Can Personal Trainers Write Meal Plans?

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When we, as personal trainers, dive into conversations about diet and meal plans with our clients, it’s super important to remember our limits.

Yes, we’re all about helping our clients hit their fitness goals, but when it comes to giving out specific diet advice, we need to be careful.

We know a lot about staying healthy, but we’re not certified dietitians or nutrition experts.

This doesn’t mean we can’t help at all. We can still talk about the basics of eating well and suggest changes that can make a big difference, like eating more veggies or cutting back on sugar.

And when it comes to making those big diet changes, we can guide our clients to the pros who have the right training to give out specific meal plans.

Legalities

It would be a horrible feeling to have if someone you were training and provided meal plans for came down with serious health issues.

While it may not be your fault at all, you never know what the courts may determine if there is a lawsuit. In a society that is lawsuit happy, you must protect yourself.

In addition, there are fines that can be dealt down by the government if they believe you are offering dietary and nutrition plans without having the credentials to do so.

The government loves to fine people and it is best not to give them a reason to do it to you.

What You Can Do

Trainers are allowed to offer their clients diet counseling. 

This could entail them bringing in a list of what they eat every week, and then going over each item and listing the pros and cons to the food or drink.

This will provide them with some knowledge on what they should be eating and what they shouldn’t.

There are currently 46 US states that have rules in place about certification requirements for nutritional counseling. Think about this next time someone asks you for a meal plan.

Be Safe

When offering diet advice, you probably have the best intentions in mind.

But nowadays, you must protect yourself against any legalities that may occur down the road. 

To be on the safe side, recommend some diet books written by health professionals or just say that for them to get the best results possible, they really need to speak with a nutritionist or dietitian. 

Also, explain to your clients that temporary diets do not work.

They will have to make a true lifestyle change for the results to be maintained. They should respect your honesty in the process without coming away with any negative feelings.

You probably love helping others achieve their fitness goals and it would be a tragedy if it was taken away from you through a technicality.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.