Fitness Pros and the Nutritional Question

I have a lot of great conversations with fitness professionals who are fully educated on the best exercises to do, when to do them, how to do them, and what not. Yet, it seems that they answer the same when it comes to nutrition.

“I’m not a nutritionist.”

“I’m not a dietician.”

Those are the responses given when they talk about what to eat, how to eat it, and so on. Sadly, that is the correct answer because, our scope of practice doesn’t allow us to discuss nutrition in detail.

My next question is then, why not?

People rely on us for healthy living advice. Part of being a fitness pro should be the ability to discuss nutrition in an educated manner without forcing our clients to go to yet another professional for those answers. I believe we should be able to give general explanations of different nutritional theories and their assumed benefits. Does our scope of practice needs to change? Or maybe more advanced nutritional education should be made part of getting our certifications in Group Fitness and Personal Training. Or, maybe we all need to at least earn some nutrition certifications.

I don’t have the answers, but I think the suggestion is a valid one. Particularly if you consider the fact that a separate appointment with a nutritionist or dietician can cost a lot of money. And no, I’m not trying to eliminate the need for nutritionists and dieticians. There are people who have specific needs who require that type of expertise. I’m talking about general theoretical and scientific knowledge.

I am not a nutritionist or dietician, although I have studied nutrition a lot (and I mean a lot). I think this is something that fitness pros are lacking. Nutrition and fitness should go hand in hand. Without one, the other means nothing. So why do we keep these to components separate in the professional world?

Are you a fitness pro who thinks a nutritional component would/would not be beneficial? Or are you a nutritional expert who hates the idea? I’d really like to know what you all think.


3 thoughts on “Fitness Pros and the Nutritional Question

  1. Farrah says:

    I’m not a fitness professional or a nutritional expert, but my hope is to become a family practice physician (+ possibly sub-specialize in sports med) after I get out of medical school, and they unfortunately don’t have room to teach us very much on nutrition. :[ I think this all goes hand in hand, and I really feel that knowing more about both fitness and nutrition would be super beneficial for counseling my future patients. Since I’m already doing the fitness part on my own, I’m trying to learn whatever I can from a friend who’s studying nutritional therapy. :]


    • Irene says:

      Yes, with our overall health, nutrition must fit in somewhere in the equation. Good for you for trying to learn more about it. It will only make you a better physician.


  2. Sandra Oliver says:

    I am a certified trainer and health coach, and I agree that we need to learn more about BASIC nutrition to help the general population. There times when a referral is necessary, however many questions are something I can answer within my scope of practice. It makes sense that we as fitness professionals should educate ourselves on the basics of nutrition as well as fitness.


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