Business Story: Jessica Williams, Registered Dietitian
by Dawid Furman
What’s your business and who are your customers?
Hello, I’m Jessica, a Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, Professional Kinesiologist, CSEP-Clinical Exercise Physiologist, CSEP-High Performance Specialist, and triathlete. I run my own business Nutri-Kin.
I help my fellow triathletes learn how to eat and lift weights to feel and perform their best during training and on race day.
Explain your experience and how you use it to help clients.
I was just like you once. When I first started triathlons in 2011, I struggled with fatigue, nausea, upset stomach, and cramping for years. I couldn’t hit new personal records, despite how much I trained. I struggled with nausea and running out of energy during workouts, as a swimmer and a triathlete. At the time, I thought, “it’s okay, it’s normal to puke in your mouth during workouts – that means you’re working hard” I even fainted one time on the pool deck during swim practice. Everyone asked me if I was eating enough, and I said yes because I thought I was. I just copied what my teammates did during workouts and didn’t think about what I was eating outside of training. And knowing what I know now, I was not getting in all the calories I needed for the level of training I was doing. I wasn’t eating enough carbs before my workouts, I was eating too much too close to workouts, and I wasn’t eating enough overall on a day-to-day basis.
Once I learned what to eat, how much, and when, I started paying attention to eating enough, eating the right foods, and eating at the right time, my triathlon performance improved. And just like you, I struggled to figure out how to strength train with triathlon. Surprisingly, my triathlon coach did not give out strength programs – we were just told to do it, so I did. I remember strength training before a brick and my legs were dead. I didn’t know how to adjust my strength training to match my new sport – I just copied what I did from my competitive swimming days.I injured my knee a few years ago during an interval run. And my knee bothered me so much that I even used crutches while walking. I had to pull out of all my races that season.
In hindsight, my strength training did not match my training as a triathlete at all. I was doing heavy weight lifts before high-intensity workouts and wasn’t giving my body the time it needed to rest. Once I figured out how to periodize my strength training around my triathlon training, I haven’t had another injury (and hopefully will never have one again). I use my knowledge in exercise and nutrition to help you learn what to eat, when, and how much, and how to strength train for a triathlon so that you feel and perform your best during training and on race day.
What areas do you practice in?
Digestive Health, Sports Nutrition.
Tell us about yourself. For example, what first got you started working on your business, and what motivates you each day to do what you do?
I started my online business to help other triathletes avoid the same nutrition mistakes I made. Triathlon is a sport that many pick up in adulthood with busy lives and there is SO MUCH information out there that it is overwhelming and time-consuming to decipher. Many rely on their coaches or teammates or friends to teach them about nutrition. And many struggles with upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, dehydration, dizziness, etc. but don’t know how to fix it. I want to be that clear and concise spot for triathletes to not only learn about nutrition but know how to apply that information to themselves.
This is why I created Triathlon Nutrition 101 – my signature, self-paced course on all the things one needs to know about nutrition for triathlon and how to take that information and apply it to themselves.
As for strength training, this was added in a bit later as I realized many of my teammates in my club didn’t strength train out of fear that it would hurt their endurance. Yet strength training can not only make you stronger, but it can also reduce your risk of overuse injury, which is so common in endurance sports. So again, I wanted to be that online spot where triathletes could come to and learn how to train for a triathlon to get all the benefits without the fear that it will affect their key workouts or cause excessive muscle soreness.
This is why I created Strong for Triathlon – my signature, strength training membership where I create the workouts and exercises for you based on your current triathlon training and goals. I do all the behind-the-scenes work and you just open the app and go.
I truly do this to help others succeed in their triathlon goals. And hearing about my clients’ successes are my biggest motivator to keep going.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, my biggest accomplishment is spreading the word about the importance of nutrition and strength training for a triathlon. I’ve been able to present to multiple local triathlon clubs about nutrition and strength training, including youth groups. And this information is what I wish I had when I was younger. So the fact that I can give back and share my knowledge with my fellow triathletes is amazing.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It is so easy to become burned out as a business owner. Running a business is exciting and there are many things that you can do – SEO for your website, blogging, posting to social media, actually talking to clients, etc. And many, like myself, start a business on the side. So you have a job and a life and now you are trying to fit in a business and all the roles that come with that. I used to spend all my free time, evenings and weekends, on my business when I first started as I was so excited to get going. But I burned myself out and had to learn how to take a step back and manage my time better.
So the hardest thing for me to learn as a business owner was essentialism. Learning what the one thing to focus on now is to help you get to the next step and what can you leave behind for later.
What are the top 3 tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top 3 tips for anyone who wants to start a business:
1.) Read these books:
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek – this will help you learn why you want to start a business, and is very helpful for motivating yourself internally when things get tough
- The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John D. Mann – this book really helped me focus on building relationships and not feeling scammy or sales-y with my audience
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown – as mentioned above, this book really helped me go from feeling pulled in a million directions and burned out, to feeling in control
2.) Find others in the entrepreneurial field to feel less lonely
Not everyone in your current circle of friends and family will get your dream. Surrounding yourself with others is a way to bounce ideas around, but also to feel supported.
3.) It takes time
No one is an overnight success, even if it appears that way. Everyone’s business journey is different and there are many failures along the way. Just keep going.