did this, running challenges right away using the InBody planning it out and you can almost cover the cost of the thing if you’re creative enough and market this thing, and all of a sudden you bought this piece of hardware, marketed it, use it in a challenge and recouped almost all the costs of it right away. So that’s a really nice one to do. OK. So that covers staffing how to pay them, now, how do you find these wonderful people? That’s always, people are like, how do I staff my gym? How do I staff a nutrition program? Where do you find qualified staff members? Do you develop them or do you find them and hire them?

Lindsey (21:52):

We pretty much develop them. We’ve found that that’s—we live in a cornfield, so there’s not a lot of people around us that have done nutrition coaching and have asked.

Mike (22:00):

So you’ve got carbs covered. Carbs are locked down.

Lindsey (22:00):

Yeah. So for us, it’s finding gym members, like the two that we found in our first location are, one of them is in school to become a registered dietician. So she was an easy one to find she’s been a long time member and really desired to do nutrition coaching, was super interested in it, is healthy, all those kinds of things. And then the other one is a nurse, like I said before. So she has a passion for nutrition. She used to do that lovely—she used to be a beach body coach, so she liked helping other people. And so, yeah, we went through some other coaches that did not work out because they didn’t have that passion for helping other people and that knowledge and stuff.

Lindsey (22:47):

So in our other location, one of them was a school teacher. I think she actually teaches health education. So she was an easy find. And then the other one has her L2, she is super interested in nutrition, has a background with some disordered eating. So she kind of understands like the emotional aspect that was tied to the nutrition because a lot of nutrition is emotional, right? Like if you’re overweight it’s because you’re binge eating and you probably don’t have a healthy relationship for food. So she was a great find because she understood what those clients were going through. So I would stay like, start with clients that have been in your nutrition program that have had great results that are like super bought in, or start with people in your gym that, you know, have some kind of background in nutrition or health care and stuff like that.

Mike (23:38):

So looking for low hanging fruit, so to speak; some people who are really either very good at doing programs themselves, or some people that have some education in a related field, like health care or something like that. Have you had any success with someone who had no nutrition background and just tried a challenge, and then they went through a course and became a nutrition coach. Has that worked for you?

Lindsey (24:02):

Yeah, they’ve been through a Precision Nutrition course and have been a great coach.

Mike (24:06):

Very, very cool. So would you recommend if someone was going to take one course, would you recommend the Precision Nutrition to start?

Lindsey (24:13):

I don’t know. I just finished Wag, and I really liked it too, but PN is a lot more—Wag is a lot more number based and macros and stuff like that. Where PN is a lot more of the reason why you have these behaviors and motivational interviewing and changing your habits. So I would say that if you’re going to start with one you should probably do Precision Nutrition, just so you get how to actually coach someone.

Mike (24:40):

  1. How long from when, let’s say you find a person you said, hi, I think you’d be a great nutrition coach. Would you be interested in doing it? How long from that conversation would you suggest that it takes for that person to then start taking on clients? What’s the education arc?

Lindsey (24:54):

I think it kind of depends on the person and how willing they are to work with you and do stuff like that. But, like I had one coach that got her PN certification in a weekend, like she she just dove in and got it and got it done. I make them shadow so much. They have to shadow like three intro consults or three, one hour sessions. So you might not have three, one hour start-ups right away. So it depends on how busy your program is too. So they have to shadow three startups and then I have to shadow them for three startups. We do about six nutrition clients together. And then, based on the person, I’ll let them go on their own. That’s only if you have your processes down, like if you don’t have your SOPs and processes down, it’s going to take a lot longer to do that.

Mike (25:43):

So that’s what I was going to ask is exactly that, you hand them like essentially a staff playbook and the procedures saying, this is the standard of service. This is what each client gets. This is how much you do. This is what you do, correct.

Lindsey (25:53):

Yeah. And then they can just run from it from there.

Mike (25:55):

Yeah. So again, guys, if you’re out there and you’re listening and you’re not putting your processes down, it’s very difficult to replicate a program when you don’t do that. And again, I’ve been in the guy who said, I’ll do it another time. Another time. If you don’t do it, you’ll never be able to hand a program off. If you do it and you do it well, and a mentor can help you do this, all of a sudden you’re able to bring in people that have soft skills and educate them and hand them a piece of paper or a digital copy and say, this is how we do it. Do you have questions? No? We’re all on the same page. And you can scale things very quickly, because like you said, you identify good people. Let’s say you got 20 new clients tomorrow. You would have to maybe identify a coach, but you could very easily replicate your processes and scale up fast. Correct?

Lindsey (26:35):

Oh yeah, for sure. And get them started maybe in a week if they were eager enough to train and get started.

Mike (26:41):

So what would be the most important document? Would it be like a nutrition coach playbook or would it be like a roles, responsibilities document or what is your one thing that someone listening today needs to create?

Lindsey (26:53):

A nutrition playbook. They need a playbook. They need exactly what they do, what the clients get, how they do it, even down to the detail, like how you put them in the computer system, how you bill them, how many times a week you’re checking in with them, how you set up their next check-in like, you need to lay out exactly what is going on so you can just pass it on to someone else.

Mike (27:15):

And I know that we have ramp up clients do that for other roles in their business. And it is a tedious weekend. There’s no getting around the fact that writing down processes and procedures is tedious. And for some it’s annoying, I kind of like the nuts and bolts and details. Other people despise it. But if you do it that one time, all you have to do from then is just audit it regularly. Once, you know, every six months, a year, update things as procedures change. And then you can literally just hand the stuff off to people and hit the ground running. So again, if you’re intimidated by doing these procedures, do it, it will pay off. It is a huge investment and it will pay off. You mentioned something really interesting earlier, I want to circle back to corporate nutrition. So this is a huge one where it’s kind of like the great whale is out there, right? Where you’ve got all these small fish and then you see these great whales that are the corporate nutrition programs. So if people, let’s assume that people are already doing nutrition services, but they want to start looking at corporate stuff. How do they start that?

Lindsey (28:11):

Start with your members in your gym. So start with your members that own businesses, and ask them if they would be interested in doing nutrition for their business. It doesn’t have to be like, when you think of corporate, it does not have to be some huge corporate challenge. Like we had a member that is a dentist, and he really values CrossFit nutrition. And so he came to us and he paid for CrossFit and nutrition for his office for a whole year. So we don’t normally do corporate challenges like that. That was like a, not a normal one, but start with business owners. It can be an insurance agency. It can be a dentist office. It can be anyone, we had a construction company do it, start with them and try to get in, especially your seed clients. Right. Cause they’re going to be more likely to help you.

Mike (29:03):

Seed clients are your best clients guys, if you’re listening, that is your very best clients, the people that know like, and trust you most, that buy most of your stuff and recommend you to others.

Lindsey (29:11):

Yes. So start with the people in your gym that own businesses and your seed clients. After that start with your members that have had really good results on your nutrition program and ask for them to give you the contact information either for their HR department or their wellness department. I’ve found that it doesn’t really work very well just to send out random emails to companies. Like if you don’t have any insight, you’re probably not going to get very good response, but if you can get in, if you can get a connection in that business and get someone to hook you guys up, set up a phone call, maybe even the three of you do a phone call, it works so much better. And then after, once you get those corporate, those deals set up, we have ongoing corporate deals. So we have like probably a handful of corporations that we just do a challenge with every year. And so they had good results. We got feedback from them. We made changes to what they wanted changed. And then every year it rolls around and do corporate challenges with them. So we have one company that’s an oil company and they employ like a ton of people, but almost every year we do a challenge with them of like 172 people.

Mike (30:22):

Wow. So how—I have some questions about that, but the first one I want to to ask, are HR departments generally receptive to this? Like when you pitch this thing and say, Hey, nutrition challenge, do they kind of just blink and stare at you or are they interested? Or how does the response from most HR departments?

Lindsey (30:37):

Most businesses have some kind of wellness budget. It’s definitely becoming a newer thing. And if you can show them results that you’ve had through your nutrition clients, like having a nutrition client binder, show them results of nutrition, only clients show them results of past corporate challenges. I mean, if it’s your first corporate challenge, obviously you’re not going to have those, but you can use your past clients, show them why they should be doing corporate wellness, right? So it decreases absentees from work, it’ll lower their insurance costs. It makes employees more productive. I think the main thing is it shows employees that you value them, right? It’s like we value your health. We value your wellness, we’re investing in you. And that helps with employee retention a ton. So that’s kind of how we kind of get them involved in the nutrition.

Mike (31:31):

So there’s one, we’ll call it a trackable metric that doesn’t maybe have a number attached to it. And that’s just employee satisfaction where it’s like, my company cares about me, right? Like I feel good. But then you also mentioned some trackable stuff where, HR departments that are taking a look at this stuff, when nutrition and health increase, they should see happier employees who are showing up at work more often. And they should also see reduced insurance costs because maybe I don’t need quite so much medication or maybe my doctor is super happy with my blood pressure now. So there’s better things that are happening. Are there any other trackable metrics, like HR departments, you know, do they want to see like weight loss or anything like that? Or is it just other things?

Lindsey (32:10):

They do, cause those numbers look great. Like if you can walk in there and show like, Hey, we had a hundred people participate and they lost over a thousand pounds. Like, wow, your program works. A lot of it is just more about their employee satisfaction, I think.

Mike (32:25):

And some of them, for sure, not all employees want to lose weight. I’m sure there are people say, I want to gain muscle. I want to do other things. I just, I want to feel better. It’s not related to weight, but I do get that that is often like a big number that people like to see. All right, let, let’s go back to what you were saying with, like price. How do you price something like this? So when you’re talking corporate nutrition, when you’re setting up probably challenges, like you’ve got 172 people you’re talking about not individualized coaching, but how do you set up a challenge for these guys? How do you price it? Is it exactly what you said before? Is it a different process?

Lindsey (32:54):

So, if we do a six week challenge in our gym, we charge $175. That gives them a one hour of nutrition consult in a group. It’s not individualized. Like it’s a group nutrition consult. So it can be either be via zoom, we’ll record them and send them out in a recording if they can’t get it. So they get a one hour nutrition education and then they get an InBody scan at the start, the middle and the end. And then they just get, a check in with a coach once a week. So the coach doesn’t necessarily review their food logs or anything like that. When they do the InBody scan, the coach will kind of give them some numbers that maybe they should try to hit and try to talk to them about what goals they want. But when they do the check ins it’s not necessarily like a food log, hit your numbers goal.

Lindsey (33:41):

It’s more like, what habits are you working on this week? It’s a lot more of a habit based program. So we charge—how many participants we have kind of varies on how much we charge. So we kind of give them a break, more participants that they have. So we charge 175 for zero to 25 clients. We don’t ever do one less than 10. It’s just not worth the time. And then we charge 50 to a hundred is $150. And then anything over a hundred people is $125. And my coaches they’re like, that’s very reasonable. Like when we set out that price structure, we sat down with them and was, is this worth your time? Is this worth how much time you’re investing in it, but they’re normally sharing the tasks of the nutrition hour start-up. There’s a lot of like bulk emailing going out. There’s a lot of like interaction in the Facebook group they’re just not contributing to. So they get a big sum of money for not a ton of work.

Mike (34:41):

  1. And are the HR like, are the corporations, are they covering all the costs generally or do they kick in a percentage and their employees pick up some of it? Or how does that work?

Lindsey (34:50):

It just depends. Some cover all of it. Some cover all of it and we’ve had them cover all of it for their employees and their spouses too.

Mike (34:59):

Oh, OK. That’s cool. That’d be a good, that’s a job with a great benefits package.

Lindsey (35:02):

Yeah. We’ve done it with the local police department three times and all three times they’ve covered the police and their spouses. And then sometimes the last quarter, the last huge one that we did, the employee, the corporate covered all of it, except $50. They wanted their employees to have a little skin in the pot. So the employees had to pay $50.

Mike (35:24):

It’s still reasonable.

Lindsey (35:25):

Yeah. So it just depends on the corporation. We worked with them to see what works best with them. A lot of them cover the whole cost, but there are some that make the employees cover a little bit.

Mike (35:34):

I think I know the answer to this but I’ll ask it anyway. At the end of the challenge, do you have a way for people who are happy and like it to do ongoing coaching with you?

Lindsey (35:42):

Yep.

Mike (35:43):

Yeah. Is that common for them to do that?

Lindsey (35:46):

We have a lot of them, so we tend to take the InBody scanner to the business on the first and the second scan. But the third scan we make the employees come to the gym. It’s kind of like a tactic to get them to see that our gym’s not scary. That gives the coaches more time to like sit down and see what went well for those clients the last six weeks. And a lot of those clients do move on to ongoing nutrition.

Mike (36:09):

So that becomes a huge feeder program for your main nutrition system. That’s fantastic.

Lindsey (36:16):

Yeah. And then they’re in our billing system. So they’re getting that nurturing from our gym about nutrition coaching. And so even if they don’t continue, they might get that email three months down the road and be like, Oh crap. I should probably contact them and get back in their nutrition program.

Mike (36:30):

Do you see that happening in waves? Like as seasons change, like January 1st, you might get a big uptake or do you see that happening? You know, beach season’s coming around. Is that how it goes?

Lindsey (36:41):

Yeah. And it’s going right now to like, everyone’s like, I need nutrition back. I don’t see a huge uptake in it. Like from past clients coming back. Yes. But like new clients, almost every new client that comes in our gym comes in with nutrition and CrossFit. We very well branded ourselves as like a health and wellness center rather than just a CrossFit gym. And so almost every single member that comes into our gym comes in on a hybrid CrossFit nutrition membership.

Mike (37:08):

Now I’m going to imagine that drives up your average revenue per member above what most gyms are probably looking at.

Lindsey (37:14):

Yeah. I mean, so if you came into our gym and are a new member, you’re paying $375 a month for CrossFit and nutrition for those first three months.

Mike (37:22):

And that’s most gyms, you know, who haven’t priced themselves properly are well below that, would look at a 375 average revenue, they’d be just shocked that that’s even possible. But I’m going to guess that these people are getting probably results I would guess twice as fast as opposed if they were just doing nutrition or just fitness.

Lindsey (37:41):

Yeah. So we didn’t have the hybrid model until about a year ago. I would say in the last year is when we’ve really had those clients reach that 50, 75 weight loss mark. And so we’re able to be like, look, they’re doing CrossFit nutrition and they’re losing 50 pounds in a reasonable way, over six to 12 months and they’re keeping it off and they feel so much better.

Mike (38:04):

And that really is a win for everyone, right? Because you’re helping the clients and the client, it makes it easy to sell. I imagine. We’ve talked with Jeff Burlingame and some of our sales experts. It’s less about selling and more about helping. And if you can tell a person like I can literally change your life here and take off 50 or 75 pounds. Of course you can’t promise that right off the bat. Cause they have to do the work. But if you can change a life like that, it’s worth 300 to $400 for sure. And you get the results so much faster. We had that experience at our gym where as soon as people started doing nutrition, everything changed dramatically. We had clients that would look and perform the same way for months, even years at a time, as soon as they started changing their diet, you would see physical changes even within weeks. Which sounds ridiculous, but I’m sure you’ve seen that yourself. It’s just amazing what happens even in weeks, then we’d hear back from their doctors, they’d bring us medical results and they’d have their blood work would be showing changes. And it sounds again like we’re selling snake oil, but it’s literally documented stuff where these clients are having huge transformations. And again, it sounds like a marketing term, but literally happening before your eyes with diet and exercise combined.

Lindsey (39:06):

Yeah. And it’s just crazy. Like you have to think back to like, why did you start a CrossFit gym? Like for us, we started a CrossFit gym because we wanted to help people become healthier, not be CrossFit Games athletes, like our whole mission is to make our community healthier. And so for me, like it would be crazy to not offer nutrition. Like I love being able to coach nutrition at the gym because a lot of my clients, or a lot of my patients that walk into my office do not want to hear me talk about nutrition and exercise to them. They want a quick fix. They want a diet pill, a pill to fix their blood pressure. But these people that are coming to your gym, like actually want to make change. And it’s amazing to be able to work with them and help them develop these habits. And they’re not looking for quick fixes, they’re willing to put in the work and it’s so rewarding to be able to help them do that.

Mike (39:53):

So what would you say to the gym owner who is listening right now and is kind of on the fence about adding a nutrition program?

Lindsey (39:59):

You are hurting yourself and your members by not offering it just because we know, like we know you can’t outwork a bad diet. So if you’re only offering exercise at your gym, your members are not going to have the results and they’re not going to have the long term health benefits that CrossFit could be rewarding them by not offering them nutrition.

Mike (40:19):

And we can help. How can people find out more about how you can help them? How do they access you?

Lindsey (40:25):

So if you’re a Two-Brain client, I have office hours every Friday at 11, 10 Eastern, where you can ask questions, do all that stuff. My email address is lindsey.vanschoyck@twobrainbusiness.com. And if you are a Two-Brain client and you need help launching your nutrition program, I am available for specialty calls. So you can either replace your growth call every month. You can replace your growth call and book a call with me, or you can purchase another call and we can talk about your nutrition program and how to get it started for you.

Mike (40:56):

And for people who want to get to you, who aren’t Two-Brain clients, they’re going to go through the ramp up and then you’re going to be available as their mentor sees fit. Or how does that work?

Lindsey (41:04):

Yeah. Well, if you’re in ramp-up, you can actually access office hours too. So as soon as you start the ramp-up program, you can go to office hours with me and we can try to help launch that nutrition program.

Mike (41:13):

All right. Thank you, Lindsey. And thank you all for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin and I was here with nutrition business expert Lindsey VanSchoyck. Want more actionable advice based on data? Check out Gym Owners United on Facebook. In that group, you’ll find daily tactics from Chris Cooper, as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group again is Gym Uwners United on Facebook, please join today. Thanks for tuning in to Two-Brain Radio. And please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening!

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

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