Taking My Nutrition Coaching To The Next Level
It’s time to take my nutrition coaching to the next level!
I started understanding what good nutrition does to your body when I began prepping for my first competition. This taught me how much of a difference it makes to your physique do e v e r y t h i n g according to a set plan. I would eat the same meal every day, week in and week out and I was amazed at the results. As someone who’d been struggling with losing weight for years (by eating as little as possible during the week, only to binge on pizza and alcohol on the weekends) I was blown away with the results I got from eating simple, relatively high-energy foods such as potatoes, oats, rice, chicken, protein powder, salmon and almonds. Eating 6 meals a day fit me perfectly at that time, I’ve always loved to eat. And my body responded so well!
But in my 3 years of competing, I also realized how restricted I was, and how an all-or-nothing approach to diet was inhibiting my social life and restraining my freedom to enjoy anything that wasn’t pre-planned, prepared and fit within my “healthy diet”. I loved the results I got, but mentally, I was unhappy I started to struggle with bingeing on forbidden foods. At social events, I would go all-out and lose control, so I started to avoid them. Even going to visit my family became difficult. So al the time I was on prep for a competition, I felt best if I just stayed at home.
I stopped competing and but many of the bad food habits were still there. And I saw how many other competitors were battling with the same issues as me. There had to be a better way. Just giving nutrition clients a set diet plan, and expecting them to follow it was only a short-term solution to something that needed a more holistic, long-term approach.
How My Nutrition Coaching Has Evolved
I began coaching clients as a personal trainer and online fitness coach in 2013 and quickly found that, from an aesthetic perspective, your clients will only see a difference with the right nutrition in place, regardless of the quality of training you provide.
With a nutrition coaching qualification not being within my budget at the time, I bought a few university-level nutrition books and began reading. This, in combination with the physiology exams I took as a physical therapist, gave me a well-rounded understanding of how our bodies function and the role that good nutrition plays to make us look good and live happier lives.
My nutrition coaching principles have evolved greatly over the years:
As a physical therapist and personal trainer, my main focus has always been on what goes on in the gym. That’s what my clients hire me to help them with. But I quickly realized that one of the biggest pitfalls on the health, fitness and self-improvement journey is eating right. Coaching training only simply doesn’t make sense in many cases.
So in the very beginning, I would coach nutrition the only way I knew: I’d make the client an individualized plan (eating the same foods every day with only some limited variety), allowing them one cheat meal per week and expect them to follow it to the letter.
However, I quickly found out, that that approach only works when coaching competitors or clients who really like to have full control. And since I’ve always preferred to coach regular people, I had to come up with a better way. I started evolving my nutrition coaching practice. I would still make a set plan for each client, but I would support that plan with different general guide to portion sizes, food swaps, how to put together a well-rounded meal, etc., and be more in touch with the clients nutrition progress and look for what they did well, instead of how they failed to follow the plan every single day.
As a coach, it’s easy to provide your client with a plan and tell them to follow it. And to some extent, it’ll work. At least for some people. That plan will serve as an example to the client, showing them what healthy eating CAN look like. And that’s great! But one of the difficulties in eating right is understanding what eating right actually is. And how to eat right, even in less-than-optimal situations.
It’s about being educated on making good choices in every situation.
You won’t always be in a position where you have to make an obvious choice between eating either chocolate chip cookies or a well-rounded, homemade meal of 200 g. boiled potatoes, 125 g. of baked salmon & 250 g. of steamed broccoli for lunch.
It’s about discovering your mental triggers, and working on rephrasing them.
Many people that have weight issues are eating with their feelings when feeling stressed, sad or anxious. How can we reprogram ourselves to change this behavior?
It’s about discovering how you can be healthy AND enjoy life to the fullest.
You shouldn’t have to say no to birthdays, family dinners or going out with friends because you want to lose weight.
It’s about how to eat to support your hard work in the gym and see the results you desire.
Learning how to spot hidden sugars in “healthy” products, what to eat before and after your workouts & how to understand your body’s signals.
Taking My Nutrition Coaching To The Next Level
After having coached 100’s of men and women, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to successfully coach nutrition. And now I feel like taking my coaching to the next level, which is why I’ve enrolled in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Course.
I feel like this nutrition course is perfect for me because it has two major focuses:
- Nutrition science
- Change psychology
The nutrition science is something I’ve been through before, but I’m looking forward to brushing up on my knowledge! I actually really like re-learning things like there, because there’s always something you can learn to understand better, so you can become better at explaining it. One thing I’ve learned is that clients are CURIOUS (as they should be, they’ve hired me to teach them what they need to know to reach their goals) and the better you understand the science, the better you can explain it in a way that’s simple and to the point.
The second part about change psychology is why I chose this particular course. It seems really interesting and useful. It’s the type of education that applies to any type of coaching you may do, whether its nutrition coaching or personal training.
I believe that knowing the basics is important, but mastering the psychology of change is what sets apart the great coaches from the rest, and allows them to coach their clients to achieve great results!
So far I’ve relied on my own experiences as well as what I learned about coaching through my physical therapy degree and additional courses, but I’m excited to take a course that teaches applied change psychology in relation to nutrition, specifically.
The course is self-paced and online-only, so I’m able to fit my studies in between working with my personal training and online coaching clients. I will try to complete a chapter every two weeks (just being realistic about how hectic my schedule is this tome of the year) and of course I will announce when I’m done! :)
I’m so excited to start studying and to be able to apply what I learn to my current nutrition coaching practice. Yay!