Nutrition Challenges Are Dead. Kickstarts Are the Answer

Challenges Are Dead. Kickstarts Are The Answer.

By Lindsey VanSchoyck, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Specialist

Challenges don’t change lives.

In a previous post, I told you how our gyms went from $56,000 in nutrition coaching revenue in 2019 to over $115,000 in the first 10 months of 2020 alone. The change we made was simple: We started coaching habits instead of macros. And we made nutrition coaching a long-term strategy.


The “Challenge” Mindset


How many times have you started a “challenge” of some sort and had great success only to fall right back into your old habits and routines after it ended? This challenge could have been fitness, nutrition, mindset or anything else. You think, “I can do this for 28 days easily!” And you do. You rock it for 28 days straight, but when the challenge is over, you completely stop doing the prescribed activities and return to old behaviors.

Challenges have distinct start and end dates. And while they’re great for getting people to experiment with new habits and routines, they’re not great for setting participants up for long-term success. This is a huge problem.

For example, gyms running nutrition programs and nutrition challenges often find their members sign up for a 28-day challenge, see great results and then quit nutrition coaching to fall right back into their old habits. They make progress during the challenge, but at the end date they go back to their cookies and soda. 

We stopped running nutrition challenges last year because we don’t want our members doing something great for 28 days and then stopping. Now we run “nutrition kickstarts.” The word “kickstart” has a different meaning than “challenge”: It’s the beginning of a journey. A kickstart is the first step in a process that will improve fitness, nutrition and health. 

We used to run nutrition challenges twice a year. Our members had great results but never stuck with nutrition coaching. They completed the challenge and then waited to jump into the next one six months later. Challenges were a good revenue boost for our gym but ultimately weren’t good for our ongoing nutrition program or our clients. Less than 10 percent of challenge participants stuck with nutrition-coaching services long term.

Since we changed a simple word—dropping “challenge” for “kickstart”—we have a 75 percent conversion rate to ongoing nutrition services. Our clients stay, on average, for a year to work with our expert coaches. By reframing things as a kickstart, clients no longer see beginning and end dates but an intro to a longer nutrition journey.

So stop running nutrition challenges and start running nutrition kickstarts! And don’t be afraid to prescribe ongoing nutrition services to your clients. Be up front and honest with them: The four- or six-week program is just a launch point for a long journey with you as their nutrition and fitness coach.


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