This blog post was kindly written for us by Geo Rockwell, the owner of CrossFit Mission Gorge in San Diego and founder of Fitrilla, where fitness entrepreneurs share their secrets to success. He has his CrossFit level one certification, CrossFit Endurance Certification, ACE Certification, and a Bachelors in Physical Education. He’s no stranger to Paleo and wants everyone to eat this way. Here are his tips to CrossFit box owners, or any gym owner for that matter, to get more of their members to take on the Paleo lifestyle. Thanks, Geo!
If you are reading this blog then you know. You know the research backs it up, but the way you feel when eating Paleo is enough to make you quit eating bran muffins and whole wheat pasta forever.
Now we need to spread the good Paleo word. Here are five strategies that we have implemented at our CrossFit affiliate to help our members jump on the Paleo train. If you are a CrossFit or other gym owner, implement them today. If you are an athlete, then suggest them to the owner of your gym.
1) Round Table
A free nutrition roundtable, or open conversation, is about the easiest thing you could possibly implement at your gym. It will go such a long way. Pick an open class time and promote the event in your gym for a few weeks. Be ready to start the conversation and have a few topics picked out to bring up. Be sure to let everyone know that it will be a non-judgmental hour, and they can come to openly share, argue or talk about whatever they’d like.
Then hit them with the first question… my favorite one is “what did you have for dinner last night.” It gets people engaged and talking right from the start. If the conversation dies then be sure to refer back to your topics like “Easy Snacks”, “Post Workout Nutrition”, “How much fruit do you eat”, or “Creative Breakfast Ideas.” Some will fail and some will be great, but the interaction and social support your members will get is invaluable. The community grows closer and people get healthier.
2) Paleo Nutrition Packet
The first thing a person should get when they sign up is a good ol’ nutrition talk. For a moment, forget the max deadlift, 200 Air Squats, 100 Push ups, and kip till you fall off the bar. Slow down, sit down, and talk with them about what they think is a “healthy” diet. You might be flipping some people’s worlds upside down, so take it slow.
Take out your “Exclusive Member Nutrition Plan” (sounds so much better then nutrition packet) and walk them through the Paleo lifestyle. Start off slow and fill it with resources. Websites, books, and food lists. Point them to the leaders in the field like Dr. Cordain and Robb Wolf. Show them amazing resources like PaleoPlan and their Paleo Challenge eBook. Now they have a reference to take with them and a ton of information for them to get started.
Do a small paid nutrition seminar for your members. Host it yourself. Or if you only feel like you can talk about CrossFit then just out source it to someone who knows Paleo inside and out. This approach is different than the roundtable because it is a course – not just a discussion. When people pay for information they tend to take things more seriously and value the advice. Keep it small – about 4-6 people in the class so everyone gets individual attention and time to ask questions. The value you can provide through a small one hour course can be tremendous. You should leave them with resources, action steps and recipes.
4) 30-Day Paleo Challenge
Everyone knows about them, but have you tried one? Paleo challenges come as elaborate as taking body measurements and giving away huge prizes. Or you can just tell someone they should try it. The first way is awesome! The whole gym gets involved, and everyone is collaborating sharing stories and competing (oh, and these gym goers love to compete). You can post before and after pictures and get some great testimonials for your gym. A few months ago I also did a small Paleo challenge where two members and myself just went on the venture. It was as simple as bringing it up post-workout and all three of us agreeing to start it up on Monday. We supported each other through the harder days, and shared recipes and tips. Word spread and others started up their 30 days.
I am not a proponent of just eating this way for 30 days, but luckily, unlike the cayenne pepper lemon juice diet, people are absolutely amazed at how they feel once they are eating Paleo. This should be reason enough to continue with Paleo eating once the challenge is over. For most it is life changing.
I feel this is the most important step as a trainer, athlete or gym owner. We do a great job of creating this community around exercise, but we need to help people even more by expanding that to nutrition and Paleo eating. You can create community by implementing any of the steps above and by having conversations about it with athletes at your affiliate. When they walk in ask them, “How is your nutrition going?” or “What are you struggling with?” Even if they do shrug you off, they might think about things twice when they’re at home about to open that bag of chemically processed neon orange chips. It takes some people a long time to change their habits, but planting seeds can go a long way.
The more community you create around Paleo nutrition, the more members will feel like it is common practice and accepted. No one wants to be an outcast – everyone wants to fit in. If this way of eating is producing the amazing results we all see day in and day out, everyone will come around eventually.
So I’ve given you five action steps you can start to work on right now. Take one, run with it, suggest and implement it. You know how good you feel – how important this way of eating is to health and longevity. So go spread the word so other people can really feel what it is to be clean and healthy.
Pick up a copy of Paleo Plan’s new Quickstart Guide and Paleo Challenge ebook!