What Nutrition Advice Should a Personal Trainer be Giving?
The Role of the Personal Trainer
A personal trainer has a very important role in providing nutritional advice to clients. Not only should a personal trainer be planning for exercise and fitness activities when working with a client, but a personal trainer should also consider optimising the nutritional intake for their client.
What are the rules?
There are some firm rules as to what a personal trainer can and cannot do regarding nutrition advice.
- A personal trainer does not write meal plans and cannot prescribe food to a client. This work can only be carried out by a dietician. However, whilst you can’t plan out meals for your clients, a personal trainer can pass on healthy eating advice.
- A personal trainer can only make suggestions based on established government guidance. This healthy eating advice is based on the Eat Well guide which is produced by the government and can be found on the NHS website. The Eat Well guide is focused on advising healthy individuals on the types of foods and quantities of foods they should be eating. It is this that a personal trainer must always base their nutritional advice on.
- A personal trainer cannot stray from the advice that appears on the Eat Well guide, only a dietician would be able to do this. Even if the personal trainer has ideas or beliefs about different variations, they may only make suggestions to clients based upon the healthy eating guidance on the NHS website. A personal trainer should always go by the Eat Well guide in their work.
How would a personal trainer use this?
A personal trainer would perhaps ask their client to complete a food diary. The client would then complete their food diary, indicating what they have consumed over a 7-day period. The personal trainer would then take some time to sit down with the client, their food diary and a copy of the Eat Well guide. The personal trainer would look for discrepancies and any areas where the client is perhaps lacking, or where the client is not following the Eat Well guidance. The personal trainer would then make healthy suggestions as to what the client may be able to do. For example, if the client was eating chips with every meal the personal trainer may suggest the client swaps their portion of chips for a portion of vegetables with each meal. Or if the personal trainer notices that the client is snacking on chocolate, they may recommend that the client swap to snacks such as fruit instead.
Things to remember
There are lots of positive ways that a personal trainer can assist a client when it comes to nutrition. It is very important that the Eat Well guide is used, and not strayed from and advice is only passed on based on this. Remember that a personal trainer just makes suggestions, they cannot prescribe food which is only permissible for a dietician to do. By making suggestions in line with the healthy eating guide, the personal trainer can make a real positive difference on the client’s nutritional intake.
For details on our AfN accredited Level 3 Nutrition course please click here (please note this is automatically embedded into our level 3 Personal Trainer qualification).