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FAQs

Our Approach | Certification | Who can enrol? | Our experts | FAQs

Courses > 1. Weight Management Essentials | 2. Nutrition for Fat Loss | 3. Physical Activity for Fat Loss | 4. Weight Loss Coaching

Why Enrol?
Course enrolment, structure and assessment
Qualifications and Accreditation
Career and Job Opportunities


Why Enrol with SmartShape

Why should I enrol?
SmartShape's Courses and Certifications in Nutrition Coaching and Weight Management have been developed to provide Fitness Professionals and consumers with the know-how and skills in the areas of nutrition, fitness and psychology to effectively provide general advice and support for diet, exercise and weight management.

With over 20 years trusted experience in the Fitness Industry, Matt O'Neill has developed these specialist courses understanding how Personal Trainers and Health Professionals work and the demands of clients.

In other courses, you'll often just learn just one component, like exercise or nutrition but are not able to cover all areas of advice confidently. SmartShape integrates all the information to make better sense.

Within a course, you may also hear conflicting information from different lecturers. This won't happen with SmartShape.

In fact, you'll also learn SmartShape's 5-Star Model for Weight Management Success, which include 5 stars and 25 star factors for success. This model is unique to SmartShape and is a powerful tool to help you learn and master the material and skills you will learn.

All course enrolments come with 30-day money-back guarantee, so if for any reason, you want to cancel your enrolment within 30 days, we'll refund your course fee after you return the course materials (minus $50 for admin and postage).

Can I enrol for personal interest?
Yes, and we encourage it. Feel welcome whether you are learning for your career or for yourself. Everyone eats and everyone manages their weight so all students will learn something.

What is your educational approach?
The educational approach is not a standard text book approach. Each online course presentation (eSeminar) is like being at one of Matt O'Neill engaging seminars.

The dynamic presentations provide you with all the key points, concepts and theories you need to know to be confident advising people. For those who want all the nitty gritty and numbers, there are heaps of reference links there too.

Each course session has practical activities to stop and complete, which breaks up your learning. And you also use SmartShape's 5-Star Model for Weight Management Success.

Who are the course presenters?
Smartshape's presenters are your expert course guides who will share years of knowledge and insight with you.

Matt O'Neill
BSpSc, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD, AN, Dietitian

Dr Jarrod Meerkin
PhD, ESSA, AEP

Allan Bolton
B.H.M.S(Hons), ESSA

More about your presenters

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Course Enrolment, Structure and Assessment

Do I have to do the courses in any particular order?
Although there is a logical progression through the courses, starting with Weight Management Essentials, you can complete courses in any order. You can start with any of the four courses because each one covers a distinct aspect of weight management. If you are really passionate about nutrition, then begin with Nutrition for Fat Loss.

Can I enrol in just one course?
Yes, you can enrol in any one of the courses that interest you. For example, if you've been looking for a short course on nutrition, the Nutrition for Fat Loss Course is an ideal way to cover this topic. Combine this course with other courses to obtain either the SmartShape Certificate in Nutrition Coaching (add the Weight Loss Coaching Course) or the SmartShape Certificate in Weight Management (complete all four SmartShape courses).

Are there any prerequisites for study?
No, you do not need to have any prior training to be able to enrol in SmartShape courses. Our courses are designed for everyone because we want to see more people really understanding how weight management works and help others.

is there any pre-course reading or homework?
No, all the information and reading you will need will be provided in the resources materials. Due to the unique information you will receive you are not expected to be an expert when you start.

What materials do I receive?
For all courses you will receive a copy of every power point slide (presented 2 per page A4) in a bound course book as your Course Notes. You also receive a printed copy of your course assessment materials (exam and case study). You also receive online access to all the course eSeminars and weblinks to references and resources. Plus, as a bonus you also receive access to Matt O'Neill's personal Evernote Notebooks for each course you enrol in. These provide you will weekly updated news and links that Matt is tagging and saving.

Why study online versus the face to face?
You get the best of Matt O'Neill, like watching him at a dynamic seminar but being able to switch him off as you like. With online learning you can fit viewing sessions in around your lifestyle.

Learning online also has the advantage of links to key references and websites, more material and extended access to the course. This means you can go back over the material as often as you like.

And because SmartShape courses are viewable on any device where you have an internet connection, you can watch the eSeminars on your laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android device.

How fast can I get access to an online course?
Quickly! Once you have enrolled you will receive all your access codes by the end of the next business day to get online and start learning. We will send you your bound notes and assessment documents in the mail next business day too.

How long do I have access to the online materials?
Your access codes will allow access for three months from the date of activation, when we process your enrolment.

What if I need more time to complete my course?
You can purchase a course extension for only $25 per month to extend your course access beyond three months and for as long as you need. We will email you a reminder 2 weeks before your course access is due to expire.

How am I assessed and how much homework is there?
The assessment is for those who wish to receive Fitness Australia CECs and/or obtain the SmartShape Certificate in Nutrition Coaching or Certificate in Weight Management.

The assessment requirements for each course are:
The submission of course activity sheets.
Written course exam and written case study report for a mock client.

And for the Weight Loss Coaching Course, you also need to complete:
A phone counselling/role play assessment with Matt O'Neill (Tele-Interview Assessment).

What study support is available?
Support with study and course content or information is available by email or phone.

How long does it take to complete each course?
The online course duration varies, with around 8-12 hours of presentations per course. Some people really get into the courses and only take a dedicated weekend to complete, which is useful if you need CEC points quickly. Allocating a couple of hours a week suits most people, which has you complete in around 4 weeks.

How long do I have to finish the online course?
You have up to three months to finish your online course which is the period your online access codes are active for.

How long do I have to finish the assessment for a single course?
You have 3-months access to the online course and 12-months to complete your course assessment from the date access is provided. If you need to extend your course online access, you can purchase an extension of 1-month for $25. You can extend for as many months as you wish to purchase.

If you don't complete and return your assessment within 12-months, you will need to purchase at least one month's access ($25) to the course again and may be required to complete new assessment materials if the course has been updated.

How long do I have to finish either the SmartShape Certificate in Nutrition Coaching or Certificate in Weight Management?
Currently there is no time limit, however our suggestion is within twelve months.

What does each course and certification cost?
The full price for each of the four courses that make up the certifications cost $AUD375 (inc, GST). The total cost of all completing the SmartShape Certificate in Nutrition Coaching is $750 and the SmartShape Certificate in Weight Management is $AUD1,500.

These fees represent great value, especially when compared to more expensive education and certifications that are not even able to provide you with a qualification.

When do I need to pay?
All payments for courses and certifications, are required before you can commence with online access.

How can I pay for the courses?
You have four payment options:
Via credit card on internet.
Via credit card over the phone.
Fax in the downloadable enrolment form.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Please request bank details.

Is there a discount if I pay for all four courses at once?
The courses represent great value for money, so there is no discount for paying for all four courses at once. You only need pay as you go, so we do not require a large upfront payment.

When will I receive enrolment confirmation?
If you enrol over the phone we will confirm your enrolment then. If you enrol over the internet or by fax/mail we will send you an email by the next business day with your online course access to confirm enrolment.

When will I receive a tax invoice receipt?
Tax invoice receipts for online courses are posted with your course materials.

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Qualifications and Accreditation

Who are the courses recognised by?
SmartShape courses are recognised by Fitness Australia and provide Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Registered Fitness Professionals. This means that the material you learn falls within your scope of practice and you can confidently use the knowledge and skills with your clients.

What qualification will I receive?

There is a lot of confusion about what you can "get qualified" to say about nutrition. It's important that you don't end up with an expensive 'qualification' costing thousands of dollars that doesn't actually approve you to do what you think it does or you've been told.

It's also important to know the professional scope within which you should provide nutrition advice to clients. The general rules we have provided below do not just apply to SmartShape Certifications, but also to any nutrition short course, certification and even more expensive diplomas.

Despite what you may hear from course providers, it is inappropriate and you would not be approved or qualified to do the following, even at a diploma level:

  • Design a daily or weekly menu plan with specific foods, other than that which is available through government guidelines.
  • Nutritional assessment to determine individual nutritional needs and nutritional status and to recommend nutritional intake.
  • Provide advice to clients to avoid a specific food group.
  • Provide specific dietary advice for adults with chronic disease.
  • Provide advice to clients regarding food allergies or intolerances, other than the referral to a General Practitioner or Accredited Practising Dietitian.
  • Medical nutrition therapy.
  • Promote yourself as a 'Nutritionist' or a 'Dietitian'
For Fitness professionals, the Fitness Australia Position Statement: Scope of Practice for Registered Exercise Professionals - April 2014 helps you understand the boundries for providing nutrition advice to clients. Its says:

"The Registered Exercise Professional Scope of Practice does not include:

Provision of nutritional advice outside of basic healthy eating information and nationally endorsed nutritional standards and guidelines."

Learn more about the Scope of Practice for Registered Exercise Professionals on the Fitness Australia Website.

With SmartShape you will learn powerful ways to advise people about nutrition and stay within your scope of practise. Be careful when you are told by other training providers that you can provide menu plans and give specific nutrition advice.

What qualification will I receive after completing the courses?
We believe the SmartShape Certificate of Weight Management should offer the minimum qualification to work in the weight loss industry. We are working to establish this, however it will take time because the weight loss industry has no compulsory standards to abide by. We believe that anyone who sells slimming pills, potions, lotions, exercise programs or gadgets should have to complete a minimum level of training and gain a qualification for this. When you enrol in our training, you'll help promote these standards.

What certificate will I receive after completing the courses?
You will receive a Certificate of Completion for each course successfully completed or for the full Certificate of Weight Management on completion of satisfactory assessment. We recommend that you display your Certificate to show your customers or employer.

Is this a Cert III or IV level?
Each course is accredited with Fitness Australia for Continuing Education Credits (CECs). Each course completed provides 10 CECs but it is not classified as a Certificate III or IV. Training at the Certificate III, IV and even Diploma level cannot qualify you to provide menu plans or specific nutrition advice.

Can I get accredited with prior learning from another course?
No, we believe the unique course structure and information provided would not have been covered in other courses. You will learn very specific and targeted information about fat loss that is the most current and specific for the fitness weight loss industry. And you also learn the 5-Star Model for Weight Management Success, which is unique to SmartShape education.

Can I use Smart Shape courses to show prior learning for another qualification e.g. Certificate III or IV in Fitness?
The Certificate delivers training that covers the list of competencies related to the nutrition and body composition in the Fitness Instructor (CertIII) and Personal Trainer (CertIV) qualifications of the National Training Package for the Fitness Industry. This means that you can apply for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) for the nutrition component of the above fitness qualifications should you choose to study with us before perusing a career in the fitness industry.

Will the Nutrition for Fat Loss Course or the Certificate in Nutrition Coaching allow me to provide menu plans?

An Accredited Practising Dietitian is the appropriate person to design and provide clients with menu plans, specific nutritional advice for individual circumstances or health conditions and medical nutrition therapy. This is what Dietitian's are insured to do and why Dietitians are the only professional recognised by the Federal Government and Medicare to do this.

This means that you'd need to go to university to study an approved Dietetic qualification (not just a nutrition science degree) to become qualified and approved to design and deliver menu plans to clients.

This is for good reason, as providing clients with a menu plan, essentially means that you are guaranteeing the nutritional adequacy of their complete food intake. This has potential risks of deficiencies and unintended negative health consequences.

Just as a Dietitian is not qualified or approved as a Personal Trainer to design a complete exercise plan - made up of specific exercises, repetitions and sets with a prescribed intensity of duration - it makes sense that a non-Dietitian would not design and provide a complete nutrition plan.

With this is mind, non-Dietitians can deliver amazing nutrition coaching that helps to permanently improve eating habits, health and body shape. This is what a SmartShape Course or Certification can help you achieve, with confidence and with Fitness Australia CECs.

Can I say I'm a `Nutritionist' after completing the Nutrition for Fat Loss Course or the Certificate in Nutrition Coaching?
No, at least university level study and post-study work experience is required in Australia to call yourself a Nutritionist. This shouldn't stop you sharing healthy eating advice and our course will give you the know-how and confidence to do it. You may even be inspired to go on and study nutrition at university.

Will the Physical Activity for Fat Loss course qualify me to physically train clients?
If you are considering leading an exercise class or physically training a client, we do recommend that you obtain Fitness Industry qualifications as either a Gym Instructor or Personal Trainer. You will also need to obtain your Senior First Aid Certificate. If however, you just want to encourage more people to be active with sound advice about exercise benefits, including when to refer to a Personal Trainer, this may be the course for you. For a relatively small investment the Physical Activity for Fat Loss course will allow you to get a taste of fitness and see whether you want to do further study.

Will the Physical Activity for Fat Loss course allow me to provide exercise advice?
Yes, we encourage you to share the practical physical activity messages that you learn in this courses with your clients, friends and family. The course is designed to give you the background understanding and skills to sell people on the idea of becoming and staying active. We want you to feel confident with your exercise advice for fat loss and health.

I'm a Personal Trainer. Do I need to complete all the courses for SmartShape Certification?
Yes, you need to complete the courses as they are unique and cover new information in addition to that in your Certificate III and IV in fitness. You will learn about physical activity specifically targeted at fat loss in the areas of:
The science of calorie burning
Comparison of cardio and resistance
Hormonal responses
Physical Activity profiling
Proven motivational strategies

I'm a Life/Health coach. Do I need to complete all the courses for SmartShape Certification?
Yes, the unique course structure and information provided would not have been covered in other courses. This is a specialist course for weight management that will provide you the educational 'glue' to stick together all of your knowledge and skills as a life coach and direct this into helping clients effectively manage their weight. And you also learn SmartShape's unqiue 5-Star Model for Weight Management Success.

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Career and Job Opportunities

Can I use this to become a weight loss consultant?
Yes, many people say they gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to work in the weight loss industry. There is no regulation or national qualification as to who can say they are a Nutrition Coach, Weight Loss Coach or Weight Management Consultation. With your SmartShape education, we believe you can confidently use these titles with out certifications.

I'm really interested in nutrition. How can I do more study?
Because you'd need to go to university to study to be a Nutritionist or Dietitian, we recommend either the SmartShape Nutrition for Fat Loss Course or Certificate in Nutrition Coaching as an excellent way to dip your toe in the topic, fast-track your knowledge and gain the skills to promote healthy eating.

You'll learn from Matt O'Neill, an Accredited Practising Dietitian and one of Australia's leading nutrition educators. With both the Certificate in Nutrition Coaching and Certificate in Weight Management you'll have the opportunity to discuss your career desires when you do your Tele-Interview Assessment, which is part of the Weight Loss Coaching Course. .

How do I become a Nutritionist or Dietitian?
For more information about how to become a Dietitian in Australia, please visit the Dietitian's Association of Australia website section on
Becoming a Dietitian. You can also Find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) section and search for a Dietitian you can refer clients to.

How is the weight loss industry regulated?
Despite calls over years for regulation of the weight loss industry, the industry has no formal regulation or training requirements. SmartShape Certifications aim to deliver a high level of education and training that provides superior knowledge and skills.

If you have any additional questions that have not been answered here in our FAQs, please either email us at Email
info@smartshape.com.au or call (02) 9987 2735.

Otherwise, please enrol in a course or certification today and start mastering nutrition and weight management.

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