What is a Certified Health Coach?

A Certified Health Coach is someone who has successfully passed a nationally-recognized board exam after completing an extensive study in nutrition, fitness, weight management, behavioral science, and stress management. For me, there was no doubt in my mind that I would need to become a certified health coach in order to provide the best services to my clients, and set myself apart as a credible resource in the health and wellness industry.

What is the Best Certified Health Coach Program?

There are several health coach certifications and programs out there, but the only one accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is through the American Council on Exercise (ACE.) Per ACE, “health coaches guide their clients to make weight-related behavioral changes through goal-setting, education, motivation, programming, support, appropriate progressions, and referral when necessary.” I also chose ACE because I had such a great experience with their text books, study guides, customer service, exam scheduling, and payment plans when I earned my group fitness instructor certification in early 2014.

What Sets Certified Health Coaches Apart from Others?

As an ACE -Certified Health Coach, I am passionate about this program because it has given me the education and tools I need to successfully lead my clients on an effective, science-based journey of loving themselves towards healthy. I personally feel having a certification from an accredited program is of utmost importance. In an online world where anyone can call themselves a “wellness coach” or “health coach” it can get a little dicey as to who is a legitimate professional in the wellness space. In my opinion, too many under-educated people who ONLY have an affiliation with an MLM company, are wrongly promoting themselves with the title of “health coach.” To ensure I could provide my clients with safe and effective fitness and nutrition plans, I chose the most widely recognized and respected organization within the health and wellness community, as well as one strongly based in science, experience, and backed by a board of highly-educated scientists.

Certified Health Coach’s Scope of Practice

A “scope of practice” is the range and limit of responsibilities normally associated with a specific job or profession. In other words, what I, as a Certified Health Coach, am legally allowed to do and what I am not. A health coach has to be an expert in exercise science, nutritional science, and behavioral science. I am able to guide my clients to make weight-related behavioral changes through goal-setting, education, motivation, and programming (meal plans, workouts, etc.). A health coach also needs to know when to refer to another health professional—for example, if I were contacted by a potential client who was 200 lbs overweight with Type II Diabetes who recently suffered from a heart attack, I would need to refer them to a registered dietitian.

Certified Health Coach versus Registered Dietitian

A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a trained nutrition professional who has met the strict educational and experiential standards set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The biggest difference between a certified health coach and a registered dietitian is an RD has completed a minimum of 1200 hours in a clinical internship, and earned a bachelors of science degree specifically in the dietetic field. For this reason, RD’s can serve patients with severe health issues, and certified health coaches can serve clients who are relatively healthy but are looking to improve their nutritional choices and fitness levels.

How Can I Help You Achieve Your Goals?

As a Certified Health Coach (ACE-Certification-Letter), I offer personal one-on-one consultations with a wellness plan developed specifically for YOU based on YOUR nutritional needs and fitness goals. When it comes to health, cookie-cutter diets or fitness plans don’t work for everyone because they don’t address the more important aspects of wellness such as self-esteem, mental health, and stress management. It would be my pleasure to help you identify your individual lifestyle plan for success. We will meet in-person or via Facetime or Zoom.

I would love to chat with you on a FREE 20 minute phone call to see if my VIP consulting service or Love Yourself Towards Healthy 6-Week Fitcamp is the right fit for you.

Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Below the Fork where she encourages women to love themselves towards healthy. She is married with two boys, and lives outside of Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. Meridith writes about FASTer Way to Fat Loss, fitness, nutrition, Celiac Disease, and easy (but delicious!) gluten-free recipes at belowthefork.com. Follow her @belowthefork on all social channels.

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