Are you thinking about studying for the ACE nutrition certification? The course is popular with personal trainers and health coaches, thanks to its high-quality teaching and specialist curriculum. But it’s also not right for everyone, so it pays to do your research before committing.  

In this article – we review the ACE fitness nutrition specialist course and outline how it compares to other training programs in the industry.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers several excellent nutrition courses. Their flagship one is the ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist Program which is a recognised and respected certification across the industry. Let’s look at what it entails…

  • Course overview
  • Benefits
  • Disadvantages
  • Pricing
  • Other courses
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Course Overview

The ACE certification is designed for personal trainers and those specifically interested in the link between nutrition and fitness. It covers topics that are tailored to this audience and their needs. The curriculum includes…

  • How to work with clients
  • Behaviour change and managing relapses
  • Nutrition labels, grocery shopping, meal prep, and recipe ideas
  • Scope of practice (i.e. what PTs can do and what should be referred to a dietitian)
  • Sports nutrition for health professionals

As you can see, it’s ideally suited to fit pros and people working with coaching clients. 

Benefits

There’s a lot to like about the ACE nutrition course – it’s one of the industry leaders for good reason. Here are some of the key benefits to studying this particular certification…

  • It’s recognised across the gym industry so employers will value it on your CV
  • Having a specialism enables you to offer niche coaching packages and products, opening up a new revenue stream.
  • You can study at your own pace so there’s less time pressure than other courses.
  • The online learning materials make it convenient to learn from anywhere and you save travel costs associated with attending in person.
  • It’s at the cheaper end of the spectrum for nutrition certifications (see below for a price comparison).
  • Training is delivered by a dietitian and qualified MD, so you can be confident that the content is scientifically and ethically sound. 
  • The curriculum also has a great balance of evidence-based science (behaviour change) and practical applications (meal planning, supermarket tours). 
  • The continuing education credits you receive (2.5 ACE CECs) are also recognised by other training providers like ACSM, AFAA, NASM, NCSF, and NFPT. 

So, the course clearly ticks a lot of boxes. But are there any downsides to consider?

Disadvantages

Like any course, this one won’t be right for everyone. In our opinion, the potential disadvantages are…

  • It assumes some prior knowledge as it’s for qualified personal trainers, so if you don’t have a foundational understanding of nutrition then you might be better off with a beginners option (like their fundamentals course). 
  • The ACE course doesn’t certify you to become a nutritionist or dietician. You’ll need to complete a more advanced qualification (typically a university degree) for this.
  • Some people learn better in person so the online nature of this training might not suit all students.
  • The focus on fitness and coaching may not be relevant to people looking for a general interest nutrition course. 

ACE Nutrition Certification Cost

ACE nutrition course fees are reasonable at $799 which is on par with similar programs offered by other training providers. ISSA’s nutrition course is also $799, with NASM at $899 and Precision Nutrition at $999+. However, you can sometimes get fantastic discounts on the sticker price of these courses so you might be able to snag them for around $499 if you’re lucky.

Other ACE Nutrition Courses

There are a range of different nutrition courses available so you’re spoilt for choice really. Most are shorter ‘mini-courses’ that earn fewer CECs and won’t give you an official ‘certification’ at the end. But they’re great for trying out ACE’s teaching style and educational resources before committing to the bigger study program. 

  • Nutrition Fundamentals
  • Nutrition Coaching
  • Performance Nutrition Strategies
  • Nutrition for Sports, Exercise & Weight Management
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1  

As you can see, there’s something for whatever your interests are. If you’re particularly keen on sports nutrition, then some of these are actually better options than the certification. If you study the ACE personal trainer certification, then you’ll also learn the basics of healthy eating.

So, there you have our review of the ACE fitness nutrition specialist course. We hope you find it useful when considering whether to pursue the certification. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.