By Dave Johnson
Picture this: it’s been a great workout with a relatively new client. They’ve pushed themselves hard in each of their workouts but they’re not quite seeing the results they had hoped for. The client finishes their last set and you’re right in the middle of your concluding conversation when the question pops out: “what should I be eating?”
Sound familiar? This is a scene that plays out all across the personal training stratosphere fairly regularly. The vast majority of personal trainers are questioned about dietary advice at some point in their careers and, when we look at the data, it’s not all that surprising!
The obesity epidemic in the United States is well-documented. Over the past 20 years, the rate of obesity in adults has grown from 30.5% to 42.4% and, when you include the number of Americans who are overweight, that percentage grows to 71.6%! If you’re curious about the trends in your own state, here’s a link to the CDC’s Obesity Prevalence trends from 2011 through 2018.
Why do we have this problem? Why is it that nearly 45 million Americans have tried to lose weight at some point over each year? After we dig a little deeper into the cause of the obesity epidemic, it becomes clear:
- Typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.
- Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.
- US adults consume an average of 3,400 mg/day [of sodium], well above the current federal guideline of less than 2,300 mg daily.
At this point it’s important to note that, with any talk about diet and nutrition, we must remember our scope of practice. Personal trainers should never give specific dietary recommendations. Such information should come from certified nutritional specialists, such as a Registered Dietitian. That said, having knowledge about nutrition and being able to discuss what is healthy versus unhealthy with your clients is perfectly acceptable. The question is: are you comfortable and knowledgeable enough to talk about nutrition with your clients?
Nutritional Concepts introduces you to current nutrition information and practical consumer-oriented knowledge. You will become familiar with the principles of diet planning, government standards, and food labeling and the biological functions and food sources of each nutrient. Whether you’re talking about carbohydrate, fat, protein, the micronutrients (vitamins/minerals), or even water, this course will provide you with information you need to have productive, general discussions with your clients.
A bonus to taking this course is an introduction to the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate program. MyPlate reinforces that eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help your clients create a healthier eating style that meets their individual needs and improves their health.
Every personal trainer can benefit from learning more about nutrition. Enroll in Nutritional Concepts today and work toward becoming a more knowledgeable trainer! Also, check out our other nutrition course offerings at the W.I.T.S. store!
 Searing, Linda. “The Big Number: 45 Million Americans Go on a Diet Each Year.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 1 Jan. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-number-45-million-americans-go-on-a-diet-each-year/2017/12/29/04089aec-ebdd-11e7-b698-91d4e35920a3_story.html.
 HHS Office of the, and Fitness & Nutrition President’s Council on Sports. “Facts & Statistics.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 26 Jan. 2017, www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html.