Integrative Nutrition Blog

How This Personal Trainer Became ABC’s New Expert Weight Loss Coach

January 17, 2016

Photo by Michael Cinquino

It’s Health Coach Week! To celebrate, we’ll be featuring inspiring stories of Health Coaches who are doing amazing work in their homes, workplaces and communities. Today we’re excited introduce you to 2005 IIN graduate Jennifer Cassetta. She’s taking over our Instagram account today – follow along here to see what a day in her life looks like!

One of the best parts of our job here at Integrative Nutrition is learning about the backgrounds of our students and graduates. People join the program from all over the world, and have the coolest experiences!

We would have never guessed that a third degree black belt martial arts instructor would find her way to IIN, but that’s just what 2005 grad Jennifer Cassetta did!

In addition to teaching self-defense classes and working as a personal trainer, she was able to connect with her clients on a whole new level after becoming a Health Coach. Fast forward to present day, and she’s added author and speaker to her resume, and most recently, featured weight loss expert on a brand new ABC show! Read on to learn how she got started and why her IIN education was a game-changer.

What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?

Prior to IIN I was a personal trainer and martial arts instructor. I loved what I did, but I always knew there was a missing component. I grew up in a healthy household and devoured books on nutrition and health. I wanted to learn more in a formal setting without necessarily going back to school full time. I knew that I would eventually get bored of only physically training clients. I wanted to deepen my knowledge base on health and nutrition and add value to my business while being able to help my clients on another level.

What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?

I was introduced to the school through a fellow martial artist. I knew it was the perfect next step for my career and I immediately signed up, even though I didn't have the money to do it. I look at education as the greatest investment in myself and for my career. I took the leap, put in on a credit card, and never looked back. One of the best decisions I ever made!

How did your life change after enrolling?

On a business level, I was able to add a new level of value to my services. I was able to teach clients about the healing effects of food and not just how many calories one should consume a day. It kicked off what would become another half decade of delving into holistic nutrition and eventually heading back to school for my Masters degree. 

On a personal level, IIN kicked my butt into gear on the self-care front. I was living in NYC, running after clients all day, and eating most meals out and on the go. I was not set up to take care of myself. That is still a work in progress, but IIN definitely made me more aware and proactive in feeding myself better and incorporating self-care practices into my lifestyle.

Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?

I especially remember seeing Dr. Mark Hyman speak on functional medicine. He completely had my attention (well, yes, he is very handsome) but his approach to healing the body through food makes so much sense! I also enjoyed seeing Dr. Andrew Weil speak because I had read his books prior and think he is top leader in the field. I was always impressed with the caliber of speakers and I loved hearing Joshua tell real stories that sparked deep conversations.

What are you up to now?

Currently, I am a featured weight loss expert on ABC's new reality weight loss show called “My Diet is Better Than Yours.” I'm so excited because I believe this can have the biggest impact so far. I am able to reach so many people around the world with my nutrition, fitness and martial arts philosophy. 

I also love meeting and working with clients in-person. I speak around the country at colleges and corporations on healthy living, safety and self-defense. Other projects I work on include writing nutrition content and programs for other fitness professionals or publications. I co-authored my first book with IIN grad, Lindsey Smith, called Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body and Heart Against People Who Suck.

What makes you unique?

In the fitness world, I have certifications and experience in nutrition. In the nutrition world, I have experience as a personal trainer. In both of those worlds, I also happen to be a 3rd degree black belt martial arts instructor and with that, comes mental and emotional training techniques I have learned over the years.

How do you help your clients be successful?

On a larger scale, I once managed a test group of 60 clients over a 2-month period. I designed their diet, trained them and managed their challenges. The weight loss and toning results they got were incredible. Even better, I developed deep relationships by helping them all through the journey. I also have a VIP client that I have traveled all around the world with. He runs a multi-billion dollar company and is probably one of the busiest people I know. I have to keep the workouts interesting and keep tabs on his meals while trying to teach him how to choose healthier foods when I'm not around. I can now even say that I have made smoothies on a private jet!

What do you love about your work?

Almost all of it! Being an entrepreneur can be very tough, don't get me wrong. But the benefits outweigh the downsides by far. I love what I do because I believe that without health, we have nothing. To be able to help and guide people towards a healthier life, is everything to me.

Is there a need for Health Coaches where you live?

There's a need for health coaches all over the world. I happen to live in a place (Santa Monica, Los Angeles) where the majority of people are very aware of their health. But that doesn't discourage me from practicing. I can work with people all around the world through Skype or phone. Living here makes me feel like I need to always "up my game" and stay on top of the latest trends, studies and products. It keeps me on my toes, and I love that! 

Connect with Jennifer:

On her website

On Facebook

On Twitter

On YouTube

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