Any coach can start doing nutrition coaching. And the best nutrition tracking tool in the world (MyFitnessPal) also has a nutrition coaching function.
MyFitnessPal is a very powerful app. It can track macros, calories and more from tens of thousands of foods. It provides simple dashboards to help clients reach their targeted numbers. It makes nutrition tracking as simple as possible, removing the biggest hurdle to accountability for your clients.
But it doesn’t tell your client how to lose weight. It doesn’t know how to improve your performance in the gym, or how to pack lean muscle onto a scrawny frame.
That part is up to you, coach. MyFitnessPal is the best scoreboard in the world, but you’re still calling the play. Here’s how to do it.
**Before we go further, some US states actually don’t want you to talk about nutrition. You have to have a license to prescribe a diet. See the map here.**
Here’s how to do it:
- Invite your clients to join MyFitnessPal. It’s free for them. Do it while they’re sitting beside you in the gym to make sure it all works.
2. They’ll get this email:
3. They login, enter their info, and start tracking their food.
When they visit the “Friends” tab, they’ll see your name. If they don’t, they can just do a search and request a “Friend” add. This is why it’s easiest to set up if you’re sitting beside them: if anything goes wrong, you can just guide them through it.
When they’ve added you correctly, you’ll get this email:
Then you can login and see them under your “Friends” tab:
On their setup, they should allow you to see their diary. Follow these steps:
- Click “My Home” then “Settings” then “Diary settings”.
- Scroll to the bottom. They’ll see these options:
I recommend selecting “Locked with a key” and entering a code word. But if they’ll only be using the App with you, they can just select “Friends Only” and skip this step.
On your screen, when you select “Friends”, you’ll see your client listed:
Click their name and you should now have an option to see their Diary:
Click “View Diary”:
Now send them an encouraging message through the app (or just high-five them, because they’re still sitting right beside you:
Under “Friends”, click “Send Message”:
Send them a test message:
They’ll see it on their dashboard under “Mail” (they’ll also get an email notification)
You’re rolling! Schedule their next nutrition coaching appointment or Goal Review.
Now, other apps actually integrate with MyFitnessPal and make this process easier. For example, we use Trainerize, which has a beautiful integration with MFP. This article is just to show you how to use MFP with your clients, though, so I won’t get into the specifics. Here are their instructions..
Some best practices I’ve learned from being a nutrition client AND a coach:
- Know your clients’ goals. You’re not selling a diet; you’re selling a solution.
- Schedule quarterly Goal Reviews with your client. Stay ahead of their progress and show them the plan for continuous improvement.
- Stay in constant contact. Use automated emails and texts for ONLY the routine stuff, like “don’t forget to send me a picture today!” or “What’s on your grocery list this weekend?” The rest of the time, you should send personalized texts. And you should do it every day.
- When clients have questions, turn those into blog posts and share with the rest of your clients via email.
- Create a community safety net: use Facebook or another good social platform (choose one your clients are already using.) MFP isn’t amazing for Social interaction, but if you have a large body of clients, you can choose MFP if you want to.
- Tell your clients not to sync their exercise tracking apps to MFP. Their Dashboard will automatically add calories (especially carbs) to balance out their activity level. Your plan should already take their activities into account, so they’ll be getting extra calories you don’t actually want them to have.
- Tell them to use MFP backward: instead of just tracking, use it for planning. Have them enter their meals and snacks in advance to see how close they’ll be to their goals. The alternative is a panicked text at 9pm: “I have to get 90 grams of protein and I’m already at my carb and fat limits! What do I do??!?”
- At the end of each day, make sure your client hits the “Complete Diary” button at the bottom of the app. While it’s not necessary (the app will save their day either way), that button WILL lead to a cool screen with projected results on it.
The most important thing to remember: MyFitnessPal, like ANY app, is a coaching tool. It’s not a replacement for coaching. Successful coaching isn’t measured by how many texts you send, but by the results you get.