Monday, February 2, 2015

Trainers gonna train, train, train, train

A little background. Last week (has mercury unretrograded? hope so) Carolyn and I received more than a few emails from clients saying, “my trainer told me to buy”. We dutifully checked out said product and found nasty ingredients or something super processed. Thus this post. We totally get that that there is an overlap with fitness and nutrition but…I’ll get Carolyn take it away.

When in doubt we refer out to doctors, acupuncturists, yogis, and even stylists and organizationalists. We also love trainers and fitness instructors, for so many Foodtrainers’ clients they’re the other piece of the fit puzzle. But when some start dropping nutrition instructions when they should be teaching how to lift weights, I have some issues. Would you ask your therapist for workout tips? OK, ok once my old therapist “prescribed” me yoga (followed soon after by Xanax if we’re being honest) but for the most part, professionals should stick to their field, right?  

Lauren and I always preface our (very minimal) exercise recommendations with “we’re not trainers” because we think expertise is essential. We love reaching out to our favorite exercise professionals when we need fitness facts for our newsletters or posts. We went to school for a loooooong time to get to the nutrition expert level. We learned how meds can interact with nutrients, gained an understanding of blood work and lab values etc.  So when instructors make weird food or supplement or, maybe worst of all, cleanse recommendations in the middle of a Soul Cycle class, it makes us a little grouchy. The same can be said for doctors who get on average a week, maybe two of nutrition education tops.

There are the examples of trainers who do it right though the badass Holly Rilinger was writing a post on her experience with juicing but she asked for my nutrition input. YES!  And another trainer-friend of Foodtrainers gave us one of my favorite exercise quotes “you cant out train a bad diet”. Hallelujah!

But whether it’s coming from a trainer, a chiropractor, a fit friend or an insta-crush:
  • If a product looks sketchy it probably is
  • If your diet is on track you don’t need to be loading up on countless, expensive supplements
  • Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work or last for you
  • If you have any health condition, take meds or even other vitamins all of these things have to be evaluated when you make dietary changes
Listen, in the world of insta and twitter there are lots of health enthusiasts that can easily be mistaken for experts. So look for credentials, ask for research, and then you can always ask us on twitter @onesmartbrownie @Foodtrainers
What do you think? Should trainers provide nutrition information or not? Where is the line? Perhaps encouraging hydration or breakfast eating is ok but what about specifics? And what about RDs, where should we curb our exercise advice? 


  1. Great post! I may encourage clients to exercise, move more (get a FitBit) and take up weight training (with ok from doc and advice from trainer/gym) but I would never give out specific fitness instruction b/c that's not my area of expertise. I am huge on collaboration (it truly takes a village!) but not everyone is. Like you say, "eat breakfast" "drink more water" are all ok for fitness trainers to say, but there definitely needs to be a line drawn somewhere. I had one VERY SMART 13 yo male client who was trying to lose some weight, but do it in a sensible manner. He was scared to eat oranges, b/c his PE Coach told him that oranges turn to juice in his stomach, so he shouldn't eat them. Huge sigh...

  2. 100% takes a village (or a small city maybe) and of course some lines are blurred phobia? I mean...
    Thanks for stopping by EA

  3. I am neither a nutritionist nor a trainer, but I do always get a little annoyed when fitness instructors start doling out really specific nutritional advice. That said, I think doctors SHOULD be able to do this to some degree though I agree with you that they are generally not able. It really bugs me that, although your diet is critical to your overall health, med school includes so little nutrition in its curriculum, even now. And yet, a session with a nutritionist isn't considered preventive medicine (i.e., fully covered by insurance like an annual physical is).

  4. Agree regarding insurance though some of our clients get coverage via insurance or flex spending. It's just tricky to sort out expert from non expert and there's so much info for people to process. Again, as EA said we love a team approach just all need to know our boundaries. I think people also assume "nutrition can't hurt" but wrong ingredients or an interaction with a med is serious.