The trainer is pretty much correct. Personally I can talk about nutrition with my clients in a general and some educational level but I never give out plans or even write anything down on paper. Plus many of the clients today they can get a lot of information online and they also have apps/programs that keep track of their calories. For more specific nutritional information and meal planning I refer them to dietitians. I hope this helps.
I believe it would be easy to go outside of our scope of practice if as personal trainers we did everything but a meal plan. The area of nutrition can be very difficult as there are a lot of grey areas. I hold an ACE Personal Trainer certification, and we have a scope of practice that we need to stay within. In addition, each state will vary with regard to laws about advising clients on food, calorie consumption, and vitamins.
Under the ACE legal guidelines and professional responsibilities section for nutritional counseling–this quote is for the use of supplements:
“If you are not a Registered Dietician or healthcare professional, you should avoid making specific recommendations and refer your client to a Registered Dietician or physician.”
It also goes on to say that “You should avoid giving advice on any subject in which you have not received training. Clients with complex dietary concerns should be referred to a Registered Dietician.”
I personally would be careful about the information given to individual clients, and keep it more general.
Last I heard there are no laws stopping people from calling themselves a nutritionist. The line is drawn at being a Registered Dietitian.
However; we all know our strengths, if we are not trained or truly knowledgeable, partner up with someone who is. It will be better in the long run for everyone, You can find people to cross refer.
Win – wins are the best!