I’m Getting my PN L1 Nutrition Certification!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Precision Nutrition. All opinions are 100% mine.

I did something exciting this month!

For the past few months I’ve been thinking about signing up to get my Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 Nutrition Certification. After chatting with some friends, I decided to take the plunge and signed up for the course! I’m a few chapters into the course and am really enjoying it so far!

In this post I’ll share with you my health and fitness journey, my passion for nutrition, what I’m hoping to get out of the course and my experience with it so far!

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My Journey with Nutrition

10 years ago I started on my health and fitness journey. I had spent a week with my boyfriend at the time on our first vacation and we were having the best time ever — laughing, swimming in the sea, eating at really cool restaurants on the cruise ship. It was so much fun!

But then I got home…

In an instant, all of this love I’d been experiencing from my vacation turned into disgust because I realized when I got home that I hadn’t taken one.single.photo of myself. The only photo that I had from the cruise was one that my boyfriend at the time had taken and I was so embarrassed.

Embarrassed at how much weight I had gained.

Embarrassed at how I let myself get that big.

I knew right there that something had to change.

So, I signed up for the gym. I even got really out of my comfort zone and enrolled in a 3 day a week bootcamp with a personal trainer. That surely would get me in the best shape of my life.

Spoiler Alert: It didn’t.

I was pushing myself to the max every single workout and nothing was changing on the scale.

Defeated and about to quit, I complained to my trainer, Josh, about how my body just doesn’t lose weight no matter what I tried. We chatted for a bit and then Josh said something that’s stuck with me ever since:

“You can’t out-workout a bad diet”

I hadn’t been paying attention at all to what I was eating and drinking, and only focused on doing the most intense workout ever to burn calories. If anything, my eating and drinking increased because I saw how many calories my heart rate monitor told me I was burning during each workout.

But turns out all those extra mozzarella sticks and wine that I thought I had “earned” from my workouts was ruining any kind of progress I was making.

This sparked a new interest in nutrition in me. I signed up for a few diets and found the best one that worked for me was Weight Watchers. I ended up losing 45lbs, getting into the best shape of my life and feeling amazing.

But then Weight Watcher’s changed their plan and I started gaining weight.

How could that be? How could I be losing weight one week, then with a simple plan change everything fell apart.

That little change made me realize that I really wanted to learn about nutrition, which has since transformed into my desire to help others with nutrition. Over the years I’ve become extremely passionate about nutrition — not just learning about it — but also sharing what I’ve learned and becoming a coach.

After doing research and chatting with my friends and coaches at Stronger U, I decided to enroll in the highly recommended Precision Nutrition PN1 course.

What is Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 Certification?

Precision Nutrition’s Level 1 Certification (or PN L1 Nutrition Certification) is a self-paced coaching nutrition course that teaches you about nutrition and health coaching. It’s rated the #1 most recommended nutrition certification program in the world. The program covers everything you need to know about coaching, helping clients and the science behind nutrition. In addition to teaching you, they also provide tools you’ll need when you become a nutrition coach.

Precision Nutrition has been around for over 15 years and has helped over 150,000 people become coaches. They work with people that have a background in health and fitness, like personal trainers, all the way to people who are new to the industry – like me!

The one thing to note is that when you take the Precision Nutrition course it doesn’t mean you become a Registered Dietician. Upon successful completion you earn your PN L1 Nutrition certification which means you can become a nutrition coach. If you want to become an RD that does take extra schooling, which can take years to complete (and lots of money).

Completing this course can be applied towards college credits at select collages and universities in the United States, however it won’t completely get you to become an RD.

Inside the L1 Nutrition Course

When you sign up for the PN L1 course you get instant access to all the class material. The course is online based, but you also do get physical copies of the textbooks sent to you. I really liked that all the materials were available online because I could jump in instantly!

Once I logged in I had the option to order my textbooks. The textbooks ended up taking about a week to arrive at my house, but since everything is also available online I was able to get through the first few chapters using the online textbook.

Each chapter is broken into a few different parts:

A video introducing the chapter (there’s also a transcript and audio only version)

A link to the chapter if you’re reading it online

Case studies (these can vary on the amount – some chapters had 1 and others had 3)

Exam on the chapter (10 questions)

The course is made up of 20 chapters, which range from teaching you about nutrition coaching to the science behind nutrition. The course is completely self-paced so you go at your own speed. I really like that because some days I can dedicate hours to it, and others I only have a few minutes.

precision nutrition books in a stack

First Impressions of the Course

I was really excited to jump into the course as soon as I had access! It was really easy to get all set up and start and I was ready to get started. I liked how the dashboard was set up so I knew what was up next in my lesson plan and what was expected.

I do have to admit after I did the first lesson I did get a little intimated. I don’t have a background in nutrition (other than my years learning it on my own and working with my coaches), work full time, and have 2 little kids at home – how will I get this whole course done?

Thankfully after I finished the first few chapters I started to develop a system for myself and told myself I’d spend at least 5 minutes a day on the course. The course is completely self-paced and I’ll have access to it for as long as it takes me to complete.

I’ve started to carve out at least 5 minutes each day (it’s ended up being closer to 45 minutes to an hour a day) to dedicate to this course – usually during my lunch break.

I like that the course is set up to be able to do that easily. Everything in each chapter builds on each other – like the chapter introduction video gives me a complete overview of what I’ll be learning in the chapter, then in the chapter they go into more depth on the concepts.

After reading the chapter, there are a few real life case studies on what was learned in the chapter, and then a few open ended questions to answer. I really appreciate this part because I feel like it’s a good check for me to make sure I really understand what I had just read, as well as how I would apply some of these theories in a real life example.

copies of precision nutrition books

Once I’m done with those case studies it’s time for the test! This was the part that really made me nervous before I started the course but thankfully it’s not as bad as I thought. I initially thought there would be one giant test at the end of the course but I learned that the test is broken down into smaller sections after each chapter.

The tests are 10 questions each and are untimed. Once you complete the test you can see what questions you answered correctly and your score towards the overall program. To pass the program you need to score at least a 75% in total across all exams.

I’m a few chapters in now and have found that the chapters take me anywhere from an hour to 4 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the material. I really like how approachable Precision Nutrition has made the material – even the super complex concepts are easy to understand.

I haven’t felt confused or lost at all, but if I did they also have a super active Facebook group I can get help in (as well as bimonthly live study sessions).

Related Post: Healthi Vs. WW – How do the Plans Compare?

Final Thoughts

I’m just beginning on my nutrition coaching journey with PN L1 Nutrition Certification, but so far I really like this course and have learned so much. I’m impressed with how they’ve made the complex material approachable and easy to understand. I’ve even been able to take some of the concepts and apply it to my own nutrition plan!

I’m excited to continue on this journey and will share an update once I finish the course.

Want to join me? Click here to join the waitlist for the next certification course!


  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

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