As a fitness instructor, you might not realize just how important proper meal planning can be to keep your clients. Nutrition is just as vital as a workout regime, and you should be able to offer your clientele valuable insight into meal planning. Check out this article to learn how.
How To Create a Meal Plan For Clients
Keep in mind before reading this article that most states require you to have a nutrition certification in order to provide nutrition advice.
As a fitness instructor, you might not realize just how important proper meal planning can be to keep your clients. Nutrition is just as vital as a workout regime, and you should be able to offer your clientele valuable insight into meal planning. While you don’t need a specific certificate in nutrition, it could certainly help you. Most fitness trainer certificate programs include basic information about food and how to guide your clients toward the most beneficial kind of diet for them. One of the main ways to do this is through meal planning.
9 Points For Meal Planning
If you’re wondering how to write a meal plan for clients, there are a few key points you can keep in mind. These nine points can help you make the best meal plans, and understand the importance of them.
Make Sure They Understand The Importance
When you first start your clients off on a meal plan, you should make sure they understand just how important they are. Meal plans can lead to a healthier lifestyle, but you should be able to explain to your clients what makes it so healthy. You should also make sure they understand this option is one of the best forms of diet to try out. It only takes a few hours each week and can make staying healthy a lot less stressful.
Do An Initial Assessment
Before you start creating a meal plan for your client you should give them an initial assessment first. This will help you establish the exact kind of plan they should follow, and the kind of recipes you can share with them. This is especially true of new clients, as you should know about any food allergies or intolerances. You should also go over their nutritional history to make a plan tailored to their unique health journey.
Help Them Adjust Overtime
For clients who are not used to meal planning, it can be difficult to adjust to at first. For these kinds of clients, you should try to help them adjust over time. Make sure you are checking in to see how they’re doing and if they need any help. Make sure to be encouraging, and let them know everyone struggles with sticking to a meal plan sometimes. If they’re really struggling, you can try to change up the recipes. You might need to make a few adjustments when you first start just to make sure your plan fits with them.
Create Realistic Plans
The key to getting your clients to stick to their meal plans is to create realistic ones. You shouldn’t give them recipes full of food they don’t like, or a plan that’s so complex it’s a headache to stick to. Starting out with a simple one week plan is the best way to get started, and get a feel for the kind of meals your client enjoys the most. As you move forward with the plan you can add on more complicated recipes. Try to keep in mind that a realistic meal plan should also be flexible, and allow for adjustments if needed.
Make The Plan Flexible
A good meal plan for your training clients should also be flexible. It’s unrealistic to expect your clients not to slip up or struggle, so you should add room for flexibility. One of the most flexible meal plan templates is to give your clients more than one meal option they can choose on any given day. This feels less like they’re stuck on a rigid schedule. You should also make sure you’re including healthy snack options they can enjoy throughout the week. However, some clients might want a strict meal plan to follow during the week or even month. The kind of flexibility your plan has will depend mostly on what your individual client wants.
Give Them Some Recipes
It can be hard for your client to completely change their eating habits to follow the meal plan you create for them. However, you can help them adjust to the change by providing a few recipes or a shopping list of the foods and ingredients they’ll need for weekly prepping. You can give them a shopping list each week so they can feel properly prepared to plan for the days ahead.
Address Diet Trends
There are new diet trends popping up nearly every month, and some might work for your clients while others won’t. You should address these trends with your clients, especially if you notice any dangerous dieting habits circling around. If your client comes to you with a diet trend they want to try that fits into your meal plan regime then you can definitely let them do that.
Encourage Them Each Week
You should be checking in and encouraging your clients about their meal plans each week. Make sure they aren’t struggling, and offer some advice if they are. Make sure they know they can reach out to you for help or encouragement when needed. Have a specific day you touch base each week just to make sure everything is going smoothly. You can also offer some quick healthy snacks they can make during the week if they get hungry between meals.
Don’t Give Medical Advice
While your personal training certification means you have the expertise to offer nutrition, fitness, and health advice. However, you shouldn’t give your clients medical advice for any reason. It’s considered unethical, not to mention illegal in some states, to offer medical advice if you aren’t actually qualified to do so. Make sure you know the rules and laws of your area so you can properly follow them. You can always suggest your client speak to a medical professional if you feel it’s necessary.
Benefits of Meal Planning
Once you understand the key points of how to create meal plans for your clients you can share with them all the benefits that come with following this kind of diet. There are several beneficial aspects that come with meal planning, from time-saving to leading an overall healthier life.
When you take a few hours to meal plan each week you don’t have to deal with the daily stress of figuring out what you’re going to eat. This allows more time to focus on the other areas of your life, and get ahead on your fitness journey. You also won’t have to worry about throwing a meal together at the last minute after a particularly hectic and stressful day.
Less food waste
By planning out each of your meals for the day, and only shopping for what you need for those meals, you’ll greatly decrease your overall food waste. Meal planning is a good way to make sure you’re using all of your groceries so nothing is left to go bad in the fridge. You’ll also be laying out the exact portion you plan to eat, so you’ll have less food leftover after your meal. Meal prepping is also a lot less wasteful than ordering delivery a couple of times a week. Not to mention it can save you a lot of money if you’re used to eating take out.
When you’re cooking all of your meals every day of the week that can add up to a lot of time in the kitchen. Meal prepping only requires a few hours upfront to prepare your food for the entire week, so you’ll find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands. You also won’t spend as much time wandering the grocery store, as you’ll have a list of exactly what you need for the week. Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about any last-minute trips either.
When you go to the grocery store without much of an idea of what you need, you’re more likely to spend more money. With meal prepping, you’ll have a shopping list with exactly what you need. As long as you stick to the list and don’t add anything extra, you should be able to save a bit of money each week.
If your fitness and nutrition journey is focused on weight loss then meal prepping is a great way to help with portion control. Planning each of your meals in advance means you can cook exactly as much as you need, without worrying about overeating. Meal prepping typically includes healthy snack options you can enjoy between meals.
Nurturing is a vital part of any fitness journey, and as a personal trainer, you’ll be well equipped to create meal plans for your clients. By following the provided key points, and listening to your client's comments or concerns, you can create a plan that best suits them. When introducing your clients to meal plans, make sure to share the importance of this kind of diet and all of the benefits they can enjoy. By meal planning throughout the week or month, your clients can improve their overall health, save time and money, and be less stressed during the week.
Are you new to personal training? Read these articles to get started on growing your business:
- How to price your online training
- How To Attract Clients as a Personal Trainer
- How to write a memorable and professional fitness bio
About the Author:
Cory is a huge fan of fitness - and an even bigger fan of helping you with your fitness. He's started on his journey with WeStrive back in 2015 and has been building it ever since.