Q: As an NASM-CPT, what type of nutrition guidance can I offer my clients? What is my scope of practice?
A: A trainer can expect to field plenty of questions about eating for weight loss and to support fitness and energy. And you can share basic nutrition info from sources that are in the public domain—including your NASM textbooks, published research, and trustworthy websites such as the American Heart Association (heart.org) and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org). But before you delve into the details for a specific client, understand these dos and don’ts:
- A personal trainer cannot offer advice about “medical nutrition therapy” intended to ease or cure a health condition. If a client asks about nutrition for a medical issue, suggest they talk with their doctor.
- Personal trainers should be aware of the laws in their state regulating nutrition counseling. Don’t develop individual eating plans, give specific supplement advice, or accept money for nutritional services before finding out what’s legal on the State Matters page at www.eatright.org. In general, state rules fall into three categories. Some allow only dietitians and nutritionists with a state license to offer nutritional services. Others require you to meet guidelines to be a state-certified nutritionist or state-certified dietitian and give advice. And still others have no rules about providing advice but may or may not regulate who can call themselves nutritionists or dietitians.
Expert: Tony Ricci, PhDc, FISSN, CDN, CNS, CSCS, is the founder of FightShape International, an assistant professor of sports science at Long Island University, and a fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Have an interest in nutrition? Find out more information here: https://www.nasm.org/continuing-education/certified-nutrition-coach