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How Fitness Professional Should Add Nutrition Coaching to Their Business Offerings


If you’ve been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years, you likely remember the past when various groups were trying to say that fitness trainers of any specialty can never discuss nutrition with their clients. Thank goodness those days are long gone.

There were many reasons for those statements back in the day.

First, registered dietitians likely wanted more than a monopoly on business opportunities.

Second, universities likely wanted you to enroll in a four-year program so they can get $60,000 from you.

Third, the government has a history of control and over-regulation.  The medical industry used to be concerned that fitness professionals would somehow treat, diagnose, or prescribe food or nutritional products that would be out of the scope of practice or somehow contradictory to some medical procedure.  

Should Trainers Help Clients With Nutrition?

Now, let’s talk about the reality of a fitness professional helping a client with nutrition. Everybody eats. Everybody knows sound nutritional habits improve essentially every aspect of your life. Everyone knows that proper hydration is optimal for all bodily functions and sports performance. Everybody knows that too much sugar is not good for you. Everybody knows that clean sources of protein fuel muscles. Everybody knows high-quality carbohydrates are needed for sustained energy. These things are self-evident.

Of course, if a client is under specific medical supervision, you need to work with the doctor or other health professionals on the team. Of course, if someone is pre-operative and the doctor has given him or her specific instructions, that would obviously supersede any advice you would offer.  In short, a good dose of common sense and critical thinking eliminates 99.99% of any of the previous concerns that people had with fitness professionals offering help for nutrition. The irony is that fitness professionals exemplify optimal health, on average, magnitudes higher than the average Allied health professional.

So, now that the world has acquired its collective senses, and realizes that fitness professionals are the ideal group of people to help consumers improve their nutrition and healthy eating habits, let’s talk about how you can add nutrition coaching to your fitness business.  

Adding Nutrition Coaching To Your Training Business

Fitness professionals are the best group of experts to help people improve their nutrition habits for a few reasons. 

First, they are with the person more frequently than any other “expert” and can more easily coach, monitor, and observe the behavior and energy levels of the individual. Secondly, the fitness professional, on average, is far healthier than the average medical doctor.  Let’s be honest. Many medical doctors don’t appear to be healthy, strong or model of wellness.  It’s difficult for people to honor their nutrition advice when medical doctors look like they just fled the drive-thru. In addition, the client is in an environment of health mastery when they are discussing their food, supplements, and nutritional habits.  This increases compliance and motivation.

So, why should fitness professionals choose nutrition coaching as the next addition to their business offerings?

It’s logical. 

You are going to get asked a lot of nutrition questions.  You must have extensive knowledge.  You will want to earn a respected certification like the NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach designation. It’s a simple way for you to increase your per-customer revenue.

Nutrition Coaching Business Ideas

You have options.  You can combine any of these options or create your own.

Some gyms have small coaching/consulting rooms. In this room, you can have different types of body fat measurement devices (skinfold, bio-impedance, etc.). This room may also have a mirror and plumbline to assess posture.  You’ll likely have a tape measure and a scale.  This is the same room where you can offer your nutrition services including sales of nutrition products and supplements.  In many cases, clients are far more private about their eating habits and weight as compared to other aspects of their health and fitness regimen.  This private room gives them the privacy and comfort to share important aspects of their relationship with food which can lead to better results in your program. 

If you are the type of fitness professional who travels to people’s homes, it’s simple for you to sit with them at their kitchen table and discuss their relationship with food, family eating habits, and dietary needs in detail. It is highly likely, in the middle of your consultation, they may stand up from the table and go towards the refrigerator, a shelf or a pantry to show you what they’ve been eating or drinking to get your take on it. Having them in their own home environment puts them at ease and gives you a more detailed look into their lifestyle which you are helping enhance.

As we have discussed in different articles, you can offer an incredibly comprehensive, and more lucrative, consultation in their home for the following reasons: first, you can clean out the refrigerator with them and go through an entire process of teaching them better food choices and praising the choices that they’ve made that are wise. It’s always important to state the positive and reinforce the positive. Next, you can clean out their pantry with them. There are probably items in there that expired years ago that I have gone unseen for that long period of time. This isn’t that uncommon. This whole process makes great videos for promotion and good laughs by everyone there as well. It’s important to keep it lighthearted and to focus on what is positive and what can be enhanced. This isn’t a time to complain or shame anyone in any way.  

Another way to make this kitchen clean-out more effective and more fun with a lot more laughs is to get the entire family involved. At a minimum, if they have a partner, have both of them participate. It’s always better to get buy-in from your significant other so you can be supportive of one another. You, as a coach, want to reinforce this proven concept gently and appropriately.

Getting Started

There is no reason to delay mastering your knowledge of nutrition. People want and need your help. In fact, there are more people in America, and globally, that need your help right now than at any time ever in human history.  

We recommend you start with the NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach Certification. After that, we recommend the Spencer Institute Holistic Nutrition Coach Certification. There are others, but these two will get you on the fast track and give you a well-rounded skill set. 

That’s it for now.

Take action!

NESTA | Spencer Institute

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