As many personal trainers discover early in their careers, clients are often eager to hear about what type of nutritional changes they should make to support their fitness efforts. That makes sense, since diet and exercise are so closely linked — if clients are eating junk food, then most likely they’ll have lower energy during workouts, or will take much longer to see results.
Although personal trainers can bring a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fitness plans, they have to be very careful when dispensing advice about what to eat. Helping clients bring healthy changes to their plates is a great impulse, but it could land a personal trainer on the wrong side of the law.
One remedy for this is to earn a certification. Not only will a trainer have more knowledge and insight to share, but it will also make that advice legal and appropriate. But which one to choose? The answer to what is the best nutrition certification for personal trainers will depend on each trainer’s goals, and what they hope to achieve with clients. Here are some options:
For Giving General Advice
If a trainer has a wide array of clients in terms of age, body composition, gender, and fitness goals, a certification that covers fundamental nutritional information can be helpful.
A program such as the Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification will give a trainer insights on topics like anatomy, metabolism, dietary guidelines, and food safety. It also offers information related to children and teens, older adults, and pregnant women.
If clients seem particularly interested in holistic nutrition — such as choosing organic food, trying a plant-based diet, and avoiding GMOs — a trainer may want to consider a certification that focuses on those types of strategies, such as a Holistic Nutritionist Certification.
For Helping With Weight Loss
There’s one deceptively straightforward question that trainers probably hear the most often: “How can I lose weight?”
The reply will depend on a range of factors, such as age, fitness level, and possible medical conditions. Healthy eating is also a large part of that answer, and getting a certification such as the Weight Management Specialist Certification can go a long way toward helping clients meet their goals.
With this type of certification, a trainer can guide clients through weight-management programs that incorporate nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. If the majority of a trainer’s clients are struggling with weight issues, this is likely the best certification to choose.
For Supporting Athletes
As trainers know, there’s often a vast difference between someone just starting a fitness journey versus an athlete who wants to boost performance. Although each benefits from healthy eating in general, the athlete will usually need nutritional support that’s geared more toward maximizing results and optimizing training.
To gain that type of knowledge, a trainer can turn to a Sports Nutrition Certification that offers insights about topics like eating before a competition, optimal recovery nutrition, boosting energy for workouts, and maintaining a proper electrolyte balance. If a trainer’s main client base is composed of athletes or those at higher fitness levels, this may be the best certification to pursue.
Even with specific certifications, like those geared toward losing weight or bolstering athletes, a trainer can serve a broad range of clients. The nutritional understanding generated by any of these certifications can be hugely helpful when clients are asking about how to support their fitness efforts.