Dieting uncovered: why dieting doesn’t work for the majority of fitness clients
Whether you train athletes or first-time gym-goers, it’s almost certain that the topic diet, nutrition and fat-loss are a key concern for your clients. How do you, as their trusted fitness guru, advise them? Do you have a fat-loss product or programme? Do you answer nutrition questions on an ad-hoc basis? As a fitness professional, you have a responsibility to give your clients the correct information about nutrition. Here’s why some of the classic diets don’t work for the majority of personal training clients.
All calories are not created equally!
Some popular diets encourage counting units, regardless of food quality or nutrient content. Do your clients understand why 100 calories of packaged cereal bar is different to 100 calories of lean protein or green vegetables? Can you explain to them the impact on hormone levels, fat loss, energy and health? Can you help your clients see the bigger picture, and give them the tools and encouragement to get there?
Weight loss is not the same as fat loss!
Many of your clients, particularly females, may be overly focused on weight loss. Do they actually want to lose weight, or do they wish to shed excess body fat (and perhaps in some cases increase lean mass)? It is your role, as fitness professional, to explain the difference between weight and fat loss. How can you drive the message home that the scales are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to healthy body composition? Each client will need handling differently, learning and processing information in their own way. What is your key message, and how are you going to communicate it?
The majority of you will have a client base of everyday folk who are suffering from common health problems like insomnia, stress, exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, headaches and digestive issues. Before they go on a diet, cutting food groups or turning to the latest fad, they may turn to you. And you are ideally placed to help them get healthy as well as lighter and fitter. How much knowledge do you have about the role of food and supplements in general health? How will you advise your clients and what resources can you give them? If you not only lead clients to weight loss but help them overcome long-standing health issues, you will have a extremely loyal fan base who will sing your praises to others, and for good reason.
No fitness client will be able to enjoy long-term weight loss if their life is full of stress. Whether it’s work stress, relationship stress or even the stress of overtraining, the body will react to perceived stress by churning out cortisol, making your client’s fat loss journey doubly hard. How will you get the message across and how are you able to programme fitness and diet so stress is brought under control? As a fitness professional, you will be seen by clients as a trusted expert, someone they can turn to, perhaps the only person who understands what they are going through.
Create better habits for life
Of course, none of you are in the fitness industry just to help people in the short term. You all care about people’s long-term health, fitness and wellness, and many of you wonder how the fitness industry can have a role in the general health of the population in the future. Play your part by teaching your clients better habits for life. These will vary from client to client, depending on the many factors which make up their daily lives. You are in a privileged position, that of an educator and trusted leader. Use this position wisely and you can transform clients’ lives forever.