People are mostly riveted by the science behind healthy eating and working out and friends always ask each other for advice whenever they are struggling to get fit or lose weight. The fitness and nutrition profession is suitable for answering these questions. According to the academy of nutrition and dietetics, most Americans and in fact 90% of them, understand that diet and nutrition are essential but almost half of them do not know and understand how to achieve balanced diets. Becoming a professional fitness nutrition specialist will give you the expertise to provide practical, scientifically supported and relevant nutrition advice to your clients while staying within your scope of practice. A fitness and nutrition specialist provides nutrition information clients require to navigate landscape of quick fix solutions, a multibillion-dollar diet industry and poor food choices. Fitness nutritionists help group fitness instructors, personal trainers, health care professionals and health coaches expand their knowledge of nutrition and learn how to translate the information acquired into actionable lifestyle changes for their patients and clients. They also give advice on preparing and selection of food, choosing suitable meals for weight loss, meeting special dietary needs, reading nutrition labels and improving athletic performance. To become a fitness nutrition specialist you have to complete courses for any specialist program and hold a current NCCA accredited certification or any equivalent qualification professional credential to be recognised as a professional in the field.
Extensive knowledge of the human body and dietary practices ill equip o fitness nutrition specialist and one has to have the passion to work with people on an individual and personal level. Job growth in the US in the coming years is expected to be favourable and strong, as a greater interest has been observed in preventive care. A fitness nutrition specialist has the responsibility of teaching fitness enthusiasts effective ways to optimize their performance, manage their weight and improve their health. They may advise their clients and patients on dietary practices, use of vitamins, supplements and minerals and exercise. Licensing requirements are different from state to state but generally, the job needs one to have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition related field.
Difference Between a Specialist in Nutrition and a Dietician
A dietician’s role is more regulated than that of a fitness nutritionist and in the US, anyone can go to school and study fitness nutrition but being a dietician there are certain certifications and licensures one has to earn before being certified. Dieticians organise food and nutrition and promote healthy eating habits to treat and prevent illness while fitness nutritionists work on making sure people observe balanced diets that will keep them healthy and fit. Fitness nutritionists generally offer private consultations to assess the lifestyles, eating habits, use of medications and supplements and training schedules of their clients along with setting short term and long-term goals. A fitness nutritionist can create a customized program and use it to monitor their clients and, make sure they keep on track and achieve set goals. The supplement consultations, offer medical nutrition therapy, body composition and metabolic rate testing to their clients/ fitness nutritionist unlike general nutritionists attempt to provide clients with nutrition plans that will increase stamina and endurance and educate them on post work out recovery needs. They are therefore trained to evaluate a person’s biochemical composition and physiology for them to create the most optimal nutritional program for their clients.
A fitness nutritionist basically carries out the following duties:
- Help clients achieve their nutrition and weight loss or weight gain goals.
- Work hand in hand with clients to help them eat more healthfully and correctly.
- Plan meals for groups like retirement homes or gyms.
- Use scientific knowledge about the components of food and the human body to help clients balance their diet.
- Speak with the public as a consultant on correct nutrition matters.
- Work with advocacy groups and parents on managing childhood obesity.
Educational Requirements for Nutritionist
One can begin their career as fitness nutritionist by earning a bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition or any related program, which covers clinical nutrition and dietetics, and in most states, a fitness nutritionist has to be licenced. State licensure can comprise acquiring professional experience in nutrition or sports training g that can be achieved through taking part in internships and completing an exam. The body responsible for offering certification as a Registered Dietitian to bachelor’s degree holders who have completed a minimum of 1, 200 hours of supervised training and taken an exam is the American Dietetic Association’s credentialing agency and the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Available independent organisation offer voluntary programs and certification in fitness nutrition including the American fitness professional and associates and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Earning a bachelor’s degree and fulfilling licensing requirements of your particular state are the typical steps in starting career as a fitness nutritionist but professional certification is optional. Fitness nutritionists have a specific knowledge of the interaction between exercise and the human diet and work to impart the knowledge on an individual basis to patients.
Fitness nutritionists receive several hundreds of hours of supervised training in the form of internship after graduating from college. . It is always expected, in most states, that one be licensed first before practising their profession. Other states require fitness nutritionists to only have states registrations or certifications to use in certain titles, while there are those that have no regulations for their profession but just a few. Passing an exam, having a bachelor’s degree in food, sports and nutrition or a related area and completing a supervised practice are the essentials of state licensure qualification. Fitness nutritionists may earn the certified nutrition specialist credential to indicate an advanced level of knowledge. In several states, the CNS credential is accepted for purposes of licensure and to qualify for this credential, an applicant has to have a doctoral or master’s degree completed 1,000 hours of experience and excel in an exam, the board of certification of nutrition specialists is the one that administers the credential.
The Best Fitness Nutrition Certification Programs
ACE is the world’s largest non-profit fitness, training and education organisation offering two streams of certification in nutrition. A sports nutrition for health and performance course and a fitness nutrition course. Every course offers a textbook with online questions for evaluation and an online instructional component, which is designed in part by a dietitian. On completion of the course offered by ACE students are earn CECs and their certifications never expire. Students can also certify as Health Coaches, a program intended for health professional in different field emphasizes on the role of behavioural change. The ACE fitness nutrition speciality is exclusively available for students that have a current NCCA accredited certification or a credential that is equivalent to that. The AFPA nutrition and wellness certification program trains about the fundamentals of nutrition science emphasizing on weight management and nutrition throughout the life cycle. Consulting components, worksheets, and questionnaires for clients are includes and it take students 6 months to complete this program. No academic prerequisites are required to enrol in this course and there is an option of taking the exam online or by mail and after completing students need to acquire a grade of 85% to have passed.
The National Academy of Sports Medicine: It is one of the most esteemed professional organisations in the fitness nutrition industry and it offers a fitness nutrition specialist program with instruction on the fundamentals of nutrition science and how the information applies to performance and weight loss. It is an online course that includes client handout and a lower cost is applied to those with the requisite background who can take the exam without actually enrolling in the course offered.
International Sports Society Association Fitness Nutrition: ISSAFN teaches the nutrition fundamentals and how they are applied to client success. Instructions in collecting and evaluating client information, outcome based nutrition coaching and designing individualised nutrition strategies is offered, where students take 2-8 months to complete the program online on their own schedule. There is an online student forum for peer interactions and a hard copy and softcopy text available.
Precision nutrition professional certification: It include two key components the art of coaching and the science of nutrition. The textbook incorporates several case studies and samples and provides questionnaires and worksheets, which can be directly used with clients. It is offered online with an active student forum with instruction and input from PN staffers and peers. The program [provides a detailed and comprehensive test and a thorough and systematic approach to behavioural change. It also has a second level intended to guide students through a coaching internship and there are no prerequisites required to enrol. However, it might be quite hard for those that lack any background in science to apply.
The national exercise and sports trainers association: NESTA’s fitness nutrition coach courses offer basic components of nutrition and the roles they play in human health and provides instruction in assessing the nutritional needs of clients plus practical suggestions for performance improvement. After the beginning of the course students have a year before they take an exam and there are no prerequisites to enrol. If students do not pass the exam by the second attempt, there is a $95 fee to retake the test.
Fitness nutritionists held about $66, 700 jobs in 2014 with the largest employers being state, local and private hospitals, government, nursing and residential care facilities, outpatient care centres and accommodation and food services. Most fitness nutritionist work full time although one in four worked part time in 2014. To meet clients that are not usually available at their normal times, they might be required to work on weekends and in the evenings.
Nutritionists and dieticians are expected to see a 16% increase in employment from 2014 to 2024, it is way faster than the national average of all professions and jobs will be in greater demand because of the aging population and the increased interest in the preventive care. A certified fitness nutritionist will have their salaries varying depending on a number of factors. The biggest one that can influence the salary of a fitness specialist if the location at which one conducts their practice, experience and the career path with your fitness nutritionist certification. Where someone lives or works is the major, typical fitness nutritionist earn approximately $55, 00 but radically it varies with the state one is living in. the highest paying states for fitness nutritionists are Hawaii, California and Nevada, the average salary for a fitness nutritionist is at $ 64, 150, $71, 870 and $70, 580 a year respectively. Overall, a certified fitness nutritionist living in a metropolitan area will have an advantage over their salaries because they pay higher than in rural or suburban areas. The top metropolitan areas for nutritionist specialist are among the following California, Oakland, San Francisco, Nevada and Vegas. However it does not mean that one cannot make a good living and ear a good salary in non-metropolitan areas and some of the top paying include north coast region of California, east Georgia and southcentral Idaho.
The career path you chose after getting your certification also affects the salary because there are a variety of choices for career paths a certified nutrition specialist can choose from. Some of the most common paths are being a renal or registered dietician, a physician’s assistant or becoming clinic manager. ISTA certification fitness nutritionist can advance their education and this will have some level of impact on your salary. Overall, the salary will be determined by the ultimate career goals and the career path a fitness nutritionist chooses. Another factor that affects the salary is the experience that one has as a fitness nutritionist just like every other occupation the longer one stay in it the more chances of being paid more and in this field, every year there is an increase in the salary of a fitness nutritionist. On average, those who have worked between 1-5 years in the industry make approximately $40, 00 annually. This number does not remain constant as it continues to increase over a fitness nutritionist’s career a clear indication that there is a great job growth potential. Experience always leads to a more lucrative career over time for nutrition specialists. It just depends on where you are working and what you decide to do with your fitness nutrition certification.
As per the Centres for Disease Control, over a thrud of the US adults are obese which is a health condition associated with many diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes. More fitness nutritionists and generally all nutritionists will be on high demand to ensure that these illnesses are taken care of as diet is directly related to the cause. They will provide care for such people and as the baby boom generation goes on growing older, they will begin looking for ways of staying healthyn and leading goof lifestyles, the aging population will lead to a high demand for fitness nutritionists.
Important Qualities in a Fitness Nutritionist
Compassion - fitness nutritionists should be caring and empathetic people especially when helping clients in addressing dietary and health issues or any related emotions.
Investigative skills - a fitness nutritionist should be updated on the latest foods and nutrition research and interpret scientific studies and translate nutrition science into practical eating advice.
Listening skills - to understand their client’s concerns and dietetic goals, fitness nutritionists have to be good and active listeners. As part of a team they may also be needed to work with other professionals to improve the health of their clients and they therefore require to listen to team members whenever constructing eating and exercise plans.
Problem solving skills - they have to evaluate health status and physical fitness of their clients to determine the most suitable food choices to improve the overall health of a client.
Organizational skills - there are so many aspects to the work of fitness nutritionists and they have to stay organised, they have to consider the nutrition needs of their clients, the exercise plans plus more things.
Speaking skills -a fitness nutritionist has the task of explaining complicated topics in a manner that people with less technical knowledge can comprehend? Eating plans have to be precisely explained to clients and other healthcare professions that are involved in patient care.
Nutrition and Fitness Majors
Those taking fitness and nutrition majors may pursue careers such as consultants, dietitians, rehabilitation specialists, food microbiologists and health educators. With a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, someone can pursue careers as dietitian, health educator or nutritionist, work with clients to assess their nutritional needs and plan out meal plans to meet those requirements. Besides that, you will help clients come up with healthy eating habits just like what fitness nutritionists generally do. Health educators on the other hand help communities maintain health and wellness of people by conducting education events. A major in nutrition and fitness will help in healthy eating, healthy lifestyle choices and exercise for community members. Depending on the program level, one is at, some programs focus majorly on sports nutrition but there are those that focus on areas like eating and exercise habits for the elderly. Health workers develop and implement strategies that aim at improving the health of individuals and communities at large. They work in different settings such as non-profit organisations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, colleges, government and private businesses and generally work full time. They require a bachelor’s degree and most employers of health educators need the Certified Health Education specialist credential. Employment for health educators is estimated to grow 13% for ten years that is from 2014 to 2024 way faster than the average of all professions and the growth will be determined by efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. This can be achieved by teaching communities and people behaviours, habits, and explain to them how to use the available healthcare services. Group fitness instructors and medical exercise specialists guide patients and clients effectively to prevent and manage fitness and diseases positioning. The two professionals as the critical links between the hospital and the community. They hold valuable expertise and knowledge in developing programs for post rehabilitative clients that are recovering from pulmonary, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and metabolic conditions, implementing programs that train the body to overcome and prevent re occurrence of conditions and identifying postural imbalances.
Courses in nutrition and fitness covers human anatomy, nutrition, food science, cultural anthropology, assessment, emergency care, organic chemistry, sports science, exercise training and microbiology. These are just some of the general courses one can take because they do not include some of the specialised major or concentration courses. Graduate and undergraduate degrees are available in the field of fitness and nutrition and one can earn a master’s of science in fitness and nutrition through a variety of colleges. Fitness and nutrition majors are widely available but most colleges use different titles for their concentrations like exercise, sports and exercise, food science, human nutrition, dietetics and nutritional sciences. A fitness and nutrition major may be titled something different in your college depending on where you go to school. Careers in fitness and nutrition majors are quite diverse but all careers typically lead to the well-being and health of community people. Those holding baccalaureate degrees can be expected to be employed as nutritionists or dieticians, teaching adult nutrition or fitness courses at local community centres. More career opportunities are open for those with graduate degrees and can work in cardiac rehabilitation, sports nutrition, clinical nutrition, food safety, gerontology, teaching and wellness coordinating. There are two career paths sharing the same responsibilities as nutritionists, health educators and dietitians and those are nursing and rehabilitation counselling. Registered nurses are allowed to help their patients understand the medical care they are getting and help in educating the public about health conditions. They have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree, plus a state licensure while rehabilitation counsellors work with people on an individual level to help them overcome emotional, mental and physical disabilities. A wide ray of techniques and tools are utilised including physical assisting technologies and muscle treatments. Most of the counsellors hold a master’s degree and a state licensure in some states.