Sports Nutrition Certificate

Program Outline

Penn Foster Career School's Sports Nutrition Online Certificate Program can teach you the fundamentals of sports nutrition — from nutrient needs and hydration to supplement use and weight management. In our online courses, you can learn at home, on your own time, and at a pace that's right for you. And you can complete our sports nutrition courses in just two months!

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.

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



Introduction to Sports Nutrition
For all athletes, nutrition is a key component to success. A diet that’s tailored to an athlete’s needs can help maximize performance and ensure proper recovery.


  • Understand the importance of nutrition before, during, and after a sporting event or activity.
  • Determine the ideal diet for an athlete.
  • Describe aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.
  • Understand how ATP is derived from energy-yielding nutrients.
  • Calculate kilocalorie burn rate based on physical work or exercise.

Calories, Nutrients, and Water
This course focuses on determining caloric needs, micronutrient management, and thermoregulation.


  • Understand the relationship between calories and energy and the role of fat and protein in the body.
  • Identify different types of carbohydrates and how they affect performance.
  • Describe the benefit of vitamins and minerals as well as the foods and supplements needed to acquire these micronutrients.
  • Understand the role of water in the body and the importance of hydration.
  • Identify and prevent different types of heat illnesses.

Nutrition and Supplements for Training
This course discusses the ways in which athletes can achieve optimal performance through nutrition and supplements.


  • Understand glucose availability as well as proper protein and carbohydrate intake.
  • Determine appropriate nutrient intake before, during, and after exercise.
  • Identify performance, protein, herbal, and weight-loss supplements.
  • Describe the regulation and risks associated with various supplements.

Body Composition and Weight Management
This course discusses body composition and the strategies athletes can use to properly manage their weight.


  • Understand the relationship between fat mass and fat-free mass in the body.
  • Calculate lean mass and target body weight.
  • Describe body composition assessment methods.
  • Identify the risks and benefits of several diets.
  • Describe proper techniques for losing and gaining weight.
  • Identify eating disorders.

Project: Sports Nutrition
This graded project in Sports Nutrition consists of two parts.

  • Demonstrate your ability to accurately read and analyze the nutritional information on a food label.
  • Calculate the target body weight of an athlete with a specific weight-loss goal.


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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Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.