As a person who is training hard towards fitness, you should definitely be thinking about the correct type of nutrition that your body needs. Nutrition and training are like the two wheels of a bicycle; you won’t taste fitness success unless both of them are spinning. So, aligning your nutrition along with your training and body type will be one of the best things that you can do to make quantum leaps towards your fitness goals.
However, who you depend on to help you with this nutritional information might also be equally important. In most cases, people resort to their personal trainers or gym trainers to guide them when it comes to nutrition. Fitness instructors are skilled at allocating appropriate fitness regimes for clients and to ensure that they are followed in the most efficient way. However, we don’t recommend them to probe into the nutritional side of things as they might not be qualified enough to do so.
Nutrition is a science
When it comes to nutrition, even a person who has followed a low carb diet for a month thinks of himself as an expert. However, imparting advice based on the body type, past history, allergies and numerous other factors is better left to dietitians who are trained particularly for this activity.
So, what exactly is the qualification required for this job? As specified by Indian Dietetics Association, a qualified dietician must have one of the below in the field of Food Science, Nutrition, and Dietetics. Also, he/she must have at least 6 months of experience of an internship in a multidisciplinary hospital.
- Bachelor’s degree (3 years)
- Post Graduate Diploma (1.5 years)
- Master’s degree (2 years)
Also, clearing the national Registered Dietician (RD) exam conducted by Indian Dietetics Association annually is considered as enhanced capability. A dietitian, if interested, can even pursue Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in nutrition and food science.
So, is your gym trainer qualified to do the job?
There is a high chance that your personal trainer isn’t qualified enough to give you suggestions on your diet. Half knowledge can be dangerous and it is your job to stay clear of it. Hence, before taking any of the advice offered to you, it is your responsibility to check your trainer’s status.
“The truth is most clients go to their personal trainers for nutrition advice. However, I have seen too many instances where personal trainers dispense advice with clearly no clue as to why they are making particular suggestions,” says Jose Antonio, Ph.D., CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)
A qualified gym instructor should know his scope of knowledge and practice, and more importantly, he should stay in that scope. Unless your trainer is also a nutritionist, he is not supposed to prescribe supplements, suggest food to treat obesity, prepare your diet plans, etc. These tasks are best undertaken by nutritionists and dietitians who are trained for the job.
Yes, your trainer might be very experienced but it is important to understand that his advice might either be based on his own personal experience or the experience of someone he has trained. It is important to understand that your body might be very different from theirs and so would be your current health. Hence, the same advice might not work for you and in worst scenarios, it might also lead to undesired effects. By following your gym instructor blindly, you might even end up causing some serious damages.
Consider a dietitian as your food doctor. He will analyze your body, daily routine, allergies, energy requirements, etc. and make the best diet decision for you. Will you let an unqualified doctor to treat you when you are ill? No, you wouldn’t. So, why to let a gym trainer guide you when it comes to nutrition!
Which is the weirdest nutritional advice you have received from your personal trainer? Your comment might save someone else from trouble!