“Your ideal body weight is the range where you feel healthy and fit, have no signs of an eating disorder to maintain that weight, and have healthy functioning immune and reproductive systems.” Dr. Carol Otis
I am not a Registered Dietician, nor do I hold myself out as an expert in nutrition science, biochemistry or food psychology. That said, I am not without some knowledge on the subjects and happen to know a few people that are very sharp in those areas. I subscribe to the idea of eating like an adult, and enjoying a variety of foods.
Each state in the United States has its own set of nutrition laws(1) and personal trainer certifications draw professional lines when it comes to dietary advice and prescription. The prescription of supplements is generally outside of a personal trainers scope of practice. This of course does not mean there are not trainers profiting, or recommending them.
“It is the responsibility of the personal trainer to educate clients about the risks of disordered eating and to avoid promoting risky weight loss behaviors or setting unrealistic goals.” NSCA Essentials of Personal Training, 2nd Ed.
There are short, and longterm medical and psychological implications associated with disordered eating, which includes anorexia and bulimia nervosa, in addition to fad dieting,highly restrictive diets (I.E. the Grapefruit diet) or more extreme dietary approaches.
“You who are so good with words, and at keeping things vague…” Diamonds and Rust, Joan Baez
As a trainer, you were hired under the presumption that you were educated and professionally competent. Whether it be the truth or not, your words still matter, at least to an uneducated population. An inappropriate comment, questionable supplement advice/prescription or unrealistic goals or before and after photos(2) can serve as a trigger for someone already susceptible to disordered eating.
Nearly 100% of all disordered eating cases I’ve come across over the decades involved the use of questionable supplements.
When friends or acquaintances present me the supplements they are being told to purchase, I immediately check labels for a few things; Is this a single ingredient or multi-ingredient formulation? If multi-ingredient, is anything marked as “proprietary”?, If multi-ingredient (with or without a proprietary formulation), how many ingredients contain stimulant, diuretic or laxative properties? Lastly, “What does this formulation contain that has evidence of being effective for the users intended purpose, and what is the strength of the evidence?”
Remember, I stated that I’m DON’T consider myself an expert in these matters. Las Vegas odds suggest there is a 50% chance that I know more about the product than the person selling it to you.