Liz Durant was unstoppable.
She packed 25 marathons in eight years before moving up to ultra marathons – all while juggling a demanding career in accounting and finance, raised three children, exercised frequently, and also played competitive tennis.
At the age of 45, Durant was offered a position as a personal trainer at a local gym. She decided to grab it and took the chance to share her love for running in a meaningful and purposeful way.
She plunged headlong into her new hustle and bustle, working to gain expertise in nutrition (through PN Level 1 and Level 2 certifications), endurance, and women-specific coaching.
Every week she taught 10 group fitness classes; spend 20-30 hours training in-person and online clients; train for their next race; Certify certifications and other continuations; and of course to be there for her family and friends.
In his early 50s, Durant noticed that the requirements were getting harder to meet. Hot flashes kept her awake at night. Injuries became commonplace. Durant felt burned out and struggled to keep to her schedule.
She accepted that she was entering a new phase of life. With the help of a coach, Durant adjusted her lifestyle and eating habits.
“I had to really assess what was important and let go of some things that weren’t,” says Durant. “I have practiced aligning my clients with my own training needs and prioritizing my ‘big stones’ – sleep, stress, exercise and eating.”
It wasn’t long before Durant felt good again and ruined her schedule.
And so it hit her.
She would focus her coaching business Affinity fitness, about women like her: 50-year-olds who want to live active, busy, and healthy lives even when grappling with the realities of aging.
And so she finally found her niche as a nutrition coach. Here are four insightful lessons Durant learned from their experience – plus tips for you to try too.
Lesson 1: make it personal.
The more precisely you understand what your customers are facing, the more effectively you can support them.
Durant knew, “The 1950s are a perfect storm of physical and lifestyle changes.”
Here are the key challenges faced by her customers and how she addresses them.
It’s been a while since they set themselves priorities.
Many women over 50 have cared for others for years or decades, losing touch with their own bodies and needs. (Durant also found preliminary research on eating disorders and empty nest women, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence from their coaching practice.)
Durant helps clients listen to their bodies so they can relearn signals like feelings of hunger and fullness.
You experience hormonal changes.
As a result, many customers experience decreased energy.
“Performance and training are starting to suffer,” notes Durant. “Then your sleep will be disturbed by hot flashes. You are also more prone to injuries. “
To remedy this, Durant is helping customers tailor training and recovery to meet their body’s needs. She also focuses on improving sleep and managing stress by turning off screens and getting to rest earlier than usual in the evening.
Everyday life suddenly looks different.
Women of this age often experience significant life adjustments (becoming an empty nest; retiring). This means disturbed eating and movement patterns.
Durant helps its customers find the right balance between lean protein, smart carbohydrates, healthy fats and vegetables – often portioned for a slowed metabolism. (Hint: She’s using the PN macro calculator. “The report that comes out is gold.”)
And Durant coaches her on one important point from her own experience: “Being quick is key. Don’t beat yourself when you need to re-prioritize your life to meet your basic needs. Progress, not perfection. “
Lesson # 2: Specialize even within your specialty.
Customers in a particular market or niche have something in common, but it is important to leave room for personal preference.
For example, while some Durant customers enjoy exercising online, “others have been excited to hit the gym again.”
To accommodate both groups, Durant offers online, limited personal, and hybrid coaching models.
“I have several customers who travel south in winter. We work out at the gym when we can, and when we can’t, we use zoom. My customers love the consistency and flexibility, ”she says.
Durant now offers three different packages:
- Sprint: Programming with a little support
- Marathon: Program design with individual nutritional support
- Ultra: Program design, individual nutritional recommendations and a weekly zoom training session
“It’s about figuring out what works best for each customer.”
Lesson 3: Listen to your audience – not everyone else.
When Durant started her coaching business, she tried Facebook ads for visibility. It’s standard marketing, but it didn’t work.
So she thought more carefully about the women she wanted to coach. What are you interested in? How do you spend your time? What would be of real value to them?
It hit her like a sack of potatoes: just like Durant, her customers were big fans of the Instant Pot. She had held free workshops in the local library as well as paid sessions at clients’ homes. Why not go to Facebook Live to get more people interested in your offer?
Liz started making free meal planning and preparation sessions and recipe demos right from her kitchen. Immediately she had an influx of new customers.
“It was great!” says Durant. “I’m considering developing an online Instant Pot course for runners. Simplify their lives and give them more time to run! “
This type of approach may take some experimentation, warns Durant – but it helps to keep an open mind. “Throw something on the wall and see if it sticks. Try something for a month and see what happens, ”she suggests.
Lesson 4: Think about the change YOU want to make.
Durant says the specialization helped her attract customers, particularly through word of mouth. But more than that, it gave her work a clear meaning and purpose.
“I love helping women take care of themselves after taking care of others for so long,” she says.
And for Durant, this mission opened the door to a greater vision: “I feel like there is an idea in my generation that a large part of our intent is to care for other people, even at the expense of our own health, “She says,” I want to change that. “
Durant – who is now 59 years old – believes we are on the verge of social change in which women of all ages are more willing to prioritize themselves and topics like menopause are less taboo.
“Women are beginning to understand that self-care is not selfish. And besides, if we take the time to prioritize our own wellbeing, we can take care of others more effectively anyway! “
Customers pick up on this determination. You are also beginning to envision a new future. You get results. They tell their friends.
“When we’re over 50, we have the option to create a new blueprint for ourselves,” says Durant. A new vision that we can imagine i, 2.0. “
With this new vision in mind, Durant leads the way.
If you are or would like to become a trainer …
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes – in ways that are tailored to their unique bodies, preferences, and circumstances – is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.
Thank You For Reading!