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What do a doctor, dietitian, licensed clinical social worker, side-hustling nutrition coach, and personal trainer all have in common?

No, this isn’t the beginning of a terrible joke…

The answer: We interviewed people in each of these careers, and they all said getting a nutrition certification was worth it. 

But is a nutrition certification worth it,for you?

In this article, we’ll explore that question.

The truth is, a nutrition certification’s worth-it score depends on your situation.

To help you weigh all the pros and cons, we put together this comprehensive guide, complete with a free self-assessment tool to help you make the decision for yourself.

In this article, you’ll also find:

  • The essential questions to consider before getting a nutrition certification.
  • 5 unexpected side benefits of getting certified.
  • Why a nutrition certification often translates into greater client success.
  • How a nutrition certification can boost your income potential.
  • Insights from seven successful certified nutrition coaches from a wide range of professions.


5 questions that’ll help you decide if a nutrition certification is worth it

Figuring out whether a nutrition certification is worth it can be tricky. In part, because we all define “worth it” differently.

For instance, is a nutrition certification worth it if you:

  • Gain knowledge you need to achieve your career goals?
  • Earn more money because of it?
  • Get more clients or new opportunities afterwards?
  • Learn something that changes your nutrition philosophy?
  • Create connections with like-minded people in your industry?

Consider the following questions to define what “worth it” means to you.

How to use this quiz to make your decision

Each section below ends with a question. You’ll rank your response on a scale from 0 to 5. (Just click the number on your screen, and your results will automatically populate at the end of the quiz.)

Once you’ve answered all five questions, you’ll get a worth it/not worth it result.

If you’re not sure how to answer one or more of the 5 questions (or just want to consider it from multiple angles), you’ll find boxes labeled “dig deeper” with prompts for further reflection.

Our advice: Keep a journal handy. Jot down your thoughts so you’ll have something to refer to when making your decision.

Question #1: Does a nutrition certification fill a gap in your knowledge?

A nutrition certification is worth it if it helps you gain key knowledge or skills, according to the coaches we interviewed.

Here are a few real-life examples of how a nutrition certification can fill knowledge gaps.

The personal trainer who wanted to master nutrition

The release of a massively popular Netflix nutrition documentary, coupled with a resulting deluge of client questions, made personal trainer Tyler Buckingham, PN1, PPSC, realize the full extent of nutrition misinformation.

He wanted to better understand the discussion as well as be able to answer client questions with authority. “I was like, okay, it’s time to get certified in nutrition,” says Buckingham, who trains a group of former athletes.

Since getting certified, he’s much more adept at answering the nutrition questions clients lob his way—especially tricky ones with no clear answer.

“I like having that flexibility and being able to say, ‘Hey, you could try this, or you could try that. What do you want to do? Let’s have a conversation about it.’”

In the end, Buckingham knows his clients are getting answers to their questions, and the actionable advice they need to keep moving forward.

The doctor who wanted to give better advice

A family medicine resident and CrossFit Level 1 coach, Kristina Hines, DO, PN1, felt confident talking to patients about exercise. But the few hours of nutrition education she got in medical school just weren’t cutting it.

“I didn’t really know what to tell patients nutritionally,” she says.

Her patients often had specific questions about how to eat, whether various diets were right for them, and what foods calmed their symptoms.

Dr. Hines wanted a deeper level of nutritional understanding, so she decided to pursue a nutrition certification.

Thanks to the certification course, Dr. Hines now feels comfortable answering just about any nutrition question patients come up with.

The registered dietitian who wanted to learn about behavior change

Jennifer Broxterman, MS, RD, was already a dietitian when she got her nutrition certification. But she wanted to learn more about the psychology of behavior change and motivational interviewing.

“As a university professor, I like to see different teaching methods and different learning styles,” she says.

For her, getting a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification meant gaining perspective on how behavior change actually works, so she could better implement it with her clients.

Will a nutrition certification fill a gap in your knowledge?

already know everything have a major knowledge gap012345

Dig deeper

  • What are you hoping to learn from a nutrition certification? How will the certification help you learn it?
  • What skills would help you reach more people, or improve your work with them? Could a nutrition certification help?
  • How do you feel when nutrition questions come up? How does that compare to how you’d like to feel?

Question #2: Will a nutrition certification bring you additional and valuable benefits?

People often cite benefits of becoming certified that go beyond their initial reason for doing so, such as:

  • enhanced credibility
  • more confidence
  • improved communication skills
  • opportunities to learn from peers and experts in the field
  • a healthier relationship with food

Below, we’ll cover each of these benefits in detail, so you can decide if they’re worth it for you.

Benefit #1: Enhanced credibility

After Vivian Gill, MA, RN-BC, CPT,  earned her nutrition certification, she noticed something that surprised her: “My credibility increased,” says the registered nurse, personal trainer, and lifestyle coach. “Clients know I’m evidence-based and not biased, and they’ve felt the difference.”

Gill saw that lots of other trainers in her community pushed dieting, counting macros, and detoxing. Her nutrition certification helped her realize that a different approach would resonate more with her clients.

“I’ve decided to be the voice of reason and grace,” she adds.

Benefit #2: More confidence

What does Buckingham see as the biggest hidden benefit of getting certified? “Definitely the confidence I have now,” he says.

Not long ago, a client came to him wanting to lose weight. During their intake, Buckingham learned the client had already lost several pounds. Clearly, the person was doing a lot right.

In the past, Buckingham would have felt pressured to deliver a completely different program—for the sake of it. Thanks to what he learned from his certification, however, he confidently encouraged his client to keep going with some of the same strategies.

Buckingham also feels more at ease talking about nutrition’s gray areas.

Instead of claiming to know it all, he feels comfortable saying: “Hey, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I’ll find out,”  or “Why don’t we see if it works? Then after a week, we can see what happened, and take it from there.”

Benefit #3: Improved coaching and communication skills

Some nutrition certification courses, like Precision Nutrition Level 1, include information on the art of coaching as well as nutrition science. In other words, part of the course trains you to talk to your clients more effectively. (Want to see what we mean? Check out our FREE Nutrition Coaching e-course.)

Josh Chang, PN1, a dietitian and owner of Mycro Nutrition, says getting a certification was worth it for him because it taught him how to talk to clients about their barriers.

“Dietitians are trained to use a little bit of motivational interviewing and empathize with clients, but Precision Nutrition teaches you to take that one or two steps further—to get to know the client and how to dig into why they might be saying what they say or doing what they’re doing.”

“A nutrition certification may be worth it if you need a little help strengthening those communication or rapport building skills,” he adds.

Benefit #4: Opportunities to learn from peers and experts in the field

Some nutrition certifications offer Facebook groups, online forums, and even in-person events. These resources provide coaches with a chance to connect with like-minded health professionals, get input from others on challenges and, in some cases, access top experts in the nutrition field.

Having a large community of coaches at his fingertips was one of the biggest unexpected benefits for Chang.

“Once you enroll in PN Level 1 or 2, you get invited to a Facebook group. I particularly enjoy seeing how different coaches respond when people post questions. Some coaching suggestions are just so out of left field, in a good way. I’m like, ‘I would’ve never thought of that, but it’s brilliant.’”

Benefit #5: A healthier relationship with food

Jenna Ashby PA-C, PN1, an oncology physician assistant, decided to become a nutrition coach after overcoming disordered eating.

Though Ashby primarily uses her nutrition certification in her side job at Breathe CrossFit in Derry, New Hampshire, she also came away from the experience with some personal takeaways.

“It helped solidify what I’ve been building upon the last few years, and it helped me find more peace with myself,” says Ashby. “I now know, without a doubt: I can love my body, be okay with my body, and appropriately nourish it.”

“That’s huge because I once thought that, if I wanted to eat, I had to exercise, or vice versa. Now, that mentality is reversed: In order to be strong and feel strong I need to nourish myself. The PN certification really solidified that for me,” she says.

Will a nutrition certification bring you additional and valuable benefits?

not valuable at all massively valuable012345

Dig deeper

  • How would you like clients to view your knowledge about nutrition, and how do you think you’re currently measuring up to that?
  • How confident do you feel about your nutrition recommendations when working with clients? When you aren’t sure about something, how do you handle it?
  • How would you rate your current coaching and communication skills? When you talk to people about nutrition, how does your message seem to be received?
  • Where do you currently connect with peers and experts in your field? How might you benefit from additional opportunities?
  • How would you describe your current nutrition philosophy and your relationship with food? Is there room for improvement here?

Question #3: Does a nutrition certification line up with your career goals?

A nutrition certification enables you to make nutrition recommendations to otherwise healthy clients. 

With a nutrition certification, you’ll be qualified to:

  • Give the right nutrition advice at the right time
  • Develop an action plan your clients will actually follow
  • Help people transform their bodies and their health

These qualifications can be useful in a variety of careers.

What are your career opportunities with a nutrition certification?

People often wonder if they need to go to (or go back to) a university to get started with a career in nutrition. For certain jobs (such as registered dietitian), you need a specialized degree and training.

But there’s also a lot you can do with a nutrition certification alone. Coaches in our community have job titles like:

  • Nutrition coach
  • Sports nutrition coach
  • Weight loss coach
  • Weight management consultant
  • Corporate wellness educator
  • Nutrition program manager at a gym or other health facility
  • High-performance consultant
  • Stay-at-home parent and part-time nutrition coach

If you already have additional certifications or degrees (or plan to get them), there may be other career options. Some PN-certified coaches are also:

  • Registered dietitians
  • Sports nutritionists
  • Personal trainers and strength coaches who do nutrition coaching
  • Physical therapists who do nutrition coaching
  • Doctors, nurses, and physician assistants who do nutrition coaching
  • Psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers who do nutrition coaching
What are you not qualified to do?

It’s important to note that Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)—which involves giving nutrition advice to treat or cure disease—is out of scope unless you’re specifically MNT-accredited. You won’t be qualified to do this with a nutrition certification alone, and you should never try.

Depending on where you live, rules and regulations vary on what people with nutrition certifications are allowed to do.

For instance, in some states in the US, the only people who can provide meal plans are registered dietitians. But in these states, nutrition coaches can still help people with their eating as long as they’re not telling people exactly what they should and shouldn’t eat.

If you take a Precision Nutrition certification, you’ll learn that meal plans, deeming foods “off-limits,” and telling people exactly what to eat aren’t our style anyway. In our nutrition certification, you’ll learn how to get results without using these tactics.

Does a nutrition certification line up with your career goals?

don’t line up at all yes, they completely line up012345

Dig deeper

  • How can nutrition coaching fit into your current job? Or are you looking to pursue a new career in nutrition?
  • Take a look at the job titles listed above. Which ones sound interesting to you and/or resonate with your career goals?
  • Do you need a nutrition certification to be qualified (or feel confident enough) to hold the job titles you listed in the previous question? Why or why not?

Question #4: Will a nutrition certification help the clients you work with (or want to work with)?

Our grads say a nutrition certification can help you provide a better service to your clients (or potential clients). This service can not only focus on what they eat, but also how they think, feel, and go about their daily routine. (We call this “deep health” coaching.)

This allows you to figure out what’s really holding clients back from making the lasting changes they really want.

That’s important since many people get a nutrition certification, at least partly, because they want to help people—even if it’s their friends or family members. So it’s worthwhile to consider how getting certified will help the people you work with (or eventually want to work with).

For instance, Buckingham now includes nutrition coaching his personal training clients as an added value service. “If you’re meeting me in person, I’ll often say, ‘Hey, let’s talk nutrition. Let’s make sure that you get those questions answered,’” he explains.

Getting a nutrition certification may also improve client experiences. “I think it’s made me a better practitioner,” Dr. Hines says.

Developing her motivational interviewing skills, she says, helped her approach conversations about nutrition in a way that makes patients feel more at ease.

“Now, I’m able to meet my patients where they are instead of having them feel like I’m just lecturing them. I really try to empower patients to know that they have a say in this. It’s not just me telling them what they have to do.”

Lastly, a nutrition certification may help clients get better results.

For example, Kelly Lynch, LCSW, EMT, CPT, PN1, a therapist who specializes in treating first responders, began suggesting clients talk to their physicians about blood work and other diagnostic tests, especially when she suspected their mental health symptoms might be related to (or exacerbated by) nutritional deficiencies, GI dysfunction, or hormonal issues.

When one of her clients described worsening depression along with digestive issues, Lynch thought of a condition she’d learned about during her certification that could contribute to these symptoms: SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). She encouraged the client to ask their doctor about it.

Sure enough, testing revealed Lynch’s hunch was correct, and the client’s depression improved once the SIBO was treated.

Will a nutrition certification help your clients?

won’t help at all will help majorly012345

Dig deeper

  • What additional value would your clients receive if you got a nutrition certification?
  • How would more knowledge and better coaching/communication skills improve clients’ experiences?
  • In what way would nutrition and coaching expertise help your clients get better results?

Question #5: Will a nutrition certification boost your income potential, or provide other financial benefits?

Based on our survey of 1000 nutrition coaches and additional independent research, coaches with a nutrition certification earn slightly more per hour than coaches without one.

If you have two to three certifications, you’ll earn an average $12 more per hour than coaches with just one.

And coaches with a Precision Nutrition certification earn 11 percent more than people with other certifications.

So it’s safe to say that, on average, certified coaches earn more.

For Chang, getting a nutrition certification was the impetus to start his own coaching business, getting him out of a hospital nutrition setting and into the driver’s seat of his own career and earning potential.

Lynch experienced greater interest in her therapy services after sharing that she’d gotten certified in nutrition. It also helped her launch a coaching side business, providing an additional revenue stream.

For some, a nutrition certification might be an avenue to saving money. In addition to enabling her to start a side job as a nutrition coach, Ashby says getting certified meant she no longer felt like she needed to pay for nutrition coaching from someone else. Now, she feels totally confident adjusting her own eating habits.

Will a nutrition certification boost your income potential, or provide other financial benefits?

not at all yes, absolutely012345

Dig deeper

  • Will getting a nutrition certification allow you to charge clients more than you are currently, or offer new services?
  • How might getting certified in nutrition increase interest in your services? Could it help expand your client base?
  • How might getting a nutrition certification potentially save you money, in terms of services you’ll no longer need or outsourcing you’ll no longer have to do?

So is a nutrition certification worth it?


Now find your score range to see if a nutrition certification is worth it.

20 and above: Yes, a nutrition certification is worth it for you!

Based on your answers, it sounds like a nutrition certification will pay off. By getting certified, you’ll level up your:

  • nutrition science and coaching knowledge
  • career opportunities and coaching services
  • ability to help clients
  • income potential
  • and so much more.
6 to 19: A nutrition certification might be worth it for you.

Based on your answers, it sounds like a nutrition certification will pay off in some ways, but might not in others.

The big question for you to consider: Do the likely benefits outweigh the costs?

To answer that, take another look at your quiz answers, specifically at the ones where you scored a 4 or 5.

Compare the benefits with the cost associated with getting certified.

For example, let’s say you ranked high for a certification filling a knowledge gap as well as for it likely bringing in more income. For costs, maybe you already have the money set aside as well as the time to take and pass a course. In that case, you’ll likely decide that a certification is worth it.

On the other hand, let’s say you picked 5 for a certification lining up with your career goals. For all of the other questions, you choose a 3 or lower. On top of that, you’d have to borrow money to pay for a certification. And you’re already working two jobs. Oh, and you’ve got a baby on the way. Well, a certification might not be worth it to you—not right now anyway.

5 and under: It doesn’t seem like a nutrition certification is worth it for you.

Based on your answers, it’s not clear that you’ll find a nutrition certification to be worth it. That said, there are always exceptions.

You might be interested in getting a certification just for your own personal benefit—not for your career. You may not want to work with clients, earn money through nutrition coaching, or change jobs, and that’s totally legit.

No matter what you decide, it’s important to have a clear picture of your reasoning. Hopefully, that’s what you’ve gained through this self-assessment.

Where to go from here

If you decide to get a nutrition certification, you have quite a few programs to choose from.

For guidance, check out this in-depth article: How to choose the right nutrition certification program for YOU.

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

The post Is a nutrition certification worth it? 5 questions to ask yourself before signing up. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

On Wednesday, October 7th, 2020, we’re opening registration for the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, the world’s most recommended nutrition education program.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.  It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel both confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone—in-person or online.

Whether you already work in health and fitness, or you’re starting a new career or side business you’re passionate about, the PN Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results—for yourself and your clients.

For more about the program, check out the frequently asked questions below.

But, first, watch these two short videos; the first is a full breakdown of the program from Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, and the second video features
interviews with renowned coaches like Eric Cressey, Molly Galbraith, Adam Lloyd, and Jon Goodman:

Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon gives you a sneak peek inside the brand-new edition of the Level 1 Certification.


Dr. John Berardi and fitness industry leaders discuss what makes the Level 1 Certification so unique and effective.


As we’re about to open the program—and last time we sold out in hours—we’re getting lots of questions. Here we’ll answer the most common ones so you can decide if it’s a good choice for you.

What is the Precision Nutrition Certification?

Q: What's the program all about?

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of behavior-change coaching.

We’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that coaches its own clients every day, which means everything you’ll learn in the program has been tested and proven in the real world, with real people.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

This means you’ll feel qualified to offer nutrition advice and confident in your ability to coach anyone to better health and fitness.

But, here’s the thing:

You don’t have to currently work in, or operate, a health and fitness practice to benefit from the Precision Nutrition Certification.

Many people who join the program see it as their first major step toward becoming a health and fitness professional. (Often they’re still in the job they plan to leave for this new career).

Others want to coach people on the side without leaving their job, so they can earn extra income doing something they love.

Still others complete our certification program simply to learn more about how nutrition influences a person’s health and fitness… so they can eat better themselves and help others do the same.

Whatever stage you’re at in your career, this program will give you everything you need to confidently coach nutrition with anyone.

Here’s what our recent grad Darius Pinkney had to say about the program:

PN Coach Darius Pinkney

“Before joining the PN Level 1 Certification I felt lost and confused about what good nutrition is. I didn’t have the confidence in my abilities to successfully coach nutrition, and I believe that held me back from reaching my full potential. 

Now, after going through the Certification and receiving my credentials, I feel so much confidence in my abilities and skill set. Having this knowledge now gives me the assurance of being able to coach and guide my clients. The Precision Nutrition Certification helped me combine the science of nutrition and coaching in one course. There’s no other program like it.”

Q: What’s included in the program?

Since we first launched the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ve been the definitive source of nutrition education for health and fitness professionals who want to catapult their careers and make a difference in people’s lives. Yet we’re never satisfied with yesterday’s success.

Nutrition science is dynamic, new discoveries are made almost daily. And that’s just on the research side. As we continue to coach our own clients (over 100,000 and counting), we’re discovering new methods of helping them achieve real, lasting behavior change.

As we train and certify health and fitness professionals (nearly 100,000 and counting), we’re also uncovering the best ways to help our Certification students learn, retain, and apply the material.

That’s why we spent last year re-envisioning and redesigning the program from the ground up. Now in its 4th edition, it’s more valuable and practical than ever.

Inside you’ll find:

  • 3 unit textbooks, beautifully packaged in a box set—to give you everything you need to know about nutrition, behavior-change psychology, and coaching practice (click here to download the table of contents). Plus, it’s easy to carry from your house, to the car, to the gym, so you can study anywhere!
  • 20 animated instructional video seminars, to help you better understand each chapter (check out a sample video below).
  • Workbook and study guide, with exercises and thought experiments to help prepare you for the end-of-chapter exams.
  • Real-world case studies, drawn from our work with over 100,000 clients, to help you practice and retain the powerful new concepts you’re learning.
  • Active learning tools, to help you use what you’re learning in the real world, right away.
  • Over 40 premium coaching tools, including assessment forms and questionnaires, to help you learn more about your clients and unlock their full potential (click here to download an overview of the questionnaires and assessments).

The 4th Edition of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is beautifully packaged in a box set and packed with the latest research and proven coaching practices.

As promised, here’s “What is a great coach?”—which supplements Chapter 3 of the text. (Remember, every chapter has a video like this, to go along with the text.)

Free access to ProCoach—our online coaching software

Since our company’s inception, we’ve coached our clients 100% online. And we’ve helped thousands of coaches around the world do the same.

As a PN Level 1 Certification student, you’ll get free lifetime access to ProCoach—our online nutrition coaching software—for use with up to one client, friend, or family member. Now you can try coaching online, put what you’re learning into practice immediately, and develop the confidence to coach nutrition the right way.

Tested with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach helps you deliver world-class nutrition coaching. Now you can grow your business while working less & getting better results.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

As a PN Level 1 student, you’ll get instant access to our private Facebook community. Now you’ll be able to learn alongside an extremely supportive group of health enthusiasts from around the world—including top strength coaches and personal trainers, world-class yoga instructors, doctors from a variety of disciplines, and more.

With study tips, live webinars, and other resources, being part of this community will deepen your learning, introduce you to new people, and help you level up your career.

You’ll have the chance to connect daily with experienced coaches, fellow students, and even textbook authors. Ask questions, troubleshoot specific coaching scenarios, and get feedback or advice whenever you need it.

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, you’ll learn a science-proven method for coaching nutrition the right way, from the company that Nike, Equinox, Titleist, and professional athletes worldwide turn to for advice and expertise.

Now, more than ever, our certification is guaranteed to give you a one-of-a-kind education experience—plus the knowledge and confidence to coach nutrition with anyone who comes to you for help.

Q: Why choose Precision Nutrition over other certification options?

Both research and experience show that the best way to help someone transform their health is to start with their nutrition.

But understanding nutrition science is only a small part of what it takes to get people the results they deserve. It only matters if you also know how to help someone change their behavior.

This is where other nutrition programs miss the mark: They may teach a little science (that you’ll probably never even use), and then they send you on your merry way to figure out the “coaching” part on your own.

None of them teach you the science of nutrition and the art of behavior-change coaching.

Specifically, that means knowing how to break down your client’s complex goals into a series of proven practices that will lead to lasting changes. And then communicating with your client in an authentic way that builds trust and sets them up to succeed.

This is where Precision Nutrition is different: We’ll teach you all the nutrition science you need to feel competent. And we’ll give you the behavior-change coaching skills you need to help people get the results they deserve.

Here are a few reasons why we’re the obvious choice…

We coach people every day

We’re the originators of habit-based nutrition coaching. Since 2005, we’ve helped over 100,000 clients transform their lives through better nutrition. As we mentioned above, we’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that coaches our own clients. Through the years, we’ve built, refined, and perfected our coaching method for helping people change how they eat, look, and feel. Now we’re ready to help you become the kind of coach who can get results like these…

#1 recommended nutrition program

In a recent third-party industry report, close to 1,000 health and fitness professionals rated nearly a dozen well-known nutrition certification programs on a variety of factors.

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is top-ranked across the board:

  • #1 most recommended nutrition education program
  • 94% of customers rate our program better than anything else out there for learning how to become a better coach and helping clients change their behaviors
  • Highest rated in customer satisfaction, reputation, nutrition content quality, and program effectiveness

Bottom line: If you want to learn nutrition science and coaching from the best in the field, you’ve come to the right place.

Science-backed and peer-reviewed

The Precision Nutrition Method, which drives our Certification and ProCoach programs, was recently validated in 3 peer-reviewed studies. This means that the system you’ll learn in the Level 1 program is truly evidence-based.

For years, we’ve known how effective our coaching method is for helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it, too.

Our method was recently validated in peer-reviewed studies published in Internet Interventions, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and Obesity Science and Practice.

After being authored by some of the world’s top health and fitness experts, each new version of our program text is peer-reviewed by dozens of top professionals in a range of disciplines. This means everything you’ll learn has been vetted by top experts and validated by science.

We’re the experts other experts come to for advice

When elite athletes, professional sports teams, and Fortune 100 companies need game-changing nutrition programs, they come to us.

We’ve worked with top sports organizations like:

And companies like:

And major media outlets like:

In the PN Certification, we’ll peel back the curtain and give you the same world-renowned knowledge and tools we share with our elite clients.

Q: Which is better—taking the Precision Nutrition Certification or going back to school?

While we won’t pretend to have the perfect advice for every situation, here are some facts to help you decide…

If you decided to go back to school for a nutrition degree or to become a registered dietitian, you’d likely spend anywhere from $10,000 – $20,000 USD per year. If you did a four-year degree, you’d be looking at spending upward of $40,000 – $100,000 USD.

The only problem? Most university programs don’t teach you the skills needed to help people transform their bodies and health. They’re intended 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 R.D. Both noble professions.

Our co-founder John Berardi got a Ph.D. in the field, so we’re not knocking it. Brian St. Pierre, who co-wrote the textbooks for the Precision Nutrition Certification, earned both a master’s degree and R.D. and worked at prestigious hospitals and research institutes. And both Krista Scott-Dixon and Helen Kollias, our other co-authors, earned Ph.D.s at respected universities.

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, the Precision Nutrition Certification does both of those things. It was designed from the ground up, specifically for those who want to help clients transform their bodies and health through better nutrition.

In other words, it’s like getting a graduate-level education in nutrition science and behavior-change coaching, so you can get results for anyone who comes to you for help—at a tiny fraction of the cost of attending a university.

What will the Precision Nutrition Certification do for me?

Q: Who is this program for?

The Precision Nutrition Certification is for:

  • Anyone working in health and fitness who wants to help their clients get better results than ever
  • People who are passionate about health and fitness, and want to help others—either on the side or as a new career
  • Those who want to learn all they can about nutrition—so they can improve their own health

We’ve worked with nearly 100,000 students from every corner of this industry and beyond—from personal trainers and yoga instructors to physicians, therapists, nutritionists, holistic wellness coaches, stay-at-home parents, and people who want to coach nutrition on the side.

Carolina Belmares is a full-time personal trainer and nutrition coach who used the PN Certification to level-up her skills…

PN L1 Certified Carolina Belmares

“The Precision Nutrition Certification gave me the confidence of knowing I’m following a proven method that’s brought success to thousands of clients. And it shows! My own success has increased since applying what I learned.”


Kelly Slagh is a kindergarten teacher who loves to coach nutrition on the side…

PN L1 Certified Coach Kelly Slagh holding certificate

“Upon completing the program, I feel prepared to coach others, and I have a clearer focus of what my next steps are. I can’t wait to see where this new adventure leads me!”


Gonzalo Torres joined the PN Certification to improve his own nutrition. Now he uses his coaching skills to help his friends and family…

PN Coach Gonzalo Torres

“Now I have a proven nutrition coaching methodology, and I’ve made a real difference in my family’s health.”


And Ray Chan is a former accountant who decided to switch careers and become a full-time health and fitness coach…

PN L1 Certified Coach Ray Chan holding certificate

“Now that I’m PN Certified, I have the confidence to have crucial conversations about nutrition with my clients. And I can help them get past the inevitable plateaus standing in the way of their goals.”

Whether you already work in health and fitness, or you’re starting a new career or side business you’re passionate about, this certification will give you the knowledge, systems, and tools to make a real, lasting change for anyone you work with.

Q: What will I learn in the program?

We couldn’t find a textbook or a course that did all the things we wanted to do, nor all the things we wanted to teach others.

So we created the Precision Nutrition Certification, based on our extensive research and work with over 100,000 clients.

It’s packed with the latest findings in nutrition and behavior-change psychology, and includes practical coaching strategies, plus a step-by-step system for getting results with anyone.

Let’s get specific…

In Unit 1, you’ll learn all about the Precision Nutrition approach to coaching. After working with over 100,000 clients (and counting), we’ve learned what really works for helping people change. Now we’re passing it onto you.

We’ll show you how to:

  • Set yourself up for the best learning experience
  • Explore your own coaching style
  • Use scientific evidence in coaching
  • Build a healthy coaching relationship with clients
  • Coach people to “deep health”—where your clients thrive in all areas of their lives (physical, mental, emotional, and so on)

Next up is Unit 2, where you’ll dive into the science of nutrition. We’ll cover topics like:

  • The body’s systems, organs, and cells
  • Calories and metabolism
  • Digestion, absorption, and water balance
  • Energy production, fat storage, and muscle gain
  • Macronutrients: protein (amino acids), carbohydrate (fiber, sugar, and starch) and fat (triglycerides and fatty acids)
  • Vitamins, minerals, and zoonutrients (yes, zoonutrients!)
  • And much more

It’s like getting a graduate-level education in nutrition science. Yes, you’re going to “nerd out” a bit! But don’t be intimidated. Each chapter is written in a way that’s easy to consume and comprehend.

In Unit 3 you’ll learn how to best apply this new information, including how to:

  • Walk clients through the PN Coaching process step-by-step
  • Assess clients, gather data, and identify their goals
  • Create an action plan they’ll actually follow
  • Measure their progress and adjust where necessary
  • Help them achieve lasting changes in their health and lives
  • Work with all types of clients and situations
  • Build a coaching business, in-person or online

In all, you’ll get nearly 700 pages of the latest, most effective research in nutrition science and behavior-change psychology—co-authored by some of the industry’s leading authorities in health and fitness.

And that’s not even including the workbook & study guide, case-studies, and video seminars you’ll have access to.

With this incredible learning resource we’re doing everything in our power to change the game. We’re out to educate and train a new, more effective kind of health and fitness coach… one who’s ready to deliver life-changing results for anyone who comes to them for help.

Q: Why offer a certification like this?

Because an effective nutrition coaching system is the missing component in the health and fitness industry today.

If a health intervention or exercise program isn’t accompanied by an effective nutrition system, you’ll get mediocre results—no matter how badly the client or patient “wants it.”

The fact is this: Many very good coaches, in a variety of health and fitness fields, see their efforts go to waste because their excellent programs aren’t accompanied by a proper nutrition intervention. And that’s not merely our 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 merely 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 percent 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.

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

So something is missing, and that something is a proven nutrition coaching system.

That’s why we developed the certification program: To teach you both the science of nutrition and the art of behavior-change coaching. Because once you really understand both, on a deep level, you can deliver results that are impossible with exercise alone.

Equally rooted in the latest nutrition science and behavior-change psychology, the Certification offers a proven and practical coaching system that shows you exactly what to do at every stage of the nutrition coaching process—from the very first time you meet with a client, until they reach all of their goals.

Precision Nutrition Certification

Q: What do you mean when you say, “Exercise alone doesn't work”?

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

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

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

Simply put, the past 25 years of published scientific 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 more than 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 percent 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 their trainer four times a week at $50 an 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 $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.

Q: What results can I expect when I integrate nutrition coaching into my current 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 over the course of 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 and 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 we created this certification.

We wanted to create a new kind of program: one that helps you become a body (and health) transformation expert, and one that helps clients get the kind of results they deserve.

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


Q: Would nutritionists and dietitians benefit from this program as well?

Absolutely. In fact, we 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 us. We know because we’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, physicians, trainers, and coaches make lifelong education an important priority.

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

Q: Can I earn CEUs from my training or dietetics organization with this program?

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

  • ACE: 2.0 CECs
  • ACSM: 20 credits/hours
  • AFAA: 15 CEUs
  • CDR: 16 sessions
  • CPTN: 14 CECs
  • CrossFit®: 20 CEUs
  • ISSA: 20 CEUs
  • NASM: 1.9 CEUs
  • NBHWC: 15 CECs
  • PTA Global: 24 CECs
  • REPs UK: 16 credits
  • USA Cycling: 15 CEUs

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

We 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.

How was the Precision Nutrition Certification developed?

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

First and foremost, we’re practitioners, not just theorists. In fact, we’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that coaches our own clients, in addition to educating health and fitness professionals.

We’re in the trenches every day, coaching thousands of people around the world, from all walks of life. We’re constantly improving our coaching process based on our own learnings from the field, along with the latest research in nutrition science, exercise physiology, and behavior-change psychology.

Our team includes some of the best nutritionists, PhDs, dietitians, and specialists in the industry.

For example, Dr. John Berardi, Precision Nutrition’s co-founder and co-author of the Level 1 program, has had vast exposure to almost every aspect of health, fitness, and nutrition. He’s been:

  • A student of nutrition, completing his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario.
  • A teacher of nutrition at multiple universities, including the University of Texas, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Western Ontario.
  • A competitive physique athlete, winning Mr. Jr. USA in 1995.
  • A personal trainer, running a successful training business in Miami.
  • A researcher who has published studies 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 many more.
  • A consultant to companies like 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, he has a pretty unique perspective—one that’s very well-suited to teaching this material, especially to professionals.

Dr. Berardi has seen the field of nutrition from more angles, both personally and professionally, than almost anyone else teaching nutrition today.

In addition, he’s written chapters for other nutrition textbooks, he’s created Masters-level university courses on sport nutrition, and he’s created nutrition certification material for other certifying bodies.

So he has extensive experience creating academic course material.

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

Remember: Precision Nutrition isn’t just a certification company.

Over the past 15 years, through our Precision Nutrition Coaching system, we’ve been quietly conducting the largest body transformation research project in the world.

We’ve had over 100,000 clients go through our nutrition coaching curriculum, doing what is essentially a total exercise, nutrition and lifestyle intervention.

The purpose of this coaching is simple: to help people lose fat, gain lean mass, and completely transform their bodies (and lives).

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

As a result of this rigorous data collection, we’re guessing 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, we’re not talking about what we think is correlated to success. We’re talking about what we absolutely know is correlated with success. Success here means 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, we believe it’s time to share it.

From there, the Precision Nutrition Certification was born.

Q: Will there be multiple levels of certification?

Yes, two.

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

Essentially, Level 1 certifies that you have a solid understanding of nutrition science and behavior-change coaching. Once you pass the exam, you get a Level 1 certificate acknowledging your completion of that part of the certification program.

Some people will stop there. And that’s cool with us. With the Level 1 certificate, they’ll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to help people improve their bodies and health through better nutrition.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Master Class is only open to students and graduates of the Level 1 program.

The Level 2 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 your clients all the way through a successful health and body transformation.

So, unlike other nutrition certification programs, the Precision Nutrition Certification has both a self-paced component where you learn the material (Level 1) and a mentorship component where you practice under the watchful eye of a world-class coach (Level 2).

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

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

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

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, 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 20 total chapters, you’d earn your Precision Nutrition Certification in a little over four and a half months.

But here’s the best part: You don’t need to wait to get certified in order to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition. Since you’ll be learning and practicing from Day One, you’ll be in a perfect position to start helping your clients immediately.

Q: How do I stay committed and on track if the program is self-paced?

That part is easy.

In addition to the printed materials you’ll receive (i.e. textbooks, workbook, client assessment forms), you’ll also get access to our online course platform.

The platform hosts our educational videos, case studies, online quizzes (one per chapter), and innovative learning tools to help you practice and retain the material. It also encourages (and tracks) your progress.

We built the online platform ourselves based on the best practices of distance-based education. Most students find it the perfect blend of flexibility and accountability. And the proof is in our graduation rate, which is well above the industry standard.

You’ll also get access to a private online study group where you can ask questions and get support from your peers and the Level 1 authors. They’ll help you overcome any roadblocks and keep making progress through the program.

Q: How about Level 2?

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

And, as discussed above, it’s only available to Precision Nutrition Level 1 students and graduates.

Q: 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, you can expect some parts of this certification to be semi-challenging. But if you’re willing to read and understand new concepts, you can definitely learn the material.

Q: Is this program accredited by a national education board?

While our certification program isn’t “accredited” by the national education boards, you can still be sure that it is the most respected (and most recommended) nutrition certification in the world.

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 all the bureaucratic hoops to other organizations.

However, we 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.

What happens after I get certified?

Q: 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 professionals. 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.

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

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

What’s more, by being Precision Nutrition Certified, 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.

Precision Nutrition Certification

Q: Are there any requirements to maintain my certification?

As a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified professional, you’re required to re-write an exam every two years from your date of course completion to keep your certification current.

Taking an exam every two years will ensure your knowledge is up-to-date, and you’re still practicing at the top of your field.

If you take the recertification exam before your Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification expires, you’ll maintain your status as “certified” in the PN Directory of Certified Professionals. And we’ll send you a new certificate.

Precision Nutrition Certification

Q: 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.

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

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

Most health and fitness professionals are allowed to make nutrition recommendations to otherwise healthy clients. So even without the Precision Nutrition Certification, most folks can make nutrition recommendations. What we’re offering is a much better system for making those recommendations.

The only scope of practice that’s restricted is Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), which means giving nutrition advice to treat or cure disease. You won’t be qualified to do this, and you should never try, unless you’re specifically MNT-accredited.

Q: What are other people saying about the program?

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

In the past 7 years we’ve enrolled nearly 100,000 students in the course. And student satisfaction ratings exceed 99 percent, meaning nearly 100 percent of our students rate the course as “excellent.”

And, in case you missed the video above, here are some thoughts from a few of the top coaches in the industry:

Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi gives you a sneak peek at the Level 1 Certification.
(Plus, industry leaders share their thoughts on the program).



How do I sign up?

Q: When does the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program begin?

The next Precision Nutrition Le




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