Do You Want to Broaden Your Knowledge of Nutrition?

Finding an institute that aligns with your philosophy is key.

Having worked in health and fitness for 16+ years I’ve had the pleasure of constantly broadening my knowledge base through various courses and qualifications. I got the ball rolling way back in 2005 with an honours degree in Exercise Science back in the UK. Maybe it’s a symptom of my imposter syndrome that I strive to arm myself with as much knowledge as I can, so when that elusive moment arrives I’m not ‘caught-out’

I do want to drive home the importance of carefully selecting the school or institute that you study from, to ensure it aligns with your sensibilities and values. I’ve started courses when I was younger that did not deliver what they said and ultimately wasted my time and money so doing your due diligence is imperative.

I do want to take 2 minutes to give a virtual high five to an outstanding facility in NZ that delivers world-class progressive nutrition courses – this being HPI. Reason being the person who is instrumental in the design and delivery of the course is someone I have a crush on – not in a romantic way, but rather an admiration for his intellect and rational mind. The man in question is Dr Cliff Harvey and if that name is unfamiliar to you indulge in a quick Google search and you’ll soon see that he is incredibly well-positioned to be commenting on nutrition. For over 20 years Dr Harvey has deep-dived nutrition and spent a considerable amount of that time researching the benefits of ketosis and low carb. His research together with his clinical practice and experience has led him to develop the ‘Carb Appropriate Diet’ which is a diet devoid of dogma unlike many low carbs or keto diet approaches.

I used to hold the opinion that knowledge is power, however, I believe a nuanced version of this statement is probably closer to the truth – learning is power.
Knowledge implies an absolute or fixed position but things are rarely absolute or fixed in science. We must be able to absorb new information and adjust our positions accordingly. This is the real power and why I am always seeking to further and update my knowledge and learnings. As a business owner, parent to three kids, a husband and a wanna-be surfer, I also need a degree of flexibility around my continuous study, which HPI allows. Truth be known, I couldn’t study without that flexibility. The fundamental difference between other courses and HPI and what attracts me to it the most is the progressive nature of the content. Dr Harvey’s incessant appetite for research ensures the course content will be current. At the end of the day, it’s this content that informs how I instruct my clients and how to best achieve their desired goals. I have little interest in learning outdated paradigms as that doesn’t serve me or my client. What does interest me is arming myself with the current information and frameworks to base my prescriptions upon.

Some take-home learnings from their course has been:

As well as learning the nuts of bolts of physiology there is an opportunity to develop the warm and fuzzy area of coaching. By this, I mean increased empathy and compassion for clients. Whether it’s deliberately woven into the course fabric or whether it just rubs off on the students, Dr Harvey and the team convey the importance of taking each client on face value and accepting as a coach/nutritionist there may be some trial and error and poor adherence at times from a client – and that’s completely normal and acceptable. This point was hammered home to me during my studies. One of the assessments being a 12-week personal transformation challenge. I assigned myself a goal which was achievable and realistic given I had 12 weeks and curated a strategy in which to knock it out the park. However, despite being a pretty disciplined and committed individual I found it difficult to consistently adopt a different eating strategy and struggled to loosen the shackles of my evergreen routine diet. I also found it hard to fit in the necessary things to hit my goal when work or family commitments took precedence. So it taught me a very valuable lesson as a nutrition coach, that even with commitment and willingness the road can be thwarted with difficulties and certainly not smooth. Understanding a clients lifestyle, wants and needs to paramount to success in reaching goals and accepting that life, family and work can sometimes get in the way as well as historical patterns of behaviour. This is powerful to understand as a coach.

If you’re currently working in the fitness or health space as a fitness instructor, PT or even as health coach already, there’s always the opportunity to broaden and diversify your understanding of nutrition through one of the many courses at HPI. As well as their flagship courses such as nutrition coach and nutritionist, it’s possible to subscribe to one or more of their shorter courses such as functional mycology (the study of medicinal mushrooms) or keto mastery (deep dive into ketogenic diet).

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