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- Be able to discuss the roles of macronutrients, micronutrients, and hydration in the achievement and maintenance of optimal health.
- Be able to compare the scope of practice of allied health professions and certified personal trainers when giving nutrition education.
- Know nutrition information’s reliability, validity, and credibility from various sources.
- Be able to communicate with your clients the information on different levels of nutrition.
- Find the strategies that empower clients to make nutritional decisions affecting body composition.
Introduction to Nutrition
Nutrition is the process of acquiring nutrients through the food we eat and the food substances required to support the energy needs and cell processes we do every day.
Nutrition science studies how living creatures obtain and then metabolize nutrients to support growth and cell activities.
Nutrition plays a role in optimizing our performance in exercise and sports and modify body composition by increasing lean muscle mass or losing body fat.
Scope of Practice: Personal Trainers and Registered Dietitians
The scope of practice refers to the areas, actions, and processes that the practitioners may undertake or do that are within the bounds of their license or certification.
Some nutrition credentials to know about are registered dietitians, certified nutritionists, CISSN, CNS, and a CDN or LDN.
The scope of practice for fitness professionals lies in two separate areas: the field of physical assessments and the development of programs for exercise training based on the goals and abilities of clients.
Nutrition is still an important part for trainers to be knowledgeable in, and this is because the clients will often ask for general advice in this realm.
Some things we cannot do as trainers are:
- Writing the specific meal plans and menus for the day
- Prescribing supplements or vitamins for the treatment of chronic diseases
- Prescribing low cal diets or very low cal diets
- Prescribing any form of fasting or detox, or related areas
- Prescribing diets that take out certain food groups together
- Advising against the recommendations set by a healthcare professional
- Prescribe nutrition therapy of any form for clients
- Counseling or treating clients who have some form of eating disorder
- Prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach to eating food
Nutrition information must be looked into and credible information will be rooted in and supported by actual empirical science.
The things to consider for credible nutrition information are:
The source of the information
The qualifications held by the person giving the information
If the information is supported by other peer-reviewed research
Have other professionals reviewed the information
The macronutrients we will focus on are fats, carbs, and proteins. Alcohol will also be discussed.
Protein has an energy yield of 4 calories for every gram.
Carbs have an energy yield of 4 calories for every gram.
Lipid has an energy yield of 9 calories for every gram.
Alcohol has an energy yield of 7 calories for every gram.
Protein serves many important functions in the body, the most important one being the synthesis and repair of cells, tissues, and structures. Some other functions are synthesizing hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and peptides and transporting the many compounds throughout the body like lipids and minerals.
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Structure of Protein
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. These will contain hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen.
We have 20 amino acids that we take in through the diet to use, and 9 of these are essential, so we must make sure to get them because of their inability to be manufactured in the body.
The other 11 amino acids can be made in the body, so they are considered nonessential.
Proteins are considered complete when they have the optimal number of essential amino acids and all of those essential amino acids within.
Proteins are considered to be incomplete when they lack one or more of those essential amino acids.
When someone eats an omnivorous diet, they usually get all of the essential amino acids in their diet, as animal proteins are complete protein sources.
It is still possible to get all the protein needed by combining the various plant protein sources. This is known as mutual supplementation.
Protein quality refers to the amino acid profile and the content of protein sources, and their digestibility in the body. Animal-based protein sources are considered higher in quality since they have all the essential amino acids and are easily absorbed.
The protein efficiency ratio is a value assigned to a protein based on the weight gain of a subject divided by the amount ingested of that particular protein during a test period.
Biological Value measures the digestion and absorption of the amino acids provided by a protein source. BV reflects the amount of the absorbed protein that is used in the synthesis of new proteins in the body.
The Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score compares food’s amino acid composition against a standard amino acid profile, with a score of 100 being the highest value possible. It also assesses the food’s digestibility to provide an overall protein quality value.
Net protein utilization compares the ratio of amino acids that are turned into proteins to the ratio of amino acids provided via dietary intake.
Protein Digestion, Absorption, and Utilization
Proteins must be broken down into smaller molecules like single amino acids, dipeptides, and tripeptides to be utilized in the body.
The protein begins in the mouth by being denatured through mastication, and little happens to the protein via saliva.
Next, the stomach is the main part where the breakdown happens. This is through the use of hydrochloric acid, which breaks it down into peptide chains.
The small intestine has protease enzymes that continue the breakdown of peptide chains and are then partially absorbed into the body.
Last, we have absorption of the remaining parts via the portal vein and the processing through the liver and to the bloodstream to then be used.
When protein is used for energy, it is again a last resort for the body. The process to do this is known as gluconeogenesis.
Protein Dietary Needs
The need for protein people depends on their size, age, caloric needs, current body composition, health status, and injury status.
The basic RDA for a person will be 0.8 grams for every kg of body weight. This would maintain the nitrogen balance in the body.
For strength and resistance athletes, we see the need rising to 1.6 – 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
For endurance athletes, we see the need for protein is 1.2 – 1.4 grams for every kg of body weight.
For most other people wanting to build and maintain muscle mass, the needs are usually 1.4 – 2 grams per every kg of body weight.
Carbs are a term for energy yielding compounds that have carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. These are the main source of fuel for the body during activity.
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These come in the form of simple sugars, complex sugars, glycogen, and fiber.
The simple sugars are glucose, fructose, and galactose.
The disaccharides are sucrose, maltose, and lactose.
The polysaccharides are starch, glycogen, and fiber.
Fiber is important to understand as it is not a source of energy but is still a carb. It comes in different forms and helps with things like digestion.
Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water to form a gel; associated with heart health benefits and glucose control.
Insoluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that does not dissolve in water; associated with promoting bowel regularity.
Carbohydrate Digestion, Absorption, and Utilization
To be used as energy, the carbs need to be broken down into smaller units, just like the protein, and then they will be absorbed into the body.
When we take in excess carbs, the body will store these as adipose tissues to be used later.
Glucose and Blood Sugar
Glucose is immediately used to cause a rise in blood sugar levels as soon as carbs are taken in. this is true for simpler sugars. For the more complex ones, this might take a bit longer.
The glycemic index is a rating system for how quickly a carbohydrate will raise a person’s glucose levels when taken in independently.
Low GI foods are those with a score of 55.
A score of 56 – 69 would make it a medium GI food.
And a score of 70 or higher is a high GI food.
Dietary Carbohydrate Needs
The need for carbs will depend on the size of the person, their energy needs, and the level of activity they get.
We need 3 – 5 grams per kg of body weight for someone getting light exercise.
For someone that does moderately intense exercise for 1 – 2 hours per day on 5 – 6 days a week, we see a need for 5 – 7 grams per kg of body weight.
For someone who gets somewhat high intensity endurance exercise for 1 – 3 hours per day, 5 – 6 days each week, we see a need for 6 – 10 grams per kg of body weight.
For moderate to high intensity work for more than 3 hours each day and 2 sessions per day on 5 – 6 days per week, we see a need for 8 – 12 grams per kg of body weight per day.
Lipids are also known as fats and a concentrated energy source for active people.
Structure of Lipids
All lipid categories are slightly different in their structure and function for the body. Triglycerides are fats with a glycerol backbone and three fatty acid chains.
Phospholipids are fatty acids with a glycerol backbone, two fatty acid chains, and a phosphate molecule.
Sterols have a ringlike structure of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
It is important to go through the charts in the online textbook to see the charts they have made on the different forms of fats.
Lipid Digestion, Absorption, and Utilization
Most of the digestion and absorption of these fats happens in the small intestine using the pancreatic enzymes to break the long chained fats into smaller molecules for better absorption.
Lingual lipase is another thing that starts the breakdown of these chains, and this is found in the saliva when the food enters the mouth.
Lipid Dietary Needs
The AMDR for fats is at 20 – 35% of the total daily calories for many healthy adults.
The problem with fats in the diet comes from saturated fats. These should be limited.
Certain fats like omega 3 are going to be absolutely essential in the diet for their functions.
Micronutrients and Hydration
The micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
These can be put in two forms. Fat soluble vitamins require the presence of fat to be absorbed and stored in the body. The water-soluble vitamins leave the body much more quickly.
The fat-soluble vitamins are the A, D, E, and K vitamins.
These are compounds that are found in either plants or animals. We have both trace and major minerals, which are classified based on being needed in tiny amounts or somewhat small amounts. All minerals are needed in much smaller amounts than that vitamins.
It is important to go through and know a bit about each of the very valuable minerals and vitamins throughout this chapter.
Water is needed for life, so it is an essential nutrient.
Some of the important functions of water in the body are:
- Regulating the temperature of the body
- Transporting and distributing the water-soluble nutrients
- Maintaining the blood volume
- Lubricating the joints, membranes, and the synovial tissues
- Absorbing shock for the body
- Removing waste products and toxins from the body
The recommended fluid intake for men and women is 11.5 cups per day for women and 15.5 for men.
We can see our hydration status most easily by looking at the color of our urine.
Dehydrated colors are darker yellow to even brown color.
We need to know the proper ways to hydrate based on the events we are training for. To help with this, we can check our sweat lost during similar events and always aim to replace the amount of fluid lost during exercise.
All clients are different in their genetic makeup and lifestyle, which will play a role in the overall body composition, basal metabolic rate, height, weight, and the ability to either lose or gain weight.
Factors Influencing Weight Management
- Law of thermodynamics
- Poor sleep
- Endocrine disorders
- Adaptive thermogenesis
The food labels work to contain the information on ingredients and nutritional content of the food in the package. Labels help to make more informed decisions.
US food labels
Some of the most notable things on nutrition facts panels are:
- Serving in the container
- Amount of the total macronutrients and relevant subgroups of them
- Sodium in the food
- Serving sizes
- Cholesterol in the food
- Total sugars and added sugars as a subgroup for the carbs
- The amount and percent daily value for the main vitamins and minerals that need watching are based on current research and trends in foods.
Percent daily value is a useful tool that the clients need to use for comparing different products and how much of certain nutrients are contained within food.
UK Food Labels
These labels differ a bit from the US labels.
In the US, the food is based on the specified serving sizes, whereas in Europe, they often use it based on a certain weight, like 100 grams or mL.
The European side of the labeling uses percent reference intakes.
A useful new way to find the ideal things in food is through color-coding labels. This shows what is vital for the consumer to know about the products, like being high in some good nutrients or low in some good nutrients.