Nutrition: Defining Success for Clients, Coaches and Businesses


Josh (00:01):

Hello there, welcome and thank you for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. My name is Josh Martin, and in this episode, I speak with Jen Broxterman, a course creator and mentor for Two-Brain Coaching as well as the owner and founder of Nutrition RX.

Chris (00:18):

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Josh (00:53):

Jen, welcome back to the show. How are you doing today?

Jen (00:55):

Good. Thanks so much for having me. It’s always great to be on Two-Brain Radio.

Josh (00:58):

Absolutely. We’re stoked to have you back. I know we were talking before we hit record just about some of the things that we wanted to make sure that we covered today. I know one of the big objectives is just to make sure that it is super valuable for coaches and owners alike that are listening and that they have some great takeaways. So I’m super excited about today. The first question that I had for you, I don’t even know that I’ve ever asked you this just as a friend and coworker, but how would you define success when it comes to nutrition coaching? Is it just about the coach? Is it about the client? What the client’s successes is? Is it about the business of nutrition coaching or some combination of all three? Is this something that you’ve thought a lot about?

Jen (01:42):

Yeah, that’s actually a great question. All three are important. So I think of kind of a triangle, but if I were to rank it, I would probably put the client first, the business second, and the coach third and the rationale for why I would rank it that way is happy clients, happy customers mean a thriving nutrition business and generally a very happy workplace and you know, workforce. To make your clients really happy, your coaching has to be about them first and foremost, which almost sounds dumb and obvious to say out loud. But I would say that a lot of novice coaches accidentally, or sometimes on purpose, make it all about—maybe they’re new to the field and they’ve gone through a transformation themselves.

Jen (02:29):

And they’re so excited to talk about what they tried, what they’ve done, what works for them. But you have to remember that every person coming in for nutrition coaching is an individual. Yes, they want to make sure that they do have a competent coach, but really they’ve paid for that time to be about them. If you think about it like therapy, you wouldn’t want to go into a therapy appointment and your therapist talking about how they got their mental health to a great place. That session is all about what the client needs in terms of improving their relationship with food, developing more sustainable, healthy nutrition habits, working through problem areas. So I think by thinking about that triangle with the client at the top or the first priority, you ensure that you have business success in the long run because you’re focusing on their thoughts and feelings that they’re being heard that their needs are being met, that their goals are being achieved.

Jen (03:22):

That’s what’s most important. Then I basically put the business second, because if you don’t have smart business practices in place, you will either not make money and go broke and burnt out. Or you’re just, you know, you’re not doing the world a favor if you have to close down because you’re not any good at making a profit and making a living. So we have coaches and again, I think their heart’s in the right place where they care and they care and they give and they give, and they talk to clients for free on the floor after a training session, or they, you know, give all this stuff away in their goal-setting appointments, and they truly want to help and absolutely help first is a very important part of nutrition coaching. But if you don’t have a business plan, if you don’t have a sense of how do you keep someone engaged and a paying client for a number of months or even longer, ultimately you do the clients a disservice because you have to have a system for getting them to the results.

Jen (04:19):

You have to have a way for the coach to be paid and you got to keep the business in business. Otherwise that help goes away and people burn out and they find other jobs and we lose passionate coaches from the industry because they can’t find a way to pay their bills. So that’s kind of why I put the business second and then not at all saying that how a coach feels about showing up at work does not matter. We want happy coaches. We want healthy coaches. We want to make sure that coaches have work-life balance. And we want coaches to be walking the talk, that they’re taking care of themselves and their own nutrition and training, but we can’t approach nutrition coaching from a coach-centric lens. And what I mean by that, when I say coach centric is about the coach’s preference about certain foods, the coach’s preference for how they want to goal set, the coach’s preference for nutrition tracking and tools.

Jen (05:11):

The coach’s preference for, you know, how the goals, how the speed and how the goals might be achieved. That is all about the coach and not at all about putting the client first. So a really good coach has boundaries. They have, you know, work-life boundaries and they do take care of themselves, but they’re also really flexible that they can allow the client’s preferences to come forward. So I’m, for example, an omnivore dietician. I eat all foods. I eat meat. I coach a number of vegan clients. I’m not here to sway a vegan and say, you can’t be vegan because I think you’re missing out on iron and B12. And here’s all the reasons why. Or I’m not a keto coach. I have clients that eat keto. I personally don’t. And so for me, I have to put my own way and preference of eating on the back burner and make sure that it’s the client’s needs that are being met. So for my coaches that work for me, I defend them fiercely. I make sure that they’re respected and treated well that they have appropriate work hours, that I’m not overburdening them with too much in a week. But I really do ask that my coaches think about the clients always first and their preferences. They’re always kind of second, not to say that their needs are important, but the client’s needs are the most important.

Josh (06:29):

Yeah. So I kind of felt like a couple of daggers coming towards me, you know, just thinking back to my coaching journey over the years, especially since we opened our gym, we’ve been open for almost like 10 years now. And I can think back to the early days where it was, it was basically like what was working for me is what I was trying to give to other folks. Or especially to your point about the vegan piece is, yeah, I’m just like you I’m going to eat everything. And I definitely came at that from the wrong angle numerous times, you know, trying to be the coach that has some authority, that knows some things. And it’s only after coaching for even longer that you realize how much more you don’t know. And then you can make that kind of distinction that, Oh, this is really much more about the client than it is me, the coach, showing them how much I know.

Jen (07:26):

Exactly. I think the point that you just hit on about like that knowledge piece, new coaches have worked so hard for the knowledge base that they’re coming into the industry with. And it’s always from a good place, like this isn’t to rip on new coaches. They really do mean well, they have all this knowledge. They’re so excited to change lives and help people. And I think it’s truly, maybe a bit of an experience thing and maybe some mentorship can help a newer coach kind of get to that realization a little bit faster. Like I think you and I both learned the hard way through just like hitting her head against a brick wall and taking a number of years to come to that realization that what works for someone that’s a newer professional in the industry is maybe different than someone that’s in a different stage of life or has just had kids, or, you know, runs a business or has a health ailment. And so I think as you’ve gone through some life experiences, I’ve gone through life experiences, our perspectives do start to shift. And I think that empathy piece really grows the longer that you’ve been a coach and empathy such like again, allows you to be so client centered when you coach.

Josh (08:31):

Yeah. You know, something else that really stuck out to me is I get the three components, you know, the coach, the client and the business. What I was thinking about when you were kind of breaking that all down for me is how much do you think that it’s important for the coach to really be in alignment with what they’re telling the client or that they’re working with the client. And I’ll give you an example. Cause I know that’s kind of unclear. I remember early on in, when we opened our gym, macros were a thing that we would give to folks and some people had success, but like we’ve talked about privately and publicly, the vast majority of people just don’t have success with that or don’t have it long term. But at the time it is something that, you know, I believed in and I felt like I was in alignment with, but over time, specifically working with you and taking a much more habits-based approach, it almost felt like it wasn’t, you know, incongruent or it was incongruent with me to talk about macros or to even talk about prescribing them anymore.

Josh (09:40):

And so I could see, how do you think that there is some connections between the model that you’re using or the beliefs that you have as a coach to be fulfilled and working with a client? Does that make sense?

Jen (09:52):

It does. I’m going to give you a very Jen Broxterman answer. So what I mean by that is people say, one of my favorite skills that I have is I like to speak in analogies. So I’m going to give a coaching analogy to maybe address your question and for the viewers that are listening. I think a really skillful coach is a lot like a general contractor who has a really good tool belt and tool set. They’ve got all the special sauce, they’ve got different types of screwdrivers. They’ve got different kinds of specialty hammers. They can cut tile, they can lay floor, they can do roofing, they can build decks. And I think the more you learn outside of the little sphere of life experience that you bring in and the more diverse clients you work with, and the more you push yourself to look at opposing and challenging views, the tools aren’t good or bad, they’re just tools.

Jen (10:42):

And the right tool has to be matched to the right job and the right clients. So it’s not saying that macros are a terrible tool. They’re a phenomenal tool for the right clients, with the right types of goals, for the right types of timelines, for the right stages of life, the right objectives. For other clients, if I have someone that’s just come out of disordered eating and their self-worth is tied into a number and they’re all in their head and the math absolutely makes them go crazy, that’s not the right tool for that client. So I think in a coaching analogy, a really strong coach, it doesn’t mean you have to use that tool yourself. You actually are building a room full of these really, really helpful options. And a strong coach can really know their client well through motivational interviewing, listening, asking smart questions, and then going, huh.

Jen (11:33):

I think I have a tool that can maybe help you. Let’s give this a try. So even though, you know, I’m not a vegan, I have a ton of tools for vegan eating because I work with a number of vegan clients. Doesn’t mean I personally pull that tool down every night. I still do some vegan eating in my own life. That’s not a daily tool, but it’s a tool I might pull out all the time with someone that does want to follow, you know, a vegan lifestyle. Same thing, high carb, low carb, intermittent fasting, carb cycling. Like sometimes I use those tools, a lot of times, I don’t. It depends on the client. So in a weird way, I think every coach should understand the tool, maybe have tried it on themselves, just so that they can have that empathy, that lived experience.

Jen (12:16):

But it doesn’t mean you’re a bad coach because you don’t use that tool every day, all the time forever. It would be it’s like a contractor trying to walk around using 20 tools at the same time. I would want a contractor to come to a job and say, I’ve done a job like that before. And I’ve got the right tool. I’m not going to hack it. I really do have a great tool to help us build the deck, you know, put on a new roof, put on a new countertop, whatever it might be.

Josh (12:42):

That’s such a great perspective, to use use that analogy is, you know, as you get more experienced, you do just put more tools in the toolbox, but it doesn’t mean, you know, when I’m imagining you have a consultation with a client and it’s like, all these tools come out and I know people can’t see this, if they’re listening to it audio, but it’s like, all these tools come out and you’re just throwing them at them left and right. Like to see which one’s gonna work. And it’s no, you have this basket of tools that you can use. But the world-class coach that we like to talk about is the one who has the wherewithal to grab the right one for the right client that’s sitting in front of them.

Jen (13:18):

Exactly. Nailed the analogy.

Josh (13:20):

  1. So the next kind of topic that I want to touch on is about return on investment. So one of the questions that are really top of mind with every coach and gym owner that I’ve talked to in regards to signing up for any kind of education, is how am I going to make money on this? What is the real world return on investment? So they’re understandably concerned, not just with earning the money back that they spent on some sort of continuing education, but also long-term payoff. What I’m wondering is, you know, you’ve had the Two-Brain nutrition coaching course going for about 10 months now. So you’ve had gyms that have been on the program for quite a while in my book. Do you have some success stories of gyms that you’d be comfortable sharing?

Jen (14:08):

Sure. I will keep their identities private just because I haven’t asked these people like ahead of time. But when I designed this course, I wanted to absolutely make sure that within three months the initial investment was made back and more, and holy smokes have the gyms who’ve gone through this crazily surpassed my expectations. I just had one gym owner the other day. He’s been on the course for 17 days. He’s already sold $4,000 in nutrition coaching sales in 17 days since signing up for the course. I’ve had another gym in Quebec that kind of took the kickstart that was provided in the course. They didn’t have to do anything extra themselves. All the resources, the get started healthy habits book was just given to them as part of the investment. And I think they said they had over 30 people sign up in their kickstart and they’ve converted

Jen (14:57):

I think about 64% they said to ongoing on a monthly subscription one-on-one nutrition coaching. I had a gym that said they were part of another nutrition program for now 20 months, 19 of the 20 months they were unprofitable. So for the amount they had to pay out to this program to the amount their nutrition program brought in only one month where they in the green, and since basically taking this course, they were profitable their first month by a few thousand dollars. And they said every month since graduating in December, January, profit, profit profi., Most gyms I’d say on average are seeing a profit of like one to $3,000 or at least revenue sales above and beyond, you know, the initial investment of like one to $4,000 a month. And my hope and my dream, one of the gyms that I started with took this course last July, already had a pretty booming nutrition program in the $50,000 range, more than doubled their nutrition revenue sales. And I think at the end of 2020 surpassed 130,000 in nutrition coaching sales. So went from like 50,000 to over 130. And all that they did is they just added the extra tools from the course to their toolbox. They were more client-

Jen (16:16):

centered from what they learned from this coaching course. They not like dumped macros in the garbage. They still kept that tool, but they just now had so many more things to use with their clients. And they just found that all of a sudden the word of mouth grew, their program got more referrals. Clients were happier. They said that like three to six months, like, Ooh, where clients kind of dropped off on the macro counting. They just didn’t experience that. And so basically the people they expected to lose after three or six months of signing them on their onboard just stayed on. And so month after month, they kept adding new clients. And then the retention was really the difference. It wasn’t that they weren’t good at selling nutrition. They were great at selling nutrition.

Josh (16:59):

Clearly they were beforehand.

Jen (17:00):

The course really changed the back end of the relationship, which was the client retention was the part that really got fixed for them. And, I have just, you know, some new grads, but pretty much everyone has written me back and said within one to three months, they’ve at least made that $1,500 investment back. But the majority are now starting to see revenues in the three to $5,000 a month range. And I wish this didn’t surprise them, but they’re like, I’m so surprised. I wasn’t expecting to see our nutrition program start to bring in three thousand, four thousand, eight thousand dollars in a month. So my hope is I want gyms to be pulling in more than 10,000 a month in nutrition revenue, because it’s very, very doable, especially in the climate of being able to offer this through online. You don’t even need a physical office in your gym, any coach with a laptop and a headphone jack can basically offer nutrition coaching. So it’s very minimal overhead to get this program off the ground.

Josh (17:58):

That’s a really great point that you made there at the end is a lot of times, and I can speak just specifically for my gym, if we want to institute a new program, you know, there’s these series of questions that we’ve kind of devised in terms of what staff is going to take it on. What equipment do we have? What space do we have? Do we need to purchase new equipment? Do we need to fit some things into the schedule versus this? I mean, we could be having a conversation and you could be coaching me from Canada like you have personally with me, but you know, and I’m all the way down in Florida. And it’s something that is low barrier to entry from the perspective of, I take this educational course and I’m kind of off and running after that, you know, that’s a really great point that you made there at the end.

Jen (18:46):

Yeah. Essentially the course takes four weeks to go through. So it’s 14 hours in total, 11 hours of learning, three one-on-one mentoring calls. I’ve given my entire private practice, my entire toolkit of resources, every coach who takes the course gets to keep that for life. So you don’t have to create a resource. You’ve got probably 50 plus handouts and games and activities and motivational interviewing question lists. You’ve got email templates and follow up templates. We work on a bit of like a review, a testimonial sales script with the clients. And essentially you just need a willing coach who has an internet connection. You don’t even need to build out an office in your gym, for gyms that are really limited by my physical space. And even with multiple coaches, I just have multiple zoom accounts so they can work whatever hours that suits their schedule.

Jen (19:38):

And I can have overlap. Like I don’t need to worry about two people fighting for the gym or the office at the same time. I have actually a team of nutrition coaches at our gym and each has their own, you know, zoom account. And essentially they’re off to the races working with clients as it suits their schedule. So when we talked about kind of like the client, the business, the coach, that’s one of my favorite ways of bringing the coach into the equation. Cause I ask each coach, like, what is your perfect day? What’s your perfect week? Where does making you know where your workouts make sense? Where does your own sleep and self care make sense? And where in your day would you like to work and see clients and from what location? So they can work from home.

Jen (20:18):

I have one girl who still likes to come into the office one or two days a week, cause she just has a pretty cramped apartment. And her partner works from home. So a couple of days a week, she just uses our team office. But a few of my other staff love working from home and I’ll kind of share my perfect day. One of my favorite parts with the pandemic is I do a lot of video coaching, but I do walk and talk appointments with clients. So a number of my really established clients, we do our appointments over the phone with headsets and when the weather’s nice, we just send them out for a walk for 45 minutes, I go for a walk on my side of the phone and I get a 45-minute walk that I’m being paid to do nutrition coaching.

Josh (20:57):

That is so cool.

Jen (20:59):

They get a walk and they feel great when the appointment’s over, we talk through some of the issues they wanted to work on and they got a walk in their day. And so I just have probably like probably 20 clients I work with who are just my walk and talk appointment clients. And it’s amazing from a coaching perspective.

Josh (21:15):

So it’s funny because in my head as a coach, I’m like, all right, you know, at Two-Brain Coaching, we talk about like sleep, eat, move, manage. I’m like, OK, so we’re getting some vitamin D, we’re getting some movement in the day. We’re talking about your nutrition and it can be argued that like this walk is helping you manage your stress, you know, effectively. So it’s like, all right, we’re hitting all the pillars there. That’s pretty unique. I like that.

Chris (21:38):

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Josh (22:14):

So, I’m not usually one to ask difficult questions, or to put you on the spot, but I’m going to now, so you’ve worked with like a ton of different nutrition coaches over the years, especially like in the last 10 months, on your course here, but not everybody is going to have the 50 to 130,000 or not everybody is going to have, you know, $10,000 months. What really stands out to you between these folks that are, you know, having these monumental, like successes with their program versus the ones who are, let’s just say like, quote unquote are just getting by?

Jen (22:54):

That is actually a great question and what I would say. And I don’t mean this to at all come down on the people that aren’t doing as well, but I’m going to talk about the superstars first and then it might make it a little bit glaringly obvious what the laggards are doing differently. What I would say with the superstars is they kind of started before they felt fully ready. They were not perfectionistic. They didn’t, you know, not that they’re flying by the seat of their handle. They’re just like, I’m really committed. I want to get a nutrition program off and running in our gym and they basically prioritize the course, the ones that made more money usually get through it in four to six weeks, the laggards are the ones that are taking two, three, four months to kind of chip away through the material. Like I said, it’s only 11 hours.

Jen (23:40):

So most people can fit 11 hours of professional development in a four week time frame. They are starting kick-starts before they feel fully ready to work with clients or just being comfortable with being uncomfortable. And then the other thing that they’re doing, I’d say that has started to really stand out to me is they’re really good at just repetitively telling the world, this is a new service that we’re offering. Hey, did you know that we’re doing nutrition coaching now? Hey, did you know that we have this kickstart coming? Hey, did you know that we have packages and prices even to the degree? So I’ve done a couple audits with gyms and some gyms are like, I dunno why, like no one really knows that I do nutrition coaching. I’m like, let’s go on your website. How would I know that you’re a nutrition coach. There is literally no nutrition on your website. In your bio,

Jen (24:28):

it doesn’t hint that you’re a nutrition coach. Under your services, I see group and personal training, not a dropdown option for nutrition. And they’re like, Oh, I never thought to put this on my website. So the gyms that are making the most money are just being very vocal over and over reminding people. But in a cool way. I’ll give you an example of how to not make it sleazy in marketing. One of the things that we teach in the course is really healthy lifestyle habits. And we ask our world-class coaches to adopt many of these great habits, chop a veggie bucket, make a half plate of veggies, make it nice and colorful on a rainbow, do some batch cooking. And what we ask our coaches to do is just to document it with their phone and throw those images up on social media in just a casual way, showing that you’re the kind of coach that walks the talk.

Jen (25:19):

Basically you’re just role modeling that you live a healthy life, but what the superstar gyms are doing is they’re role modeling that they live this healthy life and then throwing in a call to action. If you’d like some help with this, hey, this is now something that we offer at our facility. And I honestly, the gyms that are seeing more than 20, more than 30, more than 30, 40, more than 50 thousand, I think are just being a lot more vocal that this is a service that they have. They’re also really good at getting reviews and testimonials and success stories and pictures, and kind of proof of, you know, social proof, proof of concept. So it’s kind of like setting the norm in their gym. And then I’m going to pull this tip from Lindsay over on Two-Brain Business, which she has really helped me to coach

Jen (26:08):

some of these gyms to do is she has embedded nutrition into their no sweat intro, into every new client consult nutrition is mentioned right up front. So it’s part of their gym’s culture. And I think the gyms that have just absolutely accelerated with their earnings have embedded nutrition right in the option of, Hey, you want to join our fitness center? Here’s how nutrition fits into that. Like they just right up front start to talk about it. So that really kind of highlights the people that are doing really well. They prioritized it, they got through the material quickly in about a month to six weeks, they launched before they felt fully ready. They did not worry about perfect. They kind of had a good enough, you know, done is better than perfect approach. And then they just really, really kept telling the world this is what we’re offering.

Jen (26:58):

This is what we’re offering. Not to discriminate, but the people that are struggling are not prioritizing finishing the course and the material. They’re taking a long time between the mentoring calls. So things kind of get stale. They feel like they have to have everything ready and memorized and perfect. They’re not feeling comfortable talking to clients so they’ve procrastinated that, hey haven’t done any social proof on their social media channels. Nothing on their website would suggest that they even offer this service. And, they’re kind of in their head and in their own way, I would say.

Josh (27:36):

So something that really resonated with me that you just kind of re hit on again is that professional piece now you were referring to like, you know, professional development. But what I hear is, you know, the things that you listed out that this success successful gyms are doing to me just mean that they are treating it like a profession. Like they, those are the things that professionals do. They don’t wait for things to be perfect. You know, they start before they’re quote unquote, ready. They’re going to tell the world, like this is the service that we’re offering. And the biggest one is they’re going to do the work that needs to be done. In this case, finishing the course, getting the mentoring done, and they’re going to do it in a timely fashion. Whereas the people, you know, perhaps that, you know, are maybe not quite sure or they’re dabbling. And I don’t, again, like you, I’m not trying to like come down hard on anybody, but that does separate the people that are going to be professionals in the coaching space versus not. Would you agree with that?

Jen (28:39):

I completely agree. And you’ve actually given me one more point that jumps out. I should probably mention the gyms that have really taken off have scheduled time for nutrition. And what I mean by that is they’ve not only scheduled time to do the course, you need to have time in your team calendar. They know the who, they know the where, and they know the, like the when and the what. So they’re like, who is coaching nutrition or who are my nutrition coaches, where in the schedule, like if I said, I’m going to offer personal training and then someone’s like, cool sign me up, and I’d be like, actually I don’t know who my personal trainers are. And I don’t know when we offer personal training at our gym, how could I ever close the deal to get someone on a personal training contract? So the gyms that have done financially really well have identified their nutrition coaches.

Jen (29:25):

They have nutrition coaching blocks in the team calendar, no different than personal training. They know the location that nutrition coaching will take place. They’ve decided if it’s online or in an office or, you know, how that’s going to work. And they have a dedicated person. Like for instance, I was working with one gym and this is just kind of give me an example of what not to do, but not going to identify who they are. We’ve worked through it with them. And the nutrition coach was like, well, I have a full-time job. And it pays really well and, you know, busy kid activities. I guess I could maybe do nutrition coaching when I’m at like their hockey game when I’m in the rink in the stands. And I was like, how is that going to work? Like, how is a client, if you’re a professional going to book into your calendar, when you happen to be at a hockey game.

Jen (30:11):

And I said, would you want to hire a therapist, a nutrition coach who took only your calls when they attended their kids’ sports games? And she’s like, no, not at all. And I said, would that give you like confidence and privacy and that you were getting like their full attention? No, not at all. And I said, so when are you going to work with your nutrition clients? And she’s like, yeah, I don’t know. Like, I don’t know what I’m going to fit that in. So, I think these gyms that are the ones that haven’t really gotten it off the ground, haven’t really like either the owner’s taken the program, but they’re like, I’m too busy. I don’t want to be the nutrition coach. In which case it would maybe make sense for them to train a coach to go through. And you have to just identify the who, the what the when and the where the why, like all of those, you know, questions. It has to be just like personal training. I’ve got a client who wants to personal train, where do I stick them? And how is this going to work? You need a procedure.

Josh (31:08):

Yeah. I’m thinking back to that hockey story, the person at the hockey practice, like trying to do a consult with their client, you know, and there’s all this commotion going on. My son just had a baseball game last night and it was chaos. And I can imagine me trying to do like a consult or something, or even like record this podcast, you know, but when a client is paying, you know, let’s say anywhere from 80 to $150 for that hour of your time, I mean, you better show up and it be a very professional, you know, setting. Doesn’t mean that you have to be, you know, suit and tie or anything, but at least in a quiet space where a hundred percent of your attention can be devoted to the person on the other end of that interaction.

Jen (31:50):

Right. So I think that’s the thing holding some of the gyms back is they just don’t have the dedicated person and the dedicated slots in the week. So like our team, we have four of us. I know when my one teammate works, Tuesday nights, it’s a different person. Wednesday nights is a different person, Thursday mornings, Fridays who takes what Saturdays, like it’s like clockwork where the appointment slots fit in. And then when there’s a new inquiry, I was actually just telling you this, like, off-camera we have, like, there has never been more of a demand for nutrition counseling than right now. I think we just onboarded 39 new clients in the last month because people have gained weight through the pandemic. They’re maybe not taking the best care of themselves. They’re stressed out, they’re burnt out. And a lot of people aren’t traveling, so they have money, or they’ve been saving, a lot of people are in a position—not everyone, I want to be mindful that it’s been very financially challenging for a number of people, but for people who have been able to maintain their employment through the pandemic, and have been saving a little bit more than they would have normally spent, people are spending money on themselves right now, because they can. So if you don’t have a spot to onboard and schedule those inquiries, you’re never going to get your program off the ground.

Josh (33:02):

So that’s a great kind of look at the logistics of, you know, kind of what needs to happen, the who, what, where, when, why, and how things like that. But I know just from like a fitness coach standpoint, though, the way that we can jokingly, we always, this is like back of the house talk, but we can always, you know, you can pick out the new fitness coach, you know, the one that is just telling everybody every single thing that they know, you know. If they’re trying to correct a squat, it’s, I’m going to give you 900 points of performance and the client isn’t going to absorb one of them. So I think that’s, we always kind of joke that that’s the big mistake that novice fitness coaches make. But what about some novice nutrition coach mistakes? What are some of the big ones that you see?

Jen (33:47):

I think the parallel is exactly the example you just gave in fitness coaching. It’s just word and information vomit all over the client where it’s just, you want to share everything you’ve learned all at once and you give the client too many changes to work on. So that would probably be one kind of novice mistake. Another one is something I said earlier is making it all about the coach’s journey with nutrition. What has the coach tried? What is the coach currently into? What is the coach really reading online and interested in? And I think a lot of coaches can kind of get sucked down, I don’t want to call it the fad diet hole, but just like what’s trendy on the internet. Oh, I’m really into carb cycling. You should try carb cycling or whatever the case may be. Right? Whatever the fad thing of the month is.

Jen (34:31):

So being too attracted to the new bright, shiny object and forgetting that the fundamentals are really what have to be mastered first before you add, you know, the icing on the cake. So that’s probably another really common novice coach. And the other thing is just really skipping over the soft skills of coaching that you are providing a safe space to be heard. The client is actually has one of the few places in their life where they’re being seen, respected, heard their opinion gets to be weighed in on, it’s about them. It’s not about you. And it’s that relationship building that they feel safe and comfortable and that they can trust you. And I kind of joke specifically in nutrition coaching, it’s like half the science of coaching nutrition and behavior change and it’s like half the art of being a really good therapist and a life coach.

Jen (35:24):

Like that’s all melded into nutrition coaching because most people know what they need to do to eat better. It’s the implementation and the headspace stuff that often gets in the way. So it’s about food, but it’s not about the food. And I think sometimes new coaches are afraid to give clients the floor to explore the, not about the food stuff in their head that’s connected to stress eating and food choices and things like that. So you have to be OK, like letting people cry in your office sometimes, you have to be OK, letting people talk about other parts of their life that stress them out. It’s not just coaching nutrition choices.

Josh (36:03):

Yeah. Cause, one of the principles that we have at Two-Brain Coaching is everything is everything. And that really tells the story of that piece is yeah. As a quote unquote nutrition coach, you would think that the majority of your time is, you know, eat this. Not that. Maybe not specifically that, but you know what I mean? But it’s really much more about creating that safe, open space for them to talk. You know, I’m reflecting back to some of the conversations that we had when you were coaching me in nutrition. And I remember some of the tools, going back to your earlier part of the conversation, some of the tools that you would bring out, you know, to kind of help me along, work within what you understood my environment to be, what my specific goals were. And I remember, you know, having these conversations, getting off the call and I would go and tell my wife, you know, what you had told me.

Josh (36:54):

And she’s like, that’s it? I’m like, yeah, I guess it is. And it’s just so fundamentally simple, to your point. It doesn’t, it’s not like this, you know, calculation that you know, of geometry or anything. It was just these little, teeny tiny things. And when we wrapped up that, you know, initial period of however many months it was, you had been keeping great notes of all the changes that we made. And it seemed so little after each call, but then after we got to the final one and you’re like, all right, let’s go back and look at, I mean, I don’t remember the exact number. You probably have it in your notes, but it was like eight or nine or 10 different things that we had changed to really improve my relationship with nutrition and things. So that’s what I think of, you know, with what you’re saying here is, you know, just creating that space, you know, talking, having a conversation with the client and it not necessarily being about, you know, eat this kind of almond this time of day or something like that. Right.

Jen (37:54):

I think about it in my little analogy mind is like, I’m looking for little levers that have huge ROIs. So what’s a tiny action that a client can take that disproportionately rewards them from a health standpoint, a weight management body composition standpoint, where you don’t want to give someone a monumentally huge task for a very small shift in their life. I’m looking for the opposite. What’s a tiny shift with a monumental payout. And that’s where a lot of the fundamentals really come in and same idea with this course in business training is like, what’s—man, if I could go back and not have to do—like I actually did four year undergrad and the three-year second undergrad, a two year master and and a year internship, if I could just do one month and 1500 bucks and come out with a toolbox that let me start coaching clients, minimum effective dose, huge ROI financial lever. I had big financial input, big time input. And then it took me years to start to move that financial lever. So we’re trying to do the same thing for clients. What’s the smallest actionable step they can take that has a very clear, direct payout and benefit in their life.

Josh (39:04):

Yeah. So I had no intentions of sharing this story today, but you brought it up as like a mistake that novice nutrition coaches make. And this is not me making another mistake. It’s just kind of highlighting what some coaches can deal with. We’ve got a member, he’s been a great member at our gym for a number of years, but he is always the chasing squirrels, shiny objects. It’s like, Oh, intermittent fasting, keto, low carb high, you know, whatever it is, butter in the coffee, all these things. And he’s been on the kick, you know, that he needs to do intermittent fasting for so long. And so I always make time to stretch these conversations out, talk to him. But, several weeks ago, life just kind of happened for us. And, let’s see, we had dinner on a Friday night, my wife and I, and then Saturday morning I had to get up really early, take my son to baseball practice.

Josh (39:59):

Right after that, I had to go to a staff meeting at the gym. And I realized sitting in this meeting at like 1:00 PM and I had dinner like 6:00 PM the night before. It was like 1:00 PM. And I hadn’t eaten anything. Like I had a little bit of coffee and some water, but nothing. And I was like, man, I actually feel really good. I don’t have any hunger signals. I don’t feel like I’m going to rip somebody’s head off cause I’m hangry. And I was like, well, I’m just going to go and see when my body tells me I’m hungry. You know, not because I’m trying to fast for any specific reason, but it was just more a case of just to kind of see. And so I ended up getting hungry at like seven o’clock that night. So like 24 hours, basically just a cup of coffee and some water.

Josh (40:41):

But I was really cognizant to not share this publicly with my gym community. Because there are so many people like him, you know, that if they hear me with my position to say, Hey, I fastened for 24 hours, everybody is going to like, think that that’s the thing to do. So I did share it with a handful of my coaches, but I just felt compelled to tell you and just to share with other coaches that if you have these thoughts or you try out maybe an experiment on yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way for your clients. But I just thought it was kind of funny because of course the very next week, he’s onto something else that he wanted to try.

Jen (41:23):

I love what you did because what I call this for my coaches is just being a curious scientist. You are a curious scientist in terms of being mindful of what works in your own life and your own body. And again, it’s like very age and stage and life circumstance driven, but also let your clients be curious scientists about their body. And so you’re just helping people learn how to live inside their own bodies as best it suits them. That’s all you’re trying to do as a world-class coach. And you can experiment with it yourself. But like I said, a good contractor doesn’t walk around using every tool every day, all the time. They’ve got them, they’re there if they need it. And then they apply the right tool for the job. So I think that’s really what nutrition coaching is all about. And it’s cool to try curious experiments just to see how your body reacts.

Josh (42:10):

It was a far different experience. So I had blood work done. This was like three years ago that I’m thinking back to this specific time, but I’d had blood work done. So they wanted me to fast before that. And I just had all kinds of rage. Like I wanted to snap at my wife and my kids. I felt so terrible. And but this time it was like 24 hours, no issues whatsoever. So it was just, yeah, it was just a nice period of curiosity for me.

Jen (42:36):

I should tell you a very funny story in another podcast about some fasting experiments I’ve tried and how they’ve gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Josh (42:43):

I would love that.

Jen (42:43):

I’ll give you a very short one. Again, I try to practice what I preach, so I always try to experience it myself. And so as I was going through just some research on intermittent fasting, I was like, I’m going to try a 24 hour to 36 hour fast and see how it goes. And I was like, I’m going to do this on vacation because like, I don’t have to work. I don’t have to worry about focus. So I’m so food focused, you know, by the time I’m at hour 18, I’m at a beach resort. A little girl had ordered a strawberry smoothie and she like left it to go swim in the pool. And I kid you not Josh.

Jen (43:19):

I was like, do I steal this little girl’s smoothie and have a sip? Like I was like, what is wrong with me? And obviously I didn’t, but for like 20 minutes, I was just staring at her smoothie being like, that looks so good. I want to drink that so badly right now, I’m so hungry. And I was like, Oh, I’m a monster if I don’t eat. And it was so difficult. And so I stuck it out, did not eat for the day and then promptly got extremely sick. Like my immune system crashed and I picked up a cold on the airplane home. And then I was like sick for five or six days afterwards. And I was like, Oh, that was a fail. OK. Like no judgment. That didn’t work well for me.

Josh (43:58):

Yeah. I was really hoping you were going to say that you stole that smoothie.

Jen (44:03):

Oh, I thought about it. I had to like ethically talk myself off the ledge because I was this close to stealing like a four-year-old girl’s smoothie.

Josh (44:11):

That’s so funny. Yeah. So we got just another minute left. And I had one more question I wanted to ask you. So we’ve talked a lot about, like the difference between, you know, what the really successful gyms and coaches are doing, versus maybe the, I like the term that you used, the laggards, you know, not say that they are a failure, but maybe they just haven’t ramped up to where they’re going. You know, the difference between what they’re doing, real-world ROI, how do we define success. But I was hoping we could just close with, is there one or two non-technical type skills that you feel are paramount for new coaches that could be sales, marketing, negotiation, public speaking, anything like that, that you want to leave coaches with?

Jen (44:59):

Yeah. I’m going to say one word. It’s listening. New coaches have to practice listening better and more and longer without interrupting or having the next thing they want to say. As much as marketing and public speaking and I’d say like listening and relationship building, the two go so hand in hand to building a great client relationship. A great business over the long run. And I think we take listening. It’s like a lost art. People are not very good at listening anymore. Our attention spans are shorter. Everyone already is ready and lined up with the next thing they’re ready to say. And just being OK with like the client taking a much larger amount of the airway in the time of the appointment and really getting a chance to express themselves. And like I said, like you even experienced covering less than you might anticipate or want to cover with them.

Jen (45:50):

But it’s weird because a lot of clients are like, wow, we covered so much that appointment. And like, that was so helpful. And it’s like, I barely said anything, but it felt like we covered a lot because you got to cover a lot. And you got to tell me more about your life. And you got to problem solve what worked for you. I’m talking like through the client’s eyes. So the client feels like it was a really dynamic session and lots happened. But as a coach, your perspective is like, Oh man, I feel like I did 10%. And they did 90. That’s truly what great listening kind of can accomplish and feel like. So I’d say for new coaches, really being comfortable with better listening and longer gaps where you don’t talk.

Josh (46:30):

Now, I feel like I don’t want to talk. So I’ll close with this. I’m sure you remember Chris Voss was one of the keynotes at our summit last year and during one of the Q and A sessions, somebody asked him a similar question and they said they were really having trouble with kind of letting there be that space where nothing is said, and he goes, some of you guys just need to learn to shut up. I just died, you know, because you can think of the coaches that are like that. And I think, yeah, that’s such a powerful one to close with. So I hope people were listening to this podcast. There is such good, you know, little gems that they can take away, even if they don’t take everything, just one or two things I think would make the difference in, you know, either becoming a great coach or becoming a better and world-class nutrition coach.

Josh (47:25):

If people want to get in touch with you, Jen, what’s the best way that they can do that?

Jen (47:28):

Yeah, probably the easiest is to just send me an email directly. So if you email, that will go straight to me. And if you have any questions about the course or just wanting to talk shop about nutrition coaching in general, like please do reach out. I always respond personally to anyone that sends out an email to that location. Yeah. I’ll keep it simple, and that will get your message to me directly.

Josh (47:55):

If anybody is curious to partake in anything that Jen has created, check out the course on There are a couple of different options. If you are just wanting to take the course solo, or if you’re a gym owner and you want to take it along with your coach, we have different options for that. And then if you’re just like, I really just want to see some basic content. Jen is always creating new stuff on the blog, so you can check out that space as well. But yeah, if you have questions, just shoot her a message directly, Jen, it was wonderful to speak with you again today. I look forward to doing it again soon.

Jen (48:32):

Hopefully I’ll have more embarrassing stories to share.

Josh (48:35):

Absolutely. Next time, steal the smoothie. Take care.

Andrew (48:39):

For support from Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper and his team of mentors, join the Gym Owners United group on Facebook. Chris regularly post articles, instructional videos, and advice in there. It’s the only public group he’s in. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook. Join today.


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