Nutrition Coaching FAQs
Good health and wellness depends not only on proper physical fitness, but sufficient nutrition. To help clients on their journeys to achieve their health goals, fitness professionals are adding nutrition expertise to their knowledge base. NETA’s Nutrition Coach Specialty Certification is for group exercise instructors and personal trainers seeking to further their profession by providing quality nutrition education and behavioral change strategies to clients and participants. The information below is meant to be a basic guide to help introduce you to becoming a nutrition coach.
A nutrition coach is a health and/or fitness professional educated to influence healthy eating behaviors and equip clients, as well as the general population, to take responsibility for their overall health through improved nutrition. A nutrition coach works with, rather than for, the client in determining practical changes necessary to current eating patterns to improve overall health. The role of a nutrition coach is to provide guidance, advice, and support; NOT to prescribe meal plans, supplements, or to treat disease.
NETA’s Nutrition Coach Specialty Certification is for certified personal trainers and group exercise instructors looking to further their careers. Earning NETA’s Nutrition Coach Specialty Certification includes:
- 8 hour workshop covering the essential nutrition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fueling for exercise, dietary supplements, behavior change and motivational interviewing, and scope of practice;
- demonstration of practical skills via mock client case studies and interviews;
- And successful completion of a 50-question examination;
Upon completion of the workshop and online exam, participants will earn the NETA Specialty Certification of a Nutrition Coach. Continuing education and certification renewal is necessary every 2 years (10 CECs, 6 of which must come from NETA).
Although the strategies used in wellness coaching and nutrition coaching are similar, wellness coaches are equipped to address a broader range of topics to include nutrition as well as fitness, stress reduction, and other health-related behaviors. Wellness coaches typically hold education and credentials in a health-related field which are adapted to fit the needs and goals of the individual client. The NETA Nutrition Coach Specialty Certification will provide professionals with the practical knowledge to act as a subject-matter expert on nutritional topics and the skills to influence clients toward nutrition-specific behavior change.
A nutrition coach has demonstrated the basic knowledge of science-backed nutrition concepts and the ability to educate and motivate clients toward healthier eating patterns. The regulation and licensing of dietetic professionals differs from state to state; a nutrition coach should never misrepresent themselves as a “dietician,” “nutritionist,” or anything of the like. While the title of nutrition coach is an excellent enhancement to a health and fitness professional’s ability to address nutrition-related behavior change, it is important to understand the regulations set in place in the state of practice.
If you are already a fitness professional, your client pool may be those you are already working with! Health-related behaviors work with, rather than apart from one another. Fitness clients may see enhanced completion of goals by adjusting their eating patterns. Client referrals and positive reviews will also expand outreach; starting with your current professional circle and networking with others is a great step toward increasing clientele.