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Fitness & Nutrition Training

Fitness and Nutrition Associate's Degree


As the fields of health, wellness and nutrition continue to blossom, there is great interest in individuals were certified to assist people on their journey to diet and lifestyle improvement. In this fitness-oriented culture, there is a strong shift towards food and nutrition awareness as well as the need for personal fitness as part of a rewarding lifestyle. Fitness is increasingly thought of as preventative medicine and not simply something for those in need of weight loss or better nutrition to consider.

There are many great reasons to consider becoming a fitness and nutrition specialist. Whether working solely in the realm of nutrition as a certified nutritionist or working a dual diagnosis and treatment job as a fitness and nutrition instructor, the ease of certification and personal rewards such specialists can look forward to make it a very desirable and interesting career. Interest in the nutrition field has grown by almost 25% within the last three years, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics.


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Reasons to Consider Becoming a Fitness and Nutrition Specialist


There is a great deal of media awareness of the need to pursue a healthier lifestyle through better nutrition and exercise tips. With a great deal of promotion via medical journals, media, self-proclaimed fitness gurus on the Internet, magazines and fitness centers, it is important for any consumer to know where the truth lies. To have a personal fitness and nutrition specialist one can trust the help and insight of means the difference between being herded from one media ploy to another and truly pursuing a better lifestyle. For this reason, people are increasingly looking for certified specialists and instructors with whom they can work with one-on-one for a customized and personalized regimen.


Duties of the Nutrition and Fitness Specialist

Nutrition and fitness specialists have the unique opportunity to help heal and educate others and assist them as they work on creating healthier relationships with food. The traditionalists assist people in understanding the physics of nutritional science in understandable language. Nutritional specialists provide information on how the body breaks down macronutrients and how minerals and vitamins do their work in the human body.


Nutritionists also provide useful knowledge on weight or body image, eating disorders, digestion immunity, fatigue, how stress and moods affect the function of the human body, negative behaviors and toxic foods and many more tips which can be integrated into daily life.


Nutritionists may use a high degree of intuition to assist individuals understand and breakdown certain mindsets that may be holding them back from making positive nutritional and fitness changes in their lives. Training programs often do not require a bachelor’s degree or higher education but instead fall under the structure of a supervised internship. For this reason, becoming a health coach requires a high degree of intuition and an innate capacity to understand how the body and brain work together when assisting individuals. The job entails combining practical health and medical knowledge and nutritional tips with a certain degree of psychology on the fly.


Primary Duties of a Fitness and Nutrition Specialist:


• Assist individuals visualize their own success in a holistic manner.
• Help individuals identify negative patterns of weight gain, nutritional habits and self-image.
• Help people develop a greater understanding of the science behind the human body.
• Assist people in stay motivated to reach fitness and nutrition goals.
• Work with individuals one-on-one to recognize and tackle their personal shortcomings and obstacles that hold them back from a healthier lifestyle.

In contrast, fitness specialists will work mainly with the physical aspect of health and wellness as they develop personalized training programs with each client. Fitness specialists generally work for a variety of organizations including country clubs, hospitals, resorts, fitness centers, universities, professional gyms, rehabilitation centers and more.


Each fitness specialist may hold title of personal trainer and potentially work at a mix of gym settings or even within clients’ houses. Acting as personal trainer entails a special set of rules and responsibilities. Prior to conducting a fitness regiment with a class or a personal client, it is the job of fitness specialists to accurately determine the fitness level of the participants. This is crucial as it aids instructor and client alike in the formation of a easy, step-by-step physical fitness program that does not force clients to initially overexert themselves.


Fitness specialists will lead training and warm up activities like stretching and then run through the more extensive program for participants. Fitness specialists may also assist or provide suggestions when individuals face difficulty during exercise. Assisting each person in reaching their individual goals is a key skill fitness specialists must possess. In addition to providing personalized help, fitness specialists may lead tours of fitness centers, help new members throughout a registration process, supervise exercise areas and monitor front desks in a secretarial or administrative capacity.


Nutrition/Fitness Specialist Certification and Training Requirements


As stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most fitness instructions and nutritionists must possess a high school diploma or GED in order to pursue certification as a nutrition/fitness specialist. From there, technical schools or community colleges may offer certification or associate degree opportunities in the field of physical fitness and nutrition. Most employers prefer at that a fitness specialist possesses a bachelor’s degree in the fields of health and fitness, physiology or kinesiology. In turn, employers wish a nutritionist or ‘nutrition specialist’ to have a BA (or possibly even advanced certification) in a similar realm or potentially related degree such as nutrition, health and wellness. Additional accreditation or expertise in specific exercises like yoga, Pilates or experience in personal training or group fitness may boost certification as a fitness specialist.


The American Council of Exercise offers a few certification programs including Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist accreditation programs, which provide the backing needed to go to work in the field.


Salary and Career Outlook


According to the BLS, the career of fitness/nutrition specialist is expected to grow 8% between the years 2014 and 2024. As employment prospects rise, the best candidates for the job are those who possess postsecondary educational certification in health and fitness. The mean annual wage for fitness/nutrition specialists, as reported in May 2015, was $40,970. This makes aspirating fitness and nutrition specialists ideally situated to pursue a career in the field no matter what their background. The long-term prospects for such a career are especially good due to the fact that good health and nutrition, and the need for qualified specialists to provide council in such fields, will not go out of style.