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Revenue Boost: How to Launch a Nutrition Program in 6 Weeks

Revenue Boost: How to Launch a Nutrition Program in 6 Weeks

Mike Warkentin (00:00):
Nutrition coaching can add a ton of revenue to your gym. So if a coach comes to you and says, “I wanna start a nutrition program,” you need to get that coach started fast. And we’re gonna tell you exactly how to do that today. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m your host, Mike Warkentin. Please don’t forget to subscribe. Before we go any further, click that subscribe button, and I appreciate it. Now, some stats. Our 2022 State of the Industry report revealed that 65% of gyms offer nutrition coaching. That’s not enough, but get this: Of the gyms that offer coaching, only 5% of gross revenue is generated with these services. That’s too low. Compare that with Clark Hibbs of Yellow Rose Fitness. I’ve had him on the show before. He’ll make 20 to 25% of his gross revenue with a simple but effective nutrition-coaching program his wife runs from a spare bedroom in their home. No face-to-face contact with clients. And Clark doesn’t just make $10,000 of gross revenue at his gym. He’s making a bunch. So 20 to 25% is a big, big number. So the point is you can make money with nutrition coaching. Now, my guest is gonna tell you how. Cynthia Fotti owns CrossFit Rush. She’s also Two-Brain’s nutrition-coaching specialist. She’s gonna talk to coaches at the upcoming Two-Brain Summit. It’s June 3 and 4 in Chicago. She’s gonna tell them about nutrition coaching today. She’s gonna explain how owners can help that coach get started fast. In fact, she’s gonna give you the exact steps to get a coach started with a nutrition program in just six weeks. Okay, listen, this is gonna be a big deal, and you can make money by listening to this show. Cynthia, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Cynthia Fotti (01:33):
Thanks for having me.

Mike Warkentin (01:33):
I’m excited about this because this is an area of passion for me, and I know it can help gym owners make more money. I offered a few stats in the intro. Can you confirm? Just give them some perspective: What’s possible with a nutrition-coaching service? Like how much revenue can good gyms bring in with this thing?

Cynthia Fotti (01:48):
Easily 10% as a standard piece for your revenue generating—as long as you have a team that can sort of support that the volume that’s gonna come in. But certainly the demand is there. There is no shortage of demand of clients who need help to achieve body-composition change. So yeah, definitely 10%. You mentioned an amazing gym doing some really, really cool stuff with that leg of the business.

Mike Warkentin (02:18):
So 10% is more than double what the average gym is doing. And you’re telling me that it’s not even that hard to do, like it’s very doable?

Cynthia Fotti (02:25):
Yep.

Mike Warkentin (02:26):
And that’s not even the upper limit. Like I said, there are gyms doing 20 to 25%. And again, these aren’t gyms with low revenue. These are big chunks of revenue. It’s very possible to do more. So let’s get into it. Let’s help some gym owners out. So walk me through this. Let’s get to the max-speed plan to get nutrition coaching going at a gym as fast as possible.

Cynthia Fotti (02:45):
Awesome. Okay, so I’ve got a timeline here set for let’s say six weeks to get you started. So the first week and a half to two weeks—in other words, take that time to sign up for nutrition certification if you don’t have any of those already on hand. So in that timeframe of two weeks, just do some research ad sign up for one.

Mike Warkentin (03:09):
Can I ask you a question about this? Like, do you need to be an RD or do you need this, you know, high-level, extensive, be-all, end-all certification? Or what do you need here to get going?

Cynthia Fotti (03:18):
Not, not at all. Of course, state to state, you have to always check your laws and know exactly what you can and can’t do. For my area, there are no regulations for that kind of thing. So to start a nutrition business for your gym and help the clients that you probably serve as a majority, which are your general public, you do not need to have extensive scientific research capacities and all of this knowledge to help a client instill some really good habits in their life that have a huge impact. So I am one of those. I’m not an RD. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m plain old nutrition coach who just really wants to speak on the level of my general population. And so that’s been really successful.

Mike Warkentin (04:07):
But yet even with that—you’re saying you’re “just a nutrition coach”—you’re still getting great results for clients and you’re making 10% of your revenue. So the point is it doesn’t have to be complicated. Am I getting that right?

Cynthia Fotti (04:17):
Absolutely. Complicating makes things not so successful. It’s gotta be simple.

Mike Warkentin (04:22):
Yeah. So Step 1 then is find any credential that’s going to give you some skills, get you recognized. Of course, check your local laws to see what you actually need. In some places that’s different. Check that out, but then get your credential. Okay? Take us on the journey here.

Cynthia Fotti (04:36):
So once you signed up for your course, I then want you to set your launch date for a nutrition kickstart. And let’s set that for six weeks from now. Okay? So that gives you six weeks’ time to get your ducks in order, start your nutrition course, maybe even finish it by then. And it really gives you that target. So when you have that target time where you know you’re launching, like you better get on that. Okay?

Mike Warkentin (05:04):
You need accountability.

Cynthia Fotti (05:05):
Yeah, let’s go, let’s do this. So you’ve signed up, you’ve set your date. Now it’s time to sort of build a framework of your program. So I say “launch a nutrition kickstart.” A “challenge” is another word that back in the day used to be popular. This is a really good way to just generate some buzz around your program. And I think at least in my context, we’re a big group setting in our gym. We’re a CrossFit gym. So people like to do things together. And generally people just do like to do things as a community. And so it’s a great platform to launch your program. We do habits based. And so the framework really is simple. Pick six habits—if your nutrition kickstart’s gonna be six weeks—that are going to help your clients. So what are they struggling with in my area? I can share some examples if you think that’s helpful.

Mike Warkentin (05:57):
Yeah, please do. Because some people won’t understand what “habits based” means. And when I was back at my gym, this is like eight or 10 years ago, I didn’t wanna run a nutrition program because I’m not an RD, I’m not a nutrition expert. I don’t wanna get into meal plans. I felt intimidated by all that. But now with this habits-based program, could I help someone eat more vegetables and get results? Yeah. So that’s what we’re talking about. Give us some examples so people understand how simple this actually is and how it actually gets results for clients.

Cynthia Fotti (06:23):
So meal prep, you could have that as your first week as a foundation. So Week 1 we’re gonna focus on getting really good at meal prepping. So for a week just have your clients practice choosing a day, making a list, and instilling meal prep. And just the fact of them working on that, having the accountability of the group, they’re naturally going to choose better quality foods because that’s the purpose of the kickstart challenge, right? Next week you can have a vegetable focus. So we all can use more fruits and vegetables in our diet. And so I would say let’s pick that for your second week focus. Lean protein is a big one. For my clientele: lacking hydration. So choosing more water-based stuff as opposed to sodas and that sort of thing. Energy drinks. Move more. I don’t know about you, but in my area, people sit at desks all day. Very, very sedentary. And so I would throw that in there: on top of your gym, let’s move more. Let’s get those steps in. So I would add that in. And then a whole-foods focus. So getting away from processed foods and challenging your clients to find more whole-food choices that are available to them. So those are like six habits that you could just stack on for your challenge that are super simple and I think touch the population from a global perspective of what people struggle with.

Mike Warkentin (07:49):
Listeners, I’m gonna lay it out for you. Again, this is a cheat code: meal prep, more veggies, lean protein, hydration, move more, whole foods. That’s it. Those things delivered in a challenge with some accountability, maybe a private Facebook group, some resources, a couple of blogs, things like that—if you can present that your, clients are going to change their habits—habits-based coaching—and they’re going to get results. Cynthia, this seems too simple to be true. What kind of a price tag would you throw on something like this? Like a six-week program?

Cynthia Fotti (08:20):
You could throw in something like $150 to $200, something like that, depending on how many how much value you’re adding to this program. So you could do lessons every day. You could do meal swapping, meal sharing every day. That adds a little bit of value. So you could kind of bump up your program probably closer to the $200, $250 range. Or you could just keep it a little bit more simple and have lessons, you know, weekly that support the habits that they’re doing. Maybe you’ll charge just slightly less, but somewhere in that range, I think between $150 to $250 is a great start.

Mike Warkentin (08:57):
So I’m gonna throw out that you’ll probably sign up 10 or more people. So that’s like $1,500 to $2,500 in revenue right away. And this doesn’t intimidate me. Like if I was running a competition, all the work and hours that would go into that would really intimidate me. When you lay this out for me, I don’t feel intimidated. I feel like this is not that much work, and yet it’s going to get results. So, listeners, this is very doable. It adds revenue very fast. And then one of the things that Cynthia said “not a challenge with an end date; a kickstart.” And the positioning there is key because if someone thinks it’s a challenge, “When I’m done the challenge, I’m done.” If it’s a kickstart, that implies additional coaching and an ongoing service and an ongoing journey, and Cynthia’s gonna talk about that. So I won’t give away the secrets, but know that there is a difference in wording. So take me onto the next step now.

Cynthia Fotti (09:48):
All right, so once you’ve outlined the habits that you wanna have in over your six weeks, now you wanna build in a little bit of accountability. Cause we all need some accountability. So something general, because this is a group-style event. So I really like old school, like paper kind of stuff. So I’m mapping out a calendar with all the weeks and what the focuses are, and people can leave that on their fridge and just put check marks. And that’s really encouraging on itself to say like, “Yeah, I hit my vegetables for the day, or my lean protein.” That kind of thing. And then a private Facebook group is also pretty helpful to generate that sense of community and support within the challenges. And then a place for your coaches to add value and troubleshoot some people. If people have questions, you’re keeping it general. You’re not crossing the line of delivering a one-on-one service when it’s a group kind of service, but it still provides a lot of value and accountability.

Mike Warkentin (10:46):
I’ll give you guys a tip, listeners. My wife runs a private Facebook group for nutrition clients. If you wanna generate some engagement, generate some engagement, and do it by leading from the front. That means you’re gonna post and say, “Hey, here’s a cool thing. I read a cool article. What do you think of that? Here is an amazing recipe for breakfast. Check this out. This is my go-to high protein breakfast. Check this out.” Put some engagement in there, and then add in some bright spots on Friday. That’s a Two-Brain concept where we share at the end of the week what went right, and it would be great for your clients that you’re coaching to go to their fridge and say, “I see seven check marks. I had vegetables at every meal for seven days.” Big win! You celebrate it, you put ’em on a podium, everybody high fives, and all of a sudden this group has a huge value. But you as the owner are not doing a ton of work. All right, take us further.

Cynthia Fotti (11:32):
Super low, low touch points. Yeah. All right, so you’ve done all of this in a week and a half to two weeks. You have established the framework. While you’ve done that, remember if you’re not yet certified or you haven’t done a course, you are progressing in your course, right? You’re chasing down that deadline for your launch date. So four weeks out from your launch date, you’re gonna promote it and market your program. So if you’re working inside of a gym, you’re gonna talk to those clients. So anyone who you’ve heard who wants to lose weight or make a body-composition change—I like to label things that way a bit more. You’re gonna market it. So through goal reviews, through posts, amp up your education within your internal spots for nutrition, right? How is it beneficial? Tips, tricks, all of that stuff just really raises awareness and gets engagement from the clients. Like it brings nutrition to the forefront. We all know exercise is always the fun thing to do, right? It’s what people would prefer—to exercise, to try to out-train a bad diet. So if we never talk about nutrition, if we never bring it up regularly, then we’re kind of feeding that school of thought. So we wanna change that. So like, just talk about it a lot.

Mike Warkentin (12:48):
Pro tip there, guys, along the lines of that, when someone signs up, “Do you have any friends or family members who might benefit from something like this?” Oftentimes, working out can be hard. It’s not for everybody. However, there are lots of friends and family members who might not want to deadlift and squat and run but might know they need some help and might jump at the chance to do a nutrition program, which, A, gets you a signup, and B, gives you a contact that might wanna go with ongoing coaching, and C, gives you a lead that might eventually want to join your gym, too, after they find out it’s not intimidating and scary. So there are tons of ways to get people going on this. You could even take this to, I’m gonna say a “corporate-fitness environment.” Say you have a great seed client and she works at X Industries. “Do you wanna tell your wellness coordinator at that business about this?” And maybe get a group sign up. Like there are tons of ways to market this. The point being you need to market it. It won’t just happen, but if you follow the tips Cynthia gave you, you can get a ton of signups for this thing.

Cynthia Fotti (13:50):
Yeah, exactly. And again, with the kickstart, it’s so low touchpoint. You can serve a lot of people on this program, and it’s easy to talk about for sure. It’s not intimidating.

Mike Warkentin (14:01):
Macros are hard, right? Macro tracking, it can be hard. It works for some people, but some get intimidated. Just telling someone about a simple, habits-based program that works for six weeks to get you started changing nutrition, that doesn’t sound intimidating. It’s a great way to access people in your community who might not be ready for the whole thing but might try some habits based stuff.

Cynthia Fotti (14:19):
 Exactly

Mike Warkentin (14:22):
What’s next?

Cynthia Fotti (14:22):
So you can spend like four weeks just talking this up, campaigning for it, getting all those signups. Now you’re at your launch date. Ok. So 3, 2, 1, it’s time to launch. You can kick this off with like a Zoom meeting and just demo what they’re gonna see and that sort of thing. You can choose that. But anyways, so you launch your program. Now here’s the key. So let’s assume that you’re maybe done your certification, you’ve launched your program, maybe you’re almost done your cert. The point is you now have six weeks to figure out your one-on-one coaching. Okay? So we’re doing this in layers so that there’s no delay. It’s very, very mapped out in a plan. So kickstart is there, you’re collecting information and feedback from your clients. So you can put that in your bank of “this tool or this thing is gonna be really helpful for one-on-one coaching.” And while they’re going through that, you’re planting that seed. Your bright spots, for instance, and challenges, right? Like, what are people struggling with? This is great stuff. Here are some quick tips. “When we work one on one together after the kickstart, we’re really gonna dig into that for you.” You’re just planting the seed that this is a launch. You’re getting your toes wet, but the real work is gonna happen when you and I work one on one together, and behind the scenes you’re mapping out “what does that look like for my clients so that I can provide them with even better coaching?”

Mike Warkentin (15:46):
That is huge because it doesn’t sound to me like sales, which I hate. It sounds like helping someone continue doing a thing that is clearly getting them results—they’re stating every Friday in that Facebook group “wow, I feel better. I can’t believe how easy this is.” And at the end of that, you have a Goal Review Session or whatever you do, and you talk to them: “Look at all these amazing things you said. Let’s keep the train going. Ongoing nutrition coaching is this, and it includes this.” You’re gonna close a ton of those sales. When you’ve run these kickstarts or seen clients run them, what kind of conversion rates do you get to ongoing coaching?

Cynthia Fotti (16:16):
So I hope to have at least 80% conversion rates.

Mike Warkentin (16:19):
Wow. That is huge. That’s huge. Recurring revenue at that point, right? That’s amazing.

Cynthia Fotti (16:25):
That’s how I launched my program. I started with a kickstart. I had 15 signups and I rolled 13 of them into one-on-one coaching. I had no idea what I was doing. So I just mapped it out and I just rolled with the punches. But hey, it worked out. I’ve never looked back, and the program’s just grown since then. So.

Mike Warkentin (16:46):
Wow. Now without getting into the weeds, because it’s gonna be different for everyone a little bit, just gimme like a couple of basic ideas. What would an ongoing one-on-one program, what might it look like?

Cynthia Fotti (16:56):
Yeah, so the first thing that’s the biggest is make sure that your clients are bought in or are committed, I should say, for a longer period of time. I think that’s really important because if you’re following this habits-based approach, you’re talking about some degree of behavior change. And that takes time. And so if you’re talking to your clients like it’s a month thing—“so this month we’re gonna do this”—every month, you’re asking for that buy-in again, and you’re having to go through that sales process when you know that a month is not a lot of time. Like if your client has no vegetables on their plate during the kickstart, you saw the struggles. They’re making efforts, but life is hard. Well, in a month in one on one coaching, like you have great potential, but it’s certainly not enough. Especially if your client’s goal is to lose, you know, 50, 60, 70 pounds. You’re not gonna achieve that in a month. So let’s get that buy-in. So three months is kind of like where I’ve always started. And so the client knows that like, “Okay, now we can map out the next three months. What that’s gonna look like?” So get some buy-in—that commitment for the client so that you have a better long-term approach for that. Then you need to establish your meetings. So what does that look like for you? So are you gonna meet face to face? Are you gonna do it virtual? Is it gonna be once a week, twice a week, once every two weeks, or in a month from now? Personally, for beginners, I start with meetings every two weeks, virtual or in person for 30 minutes. And these are basically like consultations that we do to overview the two weeks that they’ve just had, discuss bright spots, their challenges. We do some education together. And so if they’re struggling with meal prep, then we’re gonna unpack that a little bit and see if together we can find a solution to make their environment a little bit better for them so that they can actually succeed at this. So what happens in those consultations is really the true value in the coaching piece. And then from there it’s establishing your check-ins. So how do you keep your clients accountable? Because again, like that’s really, in my world, clients always say they lack accountability. And so if that’s the case with your clients, you have to build that in somewhere. So we do text check-ins throughout the week to make sure that they’re still on track, and if they’ve fallen off track, we help them get back on and that sort of thing.

Mike Warkentin (19:30):
Again, that doesn’t sound intimidating to me. It sounds like something, me, I’m not an nutrition expert, something I could take a simple credential and do. And it sounds like something I could do right away and actually help my clients even though I’m not a registered dietitian or a complete nutrition expert. It could be as simple as saying, “Okay, you bought chips and you put ’em in the pantry, and you thought you’d be able to not eat them, but you ate them all. Let’s try a different approach where we just don’t buy them. And if you wanna have a treat, you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna eat it outside the home. You’re not gonna bring it into the house and store it. Can we do that for the next two weeks and then let’s check back in?” Simple stuff like that is something I could do as a coach. I’m more of a fitness coach than a nutrition coach, but I could do that. Right? Tell me, like for a simple service like this, what kind of value are we delivering here?

Cynthia Fotti (20:14):
You’re talking about again, probably $200 depending on how many touchpoints you have—$200 to $250 per month for this program. So if you’re doing a three-month program as a commitment piece, then you’re looking at, you know, roughly six, what is that? $600, 650 over the three month?.

Mike Warkentin (20:35):
So let’s just put that in perspective. You sign someone up for $200 for your kickstart, then you sign them up for three months at about $200 a month, whatever it is. At that point, we’re looking at about 800 to a thousand dollars of recurring revenue here, and they might keep going after three months if you’re a great coach, right? So like all of a sudden you can see how this goes from a 0% of gross revenue program and grows into 10, 15, 20 and can create careers for coaches and things like that. So this is an incredible thing. I’ll just reiterate this again. Someone out there is saying, “I don’t know a thing about nutrition.” If you might don’t mind, reassure these people that you do not need to be a Level 10 nutrition coach.

Cynthia Fotti (21:14):
Yeah. So when I decided that it was time to develop this leg of the business, I had a lot of fears as well. So I grew up in a household where education was key, and you need those credentials. And so for me, I had those but in a different field. I felt really like the delay for myself was “no, I have to go to university first. I have to do college thing and whatever.” And I just lined myself up with the Two-Brain nutrition specialists at the time, and yeah, she just reassured me that, no, you don’t need to have these credentials. We just need to level up slightly some of the education that you have in coaching because your clients don’t wanna know the science behind food. The majority, they don’t. Life is complicated. So what they need is simple solutions, and simple solutions don’t come from manuscripts and, you know, diplomas and degrees. There’s amazing coaching courses out there to teach you how to leverage behavior change and to be a caring coach with just enough of the science that you can answer those questions. And of course you can continue to take some continuing-education courses and level up your skills, but to start, your clients don’t need complicated. They really just need the support, the accountability, and just the right amount of education and knowledge to help them make better choices.

Mike Warkentin (22:47):
In fact, I would suggest for a lot of people, because nutrition is so difficult, it’s very intimidating. I think for a lot of clients, if you make it too complicated for them right off the bat, you’re going to lose them. And that’s been the experience that I’ve seen in our business, with my wife’s business. You could start talking about macronutrient percentages and all this other complicated tracking and all these different things. And don’t get me wrong, some of those things can work for the right people. There’s nothing wrong with those programs, but for a lot of people, just eating vegetables is gonna be a huge start. And if you can provide the accountability that makes that happen, all of a sudden you’re making dramatic life changes for a person, and there is huge value in that. Cynthia, the last thing I’m gonna ask you is this: We’ve laid out a six-week timeline here, and we’ve run through the exact steps that would’ve take a gym owner to get this going, to add one-time revenue with a signup and perhaps ongoing revenue with recurring or ongoing coaching. Have you seen this work in practice? Have you actually seen people, other gym owners, implement this within six weeks and make it work?

Cynthia Fotti (23:45):
Yeah, definitely. So some of my mentees I’ve been working with, the timeline might be slightly different, depending on workload—but following these steps, absolutely. There’s always rollover from a kickstart into one-on-one coaching. And from there it’s just keeping the ball rolling.

Mike Warkentin (24:05):
So, gym owners, if you’re out there and you need some revenue, here is an ideal way to add another division to your business without a ton of extra work. You can do it in six weeks. You can probably add five to 10% to your gross revenue, and the sky is the limit here. Cynthia, you agree?

Cynthia Fotti (24:21):
Definitely.

Mike Warkentin (24:22):
Thank you so much for being here and sharing your expertise. I’m not gonna say anything further because gym owners need to go out there and start their six-week countdown. Now that was Cynthia Fotti, and you need to start offering nutrition coaching at your gym. We just told you how to do it. I’m Mike Warkentin, and this is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Thank you so much for watching and listening. Please subscribe on your way out. And now here’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a final message.

Chris Cooper (24:44):
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners just like you have already joined in the group. We share sound advice about the business of fitness. Every day, I answer questions, I run free webinars, and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in that group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to Gymownersunited.com to join. Do it today!

Thanks for listening!

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