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.
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:
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.
Discover all the mistakes to avoid in ab workouts too!
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:
To deprive yourself from all this would be a mistake in your sports weight loss regime!
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:
Salmon can be eaten cooked or raw. Source: Pixabay
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.