How do you become a nutritionist? What do nutrition coaches do? How Much Do Nutrition Trainers Earn? And what certifications do you need?
In this article you will find answers to all of these and many other questions.
But first a little background. Finally, you may be asking yourself: Why should you trust what we have to say about nutrition coaching?
For starters …
Our Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification will be recognized With many as the industry’s leading certificate for nutrition coaches. To date, we have trained nearly 100,000 health and fitness professionals in the art and science of nutrition coaching.
Get ready: we'll tell you everything you need to know to become a nutritionist. You can read everything or, if you prefer, jump straight to your most pressing questions by clicking on the links below.
What is a nutrition trainer?
Nutrition trainers help people build practices that improve health, body composition, and / or performance.
This requires that nutrition coaches have a deep understanding of nutritional science, including:
The chemical composition of macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and the role they play in the body
Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (from plants), myconutrients (from mushrooms) and zoonutrients (from animals)
Calories, metabolism and energy balance
Water, electrolyte balance and proper hydration
Energy transfer, fat storage and muscle building
However, a nutritionist is not just about vegetables and macro ratios.
Nutrition coaching is about people.
However you think. How you feel. How they live. Why they act the way they do.
As a nutrition coach, you work with real people and their real struggles, all in the disorder of their real life.
In other words, effective nutrition coaching has more to do with behavioral change psychology than with nutrition science.
Just look at the table below. Every year, we survey thousands of new Precision Nutrition customers about their greatest nutritional challenges. Here's what they say.
As a certified nutritionist, you are qualified to help clients overcome a variety of challenges.
"I don't know what to eat" doesn't even make it into the top 10.
In fact, people tend to have the same food frustrations year after year, regardless of what new “food revolution” or “no-fail meal plan” comes on the market.
You could write that off as human nature. However, we suggest another option:
Many nutritionists and diet programs don't focus enough on solving the real food problems that prevent people from making progress.
Neither do they help people build the basic skills they need to keep up with the changes they make.
That is why we do not teach nutrition coaches to tell people to "eat better". Many people can do that.
The real job of a nutrition coach:
Help people build lasting habits This can make “eat better” simple, consistent and automatic.
Support customers throughout the processnot just calculating their daily calorie needs and giving them a nutritional plan.
Nearly 100,000 Health and fitness professionals certified
Save up to 30% on the industry's best nutrition education program
Get a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.
Who do nutrition coaches help?
The types of customers vary from one nutrition trainer to another. Many nutrition coaches focus on a particular niche or specialty.
Here are just a few examples:
Busy parents who want to improve the health of their whole family
Seniors who want to improve their health
People who are marginalized or excluded from traditional health and fitness communities
Professional, college and Olympic athletes training for a sport or competition
Adults who want to get back in shape
Customers who want to feel better mentally and physically
Models and physique competitors who want to optimize the body composition
Runners, para-athletes, cyclists, triathletes, powerlifters and weekend warriors who try to do their best
However, nutrition trainers are not limited to just one specialty. The principles you learn through good certification as a nutrition coach can apply to any type of client and goal.
What do nutrition coaches do?
Help people clarify their priorities, values, and goals related to health, nutrition, and / or fitness;
work with clients to identify skills, practices and sustainable daily measures to achieve these goals; and
support them every step of the way.
Exactly what that looks like varies from trainer to trainer. Here are some of the most important steps we teach nutritionists. You get a good idea of how many different nutritionists can work with their clients.
Step 1. Evaluate and collect customer data.
At Precision Nutrition, we use an admission form to better understand customers, track their progress, and help them identify and clarify their goals. The data we collect includes:
Knowledge and history of nutrition and lifestyle: previous weight loss or weight gain, training experience, awareness of healthy behavior
Current eating and living habits: what they normally eat now, their schedule, food preferences, sleep
Body composition and dimensions: Height, weight, body size, muscle mass, body fat, bone density
Step 2: Understand the customer and "build the story".
A nutritionist takes the information gathered in step 1 and realizes how it fits into the context of a customer's life.
For example, suppose someone wants to lose 20 pounds. But there are a few other things that stand in their way: a demanding job, bad sleep and family stress. If you just give them a pre-made 1,800 calorie menu, they are likely to have problems. This is because the meal plan hasn't considered any of these other key factors that are probably more important to your eating habits than calculating calories.
By examining a client's priorities, motivations, and perspectives, you can get a better grip on small everyday actions that can lead to long-term success over time.
For example this customer with the demanding job, bad sleep and family stress? They may not have the energy or time to follow a detailed menu right now.
In fact, it can actively worsen customers if they get this plan as it is without additional support or consideration of these other more pressing life factors. They may be distracted from developing the skills and practices that would actually help them, and they are likely to feel "failures" if they fail to follow the plan.
The role of the nutrition trainer: Help the customer identify other steps they can take to make progress towards goals. For example, this person can eat slowly or incorporate protein at every meal, which takes us to the next step in the process.
Step 3: create an action plan.
Good nutrition coaches don't tell customers exactly what to eat or what to do. Instead, they guide and support them in automating their habits.
This is the engine for permanent change. For someone who wants to lose weight, these habits can include:
Eat slowly and carefully
Selection of mostly minimally processed whole foods
Among them a lot of vegetables, especially colorful ones
Lean protein in most meals
Eat until only physically satisfied or what we call "80% full"
While this may sound boring or too obvious, the reality is this: following these simple pieces of advice is not only very effective for most people, but also incredibly difficult. After all, how many people do you know who do consistently all five habits Well?
Conclusion: nutritional science is important. But…
Mastering the art of permanent behavior change makes nutrition coaches really successful and in demand.
You can find more information about our coaching method in the following articles:
Step 4: Choose an action and test it.
People don't just wake up with a new habit one day.
They build it by consistently performing a series of small, strategic, and simple actions. For example, someone who wants to lose weight might choose to eat slowly until they are 80 percent full. To get there, however, they might first notice their first bites thoroughly.
Or let's say you want to add more vegetables to every meal. Your first action could be to add salad to the sandwich you usually eat for lunch most days of the week.
Step 5: watch and monitor what's happening.
Once you and a customer have agreed on an action, you've essentially started an experiment. You collect data again, e.g.
How consistently did your customer complete the assigned task?
How well did your customer do the assigned task?
Are there any challengers or questions?
Was there anything that went particularly well?
You also track progress with indicators such as:
Laboratory test results
Quality of sleep
Step 6: use result-based decisions.
Together, you and your customer can see how well they have carried out their assigned action.
There is no mistake in experiments, just feedback to help you determine the next steps. This is called outcome-based decision making.
Once you and your customer have analyzed what has happened, you will select the next task or strategic direction of the nutrition coaching program together. This can include:
Add a new action
Change the original action
Shrink the original action to make it easier or easier to handle (if the client initially had problems)
Make the original action more challenging (if the customer found it too easy)
Then repeat this cycle to help customers solve problems, overcome limiting factors, and change their overall plan as needed.
Continue reading: Three easy-to-use coaching tools
What is the difference between a nutritionist and a registered nutritionist?
Registered dieticians (RD) receive further training and training as nutrition trainers – and this additional training qualifies them for medical nutrition therapy. They usually work in a medical or hospital setting with other health professionals. Some RDs also work in private practice.
The following table shows the differences between trainers and dieticians.
Usually have completed certification, further education or university education in nutrition and / or behavioral coaching
Have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university
Have some background information in biochemistry, physiology and anatomy as well as other relevant topics
You must complete courses in human physiology, nutritional science, and other sciences, do a supervised internship of 900 to 1200 hours, pass a comprehensive exam, and apply for a license to practice in some states.
Unqualified to offer medical nutrition therapy (MNT), however, can provide customers with tools and strategies to help them improve their daily diet.
Qualified to offer medical nutritional therapy (MNT) for a variety of diseases through tailored nutrition and close monitoring
Can work anywhere – online, by phone and / or in person.
Frequently work with patients in hospitals and other clinical settings. Some work in private practice.
Help people develop habits and change behaviors
Prescribe special meal plans
Registered nutritionists and nutrition trainers are not mutually exclusive. In fact, many registered nutritionists – especially in private practice – also receive nutrition coaching certifications. This helps them develop coaching skills that improve their effectiveness.
What is the difference between a nutritionist and a nutritionist?
It depends a lot on where you live.
In some places, the terms “nutritionist” and “nutrition trainer” can be synonymous – and there is little or no regulation about what kind of training someone needs for either of the two terms.
In other places, however, the title "nutritionist" is protected by law. To use this title, someone often has to complete a specific training course, pass a certification exam, and apply for a license. These certification and licensing requirements vary by country and country.
In the United States, all registered dietitians are nutritionists and can market themselves as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). But only nutritionists who complete the rigorous training mentioned in the previous section can call themselves dietitians.
Contact an on-site attorney to find out how regulations in your area can affect what you can and cannot name.
What is the difference between a nutritionist and a health advisor?
It depends on the certifications you compare. As a rule, however, they have a lot in common.
People generally hire nutrition coaches to help them with their diet. And people generally go to health coaches to get help with … their health.
And since health affects nutrition and nutrition affects health, there is often a lot of overlap.
For example, too little sleep can trigger a strong craving for food that causes someone to eat more. And eating too much for dinner can affect sleep.
Another example: A nutrition trainer can help a customer with stress management – because Stress can affect fat loss. A health coach can also help a client manage stress because stress can affect energy levels or even the risk of illness.
In this way, nutrition trainers are health trainers and health trainers are nutrition trainers. The difference is in the framing. In fact, we believe that they are so closely related that for us Precision Nutrition Level 1 certificationWe teach nutrition and lifestyle coaching.
Do laws restrict what nutritionists can do?
We share this in our Level 1 certification program Code of Ethics. Various best practices for nutrition coaches are listed.
In addition to these best practices, check the laws in the area where you live. Although the limits vary from place to place, nutrition coaches are allowed to make general suggestions about the type of food in most places that are likely to support their customers' goals.
However, depending on your state or country, there are limits to what nutritionists, nutritionists, and other unregistered nutritionists can say about nutrition. (Learn more.)
That means that nutrition coaches don't:
Prescribe everything to treat a health condition or symptom. Without medical training, coaches are prohibited by law – and frankly not qualified – from giving such advice.
Diagnose What's wrong with someone
To treat someone with medical nutrition therapy.
That may sound like a lot of "cans". But nutrition coaches can do a lot – they become a key player in a person's health team. More on this in the section: “Why do people need nutrition coaches?”
What kind of jobs can you get as a nutritionist?
One option: Open a Private practice. This way you can create your own hours and be your own boss while doing what you love: helping others.
For some, an online nutrition coaching practice could be the perfect career for these times. A typical example: nutrition coaches used video conferencing and online software to coach customers long before the 2020 pandemic.
If you receive your nutrition coaching certificate, depending on your background, you can market yourself as a nutrition coach, sports nutrition coach, weight loss coach, food coach and possibly as a wellness and lifestyle coach.
While some people choose to work exclusively as dietitians, most who receive certification combine nutritional counseling with other health and fitness functions. At Precision Nutrition, graduates have ours Level 1 certification Use the nutritional coaching skills they have developed in a variety of professions, including:
Team sports coach
Individual sports trainer
In these cases, becoming a nutritionist improves your ability to help people in other disciplines.
Why do people need nutrition coaches?
Think about what happens when someone goes to the doctor and goes with a “prescription” to eat more vegetables, stop drinking sugary drinks, and start exercising. Your doctor will most likely explain everything quickly in a few minutes.
Which often leaves her with a big question: "Okay, but how do I do that?"
For many, they are alone.
For help, you may want to contact a knowledgeable friend, a best-selling diet book, or a YouTube video.
However, here's the deal: Mere knowledge doesn't always lead to long-term changes that allow someone to improve their health.
For example, imagine you want to be more productive. So you decide to get up at 3 a.m.
Now everyone can set their alarm clock and get up at 3 in the morning – once.
Most of us did it to catch a flight. But getting up at 3 a.m. every day when you're used to sleeping until 7 a.m.? It is a completely different story.
Many things in your life may have to change as a result.
The same applies to nutrition. To implement new, permanent habits, people need help creating routines and strategies. And without this help, they tend to fight. After all, even if you eat a few vegetables and don't drink soda for a while, you'll have a bad day. And then another bad day. And then another.
And then they stop trying.
This is a great opportunity for nutrition coaches.
Think about the work of a nutrition coach in two parts: Of course you know what to tell people. This is the SCIENCE of nutrition.
But the other component? Help people act consistently to the point where they can actually change in the long run.
This is the ART of nutrition coaching and more important than nutrition science.
If nutrition coaches lean on this art, they can help their customers …
Take a big goal, like weight loss, and break it down into smaller, more digestible steps.
Overcome limiting factors such as a junk food-loving family, a craving for sweets, or the dead tired feeling that makes people prefer to take away rather than order to cook.
Learn to shop for groceries, prepare and cook meals, and don't just follow a pre-prepared eating plan that may not suit your personal preferences.
Prepare for your own physical signs of hunger and fullness and don't just count calories and macros.
Find out how to prioritize and practice helpful lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, stress management and sleep quality.
Understand why their hunger strikes so hard at a certain time of day – and how you can change their meals so that they have more stamina
We could have added dozens more balls above. However, we hope that you will get the idea. Nutrition trainers are no better or worse than registered nutritionists or doctors. They just play a different and incredibly important role. Doctors and registered nutritionists diagnose, treat and train patients. Nutrition trainers help people do what their health team recommends – regularly, as long as it takes.
Why do people become nutrition trainers?
We have trained almost 100,000 people to be nutrition trainers.
Many have used our Level 1 and Level 2 certifications to deepen their understanding of nutrition and take their first important steps to become health and fitness professionals.
Some are still in another career as they work to establish themselves as nutrition coaches.
Others are already working in the health and fitness field – as personal trainers, Pilates or yoga teachers, chiropractors, psychiatrists, massage therapists – and hope to be able to use their nutritional coaching certification to catapult their careers to the next level.
Or maybe they are already helping a lot of people as doctors or registered nutritionists – but they know that if they learned coaching skills they could be more effective.
Still others see nutrition coaching as a side job that they can do from home and online. And we could list many more reasons why people choose to become a diet coach.
But all of these reasons? They really all boil down to just one.
People choose to become nutrition coaches because they want to change life for the better.
You know that people are frustrated with …
I try diet after diet and see no real results
The effort to "only" put her doctor's advice into practice
Bodies that seem to betray them at every turn
They want to help others – and they know that they can help. That is what a nutrition trainer does.
How much money does a nutrition trainer earn?
Obviously, it varies based on many different factors: education, experience, and customer load, to name a few.
But based on our survey of 1,000 nutrition trainers::
The average hourly rate for nutritional coaching is $ 65 per hour. In other words, half of the coaches we surveyed earn less than $ 65 an hour. Half do more.
Some high earners can charge $ 10 to $ 15 an hour more than the median.
Some super earners charge double the average price – $ 130 an hour or more.
For very successful Precision Nutrition trainers, $ 100 to $ 200 per monthly customer can be reached. Some of these established coaches work with up to 50 to 100 customers or more at the same time. (We'll let you do the math.)
However, these prices vary depending on experience, location and offer (e.g. individual or group coaching).
In addition, total income depends on many additional factors, including your interest and motivation, the time you can invest and the results you can achieve.
How do I become a nutritionist? What credentials do I need?
If you want to talk about nutrition, you really need to know what you're talking about.
But you probably guessed that part.
You also need to know about coaching, psychology, and behavior changes.
Although there is no specific certification, it is best to look for a training program that:
Is strict and respected
Treats nutritional science, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and other related topics.
Based on the "whole person" approach to a healthy lifestyle
Continuously checked and updated after the Latest knowledge from real customers and in Peer review research.
Includes coaching techniques and change psychology. Because understanding nutritional science doesn't get you very far if you lack the basic coaching skills needed to communicate to your customers and lead to behavioral changes that actually persist.
When choosing a program, look for a program that can do more than just a certification that you can hang on your wall and add to your title. You want one that not only teaches you about nutrition but also prompts you to start coaching with confidence on the day you graduate.
We are obviously biased, but we believe that Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification is the best place to start. That's because our program selects all of these check boxes and teaches you both the science and the art of nutritional coaching.
At the end of the course at your own pace, the trainers understand the cell metabolism, the GI tract, the energy balance, macro and micronutrients, the fluid balance and the importance of stress management and sleep quality.
They also know how to use this knowledge to inspire their customers to consistently change what, how much and how they eat, as well as how they move, sleep and relax.
We could go on and on about the many benefits of PN certification. But as I said, we are biased.
How about? If you want to learn more, visit our Level 1 certification page.
And no matter where you ultimately learn how to become a nutrition coach, we are there for you.
If you are or want to be a trainer …
Learning how to coach customers, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes – in a way that is tailored to their unique body, goals, preferences, and lifestyle – is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. The next group will start shortly.
The Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification is the world's most respected nutrition education program. You get the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to truly understand how foods affect a person's health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.
The Level 1 curriculum, developed over 15 years and proven to over 100,000 customers and patients, is the sole authority in the field of nutritional science and the art of coaching.
Regardless of whether you are already in the middle of your career or just starting out, Level 1 certification is your springboard for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the Authority to coach it, and the Ability to turn what you know into results.
(Of course, if you are already a student or a graduate of Level 1 certificationCheck out ours Level 2 Certification Master Class. It is an exclusive, one-year mentoring activity for elite professionals who master the art of coaching and would like to be among the top 1% of health and fitness trainers in the world.)
Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You save up to 30% and secure your place 24 hours before everyone else.
We'll be opening our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020.
If you'd like to learn more, we've set up the following Presale list, which gives you two advantages.
Pay less than everyone else. We want to reward people who want to improve their skills and who are willing to commit to the training they need. Therefore we offer you a discount of up to 30% on the general price Sign up for the pre-sale list.
Register 24 hours in front of the public and increase your chances of getting a place. We only open the certification program twice a year. Due to high demand, places in the program are limited and sold out within a few hours in the past. But if you Sign up for the pre-sale listWe give you the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else.
When you're ready for one deeper understanding of nutrition, the Authority to coach it, and the Ability to turn what you know into results… This is your chance to see what the world's leading professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.