When a lot of people go to the gym, they enlist the help of an in-house personal trainer to help them pick the right workouts.
However, that may not be the only member of the team you need to be your best.
Some gyms also offer nutritionists to help give you advice on what to eat after you leave the gym — after all, you won’t see major results without eating the right way for your goals.
This is an incredibly specialized service you won’t find everywhere, however a few of the gyms where you can find such a person on-staff include:
- Life Time
- Gold’s Gym
These gym nutritionists and dietitians will have all the certifications nutritionists are expected to have. That way you know the advice you’re receiving is up-to-date and contains the best knowledge currently held by specialists — because remember, personal trainers aren’t necessarily licensed or qualified to give you diet advice.
Nutrition coaching is usually not included with most gym memberships and will cost you extra. Pricing varies dramatically by gym chain and where you live, but it could be in the neighborhood of $60-90 per hour.
Let’s take a closer look at what some of these gyms have to offer when it comes to nutrition, diet, and eating advice.
What is a nutritionist?
A nutritionist is an expert in using diets to promote better health and more thoroughly manage any pre-existing diseases.
Commonly, your first meeting with a nutritionist will involve you speaking about your goals and what you hope to attain (losing weight, building muscle, etc.)
From there, the nutritionist will also need to know about any pre-existing conditions you already have, such as allergies or heart disease.
Additionally, you need to be upfront with your nutritionist about any medications you’re currently taking as that can also play a role in what’s advisable to consume. You can also mention your preferences and budget so that you can stick with the meal plan to the best of your ability.
After assessing your overall health, a nutritionist creates a specialized dietary plan. This consists of specific meals you should eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
While a personal trainer looks at how you perform at the gym, a nutritionist offers advice on what to do at home.
To reap the benefits, it’s vital you stick with the nutritionist’s plan. If you commit to your workouts and eat properly when on your own, you’re more likely to reach your fitness goals.
(It’s also important to understand the difference between some of the advice you might get from a personal trainer, a wellness coach, and a nutritionist — see more in my guide to the different types of fitness instructors.)
1. Nutritionists at Equinox
Equinox is among the most elite gyms out there.
As such, it should come as no surprise to hear the company offers a comprehensive nutrition program to help improve your body, mind, and soul.
When looking at Equinox’s approach to nutrition, it’s clear the brand is focused on building sustainable changes.
That means not relying on extreme diets you utilize for a month before giving up on it. Instead, nutritionists at Equinox focus on habit-based nutrition, which means changing your diet through small, incremental changes you can actually stick with for years to come.
Plus, you know you can trust the advice because Equinox nutritionists have the latest and most advanced certifications and training.
Additionally, the coaches and trainers at Equinox have some nutrition education as well, so they can also play an active role in giving you great diet-based advice.
With an Equinox membership, you also gain access to the EQX app. You can track your habits directly from your smartphone to see how well you’re progressing.
Over time, you can see for yourself how powerful small changes can be.
2. Nutritionists at Life Time
Another premier gym with nutritionists readily available is Life Time.
This company offers nutrition coaching through registered dieticians to help you build a personalized diet plan.
In the event you need additional dietary supplements, then you can actually purchase them directly through Life Time. The gym offers first-class products from whey protein to multivitamins.
To kick things off, you can utilize Life Time’s D.TOX program.
This is a two-week detox regimen where you incorporate supplements to “cleanse your body.” This sets you up for success by giving you a clean slate to work with, or at least gets your new habits off on the right foot.
3. Nutritionists at Gold’s Gym
When you first sign up for a Gold’s Gym membership, you can schedule a free 15-minute nutrition counseling session.
This one-on-one meeting will be with a Gold’s Care registered dietician where you’ll go over your diet history and eating patterns. By the end, you’ll receive dietary tips so that you can immediately start making changes to your overall health once you leave the gym.
As you’re signing up for this service, you also have the option to provide your health insurance information to see if you can get it covered.
Some or all of the cost may be paid for depending on your plan, so it’s worth seeing if these meetings are more affordable than you realize — just don’t count on it unless you can get a doctor to agree you need nutrition help for medical reasons.
Your local gym
The above are just some of the big names out there that tend to have nutritionists on-staff.
However, you can also shop local to see if any independent gyms near you also offer the service.
A few simple steps will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
- Do a Google search for “local gyms with nutritionists.”
- Find three to five gyms near you that look like they offer the service and call them to confirm.
- Ask about what certifications and training the nutritionists possess during the initial phone call.
- See if you can set up a free consultation to meet with the nutritionist to make sure it will be a good fit.
It’s critical to never assume a nutritionist has the proper certification.
Anyone can technically say they are a nutritionist, but with certification, you know someone has the most up-to-date training possible.
They also likely have a four-year degree from a university specializing in health.
Some of the most popular certifications nutritionists tend to have in the United States include:
- Certified Nutritional Consultant
- American Fitness Professionals Association
- Certified Clinical Nutritionist
- Certified Nutritional Professional
- Board Certification in Holistic Nutrition
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
Working with a nutritionist at the gym — is it worth it?
Nutritionists aren’t cheap, and the cost likely won’t be included in your standard membership.
Working with a nutritionist or dietician can cost anywhere from $60-90 per hour or more, which adds up fast!
So is it worth it?
A lot of people turn to the latest fad diet when they want to lose weight or get healthy.
The problem is that there’s rarely a one-size-fits all solution for every person.
Additionally, while keto may help you lose weight within a few months, fad diets are rarely sustainable to stick with for years on end, which is what you need when you want long-term results.
A nutritionist looks at your specific situation. A specialist examines how you’re currently eating and makes small changes to implement over time, permanently.
This way you can actually stick with your new diet rather than giving up after a few months.
Another benefit is that a nutritionist provides you with accountability.
You have someone to report to, so if you end up cheating on your diet, you have to tell it to someone. But it’s not just having someone to admit any mistakes.
A nutritionist supports you through your new dietary journey, and when you have someone to turn to at the gym you visit all the time, you really feel like you have a support network getting you through this new stage of life.
Professional assistance with nutrition isn’t necessary for losing fat or building muscle — you can learn everything you need for free if you work hard and do research.
But the extra structure and accountability of working with a pro is invaluable to some people — and others need the help for specific personal or medical reasons.
You can work out like a lunatic seven days per week, but if you have no plan for what to do in the kitchen or out at a restaurant, you won’t get the results you want.
Working with a nutritionist isn’t completely necessary, and it’s out of reach for many people’s budgets, but it can supercharge your workout results and help you develop a healthier relationship with food and your body.
The services and costs for in-gym nutritionists at Life Time, Equinox, and Gold’s vary wildly by location. Call your local club and see if you can meet or get a free consultation with a dietician on staff before you sign a contract.
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Hope this helps!