As Fitness Professionals, we all know how important nutrition is when it comes to health, fitness, and weight loss. We all should be reminded of the importance of staying within our scope of practice and not overstepping our roles regarding nutrition advice. How can we help our clients improve their diet and still stay within our scope of practice? One of the most effective ways is via online nutrition challenges.
Generally speaking, personal trainers are able to provide “basic nutrition advice” that is “consistent with the national standards”. Personal trainers are generally not qualified to give in-depth nutrition advice or personalized meal plans (unless they have further training/certifications).
When running online challenges, I recommend using a closed Facebook Group. Or perhaps your work from a training app that has a group chat function.
- If you already have a Facebook Group for your clients/community – you can run the challenges from that Group.
- If you don’t already have a Facebook Group, I would recommend creating one and using it for your ‘challenges’.
It’s completely up to you whether you create a new Group every time you run a challenge or whether you just use the same Group each time.
Specific Challenge Ideas
The “No Sugar” Challenge
This is quite a simple one. Make a post in your Facebook Group that says something like the below:
“No Sugar Challenge Thread: Post your daily total below in the comments.”
From the client side of things, all they need to do is:
1: Download the app “My Fitness Pal”
2: Record everything they eat for seven days
3: At the end of each day, they are going to leave a comment under your thread stating how many grams of sugar they ate that day
From the trainer side, all you need to do is:
1: “Like” everyone’s comment
2: If someone ‘forgets’ to leave a comment – tag them to remind them (this is your way of keeping them accountable)
That’s the challenge! You’re not providing any nutrition advice or meal plans, you’re simply asking your clients to track how many grams of sugar they are consuming.
From the client’s side of things this is great because:
- By tracking what they are eating, your clients are going to be more mindful of what they are eating
- Your clients are going to be aware of the nutrition content of what they are eating
- They will see what other (more or less successful) clients are doing and can compare
- The awareness may spark conversation and you can share the national sugar guidelines and your personal perspective on added sugar intake, and how blood glucose levels impact metabolism.
The Hydration Challenge
This one is exactly the same as the no sugar challenge, just replace “sugar” with “water”. You would make a post in your Facebook Group that says something like the below:
“Hydration Challenge Thread: Post your daily total below in the comments.”
From the client side of things, all they will:
1: Track how many glasses of water they drink a day for seven days
3: At the end of each day, they leave a comment under your thread recording how many glasses of water they drank.
From the trainer side of things, you will:
1: “Like” everyone’s comment
2: If someone ‘forgets’ to leave a comment – tag them to remind them
Just like the no sugar no challenge, you’re not providing any nutrition advice or meal plans, you’re simply asking your clients to track how much water they are drinking. From the client’s perspective, this is great because they are going to be more aware of their water intake, see how it stacks up to others, and then perhaps spark conversation about what’s appropriate for their needs.
The Recipe Sharing Challenge
Now this one is a little different from the two mentioned above.
From the client side of things, every client taking the challenge will need to:
1: Prepare a healthy meal
2: Take a photo of that healthy meal
3: Enter that meal in My Fitness Pal (or other meal tracking system) and get a calorie/macro breakdown
4: Post the photo in the Facebook Group along with
A: The name of the meal
B: The method/recipe
C: The calorie/macro breakdown
D: A photo of the recipe
From the Trainer end you don’t really need to do anything! This challenge is more a “community” based challenge. For example, let’s say you have ten clients participate in this challenge. Each person is contributing one healthy recipe and receiving nine healthy recipes. So, the “win” for the participant is that they are getting a whole heap of new healthy recipes.
You as the Trainer could also collate these recipes as an “eBook” and give it to every client that participated.
Online challenges are a great way to give your clients guidance and keep them accountable nutrition-wise, while staying within your scope of practice as a personal trainer.
Give the challenges above a go and let me know what you think!
If you’re interested in learning more about how to provide nutrition advice while staying within your scope of practice, at Fitness Education Online, we have a whole range of CEU courses including Nutrition Courses for Personal Trainers.