If you are a certified personal trainer who’s interested in broadening your scope of practice, then the Health Coach(HC) might be for the right fit.
The HC 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 HC certification is to develop strengths in both the personal training and dietetics areas.
Please be advised that the HC 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 HC 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 Health 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 HCs 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 HC is instrumental in helping clients prevent disease.
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 Health Coach 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.