Sports Nutrition Program Details

Penn Foster’s online Sports Nutrition Certificate courses cover the fundamentals of nutrition that can help you prepare to enrich your own exercise and diet, or helping you take the first steps toward recertification as a personal trainer or ACE fitness professional. You’ll learn about calories and nutrients, supplements and nutrition for training, and body composition and weight management.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.
Please review your state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Short Lessons
Easy-to-Access Lessons
Each lesson is broken into short chapters that allow you to fit learning into whatever time you have available. Don’t have time to finish a lesson? Not a problem - pick up where you left off next time!
Digital Flashcards
Digital Flashcards
A fun and interactive way to test your knowledge before your exams. Find out what information you've mastered, and what material needs additional review.
Sample Sports Nutrition Lesson

Sample Sports Nutrition Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Sports Nutrition course would look like.
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.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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