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At the last Athletic Business show back in November, I attended an eye-opening session: “Legal Liability: Nutrition, Weight Management and Supplements.” The seminar was given by JoAnn Eickhoff-Shemek, University of South Florida professor and coordinator of the undergraduate exercise science program; and Cynthia Sass, American Dietetic Association spokesperson and registered dietitian (RD). And, my goodness was it eye opening.

See, everyone in this business knows that when it comes to being healthy, diet and nutrition go hand in hand, so it seems natural for personal trainers and other certified fitness staff to speak with their clients about healthy eating habits and supplements. However, it‘s a very fine line between what‘s okay and what‘s too much. In fact, most of the professionals in the room during that seminar didn‘t know that, legally, it‘s not okay for their personal trainers to “prescribe” their clients specific meal plans or supplements. In the February issue, I‘ll explore that issue (scope of practice) and its legal ramifications.

Thankfully both Eickhoff-Shemek and Sass agreed to an interview and lent their professional knowledge and expertise to the piece. I also have a few calls in to some health clubs with RDs on staff (if you‘d like to be contacted for the story feel free to e-mail me at, and just yesterday our Art Director Jennifer Ray and I visited AYC Fitness Personal Fitness Training in Prairie Village, KS. Owner Greg Justice gave us the full tour of his two-story personal training studio and graciously answered my questions on everything from industry trends to sports-specific training to (the reason of my visit) supplements and scope of practice. Like most facilities, AYC does sell supplements, but Justice is careful to not cross the line between personal trainer and nutritionist. He gives general advice not specifics.

To learn more about this topic check out the February issue. Thanks for reading, and feel free to post or e-mail me your comments! -Jennipher

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