In this post, I will dive into my thoughts with the Precision Nutrition certification process, content, and support as well as my experience implementing what I learned.
Precision Nutrition is a website and certification agency that teaches people and coaches how nutrition influences the human body. They offer level 1 and level 2 nutrition certifications and are seen as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.
Before I completed the Precision Nutrition Certification, I frequently read their VERY in-depth blog posts. They take a “one size does not fit all” philosophy to health.
I have been a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for years but always felt I was missing a huge piece of the puzzle when working with clients – nutrition!
Below I will walk you through my certification experience, offer any recommendations, and share my honest opinions. 🙂
Get on the pre-sale list
The FIRST thing I recommend doing if you are interested in completing the
Precision Nutrition Certification is to join the presale list. This is an opportunity to save $200.
Prerequisite for completing the certification + how long it takes
Anyone can complete this course – new trainers, experiences coaches, or just someone looking to understand nutrition and the human body.
If you have never studied the human body (personal training certification, higher education, etc.), the first few chapters (cells, digestive system, metabolism, etc.) may be a little challenging and require you to read it a few times – and even do some additional reading to fully grasp the teachings.
Since I have an ACE personal training certification, these chapters were a bit of a review for me and I was able to get through them fairly quickly.
I will say though, when I FIRST read about cells and energy production and all of that during my personal training certification, it took me multiple reads, pages of notes, extra videos and readings, and months to feel like I actually understood it.
The human body is so complex!
Luckily, we don’t have to deep dive into all of this with clients, HOWEVER, sometimes we may have to explain how out body gets and uses energy in order to make the point that our client needs to eat more food and carbs are important. Having a basic understanding and knowledge of how the human body works and a place to reference when you need to is SUPER important as a coach.
I gave myself a goal to complete the PN Level 1 certification in 3 months.
I bought the books in October and completed it in December.
If you have a background in fitness, nutrition, or the human body, 3 months is totally doable.
If you are new to this, 6-9 months might be more realistic to give yourself more time to fully grasp the concepts.
Precision Nutrition recommends spending 3-5 hours per week on the materials and completing the certification in a little over four months.
Delivery of the certification + exam
Once you join the Precision Nutrition Certification program, you will be mailed a text book, study guide, and a book of forms you can use with clients (which is also available electronically).
You will also get access to an online platform which includes a module for each lesson with a video and the 10-question exam for that lesson. This platform was ready cool and user-friendly. It also kept me logged in on my phone, which was so awesome! I hate having to log into things all the time..
There are 18 chapters. Each chapter has a 10-question exam at the end. It is open book since it is online. You cannot advance to the next chapter until you complete the exam.
Precision Nutrition also has a private Facebook group for current and past students and they offer a TON of support and value in that group. Honestly, access to the group alone is probably worth the cost of the certification!
As Precision Nutrition says on their FAQs page: “This is an elite certification based on grad school material.”
The content is very thorough. It is written in an extremely easy-to understand and conversational format while still including tons of science-based research and fun facts.
I am NOT a strong reader – as in it will literally take me a year to read a book. BUT, I was able to get through the WHOLE text book (did not skim and actually digested what I read) in less than 3 months.
The content is so interesting and the authors make it fun to read.
Seriously, there were a few times I laughed out loud while reading a 500+ page text book – that doesn’t happen often!
The fist part of the book/certification talks about nutritional science (this can be the harder-to-understand part). The second part dives into the practice of actually implementing this stuff, working with clients, and coaching techniques.
The study guide offers questions to help you understand and apply what you just learned in each chapter.
I used the study guide for some chapters, but others I did not in an effort to speed up the process. Same with the videos. They were awesome – but I did not watch them all.
I was usually studying very early in the morning or after kids went to be in the evenings, so my time as limited – there are only so many hours in the day! 🙂
Using the certification in real life
Since I was completing this certification in December, I knew I wanted to put it to use for the New Year.
I am a Fitness Director at a private club of about 1000 members. So, I put an email out before Christmas telling people I would be launching a 12-week nutrition program teaching them how to ditch dieting and eat better.
I shared what the program would be all about and included three one-on-one meetings as well as weekly email education and support. I offered the program for $390 if they joined before the New Year – and if they invited a friend, they each get $100 off.
Seven women signed up and I gave one away for free.
I worked HARD for the next few weeks creating my program so it was ready to go by the start date (January 14). I made my money back from the certification within a month of completing it with the 12-week program.
Since I also have this platform where I help other fitness and nutrition professionals build an online business, I took what I know about online marketing and my content from my 12-week program and put it into a done-for-you course.
You can learn more about my Nutrition Coaching with Confidence program and the done-for-you 12-week coaching program below.
What I have learned so far working with nutrition clients
Change is hard and takes time
Well, I already knew that. But I learned how important it is to remind people of that. It could be weeks until they see the scale move – that is normal and it is our job to encourage them not to give up!
People want to blame someone or something when things don’t go well
I had a client reach out to me after 3 weeks of the program and tell me she just wasn’t sure my program offered enough support and if it was working for her. She missed her second one-on-one meeting, rarely responded to my emails or texts, and despite my best efforts would not plan a date to re-schedule another meeting.
I got annoyed at first. Then I realized she just needed someone to blame. I continued to ask her what I could do to help her stay more accountable, since meetings, texts, and emails were not good enough. She had no answer and eventually said she just signed up for the program with her daughter to support her daughter. Very well. I will continue to email her throughout the program, but if she does not want to invest her time into it, there is not much more I can do.
People want one-on-one support
People want customization and to feel like we, as coaches, are invested in them. I hear so many coaches say they want to set up an online program and not have to work with people one-on-one.
If you want to succeed, you need to work with people one-on-one or hire someone to do it. This doesn’t mean you do not run a group program, but you still make connections, answer emails or messages, make phone calls, etc.
We have to dive deeper
Whether intentional or not, people don’t tell us the full story. We have to dive deep to really understand why they are not reaching a goal.
For example, a client told me she doesn’t eat sugar and writes down everything she eats. I asked to see her log. The log was incomplete and she does eat sugar occasionally.
I am sure compared to how much sugar she used to eat, in her mind, she doesn’t really eat much sugar. But, the bite of cake here and pastry there, add up! And those things are fine to eat now and then – but, that is eating sugar and extra calories at the end of the day.
I also had someone tell me they workout hard for an hour a day, 4-5 times a week. I saw her in the gym and she was on the elliptical for an hour. She was sweating but it is the same routine she has been doing for a long time and it is not working anymore.
I highly respect and recommend the Precision Nutrition Certification. 🙂
I also offer a monthly membership with email marketing and social media content that follows a lot of the PN philosophies.