Posted By: Nicole Kupfer
Nicole is a coach and blog writer for WAG and also works as a high school counselor. She is a national-level weightlifter and loves coaching others to help them reach their goals, develop habits & tools to maintain those results, and to help them feel their best for life!
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve worked with a nutrition coach, have experienced transformation in one or more areas of your life and are looking to become a coach yourself. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Below we discuss some reasons why becoming a nutrition coach might be for you, what type of education is needed and what steps you can take to start transforming lives!
Why become a nutrition coach?
There are a few reasons why becoming a nutrition coach might be for you, whether you choose to make it a full-time career, side hustle or passion project.
- To be of service to others and make a massive impact on other people’s lives.
- You have been transformed by fitness, nutrition and wellness and you want to pay it forward. Maybe you’ve been impacted so much by the results and how much your transformation has changed your life (body, relationships, big life choices, etc.) that you want to spread that to others.
- You really want to help other people reach their goals and dreams. The set of skills you learn through nutrition coaching can allow you to help people achieve a number of things outside of getting lean and losing weight. You can also help people gain confidence, knowledge and overall better health — which can transform every aspect of their lives.
Why nutrition coaching might not be for you.
- To be rich. While you can make money being a nutrition coach, that shouldn’t be your primary reason. You’re dealing with people’s intimate lives and nutrition coaching can be emotional, requires vulnerability and can be incredibly exhausting. If you’re looking to make a quick dollar, being a nutrition coach likely is not a good fit for you.
- You want to be a guru or looked at as a hero with all the answers. The best coaches don’t necessarily tell their clients all the answers. Some of the best coaches feed their clients knowledge but let them make their own decisions along the way, allowing their client to realize their own “ah ha!” moments and help them become their own hero. Being a nutrition coach does require training, but it doesn’t mean that you’re the person with all the answers. The best coaches want their clients to gain enough knowledge and skills that they could eventually be coaches on their own. The best way to know that you have really integrated something is if you can teach it to other people.
“Real contribution is service without being noticed.”
What education is needed to become a nutrition coach?
When it comes to education, there are so many different paths and there’s no right or wrong place to start. The most important thing is to find what provides the knowledge you are seeking and in the format that’s best for you. Some options can include:
- A formal education in a university setting. Some paths that you might explore are nutrition, dietetics and fitness, among others. While a formal education isn’t necessary to become a nutrition coach, this path can be a great fit for some people.
- The WAG Coach Certification. With the WAG coach certification, you learn the science of nutrition and also learn HOW to coach people. You get real-life client scenarios and your response is graded by one of our coaches. They even give you live feedback!
- Do your research and get to know other experts in the field. Some experts in the field that have online books, courses and newsletters with easy-to-consume information are Alan Aragon, Eric Helms, Precision Nutrition, Chris Kresser, Lyle McDonald and ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.
You have the passion, drive and education to be a nutrition coach. What actionable steps can you take to get started?
- If you have been through a transformation yourself, you can start by mirroring whatever system worked for you. For example, if you were emailing with a coach weekly and that’s what helped you, that’s a system you can replicate for your own clients. Use those general principles to help you create a system and structure that works for both you and your clients.
- Look at other people in the field who are successful and ask for their advice. People are often honored to share what they’ve learned along the way, so don’t be afraid to reach out!
- Leverage your current network and the people that already know and trust you. Reach out and tell them what you’re doing and how you can help them and the people in their circle. This could be done through face-to-face conversations, phone calls, emails, text messages, social media and online networking programs.
- Use your social media channel. You do NOT need a huge number of followers to reach people—all you need to get started is just one or two people who actually need your help. Those one or two people are what will help get the ball rolling.
- Decide the type of people you want to start working with and let that be known. Find a small niche that you want to start with and talk specifically to that audience. For example, at Working Against Gravity we are looking for people who want to work hard, who enjoy a challenge and who have tried a number of different diets before and have not found sustainable success. Another example could be, “I am looking for five women who are fitness oriented and who want to lose weight.” The more specific you can be, the more likely your target audience will be excited as well! This does not mean that you always have to stick with this niche, but being focused and specialized will help you get started.
What are some ways you can continue to grow as a nutrition coach?
- Focus on getting clients results, over deliver and try things even if they aren’t scalable right now. The system you start with might not be sustainable in the future when working with a larger group of clients and that is okay! This will help you to decide what system works for you and your clients. Doing more than you think you need to can help you hone in on the skills and strategies that you eventually may be able to specialize in!
- Collect feedback and keep a constant loop of it coming. Feedback will help you learn, grow and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Requesting feedback doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing—it’s going to help you get insight, like maybe you're giving too much or too little information, or maybe someone wants you to be more to the point with them, or maybe your onboarding process is a little wonky. It will help you learn the good and the not so good so you can be the best coach you can be!
- Be mindful of not letting yourself get overwhelmed! The same system that works when you’re coaching 10 clients might not be feasible when you are coaching 100 clients, and that’s okay. Focus on giving those 10 people world-class service, build your reputation, work to give them the results they’re looking for and that will help build your business and send referrals your way. You’ll be able to figure out the scaling process along the way since that growth won’t happen overnight!
- Overdelivering vs. overpromising. Don’t promise things that you can’t deliver, but you CAN promise something and deliver more than that. Keep your structure simple to avoid falling into this trap. People are more affected by a surprise than by something that’s promised and expected.
Becoming a nutrition coach is fulfilling and allows you to deeply connect with people and impact them far outside of just their body. It can also give you more freedom, opportunity and possibility to work remotely and be your own boss. Whether coaching will be a passion project, side hustle or full-time gig for you, our top three steps can help you succeed:
- Choose your education path. Research some of the certifications and paths we mentioned and decide which is best for you!
- Get clients. Use your current network and the power of social media to start coaching your own client.
- Continue to grow. Ask for referrals, feedback and continuously seek learning opportunities to grow your knowledge and career.
Honing in on your coaching style and developing new skills as a coach will take time and practice. Having all the answers before you start isn’t necessary, but being willing to get creative to help your clients be successful and actively seeking feedback are. There are many ways to be an effective coach and the most important thing is finding what works best for you and your clients.
Ready to turn your passion into a career?
Sign up for the WAG Coach Certification to get in-depth training on both the science of nutrition and the psychology of lasting change.
You’ll work with an actual WAG coach and go through real-life practice scenarios to ensure you’re ready to work with your own clients after graduating.
As a student and graduate, you’ll also join our exclusive coaching community, where you’ll be able to connect with and receive help from other students-in-process and Working Against Gravity coaches.
Build confidence and credibility in your services when you sign up today.