Shortly after I first got certified as a personal trainer (circa 2007), I knew that the weight loss demographic would be the clientele I most wanted to work with (an attitude that has only slightly changed over time). However, as many of my fellow coaches know, you really don’t learn as much as you need to about nutrition to help this demographic with a base level certification.
My initial certification was done through ISSA and shortly after I passed the exam, I furthered my base with certifications in fitness therapy and nutrition. Somewhat interestingly, the nutrition certification was written by one, John Berardi, who would go on to start Precision Nutrition (PN for short).
As more certification options became available to me, and certainly after I started RevFit, I began to spend even more of my time learning what I could about nutrition. I attended seminars, found some specialty courses and picked up some other continuing education options to further what I knew.
As PN began to make waves, I picked up that certification as well (Level 1) and kept trying to expand my base. I constantly felt like I was behind the ball in the industry because my degree was neither in Exercise Physiology nor Nutrition. My degree was in Business Management and I kept pushing myself to learn more about the field in which I started this business.
Over the last several years, I started to hear more about Mac-Nutrition UNI, a UK based nutrition organization, and I saw that several of the coaches and health professionals I’d held in such high regard since I started this business were singing it’s praises. People like: James Krieger, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky and Danny Lennon, to name a few, all spoke so highly of the work that MNU was doing, namely the creator, Martin MacDonald and his staff.
Martin was even kind enough to join me on my podcast a few years ago and I thought we had a wonderful conversation. To date, the episode we did together remains in my Top 10 most downloaded.
Like a lot of niche areas within health and wellness, starting MNU was not a low-cost endeavor. I knew it would be something that would not only challenge my skillsets as a coach but would comparatively be the most expensive continuing education course I would have taken on since I started this career.
In late 2019, after releasing my book, “A Revolution A Day”, I was ready to sink my teeth into the MNU course.
Classes began in Spring 2020. Little did any of us know what was going to happen in the world with the pandemic and initially, the time we spent in lockdown allowed me to put more focus into the course.
To paraphrase Martin, MNU was designed to not only further the education of coaches like myself but it also served to help doctors, dietitians and the like from across the globe. I knew then, that any course which would have to provide value and substance to the individuals in the upper echelon of health and wellness would indeed prove challenging for me.
I wasn’t wrong.
Coming out of lockdowns, RevFit became busier than we were heading into lockdowns. We were already having a great year but the remainder of 2020 would continue to put a damper on my schedule as business continued to grow almost month over month.
For those who don’t know the layout of MNU, imagine something like a college course. You tackle a lecture per week, approximately 90 minutes in length (some shorter, some longer), complete a quiz, and you often have additional homework to complete as well.
It was advised that students spend 3-4 hours per week on the course and, admittedly, due to everything else I had on my plate, I did well enough to just not fall behind in coursework.
The support was excellent, the lectures also excellent. There were so many things, so many little details that I felt fortunate to learn, even if much of it was above my head.
In many ways, I was grateful because much of what I had been coaching my clients to do was on point and correct in execution and theory. The course itself gave me more insight into how and why that was the case. There was far more discussion about the evidence behind why we coach the things we do with our clients and where fad diets and misguided trends tend to get things wrong.
There were subsets of information, like the lectures on PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), diabetes and eating disorders which were absolutely fascinating to learn more about. As with many areas of nutrition, understanding nuance, causation versus correlation, and working with your clients where “they” are can be the most helpful tools in a coach’s toolbox.
The test itself, I can’t lie about it. It was the hardest test I’ve taken in my adult life. Maybe other coaches might disagree but I was not confident I had absorbed, retained and could express what I had learned as easily as others might.
However, as of yesterday, I received the news that I did, indeed, pass the course.
The experience was exceptional. The depth of information, I only hope I can utilize to its best effect.
While the recognition may not mean as much to my clients, those who have succeeded in the course probably know as I do, that the time, effort, and expense was worth it.
To Martin MacDonald, Sarah Duffield and the staff of MNU, thank you for your support and guidance.
I aim to make you proud over here in Stow, Ohio.
To my fellow coaches who may be considering the course and who already have insight similar to mine heading in, make sure you carve out the necessary time to study each week’s course load. In hindsight, I should have done more but I felt that under the circumstances of running a business that has been kicking my skinny little ass, I am genuinely thrilled that I can now call myself: MNU Certified.