Are You at Risk?
Are You Putting Yourself and Your Clients at Risk?
Everybody eats. Just because you eat food, doesn't make you an expert in nutrition. Providing Nutrition advice to others with limited or no education in nutrition may be putting you and your clients at great risk.
Every day as a Personal Trainer we are asked nutrition questions by our clients. Proper nutrition isn't just important, it is an essential part of ensuring your client's success in reaching their fitness goals. I firmly believe one cannot out train a bad diet. With that in mind, we must help our clients make healthier nutrition choices.
In Canada, there are no specific laws regulating what Nutrition Consultants can legally do, and that means that any Personal Trainer can give Nutrition advice provided that they do not say or do anything which is prohibited by law. If you want to counsel others, then you need to become familiar with the regulations that explain what you cannot do regarding food supplements and what may infringe on other licenced or regulated health professions.
Do you know what is prohibited by law when giving Nutrition advice? I'll suggest you review the book called 'How to give Nutrition Advice Legally' by David W. Rowland, PhD for a comprehensive outline.
Keep yourself and your client safe, by staying within your Scope of Practice. Scope of practice is a term used to set boundaries for various professions that define the procedures, actions, and processes they are permitted to practice. The Scope of Practice is limited to that which the individual has received education and experience, and in which he/she has demonstrated competency.
For example, as a canfitpro Personal Trainer Specialist, it states in their manual that you are not permitted to prescribe supplements and you are not permitted to perform a client diet analysis. It is instead suggested that you as a Personal Trainer develop a referral system (Naturopath, Natural Nutritionist, Dietitian), you gain additional education in Nutrition, and you are only to offer general nutrition advice and information based on Canada's Food Guide. NEVER suggest that a client leave their present doctor or stop taking a prescribed medication.
Now, think back to your Personal Trainer Training Certification Program. There was actually very little time spent reviewing Nutrition. Why? Because you registered to learn about Personal Training, not Nutrition. Although all Personal Training Programs will briefly review the importance of nutrition, they in fact are not Nutrition Programs. So what's a Personal Trainer to do? With little or no training in Nutrition, Personal Trainers are faced with the challenge every day to provide this necessary service to their clients.
I have spent years of my life studying and learning Nutrition. I was guided to learn more about Nutrition because I honestly believe that Canada's Food Guide recommendations are doing more harm than good to society. I wanted to know a better way. I wanted to help my clients become healthier, become better, and achieve the success they so desired. I knew I had 3 choices: work outside my scope of practice, refer to a Nutrition Professional or continue my education. I chose to continue my education.
Today I work within the scope of practice as outlined by my education and from my Nutrition Diploma. This has expanded not only my ability to help my clients balance their nutrition, it has also expanded my scope of practice beyond what my Personal Training Certification taught me.
The solution for you? Increase your knowledge to increase your scope of practice and increase your ability to help your clients achieve their goals; safely, effectively and with less risk of bringing harm.
Here's a few way s to increase your knowledge, expand your scope of practice and help your clients succeed: