What is Evidence-based Online Coaching?

I’ve decided to write about evidence-based practice (EBP) applied to Online Coaching because some of you may not be aware of it. This is a simple concept, it will just take a few minutes to explain and, at the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how I make decisions regarding my clients’ programs.

The concept of EBP emerged in the medical field in the 1990s before being applied to training and nutrition [1]. In the strength & conditioning world, EBP is defined as “a systematic approach to the training of athletes and clients based on the current best evidence from peer-reviewed research and professional reasoning. This approach should be used within the context of a specific needs analysis.” [1]

This definition can be split into 3 parts. First, it’s a process that “requires a conscientious and judicious search of available research to find the current best evidence for a given topic” [1] (and not just reading a few study abstracts and take conclusions based on that). As science is not static, this is also a continuous process that requires a long-term commitment to learning in-depth information about a variety of topics to make the best decisions for the clients [1]. Second, we have professional reasoning. This includes the knowledge I’ve gathered from my own training experience, training clients, my mentors, the community, etc. and is a very important component, especially to fill in the gaps when there’s no good evidence available. Third, this must be applied in the context of a specific client’s needs, values and preferences.

Overall, we can define EBP as an integrated approach where we combine:

  1. The best research evidence available.

  2. Professional experience.

  3. Individuality of the client.

There’s also an EBP associated with clinical nutrition, which “involves using the best available nutrition evidence, together with clinical experience, to help patients prevent (sometimes), resolve (sometimes), or cope with (often) problems related to their physical, mental, and social health, according to their values and preferences.” [2]. However, as I’m not a registered dietician, nor have the qualifications to be one, I do not have the knowledge to work with clinical patients. I will, however, apply the basic principles of EBP when making nutrition-related decisions on my client’s programs.

Now, many people assume that EBP is basing the decision-making process solely on what the research says. However, this is not true. Science is an important part of EBP, but it doesn’t have all the answers (not even close). Also, even if some studies show that a given method or protocol works, that doesn’t mean it will work for you as an individual. That’s why professional experience is so important. By working with clients and learning from the experts and the community, I will have a broader repertoire of tools to address all of my clients’ problems, and help them achieve their goals.

This is what EBP means: taking the best available evidence and my own experience and knowledge I’ve gathered so far and address a specific client’s needs, helping him/her achieve his/her goals.

Now that you better understand how I approach things, if you’re interested in working with me or just want to learn more about my Online Coaching Service, go to https://www.physiqueupgrade.com/online-coaching.



[1] English KL, Amonette WE, Graham M, Spiering BA. What is “Evidence-Based” strength and conditioning. Strength Cond J [Internet]. 2012 Jun [cited 2020 Mar 23]; 34(3):19-24. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260035540

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e318255053d

[2] Johnston BC, Seivenpiper JL, Vernooij RWM, de Souza RJ, Jenkins DJA, Zeraatkar D, et al. The philosophy of Evidence-Based principles and practice in nutrition. Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes [Internet]. 2019 May [cited 2020 Mar 24];3(2):189-99. Available from: https://mcpiqojournal.org/article/S2542-4548(19)30031-1/abstract

doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.02.005