If your fitness center promotions include pizza parties or free donuts one day a week, you may want to rethink your nutrition strategy. Savvy members know that nutrition is just as important as hard work when striving for a health goal. A facility that supports members’ health goals with healthy fuel is far more credible than its donut-and-pizza competitors. Make small changes to your nutrition options to help members get results and gain some serious appreciation for your facility’s fitness expertise.
There are three main nutrition theories members follow in any fitness center:
- The low-carb crowd eats a strict or 80-20 Paleo or Keto diet and stays away from carbs and sugar.
- Bodybuilders focus on getting as much protein as possible to support muscle development
- More traditional carb-fuelers burn sugar for workout energy.
Offering snacks that leave out any of these major groups is a recipe for member complaints. Here are some options that are sure to please each group.
Nuts and nut butters
Paleo or Keto practitioners want real food with few ingredients. Peanuts may seem like a natural first choice for this crowd, but that’s a gamble. Peanuts are a legume and can cause inflammation, and with allergy issues thrown in, they’re just not a viable option for fitness centers. Instead, offer nut butters like Justin’s Almond or Cashew Butter packets or F Bombs, which are a mixture of nut butter and fat. As a bonus, those are also great options for vending machines.
Lean protein will be the fuel option of choice for the bodybuilding crowd and will also appeal to low-carbers and anyone who’s working out on their lunch break and needs a real meal. Offer grass-fed jerky, boiled eggs and a vegan protein option for those who avoid animal protein.
Nothing’s better for quick sugar energy than whole fruits. Keep a bowl of one-handed fruits like apples and bananas on hand for members who need a quick and simple pick-me-up they can pick up and take with them.
Some of your members will be strongly anti-smoothie, and some will demand a complete menu of smoothie options. Provide options that everyone can enjoy. Include smoothie recipes that focus more on green vegetables, some that include hefty doses of protein, and some that are purely great tasting options for cooling off after a hard workout.
Above all else, keep it simple. If your nutrition offerings include supplements, know which members are receptive to those options and avoid a hard-driving sales pitch to the crowd that prefers avoiding supplements. You don’t need to maintain a full-service restaurant to offer options that all your members can enjoy. Just remember that what you offer directly reflects on your knowledge of health and nutrition and can have a positive impact on your members—and your fitness center’s credibility.