Let’s get the facts straight, shall we?
To be a Registered Nutritionist you must have a degree or post graduate qualification in Nutrition or Public Health Nutrition.
To call yourself a Dietician you must have a degree or postgraduate qualification in Dietetics or Human Nutrition & Dietetics.
That’s not my opinion by the way, that’s a stone-cold fact.
Here’s another fact: if you’re trainer is telling you he’s a nutritionist or dietician in the absence of the above qualifications, he or she is lying to you.
But what if…
Stop right there.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if said trainer has done a three-hour nutrition module on his two week, non-failure ‘PT Course’.
It doesn’t matter if he/she has done an online ‘Nutrition Course’ and awarded himself a certificate.
(Typically, these type of courses have multiple choice assessments that let you keep going until you luck out on the right answer -that fills you with confidence, right?)
It definitely doesn’t matter if he/she has dieted to a state of emaciation for a ‘fitness model’ or bodybuilding contest. I’ve lost counter of the number of people I speak to who have followed diets given to them by these characters, only to give up out of boredom and frustration before bingeing eating themselves back to an unhappier state than they started in.
Simply because competition diets are non-sustainable, and the physiques they produce are usually chemically aided and functionally useless.
Other people not qualified to give accurate nutrition advice include Slimming World and Weight Watcher’s organisers, MLM ‘Health Food’ agents (yes, I’m looking at you, Herbalife), and the guy you spoke to in the changing room at Globo Gym who swears blind that milk shake for breakfast and coco-pops before bed got him ripped.
Incidentally, I also see people calling themselves ‘nutritionalists’ – that’s not even a real word, so I’ll just leave that there and let you decide if you should be trusting these guys to calculate your calorie intake.
But Craig, if I can’t take nutrition advice from my trainer, what can I do?
Simply put, you can take nutrition advice, but bear in mind it’s just advice – and the more outlandish and bizarre it is, the less likely it is to work.
Sadly, it’s easy to sell crazy ideas when the truth seems too simple to actually be the truth.
The truth is this:
To lose fat, you need to consistently be in a calorie deficit.
I’ve just saved you a small fortune on Diet Plans from PTs, and shakes and powders from supplement manufacturers and pushy, part-time salesmen.
You can thank me later.
So, what should your PT be doing?
Encouraging you to monitor your calorie intake.
Suggesting healthier alternatives to unhealthy foods that are sabotaging your progress.
Giving you meal ideas if you have problems caused by time constraints or working hours.
Helping you to form good eating habits that will last way beyond the block of sessions you’ve booked, or your next holiday.
Structuring your training sessions in a way that will help your body burn away fat and build muscle. Before you ask: no, that doesn’t mean ridiculously high reps with weights lighter than my grandma’s handbag, or the latest HIIT craze…but more on that in a future blog.
For now, be careful who you trust…