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“NUTRITION AND TRAINING ARE LIKE THE TWO WHEELS OF A BIKE; you can’t move forward or get anywhere without each of them spinning together.”

By Jaime Rose Chambers

The benefits of regular exercise are no secret. They are endless and range from the ability to mould and shape our physical form to reducing the risk of major chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fitness professionals are often the first port of call for most people who want to make real
changes to their body and their health. However, creating those changes when focusing on just one part of a very complex health puzzle is unlikely to get
your clients to their health and wellness goals, leaving many feeling disheartened, defeated and ready to throw in the towel. This is also business and
reputation suicide. 

It’s common to use exercise as the variable factor when taking on a health or wellness regime. However, most people don’t begin an exercise regime to improve their health, it is more often than not due to vanity: fat loss and a killer set of abs. Fitness professionals and trainers are often in the frontline for health change,
providing motivation, accountability, structure and fun to a health and wellness journey.

The not-so-shocking news is that research is showing time and time again that exercise can’t be used as a sole or even primary tool for fat loss. Putting it very simply, it’s a lot easier to NOT eat those two donuts at 500 calories than spend two hours of your busy day running them off. The couple of hours clients spend
with their fitness guru every week are trumped dramatically by the remaining hours they spend eating and drinking, effectively undoing – or if they’re lucky, balancing out – the time they’ve been busting their behinds and hard-earned money working with their trainer.

Nutrition and training are like the two wheels of a bike; you can’t move forward or get anywhere without each of them spinning together. In other words, without the right nutrition advice to support exercise and training, physical results and goals will be next to impossible to achieve. The world of health is really very young, and
growing and changing rapidly. It’s simply no longer enough to provide just a fitness regime any more – clients are expecting more. It’s no longer a onetrack,
single-focused strategy. Many health professionals are broadening their knowledge base, becoming highly qualified in holistic health and offering a package of services: a one-stop-shop if you will of fitness training, nutrition advice and psychological and life coaching. In saying that, it does not mean that you can’t have a successful business. Maybe you want to remain razor-focused on fitness and physical training, or maybe you don’t feel comfortable or are particularly interested
in taking on more study. As a fitness expert, offering some type of nutrition support is essential to creating rapid and specific changes to your client’s progress.

Nutrition is, of course, not just limited to weight or fat loss. Good nutrition, like exercise, has an endless range of benefits more than just a ‘calories in versus calories out’ for fat loss or muscle building. For the fitness expert, appropriate nutrition means clients are fuelled properly to make the most of their training or fitness sessions. Nutritional deficiencies can cause fatigue, sluggishness or lack of motivation, such as the very common iron and vitamin B12 deficiency in young women. These can, however, be corrected, as can the consequences of inadequate good-quality carbohydrates, in turn improving client return rates and supporting your client to reach their fitness and health goals, and potentials.

Many people also have a plethora of medical issues that need to be taken into account, such as food allergies or intolerances, even ethical beliefs surrounding food.

Nutrition can be a minefield of confusing and conflicting information; what is right for one person could be detrimental to others. Over the years I have seen many,
many patients end up in a great mess after receiving unqualified nutritional advice. Patients on diabetes medications told to cut out carbs, patients with high cholesterol and a very strong family history of cardiovascular disease told to eat butter, eggs and cheese every day. Putting a postmenopausal lady who is
new to training on a paleostyle diet is dangerous and destined for failure. Not to mention the lack of energy, fatigue, constipation and absolute misery over an
inadequate, inappropriate, restrictive diet provided by an unqualified health professional.

So where do you draw the line on fitness professionals dishing out nutrition advice? Providing the wrong nutrition advice can be dangerous, yet in many cases
sending a client off to see a dietitian or nutritionist is often unnecessary and not viable.

By either providing basic, solid nutrition advice that’s sustainable, healthy and balanced or outsourcing the nutrition advice, your clients will see faster, more
significant results. What’s more, it will also give you as a fitness professional far greater credibility and reputation as you build your business and name. Here are a couple of options for you:

1. Educate yourself: Be an eternal student. The world of health and nutrition is changing constantly and there simply isn’t a cookiecutter way of creating a
fitness or nutrition regime for an individual. A twoweek nutrition course will not cut it. The more training, courses, reading and qualifications, the more tailored and specific advice you will be able to give and the more specific results you’ll achieve with your clients. Really do your homework and find nutrition courses with
strong qualifications and credibility. Always be reading as well; keep up with the science- and evidence-based research coming through by subscribing to nutrition
journals, magazines and books.

2. Refer on: Network with highly qualified dietitians and nutritionists and refer your more complex clients on to them. Have a number of nutrition experts on hand
to match your client to their needs. Dietitians are trained in medical nutrition therapy for clients with complex medical issues who need specific dietary advice that
only a dietitian is qualified to provide. Many dietitians are also sports dietitians with additional training specifically for athletes or highly active individuals. This will ensure your client gets the best, most accurate information and personalised plan designed just for them. Aligning yourself with great practitioners will give your
clients top-tier, gold-standard advice specific for them to support their fitness regime, allowing them to achieve the greatest possible results.

As health practitioners, we’re ultimately all aiming for the same goals for our clients. It is important to keep in mind our scope of expertise because providing
the wrong advice can be damaging, dangerous and ruin a reputation. However, by providing a holistic, multifaceted service or having the support of really fantastic
health practitioners that are in line with your health philosophies, you’ll have a horde of happy clients.


 About the author: JAIME ROSE CHAMBERS
Jaime is an accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist who has worked in private practice for the past six years in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, treating and working with patients suffering from cancer, hormonal and gut issues, food allergy and intolerances to fat loss and specific fitness goals. Jaime is also the nutrition and wellness expert for gourmet home food delivery company, Eat Fit Food. Jaime is incredibly passionate about food and its effect on our health, but also on our soul.

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