Arm Yourself with the Knowledge & Tools to Build Successful Fitness Programming for Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Arm Yourself with the Knowledge & Tools to Build Successful Fitness Programming for Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Substance Use Disorder affects a huge number of individuals. More than 20 million Americans are diagnosed with Substance Abuse Disorder.

Research shows that exercise therapy can help be hugely beneficial to those recovering from substance use disorder and can improve long-term neurological outcomes to relapse prevention. 

There are physiological and psychological considerations you must understand to design and implement successful exercise programs for this population. The Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist online course will teach you what you need to know.

Distinguish yourself with this first-of-its-kind specialization, grow your business to serve this population and make a huge impact in the lives of those in recovery. 

What’s Included in this Course:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Module 2: Alcohol
  • Module 3: Opiates
  • Module 4: Stimulants
  • Module 5: The Mind Body Connection: Yoga and Meditation in the Rehabilitation Setting
  • Module 6: Group Fitness for the Recovery Population
  • Module 7: Relapse Prevention
  • Module 8: Business Planning and Scope of Practice

Module 1: Introduction to Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders
Lesson 1 (M1L1): Introduction to Substance Use Disorders
Lesson 2 (M1L2): The Process of Addiction
Lesson 3 (M1L3): Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Co-Morbidities
Lesson 4 (M1L4): Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Lesson 5 (M1L5): Activity – Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

Module 2: Alcohol
Lesson 6 (M2L1): How Does Alcohol Addiction Begin?
Lesson 7 (M2L2): The Pathophysiology of Alcohol Use Disorder
Lesson 8 (M2L3): Short and Long-Term Effects of Chronic Alcohol Use
Lesson 9 (M2L4): Nutrition Considerations
Lesson 10 (M2L5): Training Considerations for Clients with Alcohol Use Disorder
Lesson 11 (M2L6): Assessment and Program Design for Clients with Alcohol Use Disorder
Lesson 12 (M2L7): Activity – Conduct an Assessment and Create a Program

Module 3: Opiates
Lesson 13 (M3L1): How Does Opiate Addiction Begin?
Lesson 14 (M3L2): The Pathophysiology of Opiate Use Disorder
Lesson 15 (M3L3): Short and Long-Term Effects of Chronic Opiate Abuse
Lesson 16 (M3L4): Nutrition Considerations
Lesson 17 (M3L5): Training Considerations for Clients with Opiate Addiction
Lesson 18 (M3L6): Assessment and Program Design for Chronic Opiate Users in Recovery
Lesson 19 (M3L7): Activity – Attend a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meeting

Module 4: Stimulants
Lesson 20 (M4L1): How Does Stimulant Addiction Begin?
Lesson 21 (M4L2): The Pathophysiology of Stimulant Addiction
Lesson 22 (M4L3): Short and Long-Term Effects of Chronic Illegal Stimulant Abuse
Lesson 23 (M4L4): Nutrition Considerations
Lesson 24 (M4L5): Training Considerations, Assessment and Program Design for Clients in Recovery from Chronic Stimulant Abuse
Lesson 25 (M4L6): Activity – Review and Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals Appropriate for This Population

Module 5: The Mind Body Connection: Yoga and Meditation in the Rehabilitation Setting
Lesson 26 (M5L1): The Practice of Yoga
Lesson 27 (M5L2): Meditation in Practice
Lesson 28 (M5L3): Building Rapport
Lesson 29 (M5L4): Considerations for Yoga/Meditation Practice in the Recovery Population
Lesson 30 (M5L5): Activity – Listen to a Regular and a Modified Meditation

Module 6: Group Fitness for the Recovery Population
Lesson 31 (M6L1): Benefits of Group Fitness in the Recovery Population
Lesson 32 (M6L2): Class Design in the Drug Rehabilitation Facility Setting
Lesson 33 (M6L3): Music Selection
Lesson 34 (M6L4): Coaching Skills and Enhancing Class Motivation
Lesson 35 (M6L5): Activity – Design a Sample Group Fitness Class for an In-Patient Drug Rehabilitation Facility

Module 7: Relapse Prevention
Lesson 36 (M7L1): Factors That Lead to Relapse
Lesson 37 (M7L2): The 12-Steps and Relapse Prevention
Lesson 38 (M7L3): The Role of Exercise in Relapse Prevention
Lesson 39 (M7L4): Other Addictive Behaviors
Lesson 40 (M7L5): Activity – Find and List Activities in Your Community Appropriate for Sober Living

Module 8: Business Planning and Scope of Practice
Lesson 41 (M8L1): Scope of Practice
Lesson 42 (M8L2): Legal Issues and Privacy
Lesson 43 (M8L3): Business Proposals and Contracts
Lesson 44 (M8L4): Activity – Design a Business Plan/Proposal

Competency Assessment: Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist
Epilogue: Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist Course – What Should I Do Next?

Lesson Sample: Module 7, Lesson 3

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30% off the 12-hour Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist online course

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Regular Price: $479. You’ll pay $335.30 with coupon code DARFS30.
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Approved for CEUs...

More About the Course

This course covers the pathophysiology of Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders and comorbidities which will contribute to orthopedic, physiological, and psychological considerations when working with this population in the fitness/training setting. The course will be broken up into 10 modules and require 12 total hours of course time to complete. The learner will understand how to choose appropriate assessments and create safe and effective programming to meet the unique needs of this population. The learner shall also understand how to support their clients through the immediate recovery (post-detox) phase and in the months or years to follow as a relapse prevention strategy. The learner shall also acquire strategies to apply this knowledge to grow their training business in all settings (in-patient, outpatient/halfway house, community).

Learners will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the pathophysiology of abuse of alcohol, opiates, and stimulants.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the common movement compensations which may be seen in
    this population through all phases of Recovery.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nutritional considerations which may be relevant in this
    population as well as how to collaborate with a Registered Dietician and physician regarding
    nutrition and exercise prescription.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of all settings where this population may be encountered (inpatient, outpatient/halfway house, community) and how to create safe and effective
    programming in all settings.
  • Select appropriate fitness assessments and correctly identify the frequency of when
    assessments need to be conducted.
  • Create safe and effective programming based on the client’s individual needs taking into
    consideration their history of substance abuse and other co-morbidities in the personal training
  • Apply strategies to support their client through relapse prevention.
  • Apply knowledge to create a business plan to support this population.
Course Delivery and Assessment

This course is delivered through a written course manual, video narrated slide presentations, videos of sample exercises, and sample forms. Comprehension of the material will be measured via a mandatory, multiple-choice item, competency assessment requiring a minimum of 80% correct responses in order to pass.


All of the online courses on MedFit Classroom which lead to a Certificate of Specialization are considered advanced level education, and are meant to be taken by fitness professionals who have previously acquired education and experience as a professional within the health and fitness industry. In order for one to receive the Certificate of Specialization conferred upon those who obtain and complete this Fitness Specialist course, one must be able to demonstrate that he or she has the following:

  1. Evidence of a current certification, or vocational credential, from a reputable certifying or credentialing organization, and within the health and fitness industry; OR an associate’s degree, or higher, from an accredited college or university in the field of exercise science, kinesiology, physical education, fitness, or a related field; AND
  2. Evidence of current professional liability insurance.

Maintaining this Specialization and Continuing Education Credits

The completion of this specialization course, and the passing of its corresponding competency assessment, leads to a Certificate of Specialization. This Certificate of Specialization will be considered valid for a period of two years. To keep the certificate current, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education, on relevant subject matter, and formally renew the certificate prior to the date of its expiration. As with many certifications and specializations in our field, professionals should anticipate some costs to continuing education and renewal of the certificate.

MedFit Classroom CEUs

This Specialist Course provides up to 10 CEUs for other MedFit Classroom Specializations. Download our CEU chart (PDF) to find out what specializations it will provide credit CEUs for.

Other Continuing Education Credits

This course is approved for credit by:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE) to provide 1.2 CEUs.
  • canfitpro to provide 4 CECs.
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) to provide 12 CEUs.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to provide 1.2 CEUs.

If your certifying body is not listed, you will be provided with a Certificate of Specialization at the end of the course that can be used to petition your certifying body for credit.

About the Author: Nicole Golden

Nicole Golden has been a health/fitness professional since 2014 when she left the field of education to pursue a full-time career in fitness. Nicole holds a Master of Science degree from Concordia University Chicago in Applied Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Nutrition. She is a NASM Master Trainer, CES, FNS, BCS, CSCS (NSCA) and AFAA certified group fitness instructor. Nicole is a sports nutritionist certified through the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

She is the owner of FWF Wellness where she specializes in corrective exercise, nutrition coaching, and training special populations. She has a great deal of experience working with a wide variety of clients including female athletes, cancer survivors, older adults with medical comorbidities, and clients who have undergone bariatric surgery. She also has a special interest in coaching clients in recovery from Substance Use Disorders. Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and five children when she is not training clients or teaching fitness classes.