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Operations: Creating Your Own Nutrition Program


It goes without saying that proper nutrition is key to your members’ long-term success. As a result, it’s important for your health club to provide guidance in some way, shape or form that helps members establish positive eating habits.

But should that guidance come in the form of a nutrition program you’ve taken the time to develop, or should it come from a nutrition partner?

Carolyn Fetters, the CEO and founder of Balanced Habits, touched on this question in a recent webinar. During, she went through the ins and outs of developing your own nutrition program — a process she went through herself as a former gym operator.

According to Fetters, to create your own nutrition program you or someone in your organization would need the following:

  • Degree in Nutrition or be a Registered Dietitian
  • Certification of Nutrition within the fitness industry
  • Leadership qualities that include the ability to lead with passion and empathy
  • The ability to write and develop an actual program to offer

You also need to really understand what your customers need, and more importantly, what they really want. This involves identifying your target consumer, including their demographics and psychographics, and ensuring a program aligns with your model and unique selling proposition.

“You might only get one chance to get this right. So I’d suggest you survey your members to find out what they want,” added Fetters. “You want to match the need and the want of your market, not necessarily what’s trending. Making the wrong choice or a choice that doesn’t translate to your culture can be very frustrating and expensive.”

In addition, staff need to buy-in to whatever decision you make, or else they won’t help sell the product.

Another important aspect to consider is if the nutrition program is scalable. Fetters explained you want to be able to handle multiple individuals with their unique circumstances, lifestyles and goals. Your program has to be flexible enough and be based on valid science.

These are just a few examples of factors that must be considered if you decide to create your own nutrition program.

But what if you don’t want to, and you want to work with a nutrition partner that already has a fully-realized offering instead? If that is the case, Fetters said it’s important to look for a nutrition partner that does the following:

  • Trains and certifies your team
  • Offers your business an identity and helps you build your brand awareness from Day 1
  • Helps you market your program internally and externally, so you can scale
  • Provides continuing education to you, as an owner/operator
  • Provides continuing education to your staff, keeping them updated and growing

For Fetters’ full insights and to view the webinar, click here.


Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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