75. Nicole Aucoin | Healthy Steps Nutrition

75. Nicole Aucoin | Healthy Steps Nutrition

In this episode, Jason Ackerman sits down with Nicole Aucoin. Nicole is the founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition and realized how important nutrition was at a young age. Her mom was diagnosed with cancer and her family completely changed their diet and lifestyle. Her mom lived years past the doctor’s expectations. Even though her mom ultimately lost the battle to cancer. Nicole was able to have years of memories with her that she may or may not have been able to have if the family didn’t completely change their diet and try complementary medicine.

It wasn’t until attending The University of Florida and becoming part of the cheerleading team that she realized nutrition was a field she wanted to be part of. After Nicole struggled to work in a hospital as she felt the priority didn’t aline with hers. This is out Healthy Step Nutrition was born, they discuss how she made that move over to full time running her business. Now Nicole, along with the rest of her team, work with gyms and induvial across the country to help improve people health with their nutrition. She feels blessed to be able to share her passion about health, wellness and disease prevention on a daily basis.

Along with she is part of the broad who makes the level 3 questions, and is helping Crossfit with their government battles.

Timestamps:

  • Finding Crossfit (3:30)
  • Getting qualified as A Registered Dietitian (RD) (6:09)
  • Her Mom got diagnosed with cancer and the correlation with food (8:28)
  • Moving to full time with her business (11:34)
  • Balancing life (20:06) –
  • Advice for parents for what to feed your kids (23:15)
  • Advice for adults charging their nutrition? (27:46)
  • What role does nutrition play with children on the spectrum? (29:27)
  • View on veganism and the China Study (32:04)
  • Weird personal nutritional habit? (37:49)

Recommend books:

Chris Cooper

https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Cooper/e/B077SXHW3L?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1567676664&sr=8-1

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Social Media:

Nicole Aucoin:
Instagram: @nicole_rd_hsn

Healthy Step Nutrition:
Instagram: @healthystepsnutrition

We value your feedback. After listening, please hit me up with any questions, comments, or thoughts on how we can make this show even better, and if you enjoyed it, please share it!

Instagram; @besthouroftheirday

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Jason Ackerman:
Welcome back to Best Hour of their Day. In an effort to bring to the best of the best. We have another great interview for you. Her name is Nicole Aucoin. Many of you have heard of Nicole because she is the founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition, a great company out there doing great things for the Crossfit, community, helping people learn about nutrition, helping people make healthy choices via healthy steps, if you will. And I'm going to let the interview do the talking. But I really enjoyed my chat with Nicole. I love when I talk to people and very quickly become fans of them. And Nicole was one of those. Mostly just because she came off as super authentic. She really values what she does. She cares about the Crossfit, community, and it's evident she's doing this because she wants to see a change. What's really cool as well as Nicole is helping big time. You've probably seen or if you haven't, there's been some cases where. The government is going after some Crossfit, affiliates for providing nutrition advice and whatever you think about that, obviously you're entitled to your opinion. But Nicole is helping Crossfit, affiliates navigate that and make sure that they can still help the individuals at their box make the right choices, because as we know, nutrition is the foundation. Nutrition is the most important aspect. Nutrition is the Primary.

Jason Ackerman:
Thing you should be working out when it comes to your health and fitness, I get it. Our time in the box is what's fun. We love Crossfit,. We love the community. We love lifting. We love gymnastics. He can't outwork a shitty diet. That's one thing that's always resonated with me, and as coaches, it's important to remember that we get our members, we get our athletes for one hour a day and they have twenty three other hours of their day to completely fuck that up. Here's where we can step in. Obviously. It's cool to just drop some knowledge, but I hope that by listening to Nicole, you'll learn a little bit more. We talk about all sorts of things ranging from, you know, where to get people started to what are the best protocols for nutrition? We're gonna talk all about that, but check her out. Nicole, we joke about it, but she's got numerous Instagram accounts. We're gonna get all through those by the end of the episode. But I hope you enjoy this very candid, very casual chat with a very smart woman, Nicole Aucoin.

Jason Ackerman:
All right, well, welcome, Nicole, founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition. Great to have you on the show.

Nicole Aucoin:
Thank you for having me.

Jason Ackerman:
So a lot of people know you from your nutrition background. But before we dive into that, let's just talk about your Crossfit, journey. What brought you into your first box and what was it?

Nicole Aucoin:
I was working at a restaurant and my best friend had joined a Crossfit, gym in Jacksonville. And she had asked me to come with her a bunch of times. And over the course of her getting really involved, I thought it was cult right. All she did is want to talk about Crossfit,. And I was super intimidated by it. I had a cheerleading background before I cheered for University of Florida. So I was pretty athletic growing up. Finally, she convinced me and we didn't work out with running and GHDs and my stomach was so, so for like two weeks, it felt like. And at that point I was hooked.

Jason Ackerman:
So your very first workout included GHG setups?

Nicole Aucoin:
A bunch of them. I don't remember how much, but I remember being so sore for so long .

Jason Ackerman:
What box did you go to?

Nicole Aucoin:
It was an open gym workout, so it wasn't [a class], was Crossfit West Jacks, but it wasn't like I went to a class. It was just like open gym. And she made up the workout for us, which was not a Crossfit trainer which I think probably is why we didn't or we did have GHD sit ups.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, not a very good friend either. Do you think you had rabdo after your very first Crossfit, workout?

Nicole Aucoin:
No, I just was. I mean, I've never been that sore. You know, I it was it was good it got me hooked.

Jason Ackerman:
And, you know, there's there's two types of people. Right. The ones that hit their first workout and say, I'm never gonna do that again,.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yupe.

Jason Ackerman:
And then ones that are like, give me more.

Nicole Aucoin:
So I was a second type.

Jason Ackerman:
And then how soon after that were you just back and taking classes?

Nicole Aucoin:
Pretty soon.

Nicole Aucoin:
So I ended up moving up to Jacksonville and was going to her gym for a little bit. And as soon as I moved back to Gainesville, I joined a gym immediately, which was awesome. So I was there for a couple of years and I moved down to South Florida and joined a gym almost immediately. I had no friends when I moved down here. So I'm like, well, this is going to be a great way to meet some people. And so they joined Belgium in 2012, Crossfit, Deerfield each and my husband there. And then I started coaching and the rest is history.

Jason Ackerman:
Isn't that cool, you can move somewhere, have no friends, and you know meet your crew. And not only that, your significant other. And that's the best part about Crossfit,.

Nicole Aucoin:
The community is definitely the best part. I love it.

Jason Ackerman:
So you said you were working at a restaurant around 2010. Were you in school for your R D degree?

Nicole Aucoin:
I graduated at that point. I was in between. Actually, I was going if finishing up my masters at that point. So I was in Jacksonville finishing up my master's in nutrition. So I took the route where you did your masters in your internship at the same time and then graduated with the credentials after that.

Jason Ackerman:
So so we know you and I were discussing a little bit prior to hopping on here. That's really my biggest questions to you are you have your R D and I see a lot of what you're implementing. Whew! How is it, as is it as an R D to. I assume you're slightly against the grain. What they're putting out there?

Nicole Aucoin:
Definitely. Yes. We went to school to get the credentials in the state of Florida. As you know, being in Naples, you know, they're pretty strict with what you do. What kind of credentials you have to have to be able to talk about nutrition and what you can say and the legalities of it all. So I went to school to get those credentials and got a job at the hospital. And I think that's really what made me struggle so much with what I was being forced to say, giving people that had ensure with Like 60 grams of sugar in it. And these cancer patients that were there were loading up with sugar supplements so that they wouldn't meet their calorie needs. Our whole philosophy is on disease prevention and the values didn't aline, which is what ended up pushing me to start Healthy Step Nutrition.

Jason Ackerman:
So you knew you wanted to be involved in nutrition to some extent prior to. I mean, I assume, you know, you went to school for this, you had an interest in it, but were you truly only going to attain that credential?

Nicole Aucoin:
So I knew nutrition was important at a really young age. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and we completely changed our diet.

Nicole Aucoin:
And just nutrition was a big part of my life growing up and eating healthy. And when I cheered in college, we all had disordered eating habits. To think now what I did back then is so crazy. It's like with a super restrictive eating to look a certain way and they thought some of us had eating disorders and they sent us all to a dietitian. And that was my freshman year in college. I changed my major as soon as I left her office. I'm like, this is exactly what I want to do. I can talk to people about healthy eating in improving their performance. I mean, all she did, the dietician I talked to was work with the U. S athletes to help them improve their performance, their nutrition. So that was when I decided to change my major and never looked back.

Jason Ackerman:
So you mentioned your mom and cancer. She's still with us now.

Nicole Aucoin:
She passed away in 2002, too.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I'm sorry to hear that. How did. What were some of the changes you made, though, you when you found out the diagnosis?

Nicole Aucoin:
So the biggest thing was cutting out a lot of the processed foods, like we switched to all organic.

Nicole Aucoin:
We cut out a lot of the sugar that she was eating and my. They started doing juicing like juicing a ton of carrot juice and just vegetable juices. And what else? She was taking a ton of supplements. And looking now at what I know about supplementation, I don't know if we probably would have done all of that because no, B, vitamin supplements are helping any cell growth, not just healthy cell growth.

Nicole Aucoin:
Right. So looking at, you know, what kind of supplementation that that she was doing and she was doing other things like aloe vera juices and just, gosh, we are reaching right. Like any possible thing that there is some research on. My dad had read a book called Alive and Well that was talking about different nutrition for cancer. And they had bottle like a hyperbaric chamber. She was flying over to get to get treatment. She did like the conventional surgery, chemo, radiation the first time around and the second time around as well. We completely changed everything.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I think we are diagnosed with something like that. You're just grasping at anything you can do, right. And and I'm sure some of that really those changes were probably positive for the most part.

Nicole Aucoin:
Absolutely.

Jason Ackerman:
Now you deal with that and then you go to school and you're hearing basically the opposite of that. How challenging was that for you, having dealt with a lot of people in school there, didn't deal with someone with cancer, let alone their parents. How hard was it for you to hear something from your teachers knowing it was untrue?

Nicole Aucoin:
A lot of what we learned in school is metabolism, metabolic pathways like how things break down. I think the biggest struggle for me was when I went and started working at the hospital when I had my credentials and we were giving people food and diabetic patients protocols in the hospitals. And I even worked with some doctors now that run our nutrition program in Texas. And they call me frustrated, too. And I completely agree with the way the way it works at the hospitals. As long as a diabetic patient has less than 60 grams of carbohydrates in their meal, it's totally fine. Whatever they have. So they could technically have four juice boxes because it needs the under 60 grams. And we know what that's going to do to their blood sugar. And there was nothing I could do about it because they were part of the hospital system that had hundreds of hospitals around the US. Right. Like they're not going to change one thing just because I one dietitian said something. Right. So instead of fighting it every single day, I'm being forced to say something that I didn't really agree with or or do something. I just left and started my own practice.

Jason Ackerman:
So how long did you last with the hospital?

Nicole Aucoin:
I was there for a year full time. And then I started kind of backing away as it as most people . Right. I had that stable salaried position, starting healthy steps, nutrition. And I remember talking to Chris Cooper on our first mentoring. And I said my goal is to get away from the hospital completely full time like I would. I just wanna work healthy self nutrition full time. And we slowly started going diem or part time and then per diem. And as soon as I was able to replace a salary, I was gone. I think I was there for probably three years total between the full time to the to the per diem and then never looked back.

Jason Ackerman:
When you're saying healthy steps, nutrition at that point, are you referring to your box?

Nicole Aucoin:
No. So I didn't open the Crossfit, gym until 2016. We I opened up healthy substitution in 2012. So I was just doing nutrition coaching and I was doing some personal training at that time in coaching like group fitness classes, not at a Crossfit, gym.

Nicole Aucoin:
And then at some point. Gosh, the years kind of all blended together, probably two thousand fourteen ish got my level one. And then I was coaching and a crossfit the gym I moved my office into another Crossfit, gym and we decided, OK, let's have everything under one roof. Let's open up our own Crossfit, that has nutrition can have the all packaged together.

Jason Ackerman:
And just use Chris Cooper to help you start that?

Nicole Aucoin:
So I had already been working with him for years before that. He had found out what I was doing with a gym running our nutrition program in 2014 and had asked asking me to be on a podcast. So we started talking about that. And at that point I was like, you know, I really need to hire a mentor. I need to hire someone to help me and not get distracted by all the shiny objects that are around with business and give me a clear path. I don't know if he had worked with anyone before me, that wasn't a Crossfit, affiliate owner. So it was a lot of unique situations, right. He wasn't a cookie cutter mentorship that he was used to doing, but obviously now he works with so many different people. So I worked with him and we were with Two Brian, when we opened the gym, SO saves us a lot of mistakes that we probably would have made.

Jason Ackerman:
Yes. COOPER help many people, including myself. Now you brought him on as a mentor. You know, we've had some amazing coaches on this podcast that I always rely on somebody smarter than them. What role did having a mentor play in your journey?

Nicole Aucoin:
He really gave me a clear path of where I was headed. Right. So it's so easy to get stuck in the day to day operations. When I when I started working with him, when I hired him. I was doing everything for the business from like bookkeeping, which I am terrible at, and I have no idea how to do it.

Nicole Aucoin:
Now I will gladly pay someone else to do it. But marketing and just I was a one person shop, right? So it was a journey for me to get over the fact that I shouldn't be spending 10 hours a week building a website. I just need to hire someone that's really good at that and focus on growing my business. That at the beginning was probably the most important thing he kind of taught me. It kind of walked me through and then it was really figuring out as the mentor and company grew, how to scale it and make sure that we could handle 30 gym signing up per month in it and understand how we could still provide the best service to all of them at the same time opening up the gym, being able to pass that on to someone else really quickly. Right.

Jason Ackerman:
So. A lot of new business owners don't take advantage of that. How challenging was it for you to balance spending money that maybe you didn't actually have knowing it would free up 10, 12 hours? And not only that, it was something you weren't good at and it allowed you to focus on something you did excel at.

Nicole Aucoin:
It was making a list of all the things, and I still do this on a daily, not daily, probably monthly basis, I make a list of everything that I do and then I'll highlight the stuff I really love to do, right. I like doing all of these things and then everything doesn't get highlighted. I'm passing it on to someone else. Like for me, meal plans are the most tedious task that I've ever done. And I've made hundreds and hundreds of meal plans. And I think there's a role for meal plans. I don't think that there is something that people should rely on. But I think it's a good way to give people an idea of what they should like how to make a balanced meal throughout the day. That's something that I finally have passed on like the last, not the last taks. I'm sure next month will be something else that I'm like, well, maybe I don't need to do this anymore. But if it is a tough balance, right to know how much time do you have in a day? And I think for entrepreneurs, it's super tough because especially dietitians right that have full time jobs. There's only so many hours of the day that you can see clients and build your business. What piece of the puzzle can you take away so that you can get more clients as you are required to build? Built your legacy.

Jason Ackerman:
It sounds like the classic eliminate automate. Delegate.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
Yes. It's a relatively simple idea. I think more people need to do that. And, you know, one thing I learned in that kind of journey there was don't automate or delegate things that should really be eliminated.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. How can we make processes so, so much easier? Right. Let me have I have a guy, a website developer at his job. We talk once a month. Like the struggle with the website. And how can we make this process automated easier so that there's no manual touch points in there? So simple things, right? I'm sure what people sign up for something on your Web site, I'm sure there's an automated email that goes to them. No one's waiting on you to do anything right. It just happens. There's magic there.

Jason Ackerman:
And surprisingly, there's always more to do, things to fix, things that can be better. Well done now. What was the hardest thing you ever let go of?

Nicole Aucoin:
I think. It took me a very long time to hire someone to to mentor other gyms for us. So now we have a team of really amazing people. But the first person that I hired and brought on Lindsey, she's actually flying up to Chicago for the Two Brain summit and speaking there this weekend. Tomorrow she flies up.

Jason Ackerman:
And you're going to?.

Nicole Aucoin:
I'm speaking for her and she's speaking on nutrition coaching. But. Hiring a mentor to help other gyms was like the biggest thing. I'm like, no, this is my baby. I'm. I have the magic sauce when in reality, no. Like, we could teach someone else to help. To help people. I think that was probably the biggest hurdle. And Chris walked me through that every step of the way. Like how we're going to find someone that was already doing really well, running the program and see if they'll be interested. She jumped on immediately. We trained her and she works for us full time now and does a really amazing job.

Jason Ackerman:
And I'm sure that freed up a lot of time?

Nicole Aucoin:
Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
So speaking of that, as a box owner in the past and as a business owner, how do you find balance in your life? I mean, is your husband involved in the business as well?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes he works for the fire department full time, but he coaches on the Crossfit, gym and he's my sounding board for every single idea that we end up pushing out. Sometimes he thinks I'm crazy, but not to watch is going to work and somehow it does. So hes involved and I think it's an ongoing battle, Right? As an entrepreneur, it's easy to say, hey, turn things off, but I don't. Hey, it's a learning process every single day. I have mentors that strategies that I try and learn, like creating your perfect day. Right. Chris talks about that all the time. OK, what time do you want to start work? What time do you want to stop working? We have twin eight year olds. So like there has to be a balance to have a good quality family life, but also provide the support that that we need. And it's a learning experience.

Jason Ackerman:
So what are some rules you guys have?

Nicole Aucoin:
I Do not have my phone at the dinner table. I do not get back two to three hours between dinner and putting the kids to bed. That is the family time. So I really try hard not to let any distractions happen at that time. I also am the one that's getting kids ready in the morning like breakfast. So again, like that's my time with with the family. And then also we make sure and take vacations. Me and my husband alone so that we have a lot of time within a lot of times our conversations after the kids go to bed revolve around work because it never stops. But we we do try and take vacations every year and make sure that there's some sort of balance.

Jason Ackerman:
And when you go on vacation, is it no work? Or is it? We get up. We do an hour or two of work type of thing.

Nicole Aucoin:
There is a balance of those. So as soon as I come back from summit, we are taking the kids to over by you actually take them to St Pete for a few days and I'll have a couple hours that I work in the morning only because I'm leaving tomorrow morning and I'm not working to Monday, at least on some of the business.

Nicole Aucoin:
So there is a there's a balance, right? If we go to Costa Rica, then there might be a few days where I don't do anything or the team knows like will pass off things to the team, like, hey, I'm gone answer if there's an emergency, then then I'll get involved. But most of the time I can block it out. So maybe it's an hour to minimal if possible. Now I have someone that manages my email, so I have virtual assistant who is amazing and she can answer a lot of stuff for me and that that's why it's taken a lot of pressure off of having to be in my email all the time. Right.

Jason Ackerman:
Was I talking to your virtual assistant?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
She said it was you, that great virtual assistant.

Nicole Aucoin:
She's awesome. So actually, I found out about the company. It's called Belay from Donald Miller and Story Brands. And I was listening to this podcast.

Jason Ackerman:
That book is great, by the way.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. A story brand. Amazing. Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin:
So I was listening to one of the podcasts and they were talking about this virtual assistant company this guy built like. Sounds interesting. Let me just give him a call. And it was the best thing like summit, the plans that we have. She handled almost all of it. So it's all done. I didn't have to worry about anything. And she works as set number of hours for us per month. And it's great.

Jason Ackerman:
What do you say? Plans. You mean like hotel travel? Everything.

Nicole Aucoin:
In even from our event. So like we're hosting a live workshop for gym owners and she handles all of the shipping, getting sponsors for it, lunches for the staff, catering. She handled it all nice.

Jason Ackerman:
And I assume she's in another country.

Nicole Aucoin:
She knows she's here. She's she's in this country.

Jason Ackerman:
She is in the States.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah, she's in New Jersey.

Jason Ackerman:
And it's the Belay, I assume, like a rock climbing. Like Belay.

Nicole Aucoin:
Exactly. Belay solutions.

Jason Ackerman:
Make sure those are in the notes. So so three topics that I definitely wanted to discuss today regarding nutrition. I had two and you actually brought up a third. So you said you have twin 8 year olds. What would your advice be to parents as far as feeding their children?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. To be honest, it's. It starts when they're young, rightly. And you need to lead by example. We just revamped our kids nutrition course. And the truth is, like parents come to us and we work with a lot of kids. Healthy substitution. I have doctors and we have different sports partnerships. And sometimes parents will come to us thinking that they could sit down and pay to talk to a dietician in this magic thing will happen. And in reality, I guess you as a parent are still going through the drive through and still getting junk at home. Your kids are gonna eat it right? Like their kids, they want eat junk. But if you have healthy foods, in the house, and you make it a part of the culture. You know, that will trickle down to them. But if you're eating, if you go to McDonald's and get a burger and fries and tell your kids they can't have that. That's not really fair. Right. So you need to start yelling lead by example, for sure. Be consistent. Right. So we know it takes 12 to 15 times of trying new foods. So if we like it or not and sometimes, like our kids love roasted broccoli, they'll eat it every day. And we made a roast of buffalo cauliflower last night. They were in the bowl like taking it out with their hands the whole time. okay can can I get a pizza before anything?

Jason Ackerman:
Anything buffalo is gonna be good. And so with that being said, where's the balance for them as far as what? Is not allowed at home, but they go to their buddies house down the road. You know, when I was growing up, my parents and I didn't have junk. My neighbor, they had those apple pies, you know, those like DRAKE Apple pies. You would be like, I'd make a beeline as soon as I walked into his house. So what do you tell them?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. The kids are at a point where they're like going to neighbors houses. Like, we have kids over to our house all the time. And I'll keep that going as long as possible that they know they know what's healthy. They know like Brody, for instance, he plays basketball. And he after every basketball game, the parents one parents would bring in snacks after. And every single week it was chips and a box of juice and you had to bring boxes of juice. That was like what was required for parents. Like they do not need juice after running around for 30 minutes. But OK.

Jason Ackerman:
It's like your Crossfitters. I need their post workout after a four minute workout.

Nicole Aucoin:
Give me a break. So I he would bring this stuff to us and then we'll go get. And sometimes, you know, if they were pretzel , OK, whatever. Fine. But you don't need to have juice and you can drink the water that's in your water bottle. You just throw it out. And then they know what's healthy and what's not. And they make pretty good decisions. Do they never have any treats? No. We went to a birthday party where they have a cupcake. Absolutely. Did I get a blueberry muffin for them this morning and let them have half of it? Because it's our last day of school. Yeah, but they have vegetables with every lunch and dinner and they have a lean source of protein and they get a balanced meal every day. So there's a balance, right?

Jason Ackerman:
They're not tracking their macros, but they're eating good quality snacks.

Nicole Aucoin:
And if they want more, they can have more, you know. But I think so many parents think, you know, oh, I don't need to worry about that. You know, my kids, it's going to grow into it. Right. Or I'll let them. You know, we'll start the battle of healthy eating later. And the later you started, the harder it is. So like introduce those foods early on an our from as long as I can remember. Like the kids were eating vegetables and healthy food and that's all they knew. I remember. Maybe this there were probably four or five at this point. We're going trick or treating and the. They had the bull outside, right? And the lady holding the bull for trick or treating was like, which one's your favorite? And they looked at me and went Which one's my favorite? And they didn't even, thats a proud parent. Right?

Jason Ackerman:
Do you have apples? So I have a weird question for you. We were I need New York City celebrating my cousin's graduation from physical therapy school and his sister, my other cousin was dating. He's probably 30 and he doesn't eat anything. Like he eat but like that. He's like your kid. I would have like pasta with cheese and chicken nuggets.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah.

Jason Ackerman:
How do you get an adult to vary their nutrition?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. So as I mentioned before, you got to try things different ways. Like preparing things, roasted things taste better in my opinion. The non roasted thing. So trying that there's a book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Steinfeld. We have a couple copies of it in our office and I'll let parents look through it when they have super picky eaters and the kids won't do anything. It's a little like sneak in vegetables like puree stuff into things, which is an option that we start getting some vegetables in. But try, different ways, like we eat cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's all the time.

Jason Ackerman:
All that stuff is the best.

Nicole Aucoin:
Oh my goodness. I can eat every day. I don't have a huge variation.

Jason Ackerman:
You had, I know your kids probably don't eat this, but those bomba treats.

Nicole Aucoin:
No i haven't

Jason Ackerman:
They're basically peanut butter, Cheetos.

Nicole Aucoin:
You what? Was that the elephant on it?

Jason Ackerman:
Yes.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes. We have had those that the kids don't like.

Jason Ackerman:
You have strange kids. But.

Nicole Aucoin:
I mean, those are fine. Yeah.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, it's funny. We joke. It's at Trader Joes. It's good for you.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes,.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. Those treats are delicious.

Nicole Aucoin:
But, you know, things like that. Right. Trying new ways. Some variations like cauliflower, just steamed cauliflower. I'm not a huge fan, but mashed cauliflower. Cauliflower,gnocchi. I mean trying different types of foods with vegetables in it. And now there's so many different options out there for people to get healthy foods. That doesn't have to necessarily be just carrots, right?

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, they're going to make cauliflower, chocolate. That's what's next. And it'll be great. So here's one of my other two topics. Autism. I'm not you know, I did my master's in psychology on autism.

Jason Ackerman:
What role does nutrition play and what are some changes you think parents should be making if their child is on the spectrum, being autism, Asperger's or really any special needs?

Nicole Aucoin:
Mean sugar is the number one thing I'll cut out. Right. Because there is a lot of correlations with the amount of sugar that's in diets and kids actions and behavior. And of course, texture is going to be super tough. Same with autistic kids, depending on how much on the spectrum they are. So finding out what textures do they like and how can you make foods be more of that texture. Right. Look, different. Different options. But sugar is probably the biggest thing. And even like sugary drinks to like a lot of parents don't realize how much sugars in apple juice and chocolate milk. Right. I mean, I just just did a couple weeks ago. We do a big thing with Twister Bake Gymnastics facility locally. And one of the activities we did this time, I go in and do seminars for them. And one of the activities we did was a sugar shocker. So I'd like five different drinks that they all drink, right? Or maybe not as much anymore because it's pretty preacher for the past three years. But, you know, five different drinks and just show them what's in the lemonade, what's in the apple juice, what's in the chocolate milk that your having? 15 teaspoons of sugar out in one sitting is way too much for any child, let alone on the spectrum.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I dated a girl [and She had a son who was probably] about eight at the time. And we. Have you gone to Epcot?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
That's so that area soda area? So it's like the world of soda. Basically, it's like. Right. I think it's like Coca-Cola sponsored [and we were there] with [his] grandparents. And, you know, I don't think he was on the spectrum, but he had some things going on. He goes in there, they're just like have as much soda as you want. And he had some twitches going on and other things. And the grandparents, [were] like [he] should have known better. I'm like, he's eight. You just put him down. I was like, you just put for a soda. I was like, I'm 40. I wouldn't be able to control myself.

Jason Ackerman:
It was amazing to show her, his mom like, look, this is what you need to change. She is going through a divorce. So she had the opportunity to make those changes and she did. And it's been drastic, just eliminating sugar.

Jason Ackerman:
I thought of another topic where two more veganism. What's yours? What's your stance? A lot of people and I started reading it, it's pretty heavy. The China study. So what's your opinion on this? Everybody's gone plan based these days,.

Nicole Aucoin:
The China study, it's funny you bring that one up. So my.

Jason Ackerman:
Why's take?

Nicole Aucoin:
My husband's father. So my father in law forks over knives. So is husband actually.

Jason Ackerman:
So on that on the documentary?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah, I know.

Nicole Aucoin:
One of the people they sent to China to like learn all about the China study and basically do all like follow vegan diet. And they tracked him like he was one of the people on the show that had diabetes and heart disease. And you know, all of this stuff going on. This was before I was I knew him.

Jason Ackerman:
So this is random?

Nicole Aucoin:
So random that you bring this up in.

Jason Ackerman:
I mean to be random that you started dating his son.

Nicole Aucoin:
Oh, yeah. I had no idea that he was in the movie. I was randomly watching it one night after we started dating. And I was like sending him a picture like is that you? I feel like you're on Netflix documentary.

Jason Ackerman:
I think that would have come up here in the same way.

Nicole Aucoin:
We didn't tell anyone. My sister, the same thing happened. She was watching it. She's like, is that Jason? But the truth is, it's it's really tough for people to sustain that lifestyle, especially if you don't have support at home. So you not at not not support. I can't say that. But not everyone's doing it at home. Right. So like if you're the only one eating that way and it's. It was tough for him, so he got off all of his medication, did amazing in the movie, stuck with it for a couple years and then did not stick with it. And he ended up having a triple bypass a few years ago. Mmm.. It's really tough to stick to our people. Do people do it? And when I when people ask me, like, hey, watch what's going on with the vegan diet, should I do it? And I always start with like, why? What's prompting you to want to do that is because your friend is doing it or your neighbor or your co-worker or you read something where you can lose a lot of weight really quickly. And when you hear the answers getting the behind the line and can really dive into that issue over the surface. Thing is, I want to try this fad diet. Right. And then you can really understand why that will end up helping them if you can get them that way.

Jason Ackerman:
I think you'd probably have a very similar answer last year about Keto.

Nicole Aucoin:
Same thing. Yupe. And I think there's good. Go ahead.

Jason Ackerman:
I think it's great. It's almost like typically I want to lose weight. Cool. You don't need to do this fad extreme thing to lose weight. You can eat sensibly and do this forever.

Nicole Aucoin:
Exactly. And you know, the habit based model like precision nutrition, you know, focusing on habits is really the core of of healthy substitution. And what we teach the nutrition coaches running our program that you don't need to go to some extreme to get people to see results, although that's what they're trained to want. Right. Your clients are reading, I think, a picture of them sometimes and post it like it's people see magazine covers that say I'm to lose 10 pounds in 10 days or at least 30 pounds by the end by Memorial Day rate. It's crazy, unrealistic goals that they come to you with. And you just have to help them understand, like, OK, you might be able to lose a lot of weight if you don't if you starve herself, but you're not gonna be able to do that forever and you want something that's more sustainable for long term success. So you really need to get to the root cause. Right.

Jason Ackerman:
What is one thing you used to believe about nutrition that you no longer believe?

Nicole Aucoin:
Gosh, this is a tough one. I think the nutrition world is ever so changing, right? Like there's so much research that comes out in science basing. Simple things like what I learned in school, 50 to 60 percent of the calories to come from carbs, you need 10 to 15 percent coming from protein, the rest from fat. That's not the macro teaching prescription that you start with, with our clients. I think that's way too many carbs and helping people understand that they can get a balance without having so much carbohydrate in processed foods. Think is something that was an easy switch to some food. No, an easy transition. When we started figuring out what are we going to really prescribe to people, I think nutrition coaching is so much psychological. Right. And I didn't focus as much on that when I first started. I thought that I needed to like I think with any coach, no matter what coaches are listening to this podcast, when even when you go through your level one. Right, you get all of this knowledge in your level one and you feel like you need to export out all this knowledge when really people need one cue right they just need one thing to nail. One thing to nail and then let them leave. Happy with that. With nutrition coaching, it's the same thing. People just need one action step that they can definitely achieve to give them the motivation to continue it. I think the strategy of nutrition coaching has evolved with all these steps. Nutrition as we've ever seen, as we've worked with more people at Learn. We don't need to share everything. We don't need to show them all of our tools in our tool box. Let's just show that one thing that they can definitely nail and then get them motivated to continue.

Jason Ackerman:
What is one weird nutrition habit that you have with your nutrition habits?

Nicole Aucoin:
Gosh, I'm a pretty habitual eater. Like, I will eat the same thing every day. It's in the fridge, like the cauliflower gnocchi. It's like lunch, probably three to four days a week. I don't know. That's not something that's weird. I'm just an. Habitual eatter my husband is the one that cooks most of the food in our house. He's a really good chef and I think it's coming from the fire department.

Jason Ackerman:
I was going to say all firefighters, are good cooks.

Nicole Aucoin:
There's so many tricks up his sleeve and they've definitely been his standard recipes have definitely evolved over the years as well. Like how can we make this a little healthier? We don't need that much mayo in this recipe or not need 80 percent ground beef. We could probably push it to ninety three and be totally fine. I think he'll start making those changes now on his own. But yeah, he does a lot of the cooking. Definitely.

Jason Ackerman:
See, you have a coaching staff at your box. How much influence are you on them with their nutrition? Is it like, hey, if you're gonna coach here, you're dialed in? Or do they get the same leeway that a typical coach would have?

Nicole Aucoin:
So everyone needs to be bought into our vision. I think it's really important for a gym to have staff be bought into whatever programming they're doing. Or if you have our boxes built on healthy steps, nutrition, our boxes built on nutrition. So if people aren't doing our nutrition program, they like the message coming out to members needs to be about nutrition. They talk about nutrition on a regular basis. So when they're talking about nutrition to members, that they're talking about healthy habits and we give them like scripts to say. Right. So it's a consistent message between all classes. We'll do the questions of the day and we'll have points of what we want to be talked about. Regarding that question of the day, if there is someone that's completely doing something, you know, separate, different in their advertising, yeah, I don't think they would be the best fit for our facility because I really need to be bought into the vision of of helping people change their lives through nutrition first.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I think that goes for any business, right. If your staff isn't brought in. It's not going to work. They're not going to fit in very well. Are you still coaching a lot of classes?

Nicole Aucoin:
No. I'll fill in maybe like once a month. I'd go to a lot of classes, so I try to make it into classes so that I can see our members in and we'll take part of the group fitness. I love it, but I don't know coach very much anymore. That's something that Chris has really pushed me towards over the past. You know, when you look at the impact you can have doing mentoring, you know, the bigger vision of the business versus coaching a class rather give that opportunity to someone who, you know, like that's their sole income is our coaching. Personal training, so.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, with that being said, coaching is somewhat of a diminishing field, right? If you don't practice your skills, do you feel when you step in for that one class and mindset, it's like, whoa, what's happening?

Nicole Aucoin:
I definitely prepare a lot more than I used to prepare. So like I'll do the work out before so I know how it feels. We used box programming. They give you a really good breakdown of the notes, the stimulus, the like, what the recommended range is. And there's a ton of coaches notes in there. So I study up on it way more than I would have before, because I do think you're right. Especially when I realized there was a little bit of a gap there as a wakeup call. Hey you've got a class of 22 people. You need to get this thing organized and get it going. So, yeah, I think it's a little bit more to prepare for. Sure.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, you said you got your loved one back in 2014, so it's five years later. Will you be reevaluating or going to your level two?

Nicole Aucoin:
I got my level two.

Jason Ackerman:
So you went and took your level two.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yes

Jason Ackerman:
Who is there coaching?

Nicole Aucoin:
Austin was the main person.

Jason Ackerman:
Awesome. Malleolo, the guy from up north. Yeah. Yes. Malleolo,.

Nicole Aucoin:
He was the main person. And Todd was there. He also did my level one.

Jason Ackerman:
Todd Kudo, my good buddy.

Nicole Aucoin:
And then there was a guy and I cannot remember his name, but he comes up Crossfit, in Jacksonville. Shorter.

Jason Ackerman:
Chris Russell. Yep.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yep. Super nice.

Jason Ackerman:
Yes.

Nicole Aucoin:
Nice. So those are three of the people working at Crossfit, South Shore.

Jason Ackerman:
Did people recognize you from either the Crossfit, podcast or do you know their box?

Nicole Aucoin:
Mmm the cross the Crossfit, podcast, I did after.

Jason Ackerman:
Ok

Nicole Aucoin:
So that. But we did have a couple of gyms that were running our nutrition program there, which is really cool. If gym owners and people have reached out to us since then and said, hey, I did my level two a deal. I want you to help me with nutrition. So definitely. Now, I think if I did it now might be a little different than back then. I think I did it in like 2015 or 16.

Jason Ackerman:
Oh so you went back into pretty quickly. Didn't wait till five years. Do you think you'll take your level 3 one day?

Nicole Aucoin:
I'm on the certification board, so I don't think I'm allowed to right now.

Jason Ackerman:
Oh, really? Ok. Well,.

Nicole Aucoin:
Maybe one day.

Jason Ackerman:
You wrote a couple of the questions? You might know the answers. Do you mean?

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. I don't think I'm meant to take it right now, Carol did joke around with me back in January saying that I would have to take it. During the last board meeting and I looked at Chris Cooper and said we could take it together because Chris, a coach, you were either like a team.

Jason Ackerman:
It's you know. That's probably one of the most the questions I get asked the most often is, you know, how hard is it? It's hard. I showed up. I was like. I will be here the whole four and a half hours to the prompter. I was there every minute of that hour and half hours.

Nicole Aucoin:
Oh, my gosh. Yeah. And you're like you live, eat and breathe this stuff. So it should be ideally easier for you than most, right?

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, I'm definitely exposed to it a lot. You know, we we got big opportunity to take it early and you have to take it as a center. And I thought, OK, well, I have a month out, also scheduled for the end of the month. And then the only day I could take it was the very next day. So there was no option. It was like, hey, I needed to take it. We got an e-mail from Nicole. And Dave was like, well, this is probably better. I remember is this summer, New York, I went out to like the lake and I was like, why am I going to cram either know it or i don't.

Nicole Aucoin:
And you passed!

Jason Ackerman:
Luckily, I knew it. Yeah. And we walk out she's like congrats, I didn't realize you get your score that right then. So it's pretty cool.

Nicole Aucoin:
Good. I'm going to take your L four?

Jason Ackerman:
Well I was grandfathered in and I have my level four because back in the day. Yeah. So that to me. So I have my level four for that. But now it's out. I think I think it's open again. So that's pretty cool people to start taking it. All right. One more question I ask all the guests. What's one book you recommend?

Nicole Aucoin:
For gym owners, I think because Cooper's books are obviously great. I read a book that really impacted us as a business this year is Building Your Story brand. So that Don Donald Miller book. I think most gym owners aren't good at marketing because we don't have marketing degrees.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, we don't know any business degree. We just enjoy helping others.

Nicole Aucoin:
And that book really gave us clarification. And I went to the live workshop for Story Brand, and I think that book has probably impacted me the most this year. Founder, former tinker thief just came out. I have a plane ride tomorrow. Athlete I'm reading at least a good portion of it, although this is much thicker book than Chris's previous books. So it might take a little longer.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, he sent it to me early before I interviewed him and I got about a third of the way down in a few days. But is a it's a big book. Yeah, it's great though. It's great. It's what I love about it is it expands beyond just the affiliate.

Nicole Aucoin:
And I think that's so important. Right. No matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, we all struggle at the same things. Being able to figure out what's the most important task and how to prioritize and not get distracted. And and then being able to delegate things right like you are not the only person that can do every single thing. You should be able to know how to do most things. But I'm sure there's something I could do most things better than the you hire specialists.

Jason Ackerman:
So I think that's sound advice. Well, I really appreciate you being on. It's been great to get to know you and great to chat with you. I always think it's a fun interview if I feel like, OK. Now we're friends. So that's great. I got to know by your kids, your husband, your father in law. So it's been great. Anything we may say that you want to touch on before we end the chat?

Nicole Aucoin:
I don't think so. Thank you so much for having me today. This is fun.

Jason Ackerman:
Thank you. And I'll keep in mind, next time we're talking I'm actually talking to her assistant.

Nicole Aucoin:
She passes things on to me. So usually ends up coming to me eventually.

Jason Ackerman:
I specifically asked at one point. Is this Nicole?

Nicole Aucoin:
And on Instagram?

Jason Ackerman:
Yes. That was actually you.

Nicole Aucoin:
That that was me. I did respond to that. Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah.

Nicole Aucoin:
Yeah. We do have some of the managers, most of the social media. Do you guys do all of your social media?

Roz basically runs this show these days, so. She does. She does a lot. You know, we use them scheduling and all of that. But it's never ending.

Nicole Aucoin:
It's a full time job, just that. Right. Being able to stay engaged, I can't keep up.

Jason Ackerman:
Social media is a whole another beast.

Nicole Aucoin:
Oh, my goodness. Awesome.

Jason Ackerman:
So thank you so much.

Nicole Aucoin:
Thank you. Have a great day.

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