October 31st, 2014

5 ways to determine if health coaching (the career) is for you

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months.  Ever since starting my health coaching practice (nearly two years ago now!) I’ve received emails and questions about pursuing health coaching as a career path, so I want to address the questions and offer a few suggestions to help you decide if it’s for you.

Note: I went through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, so that is the only program I can comment on but I know there are many others out there as well.

FAQ Questions

1) What is Integrative Nutrition’s program like? How long did it take you to complete? How much time does it take each week?

It’s a one year, part time program.  They estimate that it will take you about 5-7 hours of work each week and I’d say that’s about right.  It differs from many traditional nutrition programs in that the emphasis is natural and holistic health including the energetics of food, how to determine the best foods for your body type, an overview of superfoods, studying over 100 dietary theories, counseling skills and much more.  Teachers include some of the best current researchers and doctors such as Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr Andrew Weill, Dr. Walter Willett, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Bernie Seigel, and so many more.

2) Did you graduate feeling prepared to take on clients?

I did! There is always this element of “do I really know what I’m doing?” with a new job but I was given a lot of resources to get started. I forced myself to jump right in and I’m glad I did.

3) Did you graduate feeling prepared to start your own business?

Yes.  Thankfully, IIN spent a good amount of time preparing us to be entrepreneurs with guidance around website development, marketing, newsletters, business/accounting suggestions and more.  It was a bit overwhelming but I chipped away at all the pieces throughout the course and had them in place by the time I was able to begin coaching.

4) Is it possible to make a decent income?

Obviously it takes time to grow any business so I wouldn’t quit your job and expect to start off with a regular income.  However, if you are determined to grow it, you can.  There is definitely a need for health coaches!  I have been working part-time from the beginning so that I could balance it with caring for our girls.  I probably put in 10-20 hours each week. I met my income goals for my first year and doubled them my second year.  I’m on track to double it again for year 3.  If you want specific numbers, email me and I’m happy to talk about it and share the business plan that has worked for me.

5 tips to determine if a health coaching career is right for you

5 Tips to Know if Health Coaching is for you

I would love to see the world explode with health coaches- we need to counter all the savvy marketing and misleading information out there! However, I know a few people who thought they would love health coaching and found it wasn’t for them. So these are my tips:

1) You have to love what you do!

Although there are a few health coaches out there with a 6 figure income, I don’t think anyone goes into health coaching to make money.  You have to love it! As an entrepreneur, you may find yourself work all sorts of odd hours.  I heard a speaker say once that when she found herself working all the time but hardly thinking of it as work she knew she had found her calling.  That’s true for me! I often do client sessions in the evening hours or find myself working on a project over the weekend but I don’t think of it as “work”- I really love it.

2) You have to enjoy working alone

The switch from an office job with co-workers to working alone at home can be tough for some people.  Make sure you know that you can handle lots of quiet time and being your own boss.  It sounds great but it isn’t for everyone.

3) You have to be able to be productive as your own boss

There’s no one looking over your shoulder! Again, this sounds great but not everyone can be productive without deadlines and accountability.  You have to know that you can get yourself to do what you need to do to push your business along.

4) You should have good listening skills

So much of coaching is about one-on-one conversations.  Some coaches choose to do group programs or online programs but again, you need to know yourself and your strengths.  Do you enjoy listening and counseling? Are you energized from one-on-one conversations?

5) Be willing to take risks

Ultimately, I think if your gut tells you this is the right thing to do you just have to go for it and take the leap.  The ability to take risks is key for an entrepreneur.  You don’t really know what will work in your community until you try it! This goes for marketing, teaching workshops, online programs, etc.  Not everything will work, but you have to start somewhere and be okay with failing at one thing in the process of moving forward and growing.

You can also learn more in this guide:

I hope that’s helpful.  I’m happy to chat more over email if you have additional questions. IIN is always sending me tuition discounts to share with others as well, so if you’re serious about it check in with me before registering so you can save a little money.

PS… IIN did not ask me to write this post. I really loved the course and I believe that we need more health coaches (and registered dieticians, and nutritional counselors, etc.) to make change happen.

Have you ever considered a career in fitness or nutrition?

Have you ever used a health coach?

October 29th, 2014

A day in life + WIAW

Yesterday began as it usually does, with our 4 year old waking us around 6:20am.  I was exhausted from a busy Monday and opted to push off my short run until later in the day.  My husband got up with L and I fell back to sleep for another hour.  I can’t remember the last time I slept past 7am.  Bliss!

I came down and ate pumpkin quinoa with Greek yogurt and then woke baby J up around 8am.  She’s always the last one up!

wiaw pumpkin baked quinoa with greek yogurt

After feeding the baby and packing L’s lunch, there was a little sister squashing love before we headed out the door to drop her off at preschool.

wiaw girls before school


Back at home, baby J took a two hour nap and I put together a workshop I’m giving at a local running store in two weeks.


wiaw walk with baby j

The baby woke up around 11am so I fed her and we went on a short walk around the block before lunch. It was the first time she faced out in the Moby wrap and she loved it.

wiaw lunch

Weekend leftovers: Chana Masala, Sauteed kale, quinoa and grilled tempeh

She can only handle about an hour of awake time so she soon went back down and I got to join my husband for lunch and hear his feedback on an e-book draft I’m putting together.  While it’s nothing like the research and articles he publishes, I always appreciate his perspective.

By 1:00pm baby J was up and ready to eat again, so I fed her and then left her with daddy while I headed out to pick up L.  We stopped by my gym to cancel the membership for now- we recently added a treadmill and spin bike to our “home gym” so I don’t see myself using it this year.

wiaw pumpkin muffins

3pm- L and I returned home and had pumpkin almond meal muffins for a snack (with almond butter on mine.)  The baby was on nap #3 and L wanted to watch a show, so I put on “Super Why” at her request and hopped on the treadmill to get in my four easy miles.

We finished about the same time and she started an art project (name tags for her friends at school.)  While she was occupied, I started prepping dinner.

Around 4:30 my husband headed out for a short run (I love that he’s running these days!) and I threw dinner in the oven.  I asked L to go check on the baby… she’d been sleeping for 2.5 hours and I was ready to get her up.  (In L’s mind, “check on” baby J means “wake her” so I knew that would be the case.)

I started feeding baby J again just as daddy walked in the door.  He finished up dinner and we sat down to eat and listened to random stories from preschool.  Baby J watched us from her infant seat and drooled and chewed on her hands.

White fish with Charmoula sauce

Fish with Charmoula sauce + potatoes, peppers and tomatoes over rice

After dinner, we put on music to occupy L while we cleaned up the kitchen.  She loves the Pandora Disney channel and will entertain herself for hours dancing and singing along.  Baby J is happy to watch.

By 6:30, both girls were getting cranky so we all headed upstairs to start the bedtime routine.  Baths, stories, and snuggles.  I fed the baby one last time and she was out by 7pm.  L went down about ten minutes later.

And now here I am- getting this post together before I finally shower and call it a night! Oh and for WIAW I should note that there was an unpictured banana with nut butter mid-morning, a bowl of popcorn + apple + dark chocolate after lunch, and a date-nut bar + apple after dinner.  Someday when I’m not breastfeeding my appetite will return to normal!

How late is “sleeping in” for you?

Do you have a gym membership, or do you have at-home workout options?


October 27th, 2014

Multi Tasking in Running Gear

Do you ever spend your whole day in workout gear?

I know I can’t be the only one…

I push the limits of my short window before preschool drop off and am always scrambling around to shower and throw on the first thing I can find. Thank goodness for workout gear that can double as [...]

October 26th, 2014

Workouts, Meal Planning and a BarkTHINs Dark Chocolate Giveaway

It’s a beautiful fall weekend here and we’ve been keeping busy with soccer, apple picking and fitting in my long run (and a short nap!) Today should be quieter, although I’m hoping to start going through all the apples and making applesauce and either an apple crisp or a pie. Mmmm.

I have the [...]

October 24th, 2014

Post Baby Abs

Hey everyone!

First let me say that if you opened this hoping to see a picture of me and my post baby abs you’re going to be disappointed. Ha! (However, I appreciate and admire the women who are brave enough to be that real.)

But I did want to open the discussion about our core [...]

October 22nd, 2014

Maplewood 5k

On Sunday I ran my second post-baby 5k. I’m technically in half marathon training now for the Trenton half (just 3 weeks away, eek!) but my long run paces have been struggling and I wanted to throw in another 5k to teach myself to pick up the pace.

I had 14 total on the schedule, [...]

October 20th, 2014

Dressing for Fall

We had an unusually warm September but it’s starting to feel like fall now and I love it!

I tend to overdress on the first cold morning, and then settle into a more appropriate layering. The first 30 or 40 degree morning feels bitter cold!! But by January, those are the warm days.

I asked [...]

October 19th, 2014

Workouts this week + meal planning

Hey everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

This morning I’m off for my rematch 5k. I’m looking forward to the chance to push myself again, even if I’m not back in racing shape yet. I found a local race so I can run over and back for my warm up and cool down and I’m [...]

October 17th, 2014

#FitblogNYC Tweet and Meet

Did you see the tweets and excitement yesterday around Fitness Magazine’s Bloger Meet and Tweet?

I didn’t make it last year and wasn’t sure how it would work this year with a 2 month old at home, but my husband agreed to watch her and sent me out the door. It was my first all [...]

October 15th, 2014

Some amazing news!

Gah! I have been chomping at the bit to share some updates with you all, and I finally have the green light to do so.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to be part of the Stonyfield team (along with 7 other running, blogging moms) to run the Boston marathon! Um, yes!!

I’ve been [...]

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