Successful fitness challenges can be a great way to help build your client base and your bottom line. Not only can it bring in new clients for your personal-training business, it can also reinvigorate your current clients and create a steady income stream for the duration of the challenge and beyond. That is, if your clients see real results from the challenge. The key to building your business is a successful fitness and weight-loss challenge based on an effective nutrition plan that will deliver the results your clients demand.
Widely available (and often conflicting) nutrition information and advice, combined with “rapid weight loss” diet plans developed by anyone on the internet with an interest in food and health but not necessarily in depth training, can make it a challenge for consumers to find the best eating plan. It’s important to set your challenge participants up for success with simple, effective and expert-backed nutrition. The best meal plans for your clients should adhere to scientifically proven guidelines that includes a balance of macronutrients and good-for-you ingredients, the right amount of calories for the individual’s needs, moderation and variety. Partnering with a registered dietitian or providing dietitian-created plans to clients assures that they are following an effective plan and you remain within your scope of practice.
Once you have clear and easy-to-follow meal plans that adhere to these essential guidelines, making them an integral part of your fitness challenge is a must for participant success. Here’s how to build your successful challenge with nutrition:
Set Clear Expectations
The short-term goal may be weight loss but continuing and/or maintaining that weight loss is about developing and maintaining health changes over the long haul. To help your clients succeed, emphasize that their custom meal plan has been designed to be a road map, not a rulebook. A great guideline is to ask them to commit to giving you their best 80 percent of the time. Offering a certain number of “cheat” meals each week can help them stay on track and instill the importance of balance and moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Adjust Meal Plans
Every four weeks during your fitness challenge, you may want to adjust participants’ meal plans for two reasons. First, your clients may begin to want a something new with fresh foods, flavors and recipes, requiring a slightly varied plan. Second, the changes they are experiencing in body composition and activity level may require a newly calculated meal plan (adjusted calories, carbohydrates and other macronutrients) in order to continue producing those exciting results. Completing full assessments at the end of each month, including measurements and discussion of food preferences and food logs, will help determine meal-plan adjustments that may be needed.
Make Nutrition as Important as Fitness
You’ve heard it before: The combination of exercise and nutrition is far more effective than exercise alone. Especially during a weight-loss challenge, it’s important to stress nutrition beyond setting the initial expectations. Keep the nutrition conversation going at every session throughout the challenge by asking participants about their meal plans, what they like or don’t like, and how they’re doing adhering to it. These conversations may help you identify where clients need more support, how lifestyle could be affecting client adherence to the challenge meal plan and more. Keep the nutrition conversation simple to stay within your scope of practice. Keep bringing them back to the basics of the plan, the foods and the lifestyle. This is about making changes that last, not just about following a meal plan for the short-term.
Be the Coach They Need
Just as you would during a simple training session, keep weight-loss challenge participants moving forward. This is ultimately about more than just a number on the scale. Coach clients to focus on all the positive changes they’re making, from pounds lost and muscle gained to adhering to their meal plan.
A successful fitness and weight-loss challenge can be an exciting way to strengthen your personal-training business with increased clients, bundled services and the potential to boost the number of clients who continue to renew their partnerships with you, while building your brand through word-of-mouth marketing. Don’t leave all of that potential to chance. Deliver the outstanding results your participants are expecting and the increased business you want, when you build your challenge with nutrition.