Put me in Coach!

Put me in Coach!

You have decided that now is the time to really get healthy.  You are going to change your eating habits, start a fitness routine, and start getting all the recommended health physicals.  Where do you start?  The internet seems like the logical first step, so you pull up your favorite search engine and start typing in phrases such as "best foods to eat to lose weight", "Exercises that keep your heart healthy","Recommended medical tests for women over 35".  


Inevitably, your search will return tons of results and as you sift through them you may find that amount is information is overwhelming and even contradictory.  Back to square one There is a much more effective way to begin a health and wellness makeover.  Many Corporate Wellness Programs now offer health coaches. If you find that your organization offers wellness coaches, don't hesitate to take advantage of this valuable resource.  


Wellness coaches are experts in the fields of behavioral health and wellness.  This means that they are trained to help you with everyday obstacles.  Having health knowledge is one thing, applying it to helping another person MAKE changes is what makes them truly unique!  They hold degrees in areas such as Exercise Science, Athletic Training, Nutrition, Personal Training, Nursing etc. and often hold numerous professional certifications in many areas of health and wellness.  


Also, certified coaches have access to the most cutting edge wellness research as well as peer reviewed journals, so you can be sure that the information they are providing to clients is not merely their opinion, but it is evidence based. Health coaching began in the early 1990s, as a means to treat people addicted to alcohol.  Since then, health coaching has grown steadily and adapted into wellness coaching, which utilizes a holistic method to help people better manage their wellness goals.


Wellness coaching continues to be a growing trend as an increasing number of organizations as well as individuals recognize the tremendous benefits of having a coach in your corner to assist with the complicated and nuanced goal of improving one's overall state of well-being. Coaches can assist you with all of your wellness concerns from eating right, managing a chronic condition, beginning a fitness program, all the way through managing stress.  


A major benefit to wellness coaches is that they will provide you with a structured and supportive approach that is designed to motivate change and achieve results.  Instead of merely educating their clients on wellness topics, coaches design individualized plans that allow clients to reach their goals in a manageable way.  Similar to an athletic coach, a wellness coach will learn the strengths, weaknesses, objectives, and aspirations of the person they are serving.


A wellness coach really gets to know their client before making any recommendations.  If you have taken a health risk assessment, they will go over the results with you.  They will then listen to determine what your wellness concerns and goals are in order to understand exactly what you hope to gain from the program.  


In addition, your coach will ascertain how far you are from achieving your goal and design a progressive plan that will allow you to achieve results in a timeframe that works for you. Individualized plans are so important because two people can have the same ultimate wellness goal, but based on a myriad of factors, will have to take entirely different paths to reach it.  


For example, two 30 year old women can have the same overall wellness goal of "getting in better shape".  Without a coaches assistance these 2 women may end up following the same type exercise regime that doesn't really fit their lifestyle, exercise preferences, or currently level of physical activity and this will lead to frustration and ultimately to giving up on their goal.  


However, if each of these women consults with a wellness coach they will most likely end up with a program that fits their lifestyle and this will make it much easier to stick to:


Goal                Reason                            Current Fitness Level                                           Exercise Preferences            Available      Time to Devote to Fitness

Woman A       To get into better shape    Wants to lose the last of her "baby weight"            Jogs and lifts light weights       Cardio           Less than 1 hour after work as she has                                                                                                                                                                                                                        newborn and a 3 year old                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Woman B      To get into better shape     Has been overweight all her life and wants change  Has no formal fitness regimen Weight training Has the evenings open and available



As you can see, the same fitness program would definitely not work for these women, as the only thing they have in common is the fitness goal.  Instead of both of them receiving canned fitness advice of "do 30 minutes of cardio 5 days per week in conjunction with strength training 3 times per week", they each received a personalized plan that would work for them:

Women A's Plan:

An intense 20 minute daily workout that can be done in the home, which incorporates 4 intervals of Plyometric jump training with strength training. This plan will work because it takes into account the woman's preferences, fitness background, and current lifestyle.  


This program is designed to burn a maximum number of calories in a short amount of time.  This will help her to lose those last few stubborn pounds and will not interfere with her time with her children.  Also, because she is currently active she will be able to handle an intense routine.

Women B's Plan:

A half hour of walking on the treadmill followed by another half hour of strength training 3 days per week, alternating with an hour of low impact cardio activity such as swimming or golf 2 days per week. This plan will work because again it takes into account the woman's preferences, fitness background, and current lifestyle.  


This plan will allow her to slowly build up endurance and strength, so she can begin her fitness journey.  It also starts out very low impact, so her body is not shocked, therefore, she will be more likely to stick with the routine. The best part is that once your wellness program has been designed, your coach is still available to assist you on your way to achieving your goals.


They will routinely review your progress with you, which is huge factor in the success of the program.  If you are having trouble following the steps outlined in your program, your wellness coach can probe and figure out the core issue that is preventing you from taking the necessary measures to achieve your objectives.  


Once the issue is addressed, you and your coach can work together to decide how to overcome it and you will be back on track in no time. If you do decide that it's time to improve any aspect of your overall health or wellness and are unsure where to begin, do consider a coach.  Wellness coaches will utilize goal setting, identification of obstacles, accountability, support, encouragement and personalized plans to help you reach your goals.  


The most important thing to remember is that coaching sessions are as varied as the clients they serve. The sessions are flexible and meet you at your current wellness level.  Coaches take your vague goals and help you to really identify where to start and work with you to make timelines that fit your lifestyle.


Reaching your wellness goals often results in improved performance both at work and in your personal life and as an added benefit it provides motivation to strive for goals in other aspects of your life and the belief that you will be able to achieve them.

About the Author:

Colleen Robinson is a Personal Wellness Coordinator for eni, working closely with corporate clients to develop wellness programs that work within the culture of their individual business' to improve the lives of their employees.  Prior to her work with eni, Colleen was a fitness instructor with the YMCA and currently maintains her national and state certification as an Athletic Trainer with ongoing studies in the areas of fitness and nutrition.

About eni:

Taking into effect all of the components of a successful wellness program from implementation, fostering engagement, and finally measuring results, eni has been able to design uniquely customized wellness programs on a national level for over 25 years. We attribute much of our wellness programs success to the integration of our Personal Wellness Coordinators, who work together with individual employees to create a customized health plan.  


These experts have backgrounds in nutrition, physical, and behavioral health and provide the expertise and encouragement necessary for achieving successful results. eni's ultimate goal is to create dynamic solutions that actively engage, educate, and empower a happy, healthy, more productive workforce. Learn more at www.eniweb.com or call us at 1.800.364.4748