I received an excellent question today about the difference between the Cert 4 in Weight Management vs the ISSN Sports Nutritionist exams. Let me tell you.
The ISSN exams are for a person working and/or trained in Sports Nutrition to prove they know the latest sports nutrition science. It is not a course to learn sports nutrition. It is a test of existing knowledge.
The ISSN exam in of itself is not recognised in Australia by insurers or dietetics associations. It is only by being a part of Recomp Certification that it is relevant for being able to prescribe sports nutrition diets for body recomposition. That means it is only relevant if you are an experienced Personal Trainer dedicated to body recomposition/bodybuilding coaching (or a qualified dietician/nutritionist looking for differentiation).
The Cert 4 in Weight Management lets you write healthy eating plans for low-risk, non-athletes to maintain or lose bodyweight for absolute mediocrity. It is entirely based on the standard government healthy eating guidelines for the general public. It is not sports nutrition. It has nothing to do with body recomposition, bodybuilding, sports nutrition or prescribing diets for athletes.
It teaches the generic dietary guidelines that any bodybuilding sports nutritionist, like myself, scoffs at. It recommends the standard ridiculous quantities of fruit and veggies, far too much processed starches, not nearly optimal amounts of protein, too much junk and a horrible fat to carbohydrate ratio. It is the exact equivalent to what the fitness industry is to bodybuilding training: it is anti-bodybuilding, anti-sports, generic fluff that you probably know is inappropriate and wrong for achieving anything positive in anyone.
If you did prescribe a measured sports nutrition plan for somebody based on Cert 4 in Weight Management, that would be considered out of the scope of practice and not covered by the insurance. Weight management is not sports nutrition or body recomposition. Its a health service for clinically overweight people to achieve a ‘normal’ BMI; not a lean, muscular figure or physique.
So which is appropriate for you very much depends on what you want to do? Though most people do not realise it, body recomposition and weight management are two entirely different things, based on diametrically opposed goals, philosophies and practices.
(NOTE: There is an organisation running an inappropriate course to teach students how to pass the ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist exam with the promise of then having access to an insurance product to write diets and work with health professionals. This is a sham which confuses sports nutrition for athletes – which is what the ISSN is about – with health nutrition for the general public. And the promise of novices achieving certification as experienced experts is the definition of a sham. For personal trainers, only the Recomp insurance covers coaching and dieting both the general public and athletes for body recomposition through to bodybuilding competition).