By: Kane Sivesind, CSCS, CoachCatalyst.com
There’s no shortage of quality nutrition information for athletes on the internet. In fact, when it comes to nutrition for athletes, you can get overloaded with all the minor details!
How many grams of protein should they be getting?
When should they be eating their carbs during the day?
What sources of carbs are the best to boost performance?
You can go down any number of rabbit holes trying to figure all of this out. Luckily, there are a lot of smart people who have already done it for you! Just on this site alone, you have the likes of Chris Mohr (Nutrition for Sports Performance), Brian St. Pierre (Training Performance & Recovery) and Mike Roussell (Simple Nutrition Coaching) with great articles all about proper nutrition for athletes’ performance and recovery.
For me and the athletes I work with, I too rely on the experts for the nutrition education, but I am more interested in one question:
Are they actually following the plan?!?
See, you could write up the best nutrition plan in the world for your athletes: break it down individually by macros, timing, even specific meals they should eat each day.
But the fact of the matter is even the best plan is useless if they don’t follow it.
How many times have you asked your athletes about nutrition and the response you get back is something as vague as, “Yeah, I eat pretty clean.”
I used to just leave it at that. But I knew not all of them were actually following the plan.
Now don’t get me wrong, education is vital. We give out nutritional guidelines, do seminars for parents, and email out new research or articles to our kids.
But at some point it is just more information without any real action.
We knew we needed something different. Now, we use our “Show Me” System.
If an athlete says they are eating clean, our response is – show me!
If they say they are following the plan – show me!
We do this through the accountability system we created for our gym.
Since we have been through all the different levels of this system, I wanted to lay it all out for you, so you can create your own system.
In the beginning, we started with a simple pen and paper system. We created a simple sheet that explained what we wanted the athlete to work on, reasons why it was important, and checkboxes for each day of the week.
The athlete would take the paper home, put it up on their fridge, and check off all the days they were successful. They would bring it back to the gym once a week and either get their new sheet or continue on the old one. Here’s an example of one of our tracking sheets:
It worked! Our athletes started to become more consistent with their eating habits because they knew we were going to look at their sheet at the end of the week.
However, there were a few things happening that we didn’t like. They were “kids” so they were constantly losing their sheets or forgetting to bring them back. We also didn’t know their progress until the end of the week so some would fall off without us even knowing.
BEST FOR: Gyms just starting to track nutrition compliance with their athletes. Under 20 athletes so recording and tracking data doesn’t take too much time.
The next level included personalized daily emails or text messages that we sent to every single athlete. They would have to respond with a YES or NO in regards to if they had followed the nutrition plan that day.
The results were huge! Our athletes were performing better than ever, feeling good and eating great foods. The daily reminders really kept us on their mind and helped change their nutritional habits.
The only problem was the time it was taking! Even with multiple coaches at our gym working on it, sending out daily emails and texts and then recording all those answers was a nightmare!
It worked great when we tested it with just 10 of our athletes. As soon as we rolled it out to the whole group, the work was just too much to maintain.
BEST FOR: Gyms that want to change their athletes’ behaviors and make sure they are sticking to the plan. Use with less than 15 athletes unless you have the manpower to deliver and track individual responses.
Finally, we decided to build an accountability software. With the software, we are able to still get the daily reminders sent directly to our athletes’ inboxes or smartphones, but they are all sent automatically, not manually.
The software also tracks all the responses, so we know right away who was compliant and who we needed to reach out to.
It has given us the ability to go from coaching ten athletes to 100 with no extra work.
BEST FOR: Gyms that want to take their nutrition coaching to the next level and easily handle more than 15-20 athletes at their gym.
Before you give out any other nutritional guidelines to your athletes, I want you to really think about your accountability system.
How are you going to keep your athletes compliant?
How are you going to track their compliance?
Who on your team is going to be in charge of it?
These are all very important questions and something that will help set your program apart. Believe me, every gym is handing out nutrition information. Nobody is actually holding their athletes accountable!
Be different. Create a system. Help them dominate the competition!
About the Author:
Kane Sivesind, CSCS, is the co-founder of Coach Catalyst and the owner of CORE Health and Fitness in Middleton, Wisconsin.
As a coach at CORE Health & Fitness, Coach Sivesind provides individuals with the ability to sustain the health, flexibility, strength and mobility that will allow them to lead active lifestyles in a variety of activities. Through Coach Catalyst, he helps fitness business owners increase client accountability through daily automated questions allowing gym owners to reduce their workload.
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