Empower Clients to Become Fitter, Stronger, Healthier

Flexible self-study training for professional accreditation

Become a certified fitness coach. Help people reach their physical potential. Grow a successful coaching business.

Study Online

Learn on your own time from the convenience of your computer, smartphone, or tablet—anytime, anywhere.

Lifetime Access

We're always adding new material to stay up to date with science. You get lifetime access to the program and to our Business Resource Center.

Community Support

Join PHCI faculty and thousands of fellow students and grads on our worldwide mission to change the health of the world one person at a time.

What You'll Receive

The Primal Fitness Coach Certification teaches individuals to become fitness coaches that are proficient at training clients to be fit for life—to avoid injuries, increase mobility, develop lean muscle mass, protect joints, and optimize metabolic health. This well-rounded functional fitness certification covers best practices for daily movement, strength-training and conditioning, HIIT exercises, sprinting, and more.
  • Online course made up of 23 chapters of multimedia educational resources
  • We cater to all different learning styles with videos, audio files, text lessons, and PDF downloads, including webinars and supplemental eBooks.
  • College-level fitness education
  • With an emphasis on sustainability, lifestyle, and longevity, our fitness methodology focuses on helping people move with ease, pain-free.
  • Fitness coaching development
  • We give you the tools to coach clients to success and dedicate a full chapter to the how-tos of conducting functional movement screenings, strength assessments, and cardio testing.
  • Scope of practice guidance
  • We cover liability issues to keep your business secure and show you how to tailor your language and services while remaining within safe legal waters.
  • Access to a private Primal Health Coach Institute Facebook community
  • You’ll have the support of the Primal Fitness Coach team and your peers in our private Facebook community and build a robust network of committed health and fitness pros.






What You'll Learn

Equal parts fitness and coaching, our fitness coach certification prepares you to go beyond reps and empower clients to actively take ownership of their body and movement patterns.
  • Improve mobility with functional movement and flexibility
  • Increase strength, resiliency, and stability
  • Educate on the impact of a sedentary life
  • Maximize fitness with sprinting, strength training, and play
  • Enjoy the brain benefits of a well-tuned physiology
  • Nurture enjoyment of physical activity
  • Maintain functionality and health with age
  • Get even the most sedentary client moving more


Welcome from Mark Sisson and Erin Power

Course Overview

Downloading Files Within the Course

Meet Your Faculty and Staff

Legal & Support

Important: Legal Matters

Disclaimer and Copyright Notice





Upcoming Webinars

Educational Resources




Archived Webinars

Peer and Faculty Support & Connection via Facebook

An Introduction to Primal Fitness

The “Primal” Approach to Fitness and a Healthy, Happy, Active Lifestyle

The Idea of a "Fitness Coach"

Walking the Talk

Chapter 1: Fitness For Health

Quick Facts


The Critical Distinction Between Health and Fitness

HIIT and Steady-State Cardio: Rethinking Popular but Flawed Training Modalities


Aging Gracefully: Adaptations and Evolving Goals

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 1 Exam

Chapter 2: Everyday Movement

Quick Facts


Benefits of Increasing Everyday Movement

Walking: The Centerpiece of an Active Lifestyle

Formal Movement Practices

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 2  Exam

Chapter 3: Human Posture And Movement Fundamentals

Quick Facts


Spinal Fundamentals

Standing, Sitting, Lying, Bending, and Extending

Creating a Dynamic Workstation

Ancestral Resting Positions

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 3 Exam

Chapter 4: Breathing

Quick Facts


How to Breathe Correctly

Tracking Progress with Breathing Tests

Exercises to Improve Breathing Competency

Advanced Breathing Techniques for Peak Performance

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 4 Exam

Chapter 5: Stretching, Mobility, Flexibility, Balance, and Injury Prevention

Quick Facts


Rationale, Benefits, and Contraindications of Stretching

Static Stretching

Dynamic Stretching

Hip Flexor Stretching and Strengthening

The Circadian and "Whole Health" Benefits of a Morning Flexibility/Mobility/Balance Routine

Mobility, Flexibility, and Balance

Fascial Restructuring and Reawakening

Functional Movement Assessments and Corrective Exercises

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 5 Exam

Chapter 6: Cardiovascular Fitness and Endurance Training

Quick Facts


Fuel Substrate Utilization at Varying Exercise Intensities

Maximum Aerobic Function and the Aerobic Threshold

Monitoring Your Heart Rate During Exercise

Maximum Aerobic Function Test

Re-evaluating and Redefining Cardio

Jogging 2.0: Evolving from Steady-State Cardio to More Varied and Challenging Workouts

Cardio and Fat Loss Frustration

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 6 Exam

Chapter 7: Benefits, Principles, and Strategies for High-intensity Exercise

Quick Facts


Functional Muscle Mass: The Preeminent Fitness Objective

Healthspan and High-intensity Exercise

Optimal Workout Design, Rest and Recovery, and Work/Rest Ratios

Resistance Training Concepts and Fundamentals


Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 7 Exam

Chapter 8: Resistance Exercise – Deadlift And Squat

Quick Facts


The Deadlift

The Squat

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 8 Exam

Chapter 9: Resistance Exercise – Free Weight, Bodyweight, Machine, And Kettlebell Exercises

Quick Facts


Popular Functional Fitness Resistance Exercises

Bodyweight Exercises - Upper Body

Bodyweight Exercises - Lower Body

Free Weight Exercises - Upper Body Pushing

Free Weight Exercises – Upper Body Pulling

Machine Exercises – Upper Body

Machine Exercises – Lower Body

Kettlebell Exercises

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 9 Exam

Chapter 10: Sprinting and Jumping

Quick Facts


Physiological Benefits of Sprinting and Jumping

Optimal Duration, Repetitions, and Recovery Intervals

Elements of an Effective Sprint Workout

Sprinting Technique

Suggested Sprint Workouts

Jumping: The Ultimate Explosive Exercise

Suggested Jumping Workouts

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 10 Exam

Chapter 11: Mindset and Peak Performance

Quick Facts


Understanding the Endorphin Response

The Central Governor Theory

The Central Cooling System

A Kinder, Gentler Approach to Peak Performance – The Secret Strategies of Elite Athletes

Chapter Summary  and References

Chapter 11 Exam

Chapter 12: Overreaching, Overtraining, and Burnout

Quick Facts


Overreaching: A Temporarily Adaptive State from Inappropriate Fight-or-Flight Stimulation

Overreaching Symptoms

How to Remedy Overreaching

Overtraining/Burnout Symptoms

Recovering from Overreaching/Overtraining

Journaling to Support Health and Fitness

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 12 Exam

Chapter 13: Rest, Recovery, Down Time, and Sleep

Quick Facts


Optimizing Sleep Habits and Sleep Environment

Emphasizing Recovery in Training

Walking for Recovery


Conducting a Recovery-based Workout

Rest, Down Time, and Disconnecting

Heart Rate Variability to Track Recovery

Chapter Summary  and References

Chapter 13 Exam

Chapter 14: Primal Fitness Programming

Introduction: The Primal Fitness Pyramid

Coaching Your Clients to Move Frequently

Designing a Strength Training Plan (Lift Heavy Things)

Programming Short, Infrequent, Explosive Efforts (Sprint)

Programming Recovery

Client-Led Programming: The Primal Fitness Coach Approach

Chapter Summary and References

Chapter 14 Exam

Chapter 15 - Scope of Practice


Introduction Video

Defining Your Value as a Health Coach

Scope of Practice

What Can Health Coaches Say and Do

How to Operate as a Health Coach Without Giving Individualized Nutrition Advice

Consult with a Lawyer

Curriculum Supplement: Health Coaches and Lab Testing

Chapter 15 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 15 Exam

Coaching Practicum #1: Understanding Your Scope

Regional Regulations

WORKSHEET: Scope of Practice

Chapter 16 - Coaching Foundations

What Is Health Coaching?

The Primal Health Coach Model

Your Secret Sauce: What Kind of Coach Are You?

WORKSHEET: Discover Your Secret Sauce

Code of Ethics

Professional Conduct

The Illness-Wellness Continuum

Chapter Summary

Chapter 16 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 16 Exam

Coaching Practicum #2: Reframing Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome


Practicum: Reframing Imposter Syndrome

Chapter 17 - The Art & Science of Health Coaching

The Client-Centered Coaching Relationship

Coaching Relationship Framework

Overview of the Client-Centered Coaching Session

Letting the Client Lead: Coaching in Action

The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change)

Self-Determination Theory

Social Cognitive Theory

Motivational Interviewing

Active Listening and Reflection


Accountability and Compliance

Goal-Setting Summary: Assess Client Confidence and Identify Barriers

Chapter Summary

Chapter 17 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 17 Exam

Coaching Practicum #3: Coaching Role-Play

The Three-Way Coaching Role-Play

Peer-to-Peer Practicum: Coaching Role-Play

Chapter 18 - Advanced Coaching Layers

Chapter Overview


Introduction - Audio Supplement

Coaching Best Practices

Coaching Best Practices

Coaching Best Practices - Audio Supplement

The Emotional Layer

Working with Clients on an Emotional Level

Working with Clients on an Emotional Level - Audio Supplement

The Behavioral Layer

Working with Clients on a Behavioral Level

Working with Clients on a Behavioral Level - Audio Supplement

The Mental Layer

Working with Clients on a Mental Level

Working with Clients on a Mental Level - Audio Supplement

The Spiritual Layer

Working with Clients on a Spiritual Level

Working with Clients on a Spiritual Level - Audio Supplement

The Relationship Layer

Working with Clients on Their Relationships

Working with Clients on Their Relationships - Audio Supplement

Chapter 18 Curriculum - Audio

COACHING DEMO(s): Primal Health Coaching Conversations

Chapter 18 Exam

Coaching Practicum #4: Case Studies


Case Study #1: Sarah

Case Study #1: Heather

Case Study #1: David

Case Study #1: Diana

Practicum: Case Studies

Business-Building Introduction: Building Your Coaching Business

Skills for Building a Successful Business

You Don't HAVE to Build a Business if You Don't Want To

Chapter 19: What Problem Do You Solve for Whom?

Who Are You, Who Do You Help, Why, and How?

Who Are You?

EXERCISE: Write Your Story

Who Do You Help?

EXERCISE: Discover Your Ideal Client

What Is Your Unique Value Proposition?

EXERCISE: Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Chapter 19 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 19 Exam

Business Development Project #1: Write Your One-Page

Write Your One-Page

Chapter 20: Programming - Create a Health Coaching Product

Create a Signature Health Coaching Product

Coaching Formats

Recommendation: Begin with One-on-One Coaching

CASE STUDY: Beginning with One-on-One, then Scaling to Group Coaching

The Short-Duration Challenge

CASE STUDY: Using a Short-Duration Challenge to Convert One-on-One Clients

The 12-Week Primal Health Coaching Program Flow

Enrolling Your Client


The Onboarding Session

Weekly Check-In

Additional Coaching Tools

Client Successes and Struggles

Graduate Your Client

Program Completion: Celebrate Success

DEMO: A 12-Week Primal Health Coaching Relationship

PROGRAMMING SUPPORT MATERIALS: The 12-Week Primal Health Coaching Program



Chapter 20 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 20 Exam

Business Development Project #2: Product Ideation and Creation

Build It and Get Ready To Sell It. Yes: Right Now!

Product Ideation

Determine Your Pricing

Name Your Product

Sell Your Product

Create Online Forms

Audit the Customer Experience

Chapter 21: Liability and Protecting Yourself

Protect Yourself from Liability

Create a Disclaimer

Publish your Terms and Conditions


Have a Coach-Client Agreement

The #1 Way to Protect Yourself...

Liability Insurance

Hire a Lawyer

Chapter 21 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 21 Exam

BONUS: Legal Help for Health Coaches, from Cory Sterling

What Business Type is Best?

EXERCISE: Write your Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions, and Privacy Policy

EXERCISE: Write Your Client Agreement

Chapter 22: Marketing

Introduction to Small Business Marketing

Build Your Marketing Plan

Client Generation Blueprint

Inbound Marketing: Help Clients Find YOU

ATTRACT: Content Marketing

CONVERT: Turn Traffic into Leads

CONVERT: Nurture Leads with Automated Email

CLOSE: Email Examples

CLOSE: Making the Sale

DELIGHT: Impress Your Clients and Earn Referral Business

How, When, and What to Outsource

Marketing Glossary

Chapter Summary

Chapter 22 Curriculum - Audio

Chapter 22 Exam

Business Development Project #4: Put Yourself "Out There"

Search for a Web Domain and Social Media Handles

Build a Website

TUTORIAL: How to Build a Website and Blog in WordPress

Connect Your Website to Your Domain

Connect Your Email Address to Your Website

TUTORIAL: Create a PDF eBook as a Lead Magnet

TUTORIAL: Set Up an Autoresponder Sequence with MailChimp

TUTORIAL: Set Up an Autoresponder Sequence with Keap

EXERCISE: Create and Post Content

EXERCISE: Business Analysis

Chapter 23: Sales & Enrollment

Sales = Enrollment

Build Your Marketing Plan

Sales and Your Money Mindset

Authentic Engagement

You Only Need One Client

Video Supplement: Sales Is Just a Conversation

Discovery: Securing Clients

Mindset: The Key to Enrollment

Pricing: What to Charge?

A NO Is Usually a MAYBE

It's a YES: Now You're a Coach

Chapter 23 Curriculum Audio

Chapter 23 Exam

Business Development Project #5: Create an Enrollment Framework

EXERCISE: Build Your Framework for the Discovery Call


Primal Health Coach Certification Final Exam

What Our Grads Say

Primal Health Coaching has helped me to present primal nutrition and lifestyle habits to my clientele in a very useable format. After completing the course, you are ready to field questions and have total confidence that you are the foremost authority in primal health, fitness, and lifestyle. I think this one certification is more valuable than any personal trainer or nutrition certification that might be available. 

Jim Beaumont

Certified Primal Health Coach

Primal Health Coaching allows me to not only promote my services as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, but also as a Primal Health Coach. I can now help my clients avoid metabolic damage, inflammation, and other potential problems. My client base has broadened to include not only competitors and athletes, but those wanting to understand paleo/keto nutrition and the revised paradigm of health and fitness. 

Camille Moran

Certified Primal Health Coach

As a fitness coach, I incorporate the Primal Blueprint Key Concepts to help people express their full genetic potential as athletes, so they can improve every measurable aspect of fitness: to recover, refuel, and train like a beast. 

Donovan James

Certified Primal Health Coach

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I earn my fitness coach certification from the Primal Health Coach Institute?

Many fitness training programs certify personal trainers as experts in their specific, branded training modality. We certify fitness coaches and prepare you for a more comprehensive and effective coach-client relationship. The foundational element of the Primal Fitness Coach philosophy is that fitness permeates all aspects of daily life, far beyond what happens when you conduct formal workouts at the gym or on the road.

Fitness coaches most certainly serve as hands-on workout guides and program planners, but they also help build up their clients' physical and mental fortitude by teaching them to work within their limits and expand those limits safely. Fitness coaches inspire comprehensive lifestyle changes, such as dietary transformation, sleep optimization, and increasing all forms of general movement, and exhibit excellent technique for everyday life behaviors such as sitting, standing, and reaching. Fitness coaches empower clients to take the lead with decision-making and goal setting, while gently guiding them to make the choices that serve their long-term interests and promote healthspan.

How long will it take me to complete the course and earn my certification?

Once you start the online education process, course material is released at a rate of one chapter per week. There are 23 chapters, so you could technically get your fitness certification in as little as 23 weeks. However, this is a self-paced program, so you can proceed through the course work at a slower rate any time you'd like. Remember, your enrollment gives you lifetime access to all the course material.

How difficult is the online course and exams, and what if I have trouble passing?

Some estimate that this course material is on a par with an upper-division college course in the health sciences. However, the written material and videos are all presented in an easy-to-understand format, with a minimum of “sciency” terms or overly complex narratives. That said, the coursework is comprehensive and provides a detailed overview of the most respected fitness research, coaching trends, and training philosophies today. While no prerequisites are necessary to enroll, your pace of learning and ease of passing the exams will be accelerated if you have a background in the fitness industry or as an athlete. If you have minimal background experience or knowledge, we will work with you one-on-one to ensure that you absorb the material effectively and pass the course.

The 23 chapter exams are made up of multiple choice and true/false questions that have been carefully scrutinized by an elite team of beta-testers to ensure fairness and relevance to the written and video content course material. A score of 75 percent correct or better represents a passing grade. If you score below 75 percent, you can return to the material for review, and then attempt the exam again and as many times as you need to pass it. If you find yourself getting stuck on a certain chapter or frustrated with the learning experience in any way, don’t stress! We are here to support and eagerly await the opportunity to help. In our years of experience assisting Primal Health Coaches complete the rigorous certification program, we’ve learned that it’s natural to struggle on certain topics or with certain learning modalities and that a little one-on-one support here and there can make all the difference. When in doubt, reach out. We are here to help!

I’ve taken other online courses in the past and they didn’t live up to my expectations. How is this course different?

This course is more comprehensive than any other fitness certification you will find in the world! While a CrossFit certification will go deeper into CrossFit and a USA Triathlon coaching certification will go deeper into triathlon training, your Primal Fitness Coach certification will provide the most comprehensive, high-level experience and go deeper into the practical and philosophical knowledge needed to lead a fitness lifestyle yourself and deliver that programming to your clients.

When you enroll in the certification course you immediately become part of our community, and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure you reach your education and career goals. We’re so confident that the program and our organization will exceed your expectations that we offer a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. You’ll get a full refund if the course isn’t to your liking or if life circumstances shift your focus and you decide that fitness coaching is no longer your preferred career path.

What public recognition do Certified Primal Fitness Coaches receive?

We publish a Find a Coach Directory at PrimalHealthCoach.com where you can build a profile and attract new clients. If you are not interested in public recognition or wish to reveal less than the template information, you may opt out or limit the information you share. In our years of experience publishing the coach directory, we have received dozens, if not hundreds, of success stories and thank yous from coaches around the world who have attracted clients and even connected with other coaches and professional resources through the directory. We encourage you to take full advantage of this directory and keep your information fresh and updated.

What are the business opportunities available to Primal Fitness Coaches?

When you pass this course, you are granted a license to use the trademarked Primal Fitness Coach logo on your business cards, advertising, social media, and other promotions, such as print flyers for your live events. There’s no limit to the opportunities you can pursue. You can be a virtual fitness coach, run group coaching sessions at a local gym, join a wellness practice as the resident fitness coach, combine fitness with nutrition coaching to broaden your services, become an athletic coach, or specialize in a fitness niche such as corrective exercise or injury prevention.

We also offer continuing education, including live events, online workshops, and advanced courses, to ensure you succeed as a Primal Fitness Coach.

Make Fitness Your Business

Your clients deserve to move better, feel better, be pain-free, enjoy exercise, and love their bodies. The Primal Fitness Coach Certification teaches you the step-by-step way to make that happen.