As a personal trainer, helping clients to reach their health and fitness goals is the ultimate target. And while the exercise plans a PT puts together for their clients are a major part, the dietary habits of the individual cannot be discounted.
However, a question that is often ask is ‘can personal trainers write meal plans for their clients’?
The answer is slightly complicated. In short, fitness professionals should not be offering an explicit meal plan unless they are full qualified to do so.
Awareness of which foodstuffs are good for weight-loss, body building or whatever other target a client has is certainly on the up. That knowledge is just waiting to be passed on from trainer to client.
In order to help a client reach their goals, some pointers are able to be given. For example, a personal trainer could suggest eating more of something to provide a protein boost post-workout. Or they could suggest another food alternative for weight loss.
What they mustn’t do though is provide a detailed meal plan for their clients. If a personal trainer were to give a client a day-by-day schedule of what they should eat, they would be operating outside of their professional boundaries.
In the UK, only those with the relevant qualification as overseen by the Health & Care Professionals Council, should give this kind of information.
For those who are qualified to not only provide personal training services but also give dietary advice, the rules are different.
Should someone be operating within their professional boundaries and under the relevant qualification, then nutritional advice is a great way to help clients achieve their goals.
Being qualified isn’t fool-proof though, and doesn’t prohibit something going wrong. If a client was to suggest that a meal plan provided by their personal trainer (who was qualified to give nutritional advice) caused illness or failed to deliver the professional services they were paying for, they may choose to take legal action.
Precisely, it covers “any breach of professional duty or wrongful or inadequate advice given for a fee.” Therefore, if you, as a personal trainer, are also qualified to give nutritional advice, and are deemed to have given inappropriate advice to a client who has paid for the service, you would have protection in place.
In summary, it’s important to remember as a fitness professional that you should not provide any services that you are not qualified to do so. This includes abstaining from providing nutritional advice and meal plans if you do not have the required certification.