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Meet Matthew Walrath of Beyond Macros in Venice

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Walrath.

Matthew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Beyond Macros all started with my nutrition journey. I was a small, skinny kid and my mom wanted to help me get big so I wouldn’t get hurt in contact sports. I ate salad bowls of tortellini for dinner, pints of Ben and Jerry’s for dessert, and had a locker stuffed full of candy bars and peanut butter jars to snack on between classes.

I had not concept of what proper nutrition could do until college when in 2009 I was exposed to CrossFit. I tried the paleo and zone diets which were popular in the CrossFit community and all of a sudden I stopped getting sick and lost my energy to compete as a college lacrosse player. Once I ditched the zone and started eating more carbs I learned how important nutrition is for both health and performance. So I started taking classes, certifications, and reading everything I could. The story really takes off when I discovered and started working at Paradiso CrossFit in 2013. This gave me access to hundreds of members to work with and run nutrition group classes for. It also gave me an income from personal training so I had the freedom to experiment with nutrition coaching until I got my process down, and developed a following to scale from side business to primary business. By 2015 I had to create a waitlist for my nutrition coaching services, and in July of 2016 it got to the point where I realized it was time to hire and train coaches to help manage the client interest. That is when Beyond Macros was born!

Since then, a local CrossFit podcast with a huge worldwide reach, the WODcast Podcast brought me on as a guest and honestly gave us a HUGE bump in exposure which exploded the business. I immediately had to hire and train two new coaches and create a waitlist until they were ready.

The business mostly started out working with clients in and around Los Angeles where I was doing talks at gyms and involved in the CrossFit community. By the end of 2016 we had our first international client, and that has only grown in the last year! Australians love to holiday in Los Angeles, and we actually work with tons of people over there.

Huge shout out to Skype and Google for allowing seamless communication with clients worldwide. Without technology, Beyond Macros could not exist at this scale!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road to where we are today. I sometimes joke that it only took 5 years for Beyond Macros to be an overnight success. In the early days of my nutrition coaching career, I would get really poor results for the majority of clients with maybe 1 out of 10 getting a jaw dropping result because I was basing my practice on meal plans. Meal plans take a TON of time to write, and don’t actually teach the clients good eating habits. If they miss a meal, they tend not to know how to adjust the rest of the day, and get really thrown off. When I realized all of the flaws with the meal plan model, I started experimenting with a habit-based approach to coaching and got better long term results, but short term results were still not great. It was also hard to refine my process because in 2013 I didn’t have much interest in my services. By the 2014 New Year, I had the typical new year’s resolution bump and that’s the point where I was able to experiment and quickly refine the process of working with people. It only took two more years for Beyond Macros to get going!

Once Beyond Macros was started, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. The processes that worked when I was a one-person operation didn’t scale to 3. Then when we scaled to 5 coaches, the processes that worked for 3 coaches didn’t work for 5. It’s been a constant process of figuring out how to adjust on the fly, and I absolutely love that part of running a business.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The mission of Beyond Macros is to help people get leaner, stronger, and perform better in a sustainable way, without putting them on a restrictive diet. We currently offer one service, 1-on-1 nutrition coaching and that’s it. That’s what we’re great at, coaching people through improved eating habits. We specialize in helping people who do CrossFit, but my coaches have experience in weightlifting, endurance sports, and obstacle course racing and we have clients who do each of those exercise modalities.

The thing that sets us apart from other nutrition coaching companies in our space is that we offer proactive coaching, meaning we actively reach out to our clients with feedback, and maintain a low coach-to-client ratio so the coaches know each of their clients personally. We also strive for the long-term transformation and do everything possible to teach our clients how to feel comfortable making eating choices on their own.

What I am most proud of is the long-term transformations we’ve helped clients make. We’ve had people maintain their results for a full year after finishing with us, no problem.

What were you like growing up?
To illustrate, my parents used to have to ‘spot’ whoever wanted to hold me. I was notorious for trying to back flip out of people’s arms. I really didn’t want to be tied down. I wanted to be independent and explore what I wanted to explore. As I got older I really loved exploring music and athletics. I pretty much spent all of my time outside school with sports and my guitar. I was definitely an introvert with a craving for social situations about 20% of the time. I loved spending hours exploring my own mind, music, and more but spending so much time alone also meant I really wanted to be around people when I wasn’t. I’m still that way. 🙂

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