By Jonathan FitPro
In this article I’m going to talk about how to coach nutrition. There is so much that can go into this topic because we as personal trainers are bound so tightly by scope of practice. This is something I’ve always found ridiculous because you can’t be a fitness professional without addressing nutrition. I’ll take a hard stance on this.
Personal trainers should give nutrition advice.
1. Our allegiance is to the client. They come to us seeking advice and it is our duty to provide them with the best information possible to help them achieve their fitness goals.
2. Clients don’t listen to health professionals. They don’t listen to doctors, they rarely listen to their nutritionists/dietitians (mainly because enough of a rapport hasn’t been established), and they are constantly being swayed by their social circle so they need constant support.
Are you walking the walk?
I follow a lot of trainers and a lot of fitness pages and you’ll often see many pictures similar to the featured picture of this article. These pictures explain how fitness is 70-90% nutrition and 10-30% exercise. If this is the case, I have to ask, are you putting 90% of your effort into your clients nutrition?
In the grand scheme of things, your client walked in to see a change in their body composition. What matters most is how quickly and how consistently can you maintain behavior modifications.
Where do clients struggle?
I’ve found that clients struggle with peer pressure and improper scheduling. Your goal as a nutritional coach is to help your clients plan. You need to constantly ask what you client is doing over the weekend or for the rest of their day. That will be the key to helping your client make the right decisions.
With that said don’t expect perfection every time. Sometimes you have to bargain. If a client is going to celebrate their anniversary you probably want to give them free reign on what they eat. But if their officemates want to go our for a random happy hour, that’s why you should set limits on their consumption.
4 Tips for you to get your clients in order
#1 – Use MyFitnessPal
I run my own boot camp. Clients can come in Monday through Friday so I can see them daily and they STILL struggle. How much more are your personal training clients struggling when they only see you 2 or 3 times a week? You have to keep them constantly accountable and the best way to do this is use MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is a FREE journaling application that can be found on your smartphone marketplace or online at www.MyFitnessPal.com. It allows you to look at your clients’ journal and respond at the end of the day. Moreover it helps your clients control their overall consumption as they are alerted as they approach their goal number of calories for the day. It may take an extra 30 minutes out of your day but that half hour spent daily is worth keeping clients. In my mentorship course I will teach you how to use myfitnesspal to monitor your clients’ eating habits. Check it out here.
#2 – Change your perspective
I’ve actually gotten to a point now where, when I’m explaining my boot camp to a new client, I downplay the workouts. My workouts effective, fun, and varied, but workouts are not what the client needs. They need accountability. So I tell them “ I don’t look at this as a bootcamp as much as I look at this service as nutritional coaching, we just happen to go over your progress while exercising.” Here are some tips to make sure your clients play by the rules:
1. Lay down the law – Don’t be afraid to tell your clients that if they don’t eat correctly, they will not lose weight. Let them know they will fail.
2. Link up on social media – Have your clients sign up for myfitnesspal during your first session and add them as a friend
3. Encourage them to be 100% transparent – It does neither of you any good if they leave out the cheats.
4. Let your client know that you’re in this together – Behavior modification is a journey you take with your client. You will learn all kinds of thing about why your clients do what they do. Make sure that while you may have to incorporate a little bit of tough love, you’re on your client’s side.
#3 – Systemize your workouts
It took me about two and a half years of recording data, testing, and getting customer feedback to get to this point but now I dedicate very little energy to creating new workout routines. I operate off of a system that I created that allows me to vary my workouts without much effort. Why is that important? Because there are so many variables that come with the personal training dynamic that the exercise is relatively much less important. If you want to instantly systemize your workouts I highly recommend my Dumbbells to Dollars Online personal training course as it will allow you to do everything paperless and will also teach you how to use myfitnesspal and you can enroll into this course today for only $1.
One Last Note
You’re not a registered dietician. This advice is for clients that aren’t suffering from metabolic disease that need help with the basics and no brainers. The second your client starts to mention foods they can’t take with prescribed medications it is your duty to refer them ( and if they don’t want to go, force them ) to a registered dietician, have the dietician take the lead and be their echo. Remember our first allegiance to the client.
Dedicated to your success,