It seems like there is a new diet created every month. While all trendy new diets have good intentions, they often miss the mark for the majority of users. That is why well-educated nutritionists and fitness coaches realize there is no “one best diet.” There is only what works best for a specific individual.
For some, the best diet may be high-carb and for others, it could be low-carb. For fitness coaches, the most important thing is not remembering the different types of diets. Instead, it is figuring out what influences the success of your client’s nutrition program. Here are five factors that will influence your client’s diet to keep in mind the next time you create a nutrition plan.
Before moving into personalizing a nutrition plan for your client, there are some essential behaviors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. These are called the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines, or BLGs for short. This foundation of behaviors is a prerequisite to moving into a more advanced nutrition program. Learn how to build the foundation of a healthy lifestyle in this free course.
Understanding the exact amount of activity someone undertakes in a day outside of a lab setting is hard. But it is good practice to consult with your client to get a picture of what their daily activity looks like.
Also, consider the type of training you are giving your client and the fuel they will need to complete the training. Are they doing resistance training? Then an equal balance of proteins, carbs, and fats is a good starting point. Is the client getting into more lactic work? If so they may need to consume more carbohydrates.
The goal of creating any nutritional plan is to create better outcomes in general health, exercise, mental acuity, decision-making, and behaviors. The best way to accomplish this is to stick with the highest order nutritional foods which include seafood, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Preferably as organically produced as possible.
As taste and budget vary this might not always be possible. A good place to start is to have your client keep a food log where you can get an idea of what they are currently eating and look for areas they can improve. When budget is a constraint, a good resource to educate on healthy foods is the clean fifteen and dirty dozen. Habits don’t change overnight, but it’s important to remember to consistently work towards the highest order foods.
When it comes to figuring out how much a client should be eating, a good starting point is considering how many calories they need to consume in a day. Factors to consider include basal metabolic rate, thermic effect of feeding, and exercise energy expenditure. Learn how to calculate how much your client should be eating here.
When coming to you, your client will already have a biological routine that works best for them and their food consumption. You need to understand this timing as it will allow for proper satiety, hunger, and mental acuity throughout the day. A food log followed by a conversation around chosen meal times is a great way to understand their routine. Once you have an idea of what their day looks like you can begin to alter amounts, quality, etc. depending on recovery, time of training, or when they are going to sleep.
This could look like having a client stop eating two hours before bed to ensure quality sleep or recommending that they consume 25 grams of quick digesting carbs (for example, a banana) before a training session. Learn more about eating before training in this blog.
The age of a client largely dictates what they’ll be doing for their nutrition. Biological age along with the age of their gut and digestive practices will determine what kind of foods you can recommend. Generational differences will also dictate what their nutrition history looks like. Again, this is highly personal and it’s worth consulting with your client to learn what works best for them.
Many diets are preaching their efficacy all over social media platforms. However, if they all worked as well as they claimed to, diet companies would be out of business. It is no wonder that clients bounce from diet to diet searching for the promised results. But as highlighted here, there is no best diet, as there are many factors that play into the success of a diet. That is why you as a fitness coach need to understand what influences a successful diet and help determine what will work best for your client. Start developing the skills to do just this with our free coaching course, The Coach’s Toolkit, today.