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The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach specialization teaches you what you need to know to become a bodybuilding coach, but it is also a valuable course for personal trainers with clients interested in looking their best for any event. The NASM-PBC educates you on hypertrophy focused training principles, nutrition for body composition, and how to peak the body when preparing for a physique show. 

In this article we discuss the following aspects:

  • How much the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Specialist costs
  • Is the NASM-PBC worth it?
  • Quality of the textbook
  • The final exam
  • Our overall thoughts on this NASM Bodybuilding Certification

After reading this review, you should have a good sense of whether the NASM Physique & Bodybuilding Coach is right for you and your current goals as a fitness professional or competitor.

If you’re picking your first personal training certification, make sure to take our quiz, which can give you a quick idea of which certification is best for you. 

NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Information

9.5
NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Information
  • Exam cost: $539 (purchased with study materials)
  • Study material cost: $45/month for 12 months
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Exam passing score: N/A
  • Exam pass rate: N/A
  • Average completion time: 4-8 weeks
Pros
  • Teaches you how to peak for competition
  • NASM offers the best online portal
  • Gives you 1.9 NASM CEUs 
Cons
  • Doesn’t cover business skills
9.5
Our Score
Bodybuilding Techniques9
Nutrition Coaching10
Client Health Screening10
Goal Setting10
Periodization9
Flexibility and Recovery Tools9

About NASM

NASM is one of the top providers of fitness certifications, globally. They began in 1987 with the mission of helping personal trainers and their clients live healthier and happier lives. Since NASM’s inception, they’ve certified over 1.5 million individuals. NASM offers a variety of certifications ranging from personal training to group fitness, behavior change, youth exercise and much more in addition to those. 

Is NASM legit?

Yes, NASM is indeed legit. They remain one of the top fitness certifying agencies and have partnerships with gyms around the world. Some of their certifications like their NASM Personal Training Certification comes with a job guarantee, where you can find work with one of their partners after you become certified.

NASM also offers one of the most robust online fitness video libraries and their study systems consistently rank number one when it comes to overall polish and content. 

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program is no exception, offering a comprehensive curriculum that covers everything from nutrition and exercise science to advanced training techniques and competition preparation. Whether you are looking to become a certified physique and bodybuilding coach or simply enhance your knowledge and skills in the field, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers a comprehensive program to help you achieve your goals. With their evidence-based approach and expertly designed curriculum, NASM provides aspiring coaches with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively train and guide individuals in achieving their physique and bodybuilding goals.

So, yes, NASM has a stellar reputation in the world of exercise certifications. 

How much does the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Specialist certification cost?

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Specialist costs $539 at the moment, which is discounted from the usual $899. You can also pay for this in 11 payments of $45 with $25 down. This price brings it level with the competition from the ISSA Bodybuilding Coach Specialist, which is a similar program from an equally qualified institution. 

Both NASM and ISSA are excellent organizations with a good track record with their certifications.

Is the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach worth it?

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach is certainly worth it if you are a current personal trainer who wants to learn more about peaking an athlete for a bodybuilding show or event. You learn how to solely focus on hypertrophy and fat loss with less of an emphasis on the “functional training” you learn in most personal training certifications.

You’ll also learn how to dial in a physique using bodybuilding specific tools like water and salt manipulation. FInally, the NASM-PBC gives you 1.9 CEUs which you can use to renew your current NASM certification. 

By becoming a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach, you not only gain the fitness knowledge and skills to train clients in the world of physique and bodybuilding, but you also enhance your professional credentials and expand your knowledge by becoming a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach. With this certification, you gain the expertise to design specialized training programs, provide nutrition guidance, and offer valuable support to clients on their journey towards achieving their journey towards achieving their physique and bodybuilding goals. 

Quality of the NASM-PBC Study Materials

NASM provides some of the best online study systems of any certification provider. The amount of resources provided with the Physique and Bodybuilding Coach isn’t as complete as with the NASM CPT study program, but you still get the quality videos that come with all NASM certifications and the easy-to-use NASM learning platform. 

The NASM student portal offers ways to support different learning styles, with an interface that allows you to take notes within the page you’re working on. There are knowledge checks throughout the course to test your knowledge as you go after each chapter.

You also get access to various assessment templates and handouts to help you in your coaching career.

In addition, NASM includes a nutrition programming manual with pre-built meal plans for different competitor divisions. The spectrum of aesthetic competition has widened over the years and each physique category carries unique requirements, from bikini to classic physique to open bodybuilding. 

Overall, we rate the material good, but it’s not the best NASM has to offer. 

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Textbook

Introduction

The beginning section of the NASM Bodybuilding Coach textbook goes into the history of physique building, and current state of the industry. 

Physiology and Anatomy

The next few chapters include details on anatomy and body systems like the nervous, endocrine and muscular systems. Then NASM includes some content on the fundamentals of human movement science and biomechanics.

You also learn the mechanisms of how muscle hypertrophy works. This is essential knowledge if you want to help include muscle growth in each client.

As a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach, understanding the principles of muscle hypertrophy is crucial in designing effective training programs that maximize muscle growth potential. By utilizing progressive overload, strategic exercise selection, and proper periodization, you can guide your clients towards achieving their desired physique and bodybuilding goals. The expertise of a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach ensures that clients receive personalized training programs that optimize muscle hypertrophy and sculpt their bodies to perfection. 

Nutrition

NASM covers macronutrients, micronutrients, hydration, and supplementation here. Diet is a huge part of bodybuilding, and you must be aware of things like meal prep, and the importance of correct nutritional choices off-season, and during prep for a show. 

Energy balance plays a key role in both building muscle and losing fat so you must have a basic understanding of the principles of thermogenesis so you can disseminate misinformation. 

There’s also a frank conversation about PEDs and their role in sports performance along with the negative side effects associated with them. The role of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports performance has long been a topic of debate. While some athletes may turn to PEDs in the pursuit of achieving their desired physique and enhancing their performance, it is important to acknowledge the potential adverse health effects of taking some of these substances.

Assessments

Here you get assessments for general fitness but also specific assessments you’ll need to know for bodybuilding. 

Besides the standard physical assessments, NASM also teaches you how to conduct a basic nutrition assessment. Once you have mastered the basic nutrition assessment, NASM’s physique and bodybuilding coach training equips you with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to design tailored workout programs and nutritional protocols specifically for physique athletes, taking their unique goals and requirements into consideration. 

Bodybuilding Techniques

This includes chapters on warm-ups, recovery, injury prevention alongside resistance training, cardio and core exercises. Building muscle is a fundamental aspect of bodybuilding training, and the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program provides comprehensive guidance on effective weight training techniques, nutrition strategies, and supplementation methods to optimize muscle growth. This should give fitness enthusiasts and fitness professionals plenty to work with. 

You learn all the normal exercise training principles but in a bodybuilding context instead of for normal personal training. With bodybuilding, trainers need to help their clients build symmetry, create a good shoulder to waist taper, and shape the muscle instead of simply strengthening it. This requires differences in technique in order to improve the overall appearance of the bodybuilder’s physique. 

Programming and Coaching

NASM teaches how to motivate and support clients through the process.

You learn how to periodize for physique competition along with several example case studies. 

NASM discusses nutrition programming as well.

Fitness programming knowledge is covered in other fitness certifications but the NASM PBC goes into bulking and cutting phases and how to specifically prepare someone for a bodybuilding or physique show. 

Everyone has different body transformation needs. Some clients will want to gain weight while others need to lose a few pounds of fat, so knowing how to organize each of these phases is important. 

One of our favorite chapters is the final one on how to sustain a physique transformation. So many times, competitors over indulge after depleting themselves to reach a goal and make unhealthy choices that backfire in the long term. If you want to coach clients through multiple shows or years, you need to know how to support them post-show so they can reach their optimal physique over time. 

Final Exam

The NASM PBC final exam is open book. You get 90 minutes to complete 100 questions. You must score 70% or higher to pass the certification exam. NASM gives you 2 extra attempts to pass if you fail the first time. Despite this, we recommend using a good study guide to help prepare you for the final, so you can take the guesswork out of the equation.

Average Income for NASM Bodybuilding Coaches

The average income for a bodybuilding coach will be similar to that of personal training. The current personal trainer salary in the US is $67,456 according to Salary.com. However, if you can coach both bodybuilders and normal clientele, you stand to reach a wider audience and have more opportunity to make money. Whether or not they’ll admit it, but people exercise in part for physique enhancement, so if you can prove that you can help people improve their overall body aesthetics, that makes you a marketable commodity in the fitness sphere. 

CEU Requirements of the NASM Bodybuilding Coach Specialist

Most personal trainer certifications require you to complete CEUs to renew your cert every few years, but you do not have to renew the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding, it is a lifelong specialization. However, the NASM-PBC will give you 1.9 CEUs which will help you with recertification for your current NASM Personal Training Certification. 

To ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of physique and bodybuilding coaching, NASM offers continuing education units that allow their certified coaches to continuously expand their knowledge base and fine-tune their expertise. 

Certification Take Away

What we liked:

  • Goes through how to peak for a bodybuilding competition

What we didn’t like:

  • No coverage of how to run a coaching business

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How effective is the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program?

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program has proven to be highly effective in helping individuals achieve their fitness goals. With a comprehensive curriculum that covers the principles of exercise science, nutrition, and program design, this program equips coaches with the knowledge and skills necessary to guide clients towards their desired physique. The program emphasizes evidence-based practices and incorporates the latest research in the field, ensuring that coaches are equipped with up-to-date information. 

How long does it take to complete the NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program?

The NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach duration varies depending on factors such as individual learning pace, prior knowledge, and commitment level. However, on average, most individuals complete the program within 3-6 weeks. This timeframe allows for a thorough understanding of the curriculum, practical application of concepts, and ample time for hands-on experience through internships or mentorship programs.

What are the qualifications required to become a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach?

To become a NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach, one must possess a strong foundation in exercise science and human anatomy. There are no specific prerequisites, but aspiring coaches must complete the extensive training program offered by NASM, which covers advanced techniques in strength training, muscle hypertrophy, body composition analysis, and competition preparation.

References

Personal trainer salary. Salary.com. (n.d.). https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/personal-trainer-salary

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