The importance of nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle is recognised by most personal trainers, however concerns have been raised about their competence to provide individualised nutrition advice.

An exploration of nutrition guidance from personal trainers is now the subject of research by Griffith PhD student, Katelyn Barnes.

She says that the majority of personal training services across Australia already provide nutrition advice to clients ranging from basic healthy eating to weight loss diets.

“It is clear that nutrition is an important factor affecting health and wellbeing, and we know from previous research that the level of nutritional advice provided by personal trainers is variable,” says Katelyn who is part of Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).

“We believe that the relationship between personal trainers and clients is unique and that personal trainers have the potential to deliver positive nutrition outcomes while increasing physical activity to their clients.”
Katelyn’s current research is investigating personal trainers’ confidence in providing nutritional advice. This includes the levels of knowledge and skills PTs feel they have, their attitudes regarding how important nutrition is and the barriers or enablers they face in incorporating nutrition into their services.

Online survey

Katelyn is asking PTs to complete an online survey regarding these issues, which will see them receiving a ‘nutrition confidence’ score. The survey can be found here:

“This will help us design an appropriate intervention to support personal trainers to provide evidence based nutrition care. We can use the score, both before and after any interventions, to track if there has been some progress.
“We hope that some personal trainers will opt to further participate in a telephone interview to elaborate on how nutrition fits into their role, and how they would like to be supported to provide nutrition advice.”
“Nutrition is the key,” says Nathan Oliver, from Get Moving Personal Training on the Gold Coast. “The clients are demanding the nutrition knowledge and are expecting their trainers to supply it.”
Ellyce Denn, from Edenn Health in Victoria, highlights these challenges often faced by personal trainers. “What clients expect me to deliver, and what I’m allowed to deliver are two different things. This research will hopefully identify some strategies to support personal trainers to provide advice, and successfully partner with health professionals to produce the best client health outcomes.”