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Fuel Your Strength 381 - 6 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

6 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

If you want to build muscle, get stronger, see better results and gains in the gym, have more energy, and improve your performance, hiring a nutrition coach could be the best investment you have ever made in yourself. A coach can help you accomplish your goals quicker, focus on a doable way to reach those goals, and provide you with the emotional and social support you need to get there.

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Key Takeaways

If You Want to Get Serious About Your Nutrition, You Should:

  1. Stop spending your time, money, and effort on figuring it out yourself
  2. Appreciate that you don’t have to be an expert in everything you want to accomplish
  3. Find a coach that will support you in your own unique environment

Doing It Yourself is Not Free

Many people out there think they can do it themselves when it comes to nutrition and fitness. While the internet is full of advice, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good advice. A meal plan or chatting with a bot does not help you change the things that are in your way, and will cost you your time, effort, and mistakes in return.

If you are ready to make serious progress in your fitness and nutrition goals, a coach is the best way to create a plan that is doable in your life, and that fits your unique needs, likes, and dislikes. You shouldn’t have to be an expert in order to feel good in your body and supported in your dreams; that’s what coaches are for!

Now is the Best Time to Start

Being able to assess a situation objectively is hard to do, especially when it comes to our own lives. If you want to progress and gain strength and endurance, it will take more of a sophisticated approach that helps you build sustainable and addictive habits.

When you get focused, get serious, invest in yourself, and put some money where your mouth is, it is incredible what you can accomplish. Don’t keep putting off your goals, today is the best day to start, and it is never too late. With the right focus and support, I know you can do this.

Are you ready to hire a nutrition coach? Share your thoughts with me about my top 6 reasons in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Why hiring my first nutrition coach was the best investment I ever made in myself (2:12)
  • How to navigate all of the fitness and nutrition advice you see on social media (6:11)
  • Why DIY’ing your training is not as cheap or easy as you might think it is (9:58)
  • Tips for approaching changing your fitness and nutrition regime as you get older (16:12)
  • The problem with nutrition apps and why they can never replace a nutrition coach (23:44)


“Hiring my first sports nutrition coach was a key decision that I made that really changed the trajectory of not only my fitness but my personal life and my career.” (2:19)

“You might think that you are eating really ‘healthy,’ but that doesn’t mean that you are adequately fueling, or eating enough of the right things, for example, to get you the fitness results that you want.” (7:52)

“I wasn’t just paying a coach. I am investing in my own growth and in actually having a plan to get me to my goals quicker and help me figure out why what I was doing wasn’t working.” (11:07)

“I want you to think about hiring someone to help you assess what needs to change, look at and identify the things you are willing to change, and how to do it in a way that is going to be doable in your life.” (19:10)

“Meal plans don’t teach you about long-term habit change, and they don’t help you address the underlying challenges that might be getting in your way.” (24:24)

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FYS 380: From Endurance to Lifting: Top Sports Nutrition & Training Lessons

FYS 367: 5 Strength Nutrition Lessons I Wish I Learned a Decade Ago

6 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

Steph Gaudreau
10 years ago, I hired my first nutrition coach. And it’s one of the best investments I ever made in myself. But if you’re like a lot of my listeners, you’re like, I can just do this myself. I don’t need anybody’s help. On this episode, I’m going to be sharing six powerful reasons why, if you have goals with your fitness, you want to think about hiring a nutrition coach. If you want to build muscle, you want to get stronger, and see better gains and results in the gym. You want to have more energy and improve your performance.

Steph Gaudreau
This is the episode you need to hear if you’re an athletic 40, something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hard shit, the fuel your strength podcast is for you. You’ll learn how to eat, train, and recover smarter. So you build strength and muscle, have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach Steph Gaudreau. The fuel your strength podcast dives into evidence-based strategies for nutrition training and recovery. And why once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s go!

Steph Gaudreau
What’s up, my friend, welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me this week. Hey, if you haven’t yet, hit the subscribe button on your app while you’re here. That way, new episodes will automatically show up on your phone. Now I’m sharing this episode with you today as kind of a second part to last week’s episode. Last week, we kind of kicked off a new season, I shared a lot more about my personal story and how I’ve built strength, and how it’s been life-changing. And as part of that, I talked about why I hired my first sports nutrition coach. And it was a key decision that I made that really changed the trajectory of not only my fitness but also my personal life, my career, and so on. So if you haven’t heard that episode yet, maybe go back and listen to that for some context. But I wanted to in this episode, lay out six very strong reasons why. If you’re not seeing the results that you want in your fitness, from your training to your nutrition, you’re going to want to think about investing in a coach. Now obviously, I’m a coach, I have an amazing program called Strength Nutrition Unlocked. I also do one on one coaching.

Steph Gaudreau
Okay, so the first reason that you are going to want to hire a nutrition coach is number one, we are all bad, notoriously bad at assessing our own situation, objectively. So you might think you’re eating quote, unquote, really healthy. But that doesn’t mean that you’re adequately fueling, you’re eating enough of the right things, for example, to get you the fitness results that you want, whether that’s the gain muscle that improves your cardiovascular fitness, increasing your strength, and so on. But sometimes with clients and students who believe that when we take a step back, and we look at actually what are they eating, sometimes, trying to eat too healthy, quote, unquote, means they’re not eating enough food, and enough caloric energy. And also, oftentimes, what I see, and I’ve covered this in another podcast is, for example, their carbohydrate level is way too low to support the kind of intense training that they’re doing. Because they’re trying to remove carb-dense foods and replace them only with vegetables, which again, nothing wrong with vegetables, we need fiber, of course. But when we’re looking at overall balance on the plate, there’s something off. So we are all guilty of this, of being kind of poor at assessing our own situation. Or we might think, Oh yeah, I exercise a lot. But when we actually look at how sedentary our day-to-day is outside of exercise, we realize, ah, you know what, I am sitting a lot more, I do walk a lot less. And I’m not getting the baseline activity level that I used to have. So a coach with expertise is going to be able to help you assess your own situation objectively now, caveat, sidenote, this is not about someone being rude to you, or tough love all the time, or shaming you. This is just about getting a sense of where are you really at and where you want to go. And then how are we going to get from point A to point B so that’s something very important that a coach is going to be able to help you do number two, and I need you to hear this because again, I’m I was this way. DIY ng is not free. DIY in your stuff is not free. Whether that’s Thai nailing your own kitchen or trying to figure out your own nutrition now again, do I think education is important? Fuck yes, I used to be a high school teacher education is in my blood.

Steph Gaudreau
And it’s a huge component of strength nutrition unlocked. I believe you need good quality education. However, we can’t pretend that education and information are the same things as implementation. But we also have to be honest, that DIY in everything has a cost. It has a cost. Now, when I first hired my nutrition coach in 2012, I just thought, I can’t believe I’m about to pay someone to tell me how to how to eat. I’m a human I’ve been eating since I was born. And why is this something that I would want to invest in? So first, first of all, I had to kind of change my mentality, why am I going to pay someone? Well, actually, I was investing in myself. Not I wasn’t just paying a coach, I’m investing in my own growth. And in actually having a plan to get me to my goals quicker, and helped me figure out why what I was doing was not working. But here’s what DIY buying things also costs you DIY in it costs your time. And this is, again, what a good coach is going to help you do is get to your goal, your outcome more expeditiously, then you probably are going to be able to do it on your own DIY in costs your efforts. Whether that’s physical, mental, or emotional effort, depends on what the thing is, but it’s going to cost you effort. And it’s going to cost you likely mistakes, right? mistakes that you’ve made. And again, is there value from learning from your mistakes, of course, but if we’re making the same mistakes over and over and over again, then DIY is not your jam. Right. So my friend Deanna Harder who’s been on this podcast often says, “if you think that hiring an expert is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.” And I love this quote because when you don’t have the expertise, you’re likely going to make a lot of mistakes. And those mistakes can cost you in terms of time, money, resources, energy effort, the number of bucks, you have to give the frustration of rip repeatedly not having something workout. So DIY may seem like a more attractive option. However, we can’t pretend that doing everything ourselves is completely free, and it doesn’t have a cost. So there’s the second point number three, you just don’t know what you don’t know. And also, you shouldn’t have to make yourself an expert in everything you want to do. I hear this a lot with workouts.

Steph Gaudreau
Now again, on the surface, working out seems simple. We’re gonna go move our bodies in some way, shape, or form. And maybe if we want to strength train, we can lift some weights. But really, if you want to see progress, you want to have the outcome of the strength of muscle, of strength and speed and endurance, or stamina, more power, whatever it is. It’s going to take more of a sophisticated approach than just picking up some random weight every once in a while. That’s where things like progressive overload come in. And yes, there are decent apps out there that can help you with fitness plans, but they’re still not the same as having a coach to who you can ask questions who knows your situation who you can show up that day and say, hey, you know what, I’m not feeling this, is there something else I can do instead, there’s not going to be someone who’s checking on you and asking about the other parts of your life outside of the gym and how it’s affecting you, and so on. So just because you can exercise on your own doesn’t mean that if you have a specific goal, you should have to self-educate and become an expert in physiology, exercise science or physical training protocols, strength training, nutrition, especially for fit and active people like yourself. So there is a limit, I think to what you should put pressure on yourself to become an expert in yes, no, the basics, of course, understand the rationale, adult learners.

Steph Gaudreau
You need to know the reason, the “why”, and the rationale so that you understand any buy-in to whatever changes you want to make. But you don’t have to be a subject matter expert in every single thing that you’re trying to change. So when I was hiring my sports nutrition coach In 2012, I didn’t know anything about nutrition for athletes. And as a fit person, even though I’ve been an athlete, since I was seven, I did not know what I didn’t know, now I am educated. And I have gone through training, and I’ve taken my formal education in human physiology, and really apply that to nutrition, et cetera, et cetera. But I think sometimes there is too much pressure that you’re putting on yourself that you should become an expert in every single thing. And therefore, you should be able to program your own workouts or decide what your own nutrition changes should be your own nutrition plan, like, why are you not reaching the goals and the outcomes that you want, and then you’re trying to self-assess, so you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s going to make it hard to see things objectively, sometimes, or at least have a direction that you should take. And you also don’t have to be a subject matter expert in every single thing that you want to do. Okay, so number four, I see this one all the time, and maybe I should have led with this. But typically, when students come to work with me in strength nutrition unlocked, because they care about their fitness or trying to become more fit, especially over 40, they want to get stronger build muscle, perform better have more energy.

Steph Gaudreau
It’s not their first rodeo, they’ve been doing CrossFit for 10 years, five years, they’ve been training and love the gym and have many passions. You’ve got your peloton and you love hiking, and you love lifting weights, and you love your martial arts, and you’re trying to do a lot of things. But what I tend to see when my students come to work with me is that they’re trying to change too many things at one time, or too aggressively, making said changes. And I totally understand this. But this is where a coach is going to be highly valuable when you’re coming in, and you’re trying to change too many things at once. Because you’re either excited or fed the fuck up. And you want things to change, like now, that energy has the potential if harnessed to be very powerful, in a positive way, or to lead to the kind of self-destructive behaviors. And I don’t literally mean self-destruction. But what I do mean is getting so overwhelmed, because you’re trying to change too many things at one time, or go too hard, that things just fall apart. You can’t maintain it, you got frustrated, and you quit. So a good coach, especially in the space of nutrition, and even in fitness in general, is going to help you pump the brakes, and slow down. Now, you might think you just said that a coach can help you get from point A to point B quicker, yes, because we can help you take a look at what are the biggest things that are going to get you the most change and focus on those things and help you take action in a stepwise fashion. That helps you build those habits in a way that is sustainable, and additives. So building habits on top of each other or slightly extending those habits, evolving them over time to help them keep growing. That’s where the value is in this particular example. So if you are a type of person who tends to go all in, and then you quit really fast, because you get overwhelmed and you’re a human being who has other things to think about besides just your fitness and your training and being in the gym and lifting weights, then I want you to think about hiring somebody to help you assess, I talked about the that first assess what needs to change, look at and identify the things you’re willing to change and how to do it in a way that is going to be doable in your life.

Steph Gaudreau
Because this is going to lead me to the next point number five. Oftentimes, when trying to do things yourself like this, you’re not accounting for two incredibly important variables. Number one, your environment. Right. So when we’re talking about making a nutrition change, for example, a lot of people come in, and I’ve talked about this in my protein workshop. They’re like, Yep, cool. I need to eat more protein. Great. I’m all in. Sometimes they try to do things too aggressively. Where it’s trying to jump from, let’s say make up a number 60 grams of protein a day to 120 grams of protein a day. And then they come back and they say, Oh wow, this is really hard. I’m not doing this at all, and I got super overwhelmed. And I hate everything about this, and you’re ruining my life. And when we look at, what they tried to do, it’s, again jumping too hard, too fast. But they’re not also accounting for the other things that go into making that change the environment, for example, who else lives with you? If anyone? What is their deal? Right? Are they children who rely on you to cook the food? And now you have to account for them as well? Is it a partner? Who is not on board with your changes? And this also goes into the second thing, which is social support. Is it a roommate who eats all your shit, and your meal prep? And now half your food is gone? They probably won’t last long as a roommate, but you get the point, right? Or what is your work schedule? Like? Are you working from home? Are you working from an office or off, you know, away from home? How are you accounting for the other demands that you have in your schedule, work, family, other social commitments that you have? Hobbies downtime?

Steph Gaudreau
And these are the two things the environment and the social support, that oftentimes become the undoing of your best intentions. And it’s very difficult to navigate these things sometimes, on your own. Is it impossible, no, you know your environment best and you know your social support better than a coach does. However, a coach again, can help you with the strategies that you need, the habits, and creating the environments that are going to help you reach for those better choices that are going to help you actually follow through with getting more protein on your plate. Because again, in theory, again, the information sounds easy. Increase your protein, why we need to build muscle mass, muscle mass is going to help us to keep our resting metabolism higher, it’s going to help us to move more weight in the gym, which is going to have positive benefits all around, it’s going to help us to, you know, data data, right, we can go on and explain all the benefits of muscle. But the point is, is that we can understand that logically, and rationally. And then when we go to put it into practice, we realize, oh, there are other things standing in my way, or, Oh, I don’t have the support that I need here that I wasn’t taking into account. And not that we want to fix blame on other people, but we also are our situation. But we also have to be able to again, assess things objectively. And it’s just really hard to do that when we’re in our own lives. Because we’re in our own lives all the time. And sometimes we’re not seeing a really amazing opportunity to change something that we just didn’t even see, we didn’t even think about it, we’re or we’re focusing on the minutiae of the nutrition situation, instead of looking at something that’s going to pay off and provide way more bang for our buck, because we’re looking at the teeny tiny details, and not zooming out and seeing the big picture. So that was number five, not accounting for the environment or social support.

Steph Gaudreau
And then lastly, and here’s a reason why I see that the nutrition apps, and there is a gazillion, they’re not all weight loss focused. Some of them are performance focused. I mean, you name it, right? But you basically get the idea. You go in and you type in all of your biometric details, height, age, weight, blah, blah, blah, and it supposedly spits out like a meal plan for you. Meal plans don’t teach you about long-term, habit change, and they don’t help you address the underlying challenges that might be getting in your way. So for example, a static meal plan might spit out an exact number of calories, or even a split of protein, carbs, and fat that you should stick to at each meal. And supposedly, if you do this forever, you’re going to meet your goals and it’s going to be super easy. Well, if you’ve ever tried to follow an app like this, or a static meal plan, you know that when one thing goes wrong, it throws everything off, and then you either have to adjust on your feet, and hopefully, you’re able to do that it or you’re just like I’m failing at this, and I can’t maintain it also doesn’t always take into account your personal preferences, your likes, and dislikes, your schedule, the number of meals you want to eat, can you be flexible with those meals?

Steph Gaudreau
What happens if you’re eating out, and I’m sure there’s some perfect holy grail app that someone’s going to send to me and go, Well, this does all those things, it’s still not the same as having a coach to support you in real-time. Because a meal plan, again, does not help you to change the things that are in your way. Right? If you need to start eating breakfast, then it’s going to just say, Eat breakfast. But what about all the other reasons why for you, eating breakfast has been challenging a meal plan, an app is very rarely going to be able to have that conversation with you. And it could even be one of those apps that is a bot, and it’s not a real coach. So maybe it has a chat feature, and you’re able to chat with your coach. But it’s not a person. It’s AI. So all of this is to say that there are several reasons why working with a coach is very beneficial. Yes, of course, working with a person investing in yourself to get the results that you want is going to be a cost. And we also talked about why DIY hang has costs as well. But if you’re someone who’s in your 40s or beyond especially and you’re like okay, I know, things have changed, my body’s changed. My strength isn’t what it used to be. I’m not recognizing myself much these days. I know that I need to get a handle on stuff, I have goals. I want to improve my fitness. I know I need more muscle, I want to change my health, then it’s time to do it. I had somebody on Instagram the other day, say that she’s in her late 50s. And is it too late to start building muscle and lifting? And I was like, Absolutely not. Come join us. But you got to start now. Right?

Steph Gaudreau
The longer we wait. It’s not necessarily harder. It’s just that our time is going by without those benefits of that muscle mass without the benefits of improving our cardiovascular function just to name a couple of things improving our protein intake, right? So there’s lots of great reasons why starting now is better than waiting another three months or six months, you know, the holidays aren’t all that far away from this episode. And I know what happens every year I get the emails, I got them DMS. I want to start this but like the holidays are going to be here soon. And I’m like, It’s September. How much can you accomplish with the focus was someone who helps you put things into place step by step who encourages you who’s going to help you to keep going if things get tough? Who’s really going to help you to work on the things that are going to make the biggest impact for you? Where could you be in two months, even, it’s incredible? When you get focused, when you get serious. When you invest in yourself, you put some money where your mouth is. Because when you pay attention it’s incredible what you can accomplish. We have to stop getting stuck in these like, oh, well, I’ll wait till January.

Steph Gaudreau
No start now. The holidays are going to be there. That’s okay. You get to work around that. It’s not too late. It is a good time right now, not three months or four months from now. You can do this, I promise. So to recap, six important reasons to get yourself a nutrition coach or a fitness coach. If that’s you know, sometimes we do both. Sometimes we have expertise in both. So number one, we are notoriously bad at assessing our own situations objectively, right coaches help us assess objectively number two DIY ng is not free DIY ng has costs. Number three, you don’t know what you don’t know. And you also shouldn’t have to make yourself a subject matter expert in what you’re trying to accomplish. Number four, you’re trying to change too many things at once, or do it too aggressively. And a coach is going to help you pump the brakes and get focused. Number five, you need to account for the environment and social support when you’re going to make a change. And number six, you need long-term habit change, not just a pre-written meal plan. We need to teach you how to fish. So those are my reasons for you today. I hope that some of those resonated and if you’re ready and you heard this and you’re like you know what, yep, I want to take the next step.

Steph Gaudreau
It’s time for me to get a handle on stuff and stop wasting time and get the results I could have had two years ago, five years ago, or 10 years ago, but I’ve been trying to do it all myself and just getting overwhelmed, then I want you to send me a message, DM me, or send me an email. Or you can go to the website if you’re ready to apply. And we’ve got two options, Strength Nutrition Unlocked, this is my group program. It’s amazing, the community is the best. Um, They’re coaching you in a group style so you have accountability and support, you can apply there at StephGaudreau.com/apply.

Steph Gaudreau
And then the other option is one on one coaching. If you’re like, Nope, I need just one on one time. I need to get serious and we need to buckle down. And I just want to do this with you, then yes, go ahead and find out more information on the website about that one-on-one option, as well. Thanks so much for joining me today. For the show notes for this episode, head over to StephGaudreau.com. And of course, please hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app.

Steph Gaudreau
Tell a friend somebody you love a training partner, your gym, buddy, or whoever it is about this episode if you think it’ll resonate with them too. Sharing is absolutely caring and it goes so far in helping the show to reach new ears. So thank you so much for that. And I will see you next week for a brand new episode. And until then, stay strong.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Purpose built for strength, fitness, and athleticism. This is a templated, app-based 12-month progressive strength program for women over 40.


Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For athletic women 40+ who want to get stronger, build muscle, boost energy, and perform better. Implement evidence-backed strategies to fuel, train, and recover smarter with the support & accountability you need.

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