Why Should Personal Trainers Know All About Nutrition

Madilyn W., February 4, 2022

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Everybody and every living thing in the world need to eat in order to live. Most animals eat for survival, meaning they don’t have specific things that they need to eat, nor do they know any better. However, we are human beings, we are capable of paying attention to what we eat. We are able to know which things are good for us and which things are bad for us. At least at some kind of level.

If you don’t know which things you need to eat, there are people out there that do. There are people whose full-time job is to work with food and help you achieve a better diet. There are more ways to learn about nutrition.

One more way to learn is through a personal trainer. Personal trainers are there to help provide advice about nutrition and understanding of how clients can be affected by their diet. Although personal trainers tackle a lot of stuff to help you live a better life, it is important for personal trainers to know all about nutrition. From their perspective, it’s also a solution to how to get more personal training clients for them.

Personal Trainers and Nutrition

There are a handful of definitions for both nutrition and personal trainers, so it is hard sometimes to understand what exactly these two words mean. It seems like there is a new definition each time you talk to a new person.

MedlinePlus defines nutrition as a “field of study that focuses on foods and substances in foods that help animals (and plants) to grow and stay healthy.” It also mentions that “nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet”. It deals with the food that you eat and the stuff that you drink. 

personal trainers should know about nutrition

Personal Trainer EDU states “all of these trainers all have one thing in common, according to their website, “what remains constant for these fitness gurus is their goal, which is to oversee an individual’s fitness program in a health club or home gym”. They pay attention and are committed to helping their clients with a healthy lifestyle, which includes their nutrition.

Rules Around The World 

Whenever you are starting to look at new things to do, there might be some rules to follow. So it is no surprise that personal trainers giving out nutrition have some rules as well. States vary in what rules they might have, so it is important to check what rules your state has. 

There are four categories of rules that a state might have. First off, your state might have no rules, meaning anyone can give nutritional advice, legally. This is the best-case scenario, it allows you to get nutritional health from your personal trainer that knows the most about your fitness and wellness journey. 

The second category of rules is no state laws, however, there are restrictions for titles that are used. These titles include dietitian and nutritionist. This means you cannot call yourself some of these specific terms. The third level of rules is needing to have certification in order to provide nutritional advice. And finally, the fourth and final level of rules is being licensed by a state agency. This is for both being a personal trainer and a nutritionist.

Some states have it set up where the personal trainers are able to acknowledge and address their clients’ questions and concerns when it comes to general health and wellness. So it’s not too far of a step to pay attention to their nutrition levels as well.

Clients will sometimes know which diets they want to help them achieve fitness goals. If this is the case, then it is important to personal trainers to know which food choices will help them achieve their goals. Whether it is to lose weight, or just to become healthier overall.

The biggest rule of all when talking about why personal trainers need to know about nutrition is at what level. Personal trainers are only able to teach the basics of having a healthy diet. This would be just talking about what foods a person should eat, the healthy food categories, and things like that. Personal trainers are not able to offer any kind of medical nutrition therapy.

General Nutrition vs Medical Nutrition Therapy

Since there is a limit as to what a personal trainer is able to give advice on nutrition, we need to understand what falls in these categories. We have to figure out why personal trainers need to know all about nutrition.

what personal trainers need to know about nutrition

General nutrition is mainly all we have talked about in this article so far. It is educating clients on how food impacts the body. It is telling them that too much fat can put them at a higher risk of illness and various diseases. And telling them that not taking in enough nutrients can increase the risk of deficiency. 

It is also sharing food choices that will help a person enhance their personal training sessions. It is informing clients that a healthy diet aids recovery and prevents injury. Giving out general nutrition advice also includes teaching clients which foods can hinder their training results. That is the limit as to what a personal trainer can help with.

A personal trainer is not able to give out any medical nutritional advice unless they are qualified with the correct degrees. This is most likely not the case. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge what a personal trainer is not able to help clients with.

Medical nutrition therapy is any nutritional advice for a specific health issue or condition. These would be things like which foods would be best if a person has diabetes or if a person needs to be on a special gluten-free diet. It may not be in your scope of practice to offer specific food advice to treat and manage these diseases. 

However, there are some states that will define the scope of practice. If this is the case, then in these states, then it is illegal to provide medical nutrition therapy. Unless you are a certified, licensed, or registered dietitian. Because of all these rules and regulations, it is important to check out and know the laws in your state before you start offering nutritional advice as a personal trainer.

Personal Trainers Want You To Know

If you are just starting out and looking for personal trainers, there are some things that you need to know. Here are some things that personal trainers want you to know (not to be confused with questions personal trainers ask their clients). 

personal training and nutrition go hand in hand

There are times in our lives when we just eat as we go along. This isn’t a good thing. It could be mindless eating, multitasking when eating, or a lack of knowledge of foods and diets. We just don’t know what we are all-consuming. But there is also no such thing as “good” foods or “bad” foods. A personal trainer will work with you and see which foods are best for your diet. The best and healthy diet has wiggle room. There needs to be space to make mistakes and find how it works best for you.

Other advice personal trainers include:

  • Calorie Management: You would be teaching that a person needs to eat less. Instead, they need to eat more filling foods and avoid foods and drinks that have a lot of calories.
  • Good Food Selection: This is teaching clients that they should choose to eat more whole grains instead of foods like processed carbs. It is also choosing to drink water instead of drinking pop.
  • Good Food Timing: Having a good diet is more than just eating good foods. Personal trainers will also teach which times are the best. This includes what foods should be eaten before a workout and which foods should be eaten after a workout.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: This is as simple as helping clients understand which food options are nutritious for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.
  • Supplement Suggestion: In some cases, foods do not have all the nutritional aspects that we need. In this case, then personal trainers will teach their clients what vitamins, minerals, and more could be beneficial.


Personal trainers are in the world to help people with their fitness and wellness goals. There are a lot of things that this includes, one of which can be providing nutritional advice. So, hopefully, you learned in this article why a personal trainer needs to know all about nutrition. A personal trainer knows their clients the most, including their goals, so it makes sense that they would be there to help their clients with the nutritional goals they might have.

Here at Persona, we can help you both start a personal training business or manage an existing one. You can organize your website and online store to promote the nutritional side of your business. We have hassle-free scheduling where your clients can book themselves in pre-approved time slots. We will also help you manage your expenses to make it easier to track deductible expenses when tax season comes. You can download our app today in the App Store or Google Play. It is completely free! Free to download and free to use! Download today!

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Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. Download it now, it's 100% free.