Personal trainers aren't just there to guide their clients through a workout. A successful personal trainer knows that what his clients eat is as important as their training regimen. The right diet plans for your clients depend on their individual goals. Having the right mix of calories and macros from whole foods is most important; making it a diet plan your client will actually want to stick to is also key.
Easy to Follow
A diet plan that's complicated, involves too much tracking of calories and macros, journaling, difficult to find ingredients or lengthy preparation will not be sustainable long-term for most clients. People are busy; between full-time jobs and family and social obligations -- and working out -- most people are lucky if they get in three meals a day.
The more you can simply your plan for them the easier it will be for them to stick to the diet. Provide sample meal ideas, give them a serving-size guide, let them know what healthy options they can choose at restaurants and take-outs. Build a library of healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes that have suitable calorie and macro makeups and share those with your clients.
Tailored to Specific Goals
Diets are not one-size-fits-all. Although the basics are the same -- whole foods, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats and low sugar -- the makeup of carbs, protein and fat will vary depending on your client's specific goals. How much your client needs to eat is individual and should be determined from the get-go. Once you have that number, you can create a ratio of macros with these basics in mind:
Fat loss: reduced-calorie, less fat, more lean protein and moderate carbs from whole grains only
Muscle-building: Enough calories to support growth, high in protein with adequate amounts of nutritious carbs and healthy fats
Endurance: Adequate calories, higher in carbs (whole-grain for maintenance, refined only for specific performance needs), lean proteins and healthy fats
If your client follows the basic guidelines above, eats clean, whole foods and cheats infrequently, chances are he'll start to see results. But at a certain point, especially if the results aren't as significant or timely as you or your client would like, it may be time to take it to the next level.
Food-tracking seems arduous to most people, so keep it as simple as possible. Introduce them to a food-tracking app you like and show them how to use it. Start with small goals, such as recording all the protein he eats in a day. Then work up to tracking calories and macros. You'll then be able to see where your client might be falling short or consuming too much.
Providing meal plans for your clients can be time-consuming, but it's worth the investment when your client gets results. Not every client will require detailed meal plans or follow-up consultations. Some clients will need extra help. If you see that clients aren't reaching milestones in a timely manner, take the time to dig deeper so you can understand what might be getting in the way.
Take time during sessions to talk about diet and what went wrong or right each week. Continue to educate clients on the basic principles of an effective diet depending on their goals. Eventually they will start to make the necessary changes.