This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Precision Nutrition. All opinions are 100% mine.
We made it to the other side … I am officially Level 1 Certified as a Nutrition Coach with Precision Nutrition!
I signed up and started the program back in February of this year, and you can read all about WHY I wanted to go for this certification here.
The short version is that I have always wanted to get credentials in nutrition coaching to be able to offer whole-package training services. Even if that plan never goes anywhere (although I really hope it does), I have always had a high interest in learning the science behind nutrition and what exactly “good” nutrition is.
I had a lot of questions that I didn’t know the answers to like …
“What are macro- and micronutrients?”
“What’s the truth about supplements?”
“How do I know if I’m really eating to fuel my body correctly?”
and more. This is just a small portion of what I hoped to answer through this course, and I am pleased to report that it went way beyond my nutrition-related questions.
The Precision Nutrition approach encompasses a big-picture healthy lifestyle that covers the importance of what we eat, how we move our bodies, what we’re doing for recovery, how we’re handling stress and more. The program exceeded what I expected in many different ways, and I am very impressed with the knowledge and tools that I acquired through the process.
More About The Precision Nutrition Approach
The Precision Nutrition curriculum-style and approach is different than any other program I’ve studied. The necessary information and science is there, but what differentiates PN from other programs is the focus on being a coach in and outside of just nutrition. In fact, Unit 1 of the course (Chapters 1-5) is dedicated just to the PN Approach and includes chapter focuses like your learning approach, what makes a great coach, helping people change, and defining good nutrition.
You don’t even get to the science of nutrition until Unit 2 (Chapters 6-14), which is by far the most technical and challenging. It’s recommended to be in an extra quiet learning environment when reviewing those chapters, and you may even need to read them twice. I did this, and I’m still not confident that I absorbed all of those definitions and every specific detail on the body’s systems.
It’s a lot, and I scratched my head during several of those study hours, but what leaves me confident about the material is the PN Approach to it:
- There is less of a focus on the technical terms and more on successful coaching strategies that apply to real people, case studies and real people’s lives.
- The perfect diet does not exist, and there is no one-diet-fits-all.
- Coaching is collaborative, and outcome-based decision making is key.
- There is importance in mastering fundamentals, circling back to them and understanding and teaching “deep health.”
- Steer away from being perfect, and instead coach clients towards making small, better-for-you changes every day to create healthy choices over time.
- Coaching is not just about workouts and diet plans, it’s about helping people feel the way they want to feel.
More About the Level 1 Nutrition Coach Certification
There are many different levels of credentials that you can attain in the world of nutrition. This specific certification program will not label you a Nutritionist, and it won’t earn you a title of Registered Dietitian. Both of those career paths require higher education degrees, a certain amount of hours in the field, case studies and more.
The Level 1 Nutrition Coach Certification enables you to do just that, coach. You are not a medical professional, and you cannot diagnose medical conditions or prescribe treatments outside of teaching the fundamentals of deep health and good nutrition habits. You can take your clients through research-based nutrition and lifestyle coaching, and set them up with the strategies and tools they need to hit their goals.
You can help people improve their health, nutrition and lifestyle behaviors, and you can help them overcome setbacks when they arise. You will be certified and have authority to do all of these things!
Here are some questions that I initially had about the program, along with some that I received as I was going through it.
- How long do you have to complete the certification?
The program is completely self-paced, and you can take as long as you need to finish it. You will receive the textbooks, a workbook and study guide, and access to the PN portal that walks you through each chapter with additional videos, case studies, exams and more as soon as you sign up.
Typically, people take anywhere from four to six months to complete it, but it depends on how much time you’re putting into it every week. Personally, I aimed to finish one chapter a week, and I fell behind about a month or so due to traveling and other responsibilities pulling my focus. That said, I finished all three units (twenty chapters) in seven months!
- Is the course all online?
Yes, it is completely virtual. You will have a textbook in front of you, along with your workbook and study guide. You have the option to read through the full chapters through the portal, however, and even record your workbook answers there. I learn best by writing notes out and highlighting, so I kept most of my work off-screen in the printed out study guide. But, as far as course content, activities and exams go, it’s online.
- What is/are the exam(s) like?
There are twenty chapters divided into three different units. Each chapter includes a video, a textbook chapter of material and coordinating questions in the workbook and study guide to complete. You will take an exam at the end of each chapter, and they are open book. You need to take all twenty exams and score 150/200 to be certified, which equates to getting 75 percent of the exam questions right. There is no cumulative or final exam. The exam questions are all multiple choice and pretty straight forward. Almost every chapter also includes case studies, which ask you to apply the knowledge from the chapter with open-ended questions before taking the exam. Your answers are recorded and available for you to reference later on, but not graded.
- How much does it cost?
The Level 1 Nutrition Coach Certification is valued at $1,428, which is how much it costs if you don’t take advantage of presale enrollment that brings the cost down to around $1,100. (Presale enrollment is opening next week starting 9/22! This only happens twice a year, so do not sleep on this if you’re seriously interested.) If you really like saving money and you can swing it, there is a single-payment option during presale enrollment that knocks the price down to $999. This is the lowest you will be able to purchase the course, and it saves you $428 off of the general price.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to everything, so here is a compiled list of mine on this certification.
- There is no expiration date on course completion. This may be a total pro for someone else, but missing a non-negotiable end date to the course gave me the option to stall or take breaks from my goal of finishing weekly chapters. There wasn’t an absolute day that I needed to finish, so I was more lenient on myself and my timeline when I didn’t stay on track. In the past, I’ve typically had six months to start and finish an online certification, and that gave me the push to start right away and keep the momentum going. But that’s just me!
- The textbooks are great, but they don’t lay flat. This may sound a little silly to note, but it frustrated me enough to include it in my feedback on the survey at the end. I could easily fold the notebook and keep any page open without holding it (maybe this is why I noticed it so much?), while the textbook required a hand on it to keep it open. I had to get strategic to support my obsessive highlighting and note-taking tendencies if I wanted to read the textbook and write in my workbook at the same time.
- Some unanswered questions. Although this didn’t happen often, I did get stumped in the workbook a few times. There was no way of looking up what kind of answer they were looking for outside of re-reading the textbook, and some answers just didn’t seem to exist. I gave my best guesses, but have no idea if I was right. Maybe some type of answer key for Unit 2 (the science of nutrition) would be helpful?
- The content. I really loved this course. (Read my overall review below.) The subject matter was great! It was also entertaining and written with personality behind it. The videos were extremely helpful and funny! This kept me engaged, even during the long and all science-filled chapters.
- Extra credit. Precision Nutrition recently announced that the L1 Nutrition Certification is now recognized as a university-level course and eligible for college credit. Yes!
- No extra fees, no waiting. Unlike tuition with extra fees at the bookstore in college, all of the textbooks and materials you need to complete the course are included in the overall cost. You can begin the course as soon as you receive them, and you’ll get your certificates immediately upon course completion via e-mail.
- Real-life scenarios. I enjoyed the case studies at the end of the chapters. They take you through actual Precision Nutrition clients and coaches stories and show you how to apply the PN approach step-by-step. Then, they ask you to respond to questions about the case study or similar scenarios. It was really effective.
- Learner’s Manual. All of your answers to the case studies are recorded in the Learner’s Manual. You can visit this page whenever you want to revisit your goals, motivations, and secrets to success that you applied.
- Access to digital assets, forms, assessments, etc. Precision Nutrition has a resource center that can be invaluable to your business, especially early on. You’ll have access to client assessment worksheets, questionnaires, links to other coaching tools, nutrition calculators, nutrition guides, PN infographics and more.
- Access to exclusive Facebook Groups. You’ll have access to the PN Level 1 Certification students group during your studies and then access to the PN Level 1 Certification graduates group after you’re certified. Here, you can ask questions to your peers, search the discussion threads and find additional resources like more coaching tips, case studies, challenges, helpful content around ProCoach, exclusive webinars and more.
- ProCoach. This is PN’s own nutrition coaching software, which you have free access to for 90 days. I haven’t tried this out yet, but I will definitely log in and do so very soon. With this, you can essentially start coaching clients immediately.
- Next Steps. This certification includes a chapter to help you decide what’s next for your coaching practice. It gives you a variety of options (along with the pros and cons of each format), tips on how to attract clients, and asks for three pages of answers in reflection to how you’re going to take this knowledge and apply it to your business. I think that’s brilliant!
- Continuing Education Credits. As a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, I need CEUs to be able to renew my certificate every two years. This program awarded me 1.9 credits, which is all I need outside of renewing my CPR/AED certification.
- 45-day return policy. I didn’t mention this under the cost question above, so it needs to be included here. If you start the course and decide it’s not what you’re looking for, you can get your money back within 45 days.
My Overall Review
As you probably gathered from the uneven pros to cons list above, I absolutely loved this course! Really. The material piqued my interest throughout it all … minus a few chapters in the middle of the science-heavy unit (woof). For what it’s worth, the accompanied videos still entertained and did a great job of breaking things down to layman’s terms.
Precision Nutrition does their research. They have a structured, systematic, science-based approach that has been proven to work. They tested over 100,000 clients and asked over 70,000 certification students/graduates to test out what they learned with their own clients. They’ve asked three academic journals to study and peer-review their method, and all of this data supports their claims. That’s impressive.
I am one hundred percent on board with the behavior over outcome mindset, which is stressed a lot. PN does not like perfection. Good results are great, but they teach you how to look past them to learn how to coach people to long-term, healthy habits and growth beyond results.
I also really love how much they focus on deep health – physical, emotional, environmental, mental, existential and relational all together.
I appreciate the transparency. The very first chapter of the book explains how the version of the course I took came about. It was through trial and error, and they took coach and client feedback seriously to completely overhaul and restructure the program. It was reassuring to hear the why behind it. Admitting it wasn’t perfect and making outcome-based decisions and modifications exemplifies exactly what the course teaches you to do.
Learning the basic fundamentals of healthy living that includes eating more whole, less-processed foods, eating slowly and mindfully, moving regularly, prioritizing appropriate sleep and recovery practices, etc. is key. No matter what level of client you are working with, they all start as a beginner with the basics, and I really like that.
Overall, I give the Level 1 Nutrition Coach Certification rave reviews! I am excited to see where the next steps take me, and I’m feeling confident to pursue whatever direction that may be.
Thank you, Precision Nutrition for this wonderful learning and career-changing opportunity.
I was generously offered access to the program in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts with you, but I was already on the pre-sale list and only minutes from hitting “purchase” before I got the word. I was in no matter what, and I certainly don’t take this gift for granted.
If you think that the course is a good fit for you, make sure to get on the list if you are looking for a discount (up to 30% off!) on the upcoming enrollment later this month. Presale enrollment is only open 9/22-9/24 so don’t wait!
Thank you for reading my review, and please reach out with any additional questions that I didn’t cover.
Cheers to new adventures ahead!
Disclaimer: After choosing to go for the PN Level 1 Certification, I reached out to the company and offered to share my experience in exchange for access to the program. I am very grateful for this partnership! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own on this and any future posts.