Over this past weekend, I went to Portland, ME with my wife Ilda, and on Saturday we took about a 20 mile bike ride south along the coast. While checking out the insane view, I also thought about all that’s happened in the past 12 months. I’ve met some amazing people, taken some amazing trips and grown tremendously as a coach. While I still feel like this is the beginning of a journey, I wanted to take a moment to reflect.
STEP 1: HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I started talking about nutrition about 8 YEARS ago when a guy named Kyle Rochefort asked me to run a seminar at his newly opened affiliate “The Fort Crossfit.” Honestly, at that time I was mostly an echo for what others were saying, but I loved the opportunity to spread what I had learned. From there, a few other affiliates such as Vagabond Crossfit came calling and I picked up a few clients along the way, but nothing too major.
When I came back from Washington D.C. in 2013, I started getting more involved in the local Crossfit scene again, doing a few seminars thanks again to Kyle and Mat Cote over at Crossfit Ad Finem. I was also asked to take part in an athlete Camp down at Crossfit Free. Over the previous two years, the SPORT of Crossfit had really changed… much higher volume training was happening and as a result, my message had begun to change as well. Most people were running Paleo/Whole30 challenges with relatively high fat recommendations and I show up and start telling people to eat somewhere between 200-400 grams of carbs a day. Needless to say there were a few odd glances that weekend…
STEP 2: EVOLVING INTO A NUTRITION COACH
After I finished my short talk, a woman by the name of Tasia Percevecz came up and we started talking about her goals of making it to the Games. After Regionals, Tasia emailed again and we figured out a way to work together for the upcoming season.
Its amazing that this moment ever really happened honestly… I had worked with a few people here and there, a couple college athletes and a few high school soccer players but ZERO high level Crossfit athletes, I just had a bunch of education and an idea about how to implement it with Tasia. I asked her to eat a LOT more food at a time when others really were not doing it, so for her to listen took a ton of trust.
While I knew the science behind our approach was correct, when you’re helping mold someone else’s dreams into reality, there are going to moments of self-doubt. I watched her qualify for the 2016 Games from an AirBNB in Paris, France and cried with her through the video feed. Its incredible to watch someone realize there dream. While it would take another 9 months to bring on another competitor, this really was the start of my “coaching” career.
STEP 3: EXPANDING OPERATIONS
Two major events happened right around September, 2015. First, I was introduced to Celia and Romy Gold by Kurt Kling. I had met Kurt down at another athlete camp in Milford, CT run by Jason Leydon where I was again doing the nutrition seminar. Romy and Celia were both ALREADY high level teenage Crossfitters and weight lifters, but needed some help for a weight lifting meet. That experience has evolved into two years of working together and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
About a month later I get this email from someone named “Mekenzie Riley” asking for some advice. She’d seen a post from Tasia on Instagram about our work together and it sounded familiar to her own story… massively under-eating while training ~4 hours a day. I told her it was going to be a bit of a process, but that if she trusted me and worked her ass off OUTSIDE of the gym, we’d make it happen.
In this case, I got to watch Mekenzie qualify for the Games about 15 feet in front of me, again more tears of joy… but not as many as her husband Roy (what a softy).
Working with Mekenzie has made me 10X the coach I used to be. She basically forced me to communicate with her all the time, and while I might have been a bit shell-shocked I also realized that frequent communication and check-ins made ALL the difference in athlete accountability. I applied what I was doing with Mekenzie to Tasia, Celia and Romy and their results improved. From there on out, I knew this would be how I worked with clients and how I differentiated myself as a coach.
STEP 4: THE TIPPING POINT
Thanks to the success of of my original 4, I was picking up a few extra clients here and there, such as Kristin Reffett, Kris Kling and Michela Greco. Honestly though, I was probably working with a maximum of 7 clients at the time. Then three things happened.
- Michela posted this picture and tagged me in it. I think I received 10 emails overnight from new clients.
- Kristin posted this picture and tagged me in it. I think I had another 15 emails from that one.
- Kris Kling saw some serious results and his coach Jason Leydon started to notice and started sending a few more of his athletes my way, then a few more and a few more after that.
- People like Dani Horan, Nicole Holcomb, Carly Fuhrer and Heather Williams helped spread the word for me to places that I could never reach on my own. Their support and trusting me with their “stamp of approval” means EVERYTHING to me.
I have never once advertised or tried to recruit a client, its all been through word of mouth… or more accurately word of Instagram. At this point, the requests for nutrition help started to become pretty steady.
STEP 5: WHERE WE ARE TODAY
- In July, 2016 I had two Regionals/Games athletes: Tasia and Mekenzie. This past year, I worked with 18 people that went to Regionals and 10 that went to the Games either on teams or as individuals. The growth has been incredible but we’re not even close to finished. I have a very specific goal in mind for next years Regionals and Games season for my clients… but thats another post entirely.
- I started M2 Performance Nutrition! Honestly, even 18 months ago I never really imagined that business would get steady enough that I could be running my own company, but here we are today. I’ve got a full-time independent coach (Mekenzie) and two other people that I’m bringing along as interns as well. Craziness…
- I’m lined up to work with Power Monkey Fitness, a group of Olympians, national champions and some of the best specialist coaches in country. They’ve invited little old me to talk about nutrition at their athlete camp in October. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity and have been devoting a ton of energy towards making my two hour talk the best it can be.
STEP 6: THE FUTURE
Honestly, I alternate between REALLY freaking excited and REALLY freaking terrified of all the growth. Its been an absolute blast and I’ve met the most amazing people along the way. I want to preserve the experience that the first “generation” of clients had for every single new person that comes on board. I can’t take on an infinite number of clients so that means TRUSTING my other coaches to care as much as I do. Thats a little scary, but I know I can count on the people I’ve brought on board.
The basic macro principles and practices that I use might be slightly unique from others, but they’re not earth shatteringly different from other coaches that are out there. From what I can tell, the reason why my people have been mostly successful is because of the accountability that I try to generate. I don’t wait for clients to email me, I reach out to them proactively. I also try to treat each and every single person as more than just a set of macros. If you know what motivates someone, what scares them and what their REAL dreams are, then you can more effectively help them through rough patches… and there WILL be rough patches with every single client.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me or M2PN, but I do know that I absolutely love what I do. I’ve had more fun working with people in the last 12 months than you can possibly imagine. This is really only the beginning… I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.
Kyle: Thanks for hosting the first real seminar and many more over the years. That first step made all the rest of this possible. You’re a great friend.
Mat: No one’s brought me back for more seminars than you have. The loyalty is greatly appreciated.
Brandon: Thanks for bringing me into the athlete camp, hosting seminars, introducing me to so many great people and pushing me hard to start up the LLC.
Jason: Thank you for the introduction to all the athletes, and PMF, I cannot WAIT to get down there. Also, thanks for trusting me with a part of your affiliate team. They’re amazing people.
Tasia: Honestly without your initial trust to work with me, none of the rest of this ever happens. Thanks for being my first competitor.
Mekenzie: Thanks for making me the coach that I am today. You’re demanding as all hell, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dani, Carly, Kristin, Nicole, Heather: Thanks for spreading the word… to the point that this really could be my career. Your support means the world…
Celia, Romy, Michela, Kurt, Kris, Tristan, Carolyn, Annie, etc: Thanks for being the first generation of what I really am doing today and making it so much damn fun.
Ilda… my wife. I’m honestly getting choked up just thinking about what to write. What I do is a ton of fun, but it isn’t easy. I spend a shit load of time on my phone and on my computer and some of that time definitely interferes with the limited hours that we get to spend together. Thank you for that sacrifice. Starting a business is scary, but for some reason you have total trust and faith in me to make it happen. Thanks for the support and believing in me when I don’t always believe in myself. Love you more than you’ll ever know.