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How to become a nutrition coach in 2020 – The Full Guide

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    How to become a nutrition coach

    The world of fitness isn’t just restricted to becoming a personal trainer anymore. Back in the day, if you wanted a job in a gym other than a regular gym employee, the only way was to become a personal trainer. Luckily, that’s all changed!

    Now, there is any number of jobs that you can get certified for and start helping people get healthier. Of course, we have already mentioned the personal trainer but what about a group fitness specialist or an athletics coach.

    And if you like the idea of helping people get healthier by monitoring their eating and nutrition, then a job as a nutrition coach is just for you.

    You can simply get a nutrition certification for personal trainers.

    So in this blog, we are going to take a look at what it takes to become a nutrition coach as well as what your daily activities will entail.

    But perhaps most importantly, we will delve into what nutrition certifications it is you need to qualify for the position and which of these you should really consider. Check out my free nutrition certification study guides that will help with studying.

    Make sure to take the quiz to find which nutrition certification is the best option for you. Also, read my must-read article on the top nutrition certifications. The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training/nutrition that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

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      So, what exactly is a nutrition coach?

      So what exactly is a nutrition coach?

      Let’s start right at the beginning.

      Now you may already have formulated some ideas as to what it is that a nutrition or health coach actually does. And you might even be right with some of them.

      But before we get into looking at certifications, daily activities and the rest, let’s first look at what a nutrition coach does.

      Related: 4 Best Strength and Conditioning Certifications (CSCS, PES, SCCC)

      Lead others to a healthier lifestyle

      The main aim of a certified nutrition specialist is to lead their clients to a healthier way of living.

      Most people eat a very poorly balanced diet. And we can see it all over the world with obesity levels sky-rocketing.

      In the United States alone, according to the Health Data website, over 160 million people are overweight. But let’s break it down further.

      That’s three-quarters of the male population and almost two-thirds of the female population. Those numbers are staggering.

      And obesity leads to many other health issues. These include:

      • Diabetes
      • Heart problems
      • Muscle and joint problems
      • High blood pressure
      • Stroke risk
      • Sleep apnea
      • Kidney disease
      • Fatty liver disease
      • And more…

      There are people out there needing help. And often, they do not know which way to turn.

      Losing weight by yourself, although achievable, is difficult. And so they turn to nutrition coaches and personal trainers to help them eat healthier and engage in an exercise program to help them lose the pounds.

      And it’s more than just counting calories.

      Other health issues which good nutrition can help combat

      Other health issues which good nutrition can help combat

      While dealing with overweight clients is a large part of the nutrition coaches’ portfolio, they can help with other health issues as well.

      Hormonal imbalance

      Nutrition can play a massive role in people suffering from severe hormonal imbalances. In many cases, this can be brought on by a lack of certain important nutrients from their diet.

      A classic example of this is omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

      These are crucial for hormones to work in the manner in which they should, helping to ensure stability. If they are missing from someone’s diet, then hormonal imbalance can occur.

      Digestion problems

      Sadly, many people struggle when it comes to digestion and other common occurrences like irritable bowel syndrome.

      Again, this is often down to poor nutrition.

      Take something like irritable bowel syndrome. This can be managed through a specific eating plan.

      For example, a certified nutrition coach would prepare an eating plan for an irritable bowel syndrome sufferer that would include more fiber to help clear their bowels as well as cutting out all gluten, a common cause of the syndrome.

      That eating plan would also promote foods that help with the syndrome instead of contributing towards them.

      Food allergies

      Another example of where a nutrition or macro coach can help is with food allergies. It’s something that more and more people are starting to suffer from.

      And it can be a nightmare, especially in a family situation where only one person struggles with it. Here, a nutrition coach can not only help draw up sample eating plans for the sufferers but also adjust the family eating habits so that no separate meals need to be made.

      Because, in today’s modern age, there’s just no time for that.

      That’s just some of the basic ways in which macro coaching can help the public. Now let’s look at their daily tasks.

      Daily activities of a nutrition coach

      Daily activities of a nutrition coach

      Now that we know who it is that a nutrition coach can help out, let’s take a look at their activities that they will perform on a daily basis. And these will vary from client to client so remember, this is just a general overview.

      Assessing clients

      When they have a new client, the first thing a nutrition coach will do is sit down with that client and really take some time to chat to them, hear their story and find out exactly why they think they need a nutrition coach.

      As we have mentioned above, clients will come to a nutrition coach for various reasons.

      For many, it might be about wanting to improve their eating habits as a way to help them to lose or control their weight. And the opposite of that is also true, some clients might want guidance for a way forward for them to put on some weight.

      Others might have decided that they need to make their health an important factor in their lives and starting with the correct nutrition is the easiest way to do this.

      And still, for other clients, it might be a range of health issues that a nutrition coach can help them overcome by ensuring they are eating the right foods, for example, someone who suffers from gluten intolerance.

      Set goals

      Once a nutrition coach has fully assessed their client, its time to discuss goals.

      And this is a joint collaboration between their client and themselves. Goals can be as simple or complicated as the nutrition coach likes, it all depends on the individual’s needs.

      For example, it could be something as simple as “eat healthier meals”.

      Study and become nutrition certified while at home. Online certification sales:

      Right now you can save on the on the NASM CNC certification!
      Here is the link to the NASM CNC sale

      Get the ISSA CPT and get their Nutrition Cert FREE. The CPT and Nutrtition combo will greatly increase you earnings and marketability.
      Here is the link to the ISSA CPT/Nutrition deal

      ACE nutrition certification sale

      Goals are a necessity, however, and should never be skipped. It’s the best way to keep the client accountable, otherwise, the chances are that they fail and veer off the nutrition program just increase.

      Draw up eating plans

      Draw up eating plans

      Once a client has been assessed properly, it is time to prepare the eating plan that will meet their nutritional requirements.

      This is obviously based on what it is they want to achieve by hiring a nutrition coach. Each plan is unique to every individual and revolves around the goals set in the previous step.

      This step is crucial as it gives the client all the informational tools they need to make a success of their eating plan.

      Follow-up meetings

      Once a client has all the information they need from a nutritional point of view to reach their goals, they go away for a period and implement the nutrition coach’s plan.

      But that’s obviously not the end of it all!

      A client and a nutritional coach will meet often for follow-ups to see just how everything is going. These meetings will include weighing in to determine a client’s body mass, measuring certain parts of the body and more.

      For example, someone wanting to lose weight will want to see movement downwards on a scale as well as parts of their body shrinking with regard to their size in inches.

      A person wanting to build muscle might want to see their weight increased slightly, a sign of muscle growth and their biceps or other targeted muscles getting bigger in size when measured.

      These sessions are also used to motivate clients who are struggling, helping them to push through any difficulties they might be experiencing.

      So all-in-all, that’s just a basic summary of what a nutrition coach does on a daily basis. And certainly, no two days are ever the same!

      Similar Read: 5 Best Sports Nutrition Certification Programs for the year 2020

      How to get certified as a nutrition coach

      The next important question that we need to cover is what certification you would need to qualify as a nutrition coach. And here, we recommend two.

      • National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach
      • International Sports Sciences Association Certified Nutritionist

      They are among the best nutrition certification programs online you can be proud of at any time.

      They offer fitness and nutrition certification for personal trainers.

      The steps on how to become a nutrition coach are not as difficult as people think.

      Let’s look at them in a little more depth.

      National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach

      National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach

      The first we will look at is the Certified Nutrition Coach from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

      According to NASM nutrition certification reviews, this comprehensive certification will provide you with everything you need to become a certified nutrition coach.

      It’s incredibly comprehensive and will give you all the information and tools to help clients with various reasons to visit a nutrition coach, be it weight loss, muscle gain or just to ensure they are eating healthily.

      But it’s more than that as well. It will prepare you to deal with clients on a psychological level, to get into their minds, find out what it is that makes them struggle with food and nutrition and then empower them to break the shackles holding them back.

      It is part of the excellent accredited nutrition certifications for a NASM fitness nutrition specialist.

      What study materials are provided?

      What I really like about the NASM Certified Nutrition Coach certification is the scope of the course and the number of study aids provided to help prepare you for the final exam.

      So can you expect in this online nutrition certification?

      Well, the course is all done online, meaning you can do it at your leisure, taking as long as you need to ensure you are prepared to pass the final certification exam.

      Knowing when and how to get nutrition certification online is made easy with this body.

      The course itself is broken down into 24 chapters, all found in your course ebook.

      But it’s not just loads of content to read.

      Embedded into the ebook are interactive videos, a range of information templates and infographics to aid your understanding as well as relevant quizzes to help you see if you grasp the coursework.

      These quizzes take the form of quick, in-chapter questions as well as larger, more complex quizzes at the end of each of the 24 chapters the course covers, all of which are vital preparation for the final certification exam.

      There are around 15 questions per chapter.

      Last, but certainly not least in terms of importance, NASM will provide a 100 question practice exam much like the real thing. You can work through this as many times as you like, which will help you ensure you have all the knowledge for your final grading.

      Check out my free NASM CNC study guide here.

      And the cost?

      Currently, the NASM Certified Nutrition Coach certification costs $899.

      While it is a little more expensive than other similar sports nutrition certification courses, it’s well worth it on the content presented alone. Plus you have the excellent chapter tests as well as the 100 question practice exam to help you prepare.

      And when it comes to the final certification exam itself, you have three attempts to get the 70% required for you to receive your certification.

      Note that every two years, you will need to redo the exam to keep that certification.

      Check out the current price for the NASM CNC here.

      International Sports Sciences Association Certified Nutritionist

      International Sports Sciences Association Certified Nutritionist

      The next certification that we will take a look at is that of the Certified Nutritionist from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

      Without a doubt, this is one of the top nutrition certifications or weight loss coach certification available online. It will provide you with all the information you need to become a certified nutritionist.

      Best of all, you can accomplish this in around 10 weeks although you have six months to finish the course once you have signed up.

      And the ISSA provides many extras as well. These include helping you set up a professional website, the perfect way to help you get your practice off the ground once you graduate.

      The course itself is developed from the classwork of Precision Nutrition founder, Dr. John Berardi and in practice, has helped over 100,000 people reach their nutritional goals.

      What study materials are provided?

      So once you have signed up, what will you be provided with from a study point of view to pass the final exam?

      Well, this certification course is broken down into 17 comprehensive units that cover a range of nutrition topics. These include everything from learning about cell structure, macro and micronutrients, energy balance, aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and much more.

      These units come in both an online ebook as well as a hardcopy that totals close to 500 pages.

      To prepare for the final certification test, you will receive access to a range of quizzes as well as practice exams. These will help you to master each unit and ensure that anything that you might come across in the final exam would have already been covered.

      Any other questions you might have can be answered by professionals in the online student forum or by using the online help function provided by ISSA. Once you are qualified, you can still make use of this facility if you have any queries later on.

      And the cost?

      And the cost?

      When it comes to cost, ISSA’s Certified Nutritionist course is slightly cheaper than the Certified Nutrition Coach accreditation offered by NASM and currently retails for $799.

      You can pay it off over 12 months at an interest-free rate of $66.58 per month.

      Once you have completed the course, you receive access to the final certification exam which is actually an open book test without any time limit and can be completed in sessions if need be.

      The exam itself includes multiple-choice, true or false and a range of other question methods. It also includes a case study and a long essay.

      Study and become nutrition certified while at home. Online certification sales:

      Right now you can save on the on the NASM CNC certification!
      Here is the link to the NASM CNC sale

      Get the ISSA CPT and get their Nutrition Cert FREE. The CPT and Nutrtition combo will greatly increase you earnings and marketability.
      Here is the link to the ISSA CPT/Nutrition deal

      ACE nutrition certification sale

      Should you fail, you may take the exam again at no extra cost. Any other attempts after this will cost $149.

      Learning how to become a nutrition consultant at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Accreditation is also beneficial.

      Check out the current price for the ISSA nutritionist certification here.

      Final words

      Epic before the conclusion, if you have not done so, take the quiz to find out which nutritional coaching institute certification is right for you and your goals.

      Final words...

      The world of a nutrition coach is certainly never dull and it’s becoming a more and more popular career in the world of fitness.

      That said, you need to become a certified nutritionist before you even think about entering it.

      Clients want to know that the person helping them is a professional with personal training and nutrition certification and possesses the knowledge and skill to help them turn their lives around from a nutritional point of view.

      And when planning on how to become a nutrition coach, you certainly cannot go wrong with either of these nutrition courses from NASM or ISSA.

      Both are excellent and provide you with all the knowledge you need to become an expert in nutrition.

      As more personal trainers obtain these nutritional certifications, it gets easier to find a nutrition coach near me.

      Having a nutrition coach certification will make it easy to get nutrition coach jobs.

      An online nutrition coach salary is worth your while if you have the right certifications.

      Check out these helpful Tips: How to Sell Personal Training – Let’s get you clients!

      You can ask me any questions bothering your mind on nutrition in the comment box below the FAQs section.

      How to Become a Nutrition Coach FAQ

      Who is a nutrition coach?

      A nutrition coach assists clients with plans for achieving a healthy lifestyle using both dietary and non-dietary areas of life which is essential in making healthy choices of food that are beneficial to the overall well-being of your body.

      How do I become a nutrition coach?

      You will become a nutrition coach by studying and then obtaining a certification from either of these certifying bodies:

      • National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach
      • International Sports Sciences Association Certified Nutritionist

      How long does it take to become a nutrition coach?

      The Certified Nutrition Coach Program from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) will take you 6-12 weeks on intensive self-paced study online.

      The Certified Nutritionist program from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) can be completed in 10 weeks.

      What is required of a certified nutrition coach?

      A certified nutrition coach should have a background in personal training, group fitness training or be an athletics coach.

      What are the steps to take to get a Nutrition coach certification?

      The steps to be a certified nutrition coach are as follow:

      • Choose a certification of your choice based on your qualifications and passion
      • Choose the package that suits you and study for the exams
      • Choose a date that is convenient for you to write the exams
      • Pass the exams and you become a certified nutritionist

      What is the cost of becoming a certified nutrition coach?

      The NASM Certified Nutrition Coach certification costs $899, while ISSA’s Certified Nutritionist course is a bit more affordable at $799.

      How much is a nutrition coach salary?

      The certified nutrition coach salary per year is averagely around $58,000 in the United States of America. However, it depends on the state you are working out from. Some states pay a little above that and others cannot match it. Like every other thing in the country, a coach’s salary is also relative. Do your research first.

      What is the role of a certified nutritionist?

      The roles of a certified nutritionist are as follows:

      • Assessment of client’s health
      • Setting goals
      • Drawing up of an eating plan
      • Having follow-up meetings with clients

      What does it entail to be an online nutrition coach?

      As an online nutrition coach, clients are able to leverage your expertise to achieve both nutrition and diet goals.
      You will help them to modify or correct bad eating habits that can cause health challenges, food allergies, hormonal imbalance, and digestive issues and these can be achieved without leaving the comfort of your home.

      Which nutrition coach certification body is available?

      The two bodies available to receive a nutrition coach certification are:

      • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
      • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

      What is the pass rate for the certified nutritionist exam?

      With intensive studying and preparation for the exams, you have a 70% pass rate for both certifications.
      However, if you choose to use the Trainer Academy PT study materials, you have a 99% exam pass rate assurance.

      Are there study materials available for the nutrition coach certification?

      Yes! The two bodies have comprehensive e-books, interactive videos, quizzes and practice tests that you have access to immediately you register for the certification program of your choice.

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      24 thoughts on “How to become a nutrition coach in 2020 – The Full Guide”

      1. Hi Tyler,

        I am a freshman in college trying to major in Kinesiology. I am however doubting if I really want to go to college. Can I just become a certified nutritionist coach without a bachelor degree?
        I am wanting to become certified as a message therapist and currently am a certified medical assistant.

        1. Hello Karen,
          there is a difference between a certified nutritionist and a nutrition coach. If you are to get one of these certifications that I talk about on my website, that will make you a nutrition coach. Meaning that you can create diet plans for individuals that have certain goals such as losing weight building muscle overall eating healthier etc. It does not give you the ability to prescribe a diet to fix some sort of ailment or disease that a client may have. In order to be able to do something like this, you need to be a certified nutritionist which requires a lot of schooling. But, if your overall goal is to work in the health and fitness space and to give advice on nutrition and create diets to help people reach certain goals, yes these certifications are all you would need. For example, I went to school for kinesiology. Afterwards, the best option for getting a job was personal training. I realize that all you needed in order to become a personal trainer was a legitimate certification such as the ones I talked about on this website. Not to say that my schooling in kinesiology did not help me become a better trainer, it definitely did. It just was not necessary in order to get hired for the job. I hope this breakdown helps a little bit and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      2. Hi
        You mention the ISSA certification is based in the work of the Precision Nutrition founder. Is there a reason the PN certifications are not included in your article, or it’s just happen stance? Thanks!

        1. Hey Jay,
          you can definitely choose to go with precision nutrition. I usually prefer the cheaper option that follows a similar curriculum such as the international sports sciences Association. But, precision nutrition is definitely a fantastic certification option as well.

      3. Hi Tyler!
        Thanks for information!
        I wd like to know if need to get a licence to work with the Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM) in Florida? Or only with the certification Can I work?
        Thanks !

        1. Hello Andrews,
          the information about personal training certifications and nutrition certifications generally applied to all the states in the United States evenly. There may be some exceptions with some gems and some states not accepting one certification or the other. For specific situations I definitely recommend calling the gymnasium or place that you would like to work to see what certifications they prefer and which certifications they accept in general.

      4. Hi Tyler,
        I have done L1 nutrition coach in Precision Nutrition recently. How to proceed in the job market, please suggest & advise me.

        1. Hello,
          I suggest going around to different gymnasiums asking if they need to fill the role of a nutrition consultant. Most gymnasiums have personal trainers and you can always work as a trainer and add nutrition into your package that you sell. Or you can just do the nutrition portion but you need to get clients. Most people that are looking for nutrition advice tend to already be signed up for some sort of health club or gymnasium. I hope this helps.

      5. Hi Tyler

        I am looking for a nutrition certificate that will let me work in any country. An International (including Asia) nutrition certificate will do me great as I am travelling a lot and staying in different countries. Which Fitness certification provider will you suggest.

        Thank you

        1. The biggest suggestion I have is that you need to check which country or which region accepts which certifications. Sure some certifications are more widely accepted than others. But in general, it all depends on the fitness facility or the region that you will in for which certifications they accept.

      6. Hey! I am looking to become a nutrition coach online mostly. I have a bachelors in nutrition, but I am not a certified nutritionist or a registered dietician. It is my understanding I do not need to become either in order to start nutrition coaching, these would just help me become a better coach and have better credentials. Is this correct? I just don’t want to have to go through a nutrition certification at the moment as I feel I have the knowledge from my bachelors in nutrition, I also plan to get certified In Personal training with NASM. So, I feel that the bachelors in science along with my personal training certification could be enough credentials to be a nutrition coach? Thoughts on this? Thanks so much man!

        1. It definitely all comes down to where you work. 95% of employers in the united states require some sort of accredited personal training certification before you can get hired with them. It’s a little bit more relaxed with nutrition coaching that’s for sure. But with personal training, they are pretty strict. I definitely recommend getting a certification though as it will help you learn a lot more and you’ll get better results with your clients as a result.

      7. Hi Tyler!
        I’m interesting in become a coach in nutrition Netherlands. I already did several online courses and in addition to that, I’ve just completed the ISSA coourse in nutrition (only the final exam is missing so finger crossed).
        Could you please advise me for the next steps? where and how can I get some experience ? should I need maybe any courses about coaching?
        Thank you in advance for your help!
        Ciao

        1. I suggest you start working with friends and family giving them nutrition guidelines in plans. That is always a good way to get practical experience. Do you know anybody or have any friends that are in the field over there in the Netherlands?

      8. Michelle Canete

        You say in your post that the Nutritional Coach cert is accredited. I spoke to someone from NASM and they confirmed it is NOT. Their personal training cert is accredited but their nutritional one isn’t. Is this something that can impact an employer hiring a Nutrition Coach if the certification is not accredited?

        1. NASM is a well-recognized organization and I know that their nutrition certification is very well respected. It baffles me why they are not accredited but I’m sure they have a reason or will be soon.

          1. Hi,
            I’m an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. I’m planing to do nutrition certification but I’m confused on what to choose.
            NASM CNC Or ISSA NS Or ACE FNS.
            Which will be good for career wise long term and among these three which should I pursue ISSA or NASM or ACE , if I choose ISSA will this certification give CEC for my ACE CPT. I’m renewing my ACE CPT for the second time will ISSA Nutrition specialist require renewals after two years?

            Can you help me out with this?

            Thanks in advance

            1. Yes, you should be able to get continuing education credits using any of these certifications. Almost every certification requires you to renew it after a certain. Of time using continuing education. Honestly, all of these options are fantastic choices if you want to become a nutrition coach. If you already have experience with Ace, you could always stick with them.

      9. Hi sir
        I am 12th passed(arts streem) certified fitness professional
        If there is any nutrition courses available for me in India Delhi…. Please mention it… Thank you very much

        1. Hey there, you will definitely need to check with your local employers to see which certifications they accept. My content is generally geared towards people in North America.

      10. Hi there,
        I am Spanish and asked Tyler about which Nutrition Cert would be better at an international level. And his info was very thorough and comprehensive. It has really helped me decide. I am still hesitating whether to combine it with a Yoga instructor Cert…we’ll see! Thanks Tyler.

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