Can Personal Trainers Coach Nutrition?

Can Personal Trainers Coach Nutrition?

Can Personal Trainers Coach Nutrition? This is not a straightforward question and the answer might surprise you. Today’s blog aims to help you understand what you should expect from your trainer but also why coaching on dietary change is not as simple as many people perceive it to be.

The world of health and fitness has evolved a lot in recent years and it has meant that your average trainer has needed to adapt. Customers have increasingly looked for more of their lifestyle services to come under one roof, avoiding the need to employ multiple professionals to help them overhaul their diet and lifestyle. This has been an excellent opportunity for those of us keen to upskill and offer more value and, improve the quality of the results our clients enjoy.

As with all change, however, there are those who get left behind and the industry as a whole has been slow to react to successfully plug this gap in most trainer’s skill set.

When I started my training to become a Fitness Professional I completed a course in nutrition for weight management and a separate course in Nutrition for sports and exercise, although this was not standard on every course and often still, isn’t today. This course was an excellent stepping stone toward helping my clients with their diet, however, it came with some very big caveats.

This course was based on the U.K Government Recommendations on food and drink intake and this was the basis I could make my recommendations. This on the surface might sound just fine but, as a lot of people reading this will recognise, these recommendations are often very old or very slow to be updated, or bought in line with current thinking. The moment a trainer steps outside of these recommendations they are offering unqualified advice. The depth of knowledge gained from this initial course, while a good starting point failed to address many of the daily client concerns, faddy diets being used, or how to adapt my approach to helping clients more effectively. This problem is still widespread across the industry.

What is a nutritionist anyway?

It’s at this point I think we should discuss the term Nutritionist. Unlike most people’s understanding, the term Nutritionist is not protected and can be used by anyone regardless of their qualifications. This is the grey area of the nutrition world. Registered Dieticians, however, are qualified to a degree level and do have a protected title, and rightly so.

This leads us back to Personal Trainers offering nutrition advice. In a lot of cases they are not qualified or importantly insured to be doing so, or to the extent in which they currently are. Many are very confused themselves about nutrition concepts, often quoting out of date concepts and old science or new trends. Defining the line can be difficult when we live in a world of fast-moving online and social media and the fact the exercise industry loves a fad more than any other. This churn of information means I regularly see clients who have been advised to follow recent trends, diets and weight loss protocols that are not only wrong from a science perspective but also potentially damaging for the individual when you take into consideration their medical history or personal background.

First and foremost, your trainer will want to help you achieve your goals and deliver the results you are investing in. From a customer’s perspective, It is always a good idea to think critically about your goals, how you achieve them, and where is the best place to make that investment, even if it does mean working with a separate nutrition coach to do so. This relationship will complement the work with your Trainer and allows them to focus on the thing they are truly talented at, delivering quality, targeted training sessions.

Can Fundamentally FIT Coach Nutrition?

Hopefully, this article has been useful so far and you feel better able to answer the question Can Personal Trainers Coach Nutrition? To remain as transparent as possible I’m now going to let you know how I tackle this question and make sure all my clients are getting the best advice possible.

I recognised the shift towards nutrition coaching within my Personal Training business a few years ago and decided that to offer the level of advice required I would need to invest in further education.

I decided that I would invest in a two-year course with Body Type Nutrition which now allows me to coach nutrition as a Body Type Nutrition Certified Coach. This means I am qualified and insured separately from my Fitness Professional Qualifications, an important distinction from the majority of Personal Trainers practicing today.

The knowledge I gained over the two years enables me to delve deeper into people’s diets, deeper into the science behind the recommendations, and importantly has armed me with the skillset to legitimately help people overhaul their diets. I now provide my Personal Training clients with ongoing nutrition coaching during our training sessions and I provide a host of support materials, videos, and examples for healthy recipes and meals (not meal plans). For most clients, it is this underpinning knowledge and weekly coaching that helps them build confidence in their approach and consistency in their results and efforts.

At this point you might be thinking, so you’re not a dietician then? And the answer is correct.

I am a Body Type Nutrition Coach and weight loss and lifestyle specialist. My passion lies in helping people transform their lives through sustainable weight loss and lifestyle change. From losing over three stone personally to the many, many clients I have helped professionally. My aim has always been to help people achieve a better quality of life and my current qualifications enable me to do just that. I have presented my work at Nutrition conferences and worked with corporate clients to help improve employee health and resilience.

I offer evidence-based advice you can trust and results you can see.

On the occasions when I meet a client who needs more specific detailed support, I always refer them to a registered dietician. As a starting point for most people, this will be more expensive as they often don’t have the same background in delivering weight loss results through diet and exercise combined. A dietician’s route is typically more advisable when you have specific medical needs that are overlapping with your diet. Often your GP will make this recommendation, or I will be able to guide you on these questions in a consultation.

So, Can Personal Trainers Coach Nutrition?

Most can only advise on very general weight management but if you want more support and detailed coaching then you need to seek a Trainer with more targeted qualifications.If you have specific medical conditions then you may need to see a dietician to ensure the help and support is targeted safely.

Andy Strong

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