The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification:
Frequently Asked Questions.

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

Share

On Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, we’re opening registration for the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, which turns health coaches and fitness trainers into elite, results-driven, world-class professionals.

Boost your education and take your career to the next level with our proven (and recently updated) curriculum, developed over 10 years and tested with 50,000 clients.

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

But, first, watch this short video; it provides a full breakdown of the program, including interviews with renowned coaches like Eric Cressey, Molly Galbraith, Adam Lloyd, and Jon Goodman:

 

 

Q:
What's the program all about?
A:

Developed over 10 years and tested with close to 50,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition Certification synthesizes everything we’ve learned over decades of coaching and research in the nutrition field.

It’s designed for elite fitness, strength, health, 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 tens of 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 the 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.

Q:
I heard the Level 1 Certification was recently updated. Is that true?
A:

Yes, it is. And everyone here at Precision Nutrition is really excited.

Here’s what’s new.

Newly updated 3rd edition of the Level 1 Certification program

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification has recently been re-envisioned and refined. This latest version of the program includes:

  • new textbook, with the latest research in nutrition, exercise, psychology;
  • new video lectures, one to go with each chapter of the new textbook;
  • new workbook and study guide to help you prepare for the online exams;
  • new assessment forms and questionnaires to help you unlock your clients’ potential.

Precision Nutrition Certification 3rd Edition
The brand new 3rd Edition of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is not only beautiful, it’s jam-packed with the latest research and proven coaching practices.

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, you’ll learn nutrition coaching the right way, from the company that Apple, Nike, Equinox, Titleist, and professional athletes around the world turn to for advice and expertise.

Now more than ever, our certification is guaranteed to give you a one-of-a-kind education experience and access to the elite coaching career you want.

Extremely successful launch of ProCoach

In addition to releasing the 3rd edition of our Certification materials, we’ve also launched ProCoach. This cutting-edge nutrition coaching software allows Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification students and grads to use our proven methods with their own clients in an easy and scalable way.

Precision Nutrition ProCoach
Tested with more than 70,000 clients, ProCoach makes it easy to deliver world-class nutrition coaching. Now you can grow your business while working less and getting better results.

We knew our system was in high demand, but the response to ProCoach — and the results health and fitness pros are already seeing with their clients — far exceeded our expectations. Once you begin the Level 1 Certification program, ProCoach will be available to you and your clients too.

The PN Method validated in scientific journals

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”.

Having worked with nearly 50,000 clients, we know our system is highly effective at helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it too.

We’re really proud to have our work featured in:

We’ve advised companies like:

And consulted with organizations like:

And, remember, once you graduate you’ll be able to coach your own clients with our revolutionary ProCoach software.

Q:
So why offer a certification like this?
A:

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 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. I’m just using fat loss as an example.)

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.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

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

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 percent 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 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 practice?
A:

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.

For more on the kinds of results you can expect, check out this video:

 

 

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

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.

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

Over the past 15 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 50,000 clients go through at least 6 months of coaching with us, 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 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 about 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.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

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

First, 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.

Second, 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 at least one of two big problems.

Problem 1: They have little or nothing to do with exercising clients 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 R.D. Both noble professions.

I got a Ph.D. in the field myself, so I’m not knocking it. Both Ryan Andrews and Brian St. Pierre, who co-wrote the textbook for the Precision Nutrition Certification, got their R.D.s and worked at prestigious hospitals and research institutes. And both Krista Scott-Dixon and Helen Kollias, my 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 skillset, 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.

Q:
How thorough is the Precision Nutrition Certification?
A:

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.

Ron_PN_Team_Member

 

 

Q:
Will there be multiple levels of certification?
A:

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 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 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.

Q:
Do I need to have a science degree to become certified?
A:

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.

Q:
Once I'm Precision Nutrition Certified, will I be listed on your site?
A:

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.

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.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Q:
Are there any requirements to maintain my certification?
A:

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. The renewal process is in place to ensure your knowledge is current, and you’re still practicing at the top of your field.

The good news: re-certifying is simple and free.

We make it easy — and free — to stay certified with us because we know you want to be out there growing your business.

And the other nice thing is there are no CEUs or requirements to maintain your certification beyond taking the exam every two years.

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 Fitness Professionals. And we’ll send you an updated certificate.

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

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 R.D. or L.D. 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.

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

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

 

 

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

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

  • ACE (2.0 CECs)
  • ACSM (20 CECs)
  • CDR (16 CPEUs)
  • CPTN (14 CECs)
  • Fitness Australia (15 CECs)
  • NASM (1.9 CEUs)
  • NSCA (2.0 CEUs)
  • PTA Global (24 CECs)
  • REPs UK (16 CPDs)

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

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 2.49.17 PM

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.

Q:
What about those people specifically looking for national accreditation?
A:

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 [email protected].

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

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

The Precision Nutrition 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.

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 Precision Nutrition Certification in a little over four months.

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

That part is easy.

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

While the platform hosts our educational videos, FAQs, and online quizzes (one per chapter), it also encourages (and tracks) your progress.

In the end, 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.

Q:
How about Level 2?
A:

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 Level 1 students and graduates.

Q:
What are other people saying about the program?
A:

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

In the past 7 years we’ve enrolled more than 40,000 students in the course. And student satisfaction ratings exceed 99 percent, meaning nearly 100 percent of our students rate the course as “excellent”.
Here are a few independent and thorough reviews from graduates: review #1, review #2, review #3.

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

 

 

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

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 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 won’t be qualified to do this, and you should never try, unless you’re specifically MNT-accredited.

Q:
Why the recent program update? Can I see some sample materials?
A:

Since we first launched the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ve been the definitive source of nutrition education for health and fitness pros who want to catapult their careers and make a difference in people’s lives.

Indeed, over 1.5 million of them visited our website last month. That’s enough to fill Dallas Cowboys stadium 20 times over. 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 (nearly 50,000 of them to date), we’re discovering new methods of helping them achieve real, lasting behavior change.

That’s why we’re constantly updating the course curriculum. This is great for you since we just released our third edition. It includes:

  • Brand-new video lectures, one for each textbook chapter, to better learn the material and retain what you’ve learned (check out a sample video below, it’s awesome);
  • Brand-new workbook with exercises and thought experiments to help prepare you for your end-of-chapter exams; and

As promised, here’s “Through the GI Tract” — which supplements Chapter 2 of the textbook. (Remember, every chapter has an awesome video like this, to go along with the text).

 

 

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

The next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification Program begins on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017. And there won’t be another one until April 2018.

We’re using a cohort (group) model to accept registrations: Registration is limited to a specific period and group size is limited. This ensures we can support you in your learning.

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

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.

Q:
What's the special discount I've heard about?
A:

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 USD. However, if you’re on the presale list and sign up on the presale day, you’ll pay only $799 USD.

Q:
Is there a payment plan?
A:

Yes. For those who want to sign up but want the flexibility to budget, we provide monthly payments as an option.

The regular monthly plan option is $99 USD 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 USD per month (over 12 months).

Q:
How can people find out more?
A:

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.

 

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save $200 and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a $200 discount when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to take the first step to becoming an effective, results-driven, elite-level coach, we’re ready to share our knowledge and help you build a long-lasting career.

 

Save

Save

Don't miss out. Get on the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification presale list today.

If you're interested in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, we strongly recommend you join the presale list below.

We'll send you more info about the program, and give you the chance to register 24 hours before everyone else. You'll also save over $200.