Being a fitness professional is rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling.
For many, becoming a fitness trainer or related coach feels like a calling- a career in transforming other people’s dreams into a reality. From personal trainers to exercise physiologists, the amount of knowledge available for consumption seems almost limitless.
With the health and fitness industry growing at a record-setting pace, new (and experienced) trainers should be looking for a way to continue expanding their personal skill set and set themselves apart in what is becoming a competitive market.
Any personal trainer worth their salt understands that no exercise routine is effective without a supplemental dietary program.
There is nothing more disheartening for a personal trainer than to see their clients waste away the hard work with a diet that is not conducive to healthy living.
Here is where NASM (the National Academy of Sports Medicine) can help with their online nutrition certification course.
As a personal trainer, it is essential to have a firm understanding of the role diet plays in a new exercise routine. Having the proper education and certification allows for more knowledgeable insight and more effective results for their prospective clients.
In this article, we review the NASM nutrition certification in full and discuss why or why not it may be the right choice for our readers at home.
What is NASM?
With more than 30 years of sports science experience, the National Academy of Sports Medicine has helped set industry standards for exercise physiology, personal training, and now nutritional education. Its personal training programs are some of the most respected in the industry, and over the last years have put through 190,000 personal trainers alone.
Unlike many online programs that lack a dedicated focus on scientific research, NASM uses the Optimum Performance Training™ technique backed by thorough research and appropriate application.
With the NASM certified nutrition coach program, trainers will learn how to implement the newest dietary research and trends into a tailored and personalized program for their clients. With more knowledge, trainers can provide more confident and effective programs and increase value to their role.
What’s Involved in the NASM Nutrition Certification?
To avoid any immediate confusion, it is important to note that NASM has recently transitioned its Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS) program into the Nutrition Certification Program we are reviewing.
As part of this transition, NASM has moved their nutrition certification entirely online, making it more convenient for students to access the material anywhere and from multiple devices. As part of this move to a completely digital product, NASM has provided the highest quality resources that focus on ease of learning and engagement.
In contrast to many other nutrition programs available, NASM provides high-quality video resources, clear and professional infographics, and a plethora of other downloadable resources to appeal to any learning type.
When looking over reviews of the nutrition certification program, students are often impressed with the quality of the resources, especially within the program’s price point.
What Topics Are Covered?
Through customer feedback, it is very apparent that the NASM program covers a large number of topics, from nutritional science to strategies for changing dietary behaviors. The course’s focus is on how to provide clients with sound, professional advice to transform their diet to suit their new healthy lifestyle.
These topics are delivered to students through a 24-chapter digital book, full of engaging and immersive teaching techniques and resources. Once students have been provided basic knowledge, they are then advised on actional strategies to implement with their clients, quickly turning theory into practicality.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of some of the topics covered in the program:
Section 1: Nutritional Science
- This section covers a vast array of topics, including macronutrients, energy balance, metabolism, supplements, and hydration. In this section, students are introduced to the most recent nutritional research and technology.
Section 2: Behavior Change Strategies
- Now armed with the knowledge, students are taken through strategies to help create real change in their clients. Students learn to communicate effectively, set realistically motivating goals, and instill behavior change to complete a lifestyle turnaround.
Section 3: Nutrition Coaching
- In the final section, students learn how to communicate nutrition science with their clients effectively and help them think for themselves. After covering topics such as portion size, appropriate label reading, nutritional controversies, and weight loss goals, the student can effectively align their goals with those of the clients and move forward effectively.
For a full list of the covered topics, see the course breakdown for the NASM Nutrition Certification here.
How Long Does the Program Take to Complete?
Like most other digital courses, this certification program is set up to be self-paced. However, it is recommended that students complete it over 6-12 weeks of dedicated study. Students have 365 days from enrollment to complete the final exam.
We recommend students to treat this course the same way you would a college class and dedicate a certain amount of time every day for study. This instills a sense of discipline and accountability, as well as allows for proper retention of information.
Evaluation, Final Exam & Certification
Following each chapter, students are prompted to take a chapter quiz, which can be taken as many times as necessary for the student to grasp the material.
Once all course material chapter quizzes have been completed, students are then granted access to the practice exam, which can be taken as many times as the student desires. The “unlimited” attempt practice exam allows students to become familiar with the format and test their understanding of the content before moving on to the final exam.
When the student feels prepared, they can move on to take the final exam online, from the comfort of their own home. The NASM Nutrition Certification Final Exam comprises 100 multiple choice questions and requires a minimum passing percentage of 70%.
Students are given a time limit of 90 minutes to complete the exam and a maximum of 365 days from the initial program date of purchase to complete the final exam.
If a student should fail to pass the exam, they are allowed two additional attempts. This usually is plenty of time and opportunity for students to learn from their mistakes and master the material.
How much does the NASM Nutrition Certification cost?
The Nutrition Certification is priced at $899 and can be paid upfront or through 4 to 12-week payment plans.
At the time of writing, the Nutrition Certification program is being offered with a substantial discount and is available for purchase for only $584.
Who Should Purchase the Nutrition Certification Program?
If you are a newly certified personal trainer, or a fitness professional looking to diversify their offerings, a nutritional certification course can increase your industry value. In addition to providing varied income streams, professionals earn credibility through continuing to educate themselves. With such a dynamic field as exercise nutrition, coaches need to keep their knowledge relevant.
The program is also an excellent resource for anyone interested in nutritional science and furthering their expertise on dietary trends. Regardless of whether someone is a fitness professional, this will help anyone understand more about their own diet and implement better habits.
For those looking for a comprehensive nutritional program to supplement their personal training career, or to just provide them a large amount of information to be used to craft a healthier lifestyle, the NASM Nutrition Certification is well priced, well researched, and well respected. With decades of experience behind them, NASM carries with it an air of credible professionalism that many other programs can’t offer.
A Few Downsides
Even though the program is well constructed, it does not carry with it an international accreditation. The lack of accreditation makes it easier for students to take the test at home rather than at a testing facility, but also provides less credibility than competitive accredited programs. However, as this program is designed to be supplemental to a certified personal trainer, it is not meant to provide an alternative to a degree or diploma in nutritional science.
In the current digital age, products are moving online and staying there, providing fewer hands-on teaching options. For those who enjoy textbook learning and a classroom approach, this may not be the program for you.
The Major Upsides
The NASM Nutrition Certification is a highly respected program that will arm fitness professionals with essential knowledge, dietary trends, and behavioral change strategies. The program is immersive and engaging and written by well respected nutritional experts. Given the price point, this program is full of value.
In addition to receiving the online certification, students can also receive up to 1.9 worth of CEUs (Continuing Education Unit).
The program is self-paced and can be flexible with varying lifestyles and job commitments. For those who require them, 4 to 12-month payment plans can be provided.