Why You Need a Nutrition Program

A black metal 10-lb. weightlifting plate sits on a placemat with a silver knife and fork on either side.

We sell fitness.

Fitness is achieved through optimization of exercise and nutrition.

Fitness cannot be optimized without the inclusion of both.

That’s why the best gyms in the world sell exercise and nutrition together.

Though this combo is still a new concept for many gym owners, personal trainers have successfully sold nutrition and training packages—or “hybrid” packages—together because a personal trainer’s name is the brand, and he or she knows clients won’t get results without nutrition coaching.

Somewhere along the line, gym owners got the idea that they were selling exercise classes or private workouts. I certainly fell into that camp. But mature owners understand that they’re really selling results, so they begin to sell nutrition coaching with their exercise coaching.

If you’re just adding a nutrition component to your coaching practice, that’s fine. In this series, I’ll tell you:

Why Not Just Sell More Exercise?

Everyone sells group exercise.

Looking into your gym from the outside, it’s hard to tell the difference between your fitness class and that cheap one at the YMCA.

Sorry, but it’s true: Your “free foundations” and “group on-ramp” courses are practically identical to the free versions offered by someone else. That means they’re subject to downward price pressure.

You really sell results. You provide coaching to get people results fast and with the least effort required. More exercise isn’t enough to get those results.

Listen to my conversation with Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit. His coaching practice always included nutrition and sometimes included “challenges.” It didn’t include upselling to “unlimited” memberships.

It’s Not What Your Clients Need

More and more clients seek our services for weight loss.

In the early days of personal training (25 years ago,) only elite athletes and Hollywood stars had “personal trainers.” When I started my career, having a personal trainer was still a status symbol.

But as HIIT group classes become a commodity, your clients need 1:1 attention. They need daily accountability. They need access to a coach more than they need three workouts a week.

You can still tailor a client’s experience if his or her membership is only for group classes. Following the Prescriptive Model, you can review a client’s goals and shift the client journey every quarter. But that journey has to include updates to a nutrition program. Clients won’t figure this out for themselves. And while they can find workouts for free on any app now, they can’t find coaching. I wrote more about this on

Nutrition Scales Faster

Nutrition coaching doesn’t require much space. It doesn’t require any equipment. And because most nutrition coaching is about accountability, you don’t need a degree to help people fix their diets.

(In these states, you do require a licensed registered dietitian to prescribe a diet. But you can work with an RD to do it—or, even better, teach nutrition within the boundaries of the law with the Two-Brain Coaching program.)

A nutrition practice can scale up quickly: Most gyms in Two-Brain immediately add $500-$2,000 in recurring monthly nutrition coaching revenue just by offering the service to current clients. And unlike adding 10 new exercise clients, these clients don’t require more space or equipment.

Finally, nutrition coaching has a high effective hourly rate for coaches because they can serve many nutrition clients in the same hour. While the coach should expect to answer questions at 9 p.m., he or she doesn’t have to stand in the gym and watch a client perform reps.

Adding a nutrition program to your gym is great for revenue. It’s a good potential position for a coach. And, most importantly, it helps your clients reach their goals.

Instead of trying to push more heads into your group classes, adding a nutrition component should be the top priority of every gym owner. Then, when you start marketing hard later, you’ll have more to sell—and more ways to help.

Other Media in This Series

Hybrids Are the New Normal
Mike Doehla: Why Nutrition Coaching Isn’t Always About Food
Nutrition Coaching: Challenges Vs. Appointments


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.