Whether you’re just beginning your health journey or already well on your way, health professionals might help you take it to the next level. Is a health coach the right guide for you? The best way to decide is to compare what you need with what they offer, while also considering other professionals such as dieticians, nutritionists, and personal trainers.
What does a health coach do?
A health coach’s purpose is to work with you to develop an overall health strategy. They will help you identify and reach your health goals, whatever those may be. Some people might seek out a health coach in order to lose weight or gain muscle mass, while others might be motivated by wanting to better manage chronic illness. A health coach’s assistance is custom tailored to you based on your background, current situation, personality, goals, and roadblocks.
How does a health coach differ from a dietician or nutritionist?
A health coach looks at the big picture of your health situation – eating, exercise, lifestyle, habits, alternative treatments, and mental and emotional wellness. Dieticians and nutritionists focus primarily on what you eat. They educate you on nutrition, help you form an eating plan, and provide specific recipes.
Registered dieticians and registered dietician nutritionists hold related bachelor’s degrees, have worked in the field for 1,200+ hours, and have passed a standardized test related to diet and nutrition
While some nutritionists have a similar level of education, the title “nutritionist” doesn’t require it, so be sure to do research or opt for a certified nutrition specialist if you go the nutritionist route.
How does a health coach differ from a personal trainer?
Most health coaches are equipped to help you develop a general fitness routine. Not all will go into the level of detail you would receive from a personal trainer, however.
Personal trainers not only help you set fitness goals and plan workouts, they also generally work out with you. This one-on-one time might involve making sure you use correct form, spotting you as you lift weights, timing your exercises, and encouraging you to push harder. Meeting with a personal trainer can be helpful if you’ve reached a fitness plateau or if you’re new to working out and either intimidated by the gym or worried about injuring yourself.
Should I work with a health coach?
Health coaches often focus on the psychological side more than other health professionals. If you know what you need to do health-wise, but have trouble motivating yourself to do it, a health coach could be a good choice.
If you need to focus more on the detailed specifics of diet or exercise, a different health professional might be a better choice. That said, there are people who gain expertise in more than one area, so if you think you’d benefit most from a health coach/dietician, or health coach/personal trainer, do some research. You will probably find who you’re looking for!
Written by: Jay Summer