I see it all the time; online “trainers”, celebrity or otherwise, offering their meal plans or nutrition advice, or “…for just $99.99 you can have access to exactly what I eat in a day/week/month…”.
These tags drive me crazy and you’ll soon find out why.
There are so many of these online trainers who will guide (read: tell you) exactly what to eat per his/her typical day, or worse, push keto or some drastic fad or diet on readers.
Here is why I don’t offer online meal plans and why what these online gimmickers are doing is dangerous: NO TWO CLIENTS ARE THE SAME.
So how dare I (or anyone else) treat them the same? What a 115 lb Instagram trainer eats in a day (or tells you what she eats in a day) will more than likely not be sufficient for most people who are watching her videos or subscribing to a website. There is no personalization, no background, no medical or health history provided by the “client” – there is simply only a way to pay. These are all important factors in prescribing a healthier diet in proper nutrition, or weight loss plan. Individualization is a key component.
I must acknowledge that each and every client is unique.
In addition, I cannot have a preconceived notion of my clients. I must recognize the individuality. I need to be able to approach my clients with an open mind so that I can understand their specific and individualized needs. I also need to understand what contributed to their present state or desire to change their eating habits. Is there an underlying medical condition? What is home life like? Are there any financial contributions to unhealthy eating (can the client not “afford” better quality or healthier foods)? These are questions that may need to be asked. And going hand-in-hand with this approach is my understanding of how I can best assist them.
Because is client is different, what works for one person, may not offer the same success for another. Client A may need better information/education about nutrition, whereas Client B may require full-on support and step-by-step guidance. As a professional, I have to be humble enough to recognize when a client may need to be referred to a different professional altogether (doctor, psychologist, dietitian, etc.). Although my clients are coming to me for my expertise, my expertise just may not be enough, and as such, clients who I believe may have disordered eating, health or medical issues, etc. must be referred to the proper practitioner.
Another step in my individualization is having my clients keep a food journal, as well as completing a basic health questionnaire. How can I assess and provide knowledgeable information if I do now know my clients. How can an online trainer purport to provide meal plans for clients/followers/readers/Googlers if they do not know each member of their audience.
As a Personal Trainer, I am not qualified to give my clients nutritional or diet advice. As with any other trainer, it is considered out of my scope of practice. As a Nutrition and Weight Loss Coach, however, I can provide nutrition advice and guidelines, parameters for healthy eating, support, coaching, etc. And I certainly recognize the importance that each of my clients is unique and will therefore have unique, if not specific needs.
In addition, my clients will receive personal, one-on-one coaching from me. I will work with each of them to discover what approach is best for them, and we will work together to create the best program suited to their individual needs. You don’t get that with random, generic, online meal plans. They will also get check-ins with me – whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or more or less. My clients can ask me questions any time and a personal response will be guaranteed. And since I am certified in both nutrition and fitness, I can also work with clients to design an exercise program that will work for them to ensure it fits their means and lifestyle. Just as it is with nutrition, understanding that not all fitness levels are the same is just as important if my clients want to see results.
It is truly important to not lose that human touch and to recognize that each person’s needs are unique. When it comes to health, it’s time to step away from the ease of the internet and to understand why our clients are coming to us, where they need help the most, and offer them the guidance, understanding, and support that a computer – or $99.99 – won’t provide them with.