What does it mean to be a Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach?
If you are a certified personal trainer who’s interested in broadening your scope of practice, then the Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach Certification (LWMC) might be for the right fit.
The LWMC certification bridges the gap between the certified personal trainer and the registered dietitian, and is designed for those who want to address the health, lifestyle and fitness barriers that get in the way of weight loss goals.
As you may know, Personal Trainers possess knowledge and skills specifically related to anatomy, kinesiology, exercise physiology, etc. Registered Dietitians possess knowledge in nutritional education, meal planning, counseling, etc. The purpose of earning the LWMC certification is to develop strengths in both the personal training and dietetics areas.
Please be advised that the LWMC certification does not possess the same scope of practice as a Registered Dietitian, but this certification does provide a broader scope of practice in nutrition. The LWMC certification provides knowledge and skills to address these nutritional parameters and more:
- energy balance
- macronutrient intake
- food sources of specific nutrients
- healthy nutritional information
- nutritional and hydration strategies to control appetite
- hunger and performance improvement
Is there a need for Lifestyle and Weight Management Coaches?
With rising obesity rates, behavior change needs to be addressed for all populations. Simply telling a client how to work out or what to eat is simply not effective.
To truly facilitate behavior change, you have to get into the “nitty gritty” and understand what makes your client tick — why he/she does not find exercise enjoyable or why he/she makes poor nutrition choices.
Beyond the coach-to-client relationship, there are larger-scale reasons why LWMCs are necessary: The rise in obesity and as a result, associated diseases, i.e., diabetes, heart disease, etc., impacts the healthcare system and the number of dollars necessary to sustain it. So rather than spend money towards the treatment of disease and illness, it’s better to stress prevention – both for financial and health reasons. With training in physical activity, nutrition and behavior modification, the LWMC is instrumental in helping clients prevent disease.
Why did the name of this certification change from “consultant” to “coach”?
The name change goes back to scope of practice when comparing the role of a consultant to a coach. A consultant is more of an educator, director and role model; whereas, a coach creates an environment necessary to foster change and collaborates with clients in order to do so.
As a coach, you will need to understand:
- Behavioral change and the drivers (or motivators) behind change
- How to communicate effectively by listening more than talking
- Learn how to be a co-creator of change by asking to assist, only as necessary
It is not the coach’s primary responsibility to analyze, educate or problem solve. Instead, it is to help clients recognize and work with their individual strengths; facilitate any opportunity they have to identify and evaluate the emotional, cognitive and physical drivers to their current behaviors; and focus on how they envision and prioritize change.
What’s in it for me?
In addition to making a difference in the lives of others, an important consideration for pursuing this advanced credential is the expansion of your scope of practice as a certified personal trainer and as a result, increased marketability to employers. In addition to furthering your knowledge, expanding your skills and increasing your client base, successfully earning an additional ACE certification also satisfies the necessary continuing education requirement (2.0 CECs) to renew your current ACE certification. It also fulfills continuing education units for many other fitness and allied healthcare certifications.
What do I need to know?
Wondering what’s covered on the examination? The exam content outline essentially serves as a blueprint for the exam. There are also a variety of study tools and resources available to support you as you prepare for this examination. In addition, there are also a number of colleges and universities that offer semester-long study preparation courses.
If you do decide that the NCCA-accredited ACE LWMC Certification is right for you, be sure to also take a look at the eligibility requirements for this advanced credential, as you will need to provide documentation to ACE’s Exam Registration Department in order to be pre-approved for this examination.