One of the weirdest things to me is that people have been convinced that they require a unique approach to training, but will accept a generic eating plan. People in the business believe this as well, which I guess is where the public get the idea from. Everyone who walks in the door wanting to not be overweight anymore, to trim up around the waist, or whatever... gotta build something brand new just for them, from the ground up. Can't give 'em the same set of excerises as anyone else, because they're individuals with unique needs.
Diet though? Just print off another copy of the same generic "these foods good, those foods bad" meal plan. Right?
The opposite approach would really be a lot more helpful to most people.
Start with a training strategy that we know is effective, and fine tune it as much or as little as is necessary to suit each individual. Depending on their goal, their confidence and ability level, and other factors as well, they might need to start with a different selection of exercises than another person, with a view to progressing to the more advanced options. A competent trainer can do this while still working to a pre-existing strategy that he or she knows will produce the desired physical results in due course.
As to diet though, this is where people really are unique individuals with very unique, individual requirements. Now, all people are similar enough in that they require a certain amount of total energy which we can calculate accurately, and they'll require a certain amount of protein, fiber and other nutritional resources within that appropriate total energy range. The amounts will vary from person to person, but where the real individual uniqueness comes into play is with which choices of foods will best suit each person to meeting these requirements.
There is no point in dictating "these are the best choices that you'll find easiest to adhere to" to someone who just isn't feeling at all enthusiastic about that list of foods. It is even worse still to be a disciplinarian with a "who says you have to enjoy it?" approach that makes it about willpower and strength of character.
The bottom line as I say over and over again practically every day in every conversation on the subject is that people can and should be empowered to meet their energy, macro and micro nutritional requirements from whatever choices of foods best suits their tastes. A certain selection doesn't imply that they want it more, deserve it more, are better people or any other such nonsense. Results from training are facilitated by a suitable provision of energy and other nutritional resources, regardless of where they come from.
Therefore in my opinion, if you are shopping around for a Personal Trainer or for Online Fitness Coaching, what you should be looking for is someone who has an approach to training that they believe in, which has produced results for the people they've coached previously. Ideally you should also be able to learn enough about what that approach entails that you can make an informed decision before you sign up as to whether that approach is suitable for you as an individual.
If you really want to achieve a result through training, what you need a combination of "what it actually takes" plus "what is most suitable for you as an individual". Which isn't to say that you can choose literally anything you fancy doing and expect it to to be effective in producing a specific result. There may be any number of effective approaches to choose from, but that is not to say that every approach, program or product has the same potential for efficacy. Many of them have none whatsoever, others might be better suited to a different goal or a different set of personal circumstances. What we need is something that is actually suitable to both our goal, and our circumstances.
That's an important point that bares repeating and rephrasing. There might be any number of possible approaches from which to choose the most suitable, but the problem most people have is that they believe as long as they make the effort to do "something" then they should be rewarded with the result that they want. Unfortunately, that isn't the way things work.
If you follow an effective strategy, fine tuned a little as best suits your needs, you'll see results provided your nutrition is also appropriate. Regardless of how many other people have already used the same strategy. If you really insist on brand new, custom program built from the ground up, just for you, excluding anything that's been used with anyone else... you're not going to end up with a lot of good stuff in that program.
So the weird part is that we've some how been conditioned to believe that we can earn an athletic physique by eating the same foods we might be told an athletic person would eat, but that actually training with a serious program is optional.