Should personal trainers be giving clients nutrition advice?

Whether or not personal trainers should be giving clients nutrition advice has always been a bone of contention. Not all personal trainers are created equal. There are always going to be the cowboys in the industry who recommend unsafe diet practices and supplements without losing any sleep, and those that are simply blissfully unaware their weight-loss regimes are potentially dangerous.An Adelaide personal trainer was permanently banned from giving diet advice to clients in December 2021. The commissioner ruled his weight loss advice would have resulted in the client putting on 0.5-1 kilogram each week, in addition to drinking 9.25L of water a day and ceasing all medication. Earlier in 2021, a personal trainer also died after consuming 200 times more caffeine than a normal cup of coffee—mixing a pre-workout with caffeine. From the ridiculous five-bite diet to recommending thermogenic supplements without knowing a client’s medical background, poor nutrition advice can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, health issues or result in potentially dangerous eating disorders. Unapproved and unregulated supplements can have more serious consequences, and may result in death.

Unless Personal Trainers are registered and certified sports nutritionists they should refrain from providing dietiary advice or recommending supplements. The regulatory and governing body keeping the fitness industry accountable is the Sports Nutrition Association. Established in Australia five years ago before launching globally in 2020, Sports Nutrition Association was created to establish practices for fitness professionals. Not only do they provide education and accreditation in sports nutrition, they have a public database where clients can connect with accredited, qualified and insured sports nutritionists in their local city.

Whether you live in Waikato, New Zealand or Tampa, Florida, if there’s a SNA accredited personal trainer you’ll find their contact details here.

Founder of Sport Nutrition Association, Alex Thomas said:

“We wanted to provide a service where coaches can not only upskill, but have access to the latest research, best practices and uphold a safe and informed industry standard. Clients trust and rely on their personal trainers, exercise physiologists for nutritional advice that complements their workout routine, and lifestyle.”

How is the industry regulated?

For those flouting the nutrition guidelines and providing damaging dietary recommendations, you can contact SNA or reach out to your local relevant state health obudsman or healthcare comissioner, to help you submit the relevant details. Breaches of industry best practices that result in serious health consquences may be subject to prosecution.

For personal trainers wanting more information on certification and accreditation in sports nutrition, visit their website.