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What is a Health Coach? How Can a Health Coach Improve Your Health?

Lifestyle & Wellness

When you first begin to look into resources that can help you achieve your best health, it can be overwhelming.

There are many kinds of health professionals from all disciplines, such as personal trainers, wellness specialists, and more.

At PartnerMD, we have found one kind of support to be uniquely helpful to our patients: the health coach. What is health a coach? How can a health coach help you improve your health?

What is a health coach? 

A health coach is a guide who is going to focus on two essential components to your health and wellness.

Number one is going to be information — helping you gain more education into various topics like nutrition, exercise, sleep, hydration, stress management, all of those different components.

There's a lot of information that's going around. Ultimately, a health coach will provide you with a better source how to utilize that information by educating you and giving you the ability to make more purposeful decisions on a regular basis based on your understanding,

Health coaches really get into the details. What is nutrition? What are carbohydrates? What are proteins? How can you utilize different kinds of exercise like cardio versus weight training? And they help you become more familiar with what is going to be the best option for you.

The second component, and I think the most important component of a health coach, is accountability.

Health coaching at PartnerMD is complimentary. There is no additional fee included with health coaching.

Utilizing the health coach from the accountability perspective to hold you accountable and to make sure that you continue to do those things over the long run.

I have found that with the majority of my patients, the first month or so is probably the easiest. It's something that you're excited about. It's something that you're starting to implement, and it's fun and it's very new.

Then you get into months two, three, four, five, six, and things start to become a little bit more difficult. Life might happen. You're traveling. You've got the holidays. You've got kids in school.

All of those different components are going to make health coaching that much more important to ensure that you have somebody to reach out to you, have those conversations, make sure that you follow up with them, and continue to set progressive goals over the long run to ensure that you ultimately reach your goal, whether that's to improve your body composition, to improve your lab results, or to sleep better.  

What makes a health coach different?

Other titles in the wellness space include personal trainer and wellness specialist. These titles may include some overlap from time to time, but a personal trainer typically focuses on the physiological side of your health such as exercising, muscle growth, and weight loss. A wellness specialist typically focuses on lifestyle changes such as sleep and stress.

A health coach, on the other hand, takes into account the whole person. They look at a broader, more comprehensive view of your life to listen to your needs and challenges, identify the affirmations you need to be successful, and encourage the reflective conversations you need to have to be more well-rounded in your pursuit of health. That’s why they’re called coaches; they hold you accountable and guide and direct you as a coach of a sports team would.

From an educational background, a health coach is a more advanced form of the other wellness specialties. A health coach takes the 4-year degree and physical trainer certification and rounds it out with a health coach certification. And while this practitioner was not originally in the medical model, it is now being factored in for the important role it plays in preventative health care in conjunction with your primary care physician.  

Access Wellness University & Certified Health Coaches

PartnerMD memberships include access to our members-only wellness program, Wellness University, which delivers more than 70 physician-approved courses and certified health coaching targeting the 4 areas most critical to your health, including stress and sleep, brain health, nutrition, and strength and mobility.

With offices in Richmond, VA; Midlothian, VA; Short Pump, VA; McLean, VA; Baltimore, MD; Greenville, SC; and Atlanta, GA, you can experience primary care built around you, one focused on wellness and prevention to help you stay as healthy as possible, as long as possible. Learn more about health coaching at PartnerMD