My love affair with CrossFit started after my love affair with Primal, rather than the other way around. Like so many people who find their way to an ancestral approach to diet and lifestyle, my journey started with a determination to get well. I won’t bore you with the details of my illness but suffice it to say, conventional wisdom failed me. PERIOD.
To be clear, I wasn’t someone who disregarded healthy lifestyle advice and then found the light and changed my unhealthy ways. Uh, uh! I was following the rules! I was watching my calories, avoiding fat and opting for healthy whole grains. I was also balancing the calories I consumed with the calories I burned. I was a disciple of chronic cardio. I had it all down to a science. Well…..that science blew up in my face. As it turns out, that conventional approach to nutrition and fitness is what led to chronic inflammation and an impaired immune system.
It was through a nutritional intervention that I finally began to get well after a year of visiting conventional doctors with no success (to be honest they actually made me worse). I was essentially eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods. Unprocessed animal foods, lots of fresh veggies, a little bit of fruit here and there, nuts and coconut products. Dairy and processed carbs, particularly grains, just did a number on my immune system. I jumped on the internet looking for recipes and I stumbled onto something called the Paleo Diet. I also found references to something called CrossFit. I knew I needed to strength train. No more chronic cardio for me. I just had no idea what I was doing. A 3 day a week personal trainer was out of my budget and CrossFit seemed like a pretty cool option. I still remember my first intro workout. It was a 10 minute Cindy. I was sore for about 5 days but I came back for more and was quickly hooked.
It was around that time I started my blog Mom Gone Paleo. I wrote like mad about everything I was learning and loved it. I was starting to realize my passion was no longer in my current career. I wanted to focus on spreading the message about this ancestral health approach. The efficacy of this model far surpassed everything I had ever tried.
The owners of my box were my brother and sister-in-law, although they weren’t my in-laws at the time. They are great coaches and it’s a great box. But like most boxes in my area, there was no nutritional program. I had fellow members who would ask me questions on the side but that was about it. I couldn’t help but notice how many people were getting stronger and more skilled but a relatively small number really gained that CrossFit physique. Oh sure, they’d gain some muscle and lose a little fat but not to the degree you’d expect given the amount of work they were putting in, unless they had a pretty clean diet, or were genetically lean to begin with. My observation was that CrossFit alone won’t necessarily give you the CrossFit bod.
Fast forward to 2012, I had had it with my old career for several reasons. I had started dating one of the coaches at my gym (the owner’s younger brother, blush…). Brad and I decided to get married and within a month of our wedding day, I found myself pregnant….with twins! A natural pregnancy at the age of 42 with natural twins. Now I really wanted a new career. I no longer wanted to just pay the bills. I wanted to be a role model for my little girls. So, Brad and I opened Absolution CrossFit together with our partner Hector. From the beginning our plans were to make it more than just another CrossFit gym. There were a few within a 10 mile radius.
We learned the hard way that there really was no way for us to truly differentiate from other boxes until people really got to know us. Having a great website might bring them in but it won’t make them stay. Finding success with us would make them stay. To the average potential client “outstanding programming”, “a focus on form first” and “better coaching than the others” are too vague to really mean anything. Especially for a beginner. Not to mention, that’s what all boxes say, so we continue to just sound alike. It’s this model that makes just picking the cheapest one or the closest one the deciding factor.
One thing I learned from CrossFit is the value of leveraging a great brand because we grew enough after our first year that Brad could start taking a pay check. Once the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification came out, I immediately saw its value to me as gym owner. The value of aligning with a respected brand was worth the cost of tuition to me. You mean I get an education in nutrition science too? Sign me up!
Nutrition was always something we discussed. I wrote a downloadable nutrition guide and did Paleo 101 talks. We ran 21-Day and 30-Day challenges all the time and our members loved them. Unfortunately 90% of the participants spent 21 days looking forward to the donut at the end of the challenge. Plus, we didn’t really charge for them (hint, we do now). It was really hard to get it organized and integrate nutrition into the business as a whole. We lacked the infrastructure. I still had to work full time at a day job, and so did Hector, until the box started producing enough income for us to leave.
What we have learned is that most people need more than just information to be successful. They are also rarely successful long term when they take on a challenge or use a set weight loss amount as an end goal. They need coaching! Yes, they need an education, but they also need accountably, support and guidance. There is no ONE perfect diet that is appropriate for every human. What works for men rarely works for women is just one example. A 3 day a week 40 year old soccer mom has different needs than a 5/6 day a week 20-something who is competing on the weekends. Even people in the same demographic will have different confounding issues that makes a flexible approach essential. People need help troubleshooting this stuff so they are successful and can stick with it.
I get questions from clients all the time. Comments like, “I know I am getting stronger and I have lost some weight, but why can’t I get rid of the fat around my gut.” I start with asking if they have changed anything about their diet. The answer is usually a sheepish, “No, not really” I don’t know about you, but it’s amazing to me that members will come in and get their butts kicked 5 days a week, but they won’t cut out the pancakes. “But Laura, part of the reason I even come here is so I CAN eat the pancakes” (Me: face palm). Society has it all backwards because conventional wisdom has failed us again! CrossFit, like Primal, is the thorn in conventional wisdom’s side. We are both speaking up, doing things differently and making it look bad.
In 2016 the original Primal Blueprint Expert program I signed up for had been enhanced to this Primal Health Coach Certification program. As a matter of fact I loved the direction so much, I joined the company! I have spent the last year collaborating with the team to bring something really amazing to my CrossFit brethren. I’ve personally been implementing the resources we’ve built at Primal Health Coach to provide the infrastructure we so sorely needed at the box to get nutrition organized. In the last few months we’ve been successful enough that our partner Hector, who has been waiting to leave his full time pharmacy gig, finally took the leap! It’s exciting times at Absolution CrossFit!
The benefits the Primal Health Coach Program has given my box are many:
- Confidence that we actually know what we are talking about. We understand WHY we are making these recommendations. And we know enough to tailor the Primal approach to anyone.
- It’s provided the infrastructure we were lacking to really get a program up and running. We started with a group program and are announcing our individual program shortly as well as a series of “Hot Topic” workshops. Yes, we will charge for attendance. We still run challenges too and charge for them. People place a higher personal value on a service they pay for over one they receive for free…FACT.
- It differentiates us. We are the only box in our area with any kind of organized nutritional program. Others just sort of recommend Paleo or the Zone and leave it up to the member to figure it out on their own.
- Increased revenue. Every 8 week group brings in increased revenue of a few thousand bucks. Once we bring on individuals that will increase at least 3 fold and will grow from there. Plus we earn affiliate revenue from products we trust, like Primal Kitchen products.
- It has brought in folks who ordinarily wouldn’t seek out a CrossFit gym, so it has expanded our audience of potential clients.
- It has enabled those members who have jumped on board to get better outcomes. They recover better, they perform better and they look better.
- It has enabled us to increase our prices because nutrition coaching will now be a part of the membership package.
So, in all transparency, yes, I work at Primal Health Coach HQ. But I didn’t when I first jumped on board with the original certification. I knew from the beginning, way before I joined this team, that this would work in my box. I just needed some help. I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to have a hand in bringing a program to you that will blend beautifully into your CrossFit business. Just reach out (844-307-7662) to find out more. You have nothing to lose and you may find, as I did, that this is the missing piece you’ve been looking for.
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