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Physique and Bodybuilding Coach

Physique and Bodybuilding Coach

What You’ll Learn


  • The all new NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach specialization (NASM-PBC) will deliver your next step in fitness programming knowledge to meet the needs of bodybuilding and physique clients. The curriculum takes a comprehensive approach to physique programming, covering everything from weight training, nutrition, and supplementation techniques for physique at

There are no prerequisites for the Physique and Bodybuilding Coach Specialization. A fitness credential or a bachelor’s degree could be helpful. This specialization is intended for fitness professionals, bodybuilding and physique competitors and fitness enthusiasts. 

Section 1: Introduction to Physique and Bodybuilding Coach

  • Chapter 1: Welcome

Learn about the role of a Physique and Bodybuilding Coach, program objectives and how the NASM Specialization can help enhance your career.

  • Chapter 2: Introduction to Physique Enhancement

The learner will receive an overview of physique history and then define physique athletes and the broad spectrum of physique athletes. Physique enhancement will be discussed in terms of where it lies within the landscape of health, wellness, and sports performance. 

Section 2: Physiology, Anatomy, and Biomechanics of Physique Enhancement


  • Chapter 3: Fundamentals of Anatomy, Physiology, and Biomechanics

This chapter provides the learner with a basic overview of gross anatomy, and the discussed bodily systems including the nervous, skeletal, muscular, and endocrine systems. The second half of the chapter examines disciplines of biomechanics and kinesiology, collectively termed Human Movement Science.

  • Chapter 4: Essentials of Metabolism, Energy Balance, and Fat Loss

Gain a deeper appreciation of metabolism, which refers to a living organism's chemical processes that provide energy. The ability to perform movement requires a constant supply of energy, and the process of generating kinetic energy from sources of potential energy is referred to as metabolism.

  • Chapter 5: Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy

Introduces the physiology of muscular hypertrophy. It will discuss myofibrillar hypertrophy (in-series in-parallel mechanisms) and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Also learn the major mechanisms of hypertrophy: mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress.

Section 3: Nutrition Principles
  • Chapter 6: Macronutrients

Learn the fundamental concepts of nutrition. The chapter will describe the structure and function of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and discuss the digestion and absorption of each macronutrient.

  • Chapter 7: Micronutrients and Hydration

Introduces the learner to micronutrients. The chapter will detail the differences between water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, the implications for health and physique considerations will be discussed.

  • Chapter 8: Supplementation

Learn common supplements' risks, benefits, and efficacy to enhance fat loss and muscular hypertrophy, and examine myths about supplements.

  • Chapter 9: Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)

Learn common PEDs used to enhance fat loss and hypertrophy. This chapter will educate the Physique Coach regarding the dangers of commonly used PEDs such as anabolic steroids and stimulants. 

Section 4: Body Aesthetics, Fitness, and Nutrition Assessments


  • Chapter 10: Fitness and Body Aesthetics Assessments

Teaches the Physique Coach how to perform a comprehensive fitness and body aesthetics assessment as related to the physique athlete. The chapter will introduce the preparticipation health screening process before undergoing various physiological, posture, and body composition assessments.

  • Chapter 11: Nutrition Assessment

Provides a basic introduction to healthy eating habits, the dietary guidelines, and the components of healthy eating patterns. Next, the chapter will discuss a detailed approach to assessing a client’s dietary intake. 

Section 5: Exercise Training Principles
  • Chapter 12: Warm-up, Recovery, and Injury Prevention

Teaches the Physique Coach how to implement a corrective exercise warm-up to reduce injury risk, increase joint mobility, and muscle activation.

  • Chapter 13: Resistance and Core Training

Learn scientific and application aspects of resistance training to the aspiring Physique Coach. The chapter also discusses core training, and it will begin by describing the benefits of core training.

  • Chapter 14: Cardiorespiratory Training and Non-Exercise Physical Activity

Introduces the learner to established cardiorespiratory training guidelines and applications. Also learn the effects of cardio training and NEAT on body composition (fat loss, muscle gain, muscle atrophy). 

Section 6: Programming and Coaching Principles
  • Chapter 15: Coaching Principles

Understand essential coaching principles to help motivate and support physique athletes through their journey. The chapter will briefly overview psychology and behavior change and how these principles apply to coaching physique athletes.

  • Chapter 16: Exercise Programming

Understand exercise programming for physique athletes and examine various program protocols and how they apply to the physique athlete. Review two in-depth case studies and how resistance training programs were developed for these personas.

  • Chapter 17: Nutrition Programming

Learn various nutrition programming strategies for physique athletes including determining calorie needs, macronutrient targets, and nutrient timing and periodization. Review three example case studies.

  • Chapter 18: Peaking for Competition or Personal Goals

Learn important nutrition and exercise training components for physique athletes trying to peak at their time of competition. Learn the important considerations when preparing for a physique/bodybuilding competition.

  • Chapter 19: Physique Transformation Sustainability

Identify strategies for preventing hyperphagia after reaching a physique milestone. The chapter will detail long-term strategies for sustaining gains made during the physique transformation. 

Final Exam

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. 

Bonus Programming Manuals
  • Exercise Programming Manual: Access canned assessment templates, handouts, and exercise programs, including assessment forms, corrective exercise warm-up programs, and exercise programs for four phases of the OPT™ Model.


  • Nutrition Programming Manual: Access canned meal plans, including meal plans for various divisions (bikini, bodybuilding, physique) and goals (bulk, cut) from real life examples 
How many CEUs is the course worth?
  • NASM-PBC is approved for Continuing Education Units (CEUs):

1.9 CEUs 

How long will I have access to the course content and exam?

You will have 1 year from the day of enrollment to take your final exam. An extension can be purchased by calling Member Services. 

What if I do not pass the final exam?

Don’t worry! You’ll have 3 attempts to pass the final exam, and you can purchase additional retests by calling Member Services. 

Do I have to renew this qualification?

No, you do not need to renew your NASM Physique and Bodybuilding Coach specialization. Once you pass your final exam, your NASM-PBC specialization certificate never expires. 

How is the final exam administered?

The final exam is administered online within your student portal. It consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and 90 minutes for completion. You must score a 70% or higher to pass, and you will have 3 attempts. 

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