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Be Careful About the Nutritional Advice you Give!

By Yann, published on 17/08/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Health and Fitness > Personal Training > How to Give the Right Diet Tips During Personal Training

Guiding your students is part of your job as a personal trainer or sports coach, whether it’s at the gym or at the client’s home.

If you want your client to reach their physical goals, it is also essential talk about their diet!

What do they need to know and what foods should you recommend?

Where does your job as a personal trainer end and the dietician’s work begin?

What mistakes should you avoid in dietary sports coaching?

Superprof breaks the subject of health and fitness down for you.

Personal Training and Nutrition: Not One Without the Other

Physical exercise leads to an increase in energy expenditure.

Eating well can provide the right carbohydrates, lipids and proteins to ensure the successful completion of any sport or physical activity:

  • Sports training,
  • Physical training,
  • Sports cardio-training programme (mistakes to avoid in cardio training)
  • Fitness, stretching, muscle building (learn what not to do as a bodybuilding trainer)
  • Muscle building, etc.

Tailor your diet to your level of fitness. Weightlifting, a great strength sport, requires a higher protein intake than cardio workouts. Source: Pixabay

You will also need to maintain regular hydration and the right amount of carbohydrates and minerals.

At the gym, you can use the water fountains available to you, as well as the energy drink vending machines. When in doubt, ask for the help of a personal trainer to get some advice!

Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for all physiological mechanisms connected with the practice of physical exercise (home exercises, private classes, gym workouts). As explained in this very interesting article from The British Nutrition Foundation on nutrition and sports performance:

Following healthy eating guidelines alone can support an active lifestyle. However when exercising, your body will use up more energy. Unless you are trying to lose weight you may find that you need to eat more food to give your body the extra energy it needs…A healthy diet for sport and exercise should contain plenty of starchy foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein foods and some dairy foods. It is also important to stay hydrated.

Sporting activities can be classified into 4 categories. Depending on the sport you practice, your needs will vary and you’ll have to prioritise certain elements above others.

  1. Athletic sports (athletics, gym, mountain biking, swimming): a high-intensity sport that requires you to be filled with carbohydrates. To increase muscle strength, it’s a good idea to combine training with adequate protein intake, up to 1.7g protein per kg of body weight per day.
  2. Team sports (football, basketball, rugby): again, carbohydrates are recommended.
  3. Endurance sports (for example, running): these are the activities where energy expenditure is the most important (around 600 to 1500 kcal per hour for a high-level marathon runner). All food groups are important. It is important to regularly consume starches and to stay hydrated as well, before, during and after exercising.
  4. Combat sports or strength sports (bodybuilding). For these sports, you need to increase your muscle strength and for that, you need to consume protein. You will also need carbs to keep your energy levels up.

Discover all the mistakes to avoid in ab workouts too!

Nutrition Coaching: Don’t Cut Out Essential Food Groups

Carbohydrates are often accused of causing weight gain.

First, it is vital to distinguish between complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index (GI) foods) and simple carbohydrates (high glycemic index foods).

In order to cope with physical exercise, it is essential to have simple carbohydrates, which release energy immediately, as well as complex carbohydrates which are stored in the liver and the muscles in the form of glycogen, which are used during longer periods of exercise (from 1 hour up to 5 hours and over).

If you want to play sports without taking a break, choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as:

  • whole wheat pasta,
  • brown rice,
  • whole grain cereals
  • or legumes (lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, etc.)

To deprive yourself from all this would be a mistake in your sports weight loss regime!

Health Coaching: The Top Foods for Athletes

Remember the importance of nutrition in weight loss. Bananas are a trainer’s best friend, a real performance booster! Source: Visual Hunt

These foods are particularly important for sport or even just general fitness. The following is a list of the best food to consume, for the personal trainer and the client:

  • Banana: the star food for athletes! Rich in carbohydrates, potassium, as well as being easily digestible. Nothing is wasted because the skin can also be used as a beauty mask!
  • Dairy products and proteins (casein and whey) promote muscle recovery. Choose products with semi-skimmed milk.
  • Nuts. Protein, fiber, vitamin E and fatty acids (omega 3): a winning combination for gym addicts!
  • Eggs: they contain vitamins A and D, as well as minerals such as phosphorus, essential for healthy bones, and zinc, which is involved in the healing process. Eggs also contain all the essential amino acids (that our body does not know how to make).
  • Quinoa and buckwheat: these seeds do not contain gluten (they are very digestible) and their proteins contain essential amino acids.
  • Salmon: It mostly contains omega 3. Choose wild salmon rather than farmed salmon.
  • Lentils: these legumes combine low GIs, proteins, fibers (important for digestion), as well as minerals.
  • Chicken, for providing essential proteins for the development of muscular fibers.
  • Berries (blueberries, black currants, cranberries) for their antioxidant qualities. The ideal combo: mixed with cottage cheese!
  • Avocado: it lowers LDL, slows cell ageing thanks to its antioxidants, helps regulate blood pressure, protects the skin and digests easily, what more do you need!

Consult a dietician online to get nutritional advice. Salmon can be eaten cooked or raw. Source: Pixabay

The Importance of Good and Bad Lipids

Opt for Unsaturated Fatty Acids

Lipids, as well as proteins, help our organs function. It is essential for our body, especially for the production of essential amino acids which our body does not know how to make.

Eat foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (rapeseed oil, olive, peanut, meat, fish and foie gras) and polyunsaturates containing essential fatty acids, especially the famous omega 3 (oily fish) and omega 6 (sunflower oil, grape seeds, nuts, etc.).

For the body to reap the benefits from these two fatty acids, it is important to maintain a good relationship between the two: you should consume about 5 times more omega 6 than omega 3.

Stop Avoiding Eggs!

Eggs often get a bad press and are accused of raising cholesterol.

If they raise blood cholesterol level, remember that dietary cholesterol only affects 25% of blood cholesterol.

Fitness programmes should also focus on diet and food. Eggs, provided you don’t eat them twice a day, is the athlete’s best friend. Source: Visual Hunt

Studies have also shown that eating eggs has a relatively low impact on LDL, the “bad” cholesterol linked with causing atheromatous plaques.

Organic eggs are much richer in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids than normal eggs.

Don’t Ban Proteins

Any good personal trainer will ensure that there is enough protein in the athlete’s diet.

It helps with energy levels and contributes to the maintenance of muscle fibres. The problem is that many protein-rich foods often contain lipids as well.

The following are good sources of “lean” protein to add to your diet:

  • Poultry, without the skin,
  • Fish and seafood,
  • Lean meats,
  • Eggs and cheese,
  • Legumes (red beans, lentils, etc.), tofu and soy.

What About Food Supplements?

In most cases, your body can find all the nutrients it needs in a varied diet, giving pride of place to fruit and vegetables, preferably seasonal, with regular and moderate intake of protein and fat.

Food supplements are therefore completely useless!

The website Ace Fitness has published an interesting article on the subject, arguing that food supplements are pointless:

Exceptional athletic performance and optimal health come from hard work and a body fueled by good food, not expensive and worthless lotions, potions and pills.

In an article posted online by the Guardian, based on research from nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam of the British Nutrition Foundation emphasises that unless you’re an elite athlete, no one needs protein supplements.

Personal Trainers and Dieticians: Two Different Jobs

Bear in mind that as a personal trainer, you might not always be the best person to give nutritional advice. While many personal trainers are experts in dietary requirements, it might be best to leave this with the help of professional dieticians.

If your client asks you for advice on what they should eat to give them the best results at the gum, you have several options:

  1. Pair up with a dietician and send your client for a consultation with them. The dietician will then help you out by referring clients to you in return.
  2. Take an additional course in biology, nutritional science or dietetics.

If you provide sports lessons in clients’ homes, why not give them some nutritional advice at the same time?

In general, remember that if you practice moderate physical exercise (less than 1 hour per session), a balanced diet and good hydration will be enough to keep you going. If you prefer intense physical exercise or are a high-level athlete, you will need to focus on particular foods such as proteins.

A personal trainer at home (find a personal trainer near me) and a nutritionist will be able to concoct a training programme and diet tailored to your needs! Some personal training platforms online also offer nutritional advice from experts.

Check out the best abs workouts.

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