Friday, October 16, 2015

Precision Nutrition Level 1: Nutrition Certification Frequently Asked Questions.

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On , we’re opening registration for the 2015 Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification Program. For more info, read this set of frequently asked questions.

Precision Nutrition Certification

More than eight years in the making, the Precision Nutrition Certification synthesizes everything we’ve learned over the past 15 years of coaching and research in the nutrition field.

It’s designed for elite fitness, strength, and rehab professionals working with clients in a training or coaching environment.

And it’s based on the university nutrition courses we teach and the data we’ve collected from thousands of Precision Nutrition clients over the years.

But, here’s the thing:

You don’t have to currently run a health and fitness business to benefit from the Precision Nutrition Certification. 

Many of our students complete their certification as their first step to becoming an elite health and fitness coach. (Oftentimes, they’re still in a job they hope to eventually leave so they can start working in the fitness industry.)

Other students go through our program simply to be able to help family and friends with their own fitness and nutrition.

Every time we offer spots in the program, we get lots of questions about it. So I decided to answer some of the most common ones here, to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

Why offer a certification like this?

Because an effective nutrition coaching system is the missing component in the health, fitness, strength, and rehab professions today. If a health intervention or exercise program isn’t accompanied by an effective nutrition system, the client will get mediocre results — no matter how badly they “want it.”

The fact is this: Exercise alone doesn’t work.

Many very good exercise coaches see their efforts go to waste because their excellent training programs aren’t accompanied by a proper nutrition intervention. And that’s not merely my opinion.

To give you a very specific example: There’s ample research demonstrating that in the absence of nutrition change, even very intense exercise programs with experienced trainers will yield an average of 3 to 6 pounds of fat loss in 6 months’ time.

Think about that: A client would spend $ 3,000-$ 5,000 for 6 months with a personal trainer, only to lose a few measly, unnoticeable pounds of body fat. That’s not good.

To give you a counter example, in our Precision Nutrition Coaching program, clients average around 15 pounds of fat loss in the first 6 months. That’s nearly 3 times as effective.

In Precision Nutrition Coaching, we provide both exercise and nutrition coaching, and that’s the difference.

But keep in mind: Our coaching is 100% online. They get those results without ever meeting us in person.  

If they work with a coach or trainer while doing Precision Nutrition Coaching (which can help them work harder in the gym and stay accountable locally), they lose closer to 25 pounds of fat in 6 months. That’s over 4 times as effective.

So something is missing, and that something is nutrition coaching.

That’s why we developed the certification program: to teach health and fitness coaches how to coach nutrition, too. Because once you can do it effectively, you can deliver results that are impossible with exercise alone.

(Of course, nutrition coaching isn’t just about fat loss. It’s also about building strength, improving health, feeling energetic, and more. I’m just using fat loss as an example.)

What do you mean when you say, “Exercise alone doesn’t work”?

I mean exactly that: Exercise alone doesn’t work.

If a person doesn’t change their nutrition, nothing else they do will matter when it comes to body composition change (fat loss, muscle gain) and the associated health improvements.

And that’s what 95% of people are looking for, isn’t it?

Simply put, the past 25 years of published research show that while exercise alone can promote very small changes in body fat, lean mass, and the associated health markers, those changes are almost negligible.

In fact, one published review, a meta-analysis of over 700 previous exercise studies done over 25 years, showed that about 6 months of supervised exercise programming will produce only 9 pounds of weight lost.

If we assume 50% of that weight lost is fat (which is a safe assumption, based on the research), that means that clients can expect to lose around 4.5 pounds of fat during a 6-month training program.

So, let’s assume a client meets with his/her trainer 4 times per week for $ 50 per hour. That’s $ 200 per week, $ 800 per month, and $ 4,800 for 6 months. All for 4.5 pounds of fat lost? That’s a cost of just over $ 1,000 per pound of fat lost.

After all that time and money spent, would an overweight client even notice 4.5 pounds fat loss? Would their cholesterol be significantly lower? Would they feel like they got their money’s worth?

Not likely.

What results can I expect when I integrate nutrition coaching into my practice?

Again, let’s look at one comparator, Precision Nutrition Coaching, which incorporates both exercise and nutrition.

During the first 6 months of the online-only program, the average fat loss is around 15 pounds. In addition, we see hundreds of reports of clients being taken off blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes medications.

If that client uses our exercise and nutrition system while working with a trainer in person,  they’ll see an average of 25 pounds of fat loss in 6 months.

And the best performers are losing up to 100 pounds in 12 months. It’s quite amazing.

So with the right exercise and the right nutrition programming, supervised by an in-person coach, the cost per pound of fat loss can go down from $ 1000 per pound to $ 100 per pound. That’s nearly 5 times the fat loss and 10 times the cost effectiveness.

If you’re a health or fitness professional, imagine how in-demand you’d be if you could regularly deliver results like that.

It’s absolutely possible. In fact, it’s what we should expect. But no one is teaching this stuff.

Nothing out there covers the specific problem: How to deliver nutrition coaching in an exercise, personal training, health, rehab, or sport coaching environment. And that’s why I wanted to create this certification.

I want to help create a new kind of program; one that helps coaches become body transformation experts, and one that helps clients get the kind of results they deserve.

The Precision Nutrition Certification is a massive step in that direction.

Precision Nutrition Certification

What qualifies you to teach a course / offer a certification like this?

Well, for one I have pretty vast exposure to almost every aspect of fitness and nutrition. I’ve been:

  • A student of nutrition, going on to complete my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario.
  • A teacher of nutrition at the University of Texas, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Western Ontario.
  • A competitive physique athlete, winning the Mr. Jr. USA title in 1995.
  • A personal trainer, running a successful training business in Miami.
  • A researcher with studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • An author of over half a dozen nutrition books and hundreds of articles in magazines like Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and more.
  • A consultant to companies like Apple, Nike, Equinox and Titleist.
  • A nutrition coach to thousands of everyday people and quite a few pro athletes and Olympic gold medalists.

So apart from being qualified academically, I think I have a pretty unique perspective — one that’s very well-suited to teaching this material, especially to coaches.

I’ve seen the field of nutrition from more angles, both personally and professionally, than almost anyone else teaching nutrition today.

In addition, I’ve written chapters for other nutrition textbooks, I’ve created masters-level university courses on sport nutrition, and I’ve created nutrition certification material for other certifying bodies.

So I have quite a bit of experience creating academic course material.

But most of all, I think I’m qualified to teach this because we’ve used and tested this very system extensively with our own clients here at Precision Nutrition.

Over the past 8 years, through our Precision Nutrition Coaching Program, we’ve been quietly conducting what I think is the largest body transformation research project in the world.

We’ve had nearly 45,000 clients go through at least 6 months of coaching with us. Essentially a total exercise, nutrition and lifestyle intervention.

The purpose of the Precision Nutrition Coaching is simple: help people lose fat, gain lean mass where needed, and completely transform their bodies (and lives).

Now, here’s the thing: Since the entire program is online, we were able to collect data on everything. And I mean everything.

Because we don’t see clients in person, we can’t “eyeball” things. We need data. So we have detailed psychometric (personality) profiles on our clients. We track compliance and every measurable and relevant behavior. And, of course, we regularly collect photos and monitor body composition and performance outcomes.

And as a result of this rigorous data collection, I’m guessing that we here at Precision Nutrition know, better than almost anyone else in the world, which variables are most important to body transformation success.

Now, remember, I’m not talking what we think is correlated to success. I’m talking about what we absolutely know is correlated with success. Success here meaning compliance, consistency, and ultimately, fat loss, muscle gain, and life-changing health improvements.

It takes a long time to gather this kind of information, especially since no one in the health or fitness industry has ever done anything like it before. But now that it’s been gathered, analyzed, and tested, I believe it’s time to share it.

From there, the Precision Nutrition Certification was born.

How does the Precision Nutrition Certification compare to other nutrition education options?

Well, for one, it’s based on real client data and our own coaching experience.

We’re not really a certification organization. We’re coaches. So this is coming from first-hand knowledge that we use ourselves every day.

This certification is based on real client results, and a reliable and reproducible system for monitoring and achieving those results. That’s what you learn when you become Precision Nutrition Certified.

Two, it’s designed specifically for people passionate about nutrition and fitness — including health and fitness professionals. Many of our students are coaches, therapists, physicians, dietitians, and nutritionists working with people who exercise.

That’s very important, because most nutrition courses suffer from 1 of 2 problems.

Problem 1: They have little or nothing to do with exercisers looking for health or body transformation.

Most credible nutrition education today is meant for people looking to become professors, researchers (people who work at universities) or clinical dietitians (people who work at hospitals). If you want to do any of that, you go to college, study for years and get a Ph.D. or an RD. Both noble professions.

I got a Ph.D. in the field myself, so I’m not knocking it. And both Ryan Andrews and Brian St. Pierre, who co-wrote the textbook for the Precision Nutrition Certification, got their RDs and worked at prestigious hospitals and research institutes.

But neither of those roads teach you how to actually coach an exercising client through a health and body transformation. That’s a very specific skill set, requiring both an understanding of the science of nutrition and — this is critical — a reliable system for coaching it.

So unlike anything else out there right now, the Precision Nutrition Certification does both of those things. It was designed from the ground up, specifically for people who work with, or are looking to work with, clients.

Problem 2: Most nutrition certification programs are, well, kind of  a joke.

I just Googled “nutrition certification” and found thousands of results. Good God. The situation is bleak, my friends.

Of the non-university level nutrition certifications out there, I see plenty of garbage, quite frankly. Weekend seminars, no exams, no studying. Lots of rubber stamping.

Some are more challenging, I’m sure, and probably a few are even worth the money. I don’t know — I can’t look at the Google results for very long before getting depressed.

I think I would sum it up this way: If you’re here, reading this, you’ve probably followed us for some time and you probably think a lot like us. And so I suspect you will probably benefit more from the Precision Nutrition Certification than from any other non-university level nutrition education you’re likely to find.

That’s just my gut feeling, so take it for what it’s worth.

Precision Nutrition Certification

How thorough is the Precision Nutrition Certification?

Very. To give you an idea: I teach a masters-level Sport and Exercise Nutrition course at Eastern Michigan University. The course is part of a High-Performance Physiology master’s degree program at EMU.

And the Precision  Nutrition Certification covers the very same material that my master’s students learn as part of the EMU program. So make no mistake, this isn’t some “Mickey Mouse” nutrition certification. It’s an elite certification based on grad school material.

Will there be multiple levels of certification?

Yes, two.

This is the first, the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, and includes the textbook, the online material and the online exam.

Essentially, Level 1 certifies that you understand the theory. Once you pass the exam, you get a Level 1 certificate acknowledging your completion of the theory part of the certification program.

Some trainers and coaches will stop there. And that’s cool with me. With the Level 1 certificate, they’ll be as well trained in exercise and sport nutrition as my master’s students.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Master Class is an invitation-only program for students from the Level 1 program.

The student is required to do an online mentorship, perform regular research reviews, and produce client case studies showing that they can actually deliver results. Level 2 certifies that you can take the theory and apply it with clients all the way through a successful health and body transformation.

So, unlike other nutrition certification programs, the Precision Nutrition Certification has both a theory component (Level 1) and a practice component (Level 2).

Those students who complete both levels will be among the best in the world at getting client results.

Do I need to have a science degree to become certified?

No. We assume no prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, etc., and so we don’t require a university degree.

Now, if you were terrible in science, expect this certification to be challenging. But if you are generally comfortable with science and are willing to read and review, you can learn this stuff.

Once I’m Precision Nutrition Certified, will I be listed on your site?

Yes. And given our exposure online, that’s a big advantage for Precision Nutrition Certified health and fitness pros. As we grow our online coaching programs, that advantage will grow with it.

For example: Our coaching clients are often interested in finding a local coach, one who actually knows what the heck they’re doing, to help them out with their new exercise movements, etc.

In the past, we had no one to send them to.

I can’t just send them blindly in the typical local fitness club with their Precision Nutrition exercise and nutrition program in hand. It would be a disaster.

The trainer doesn’t know what to make of our program, or they start criticizing it or trying to change it. And the client spends half their time trying to mediate between us and them. Not good.

So with the Precision Nutrition Certification we’re creating an army of coaches and fitness professionals who actually get it. Coaches who our readers, clients, and customers can trust.

What’s more, by being Precision Nutrition Certified, trainers and coaches will be part of a network of local professionals that we trust and that we can refer our own clients to.

Once you’re certified, you’ll have a professional profile in our new online directory of Precision Nutrition Certified Professionals, so you’ll be easy to find when people are looking for local help.

Would nutritionists and dietitians benefit from this program as well?

Absolutely. In fact, I wish every dietitian would find their way to this program and get involved.

Although RDs have excellent training in all aspects of clinical nutrition, most dietetics programs don’t even offer a sport and exercise nutrition course. If they do, the course is usually too general to be of any use in the field.

Trust me. I know because I’ve taught in dietetics departments. Just because someone has earned an RD or LD credential doesn’t mean they’re done learning. The best dietitians, trainers, and strength coaches make lifelong education an important priority.

The Precision Nutrition Certification program would be an asset for every dietitian.

Is this program accredited by a national education board?

No, it’s not accredited by any of the national education boards. Again, we’re a research and coaching company, not a certification company.

If you want letters and a rubber stamp, there are organizations for that. At Precision Nutrition, we’re all about passing on important and life-changing knowledge. We’ll leave the bureaucratic hoops to other organizations.

However, I should mention that we are recognized as a continuing education provider by the top fitness and nutrition organizations in the world (see below).  In addition, as mentioned above, our course material is approved for teaching at the Master’s level.

Precision Nutrition Certification

What about those people specifically looking for national accreditation?

People come to Precision Nutrition to get certified because they want the best possible exercise and sport nutrition training — from one of the world’s most recognizable exercise and sport nutrition companies.

For those of you looking for some other end, like national accreditation (which often means that the program has been reviewed by your government; and we all know how awesome they are at offering nutrition information), give us a shout at

There are other programs for that and we’ll be happy to point you to those types of certification programs.

Can I earn CEUs from my personal training organization with this program?

Most likely. The curriculum is pre-qualified for CEUs with the following organizations:

  • ACE (2.0 CEUs)
  • ACSM (20 credits)
  • AND (16 sessions)
  • CPTN (14 credits)
  • Fitness Australia (15 CEUs)
  • NASM (1.9 CEUs)
  • NSCA (2.0 CEUs)
  • PTA Global (24 CECs)
  • REPs UK (6 CPD points)

This means that, if you are certified by any of the groups listed above, CEUs are guaranteed upon successful completion of the course.

I should also note that a host of additional organizations accept our course on a one-off basis.  For these, graduates from our program submit a summary of the course and their certificate for review.

Note: We’re also in the process of qualifying for CEUs with a select number of other international organizations.

How long does it take to complete the Level 1 program?

The PN Level 1 Certification is entirely self-paced, so there’s no deadline. You can take as much time or as little time as you like.

If you’d like some guidelines, however, the pace that seems to work best for most of our students is completing one chapter per week. That means reading the chapter, reviewing the online video, answering the workbook questions, reviewing the FAQ, and writing the 10-question exam.

If you follow that structure, you can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week on the certification materials. Since there are 18 total chapters, you’d earn your Pn1 credentials in a little over four months.

How about Level 2?

The Level 2 program is an in-depth online mentorship that takes 12 months to complete.

What are other people saying about the program?

The feedback on the Level 1 Certification has been overwhelmingly positive.

In the past 5 years we’ve enrolled nearly 20,000 students in the course. And student satisfaction ratings exceed 99%, meaning nearly 100% of our students rate the course as “excellent”.

Here are a few independent and thorough reviews from graduates: review #1, review #2, review #3.

What advice will someone be able to offer clients after completing the course?

That’s a great question and one we cover in depth in the course.

Fitness professionals are allowed to make nutrition recommendations to otherwise healthy clients. So even without the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, trainers and coaches can make nutrition recommendations. What we’re offering is a much better system for making those recommendations.

The only scope of practice that’s prohibited is Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), which means giving nutrition advice to treat or cure disease. You wont be qualified to do this, and you should never try, unless you’re specifically MNT accredited.

Precision Nutrition Certification

When does the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program begin?

The next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification Program begins on . And there won’t be another one until .

We’re using a cohort (group) model to accept registrations: The program begins on a specific day, everyone starts at the same time, and group size is limited.

How do I increase my chances of getting a spot in the next Level 1 group?

To get an early bird chance at registration — because the program does usually sell out within 24 hours —please sign up for the presale list below.

We’ll send you a special link 24 hours before the general public and that’ll increase your chances of getting a spot.

What’s the special discount I’ve heard about?

If you’re on the presale list below and enroll for the program before the general registration opens, you’ll save $ 200 off the cost of the Level 1 Certification program.

The regular prepaid option, for the general public, is $ 999.99.  However, if you’re on the presale list and sign up on the presale day, you’ll pay only $ 799.99.

Is there a payment plan?

Yes there is.

The regular monthly plan option is $ 99 per month (over 12 months) for the general public. However, if you’re on the presale list and sign up on the presale day, you’ll pay only $ 79 per month (over 12 months).

How can people find out more?

To learn more about the course, and to get on the Level 1 Certification presale list, which gives you a chance to register early, 24 hours before the general public, sign up below.

Once you’re on the list, we’ll follow up with more information about the program.

The post Precision Nutrition Level 1: Nutrition Certification Frequently Asked Questions. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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