Classen uses nutrition knowledge as business model

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Jackie-Classen_max-muscleThe Classen family has always been active: running, water skiing, rock climbing and even competing in Ironman Triathlons. Settling along the Front Range in 2001 (after years of moving cross-country for work), Jackie and her husband Dan decided to share their knowledge of sports nutrition and healthy living with others by opening the first and only Max Muscle franchise in Colorado Springs.

The couple spends each day taking care of their three children and the business at 5102 N. Nevada Ave. The Max Muscle franchise specializes in preparing custom nutrition plans and providing supplements for healthy living depending on each customer’s desired results. Although the shop competes with nearby sports nutrition businesses including GNC and Complete Nutrition, Classen says it is the loyalty of their customers that keeps the business going strong. She spoke to the Business Journal this week about her family’s commitment to helping Coloradans live healthy lifestyles and about her own life as a self-described “adrenaline junkie.”

How has your career prepared you for running this business?

Dan and I both have had years of business management and business development experience. Both Dan and I have MBAs and experience building successful businesses. We enjoy the daily interaction with our clients and helping our customers achieve their health and fitness goals. We enjoy the fact that we know our clients by name and we enjoy providing them with quality education and products.

What are the unique challenges in the sports nutrition/performance business?

The biggest challenge is the vast amount of disinformation out there. People are seriously interested in improving their overall health and nutrition, sports performance and fitness. They just don’t know who to trust for accurate information and quality products. Our business is built on the following principles, which differentiate us from our competitors in this industry: We’re certified fitness nutrition coaches; we don’t sell, we educate; we offer nutritional counseling and personalized nutrition plans; we let you try it before you buy it; Max Muscle sports nutrition products are backed by the quality ingredients guarantee; we conduct free nutrition seminars; and we practice what we preach.

What are your short- and long-term goals for Max Muscle?

We are committed to offering our clients the absolute best in sports nutrition education, quality products and nutritional planning. Long term, we hope to continue to expand our presence in Colorado Springs as we grow!

What nonprofits are you involved in?

We focus on building excellent business relationships with the best of the best in the fitness world in Colorado Springs.”

We have worked with Fort Carson, Rachael’s Ribbons of Hope, Pikes Peak Road Runners Vets Run and many other smaller nonprofit-based local charity runs. We try our best to support local fitness events and support local charities, and fitness events such as charity 5K events are a great way for us to be involved in the fitness community and support excellent nonprofit programs.

What partnerships do you have with other sports entities in the community?

We focus on building excellent business relationships with the best of the best in the fitness world in Colorado Springs. We call them our Healthy Living Partners and we work to support their programs, offer our clients information on the best in the industry, and we often work together to offer community educational seminars. For example, on our website we currently list Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, Altitude MMA, Functional Training Solutions, MC Sports Daily, Fitness Origins, Altitude Performance, Front Range Climbing Co., Flex Gym and Fitness, VillaSport, Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours, The Chiropractic TRUHEALTH DR, Phoenix Fitness and Kenpo Studio, as our healthy living partners.

After living in the Midwest, in the South and on the East Coast, why did you and Dan choose to move to the Front Range to open your business?

We love the fact that people from Colorado are dedicated to their health and fitness and tend to be very active individuals. We believed the Colorado Springs market was under-served in the sports nutrition world, and between the Olympic-level athlete, the large population of collegiate athletes, the fitness-minded general population, plus the strong military and first-responder population such as fire, police and rescue professionals, there was a natural base of individuals who needed access to quality products, education and nutritional plans. Colorado has always been one of our favorite places to live, and we enjoy all the natural playgrounds the state has to offer. As a family we love to hike, bike, run, hike mountains, water-ski, camp, etc.

Can you tell us a bit about your website,

The website for my personal blog has many crazy adventures on it. I just haven’t posted to it much the past couple years because of the time commitments of building a new business! … Usually when I go to do an adventure it is more like an “I Love Lucy” episode because I usually get into trouble in some way. But it does make for good stories.