As a trainer/coach we learn about the basics of Nutrition. We also know that with some certainty if you are ever going to get serious about reaching your goals that 75-80% of your efforts have to be focused on dialing in your nutrition. If you have read any of my previous articles or are a part of our newsletter, I speak on the importance of nutrition often. I probably release more content on nutrition information whether from me or someone else than on exercise. This is because I understand that this is what’s going to really get the job done.
If I am coaching someone and trying to get them to make changes in their lives, but I never address their nutrition other than saying; “Eat healthy foods.” Or, If I am supposed to hold you accountable for your workouts everyday but I never check on your nutrition. We may have a great relationship and even be good friends, but as your friend I want you to get the results you are looking for. So, It’s my job and yours! To hold you accountable for your goals and this includes your nutrition.
Now, let me tell you what it doesn’t include. I am not a licensed Nutritionist or Dietitian. What are those? They are professionals who are trained to provide individualized meal plans for those with specific dietary needs. So they can make adjustments for diabetics, certain medications, daily activity etc. They then write exactly what they think you should eat, down to the snacks! This is what most people think is the answer, and for some it may very well be. For most, changing habits and developing a better relationship with food and why you make the decisions you do can go a lot further in the long term.
We used to work with a dietitian who prescribed all of our clients meal plans and while they were awesome to work with this is what I found out.
- Only one client followed the exact meal plan to the T and he only did so for the first two weeks. Later, after some more research learned that only 3 out of 10 people actually follow a meal plan.
- They tend to include foods that the client doesn’t even like, so again they would not follow the plan.
- They did not help produce the results the clients were looking for, and not context was give around the reason why they ate as much as they did or what they ate.
Again, this is not to say that a well structured meal plan won’t work for those that need it. As a trainer/coach we focus on and have seen greater results in performance and appearance by simply working with and actually coaching others on how you can “have your cake and eat it to.” Without actually having cake all the time, of course. We focus on creating better habits and increasing awareness around the decisions you make from a place of education. Personal Trainers cannot prescribe individualized meal plans unless they are licensed to do so. This is true in most states. Examples of healthy foods recipes, etc are fine but we cannot say “go eat this at this time.” I see a lot of trainers and coaches shy away from even providing guidance, but do you want results? You better square up your nutrition!
So remember, ultimately the information is out there to be found on how to eat to maintain your goals. Your health and your fitness, even your results are a reflection of your efforts toward them. If you are aware then you will progress, if not you will be right where you are talking about your goals and your dreams. This is also fine if that’s what you want. If you are reading this though, I bet it’s not. Always be learning and look to those with experience to help guide you to a sustainable path. HERE is a great article from a mentor of mine on prescribed meal plans and personal trainers. Have a look! I’ll talk with you soon.