Fitness and Nutrition Certificate

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of seven Instruction Sets designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll need to complete your Fitness and Nutrition Certificate Program.

Here's how it works
Your first Instruction Set is sent immediately after your enrollment has been accepted. Other Instruction Sets will follow as you complete your exams, so you will always have training materials to work with.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: This certificate is designed to teach students the fundamentals of the fitness and nutrition field — from healthy menu planning and weight-loss strategies to targeted fitness routines and flexibility training.

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

  • Understand how fitness affects physical and mental well-being, assess current fitness, plan goals, and recognize opportunities in the fitness field
  • Understand how medical terms build meaning by combining word parts, with a focus on exercise science terminology
  • Identify major organs and their functions within each system
  • Understand how nutrients fit into a healthy eating plan, and distinguish the ingredients needed to prepare healthy and specialized menus
  • Identify muscle structures and their roles in movement, and understand the physiology of muscle contraction and the importance of attaining good posture
  • Recognize the structures of the pulmonary circuit and understand the design of cardiorespiratory exercise programs
  • Understand the benefits and safety concerns of resistance training, and identify exercise routines for functional training
  • Identify the structures of the upper and lower body, and identify programs and exercises to enhance upper- and lower-body fitness
  • Recognize the benefits of increased flexibility, ascertain the components of safe training, and know how to minimize stress
  • Understand how to determine short- and long-term fitness goals, design programs, track progress, and promote lifetime fitness
  • Identify common risks and signs of disease, know how to obtain and use screening data, and understand how to supply exercise information for people with health conditions
  • Recognize how to keep clients motivated and avoid liability issues

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal. Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers. Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Introduction to Managing Personal Health
Taking charge of your health and lifestyle; assessing your present lifestyle and its effects on your well-being; the benefits of managing your health; the importance of a weight maintenance program; job opportunities for fitness leaders; the personal qualities needed to become a fitness leader.

Instruction Set 2

Medical Terminology
Understanding common suffixes, roots, and prefixes used to form medical terms; determining the meaning of medical terms; identifying the basic structures and functions of the human body; understanding anatomical position, directional terms, planes of section, quadrants, and regions.

Exercise Science Terminology
Major muscle groups and the work they perform; anatomy of a muscle; aerobic versus anaerobic exercise; training thresholds and recovery periods; tests for overall fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility; typical components of a fitness workout; training methods for different fitness levels.

Fitness Anatomy and Physiology 1
The overall function of the digestive, urinary, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems; the major structures within each system; the functions of the structures within each system; related terminology.

Fitness Anatomy and Physiology 2
The overall function of the endocrine, circulatory, and respiratory systems; the major structures within each system; the functions of the structures within each system; related terminology.

Instruction Set 3

Nutrition Basics
The relationship between calories and energy; balancing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in a healthy eating plan; suggesting foods for individuals with allergies; selecting healthy ingredients and preparation methods; the importance of vitamins and minerals; daily water and fluid intake; nutritional needs for men and women; taking herbal supplements; selecting healthy foods using nutritional tools.

Developing Healthy Eating Habits
Creating low-fat menus and recipes for clients; identifying ingredients needed to prepare healthy meals; analyzing recipes and menus for caloric, fat, protein, carbohydrate, sodium, and fiber content; interpreting nutrition labels; demonstrating healthy techniques for energy balance and weight loss.

Muscles in Motion
Different types of muscles and their structures; voluntary and involuntary muscle movement; mechanism and chemistry of muscle contraction; bones and joints and their function in movement; performance factors and fatigue; muscular fitness and its relationship to health; muscle soreness and injury.

Posture, Balance, and Proper Alignment
Health benefits of good posture; poor posture and its effects on breathing, digestion, and other bodily functions; proper posture techniques; assisting clients in attaining good posture and developing good posture habits; exercises that improve strength and flexibility for the spine and core; techniques to alleviate tension and anxiety.

Instruction Set 4

Understanding the Heart and Lungs
The pulmonary circuit; comparing and contrasting arteries, arterioles, veins, venules, and capillaries; determining your target heart rate and your heart rate range; physical advantages of regular cardiorespiratory exercise; the relationship between lifestyle and blood pressure; factors that contribute to heart and lung disease; information resources for developing and maintaining a healthy heart and lungs.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness
Exercise mode, duration, frequency, and intensity; advantages of cardiorespiratory fitness; comparing and contrasting cardiorespiratory exercise regimens; calculating resting heart rate, maximum heart rate, heart rate reserve, and training intensity; exercise plan progression; designing cardiorespiratory exercise programs.

Principles of Muscular Strength and Endurance
Advantages of resistance training; traditional resistance training routines; practicing safe training methods; the role of genetics, gender, and age in resistance training; determining appropriate weight loads; effects of muscle overload and hypertrophy.

Strengthening the Core
Core muscle groups and their relationship to overall fitness; exercise routines for core fitness; practical applications for core fitness; basics of functional training; comparing and contrasting posture and stretching exercise routines.

Instruction Set 5

Strengthening the Upper Body
Advantages of upper-body fitness; assessing your level of upper body fitness; practical applications for achieving and maintaining upper body fitness; fitness routines and exercise techniques for the neck, shoulders, arms, chest, and upper back.

Strengthening the Lower Body
Major structures of the lower body; advantages of achieving and maintaining a fit lower body; exercises that enhance lower body fitness; designing and implementing lower body fitness programs.

Flexibility Training
Defining flexibility and range of motion; benefits of increases flexibility; relationship between poor flexibility and increased injury; identifying individual flexibility needs; structural limits to flexibility; stretching techniques; major components of a flexibility training program.

Preventing Injury
The importance of safety in exercise; the five commandments of injury prevention; lifelong impact of sports injuries; responding to serious injuries and emergency situations; recognizing symptoms of common injuries; safety requirements for physical activities; designing plans to prevent or decrease injury.

Stress Management Techniques
Distinguishing between eustress and distress; the impact of stress on physical health; physical and psychological symptoms of stress; common stressors in daily life; the three stages of stress; the importance of fun and relaxation in relieving stress; reducing stress through exercise and adequate sleep; visualization, meditation, and breathing techniques.

DVD : Yoga for Every Body

Instruction Set 6

Personal Fitness Programs
The need for self-assessment; determining appropriate long- and short-term fitness goals; methods for measuring and tracking progress; setting flexibility, endurance, strength, nutrition, and stress-reduction goals; promoting lifetime fitness; proposing a rationale for starting a fitness program; fitness prescriptions for individuals at various stages of fitness.

Fitness Programs for the General Population
Planning health assessments, setting goals, and designing fitness programs for clients; creating fitness programs based on aerobic and strength-training components; evaluating fitness workout formats; the six basic body positions; safety considerations for designing new fitness programs; interacting with clients during and following workouts.

Health Screening, Testing, and Evaluation
General and specialized health assessments; the importance of informed consent; roles of fitness assessment team members; appropriate tests for measuring strength, endurance, and flexibility; active and passive fitness testing.

Preparing for Special Situations
Partnering with healthcare professionals to provide fitness instruction; exercise guidelines for clients with diabetes and asthma; designing exercise programs for pregnant women; exercise parameters for children and the elderly; typical exercise limitations for individuals with lower back pain; medical conditions that restrict or prevent exercise.

Instruction Set 7

Leadership Skills
Leadership characteristics of fitness professionals; responsibilities of being a role model; methods for capturing and keeping clients’ attention; selecting appropriate props for exercises classes; creating an environment that reflects the varying pace of workouts; establishing a rapport with clients; communicating with clients at different fitness levels.

Legal and Ethical Issues
Common liability issues facing fitness professionals; forms and contracts required for fitness professionals, facilities, and clients; sources of legal information; identifying situations with potential for injury and/or litigation; minimizing risk within a fitness facility; ethical issues related to the fitness profession.


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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