Executive Q&A: Carolyn Fetters Talks Nutrition Trends and Best Practices
For many club operators, nutrition is the toughest component of the puzzle to solve when it comes to members’ health. To offer some clarity, we spoke with Carolyn Fetters, the CEO and founder of Balanced Habits about nutrition trends:
What’s currently trending in nutrition? What should clubs be aware of?
CF: What is trending in the diet space is rarely what’s trending in the fitness space. Rarely is there a diet plan that includes fitness within their “prescription.” The only fitness brand to somewhat intertwine fitness and nutrition is CrossFit, and even they’re going on their fourth trending plan since their inception.
How can clubs ensure they aren’t encouraging members to take part in nutrition fads or un-scientific diets?
CF: Ignore the trends and build your brand with what you do best. Provide solid, authoritative support and guidance to achieve overall health and wellness. No trending diet plan has that as their goal.
Embracing a trending diet plan could generate quick cash, but cost you down the road. Current members might lose faith and future members won’t know if they can trust your club’s integrity. Being known for your services and being unique are the goal of your business. However, it’s difficult not to fall prey to trending nutrition plans that tempt consumers by their unrealistic claims and short-term results. Ignore “shiny objects.”
The way things have traditionally been handled in the fitness space, regarding nutrition, aren’t necessarily the best practices. The “old ways” included taking on a supplement line, hiring an R.D., paying a trainer to get certified — in nutrition — to do programming for your members, allowing trainers to handle it, or referring nutrition services out. None of those tactics support business growth or brand identity.
Why should clubs consider working with a nutrition partner, versus creating a program themselves?
CF: The new way of thinking is to partner with a proven system of nutrition that seamlessly integrates into your business, has the support of your team, and builds trust and authority within your community. By starting out with a partner, who has proof of concept, there is little potential for the type of error you would experience by creating your own program and testing it on your members. You rarely get a second chance to get it right. Why risk it? You’ve heard the saying “pay for speed.” Partnerships take you to the front of the line right out of the gates, versus building, testing, re-building and proving, etc.
What would you like readers to know about Balanced Habits?
CF: Balanced Habits has been operating in the U.S. and Canada since 2013. The company was developed within the fitness industry to support fitness businesses and their members. We believe fitness and nutrition belong under one roof. Consumers haven’t associated these two important pieces of the puzzle as belonging together, and those in the fitness space could do a better job at enlightening them to do so.
Balanced Habits’ mission is to give a voice and identity to real-life nutrition programming in the fitness industry, allowing each company to do what they do best through the partnership. This allows for tremendous growth of the business, both in revenue and within the mindset of the community they serve.