What is a Nutrition Coach?

As a NESTA Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach, I am regularly tasked with helping clients develop comprehensive meal plans to accomplish goals ranging from fat loss to sports performance improvement. A Nutrition Coach is a resource to provide support, encouragement, education, guidance and tough love to help clients stay focused and on track to achieve their goals.

An initial consultation includes discussions about general health conditions, exercise patterns and routines, daily schedule, food preferences, personal strengths and weaknesses. The Nutrition Coach should listen attentively and seek to understand a client’s motivating factors, level of dedication, fitness level and begin to formulate a strategy to educate and coach the client. Drastic shifts in lifestyle should be avoided and gradual adjustments should be made for untrained individuals.

The Nutrition Coach should perform a body composition assessment to determine the client’s basal metabolic rate, percent body fat and calculate the client’s caloric balance point based on their daily/weekly routines. Depending on the client’s goals, body type, etc. – a target caloric intake can be determined and optimal macro nutrient targets set. Once this framework is established, an actual detailed meal plan can be developed to optimize fat loss, promote muscle growth, improve sports performance or the like.

Once a plan is set and in place, the Nutrition Coach must reinforce, continuously educate, encourage, scold and celebrate success during the monitoring phase. Weekly meetings are encouraged between the Coach and the client. Regular re-calculation of calories and macros must be performed to keep the client progressing. The meal plan is a living document that must be modified and adjusted based on performance and feedback including monitoring body composition.

The Nutrition Coach, just like the Personal Trainer, should be part of a winning team to help a client be the very best that they can be.