Sports Nutrition Certificate

Program Outline

Your program consists of courses designed to take you step-by-step through the information and skills needed for effective Sports Nutrition.

Here's how it works
Your first course will be sent to you as soon as your enrollment has been accepted. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams, so that you will always have the study materials needed for your coursework.

Computer Specifications
You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows®-based computer (or Mac equivalent) and high-speed Internet in order to complete your program with Penn Foster.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: The program will prepare students to evaluate the nutrition of athletes and others in fitness settings and to offer suggestions to help meet their personal goals.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the components of a nutritious diet, and recognize how sports nutrition affects athletes
  • Explain the body's energy systems, and describe how nutrition fuels these systems
  • Recognize the relationship between calories and energy, and identify the roles of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in diets
  • Identify the benefits of vitamins and minerals, and describe how athletes can optimize vitamins and minerals through diets and supplementation
  • Recognize how the body manages water and heat, and identify techniques for staying hydrated and training in various climates
  • Identify considerations for optimizing nutrient utilization, including glucose availability, proper protein and carbohydrate intake, various carb-loading techniques, and the timing of nutrient intake
  • Identify and discuss various supplements, such as performance, protein, herbal, and weight-loss supplements, and explain the regulations and risks associated with using supplements
  • Understand the relationship between body composition and sports performance, and describe various body composition assessment methods
  • Identify weight management issues, including techniques for proper weight loss and weight gain
  • Analyze nutritional information on food labels, and calculate the target body weight of an athlete with a specific weight-loss goal

NTR015 - Introduction to Sports Nutrition

Understanding the demands of sports; the differences between health, fitness, and performance; sport specificity and nutrition; optimizing performance; managing tissue health; relative factors of nutrition; individualized approaches to sports nutrition.

Fueling the Systems
Aerobic and anaerobic metabolism; the phosphagen system; glycolytic pathways; intensity-related activities; buffering; lactate clearance; glycogen depletion; onset of fatigue.

NTR016 - Calories, Nutrients, and Water

Determining Caloric Needs
Energy demands in sports; identifying individual carbohydrate requirements; types of protein; the role of protein in exercise metabolism; tension-based demands; considerations for high-protein intake; types of lipids; fat requirements for high-risk athletes.

Micronutrient Management
Water- and fat-soluble vitamins; antioxidants; macro- and micronutrients; chemical interactions; mineral deficiencies; the role of electrolytes.

Relative demand for water; factors that affect hydration; hyponatremia; interaction of water and minerals; balancing fluid intake and retention; monitoring fluid and mineral loss; the physiology of dehydration; consequences of inadequate intake.

NTR017 - Nutrition and Supplements for Training

Nutrition for Optimal Training
Pre-activity energy consumption; the glycemic index; carbohydrate loading; metabolic considerations; gastric emptying and digestion; post-exercise refueling.

Ergogenic Aids
Legal issues and regulations regarding the use of supplements; professional responsibility; energy-yielding supplements; energy enhancers; mass enhancers; thermogenics and fat blockers; anabolic steroids and their side effects.

NTR018 - Body Composition and Weight Management

Body Composition
Fat vs. fat-free mass; water and weight; methods of measurement; using body composition data; understanding the fat–endocrine relationship; dynamics of fat tissue; optimizing performance weight; the physics of mass and velocity.

Weight Management
Maintaining lean mass; the dynamics of energy balance; the role of resistance training and aerobic exercise; managing calories; types of training; cutting fat; avoiding catabolic behavior; common obstacles and pitfalls; troubleshooting performance decline; disordered eating.

Graded Project: Sports Nutrition
Practical exercise designed to apply what you’ve learned about sports nutrition.

Note: The Penn Foster Sports Nutrition program is approved for 7 continuing education units by the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) toward recertification as a personal trainer. The NCSF requires the completion of 10 CEUs biannually to renew the CPT credential, which must include 2.0 CEUs of CPR training and 1.0 CEU of professional ethics.

This program is approved by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for 1.7 CECs toward recertification as an ACE fitness professional. Note that ACE requires the completion of 20 hours (2.0 CECs) of continuing education biannually.

Penn Foster currently partners with the NCSF to provide the Certified Personal Trainer career diploma program.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this program.

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