Ask an Expert: Melissa Garcia


Melissa Garcia.

You have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Melissa Garcia, the nutritionist at Treehouse Athletic Club in Draper, Utah, about how clubs can implement nutrition concepts in order to increase their club’s value and overall revenue.

“How can a club engage its members with nutrition information?”

MG: There are a number of things clubs can do to engage members. First, they can offer free mini-nutrition classes taught by club trainers or nutrition counselors. Classes can cover topics such as: prenatal nutrition, weight loss, sports nutrition or general wellness. Clubs can also engage their current and prospective members with a Facebook page, highlighting noteworthy nutrition articles written by other publications or from club trainers and counselors.

Trainers can also write their own nutrition blogs, adding a personal touch to success stories, tips, exercises, recipes and other useful information that can inspire, motivate and educate — here is mine: I’ve added this to all my business cards. It’s on the club’s webpage and Facebook page, as well as my personal Facebook page, ‘Healthy Bits and Bites.’ A few people have joined the club and purchased training and counseling from me as a result of reading my blog and Facebook page.

“How can a nutritionist help a club increase revenue?”

MG: Nowadays, the hard-selling sales approach is a thing of the past. It’s not enough to only post an ad or distribute a flyer, and expect members to make a purchase. Some may, but most won’t. Building relationships with members is crucial for getting and retaining new clients. You have to be genuine in caring and serving them. They know when you don’t. And they will look elsewhere when they feel they don’t matter. People want to know they are valued.

In getting to know members at your club, it’s important to educate and bring awareness on the subject of proper nutrition. Many people don’t see it as an important part of the fitness equation. They think working out five days a week is enough, and don’t realize that it simply isn’t enough for lasting change.  It’s your job as a fitness professional to educate, whether a member is a client or not. Simply put, nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Otherwise, without one or the other, results will only be temporary.

“How can a nutritionist work with a personal training department to help members achieve results? ”

MG: Nutrition counselors should work side by side with personal trainers. It’s a win-win situation when both parties work together to bring about a client’s success. This brings value to the service, which further increases results and sales.

Five Tips for Profiting from Nutrition Counseling

  • Offer a complimentary nutrition assessment to get your foot in the door to a prospective client.
  • Stay educated, current and informed.
  • Find a good meal-planning program that works for you and your clientele.
  • Practice what you preach.
  • Create opportunities for success.

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