A long time ago in a place far, far away, I got my first Sports Nutrition certification. For what I was doing at the time (mainly, teaching group exercise classes and giving some basic diet advice on the side), it was enough – I was able to articulate the basic tenets of metabolism, energy balance, and clean eating with some level of authority.
Don’t get it twisted – I never was, and (probably) never will be, a registered dietitian. An R.D. is authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All R.D.s have a bachelor’s degree (at minimum), have undergone extensive scientific coursework in the area of dietetics, have completed an internship in various nutrition settings and have passed a licensing/registration exam.
As for me, while I do have two Masters degrees (one perhaps more relevant to these topics than the other, but hey, all education is worthwhile, right?), I am “only” a nutritionist – defined as a person who studies or is an expert in nutrition. And since no one asked me any specific #AskAmanda questions this week (sniff), I figured I’d tell you guys a little bit about the Precision Nutrition certification I am working on right now.
The PN certification itself is incredible – it covers a wide range of topics from the nitty-gritty (cellular makeup, metabolic processes, nutrient breakdown) to the psychological (nutrition counseling, working with difficult clients, motivational skills) to the practical (PDFs of helpful forms, legal documents, and assessment tools). But I am not here to promote the PN cert – they’re not paying me for that (ha).
Rather, what I love about Precision Nutrition is that it doesn’t end at the textbook – they have a lively, active Facebook group and an incredibly informative blog with super-helpful infographics that I’ve already used with a variety of clients to explain topics like:
- what it actually takes to get that six-pack, both in the kitchen and in the gym
- how to train your palate to like vegetables, even if you’ve spent your whole life hating them
- when stress can help you and when it can harm you, and how to tell the difference
- how to do weekly meal prep like a clean-eating pro, even if you’re not a bodybuilder; and
- why the scale is not the end-all, be-all when it comes to weight loss
The biggest thing for me about being a qualified nutritionist is debunking all of the crap advice that people get from who-knows-what sources (US Weekly magazine; some celebrity website or trainer; a doctor who got board licensed in the 1960s; American President Donald Trump) and doing my best to provide up-to-date, relevant, digestible, and helpful information to my clients in the most straightforward way possible.
That said – here are my quickest, best nutrition tips that I give to almost every client:
- fat doesn’t make you fat – sugar and refined carbs are the problem
- whatever cuisine you’re eating or wherever in the world you are, if you can find a meal consisting of protein and vegetables, that’s going to be the healthiest choice
- eating late at night is a really bad habit. Cut it out. Same goes for post-alcohol binges.
- try eliminating dairy and/or wheat, especially if you have persistent bloating and swelling issues
- drink enough (2-3 liters daily) water, and if that’s too boring, add in some green tea, black coffee, and coconut water – but not much else
- and finally – eat enough food. Starvation destroys your metabolism. You’re better than that.
If you’re truly interested in fitness, you must also be interested in food – and really, you should be interested in understanding fuel. There is no one “diet” that is right for everyone, but there are certain tenets of health eating (as I’ve outlined above) that really do transcend individual differences and make a big impact on how we look, feel, and perform.
What are your best clean-eating habits? How do you regulate your healthy diet?