Education in Review: Optimum Nutrition’s Sports & Exercise Nutrition Course

Over lockdown, Optimum Nutrition kindly offered this course for free and I happily took them up on this. The course is still available, and I thought I would run through my thoughts and experience with the course.

Content/Learning Materials

The course is split into eleven different modules, covering varying aspects of nutrition science and its application to exercise. The course is delivered in the form of a video lecture, delivered by the fabulous Emilia Thompson or Crionna Tobin. Both women hold PhD’s in the field, and are well-versed and experienced in nutritional coaching. Supplementary notes accompany each lecture, which are available to download. Following reading of the lecture notes and the videos, you must then take a short multiple-choice examination to unlock the next section. You can take the examination as many times as you like (of course I passed everything first time round, and definitely wasn’t screaming into my laptop on more than one occasion) until you achieve the passing grade.

The course is far-reaching and delivers an excellent, albeit superficial view of general nutritional concepts. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation of the evidence, with emphasis then placed on when certain protocols could be altered for certain individuals. If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of the intricacies of leucine thresholds, mTOR proteins or the Krebs cycle, this ain’t it chief. Nor does it claim to be. It covers the basics, and covers them well.

I found the material interesting, well-delivered and well-presented. Lectures were short and I found it easy to take notes. Compared to college, where I was constantly furiously scrawling. I really enjoyed the course and the content. Information was presented in a neutral fashion, and arguments for and against certain protocols were certainly well-delineated.

Furthermore, given that it is funded and delivered by Optimum Nutrition, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t focus heavily on ON products, nor did it descend into product pushing. It offers clear cut advice on where to purchase good quality supplements, regardless of manufacturer. Hat tip to ON.

Cost/What Do You Get?

At the time of my enrolment, ON were offering the course for free. That offer has now ended, and it costs €100 at present.

For this price, you get access to a coaches Facebook group, which can be a useful source of support and guidance as you undertake the course. You get access to the learning hub, and upon completion of the course you get a nice ON goody bag.

The course does not qualify you to register as a nutritionist. If you are a member of REPS Ireland (and if you care about regulating the PT industry in Ireland, you should be – but that’s for a different day), you can use it to accumulate CPD points.

Is It for Me?

I really enjoyed the course, and I found it to be a useful refresher for me. It helped me to bridge the gaps in my knowledge and identify some areas for me to read more into (mTOR proteins looking at you). I think it is an excellent introductory course into nutrition, and a cheaper alternative to some of the more intense courses like MNU or Precision Nutrition Level 1.

Whilst this course is obviously not as detailed as those nutritional courses, if you are considering enrolling in PN/MNU etc.  but are not sure if it’s a good fit for you, this can be a much cheaper alternative. That way, if you don’t like it, it’s not as financially costly. And if you do, it’s a perfect stepping stone onto your way to furthering your knowledge of nutrition.

I think this is a good course for all PTs, particularly those newly qualified, as we all know most PT courses tend to be lacking in the nutrition area. The onus is therefore on us as practitioners to get educated ourselves, and this is an excellent starting point.

If you already have a good background knowledge of nutrition, I don’t really think this will really be worth your while, unless you want to refresh your memory. If you want to push your education a little more in depth, something like Precision Nutrition Level 1 might be a better fit for you.

How Can I Sign Up?

You can find the link to the course here.

I am always interested into hearing your feedback or experiences with courses, particularly if you have completed this one. Send me an email or DM if you have any comments etc. on this article, or if you found it helpful.

Published by Michelle Carroll

I am an online coach (MSc Sports & Exercise Nutrition, EQF Level 4 Personal Trainer, PN Level 1) and radiographer (BSc). I believe in empowering others to make better choices for their health through education. I think that the fitness industry has created a disconnect between best practices and “evidence-based” practices. I hope by chronicling my experience as a healthcare professional and my education as a fitness professional I can assist others on the path to bettering themselves.

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