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What is a Health Coach? And Do You Need One?


Great questions! Glad you asked.

A lot of people ask me what a Health Coach is because it’s kind of ambiguous. It almost sounds made up.

And, lately, a lot of wellness companies are calling their salespeople “health coaches” which dilutes the title a bit, so I thought I’d do a little education in the spirit of the Back to School season!

The short explanation — I am…a certified health and nutrition professional and personal trainer.

The longer explanation — Certified means I had to sit for two exams by the American Council on Exercise that gave me the credentials to create workouts, develop health and wellness goals and plans, educate and guide you on nutrition strategies, and help you modify your behaviors and habits to live your healthiest life. Like other healthcare professionals, I have to maintain my certifications with continuing education and have to re-certify every two years.

Certifications…continuing education…yeah, I get it, Niki. But what does that REALLY mean? What do you do everyday? Most days I am a:

  1. Planner

  2. Motivator

  3. Encourager

  4. Accountability partner

  5. Sounding board

  6. Problem solver, and

  7. Cheerleader

Putting fitness and nutrition plans into place is just the beginning of what I do for my clients. Most days, I’m also helping them navigate through the reality of daily life and the challenges of living healthy. A workout regimen and meal plan are only useful when they are put to use! I help my clients figure out what to eat at a fancy restaurant or at the local pizza joint. I help them find a way to workout when they spend 5 days a week traveling for work. I help them stay focused when life, family and work get crazy. All with the knowledge and expertise to provide the right advice and course of action. I don’t sell any products and my singular goal is to find the right solution for my individual clients.

So, now that you know what a real health coach is, why do you need one and how do you find the right one for your goals?

appetite apple close up delicious

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Why Hire A Health Coach?

You may be a good candidate for a health coach if you can relate to these descriptions…

  1. You’ve tried every diet and continue to lose and gain the same weight over and over again.

  2. You’re constantly tired and have little energy for getting through the day.

  3. You have been recently diagnosed with a chronic condition/disease or have had an injury and your doc has said you need to eat better and exercise more.

  4. You have reached a weight-loss or other health goal and you need to maintain it.

  5. You feel fit overall but have reached a plateau and want to figure out how to bust through it.

How to Hire the Right Health Coach

I’d love to just say, HIRE ME! Choosing the right health coach should be a process because it is an incredibly personal relationship and you need to find a coach you trust and that you can open up to, and one that has YOUR best interests in mind. Here are my tips for finding the perfect coach to get you on track and living your healthiest life!

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish. Are you looking to just lose weight? Do you need a complete overhaul with both fitness and nutrition? Do you have medical conditions or chronic injuries? All of these matter when it comes to choosing a coach. Some coaches and personal trainers specialize in certain populations and conditions (i.e. spinal injuries, diabetes, senior fitness, eating disorders). Finding a coach or trainer who understands your unique circumstances will increase your chances of sticking to a program and ultimately, your success.

  2. Look for compatibility. Are you motivated by someone who gives a lot of tough love? Someone who calls you out (in an appropriate way) when you make excuses? Or, do you prefer someone with a softer approach who gently pushes you when you are stuck? Interview several coaches before choosing – you’ll know who is the right fit when you speak with them.

  3. Ask about education. Would you let your hair stylist give you a flu shot? Or, alternatively, would you want your doctor cutting your hair? NO! Education and experience matters. Just because someone is passionate about health and wellness or sells a related product doesn’t mean they are qualified to give you fitness or nutrition advice. Find out what organization your coach is certified through and make sure it is accredited. This is for your own safety and not something you should take lightly.

  4. Insist on references. And, more importantly ask the right questions. In addition to asking a reference about a coach’s demeanor, punctuality, follow through, etc., dig a little deeper on what matters most to you. If fitness is what you want to focus on, ask about their exercise programming. If you are in need of better nutrition support, ask about what tools they use to track food and provide meal ideas. Get to the heart of what’s important to you.

woman with red top and black shorts on purple yoga mat

Photo by bruce mars on

A health coach is more than just someone who tells you to eat your veggies and get more exercise. They can be a trusted partner who provides the support and accountability you’ve been missing. They can be the weight loss expert who helps you break through a plateau. The can be the missing piece to the health and wellness puzzle you’ve been struggling to piece together for years.

If you think having a health coach might be what you need to finally achieve those health, weight loss or fitness goals, I’d love to chat with you. Set up a free consultation call here.

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