Breakfast - One thing clients WON'T screw up.
When it comes to your client's nutrition, you really will have to dig deep to find successful moments. There are the occasional heroes out there that will do EVERYTHING you say, without question; absorb all you have to teach, write it down and call it GOSPEL. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them. And I certainly wouldn't head to Vegas to place a bet on this being a common occurrence.
However, thru the hundreds of food logs I have looked at over the years, there does seem to be one shining star in there. One little place for a Personal Trainer to put their hope in...
This is the ONE meal that client's seem to get right 99% of the time. I could recommend that a person eat egg whites and 1/2 a grapefruit for breakfast every morning, AND THEY DO IT every morning. They may eat cake the rest of the day, but BY GOD they start it with egg whites and 1/2 a grapefruit.
Over the years, I began to wonder why this meal was always so successful when compared to virtually any other time of eating in the day. And like most things in life, the answer was amazingly simple. The reason client's will get their breakfast right is because they simply have nothing else happening around them yet.
In short, life hasn't had time to start smacking them around that day. When people go to bed, they are generally at their most stressed. They have had all day to absorb all the world throws at them:
By the time they get home, they really don't give a DAMN about their nutrition. They just want a beer, donut and to GO TO BED. And understandably, they usually will do just that... But then something magical happens. When they wake up, at least for a little while, all that stress is gone.
After a full night's sleep, even the most stressed out person wakes up and WANTS to have a better day. They may be completely unsuccessful in their endeavor by the end of the day--again. But because of this unique phenomenon, a Personal Trainer has a golden opportunity they can use to their advantage.
1. Assign the first meal of the day to be their best nutrition of the day.
Knowing that everything after this first meal may be downhill, use the opportunity to recommend the best nutrition you know. Make the meal large, filling, and as complicated as you want. Have them add extra vegetables, proteins, and good, slow digesting carbohydrates to the mix--there is a very high likelihood you are saving them from a donut filled fever later!
2. Recommend less and less food for the remaining day.
It's a common practice to let the first meal of your day be the largest, but be specific with that recommendation to your client and have them plan accordingly. It's all going to be based on the theory that the likelihood of your client listening to you will diminish as the day progresses. Therefore, you should be getting the things you ABSOLUTELY want them to have in their diets out of the way early.
3. Use stimulants to your client's advantage.
I love me some stimulants! I am a caffeine junky and if I didn't like my teeth so much, I'd probably be a meth head--also if it wasn't highly illegal... Thee are plenty of over the counter stimulants that will help curb appetite. Try having your client take one mid morning--not with their breakfast--but with a snack or just before lunch. It will help them to withstand cravings that happen later in the afternoon and keep them on track.
Remember, you are trying to create the BEST environment for success--not create another Exercise Physiologist or Nutritionist. The more wins you get with your client, the longer that client stays with you and the better results they will have long term.
Train to Retain, baby!