When you think of ‘a personalized meal plan’ what comes to mind? For most coaches, it is typically a structured program detailing the specific amounts of macronutrients the client should consume and at what time. But OPEX Fitness Founder, James FitzGerald, wants us to think beyond macronutrients and focus on the foundation of personalized nutrition.
This discussion was pulled from James’ latest monthly knowledge series, a coaching resource available to all OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) graduates. If you are new to OPEX Fitness or want to become a fitness coach get a free introduction to our coaching methodology in this course.
Our nutrition today has come a long way and while thankfully we don’t have to grow all of our own food, the blessings of the industrial revolution are starting to catch up with us. As we become more detached from our food we are slowly losing our connection to why we eat. Within fitness we are no different, we are at the point where food is seen just as numbers (macronutrient amounts) and nothing more than fuel for our next metcon or something to avoid when getting ready for next summer’s beach trip.
As fitness coaches, we need to change the paradigm and we can no longer just prescribe macros as our one size fits all tool for every client. Where do we start? Well, James FitzGerald, believes it is personalized nutrition.
Personalized nutrition is an approach to nutrition that accounts for the history of food, the genetic individuality of the person, and seeks to reach the highest level of nutrient density for the person through using plants and animals. Put simply it’s a personalized primal approach. Personalized nutrition is built on three pillars. Get an introduction to the basics of personalized nutrition here.
Now that we understand the basics of personalized nutrition, let’s look at what an ideal personalized nutrition program would entail. Ideally, this nutrition program is catered specifically to the client and the success of this program would be measured against how vital they feel. The foundation of the diet entails seafood, meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds with the goal of reaching optimal nutrient levels for the person’s function. And finally, an ideal personalized nutrition plan is paired with adequate levels of moving and breathing.
To wrap up the conversation James leaves some key points for how to use personalized nutrition either yourself or with your clients. First, make sure that they are starting with a solid foundation of a good lifestyle. (Learn the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines here.) Secondly, macros can be part of the conversation but discuss percentages before exact numbers. Thirdly, personalize over time. Find out what is working and slowly figure out which foods to avoid and which foods to consume more of.
Nutrition coaching can be difficult. There is more dogma than fact and it seems like the science is ever-changing. But James believes that with a foundation of knowledge most coaches will have success with a personalized nutrition approach. Learn the basics of personalized nutrition today when you sign up for The Free Coach’s Toolkit and become the coach that helps your clients create a life-long change.