…AND WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH “SCOPE OF PRACTICE”?
As a personal trainer, you will obviously need to influence your clients’ behaviours when you are not around, especially in the area of nutrition. And writing a meal plan is, firstly, no more likely to actually develop new eating and drinking habits than any of the many diet plans your clients have likely tried in the past. Secondly, writing a prescriptive eating plan is NOT the role of a personal trainer. And thirdly, our role as a “coach” as opposed to trainer, is to empower clients to take back control of their own health, weight and fitness and dictating a set meal plan is not empowering but potentially disempowering and therefore a huge mistake. Let me explain…
As a coach you will appreciate the answers for your clients to finally eat and drink more healthily don’t simply come from your training, experience or capability in nutrition, but the rich collaboration between coach and client. That is to say your client possesses important expertise about their own daily schedule, preferences, sources of support and mental resolve than you, and by working with them to create a strategy that is likely to work for them 1) will better enable lasting chance, 2) is within the remit of a fitness professional and 3) empowers clients to better own their own habits and behaviours around nutrition.
And when we talk about scope of practice, clearly influencing another’s nutritional choices both very necessary and is within our scope of practice. I personally contacted Insure4Sport to ask whether in the case of a professional trainer who is NOT writing meal plans but, instead, is collaboratively working with a client to agree changes they would make to what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what they had for any between-meal snacks and what they drank throughout the day, they confirmed very coherently YES such activity would be insured on their personal trainer policy.
1] Third party your education. Create a nutrition video or document about the important role of healthy fats and why eating fat is essential when it comes to losing fat. Include content about the role and, therefore, the importance of protein and talk about carbohydrates in terms of their role as an energy source. However, outline also that when it comes to losing body fat we need to help the body burn stored fats as fuel rather than consumed carbohydrates, and hence why we might limit their consumption for a while.
2] Coach – ask to discover, ask to understand and ask to solve. In your coaching session with your client, ask about what your client most took from what you provided them. Ask about how this might show up for them. And ask about what changes they, therefore, intend to make by when. And follow up.
3] Share your expertise too. Don’t just remain passive, share through a story, use of metaphors and examples of how others have better-controlled carbohydrate and sugar consumption, between-meal snacking, comfort eating and increased protein and healthy fats in their diet. Think, two experts, working towards one person’s agenda i.e. your clients. This is nutrition coaching. It works and you can read more on www.darrentebbenham.com