Nicole Zapoli: How CCP shifted her mindset and made her a better coach

Nicole Zapoli used to shy away from digging into her clients’ diet habits.

“I was really hesitant to talk about diet and nutrition. I grew up as a gymnast, and while I was fortunate not to develop an eating disorder, a lot of the girls I knew did,” she said.

The 35-year-old was scared if she pushed a super strict diet on herself or on her clients, it might backfire into disordered eating, she explained.

“I didn’t want to bring any more focus on food or obsess about it because I didn’t want it to become a negative thing in their life, and so I always steered clear of the conversations about tracking all your macros and meals and stuff,” she said.

Then she took the OPEX Coach Certificate Program (CCP) in 2015, while simultaneously working with OPEX coach Mike Lee, who was helping her with her personal fitness goals. The combination of what she learned from Lee and from the CCP helped Zapoli rethink the way she thought about diet and nutrition coaching.

“It just really simplified it for me. Implementing new habits doesn’t happen overnight, and it just comes down to making small changes, like making sure you’re getting enough water. It doesn’t have to be obsessive like making sure your macros are totally dialed in,” she said.

Prior to this, Zapoli’s experience with nutrition coaching had usually included offering a 30-day diet challenge at her gym, where people would eat cleanly for 30 days.

“But as soon as the challenge was over, they would go right back to how they used to eat,” she laughed. She suspected there was a better way, which the CCP provided.

Needless to say, Zapoli, who also runs gymnastics clinics and seminars, is no longer afraid to tackle diet and nutrition with her handful of individual programming clients. As a result, she’s able to make a bigger impact on them today, she said.

A second major takeaway Zapoli got from the CCP was what effective program design looks like.

“I learned so much about how to structure a program. At the time, I was working alongside a strength and conditioning coach for the Olympic bobsled team and I really liked how he broke things down. So combining what I was learning from him with what I was getting from the CCP was really helpful,” said Zapoli.

Prior to the CCP, Zapoli thought about programming in a vacuum, meaning she considered only the training program itself. The CCP showed her the program isn’t just about the training program.

“Little things like knowing what questions to ask the person, and putting them through a proper assessment. We need to be looking at the training program itself, and also how it will fit into their lives,” she said. This means other things, such as the athlete’s goals, schedule, career, nutrition, sleep, stress, etc. need to be taken into account before you know what the best training program for them is, she added.

Zapoli said she feels like she benefitted twice as much from CCP because she was also working with Lee at the time.

“I was getting remote coaching in my own life while I was taking the coaching course, so I was implementing all these new habits into my own life, and creating awareness about what I was doing on a daily basis. Going through this really made it easier for me to coach others,” she said.

As a result, Zapoli said she’s a way better coach today than before the CCP courses.

“The courses were pretty life changing, as they, each in their own way, answered many of the questions I had going in. They definitely allowed me to learn and understand my clients’ biggest needs . . . ,(and) also to be the best coach I can be for each person individually,” she said.

The OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) is our flagship course teaching coaches a personalized fitness methodology, The OPEX System of Coaching. In this system coaches learn how to develop their business, take clients through an initial consultation, conduct assessments to track progress, write personalized programs, and create holistic nourishment programs. Get an introduction to the same system of coaching taught in the CCP with our newest course, The Free 7-Day OPEX Coaching Course. Over 7 days you will be introduced to our system of coaching and receive education directly to your inbox. Sign up today and take the first step towards a professional coaching career.

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