FAQs

“As integrity is one of the key pillars of the MNU Certification, I wanted to personally write these FAQs to allow for complete transparency into what we are offering through the Mac-Nutrition Universal Certification. From the moment I announced the concept of the MNU Certification I have been inundated with questions, many of which follow similar themes, therefore I hope I can answer your questions in full detail before you even have to ask them. I want to provide the best learning platform and experience for you, therefore I hope these FAQs help you decide whether the MNU Certification is definitely the right fit! If you’ve still got unanswered questions after reading through these then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

I can’t wait to contribute to your nutrition journey!”

Martin MacDonald, BSc MSc Pg Cert PgDip RNutr

Clinical Performance Nutritionist & Founder of Mac-Nutrition

Q1. Who is the course suitable for?

Anyone over the age of 18 can do our certifications. Whether you are already working in the health and fitness industry and want to augment your success with clients, an athlete looking to improve your own performance or you are a nutrition enthusiast who simply wants to be able to make informed decisions on nutrition, the MNU Certification has an option for you. None of our 3 certification options have pre-requisites as we intend to take everyone right from the beginning, all the way through to the level they want to be at.

 

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Q2. What prior education or experience do I need before doing the MNU Certification?

Absolutely none. You can have a PhD, a dietetics degree, currently study a business degree or this could be your first attempt at furthering your education past high-school. It really doesn’t matter. The MNU Certification is designed to take an individual right from the basic principles all the way through to being able to understand and apply advanced theory. Each student will have their own journey of development and those with less knowledge to begin with will clearly need to spend the upper end of the weekly time commitment to ensure full understanding. Those with greater knowledge will be able to use the extra time to look into more advanced concepts and methods.

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Q3. Can I do the MNU Certification if I don’t live in the UK?

Yes! The Essential and Full-Online options allow anyone, anywhere, to be part of the MNU Certification. The ‘Full with Honours’ option is also available to anyone however it requires attendance at 3 residentials over the year.

Timezones: Most of the course is very easy to follow no matter what your timezone. The lectures are released at the same time each week, however they are then available for the remainder of the course. It is impossible to guarantee that the Live Catch-Up lectures are at a suitable time for everyone as we currently have students from several different countries on different continents. The Live sessions will however be filmed and made available to view. If there are enough students from your timezone, you never know, we may even find a work around to suit you; I’ve never done a lecture at midnight.

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Q4. Can I study alongside a job or University?

Yes, the MNU Certification has been designed so that it is extremely flexible. A weekly lecture and 3-6 hours of study time per week are expected from you however these can be done at a time that fits your schedule. So if you are working full-time or are in University, no matter when you get some spare time, you can progress your learning further by studying and catching up on content at a time that suits you.

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Q5. What qualifies you to teach a course/offer a certification like this?

This is a really good question that I wish people would ask more before doing online courses. I will tell you a bit about myself but firstly, I want to assure you that all of the tutors on MNU will have studied both a degree and a Masters in their relevant area at least. Any guest lectures on the course or in The Mentoring Lab will be from true industry experts in positions of real authority, not just internet gurus who have managed to make a name for themselves.

My personal background is as follows with some explanation as to why I think the MNU Certification can not be beaten on quality:

  • Academically qualified: I have an undergraduate in Sport and Exercise Science from the prestigious Loughborough University. I then went on to get two postgraduates, one in Clinical Nutrition from Roehampton University and one in Sport and Exercise Nutrition, again from Loughborough.
  • Published in Peer Reviewed Journal: I’m a named author on the following paper in the Journal of Experimental Physiology: Human angiotensin-converting enzyme I/D and alpha-actinin 3 R577X genotypes and muscle functional and contractile properties (Yeah, I didn’t understand much of what I was writing either!)
  • Qualified Teacher: I spent 3 years in night classes getting 2 qualifications in ‘Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector’ which allowed me to lecture undergraduates. I love teaching and luckily for me I seem to be quite good at it. Our course will use all the techniques I have learned to help make it a positive learning experience for everyone.
  • University Lecturer: I started my career as a lecturer due to my love for teaching and nutrition, it was the perfect match. I have held lectureships at two academic institutions and have guest lectured all over the country as well as in Europe. The content of the MNU Certification will not be much different to what I delivered at this academic level. In fact, some of the exact slides I used have made it in to the content!
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist: I use this term very loosely but before I realised there was too much to learn in the field of training AND nutrition for one person, I geeked out on training theory too. I’ve always felt my knowledge and personal interest in training stood me apart from many other nutritionists and academics.
  • Natural Bodybuilder: While this means very little on its own, when people throw in the ‘you’re just a science geek’ card in, I throw in 5 years of competitive bodybuilding. Unfortunately I wasn’t very good.
  • Nutrition Consultant: I’ve consulted for several large companies on business ventures, staff education and workplace wellness programs. These companies include Universal Pictures, Cambridge Assessment, JP Morgan, BMW, NHS and Nuffield Health. Some of the later lecturers will touch on some of these programs and there will be further opportunity to get guidance on how you can do these too in the Mentoring Lab.
  • Performance Nutritionist:  I’ve worked with several high level teams, athletes and sports people including my well known roles with British Weightlifting and Derby County F.C. as well as work with England Swimming, England Athletics, Leicestershire Country Cricket Club  and many more athletes and teams. This will form the basis for much of the performance nutrition module.
  • Nutritionist and Employer:  Through my own work with clients over the years, plus the work of my staff at Mac-Nutrition, we have helped thousands of individuals with their nutrition whether that has been for health, weight loss of sporting performance reasons. This information is what we are going to use to help conceptualise the theory so that you can see exactly how it is applicable to people in real life.
  • Mentor: Since the inception of the Mac-Nutrition Mentorship back in 2014 I have become an unofficial Mentor to all of the ‘mentees’. We hope to bring much of what has begun inside the private Mentorship group into the Mentoring lab to bring an amazing opportunity for professional discussion and development.

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Q6. Can I do specific lectures/modules?

Unfortunately not. Our aim is to provide the best possible nutrition education experience but also to ensure that our graduates know everything they need to know as well being equipped to continue learning with a critical mindset. For these reasons we do not differentiate between those with previous qualifications and those without. We will provide differentiated learning experiences to cater for both beginner and advanced students.

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Q7. How will the certification be taught?

Weekly online lectures will be available to view on the MNU online learning platform and will include homework tasks and formative online quizzes. Catch up weeks are provided throughout your academic year to ensure that no-one falls behind. You will also be a part of a forum where you, your class mates and the Mac-Nutrition team can discuss the various topics covered in detail on a weekly basis. The MNU Mentoring Lab and personal tutors, depending on which course option you choose, are other ways you can advance and support your learning with the MNU Certification.

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Q8. Are you a University, or are you affiliated to one?

No. We are very careful to use the phrase the ‘Mac-Nutrition Universal (MNU) Certification’ in all our wording but yet we are occasionally asked if we are affiliated to an official University. Mac-Nutrition is a consultancy specialising in nutrition education, support and counselling. The MNU Certification is simply a knowledge acquisition certification that qualifies an individual to be insured to practice as a nutritionist or nutrition consultant.

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Q9. Are any of the MNU Certifications accredited by a national governing body?

No. We want to be very clear about this and why we have made the conscious decision not to be accredited.

If you want to be a dietitian and work in hospitals, go and do a dietetics degree, it’s as simple as that. This course will qualify you as a nutritionist/nutrition consultant and allow you to be insurable to practice what you are taught.

Course accreditation, whilst it sounds nice, only has ONE overarching benefit; it allows the individual to be sure that the course is inline with the accrediting bodies views of the evidence. In this vein, Mac-Nutrition is known both nationally and internationally for being a cutting edge, evidence-based nutrition consultancy. It’s kinda our thing. Look at the calibre of individuals who are willing to put their name to our commitment to evidence based practice/teaching in our endorsements section.

Therefore, the only other possible benefit of accreditation would be to give CPD points to individuals who have already completed a full university course that will qualify them for ‘Registered’ nutritionist status. We don’t want to jump through hoops and increase the cost of our course just for the benefit of a very small group of people.

Finally, our goal is to elevate the status of the MNU Certification to that of our Mentorship program which is now recognised as an industry ‘must do’ among even the most qualified of individuals. We are already working with some major players in the industry to make this happen. Watch this space.

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Q10. What do I get on completion of the course?

Upon completion of any of the certification options, you will get a certificate relevant to the option that you chose signifying your achievement. For both of the Full options you will be required to fulfill the assessment criterion to be able to be insurable as a nutritionist or nutrition consultant.

The MNU Certification demonstrates that you have learnt from the best in the industry, have been taught the most up-to-date, cutting-edge, evidence-based information and, for those on the ‘with Honours’ option, have gained hands-on experience.

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Q11. Will I be insured to give nutrition advice if I do the course?

If you complete either of the Full options i.e. complete a minimum of 80% of the online lectures and pass the final exam, then yes, you will be eligible for insurance to give nutrition advice. We will be able to get you preferential rates for this with one of our insurance partners.

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Q12. Can I get a refund?

We do not believe in paying for a service you did not receive, so yes we do offer refunds. However, the 2-month upfront enrolment cost is non-refundable. If you have been paying in monthly installments you simply stop your direct debit payment. In the instance where you paid upfront, the discount you received becomes nullified. Your refund will be based on the amount you would have paid had you been paying in monthly installments. Therefore, the balance between these price points is accounted before the refund is awarded.

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Q13. Will I be able to advise on medical issues after completing the course?

No. Not to any great extent. However, the MNU Certification has been written with two key purposes surrounding medical issues such as PCOS and Diabetes. Firstly, there will be advice on how to stay within your scope of practice but also when working with someone with one of these medical issues is not outside of your scope.  Our ethos will always be ‘first do no harm’ and knowing when to refer clients with medical conditions out to specialists within a particular clinical area is imperative.

Secondly, it will provide you with both the knowledge and the evidence-based practical skills required to support clients with specialist clinical conditions and to liaise with other medical professionals to give the client the safest and most effective support possible.

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Q14. What is the non-refundable enrolment fee?

With the overwhelming interest in the MNU Certification in its first year, we have implemented an enrolment fee. By securing your place on the MNU Certification with an enrolment fee you are displacing another student’s opportunity to come on the course therefore we only want you to enrol if you are 100% certain you want to do it.

 

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Q15. How will I be assessed?

The MNU Certification contains both formative assessment methods i.e. ongoing quizzes and recaps to ensure understanding, as well as a summative assessment i.e. an exam. At the end of both the Full-Online and Full-With Honours course options there will be an online exam that can be taken at anytime during the exam period (see timetable). Students must pass this exam and are required to have viewed a minimum of 80% of the lectures to become an MNU Certified Nutritionist.

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Q16. What do I do if I experience technical difficulties during the course?

You have a few options! Firstly, the student Facebook group specific to the course you have enrolled on will have lots of interaction and potentially other students with the same queries! Secondly, you can either call the Mac-Nutrition office on 01509 215 211 or you can drop us an email to MNU@mac-nutrition.com, whatever works best for you.

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Q17. What if I miss a week or two because I am ill or go on holiday?

Lectures are accessible from the moment they are released until the end of the course so if you miss a few weeks it would be very easy to dedicate a weekend to getting back up to date. This is one of the beauties of recorded lectures, you literally can’t miss anything if you don’t want to.

You will also have access to all the course content for 2 months after completion of the course to ensure you can go back and look at anything you want to. Any downloads, lecture slides etc will be yours to keep and refer to forever. You will also have the option of signing up to the Mentoring Lab (with no initial sign up fee!).

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Q18. Can I upgrade to Full with Honours after completing the Full Online course?

No, not currently anyway. The main difference between the Full Online and Full with Honours options are the residentials. The content is the same on both courses there is just not any hands-on teaching on the Full Online option.

It may be that in the future we run all of the residential teaching days for previous ‘Full Online’ students so that they can upgrade to ‘with Honours’, however there is no guarantee of this.

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Q19. What are the benefits of having a Personal Tutor?

Having a personal tutor is the highest level of 1-2-1 interaction and support you can have on MNU. Much in the same way people have different learning styles, some individuals need more support and guidance with certain topics, therefore we have given this option to allow for that.

Having your own tutor means that you will be assigned a member of the MNU team to act as your personal tutor for the duration of the course. You will be entitled to 30 minutes of 1-2-1 contact time per month (either as a phone call or via Skype/FaceTime) which can be split into 1-3 calls depending on your preference, as well as regular email contact (up to 10 emails/month) to help support your learning. The calls can be set up however you would like them with the time being used to explain anything that you found difficult to conceptualise in the online lectures, to ask any questions that may have been prompted by the lectures or content in the MNU lab and/or to help with the assessment process.

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Q20. Will there be anything to do between enrolling and the start of the course?

No, nothing compulsory. Ahead of the course start date, you will be sent an MNU course folder and some (optional) pre-course reading material. You will also be sent your student login which will allow you to access the e-learning area and the Mac-Nutrition Mentoring Lab (for ‘Full’ students only). Finally, you will be added to the student Facebook group specific to your cohort within which you should watch the introductory videos and introduce yourself to your fellow students!

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Q21. What is the Mac-Nutrition Mentoring Lab and how do I access this?

The Mac-Nutrition Mentoring Lab is one of the highlight features of the Full Online and Full with Honours course options, although it can be purchased separately by non-students. There are 8 core elements of the Mentoring Lab; each unique and invaluable to continual professional development. They are:

  • Community: The Mentoring Lab Facebook group has been created as THE portal for all student discussions, with daily input from the MNU tutors. We want to build an all-encompassing, trusted community environment of evidence-based practitioners via this Facebook group and therefore this element is an integral part of the Mentoring Lab.
  • Nutrition: Covering bonus content not taught on MNU, advanced theory and guest lectures from true experts in their respective fields.
  • Soft Skills: As one of the most overlooked areas of nutrition practice, this element will feature additional lectures and seminars covering topics such as communication, behaviour change, motivational interviewing, environment setup and much more!
  • Case Studies: As many practitioners work on their own without the luxury of case study meetings, this element has been designed to support members in all aspects of practice including clinical cases, sporting cases, weight loss cases and corporate cases. The Mac-Nutrition team and I will also share their own client case studies via seminars and live webinars/Q&A’s.
  • Martin MacDonald Mentoring: A chance to gain a unique insight into my critical mindset, learn from my vast experiences as both an academic and a practitioner (and most importantly, learn from my mistakes) and learn how to build a successful business while retaining integrity. My love for helping people and wanting to improve the industry as a whole encompasses this area of the lab; I want you to feel supported and I want you to be able to feel like you can call me your mentor!
  • Business Competencies: Covering all things business by true experts in the industry and some specific fitness industry gems. Topics will include Search Engine Optimisation, building a website, branding, marketing and the effective use of social media to help you actually make money with your newly acquired knowledge!
  • Downloadable Resources: Have access to and be able to download client templates, useful spreadsheets, template feedback reports, food lists to give to clients and much more to save you time and money!
  • Research Archive: An area to help you keep up-to-date with the most up-to-date research in nutrition and associated areas. You will be given access to the full text of papers as well as any in-house reviews we do.

Any student on Full Online or Full with Honours course options will be given a username and password to access The Mentoring Lab when they start their course. For non-students, their username and password will be provided once a subscription has been set up and the first payment has been deposited.

*We are also currently in discussions regarding ‘Ask the dietitian’ and ‘Ask the doctor’ clinics to support our commitment to honouring scopes of practice

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Q22. What are Harpenden calipers and why would I need them?

Harpenden calipers are the most accurate way to take skinfold measurements as a method of determining body composition and body fat distribution. The body composition residential day included in the Full with Honours course option will go through how to accurately take measurements using Harpenden callipers in detail and also how best to interpret and utilise the results.  Although Harpenden callipers will be provided for you to practice with on the residential day, we will also have discounted callipers available to purchase that you can go away with and start using with your own clients as another tool for accurately monitoring client results.

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Q23. How will this course help me have a career in nutrition?

The type of course you do will very much depend on the exact route you want to take. If you want to work in hospitals then you will need to take the route that leads to becoming a Registered Dietitian. If you want to apply for a specific job, it’s worth looking at the requirements on the job description. However, if you want to work for yourself or have a job and want to increases your knowledge in the area, these are the benefits of doing the MNU Certification:

1) Theoretical knowledge acquisition

MNU will be a years worth of content, condensed from much longer methods of study, only to include the information that is specific to working with a wide range of clientele – including athletes, weight loss clients, clients with the key clinical issues and business to business corporate wellness clients. Many academic courses contain information that is designed to give credits or allow you to go on to do research e.g. learning about the sociology of sport when studying sport science or whole modules on research methods and lab techniques that aren’t applicable to Dietitians, Nutritionists and Personal trainers working with people outside of labs.

2) Practical application

The entire course has been written from a practitioners perspective – What do you need to know, why do you need to know it and how do you apply it. It will start with the basics but even they will only be the basics necessary to build up to the important advanced aspects of programming with clients.

3) Building a successful nutrition business/career

Obviously Mac-Nutrition has been lucky enough to be successful, building from a team of 1 to a team of 9 currently.

Not 9 people dotted around the country doing their own thing and using the same Facebook page. A team of 9 people who work day in day out together, sharing experiences, working on client case study meetings, sharing knowledge and reflective practice. Dealing not only with individual clients but also governing bodies, professional sports team and large corporate businesses. The Mentoring Lab will be designed to build the professional and business competencies required to not just have the theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge but also how to actually be successful in your career.

4) Confidence and Integrity

1-3 above are the underpinning elements of our wisdom pillar. We also plan to spend a great deal of money, time and effort putting MNU on the national and international map. So that when you put your certificate up on your clinic wall and display your MNU graduate logo on your website, people will have the confidence that you are a person of integrity and have done your dues to be able to help them achieve their goals.

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