Meal Plans from your Personal Trainer?
Taking Nutritional Advice from your Personal Trainer
Working out can only take your body so far. What you put in your mouth is at least half of the equation. That puts personal trainers in an awkward position when dealing with weight loss clients.
Personal Trainers are hired for their knowledge of the human body and how to move it for the best effect. They are taught how to design workouts that are appropriate for people of different ages, goals and abilities. They can explain and demonstrate how certain moves may be good, or bad for a particular client. But their certifications do not include training to give specific dietary recommendations. Here's what that means.
As a personal trainer, I can state a FACT like, "Oatmeal can be a good source of fiber." It's a simple statement about the nutritional content of a specific food.
I CANNOT say, "You should eat a cup of oatmeal for breakfast." That's a specific recommendation for you to apply to your individual condition.
In the state of Florida and at least 40 other states, you much be a Registered Dietitian, Registered Nutritionist or Registered Nutritional Counselor to give specific dietary advice. That includes things like making a meal plan, recommending individual vitamins or prescribing supplements for a specific person and/or condition.
Florida first instituted rules like this in 1988 and they've evolved over the years. The reason it was done is to protect people from advice that may be well-meaning, but has the potential to be lethal.
A person with celiac disease can't be given a diet with wheat in it. You wouldn't want someone with high blood pressure taking supplements high in caffeine. The interactions between food and health can be quite complex and what works for one person may be deadly for another. If you need help, here's what a personal trainer CAN do.
First, they can help you determine your resting metabolic rate or RMR. There's a formula to roughly calculate what that is, or you can take a more precise measurement using testing equipment from companies like Bodygem. (Click Here for the formula.) That number, your "RMR" will give you the total calories your body burns every day at rest.
Second, a trainer can help you calculate your activities, like work, exercise and recreation to come up with the total calories you burn every day.
Then, for every 500 calories a day you cut out, you can expect to lose approximately a pound a week. If you're eating 3,000 calories a day, it's a simple matter of cutting out 500 of those to lose a pound a week.
But things get a lot trickier if you're only burning 1,500 calories a day. Which calories would be appropriate for you to cut? A Registered Dietitian will go over your likes and dislikes, medical conditions and allergies to make sure you're eating a balanced mix of protein, fat, carbohydrates; and all the other things like vitamins and nutrients that would make a healthy meal plan for you.
For people with serious weight loss issues of 100 pounds or more, it becomes even more important to see a Registered Dietitian. A typical doctor may spend as little as three to five days in medical school learning about nutrition. When asked, most physicians feel like they've been inadequately trained to properly answer nutritional questions. But a Registered Dietitian, at least in the state of Florida, must meet the following requirements.
- Possession of at least a bachelor’s degree with a major course of study in human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics, or food management.
- Successful completion of 900 hours of pre-professional planned and continuous supervised practice in dietetics or nutrition.
- Successful passage of the dietitian exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
The standards are high because the stakes are high. The right foods can mean the difference between life and death.
A personal trainer CAN share healthy meals and recipes. In fact, at WeBeFit we've prepared hundreds of healthier recipes and had them evaluated by our tasting panel. They're all grouped into categories and posted free on our website at www.WeCookFit.com. These are recipes you can use in place of traditional higher fat, higher sugar and higher calorie recipes.
The job of a personal trainer is to help you move your body appropriately. They can share nutritional facts and healthier recipes. But they should not be building meal plans, suggesting vitamins or supplements.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.