Why calorie tracking isn't always right for your client.

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There's a rabbit hole of information when it comes to many things in the fitness industry, and nutritional approaches probably make up for half of that information. It is the area that most struggle with, which is frustrating for both clients AND coaches when results aren't achieved.

At M10 we focus on a client-centric approach to nutrition. This means we're not married to any one methodology, instead we select one of many potential methods that would be appropriate to that specific client. This could range from tracking to non-tracking, flexible or rigid approaches, portion size control or positive habit building.

What we see is that a majority of coaches automatically refer ALL their clients to calorie tracking apps without any thought of the client's current nutritional education. Whilst this can help many achieve their goals, we'd also be doing a lot of our clients a disservice to lazily give the same tools to all of them, without listening to their specific needs. We work in the health and fitness industry, not the calorie tracking industry.

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To be as objective as possible, here are some reasons why we would and wouldn't use calorie tracking within our service:

Calorie Tracking Benefits:

  • Greater understanding of calories within food
  • Creates tangible targets to aim for
  • Allows some flexibility in diet
  • Better apps can indicate potential nutritional deficiencies


Calorie Tracking Limitations:

  • Obsessive tracking/poor relationship with food
  • Inaccurate tracking
  • Unsociable method for many
  • Lack of context to consequences outside of energy balance

We achieve great results with a lot of clients without having them track calories at all, instead we break down their choices and the consequences of those choices - something calorie tracking won't always do. As you can see, calorie tracking may not always be suitable or necessary for clients who may have obsessive tendencies, already poor relationships with food, someone that wouldn't understand if the tracker measured the wrong quantity. So what to do instead?

Here are some other suggestions to nutritional approaches (remember; as a coach you should always be working within your scope of practice):

  • Food lists of suitable options relative to the client's goal
  • Nutritional education, PDFs and videos
  • Food diary analysis
  • Macronutrient portion sizes (fist, palm, thumb)
  • Nutritional habits (meal frequency, veg intake)
  • REFER OUT - it's always okay to network with a specialist in that area

Hopefully if this is something you previously struggled with, we have given you some different ways of looking at helping your clients.

If you are a coach and would benefit from more knowledge or support in this area, why not join our Personal Training Mentorship Programme which will be starting on the 18th of October 2021.

Our 6 month  ONLINE Personal Training Mentorship Programme is available worldwide for personal trainers who want to improve their practical and theory based coaching skills. CLICK HERE for more information

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