American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

We took some time to chat and learn from ACE Pro Karen Woodmansee, who recently received the Raising the Bar Award at the 2023 Health and Well-Being Coaching Conference.

According to the conference website, the Raising the Bar Award "is given in recognition of a professional who is providing transformative leadership to further advance the field of health and well-being coaching through creating or evolving education and training, conducting original research that adds quality evidence as to the effectiveness and value of health and well-being coaching, designing and implementing clinical and/or community health and well-being coaching services and/or developing programs to improve quality of care and access for patients/clients."

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ACE: What does receiving the Raising the Bar award mean to you? 

Karen: This award is particularly special to me because it recognizes the work I have done in both creating well-being coaching services and in the development of transformative educational programming. I am not someone who seeks out accolades and this award has truly touched my heart, as it honors my dedication to coaching and my belief in the power of positive behavior change. I have been in health and wellness for over 25 years, and this award really validates my knowledge and experience, which I am so proud to be able to share, not only with those in the coaching profession, but also with those who are new to coaching methods and philosophy.  

How did you come to work in the health and wellness industry?

My journey began simply with the need to exercise. I discovered that I loved group exercise classes and when the instructor in my favorite class asked me to co-teach an upcoming class, I put aside my fears and did it! I was so sure I would fall on my face—literally and figuratively! Several years after that experience, I became a personal trainer and opened my business, Time For You Fitness, LLC. It was evident to me that coaching went hand-in-hand with personal training to put the client in control of what was best for them. By using a coaching approach in training, I am able help clients discover what they truly love and want from their lives. Now I use my over 25 years of experience in health and wellness to develop educational coaching content and services for organizations, businesses, universities and conferences.  

What do you love most about your career?

After years of personal training and health coaching, I primarily work in program creation and education. I absolutely love being a teacher and master coach. In all aspects of my life, I apply the fundamental principles of coaching, because I believe that every career path can benefit from the use of a coaching approach. I provide workshops and seminars to teach the application of coaching philosophy to first responders, safety professionals, educators and more. I love that I have the opportunity to share my passion for coaching. Every chance I get to share, I take! Not to mention how much fun it is! I get to witness incredible “aha” moments when clients realize something extraordinary, share in the excitement when a strategy is effective, and be an optimistic supporter for so many meaningful moments.  

What are some tips you have for newly certified health and exercise professionals interested in growing their business?

First, coach as often as you can to develop your coaching skills. The more you can be with clients, the more experiences you’ll have and be able to practice coaching presence and coaching strategies. Second, practice and learn as many coaching strategies as possible. It’s easier and more effective to share a resource such as a wellness wheel or a happiness survey with a client when you have experience using that resource yourself. You may not need every method for every client, and some clients may never use a single one, but you’ll have them available to you when you need them. Finally, develop methods to create harmony in your life. As a coach, you will spend many hours absorbing the emotions of clients. It is imperative to have a self-care practice that suits your own lifestyle. Just as you have resources for your clients, identify activities that bring harmony to your life and that fit your emotional state in the moment. For example, one day I might need extra time to meditate, do a crossword puzzle or read a book, but the next I’ll need to go mountain biking. Self-care hinges on tapping into what is real and true for me in the moment and intuitively listening to my emotional state of being.  

What is one myth you’d like to “bust”?

Coaching is a well-evidenced, proven method to improve lives and increase well-being. It works! The myth I’d like to “bust” is that it is a career path that doesn’t need to be taught and practiced. Health coaches need to pass rigorous exams that demonstrate the application of knowledge in behavior-change methods and theory, safe coaching practices, health conditions, diseases and disorders, eliciting positive change talk, goal development, lifestyle medicine—and there is so much more! Coaches use a wealth of expertise in theory and practice to help people create their own versions of full, meaningful, healthy lives that look to the future of what is possible. I call it being “real and true.” Coaches are educated, empathetic and curious superheroes who use all their superpowers to help clients see what is uniquely possible for themselves and the lives they want to live. 


To learn more about Karen, view her website by clicking here. You can also read more about the other 2023 Health and Wellbeing Coaching Conference award winners at their website: Award Recipients ( You'll hear from fellow ACE Pro award winner, Meg Root, soon!

Joing the award-winning ACE certified health and fitness family, today!