Trend or modus operandi. What even is a health coach?

Trend or modus operandi. What even is a health coach?

Last December as most gyms were exiting the isolation of the pandemic, the Beverly Athletic Club did something that is becoming a trend in the health and wellness industry. They certified four of their staff as health coaches: Cam Corey, Collin Oliver, Erica Miller and Jill Guinasso-Petit. Setting a standard that is not just a trend in the industry but the new modus operandi. Training professionals as health coaches with a focus on a person’s mental and physical health, and life satisfaction, has become a new benchmark used by many individuals as they return to health clubs in this new age of holistic health and wellness.  

The objective is to meet people at their place of necessity and in the past three years every person’s priorities have changed with an emphasis on one’s whole body and mind; and is it any wonder with what the populace went through with shutdowns, closures, isolation and a rise in mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc. As people became unwilling shut-ins at home, there was a lot of time to reason and plan what a person might need to reconnect with their life. Health coaches place significance on mental and physical health paired with life goals and a greater awareness on balancing life’s many obligations and interests. 

Miller believes that balance is easier to attain than one may think, “As a health coach and personal trainer, I have a better understanding of a person and how they are coming to the gym. This helps me to better relate to my clients. Our lives are about balance and our perception of what makes us happy (satisfaction), what we prioritize becomes meaningful. I can think of so many examples of how a person’s lifestyle is divided into so many different sections: friendships, family, jobs, social, finances, fitness, etc. We all need that balance, becoming a health coach has helped me to look at what’s missing and what needs attention, so to attain that overall feeling of health and wellness. Our objective is to craft a highly individualized plan for each member.”

The health coaches are available and ready to assess everyone’s needs, from the first timer to the veteran members, with an adaptive and distinctive plan catered to the each person’s needs. Each member gets a free evaluation with every department of the Beverly Athletic Club, meaning your first meeting with a health coach is a half hour assessment of what is the best health and wellness plan for you. This may well lead to a referral to another department within the BAC, from meeting with the dietician to physical therapy to personal training. 

As Corey will tell you it is all interconnected. “We want to look at all aspects of your life, social, work, personal, etc., which affects your body and your mind. It influences your work out routine then impacts your health. Whether you are talking about your physical and mental health or life satisfaction. It’s a web that vibrates together and creates a way of living. Our job is to help see it and to become aware of it. Health coaching is a launching pad for people who want to be able to pick up their grandchildren or who want six-pack abs. I have worked with people who are terrified to even touch a machine and who have never walked through a gym door. We try to demystify all of that and make it another part of your life.”

The health coaches can also assist with stepping over those reasons why one might stop exercising such as time constraints, cost, jump starting a work-out that has become too routine, feeling intimidated or embarrassed about being seen by others and so one. Oliver wants to help bridge those disconnects that can hinder a workout routine. “It is easier to bridge the conversation as a health coach by asking the right questions. Some people struggle with not being able to do something or feel that something is beyond their reach. I can help connect the dots with the people who are struggling to sign up with a gym and more specifically help them to figure out what they need.”

For Guinasso-Petit it has been taught her fresh skills to helping new members walk through the door. “It allows me to dig deeper on their needs and to make a person more comfortable as they enter the club. People are risking a lot by walking through our door, I just want to them to be comfortable and help make the transition of signing up with a gym easier. It took a lot for them to walk through the door, I want to make them comfortable, to refer them to the right place and to figure out the right recommendations. I think this program shows that we care about our members. If a person doesn’t feel a connection to a gym and to the community after they risked walking through the door, then I guarantee that person will not risk it again at another gym.”

This new trend that is happening across the country for many gyms towards a more holistic health and wellness experience is being defined every day at the Beverly Athletic Club. Corey believes that this new direction in the fitness industry is more than just a trend but another indispensable tool that clubs are incorporating into their care plans. “The health coaches are a reaction to the last three years in which we’ve seen an increase in mental health and physical awareness and recovery. It’s a part of the industry now, people aren’t just working out for their bodies but for their minds too. This is the reason that a lot of people are here. We have to be mindful of the uptick in mental health disorders, we know health coaching is not going to be the fix all, but we can help. The reality is that maybe we can identify that person who is struggling to figure out what to do and how to use a piece of equipment or overcome their lack of confidence. This is not just for the members either it also assists the rest of the club as we, the staff at the BAC, try to live up to our potential as well.”

For more information on how to sign up for your free half session with a health coach please call the Beverly Athletic Club or speak directly to one of our four health coaches. 

by Maureen Canney, MEd., MA