“Nutritionists and Personal Trainers” have to be one of the biggest booming businesses within your community. Thing is, how do you choose the right one? I work closely with multiple personal trainers referring clients, communicating a client’s fitness progress, etc. There are a few tips on how I think you should go about making your decision when choosing a Nutritionist or Personal Trainer.
First off, Nutritionist is not the same as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I won’t get too much into this, cause a quick Google search will give you the answer. Let me break it down in simple terms. Anyone can call themselves nutritionist. They can take a 15 min online course and have a printed “certification” and BAM, behold a nutritionist! A registered dietitian nutritionist on the other hand, has to complete an accredited program, pass a national board exam, and maintain certain number of hours every 5 years of continuing education (60 hours to be exact). We hold licenses, both national and state (a couple of states don’t require state level licensure). Same goes with professional trainers. Key word there, “PROFESSIONAL”. They must hold a true certification and most trainers complete continuing education courses. There are several certifications that are popular, and they too have to complete and pass an exam to acquire their certification.
So what do we look for?
- What are there accreditations? Do they have a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist license? If so, a current one should be posted in their place of practice. If they are Nutritionists, please ask as many questions as possible. What association, what schooling, do they have a license, if so, what organization, etc. What is the personal trainers certification? Is it a nationally recognized accreditation?
- I would conduct a phone interview. If the person does not have the time to be interviewed by phone, try making an appointment to meet with them. If they still don’t have the time, stay away!
- Experience. I am not saying that professionals new to the field should be looked down upon. Sometimes clients are looking for specific goals, and this is where experience comes in. Example: Client with recent hx of a stroke and has been cleared to exercise. I would suggest you look for a personal trainer that has experience with these type of cases.
- References. This is an extra, but well worth it! Do they have references? Call them! Most trainers offer free trials, so try that as well.
One thing that I do need to mention, which goes for the majority of health professions: WE CANNOT GUARANTEE GOALS! Why? We are not with you 24 hrs per day! Just like you are depending on our services, we depend you follow our recommendations. It’s like going to a doctor, he/she prescribe medicine, you don’t take it, you go back and you are still sick.
I started from the bottom. I would run promotions to help me establish a clientele. At times pricing does not speak for the services. The most expensive pricing might be the worst experience you’ve had. I dedicate my time to help my clients reach success, and this is what other professionals should do. My business, just like any other, strives on client’s success. If they are successful, we are all successful! Remember, it is your health. You need to trust the professional you choose with your health!
Stay balanced my friends,
Eric Estrada RDN, LD