I think it’s very important to point out right from the start of this article that personal trainers are not ‘dieticians’ – and should never label themselves as so (unless qualified).
That said, most personal trainers can help people to eat healthily because they have a very good understanding of food, and practice what they preach – often looking trim and healthy through their own exercise and diet regime.
I believe personal trainers can have a big influence not only on their clients physical health (through weight training and cardio workouts) but also by helping clients to make better eating choices and creating meal plans that suit each individuals lifestyle and goals. There are many ways personal trainers can do this…
How Personal Trainers Can Help Clients To Eat Healthily…
#1 Tasty Dishes
Often diets are bland – things like chicken salads and green vegetables can become extremely boring, and people soon fall off track because life is miserable on a diet!
Yes, it’s important to give clients lots of healthy food choices – one’s which boost health and performance, however it’s also important to give them dishes that are tasty such as this fried chicken recipe – this could be a meal that your client has once a week. They could have the fried chicken with some chips (150g of chopped potato slices drizzled in 20g olive oil, add a pinch of salt and cook in the oven for 25-30 mins). For an extra treat they could also have some low sugar ketchup on the side. This type of meal could be a healthier alternative to a KFC.
#2 Strict Meal Plan
Although boring sometimes a client requires a strict meal plan, for example if somebody is an all or nothing type of person i.e. they are either on a diet or off it. These type of people need discipline otherwise they will quickly binge and fall off track.
Strict meal plans are also useful for people with food allergies/intolerances – things like dairy, wheat and gluten. Removing these foods could dramatically boost a clients health.
Finally, strict meal plans are beneficial for those with very specific goals i.e. bodybuilders who are looking to lean down for a show, or for the guy or women wanting a beach body – in order to get this lean and athletic look a strict diet must be followed.
The final area where personal trainers can help their clients is by educating them on better eating. For example whilst lots of people know what a healthy diet looks like, some don’t, and many are confused…
A good personal trainer will be able to advise their clients, and clear up lots of confusion around diet fads, food myths, etc. Although, like I said earlier some clients will need a qualified dietician, especially with more serious conditions such as IBS and food allergies/intolerances.
The other side of the education is helping people to improve their relationship with food. For example how to help clients stop ’emotionally eating’ – binging on food and using excess food to numb pain.
A successful personal trainer will have an excellent understanding of psychology – it’s one of the most important parts in helping clients transform. The trainer can help explain the reasons why they may be overeating, and provide solutions to help i.e. keeping a food diary, replacing higher calorie foods with lower calorie alternatives, and in some cases will advise going to see a counsellor (Which may be needed). There are lots of excellent counselling resources that can help clients alongside their 1-1 personal training sessions – For example BetterHelp share lots of free articles and give great advice.
Whilst most personal trainers are not dieticians, they can still play a huge role in helping clients improve their diet(s). As long as the client doesn’t have any serious health issues, allergies, intolerances, etc – then a personal trainer can help neaten up a persons diet so that they improve their health, fitness, and performance.