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Published: June 8, 2024

Nutrition and Fitness Coaches: What Do They Do?

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More people are concerned about their health than ever, and everyone is looking for guidance on how to meet their health and wellness needs. Many people know the basics of wellness – eating right and exercise – but often don’t have the tools needed to make concrete, sustainable changes. That’s where nutrition and fitness coaches come in. While fitness and nutrition are just two parts of whole-person health, coaches often play a much larger role in the lives of their clients.

What Is a Nutrition and Fitness Coach?

A nutrition and fitness coach is a wellness expert who mentors clients on how to make lifestyle changes that meet personal exercise and dietary goals. Nutrition and fitness coaches work with clients to help them discover how to best fuel their bodies, live healthy lives, and find the best wellness routines to fit their specific lifestyles. Their responsibilities and careers can be very similar to those of Health Coaches, although Health Coaches typically have a broader range of focus than nutrition and fitness coaches do.

How to become a nutrition and fitness coach

There’s no specific requirement for becoming a nutrition and fitness coach, since certification isn’t yet required to call yourself a coach; but as the health coaching profession moves toward more regulation, that may change. Having a background in fitness and nutrition – be that work experience or a college degree – can set you apart from other coaches and give your business credibility.

What Can Nutrition and Fitness Coaches Help You Do?

As a client, what you’re looking to get out of working with a nutrition and fitness coach will vary, depending on your personal goals. Maybe you’re looking to include more whole foods in your diet although you already enjoy and have a set exercise regimen. Or perhaps you need help on both fronts ‒ you don’t love exercising and are looking for some guidance in the kitchen, too. Nutrition and fitness coaches can help you reach your health and wellness goals in a variety of ways, including:

Increase your knowledge

First and foremost, a nutrition and fitness coach’s job is to educate clients so they can make informed decisions that are unique to them and their circumstances. Therefore, selecting a training program that provides a well-rounded education is important, as you’ll deeply understand how to guide clients to reach their goals through best-practice coaching skills and a solid foundation of holistic health knowledge.

Lose weight

Being overweight can lead to issues such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle and joint problems, higher stroke risk, and more. Clients seek out coaches to help them solve a problem, and losing weight for the long term is a challenge that many people need help facing. As a nutrition and fitness coach, you can effectively support clients with weight loss by combining two very important factors: diet and exercise.

Learn tips for stress relief

Did you know that exercise relieves stress ‒ and so does cooking? Working with a nutrition and fitness coach allows clients to have some of the pressure taken off them to come up with workout plans, dinner menus, and everything nutrition- and fitness-related. This allows them to focus more on their lives, families, and careers. Having someone cheering you on during your wellness journey never hurts, either.

Nutrition and Fitness Coaching vs. Health Coaching

Health Coaches emphasize health beyond the plate and focus on nourishment through primary food, an IIN core concept that describes all the nonfood areas of your life – like relationships, career, spirituality, exercise, and environment – that impact health just as much as the food you eat. Health Coaches earn specialized training to learn how to coach effectively, which means giving clients the safe space to explore all health concerns, not just those related to food or exercise. Often, clients who work with Health Coaches find that their primary food areas need nourishment, which Health Coaches can support them with.

Nutrition and fitness coaches are not personal trainers or nutritionists, unless they have earned those individual certifications. Personal trainers often earn certification in personal training from institutions like the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Federation of Professional Trainers.

Personal trainers focus on the exercise aspect of a client’s wellness regimen; this can include meeting with clients to discuss and determine fitness goals as well as working out with clients, in the gym or at their homes, using workout plans created by the trainer. Personal trainers also demonstrate how to correctly use equipment, warm up properly for workouts, and stretch to prevent injury.

Nutritionists can create specific, nutrition-based plans for clients to address health issues. They can also recommend certain diet and supplement protocols based on a client’s individual needs as well as develop meal plans for clients to address symptoms, blood work, and more. Becoming a nutritionist requires years of formal education and training, up to and including licensing from the state.

The Bottom Line

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. As more people recognize the benefit and value healthy living brings to improving overall well-being, the need for guidance in wellness spaces continues to rise. Becoming a nutrition and fitness coach allows you to impact your clients’ lives by teaching them how to optimize their diet and find a fitness regimen that works for them.

June 8, 2024

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