Have you ever followed a diet recommended by your hairdresser? Or maybe your hairdresser’s friend? How about your personal trainer who’s never studied nutrition?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s what most people do – word of mouth is the most powerful motivator. It’s also the way myths, falsehoods and misinformation are easily spread setting people back in achieving their health goals rather than helping them work towards being healthy.
Lately, I’m hearing a lot of clients talk about personal trainers being the oracle of health advice. I used to train personal trainers and I can assure you they’re not qualified in anything remotely connected to nutrition. Their level of knowledge in this field is no more than what you learnt yourself in secondary school, unless they’ve progressed to gain a degree in nutritional science, but most haven’t.
When personal trainers are connected to gyms. The gyms tend to have financial arrangements with particular products such as protein powder or a magic fat loss elixir or they’re taking all of their knowledge from body building magazines which haven’t caught up from the 1980s. Nutrition is a science that is constantly evolving and we’re learning new things every day, but we certainly don’t ascribe to the 1980s approach of eating something that comes in a packet every two hours. That doesn’t even work for body builders and most people aren’t training to become body builders anyway.
It's understandable because personal trainers build a one-on-one relationship with their clients, they’re probably in good shape themselves and have a well-established advisory role. But for the average person, their advice is way off track.
I’m working with a competitive body builder now who’s managed to get below 10 per cent body fat on AstonRX for the first time ever after only three weeks on the program. He was advised by trainers in the gym to eat every two hours for train but that kept his insulin levels so high that the goal of attaining minimum body fat was problematic.
There are so many myths around exercise and food. Another one is for long distance running where participants are advised to load up on carbohydrates before a race. The result is that they’re often so overloaded with sugar when racing that they run with diarrhoea and dangerous levels of dehydration and electrolyte depletion.
Everyone seems to be an expert in nutrition, so please verify your sources when seeking health advice. It’s too important to listen to someone with a passing interest and no credentials.