The NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach is a sports nutrition certification that gives you the skills and knowledge required to help athletes achieve better results in their athletic performance and improve their ability to recover training.

In this complete NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach review, I look at each aspect of the certification to help you decide whether it makes sense for your career.

I base my review on having taken and passed this certification along with over a dozen other fitness certifications. I’ve also worked in the field of personal training and nutrition coaching for over 12 years, so I have deep experience with the curriculum and application of many different nutrition certifications.

In this review breakdown, I’ll walk you through the following areas of the NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach program:

  • NASM CSNC cost vs value – is it worth it?
  • Quality of curriculum and study materials
  • How hard is the NASM Sports Nutrition Certification?
  • How NASM CSNC compares to other nutrition certifications

By the time you finish reading this review, you’ll have all the information you need to determine whether the NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach certification makes sense for your career.

If you have not become a personal trainer and need help choosing which certification is best for your fitness career, be sure to take my quiz and find out!

Let’s dive in!

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

What is the NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach Certification?

The National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Sports Nutrition Coach (NASM CSNC) is a comprehensive, evidence-based performance nutrition program that is designed for coaches and trainers who work with athletes and other clients that want to focus their nutrition plan on improving physical performance in a sport or within their overall lifestyle.

The sports nutrition coach credential is a newer offering from NASM and differs in focus from their well-known NASM Certified Nutrition Coach program, which aims more at general fitness clientele who need help with weight loss or healthy eating habits and may not care as much about the performance aspects of sports nutrition.

NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach

NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach

  • Exam cost: $539
  • Study material cost: Included with exam
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Exam pass rate: Not known
  • Average completion time: 4-6 weeks

NASM credibility and reputation

As an organization, the National Academy of Sports Medicine has been around since 1987 and has carved itself out as a major player in the fitness certification market, including a great foundation level nutrition science certificate.

Their flagship offering is the NASM Certified Personal Trainer Certification, but that is just one of many different offerings from NASM, which now has dozens of NCCA accredited certifications and specializations in their catalog, including multiple nutrition courses respected by health clubs, fitness employers, gyms, and fitness experts alike.

This is often referred to as the “NASM difference,” and includes their exceptional member services assistance that reviews any issues you may have during the course, as well as their approach with the famed NASM OPT Model.

Regardless, NASM fitness certifications are among the most reputable and well-respected certification providers in the fitness industry, and any certification that has the NASM brand behind it is generally a solid option for adding to your training skillset.

Great for
  • Coaching athletes on performance nutrition
  • Supplementing a strength and conditioning career
Not Great for
  • General population nutrition coaching

Is NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach worth it?

If you want to add nutrition coaching to your list of offerings for clients, then the NASM CSNC can definitely be worth it.

In general, I highly recommend pursuing multiple certifications that co-align with your target clientele. It’s overall the fastest and most efficient way to increase your personal trainer income and create a successful career in the fitness industry.

With that said, if you have not yet completed your personal trainer certification, I would take a look at the NASM Elite Trainer program, which allows you to bundle multiple NASM certifications into a single package and get a huge discount.

Trainers who opt for the Elite bundle from NASM end up succeeding much sooner in their careers than those who do simply go for just a personal trainer or nutrition certification alone.

4.7out of 5

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Credibility and Reputation5
Study Materials4.5
Exam Process4.5

NASM CSNC vs Other Fitness Specializations

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to navigating the world of fitness certifications is how many specializations you have to choose from.

Generally speaking, I advise you to pick the specializations that best align with your career goals.

When it comes to sports nutrition certifications, the NASM CSNC is probably one of the best. Some other options you could look at as you consider which sports nutrition certification makes the most sense for you are the NCSF Sports Nutrition Coach, or the ISSA Nutritionist Certification.

Who is NASM Sports Nutrition Certification meant for?

The NASM Sports Nutrition Certification is meant for any fitness professional that works with athletes or performance-minded individuals and wants to implement nutrition programming and coaching to help their clients improve performance.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Cost

The NASM Sports Nutrition Certification costs $629 paid-in-full or $55 per month for 11 months with $25 down.  

The monthly payments options are great in addition to the already reasonable cost for the program.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification review – content coverage

The NASM Sports Nutrition course content spans 5 sections and a total of 20 chapters.

Section 1: Performance Nutrition Profession

The first section spans chapters 1 through 4, beginning with an overall introduction to performance nutrition, discussing the scope of practice for Sports Nutrition Coaches, planning an evidence-informed practice, and understanding the broad spectrum of athletes and performance goals that vary based on physiological, sociological, ethical, and cultural factors.

It’s vital to adhere to your scope of practice and rights associated with being a fitness professional. This means refering clients to doctor or dietician if they exhibit any disease symptoms or require any medical treatment. Under no circumstances are you able to treat or diagnose any disease.

Section 2: Metabolism and Energetics

The second section focuses on the underlying science behind nutrition coaching including the basics of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism and the methods for determining fueling requirements with the goal of optimum performance.

This includes just about everything you need from a nutrition course in terms of growing your understanding and becoming one of the brightest minds for delivering exceptional results for fitness clients with athletic performance goals.

Section 3: Nutrients and Hydration

The third section dives into the proverbial ‘meat-and-potatoes’ of nutrition, which includes macronutrients, micronutrients, and hydration strategies.

Here, the curriculum covers protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and fundamental hydration needs.

You’ll learn what you need to know here when it comes to these foundational knowledge concepts that underlie the science of human nutrition and metabolism. Each client is unique, and having multiple informed sources of information is key for transforming the lives of your clients.

You will also learn key health, diet, meal, exercise, and related strategies. This includes the role of diets in wellness in the context of sports performance. Furthermore, they’ll cover incorporating energy balance into your nutrition programs in a way that anyone can implement.

You also learn about studies and research related to foods like vegetables, fruits, sugar, fats, diabetes, gut health, obesity, and the role of a dietician in sports nutrition. They also cover alcohol and the calories per nutrient, which is key information for completion of the certification course.

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Armed with a full arsenal of knowledge about each macronutrient, you are set to start your performance nutrition coaching career, which is a serious strength for being successful in the fitness industry.

Section 4: Performance Nutrition Strategies

Section 4 is the first of the modules that shifts the focus to putting your newfound knowledge towards the strategies that turn the theory side of things into actual results in terms of physical performance improvements in the clients and athletes you train.

Here, you’ll learn how to time nutrients within a broader periodization plan with the goal of enhancing recovery and performance.

You’ll then learn about the relationship between body composition and athlete types as well as some different methods for assessing body composition, including body composition testing, myths, feedback, and controversies around various products promoted to thousands of folks across the globe.

Next, recovery is key, and NASM will teach you the “Three R’s” of reovery and how they relate to performance nutrition and proper athlete recuperation.

Section 4 also covers how to support injured and ill athletes, determining when to refer to other professionals, and finally, how to think about supplementation using an evidence-informed decision process. Supplements are an important area of knowledge for sports nutrition coaches, so the fact that they cover these is certainly a plus.

Section 5: Putting Science into Practice

The final section takes the collective contents of every previous section and turns it into step-by-step systems, checklists, processes, and programming approaches that turn your hard-earned knowledge into a systematic way to coach clients.

This includes the soft skills of communication and behavior change strategies to ensure your guidance leads to tangible changes in the eating patterns of your clients. Principles of nutrition are great, but you need to translate them into actual results if you are serious about changing lives.

Mechanisms for behavior changes are key for sports nutrition students and is among the number of benefits associated with the topics covered in the NASM curriculum.

By the time you finish section 5, you’ll have the complete framework for delivering exceptional results to your clients and ensuring their success as performance athletes whether they are doing nutrition to prep for workouts or competition.

If you want to coach professionals or get the best employment credentials you can suitable for training in many different countries, then the NASM Sports Nutrition Coach stands out from many other fitness training certifications.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Exam Prep and Study Materials

NASM provides all the materials you need to study and prep for the Sports Nutrition Certification Exam within their online study portal. Overall, you get a chapter-by-chapter video study guide to walk you through the entire curriculum.

The curriculum is pretty solid for people of different learning styles, especially since you can study at your own pace and access all the materials online.

You can take a practice quiz as often as you want in order to ensure your exam prep is paying off and give you more practice with the format and testing your expertise. This is one of the great features of most courses boasting the NASM name. These quizzes serve as great knowledge checks for the study program.

Nutrition experts ensure that the learning platform from NASM covers the science you need, while learning experts make recommendations to ensure the fitness training certifications offered by NASM are exceptional when compared to any fitness company in the industry.

The infographics and videos included in the study material further help ensure that the learning platform delivers an exceptional learning experience.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Requirements

There are no prerequisite requirements to sign up for the NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach program. 

To become a NASM CSNC, you just need to complete the self-guided online study materials and pass the certification exam. Unlike many other certifications, you can avoid a lengthy list of prerequisites when you opt for the NASM sports nutrition coach certification.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Salary

Sports Nutrition Coach salaries vary widely from location to location as well as based on experience, job setup, self-employed versus W-2 jobs, and more.

The median reported salary for a sports nutrition coach is $58,121, but this data is not NASM specific as there is not enough information on NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Salaries to make an estimate for coaches who are specifically certified through NASM.

Regardless, earning your NASM sports nutrition credential will open the door to many connections, business opportunities, and even potential partnerships depending on your personal network.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Final Exam

The NASM SNC final exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. The test is open book, so you can refer to the curriculum materials throughout your test. However, note that you have a limit of 90 minutes, which pencils out to less than a minute per question, on average, so you don’t have a ton of time to click through the curriculum to find answers and need a solid understanding up front with the current version of the exam forms.

You need to get a 70% score or higher on the exam, and have 3 attempts to pass.

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Continuing Education & Recertification

There is no recertification requirement to maintain your NASM Sports Nutrition Specialist certification.

In fact, completing the certification grants 1.9 NASM CEUs, which is enough to cover your two-year recertification requirement on top of your CPR/AED recertification.

Other NASM Offerings

NASM has a ton of other certification offerings, including the following:

NASM is well known for a variety of their fitness certifications.

If you are going the NASM route for your fitness career, consider checking out the NASM Elite Trainer program. With this program, you get the NASM CPT, CES, CNC, and PES certifications within a single bundle at an overall steep discount.

If you do want to get a sports nutrition certification within your personal training bundle and you are not dead set on NASM, I would consider the ISSA Elite Trainer program. This program is hands-down the very best deal in the industry, giving you quite literally, 6 ISSA certification courses with access to all the course material for less than the price of 2 individual certifications. If you’re serious about launching a successful fitness career, getting every edge you can, and setting yourself apart from other fitness professionals, this is the bundle for you.

Circling back to NASM, some of their key offerings include the following:

NASM Sports Nutrition Certification Overall Rating

Overall, I rate the NASM Sports Nutrition Certification at 4.7 out of 5. It is a great certification for becoming a sports nutrition coach. The only major downside is that it does not give you the ability to assign specific foods and other aspects that fall under the scope of practice of a dietician.

NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach
NASM Sports Nutrition Review ([year] NASM SNC) 2

The NASM Sports Nutrition Certification is a great option for a nutrition coach career. Read my full review of the NASM Certified Sports Nutrition Coach.

Editor's Rating:

NASM Sports Nutrition Coach FAQs

What can a NASM nutrition coach do?

A NASM Sports Nutrition Coach can help clients make informed nutrition choices that support their athletic performance goals.

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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