Training clients to build strength, muscle, and flexibility is the easy part of your job as a trainer. But how about client nutrition? Because that’s where they all fail.
Your clients just need to show up and put in some physical effort. Then, they can go home and return to their regular lives.
Helping clients improve their nutritional habits is much harder than helping them train. Unlike training sessions, you can’t be with your clients for every meal; they’re on their own for motivation to make healthy dietary choices.
Although some clients will reject nutritional advice, good nutrition shouldn’t be an optional part of your training programs.
Here are four reasons to place an equal priority on client nutrition, and hold your clients accountable for their commitment to better health through nutrition.
A Fitness Trainer’s Approach To Client Nutrition
Here are a few tips to help you, the personal trainer, to also focus on client nutrition, not just on the exercise regimen:
1. You Can Help Clients Break Bad Food Habits
Some people can abandon a bad habit on the spot forever. However, those people are rare.
Understand that your clients who struggle with nutrition are struggling with long-held, deep emotional patterns.
Most poor eating habits developed from coping mechanisms to seek comfort and avoid pain.
Bad habits are difficult to break and that’s exactly why you should prioritize your clients’ nutritional wellbeing.
You are in a unique position to teach clients about nutrition and help them develop the integrity to follow through with what they learn.
There are some precautions, however. If you’re not a medical doctor or registered dietician, you can only provide limited nutritional advice.
For example, you can’t prescribe supplements or diets to treat medical or clinical conditions. The downside is that obesity is considered a clinical condition, and suggesting a diet for fat loss can be considered illegal.
However, you can:
- Encourage clients to eat nutritious vegetables and lean proteins;
- Teach clients about protein and macronutrients;
- Provide recipes and help with food prep skills;
- Inform clients about nutritional supplements that can augment a healthy lifestyle;
- Help clients develop strategies to maintain healthy eating habits;
- Help clients eat proper food before and after workouts.
If you’re passionate about nutrition, learn as much as you can and apply what you learn to your own life first.
With enough knowledge and experience, you’ll be able to help clients with varying nutritional needs.
Begin your nutritional education by taking an online course to learn about nutrition science.
2. You Might Be Your Clients’ Only Source Of Support
Clients who struggle with nutrition often need all the support they can get. If they’re living with family or friends who encourage bad eating habits, it’s easy to fall back into a comfortable yet unhealthy way of life.
You might be the only support a client has. If you don’t focus on nutrition with your clients, they might be strong on the outside and unhealthy on the inside.
3. Some Clients Believe Exercise Replaces Good Nutrition
You’re training clients to become strong and lean, but strength doesn’t negate poor eating habits.
A person can be strong enough to deadlift 500 pounds, but if they eat two McDonald’s Quarter Pounders every day, their insides are a ticking time bomb for diseases.
The truth is, you can’t outwork a terrible diet. “Researchers confirmed this, and also argued the over-emphasis on physical exercise at the expense of dieting encourages manufacturers to create a health halo legitimization of nutritionally deficient products“, says Men’s Journal author Brittany Smith.
The confirming research comes from a study published in the British Medical Journal titled “It is Time to Bust the Myth of Physical Inactivity and Obesity: You Cannot Outrun a Bad Diet.”
If you can eliminate one unhealthy mindset your clients might be holding onto, this is it right here. No matter how healthy your clients look, take the time to ask them about their eating habits and offer to help make improvements.
4. Nutrition Is Under-Emphasized Worldwide
If nutrition were the world’s priority, we wouldn’t see fast-food chains on nearly every corner in America and other countries as well.
It’s great that fast-food restaurants have added salads and healthier options to their menus, but they’re still selling unhealthy foods.
If you don’t emphasize nutrition for your clients, nobody will. You are in a unique position to make a difference where the world has failed to set a good example.