A common question that comes up from online personal trainers is whether they should be providing their clients with meal plans or not? The most honest and blunt answer to this question is, if you don’t have nutrition education it might not be the best idea. But that doesn’t mean you should leave them high and dry when it comes to working on nutrition.
What Can I Do If I Don’t Know How to Make Meal Plans?
We all know how important nutrition is to reaching overall fitness and body composition goals, so it’s not something to be ignored. But just because you’re not certified, it doesn’t mean your hands are completely tied. There are many other options available to trainers who are amazing at training people to get them to their goals, but might be lacking nutrition education or confidence in creating meal plans for clients.
You’ll find plenty of resources available to help provide nutrition education to clients without the extensive education or certifications to follow, but you should approach these with caution. One of the worst things you can do is simply copy a meal plan off of the internet and pass it along to a client, claiming it to be your own. Many meal plans you’ll find online are just general meal plans that do not address your clients’ individual goals, allergies, preferences, and needs. In the end, you might actually be doing them a disservice more than helping them. Stick to what you know and master that, let those who’ve mastered nutrition help in that area.
Here are 3 Ways to Provide Nutrition Education to Online Clients:
1. Provide them with all the tools they need to create a meal plan of their own
I don’t mean just telling your clients to get enough protein, limit sugar, eat fruit and vegetables, and avoid having MacDonald’s for every meal. (Well, I guess these are important tips too!) I mean providing clients with clear and easy-to-follow guidelines for their eating habits. This could include a suggestion to monitor daily calorie and/or macronutrient targets, examples of healthy meal and snack ideas, or basic explanations of how food choices impact fitness, energy levels, and health.
The goal here is to give them as much information as you can based on your education level and scope of practice. This is one of the best way of teaching a client how to eat healthy because they have to do a little bit of learning themselves and aren’t just blindly following a pre-made meal plan without knowing why they are eating the foods that are prescribed.
2. Use a Meal Planning Service
Trainerize is already partnered with Evolution Nutrition, which allows you to create meal plans for clients and load them right into their Trainerize profiles. Each meal plan can be customized to match a clients needs and are created by a certified nutritionist. Using this add-on will decrease the amount of work needed on your end, and you’ll know your clients are in good hands with these meal plans.
3. Partner with a nutritionist or create a referral
The last option is to create a referral partnership with a nutritionist or nutrition coach, meaning that you would refer interested clients to them for meal planning in hopes that they refer their clients back to your for training services. This is a great way to increase awareness for your business, build your network of health and fitness professionals, and ensure your clients are getting the best nutrition information and meal plans to help them reach their goals.
While it can be intimidating at first, especially for those with little or no formal training in the field of nutrition, it’s easy to see there are plenty of options available. I hope this helps you tackle the area of nutrition and meal planning when it comes to helping your online training clients reach their goals. Any questions feel free to contact me via email at Michelle@Trainerize.com or via social media @CoreCondition.