RSPH offers a range of Fitness and Nutrition Qualifications - regulated by OFQUAL/CCEA or Qualifications Wales - at Training Centres around the UK. Select a qualification to see full details - including syllabuses, fact sheets and specimen papers and a list of the Centres where it's available (you can enter your location on the next page).
What does fitness and nutrition mean?
Combining a varied and balanced diet with regular exercise is an ideal way to look after your mental and physical health. Whether you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and exercise for your own benefit or to support the wellbeing of other people, RSPH has qualifications that will help you learn more about this vital area of public health.
Nutrition refers to the food and drink that you consume and the impact it has on your body. Eating a range of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is vital for making sure our bodies have enough energy to function. Good nutrition isn’t just essential for good physical health. Having a healthy diet can also impact your mental health, how much exercise you can do (and how well you can do it) and how much sleep you get.
Fitness refers to your ability to undertake physical activity. It takes into account things like your strength, your cardio-vascular health (your bodies’ capacity to use oxygen), your flexibility and your balance. Good fitness levels are achieved through regular movement and exercise. As a lot of the public have increasingly sedentary lives (amplified for many people during the Covid-19 pandemic), it’s incredibly important to make exercise part of a regular routine. Whether that’s through going to the gym, doing an online yoga video or going for a walk at lunchtime, working out what types of exercise work for you can be really helpful.
Even small changes can have a big impact on your overall fitness levels. One of the most effective ways to start getting fitter is to introduce exercise gradually into your routine. You can do this in a range of different ways, but the key is finding a form of exercise that you enjoy, as you’ll be more likely to want to fit it into your week. Here are some ideas of different types of exercise that you could try out:
- Joining a gym or a fitness centre – You can normally find your nearest gym on your council website. Joining a gym means you’ll be able to try out different types of exercise to find what you like and there are lots of community gyms that have cheaper membership costs. Lots of gyms also offer access to group exercise classes, swimming pools and sports courts for you to use, which are often included in membership fees.
- Joining a sports team – there are lots of community sports groups out there which are a great way to try out a new sport and meet different people. You can find local sports teams through things like Facebook groups, or local council websites. Many groups are open to beginners and will welcome new members who want to get involved.
- Running or jogging outside – one of the most cost-effective ways to exercise is running – you only need a pair of trainers to get going! You don’t have to start running long distances straight away. Programmes like the NHS’s Couch to 5k and beginner running plans can help you ease into running shorter distances and teach you how to warm up before a run and cool down afterwards to prevent any injuries.
- Online classes – if you don’t feel comfortable exercising outside or struggle to fit exercise into your routine, doing online fitness classes are a great way to do exercise from the comfort of your home. Not only are there lots of free classes available, but you can also pause and start the video so you can complete it at your own pace. Youtube has classes on everything from yoga to kickboxing, with classes from beginner to advanced levels of fitness.
Whichever form of exercise you find you enjoy, be sure to take it slowly and build up your activity at a gradual pace to make sure you don’t get injured.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps look after your body, keeps your mind sharp, will help to improve your sleep and has been linked to improvements in mental health. Here are some easy tweaks you can make to improve your diet and nutrition.
- Make a plan of what you want to eat that week – having an idea of what meals you’re planning to eat not only helps with food shopping, but also gives you an idea of how to make sure you’re eating a range of different foods throughout the week. This is especially helpful if you have a busy routine or cook for different family members, as it can be easier to know what to cook for dinner if you’ve bought all the ingredients in advance.
- Reduce the amount of salt you eat – salt is in pretty much all processed foods and can be difficult to avoid. Food packaging has to display the amount of salt that it contains, so an easy way of reducing your salt intake is to look at how much is on the food that you eat and try and avoid frequently eating things that have high salt levels.
- Eat 5-a-day - you’ve probably heard this one plenty of times, but eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is one of the best ways to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. A portion of fresh fruit or vegetables is roughly around 80g, whereas for dried fruit it’s 30g. Beans and pulses including things like chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans (80g) also count as a portion of vegetables.
- Stay hydrated – drinking lots of water is one of the best ways to look after your health. Ideally, most adults should drink around 6-8 big glasses a day (around 2 litres).
- Get enough protein – on average a woman needs to eat around 45g of protein and a man needs to eat 55g of protein a day to look after their health. This is found in meat, fish or if you’re vegetarian or vegan, in pulses like beans and lentil.
Looking after your nutrition doesn’t mean you have to cut out entire food groups at all. For more information on looking after your nutrition, you can visit the NHS website.
The fitness and nutrition industry has lots of varied and exciting job roles. Whether you’re interested in working for the private or public sector, your role will have a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of the people you work with. A career in fitness and nutrition means that you’ll get to directly impact the health and wellbeing of the people you work with, whether you coach people one-on-one or work with a community group. As well as having a relevant qualification, it’s also important to develop ‘soft’ skills for a career in fitness and nutrition. These include things like developing your communication skills, listening and responding to what people need and managing your time and workload.
Fitness roles: This sector includes people working as Fitness Coaches, Personal Trainers, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Sport Scientists. If you work in this field you’ll likely be either supporting someone who has had a physical setback to recover or working with someone to achieve their fitness goals.
Nutrition roles: This sector includes people who work in a diverse range of roles including Dieticians, Nutritionists, Chefs, Catering Assistants, Food Scientists and Health Coaches. In this field, you’ll likely either be responsible for serving and preparing food that is safe for others to eat or supporting people who need help with improving or amending their diet.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that most people couldn’t exercise in the same ways that they always had. Gyms were replaced with Zoom exercise classes and team sports were stopped almost overnight. This will likely have a long-lasting impact on the future of fitness as many people invested in home-workout equipment and wearable technology that tracked their steps and nutrition. This may mean that many people won’t see the point in returning to their gym when they have bought all the gear they need to exercise effectively at home.
However, the pandemic also made lots of people realise how much they enjoyed the social aspects of fitness. Whether that’s through a team sport, a running club or a group fitness class, lockdown measures showed that virtual alternatives to group sports didn’t work for everyone. Spending more time inside made people realise how good exercise was for their mental wellbeing. An article from Vitality, explained that in the future, it’s likely that there will be a greater emphasis on the importance of using and viewing exercise as a way to improve and maintain good mental health.
RSPH has produced research into a range of different areas of nutrition and fitness, including food labelling, how to tackle childhood obesity and the presence of fast-food restaurants on the UK high-street We also have a food special interest group, which RSPH members can join and a selection of blogs on subjects ranging from allergies to the future of food production. Some of our key research is outlined below:
Health on the Shelf: We worked with one of our corporate partners, Slimming World, to create a real-life version of what an ideal supermarket would look like. We created a supermarket that encourages people to make healthy food choices and teaches people how to cook nutritious food. You can read the report and see what the supermarket looked like by visiting the campaign page.
Routing out childhood obesity: We carried out research to find out what food choices were available to children and young people and how we could create environments that encouraged healthy food choices. In our report, we made recommendations which included limiting the reach of junk food adverts, including banning the advertising of unhealthy food products across all council-owned advertising sites and addressing what junk food offers were available around schools.
You can keep up to date with the latest food safety and hygiene industry developments by joining our Food Special Interest Group. You’ll get invites to webinars and events with industry experts, and access to our website member area which has research resources and previous webinars available.
RSPH’s has a range of fitness and nutrition qualifications – some are suitable for people just starting out on their career in the sector and some, such as our RSPH Level 4 Certificate in Nutrition for Institutional Food Services are more advanced.
Wherever you are in your fitness and nutrition career, we have a qualification that will boost your skills and help you in your chosen role. RSPH qualifications are taken by over 40,000 people every year, and we offer courses in locations across the country through our network of registered training providers. This is essential in the fitness and nutrition industry, as you need to have these skills to make sure you are giving the people you work with accurate advice.
All our qualifications:
- Are competitively priced (with discounts for bulk orders)
- CPD accredited
- Industry recognised, OFQUAL regulated qualifications (Internationally recognised)
- Flexible learning opportunities that can fit around other commitments
- Give you access to a friendly and supportive qualification team, who will be able to answer any questions about your course
To find out more about our Food Safety and Hygiene qualification please get in touch with our friendly qualifications team, who will be happy to help with any questions you may have.
RSPH Qualifications (classroom assessment*)
Ofqual Reference: 603/2159/3
Ofqual Reference: 603/2124/6
Ofqual Reference: 603/2411/9
Ofqual Reference: 600/6873/5
Ofqual Reference: 600/6963/6
Ofqual Reference: 600/6878/4
Ofqual reference number: 603/5292/9
If there are no Training Centres in your area offering RSPH Qualifications, our eLearning Courses are a great alternative. They can be studied anytime and anywhere. And some lead to a formal Qualification or contribute CPD points (following an optional classroom assessment).