Nutrition Coaching - What is it and why should you consider it?

What Is a Nutrition Coach? 
By Coach Kellie Rongo

When it comes down to it, a nutrition coach is someone who teaches you how and why to fuel your body well which will lead you to feeling, looking, operating, and performing better in your every day life. My purpose is to make a meaningful, positive difference in your life through nutrition. 

I struggled with that title at first- only because the first thing you’d think about is the D word… Diet… *barf*. Who the hell wants to be on one of those?

A lot of people may think of a nutrition coach as a coach for bodybuilders cutting for a show or maybe a coach for someone who is sick in some way and has to follow a strict diet. Or, they just think of the word diet and assume it’s not an option for them.

But me? I’m really none of the above. I want to work with everyone outside of those categories. I want to be a coach for someone that just simply needs a plan to follow, just like we need a plan to follow for training at the gym. You could be a 60 year old woman that wants to be healthier in order to live longer, you could be a middle aged man that wants to lose some belly fat, or a young lady who has a wedding in the near future. You could even be a young athlete that just wants to perform well at your sport, whatever that may be. Hell, maybe you hate to exercise but you want to be healthy, feel good and look good. And I got you, too.


I noticed right off the bat that there are many different types of clients that want nutrition coaching and the coolest part is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as you guide your client to a better, healthier lifestyle (and get those RESULTS).

I have to adapt to each of my clients individually because every single one of you will adhere to different diets best, learn in different ways, want to eat and drink different things, have different performance and/or body image goals, etc. No one nutrition plan is the same as the other. You are unique; so is your nutrition.

And the same goes for nutrition as for exercise: Find something that works for you that is sustainable and RUN with it! My style of coaching is truly special in the sense that I don’t want to take away everything you love to eat/drink.


I have a questionnaire that I have every client fill out and it includes questions like “What do you enjoy eating? What can you not live without” and the opposite, “What foods do you HATE? What do you refuse to eat?” We all have these things and that’s good! We want to enjoy our food and we really don’t need to eat things we are disgusted by.

I’m human, just like you, and I have quite a few guilty pleasure foods. Ex: I feel like I can not live one day without eating peanut butter. So, guess what? I work it in to my plan and I enjoy every little bit of it. I have one client now that really loves dark chocolate. Can you imagine if I just said “nope, sorry, going to have to cut it out.” That relationship probably would not have lasted very long, and the nutrition plan probably wouldn’t have made it a week. I am a true believer that restricting is not the answer. 

If all of that wasn’t a good enough reason to hire a nutrition coach, maybe these will be…

  1. You don’t have time to think about these things

    Let’s face it, your brain space is taken up by other things. You’re busy with work, school, your kids, getting to the gym, family, trying to get enough sleep, and everything else on your plate. Why not let someone who is trained and experienced get you on the right track?

  2. Save on medical bills

    Seems nuts, but it’s true. A lot of recent research shows that if you have a personal trainer or a nutrition coach, you’ll be healthier. You being healthier = less trips to the doc. Period.

  3. It Feels Good

    I can’t tell you how many of my clients have come to me after a few weeks of following a plan saying how much better they feel and look, how much energy they have, and just how much better their body is operating (they can poop like champs!)

  4. You’ve probably tried other “diets” and failed

    Maybe you succeeded short term then fell off the wagon. A nutrition coach should be setting you up for short term AND long term success.

  5. You’ve seen results from the gym but you know there’s way more where that came from

    Your workouts are only part of it. To get the absolute BEST results, a combo of nutrition and exercise is the way to go.

I could list a lot of other reasons to consider a coach, but I think those are the main ones. Pretty convincing, huh? This whole happiness journey starts with owning your health- an exercise program and a nutrition coach together could certainly get you headed down the right path!

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free Nutrition Consult and talk with Kellie to learn more!

Nutrition on the Run


If you're keeping tabs here at LOD Athlete, you'd know that the last 4-6 weeks have been hectic. Moving across the country, getting a space outfitted to train in, opening the gym, getting online training up and running, and the various other ins and outs of starting a business. 

Oh, and my wife and I also have a 7-month old boy. 

While I've kept up with my training protocols here in the gym, my nutrition has taken a serious hit. I've grabbed bits and pieces of food where I can during the workweek, and that tends to be garbage food that is readily available, but not so good in the performance or looks better naked category. 

I stepped on the scale this weekend and found that I've stacked on a solid 10-12 lbs. in the last few months, weighing in the low 220's. Nothing like an inadvertent #dirtybulk. 

So, time to get back on track. 210 lbs is a healthy weight for me - I feel lighter and faster on my feet, my knees don't ache as much (years of abuse and 3x ACL tears make this inevitable to a degree), and overall I look better. 

Nutrition is a perilous game - some sell snake oil, some recommend intricate macronutrient tracking, and others like to keep it simple. I fall into the "Keep It Simple" category. 

So, what's that mean? Below are two excerpts from coach's I highly respect and have learned from in the past. 

Power Athlete Diet

Eat with abandon: meat, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, bulbs, herbs and spices as well as animal fats, olives & olive oil, avocados, and coconut (meat, oil, flour) and dairy*.
*Dairy is a gray area, while it is a powerful tool in the strength and weight gain category you have to be smart. Individuals with autoimmune disease should avoid dairy products of any kind. For those without autoimmune diseases, dairy from grass-fed animals is permissible. Dairy from grain-fed animals will not have an ideal omega 3 profile. Heavy cream, butter, and ghee should not be problematic. Occasional consumption of fermented dairy options such as cheese and yogurt is acceptable. Experiment with milk but eliminate it if it is found to be problematic.
**Pasteurized whole milk from grain-fed cows treated with rBGH offers an increased anabolic environment for the consumer.
Limit: nuts, seeds, and fruit.
Better choices in the nut category include macadamias, cashews, and hazelnuts. Almonds aren't terrible. Seeds are generally rich sources of linoleic acid because they can be eaten in large quantities (the serving sizes are typically in the tablespoon to 1/4 cup range and can be misleading). Sunflower and sesame seeds are a terrible choices in the seed category. Soaking nuts prior to consumption is recommended but not necessary.
Reduce the serving size if you are going to pick a fruit that has a high metabolic fructose content.
Avoid: Cereal grains including: all varieties of wheat (spelt, einkorn, emmer, durum), barley, rye, oats, triticale, corn (maize), rice (including wild rice), sorghum, millet, fonio, and teff and legumes.
Grain-like substances or pseudocereals including: Amaranth, Breadnut, Buckwheat, Cattail, Chia, Cockscomb, Kañiwa, Pitseed Goosefoot, Quinoa, and Wattleseed (aka aacacia seed). Pseudocereals are the seeds of broad leaf plants whereas grains are the seeds of grasses.

Mountain Tactical Institute Diet

6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.
1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll “cheat” on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.

Fairly simple and despite a few variables between the two, they are mostly the same. If you're interested in doing some research on your own regarding nutrition, I highly encourage you to do so. That being said, be wary of your sources. This recent article by the New York Times highlighted how the sugar industry has played a heavy hand in influencing nutritional research which was then disseminated to the public. 



We all fail with diet. Life happens. It's ok. The key is identifying it before you give yourself the diabeetus or your healthy eating habits are so crushed that getting back on the health horse seems like an insurmountable task. Below are a couple cues to get your diet on track without losing your mind:

  • It starts at the grocery store. My self-control is poor when I have 'bad for you but tastes so good' food in my fridge. So take grab 'em by the horns from the start and control what's in there. 
  • One step at a time. If you're just getting started, be reasonable in changing your diet. Going 0-60mph in a diet change is often unrealistic when it comes to a life/work/training balance. Cut out one habit you know is bad for you (sodas is the prime example). Cut it out for two weeks, and it'll become a habit. Now move on to the next actionable step like shifting away from a flour-based, carbohydrate-heavy diet. Replace with additional vegetables and healthy fats. 
  • Enjoy the cheat day. You only live life once. Don't be the weirdo that doesn't have a beer at friends and family gathering, or say no to your mom's cookies.  
  • Thirty Day challenges are great with the buy-in of a group. Your peers will keep you honest. The thirty days will end and the peer group accountability with it - the long-term diet shift must be a personal decision. 





What About Nutrition?

Nutrition is always a saucy topic when it comes to fitness. Undoubtedly, it plays an important role in health and performance.

It has also gone through more fads in the past thirty years than any other subject in the health arena. Research is constantly changing, major food industries have much at stake (and the money to influence research), and individual health gurus swear by the latest trends. Finding your way through the bullshit is tough.