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'Nutritionist' isn't even a protected title... so am I the right coach for you??

Unlike the title of ‘Dietitian’ or ‘Doctor’, Nutritionist is not a protected title so you’ll see a wide range of skills and capabilities, or lack there of, from people identifying themselves as a nutritionist.



I’m not saying you can’t provide an exceptional service without a degree or accreditation, as experience is a huge part of expertise, but it does stand to question the extent of the individual's knowledge and their reason for applying their nutritional recommendations.


I have friends in the fitness industry who are currently personal trainers and coaches who give reliable advice and even some I would go to for a second opinion, though they don’t hold any nutrition specific degrees.


As a personal trainer who has given diet and nutritional advice for close to 10 years before completing a higher education, course specific nutrition degree, (already holding a BTEC in sports science and a level 2 gym instructors degree at the time) I had no in depth nutritional education, rather a generic nutritional understanding paired with client experiences to guide my personal recommendations.


Looking back at the start of my career I definitely gave out some questionable nutrition advice, but as I furthered my education and gained invaluable experience I was able to become more specific in my nutritional guidance and reasoning behind it.


However, the new era of online coaching has made it easier for people to broadcast their view and opinions, promoting nutritional information which could be harmful or misleading. Many of these so called nutritionist's and even doctors (how have minimal training in nutrition) tend to have their own agenda and marketing strategies in promoting products, supplements or even their very own 'diet' book.


Now as a Sports and Exercise Nutritionist (MSc) it is easy to see those who have a clear idea and foundation of knowledge, even those without education, having the ability to critically analyse research and implement it into their understanding and practical application.


Within the nutrition realm you will come across those which have associated themselves with a specific niche or topic, much like in the medical field you get those who specialise in their chosen area such as a cardiologist or lipidologist .


In the nutrition world a Sports Nutritionist is one of those fields.


What exactly is a Sports Nutritionist?


A Sports Nutritionist is anyone who deals with any form of weight management, through to diet related performance increases.


Weight management fulfils the majority of Sports Nutrition practice, covering areas such as:

  • Weight loss

  • Weight gain

  • Recompositioning

A Sports Nutritionist monitors variables and context to allow the most suitable, efficient and safe protocols for their clients.


What a Sports Nutritionist does not deal with...

  • Peri or post menopause nutrition

  • Hormonal regulation disorders

  • Disease or illness nutritional care

  • Eating disorders

  • Other nutritional health related treatments

If a Sports Nutritionist is working with a client who requires chronic disease management and/or clinical health care, it is important that they refer out to a registered Dietitian.


So if you are looking for a coach, personal trainer or health specialist to assist you with your diet and nutritional needs, do your homework and look into their experience, education and background in the industry.


Lastly, but not least, every coach will have a different approach with their clients.


My approach to coaching...


My personal approach with clients is tailored around a dietary analysis which incorporates a food diary/tracking record for a select time frame (normally 1-2 weeks), to understand more of your personal food choices and your level of nutritional awareness.


I then suggest small changes we can make to you diet while optionally tracking foods and your macro-nutrients (carbs/fats/proteins), in the meantime educating you as we go.


I set performance related and lifestyle goals for clients to achieve on a weekly to monthly bases.


Overall I hold you accountable for your own progress, offering a word of encouragement and a kick up the bum when needed.


Am I the right coach for you?


Record keeping is a must, this could be as little as how many steps you took in a day, or eating your five a day, we need some sort of record to measure progress.


Having the willingness to learn is an attitude you must have in order to adapt your current lifestyle and behaviours in order to create new positive habits. Without this attitude you will simply fall back into old ways which got you where you are today, much like many of these get fit quick diets and 4 weeks plans, they don't set you up for long term success.


So if you really don't want to track your food and are not willing to learn how to cook/spend time in the kitchen, then we probably won't workout.


Make sure a coach is right for you, not just their education and experience, but their approach to coaching.


All the best


Craig

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