Fitness Nutrition: Why and How
Gaining an ISSA certification as a personal trainer brings with it a working knowledge of good nutrition to pass on to your clients as a way to enhance their overall fitness. Learning how to identify a client’s goals and motivations, as well any outside factors that might be hindering those goals, are equally important.
Clearly, clients need to combine good nutrition with an effective exercise program in order to achieve their goals. Whether a client wants to gain muscle, lose fat, or establish a healthier lifestyle, the limiting factor usually lies beyond the exercise training program. Poor nutrition is often what holds clients back.
Because quality nutrition is such a critical aspect of good health and fitness, there is a need to have more than a working knowledge of the fundamentals of nutrition. Nutrition for competitive athletes, senior citizens, or those with chronic medical conditions are all examples of situations where a deeper understanding of the subject is in order.
An ISSA certification in nutrition offers you the tools and knowledge needed to provide your clients that additional expertise. Similarly, athletes, people dealing with chronic illness, people with food allergies, and those dealing with obesity are among the specialized populations that can benefit from your services as a specialist in fitness nutrition.
There is an increased need for nutritional guidance as more people buy into the importance of eating right and staying active to prevent disease. Gaining a fitness nutrition certification opens you up to an industry that offers a variety of positions and excellent compensation.
According to glassdoor.com, the average salary for a nutrition specialist in the United States is $63,432. Numerous companies and organizations have nutritionists on staff, including hospitals, nursing homes, and collegiate and professional sports teams. It’s become common for professional athletes to hire nutrition specialists to aide in their training as well as to oversee their diet throughout the course of a demanding season. If you are particularly interested in working with athletes, ISSA offers a certification for sports nutrition.
As a Certified Nutritionist, you have the opportunity to start your own business as well. You can offer nutrition consultations for your personal training clients and produce nutrition guides and videos. Is it for you? Check out this article to learn more about what it takes to be a great nutrition coach.
What Sets a Fitness Nutritionist Apart?
Among the important skills and expertise you’ll gain is the ability to help clients make better nutrition choices and develop healthy habits. Through the course you’ll learn the communication skills needed to be an effective coach and how to help clients to set and meet goals.
Course participants also will learn how to guide clients in selecting fresh, nutrient-dense foods, and how to shop for and prepare healthy meals. When applicable, fitness nutritionists will be able to set up a diet to meet specific goals.
Among the key areas of study are:
- Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Food as energy for maintenance, physical work, and repair
- Effects of exercise on nutritional needs and how nutrition affects exercise
- Assessing a client’s nutritional situation and their needs
- Determining the best approach for each client
- Progressing clients until they reach their goals
A Deep Understanding of Nutrition
The nutrition specialist course teaches you the practical skills of coaching like a fitness nutritionist as well as the scientific principles those skills are based on. Knowing how the body adapts to exercise is one of the keys to understanding what it needs nutritionally to work at the optimal level.
You will learn about:
- Digestion and absorption
- Energy transformation and metabolism
- Energy balance
- Aerobic and anaerobic metabolism
- Macronutrients and micronutrients
Once you have a thorough understanding of nutrition and the body, you are positioned to meet the specific needs of each client. You have the tools to develop personalized and informed nutrition habits as you gather details through client assessments. Additionally, you can suggest nutritional supplements that might prove beneficial to your clients’ unique needs.
Keep in mind that your goal is to help clients meet their goals. As a fitness nutrition specialist, you will help clients set specific nutrition goals and develop a plan to ensure those goals are met. Finally, any needed adjustments can be made until the goals have been met.
Learn Nutrition at Your Own Pace
Enrolling in the ISSA Certified Nutritionist program ensures that you can study at your own pace, with flexible, online learning to fit your schedule. Then you will take the exam online when you are ready. ISSA provides unlimited educational support throughout the process. Once certified, you have access to continuing education resources that allow you to stay up to date on issues, trends, and new developments.
ISSA is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Council (DEAC), a non-profit national educational accreditation agency in the United States specializing in distance education programs of study and institutions. Those who take the ISSA course are made aware that the information provided is for general educational purposes only. The material is not a substitute for consultation with a healthcare provider regarding particular medical conditions and needs. Each state has its own statutes in your state regarding the nutrition information that non-licensed individuals are able to dispense.
Adjacent Career Opportunities in Fitness Nutrition
- Corporate fitness and nutrition consultant
- Online nutrition coach
- Transformation specialist
- Author and expert in nutrition lifestyle change
- Fitness business owner
- Sports nutritionist
- Personal fitness nutritionist
- Elite fitness coach
What makes one nutrition coach stand out from the rest? Check out our top 6 qualities of a good nutrition coach. Then download the handout to use as a checklist for selecting your own coach or as goals list if you are one.