Two years ago, I found myself in a rut. From the outside, everything looked perfect. I had the job many people dreamed of getting, the perfect boyfriend, a beautiful apartment, a thriving social life, and a healthy family. However, on the inside, I felt something was lacking. I thought long and hard about what was causing me to feel this way and came to this conclusion: I was not learning the information that I was curious about and I was thirsty for more. Have you ever noticed that, beginning in childhood, our lives are blocked into 4 year windows? Middle school (at least where I went), high school, college, potentially grad school. Then, all of a sudden, you graduate and it is just endless amount of years of “life”. Not to sound like a downer by any means, life is freaking amazing. But as someone who has always thrived with structure, when these first four years of “life” came to a close I found myself asking, “what’s next?”.
I began reflecting and noticed that I was constantly quieting down the voice inside my head that was eager to learn more about one specific topic: the health & wellness industry. As someone who was personally dealing with some not-so-pretty digestive issues, and coming to the conclusion that it was much more a product of my lifestyle and stress management than I was ready to acknowledge or accept, I was fed up with the countless amount of doctors I had seen. I wanted answers! If one more doctor told me “everything seems fine” when I knew, deep down, something wasn’t, I was going to lose it. As I began researching my symptoms and different types of practices, it seemed that every specialist or website I found led me back to one thing: Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Whether the people I was reading about were graduates, or the questions I was asking were ones the curriculum discussed, this name kept popping up.
I wish I could tell you that I took that as a sign and enrolled right then, but I’d be lying. I signed up for more information, spoke with someone from the admissions team, and then put it on the side burner. With each email update I received, I questioned why I was so intimidated to enroll in this course. To be honest, I was afraid to step outside my bubble. I worked in finance, and numbers were what I knew. How the hell would I pass any type of exam focused on diet plans or nutritional information. Do I even have the time? Plus, is it really all its hyped up to be? I mean, let’s be honest here, it is a serious financial investment. I don’t want to waste that type of money on something that isn’t the real deal! These emotions are ones I find many others feel when contemplating enrolling in IIN.
I remember coming home one day, frustrated with my own medical issues and lack of answers, and the feeling of sincerely missing some type of education (something I never thought I’d declare). I opened my computer, and there was another IIN update email. At that exact moment, I decided to bite the bullet and enroll. Did I want to be a health coach? At that moment, no. Was I curious about learning more and continuously challenging myself? You bet ya. The journey I embarked on and my current reality are two things I could have never imagined at that moment and were most definitely not what I had planned, but I am extremely grateful for my naïve self of pushing the button to enroll.
Below are my responses to some of the common questions I received on my Instagram, but please feel free to reach out to me or anyone over at IIN with any more questions!
- The basics: what is IIN and what is a health coach? IIN is the abbreviation for Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which was founded by Joshua Rosenthal in 1992. It is the largest nutrition school in the world and provides education and certification for Health Coaching. A health coach is something that is difficult to put into words, and something many people don’t realize they can benefit from until they have one. IIN puts it best in their description: “a wellness authority and supportive mentor who helps clients shift their behavior toward healthier habits.” I like to say I am helping my clients find the healthiest version of themselves by assessing their life as a whole, not just the calorie count they are eating.
- How much is the program? I am not under authorization to say the full price of the Health Coach Training Program, but I am able to offer you a substantial tuition discount by applying here or emailing me directly. Also, IIN does offer a number of payment plan options to help make it as affordable for everyone as possible.
- How long did it take and what was the weekly time commitment? Can it be done with a full time job? There are two programs offered now by IIN: a 6-month accelerated program, and a 1-year program. Here is the example of the IIN Curriculum Syllabus. I can only speak to the 1-year program, as that is the one I completed. Each week you receive a new “module” which contains video lectures and corresponding and supportive PDF documents. IIN suggests that you have 10 hours allocated per week to complete this class work. It is 100% doable with a full-time job so long as you make time for it. Personally, I listened to majority of the videos during my commute to and from work and also during my weekly walks/runs. The great part about the flexibility of the program is that if you miss a week, you can make it up the next one! For more information, check out this IIN Sample Class.
- Did you know going in the kind of business you wanted to start? Is it beneficial to your career? Absolutely not! I entered IIN as a student with the hopes of learning more about overall health & wellness and potentially learn some practices to help me along my own personal health journey. Never did I once have the expectation that I would, upon graduation, begin my own business that included a leg of health coaching. I cannot confidently state that the program is beneficial to your career as I do not know what each and every one of you does, but I believe it is beneficial to your overall wellbeing. It makes you evaluate and assess situations, emotions, symptoms, and many other things from a completely different lens than you may be used to. If you are in the food or health and wellness space, then I believe it is definitely beneficial and aids in your growth.
- What career options are there after attending aside from being a health coach? What if I don’t want to be a practitioner or run my own business, what can I do with it? Aside from being a health coach, this physical degree does not certify you to specialize in any other practices (such as a nutritionist, physical therapist, etc.). It also is not a requirement for you to begin your own personal practice or business. Instead, it provides you with the building blocks and lessons to be an overall better person and employee. It also focuses a decent amount of time on marketing yourself, building a business, and creating your own program. It is not a specific certification that limits you from other aspects of these industries, but instead helps you hone down on what you may want to focus your time doing.
- How did you decide what to charge for your services? This is a tough question that many students and graduates struggle with because there is no perfect one-size-fits-all answer. Personally, I took the rate that is suggested by IIN and discussed towards the end of the program and then fiddled around with it a bit to best fit my current situation. The rate for these practices may vary by city, state, or country, depending on the demographic you are targeting. The rate also may vary depending on what services are included in your rate; is it simply a 50-minute session or does it include a variety of add-ins and follow ups? I spoke with a handful of health coaches, both in my geographical area and not, to get a baseline idea and then personally altered it from there1
- What did you think was the biggest benefit of the program? Would you recommend it to others? My biggest benefit from the program was the growth I personally felt as an individual. It was not something I expected, or felt I needed, but it was a pretty life altering course for me. I felt I was a better listener, a more compassionate friend, and a more determined worker. I also found the network to be extremely helpful and felt welcomed by all students or graduates with open arms. I would absolutely recommend this program to others who are looking to enter the health & wellness space.
Interested in enrolling? Good for you! Click HERE to begin your journey.
Lastly, if you are not interested in becoming a health coach but instead enrolling in my 6-month program, I would love to have you! Please find more information HERE.