Most beginners go to the gym to correct their weight and body shape. And weight problems, even small ones, are already an indication that a person is eating an unbalanced diet.
Outside the fitness field, there are not many people who eat really well. Most people don’t have the time, knowledge or desire to do this. And when there is a desire, people rush from diet to diet and instead of a balanced diet they have a lack of nutritional components.
Both excess and deficiency are problems for the body, which prevent from getting the planned results during workouts.
What are the most common nutritional mistakes made by clients of fitness clubs and what should a trainer do about it?
The diet does not meet the energy needs of the body
Overeating is bad. Any excess calories are deposited in the form of fat and strain the body as a whole.
But it is not less bad to be undernourished either.
People strive to maintain an ideal shape and constantly reduce the caloric content of their portions. As a result, a diet in which calories are much less than the norm becomes habitual. The body gets used to this mode, and the person does not feel a special loss of strength. But instead of losing weight, at some point he begins to gain weight. A person is puzzled: why am I getting fuller if I eat so little?
When the body has not had enough nutrients for a long time, it goes into economy mode. The “accumulative effect” kicks in: everything that is possible is put aside in reserve, in case of even greater hunger.
It is not advisable to stick to a low-calorie diet for a long time. It should be short-term, to complete a whole macrocycle of weight loss. Only then will it be harmless and give the expected effect.
In order to understand exactly how the client is used to eating and whether there is an excess/insufficient amount of calories in his diet, the coach conducts a detailed survey before training and in the course of the class observes how the client tolerates the load.
Failure to balance proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
The reason is the food habits acquired from parents and formed during life. Many people try to change something in their diet. But not everyone has the knowledge to correctly substitute and combine products. For example, to replace the same meat without reducing the amount of protein in the diet.
In the stressful pace of modern life, people simply do not have enough time to figure it all out on their own, to select the options and to cook. Most people adjust to the situation and snack on what they can buy on the way to work.
What nutrients are missing in the diet can be determined by how the client feels during training and how he reacts to stress.
A person who has underdeveloped muscles is likely to consume little protein food. If there is not enough protein, muscle mass may stand at the same level, not gaining. There may also be twitching, pain, and cramping.
When there are not enough carbohydrates, there is no energy, which means no strength gains. If at a small increase in the usual loads the client has dizziness, nausea – this also indicates a lack of carbohydrates. If the stock of energy is not replenished, the body will have to use the proteins of muscle tissue.
Lack of fat manifests itself during exercise as hypoxia, drowsiness, lethargy.
Improper distribution of nutrients in the structure of the day
A balanced diet involves three to six meals throughout the day.
It is wrong to constantly snack and chew something. Between meals need breaks so that the food has time to be absorbed and the gastrointestinal tract is not overloaded.
It is not recommended to eat your daily caloric intake in one or two meals. If the gaps between meals are too long, there is a risk of not getting the right amount of protein. And this is the building material for body development, tissue regeneration and metabolic processes on which our health depends.
If a person does not eat all day and eats dinner at once the daily quota of calories, it seems that the correct caloric intake is met.
But, first of all, during the day the body was hungry and already consumed its own muscles.
And secondly, in the evening a person has no normal motor activity. Plus, after a whole day without food, the body’s metabolism has slowed down. He receives at one meal the daily rate of calories, does not have time to absorb it, and almost all of the dinner goes into the fat reserve.
The meaning of food structure is not only to provide the body with the necessary amount of “building materials”. It is also important to distribute them so that they are fully absorbed and benefit the body.
A person who is used to eating twice a day does not feel the need for food during breaks. It is necessary to change over to the new regime gradually. First add light snacks – they will form the need for food at lunch time. And from snacks you can move on to the main meal.
So in small steps the trainer helps to create that structure of nutrition, which will fit the client’s daily routine.
- Can the trainer adjust the client’s diet?
This is an important question.
Many coaches are former or current athletes, and they have some skills in adjusting nutrition. But those skills are a product of their own experience. And this experience they try to transfer to work with the client.
If the client is a healthy person, this approach usually gives results. If there are contraindications and restrictions, quite soon it is possible to receive the opposite effect.
Therefore, if you can rely only on personal experience of correction of nutrition, use it very moderately and gradually. Even if the client declares that his goal is to lose weight as quickly as possible and he is ready for any deprivation for the sake of this.
The ideal is when the trainer takes a wellness-consulting and nutritional course. This gives him a number of advantages in his work with the client.
Already after the first block of training, the trainer will be able to conduct a complete wellness testing, and use its results to calculate the daily energy needs for the specific client.
Starting from this figure the trainer will be able to calculate the ration for the client taking into account the client’s daily routine: weekend or training day, morning or evening training, etc.
In this way it will be possible to control the body weight: to reduce it or to gain it, depending on the needs of the person.
A trainer with knowledge of nutritional science, who can give qualified nutritional recommendations, will definitely be much more useful to the client and more in demand as a professional.