Jo Hodges is a holistic health and lifestyle coach, author, motivational speaker, and business owner. Her holistic health journey led her to study integrative nutrition; write her autobiography, which reached #3 in Australia; become a motivational speaker; and create The Nourish Nook. During a visit to Gwinganna Health Retreat in 2009, Jo fell in love with the holistic approach to overall health and well-being. It was after this trip that a seed was planted to create a boutique holistic health space, incorporating movement, nutrition, mind-set, lifestyle, community, education, and above all, happiness!
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: It seems so long ago now! For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a professional photographer. I completed my school studies and continued to study photography at college straight out of school. I was living in Melbourne, Australia, and working for News Limited as a photographer. I worked for newspapers and glossy magazines for ten years. After meeting my husband, Rob, who is a farmer (we actually met on reality television!), I made the move from the city to the country to live on a sprawling cattle and sheep farm. I resigned from my job in Melbourne and continued to start my own photography business. I photographed weddings, family portraits, fashion, products, real estate, and wineries and worked for various large corporations and companies. I still use my photography skills for my current business, which is so handy for our website and social pages.
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: I was lucky enough to spend six magnificent days at a health retreat here in Australia. Gwinganna completely changed my life. After several years of suffering from various health and emotional illnesses, this experience opened my eyes to holistic healing, nutritious food, the power of Mother Nature, movement, spiritual practices, and the like. After meeting my husband and moving to be with him on our farm, I penned my story as a way of healing when I first moved. To cut a very long story short, my story was published and reached #3 in Australia for nonfiction for five weeks. The incredible response I received on how my story helped people made me hungry to help more people. Fast-forward one year later, I was photographing a fashion shoot and the model we were photographing had just completed the Health Coach Training Program. In between shooting, I kept asking questions about the program and what it entailed. After going through my own healing and journey, I wanted to assist others who may be in need of guidance so, I believe, IIN found me! The next day, I contacted IIN and enrolled two days later!
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: It’s changed for two reasons. The first, becoming a Health Coach. I have found that I have become a much better listener and love creating the space needed for people to open up. I have always found that my clients seem to discuss issues they are dealing with right in a time when I need to hear it. Therefore, I can work through areas with clients and help myself as well. I have also learned to live my life through using the concept of primary food that I learned at IIN, which I love. I found that once I committed to the four pillars, my nutrition seemed to fall into place. My life has also changed since opening our holistic health space, The Nourish Nook. Our space offers different styles of movement, as well as in-house holistic health consultants, and soon, male and female steam rooms and an infrared sauna. My husband and I have introduced “The Nook” into a regional area (I live in a country town), so we offer a “city” experience for people in the country. It has been so well received and is growing every day! Seeing and experiencing people come through our doors and share their journey is so rewarding. The team working at The Nook inspires me every day and makes me so proud. The sense of community we have created is truly amazing, and in a regional town, we felt that creating a safe space was most important. So, being a Health Coach, as well as opening our amazing business, has completely changed my life.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: I completed the course five years ago, so it has probably changed quite a bit. However, I loved learning about different dietary choices and trying each one. It opened my eyes to completely different ways of eating! I had never really tried a raw diet; however, I felt the best when eating raw foods. I also loved finding out about body language and how to read people. For instance, when someone may be wanting to open up but is holding back, I gift them the space to do so. Lastly, there was a particular lecture on soil health, which still stays with me to this day.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: Having three kids, where do I start? A typical day now is getting up early to have time to myself before our three young children get up. I wake, recite my mantras, and set intentions for the day ahead. I then shower, make myself a coffee and a delicious, nutritious breakfast, then get ready for the “tornado” when the kids wake up! I get the kids ready for school, drive them into town, and head to The Nourish Nook for the day. I will, most days, complete a Pilates Reformer or barre class. I do some administrative work, see health clients, write up notes, and adhere to general duties around the studio. I then collect the kids from school, arrive home to prepare meals, etc., then, depending on what day it is, I will teach a Yin Yoga or meditation class. I then drive back home, make school lunches for the next day, and meditate before going to bed. Farm work is carried out on some days also. It’s hectic and never a dull moment, but I truly love it – even when it’s overwhelming and there are challenges.
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: My health coaching is unique in the fact that I work from a space that is so healing. I can have a session, then refer my clients to see our massage/reiki therapist or maybe guide them to take part in a meditation or yoga class. The Nourish Nook is a truly beautiful space where people feel safe. There are always a lot of laughs as well as a lot of stories and tears to be shared.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: I keep reminding myself that although we as Health Coaches are there to help and guide clients, it is up to them to do the work. I try to keep them accountable by touching base but not bombarding them. I truly believe that after even just two or three sessions, they begin to notice and experience huge shifts, and once they notice small goals being met, it gives them a huge boost. It’s all about celebrating not only the large goals, but the small as well. I have had so many amazing stories over the last four years, but I don’t want to single one out in particular, as to me, they’re all inspirational in their own way.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: Where do I start?! I adore the connection, the trust, the cracking open of individuals who may have been closed for a long time, seeing people’s progress with their goals, and their motivation and genuine happiness for themselves when they reach milestones they never thought possible. I love seeing self-confidence come through as well as a sense of optimism. I also love seeing people open up to spiritual practices and try new forms of movement they haven’t tried before and experience how their bodies react. For me, education is key. We educate on the body and intuitive living at The Nourish Nook, and I believe we are opening people’s eyes to listening and honoring the body – something some people may never have done. Knowing when the body needs to rest, when to move, what it needs, and what it doesn’t is vital. Our bodies are an amazing vessel that carries us through this journey of life and love, and respect and acceptance for our body is key to good health.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: I have noticed a huge shift, worldwide. I think a huge population is becoming more open to healing, holistically, and going inward. People are listening to their bodies and learning to speak to someone who gives them time and attention. It’s incredible to assist people in areas using mediums that are readily available to us – nutrition, hydration, sleep, connection, movement, mind-set, nature, mindfulness, etc. I believe that we crave connection in today’s world, and health coaching is a beautiful source of that.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: I cannot answer that as it’s an ongoing project! One thing I know is key, and that’s meditation. The rest tries to fall into place!
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: Waking up is a gift in itself! But I love waking up to birds chirping outside our window. And reciting my daily mantras before I even open my eyes – it’s a magical way to start my day and set an intention of positivity.
Interested in becoming a Health Coach? Apply now to kick off the new year in our very first class of 2020, which starts today!