It started with Arnold.
Nicolas Gunn grew up in Argentina, watched many American films and, like many teenagers in the 1990s, was inspired by the Terminator itself.
Gunn hung posters of Arnold Schwarzenneger on his wall and started going to the gym with friends, talking about supplements and exercise techniques.
He learned everything he could learn about “all bro science,” as Gunn puts it.
The passion continued and became Gunn’s focus at the university. He graduated from the Licentiate en Nutritión (roughly the same as a registered nutritionist in the United States) and after a brief stint as a personal trainer worked for many years as Chief of Food Service in several hospitals. “But I’ve always been more interested in body composition than clinical work,” he explains.
In the meantime, he and his wife discovered their passion for adventure and travel. And when Gunn was 35, they decided to move to New Zealand, an English-speaking, warm-weather country that they loved.
There was just one problem: The Nutrition Society of New Zealand – the organization that Gunn wants to register as a nutritionist with, doesn’t accept overseas experience. He had to start from scratch, and it would likely be years before he regained his credentials.
Gunn preferred to start an online coaching practice anyway, so he signed up with an umbrella organization with fewer requirements and made his passion for muscles a marketable niche.
Today Gunn’s coaching business is Endurance Holistic Nutrition, focuses on caring for women and men between the ages of 35 and 50, helping them build muscle for aesthetics and better health.
In just two years, he has developed from one-on-one consultations with clients to dozens of online coaching sessions. He recently hired two new employees and sees the company growing exponentially from here.
“I not only help my customers, but also other nutritionists and coaches with what I have learned about scaling this company,” says Gunn.
Would you like to know all the details? That’s how he did it.
Why did you choose Precision Nutrition Certification?
New Zealand’s nutrition accreditation system is different from that of Argentina. But that’s just one part of the story.
Gunn had taken a couple of years of vacation to travel before starting a coaching business in his new country. So he decided to brush up on his nutrition (and coaching) knowledge.
“I knew I needed a class to remove the rust. In my research I found this Precision Nutrition Certification. It was scientifically based, available online, and had great reviews – from other dietitians and nutritionists as well. “
Gunn expected a simple refresher and was surprised at how much of the information in the course was new to him.
“When I got involved, I realized that there was a lot I didn’t know. Especially the stuff about body composition – I didn’t learn that at university. “
Another new element: the psychology of change.
“At Cert I learned something about the psychology of change. Here, too, I had taken a course or two at university, but never went that deep. And it’s really the most important part of coaching. “
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Why specialize in building muscle aside from your own interests?
Sure, when Gunn was taping Arnold posters on the wall back then, he was interested in building muscle because it looked like it.
But today he’s an advocate of muscles for reasons far beyond aesthetics.
“Muscles and overall strength are not just about aesthetics. It’s also about health, ”he says. “I used to think performance, aesthetics and health were separate things, but in reality they all overlap.”
When Gunn’s clients gain muscle, not only do they look better and exercise better, they also feel better, sleep better, and become more productive at work.
“Customers will say to me, ‘I used to be unable to lift anything that was a little heavy, and now I can move the furniture in my house myself.’ Things that were difficult or impossible before are now doable. It’s really life changing. “
And yes, aesthetics also play a role.
“Changing their body composition gives customers a confidence boost,” Gunn notes. “Some of my customers have agreed to meet again after years without self-confidence and have found partners.”
What are the typical challenges for clients between 30 and 50 looking to build muscle?
“Compared to a younger population, people in the 30 to 50 age group are more likely to have other health problems or pre-existing injuries that need to be dealt with,” says Gunn.
“There can also be some lingering misunderstandings about diet among this population.”
Like protein intake.
“I noticed that protein intake in this population is generally very low. They fear that a high protein diet will damage their health, damage their kidneys, and so on. Younger people may know more about the value of protein, but someone in their late 30s or 40s may still be skeptical. “
Despite those differences, Gunn says, basic dietary principles – like eating whole foods, lean protein, healthy fats, smart carbohydrates, and vegetables – still apply.
And this is where coaching comes in, of course.
Are more women interested in building muscle these days?
“Definitely,” says Gunn.
He admits that the common belief that heavy lifting automatically makes you “bulky” is still around, but he thinks that is changing a lot.
“The women I speak to know the importance of lifting weights. They know that lifting won’t make them bulky if they don’t want to. And sure, maybe they want to look better – but mostly they want to get stronger. “
In the second half of his demographic age group (40 to 50), the emphasis on health is increasing.
Gunn observes that perimenopausal or menopausal women want to maintain their muscle mass as they age, maintain their general energy levels, prevent osteoporosis, and protect their general health.
What would you say to a coach thinking about targeting a niche market?
“It’s definitely worth it,” says Gunn. “For one thing, I’ve found that a niche really helps market yourself and stand out.”
Gunn says his business is growing steadily as a result.
“It also gave me more confidence in my expertise,” he says. “When I took the PN Cert, I found that some of the things I had learned were out of date. Now every time I offer advice or write a blog post, I feel good about what I have to say. I can say with certainty that I know my way around. “
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!