A female trainer helping a female client
A male trainer helping out a male client


Weight Loss Specialization

Being overweight or obese greatly increases the risk of developing a chronic disease, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. With NASM's Weight Loss Specialization, you'll learn how to understand root behaviors contributing to a client’s weight loss struggle and provide the education and coaching essential for long-term success.

  • Gain the knowledge and skills to help overweight and obese clients lose weight safely

  • Help people achieve a leaner physique and improve their health and longevity

  • Understand the science of weight loss, including the physical and mental effects that clients must navigate to lose weight

  • Learn evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and behavioral change strategies that will help clients lose weight and keep it off

  • Help clients overcome the real-world obstacles that can sabotage their weight loss efforts

  • Self-paced online program makes it easy and convenient to launch your new career from home in as little as 8-10 weeks

  • CEU Value: 1.9 NASM


* $25 down + 11 payments


$ $

One-Time Payment

up to % off

Achieving sustainable weight loss takes more than diet and exercise alone. It requires an understanding of all the physiological, psychological, and psychosocial factors at play that can make weight loss seem so difficult for so many people. In this specialization you’ll learn about the obesity epidemic, the science of weight loss and metabolism, fitness and nutrition coaching strategies, and much more.

When you choose NASM for your Weight Loss Specialization, you’ll get access to:

  • • World-class fitness & nutrition experts

  • • Peer-reviewed content from the brightest minds in the industry

  • • State-of-the-art digital learning platform designed to meet multiple learning styles

  • • A curriculum that is consistently reviewed and updated with the most up-to-date material available

See the full Weight Loss Specialization curriculum here.

NASM’s online program makes becoming a Weight Loss Specialization as easy and convenient as can be. By completing the self-guided study materials at your own pace, you can become a Weight Loss Specialization and begin working with clients in as little as 8-10 weeks.

To become an NASM Weight Loss Specialization, you simply have to:

  1. 1) Enroll in the program.

  2. 2) Complete the self-guided online study materials in your own time from the comfort of home.

  3. 3) Pass the certification exam.

After completing the study materials, you’ll take an online exam to earn your Weight Loss Specialization. This exam features:

  • • 100 multiple-choice questions

  • • 90 minutes to complete

  • • Open-book format

  • • 70% required to pass

  • • 3 test attempts included

NASM has over 35 years of experience training the world’s top fitness professionals, and we do it better than anyone else. NASM credentials stand out to employers and distinguish you as a highly trained fitness professional.

Since our formation, we’ve trained over 1.5 million fitness professionals in 100+ countries. In that time we’ve developed extensive partnerships with over 12,000 gyms and health clubs. That means we have the connections necessary to help you get in the door and gain employment from the fitness company of your dreams.

Questions? Get guidance from our Program Experts

Ready to start?

Enroll Now


There are no prerequisites for this course. Although the course is primarily intended for personal trainers, fitness coaches, nutrition coaches and other fitness/health professionals, there is no requirement that you be one to take the course.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Review the course structure, program objectives, and meet the client personas that will be used as case studies throughout the course

Chapter 2: Scope of Practice
This chapter provides an overview of the landscape of healthcare and describes where a Weight Loss Specialist fits into the healthcare continuum. Develop an understanding of how to best serve your clients while ensuring you follow best practices.

  • • 5 Infographics

  • • 3 Videos

  • • 3 Printable Handouts

Chapter 3: The State of Obesity
Understand the scope of obesity and how it impacts society and ultimately clients. Learn the primary reasons for obesity and how clients may become obese. These insights are important for understanding clients at a fundamental level and how key drivers of obesity can be addressed by a Weight Loss Specialist.

Chapter 4: The Physiology of Obesity
Learn what changes occur in the body due to obesity and how that can affect the health and physical properties of the body, including the organ systems, hormones, metabolism, and neurobiology. All of these aspects can affect the way people with obesity respond to exercise.

Chapter 5: Psychosocial and Obesity
This chapter will discuss three critical domains of the psychosocial components of obesity: mental health, social influences, and eating disorders. Learn about self-esteem and body image, and how to empathize with your clients over these aspects of mental health. Social influences and social determinants of obesity will be explored in depth and potential solutions to addressing these issues will be provided.

  • • 18 Infographics

  • • 3 Videos

Chapter 6: Metabolism
Understand the metabolism and how it relates to obesity, including energy balance and energy needs as well as the role of environment and genetics. Learn about the primary theories of what causes obesity from a metabolic standpoint and how a Weight Loss Specialist can operationalize those theories in practice and provide solutions to clients who have difficulty losing weight.

Chapter 7: Nutrition and Supplementation
Understand nutrition, supplementation, and dieting as it relates to obesity. Popular dietary schemes and archetypes have been used to address obesity for decades. Review these diets in detail as well as their efficacy and utility.

Chapter 8: The Impact of Exercise on Weight Loss
Exercise is most commonly thought of as one of the critical components to weight loss; however, exactly how it affects weight loss is often misunderstood. This chapter will provide an in-depth review of how exercise affects weight loss from a calorie expenditure perspective, a metabolic perspective, a health perspective, and the effects of exercise on mental health.

Chapter 9: Psychology of Weight Loss
The psychological effects of weight loss are as important as the physiological ones. This chapter will review five key components of the psychology of weight loss: coping, dieting, will power, adherence, and ambivalence.

  • • 36 Infographics

  • • 4 Videos

  • • 5 Printable Handouts

Chapter 10: The Client Intake Process
A critical component to achieving success as a Weight Loss Specialist is developing a clear, consistent, and thorough intake process. Individuals who require weight loss have specific needs when it comes to assessment. This chapter will review the fundamental components of developing a proper intake process and will provide a set of robust tools for Weight Loss Specialists to use.

Chapter 11: Conducting Fitness Assessments
Understanding the readiness and fitness of a client is imperative for Weight Loss Specialists. These assessments and tests (like calculating calories for goal weights) help the Weight Loss Specialist understand the current state of a client and determine where the appropriate starting point is using a thoughtful, systematic approach.

  • • 7 Infographics

  • • 4 Videos

  • • 15 Printable Handouts

Chapter 12: Nutrition Coaching Strategies for Weight Loss
Learn how to create a weight loss program, how to use strategies to increase adherence to the plan, and how to apply various assessment tools to make modifications during the plan to ensure ongoing success for the client. Learn about behavior change models that have been shown in research to be effective.

Chapter 13: Fitness Coaching Strategies for Weight Loss
Understand how exercise for the individual client differs, how intensity can affect overall energy expenditure via the constrained energy model, and the role of NEAT in the context of fitness coaching and weight loss.

Chapter 14: Integrating Nutrition and Fitness with the Weight Loss Client
Nutrition and fitness coaching are often part of an integrated plan. This chapter will utilize client personas to help you learn how to integrate the nutrition and fitness plans developed for a client. This chapter will provide a straightforward, defined process for how to set up, implement, and evaluate an integrated program for a client.

Chapter 15: Weight Maintenance and Sustainability
Sustainability and setting clients up for long term success is one of the most important aspects for a Weight Loss Specialist to consider. This chapter will review key aspects of how to ensure clients have sustainable results.

  • • 11 Infographics

  • • 6 Videos

  • • 4 Printable Handouts

After the completion of the course, you will take an online final exam from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you prefer to take tests, that consists of 100 questions. Each question will be multiple-choice. The exam is timed and cannot exceed 90 minutes. To pass, you need a score of 70% or higher. Don’t fret though, if you score below that, you have up to 3 attempts to pass.

Weight Loss Specialization FAQS

You will have 1 year from the day of enrollment to take your final exam.

No, you do not need to renew your NASM Weight Loss Specialization. Once you pass your final exam, your NASM-WLS specialization certificate never expires.

You will have 3 attempts to pass the final exam.

The Weight Loss Specialization integrates evidence-based information on nutrition, exercise, and behavior change strategies to help clients reach their goals. You'll learn about the state of obesity, the science of weight loss, and strategies to coach weight loss clients and help them achieve long-term success. This course builds off of the foundational nutrition science taught in the Nutrition Certification, although that is not a pre-requisite to this course.

No, is it not required to take the Weight Loss Specialization program.

NASM-WLS is approved for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by the following organizations:

  • NASM Approved

    1.9 CEUs

  • AFAA Approved

    19 CEUs

  • ACE Approved

    2.0 CECs

  • CIMPSA Approved

    10 CIMPSA Endorsed CPD Points

The final exam is administered online within your student portal. It consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and 90 minutes for completion.