With global health statistics showing a marked increase in obesity rates, we can all agree that body weight is a real and urgent issue. Over the past few decades, nutritional science has constantly shifted its stance on what it is that has caused such an abnormal rise in average body weight.
From the fat free movement to the low carb crusade, the science of body weight management has shifted almost as drastically as modern man’s waistline. It seems, however, we have begun to settle on the real fundamentals of effective weight management.
As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, there couldn’t be a better time to focus your service offering on a weight management certificate. After all, the most frequently desired client outcomes include, if not solely consisting of, weight management. I recommend checking out my article on the top nutrition certifications as well.
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What Are The Benefits of a Weight Management Cert
As mentioned, your clients will want results. By the same principle, so will you. And when it comes to weight management, there are a few key factors beyond fundamental nutritional science that you need under your belt.
To gain this insight, the best way to go is to nab one of the many weight loss certifications on offer.
Gaining a weight loss specification sets your value sky-high as a PT. the market for people seeking effective weight loss protocols is only getting bigger (no pun intended). You can increase your worth and earning potential with just the right certification.
This might seem overwhelming. There are loads of weight loss specialist certifications out there, and knowing which one is the right one may seem daunting.
That’s why I’m here. To guide you through a list of the top recommended weight loss certifications, allowing you to find the right one for you.
Accreditation. You Better Recognize!
Gaining an awesome certification is one thing, gaining a recognized certification is a whole different box of puppies. You want what you learn to matter and have a real, facts based origin, but you also want it to add to your credibility and official status.
The Top 5 Weight Management Certifications
NASM Weight Loss Specialist (WLS)
NASM Weight Loss Specialist of WLS is another stellar offering from what I consider the best in the game when it comes to equipping trainers and coaches with real credible skills.
NASM already has an ongoing nutrition certification, the NASM CNC or Certified Nutrition Coach. The WLS cert turns it up a notch, allowing you to focus on the specific science of how to lose weight.
It is a combination of mindful training methodologies as well as evidence-based nutritional science, packaged to give you a sound delivery system and your clients an actionable program.
With a reputation and heritage spanning over 30 years, NASM programs are at the cutting edge of health and fitness science. The NASM WLS will give you the edge in the following ways:
- Reveal the benefits of healthy, natural weight loss to your clients, allowing them to embrace an optimized lifestyle
- Design science based exercise and nutrition plans based on NASM’s revolutionary Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) Model
- Increase your value in a competitive market, allowing you to boost your earnings, career and client retention.
- Gain insight into the ever-changing science of weight loss and apply it as new research unlocks more evidence.
- Give yourself a worthwhile investment, which will in turn give your clients the same level of reward.
In typical NASM fashion, the entire course is online, allowing you to maximize on your specific learning habits for the best possible outcomes.
Study material, tests and coursework are all accessible from your PC, Mac or mobile device.
ACE Weight Management Specialist
The ACE Weight Management Specialist is another great offering from the world renowned American Council on Exercise. This certification is an answer to the recognition of a national crisis.
Due to relatively abnormal eating habits and a general decline in physical activity over the last century, America’s waistline is out of control. ⅔ of the population is overweight, with half of the overweight population being obese, yikes!
ACE takes weight management on not only as a way to enhance the value you offer, but also as an urgent necessity to our society, fighting America’s most critical health crisis.
Because of this, ACE WMS. is open not only to members of the fitness space, but anyone within a field that aims to influence and impact the state of health in a positive way.
Being ACE WMS Certified allows you to:
- Add value to your professional credentials, boosting your career and business standing.
- Joining the fight against obesity, one of the most urgent health issues we face.
- Equipping your with evolving, evidence-based knowledge as science’s understanding on weight loss continues to advance
- Providing a learning experience second to none, taught by experts in weight loss.
AFPA Weight Management Consultant Certification
The AFPA Weight Management Consultant Certification program is one of many amazing paths to adding the necessary methodologies to your repertoire.
This program puts and emphasis on holistic weight loss protocols and influencing behavioral change for both short term results and a long term shift in attitude towards health.
AFPA has a long-standing reputation as one of the premium suppliers of up-to-date knowledge in the health and fitness space. Suffice to say, you’re definitely upping your game with this one.
Gaining the AFPA Weight Management Consultant Certification will allow you to lead the pack when it comes to client outcomes. Most people really want to shed pounds, and this is a great way to become an authority on that.
You will be able set yourself above the rest in the following ways:
- Be the authority on the number 1 reason most people even work out, weight loss!
- Increase your earning potential, make yourself and your business worth top dollar.
- Not only are you optimizing your professional and commercial worth, you are also becoming a useful member of society by becoming another solution to an ever-increasing health problem.
NCCPT Weight Management Specialist
The NCCPT Weight Management Specialist give you the opportunity to improve your knowledge as well as client outcomes.
This cert leans more towards the nutritional aspects of weight loss, and let’s face it, nutrition is the key factor. You can have the best training, but without optimized nutrition, your clients won’t experience the desired effect.
The NCCPT Weight Management Specialist certification also equips its holders with behavioral methodologies aimed at improving the psychology behind eating right.
This will allow your clients to take away a lifetime of self-improvement benefits.
With this cert, you will soon be able to activate and measure client outcomes such as:
- Applying the biochemical principles of weight loss
- Gain and provide insight into the function of the body’s energy balances, transfers and metabolic pathways
- Learn the different steps the body undergoes in both gaining and losing weight
- Equipping you with the ability to do accurate client-by-client nutritional analysis
- DSHEA provisions
- Learn the math behind caloric expenditure
- Estimate the unique needs of individual clients and tailor your programs accordingly
- How to determine nutritional values of foods
- Dispel myths around nutrition and weight loss.
NESTA Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist
With NESTA, you know you’re gaining a golden opportunity. One of the most reputable institutions out there right now, and now you can take advantage of their weight loss coach cert.
The NESTA Lifestyle Weight Management or LWM certification aims to optimize your current understanding on how weight loss works.
Here, you’re not only dealing with the fundamental science and application such as caloric management, metabolic optimization and nutritional facts. You will in fact, also delve into the true underlying challenge of nutritional habits, the behavior and psychology.
While all the aforementioned certifications all have a significant behavioral aspect to their weight loss programs, NESTA puts a focus on the emotional complexities that accompany change psychology.
This effectively allows you to bridge the gap between the practical application of science-based methodologies and the delicate psychological aspects of weight loss.
As a NESTA Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist you will be able to:
- Gain a leading advantage in knowledge on the principles of nutritional science as it pertains to effective weight loss
- Give your clients what they need in a world where being overweight is now one of the leading causes of disease and death
- Assume the role of a nutrition counselor by tapping into the deeper psychological factors that influence eating and exercise habits.
The career advancement opportunities are boundless with a certification such as this. Check it out here to see if it’s your fit!
You’ve met the Fab Five, What’s Next?
Hitting The Books, A Guide to the Study Material..
Like most offerings from the various institutions on display here, the learning process is distance based. This means you don’t have to schedule your lessons and file into a stuffy lecture hall or lab. You learn on your own time at your own pace.
Added to this is the conveniently packaged study material. Its designed to minimize the cost and hassle typically associated with college level study material.
You will come to find and probably appreciate that most of the learning resources for these various weight management certifications come in a digital or online format. This makes them not only convenient in many cases, but also engaging and immersive.
with some having an audiovisual multimedia aspect to them, you might find it as enjoyable as it is useful.
Since your success and progress with each certification hinges on the quality and format of learning resources, lets compare the study material on offer.
NASM WLS self-study
NASM has a reputation for providing some of the most media rich study material. High production value video guides, advanced user interfaces and a cutting edge electronic publishing format.
All the NASM WLS study resources are accessible digitally via your registered student portal. This can be accessed via any up-to-date current web browser and doesn’t require much of a hefty internet connection.
The emphasis with NASM has always been self-study. So the material is structured to give you a flexible, self-motivated advantage that maximize your outcomes based on how you learn as an individual.
NASM WLS Self-study material includes:
- Downloadable Manual
- Video Demonstrations
- Programming Manual
- Exercise Library
- Chapter quizzes
NASM WLS Study Material Overview
As mentioned, NASM makes a point of providing the most engaging distance learning experience possible. To this end, there is almost a degree of craftsmanship behind how the study material is produced.
All the resources NASM offers are digital only. Sometimes a hard copy is a great way to supplement the learning experience, especially in cases where online and digital can’t deliver fully.
ACE WMS Study Material
ACE is known for providing to-the-point and easy to digest learning resources. When it comes the ACE WMS program, you can expect the same level of quality and effective convenience.
ACE WMS combines a media rich resource offering with the ability to engage with more traditional forms of studying. The printable PDF component allows you to switch between soft and hard copy reference material depending on your needs and preferences.
ACE also has a podcast platform, providing an archive of amazing lecture style listening material.
The ACE Study trove includes:
- An online podcast.
- Video resources and guides.
- Online quizzes.
ACE WMS Material Overview
ACE provides the very essentials of a great distance learning experience. This refined approach allows ease of reference and knowledge retention. It might come at the cost of immersion and real multimedia engagement though.
The material is all digital, with the option to have the PDF component printed out. This doesn’t come close to having an official textbook on hand, but if you see the need for hard copy material, you have somewhat of a win.
AFPA Weight Management Consultant study resources
The AFPA Weight Management Consultant provides a more traditional approach to learning. The material is however super easy to grasp and make use of.
The great thing about AFPA’s resources is that you can choose to go digital only or to go for the more traditional hard copy textbook option. The only catch is, each option brings a different price, with the digital + hard copy combo bringing the cost up quite considerably.
Your Study Material options with AFPA are.
- Online/digital + practice quizzes
- Hard copy textbook + practice quizzes
- online/digital and hard copy combo + practice quizzes
The cost of each package goes up in that order, making the final offering considerably pricey relative to the other certs in this list.
The level of versatility in what is provided and the quality of what you get might be worth giving AFPA WMC a look.
NCCPT Weight Management Specialist Study Material
This cert comes with a number of flexible options when it comes to study material.
Because the NCCPT WMS is a very broad based approach to nutrition, it requires less proprietary material than most of the other certs on this list. This is why they have presented an option to take the course with little or even no official study resources.
This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on where your weight loss management game is. It’s still up to you to decide, with the top tier, all-inclusive package still being quite competitively priced.
Whatever the case, you will have access to a panel of career advisors. The study materials go like this:
- 4 Text books
- Counseling and Lifestyle Management Forms for Starting Your Own Business
- Worksheets and Questionnaires to document and assess counseling sessions
- FREE Forms, Worksheets and Checklists provided and are perforated for easy duplication
- FREE Manual “Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners”
- Practice questions, case study and critical thinking – Self-assessments to test progress
- Unlimited Student Support – Before, during and after enrollment
NCCPT WMS Study Material Overview
This is definitely one of the most flexible and versatile offerings when it comes to study material alone. The option to pick and choose how you want to learn is something I can’t vouch for enough.
The availability of career advisors is another big win.
NESTA LWM Study Material
The NESTA weight management certification gives you everything online. This means you can access your learning resources at all times as long as you have a stable connection and an updated browser running on a functioning device.
This does limit you a bit in situations where technology fails, as it does do from time to time.
The quality of the material itself is as you’d expect from a leading certification authority and includes:
- in-depth and easy-to-follow video classes
- Browser friendly training materials
NESTA LWM Study Material Overview:
The fact that the entirety of NESTA’s learning resources are online based can be both a gift and a curse.
A gift in the sense that we do live in an online world and it’s so much more convenient to draw your resources in soft format. It is however a curse in the sense that internet access is not a given, even in America, one of the worlds Meccas of online connectivity, you might have problems connecting, say, from a rural area.
Test Your Knowledge! Final Exam Time
It’s time to do your finals. The structure is different for all the certs, but one thing is for sure, the final exam is always a challenge!
However, with a mindful approach and after taking full advantage of the study material and assistive resources on hand, you will have a good enough handle on what to expect in the final exam.
Most of the final exams are free-to-take at any time once you’re ready, within the program time frame. NCCPT however is a liver proctor exam.
The ACE WLS program doesn’t offer a final exam as a culmination of your course work. Instead, it gives you an accumulated grade based on each module and its respective final quiz.
You’ll find that some of the exams will offer a limited amount of free retries if you happen to fail, whilst others require a reduced fee for multiple attempts.
Take the quiz if you want to know which one is really for you.
Weight Loss Certification Cost Break Down
Cost is king! So before you jump onto any one of these certs, it’s important to know how much you’ll be forking out!
Here’s a basic rundown of each certification’s different cost structures.
NASM will set you back $499 for the total package. They do frequently run discounts and promos so it’s all about great timing. I rate NASM’s fees as the best value for money. Its priced competitively, but also gives you an extremely competitive edge relative to the cost.
ACE comes in with an incredible offer of $199 all-inclusive, this is definitely the best deal price wise! And when you consider the reputation an ACE certification gives. It’s definitely a steal.
AFPA WMC is probably the most in depth when it comes to the topic you tackle, and for that reason, $649 is what you’ll be paying.
With a plethora of study assistive material, it’s a definite bang for your buck!
This cert starts at $199 for the barebones option and ends at $280 for the all-inclusive package. Definitely and awesome approach to have multi-tiered price plan. Even at the higher end, the price is super competitive!
At $127, NESTA LWM is the cheapest option available. A total win if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the weight management game.
After looking at all the options it looks like a close tie between NASM WLS and AFPA WMC. NASM not only covers all the essentials, while going deep enough for you to tackle specialized scenarios, it also provides you with the credibility of a top rated certifying body.
AFPA offers a very in depth experience which will equip you with some next level resources. It’s also got the most robust study resource package on offer which also assists you with career guidance.
At an extremely close second, we have the ACE WMS. With its industry reputation alone and an extremely competitive price, it’s well worth it, only falling short when it comes to depth of scope.
Conclusion on the weight loss coach certification options
Whichever you settle on, I personally believe specializing in weight management is essential to being a top tier PT. not only are you advancing your career, you’re also adding value to society by becoming a weapon in the fight against obesity.
Don’t forget to drop a comment, and check out this quiz to get a good idea on which cert you really should go for.