Some of the frequent questions about wellness coaching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does Health and Wellness Matter?

For most of us, getting the most out of life is important, and is probably something we all aspire to. Being healthy and well means different things to different people, but on some level all of us want to be physically able to carry out our daily activities without too much difficulty. This is often referred to as our general fitness level. Why is it important to be generally fit in both mind and body? Because, in addition to having to carry out our daily activities, including work, family responsibilities, and social obligations, most of us want to live long and productive lives. In order to accomplish this, we need to strive towards a healthy combination of physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.

My goal is to help you achieve this. I particularly believe that we need to maintain a certain level of health and wellness before anything bad (medically) happens to us. I speak from experience as a 3-time cancer survivor. Each bout with cancer was difficult, but my high level of fitness and general well-being saved me each time, and my recovery period was much less complicated and easier than expected. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the reason health and wellness matter, is because being physically and emotionally fit is essential to decreasing one’s risk of developing many serious chronic diseases including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, and even some cancers. More importantly, if we do develop any of these conditions, generally, the fitter we are, the better we will be able to deal with and manage our illness.

What are some features of Wellness Coaching?

Wellness Coaching can include discussions about anything that impacts your health, fitness, and general well-being. The five main areas that a Wellness Coach can help with are: fitness, nutrition, stress management, weight, and other health-related issues. Wellness Coaching can help you to eat healthier, get fitter, and increase your daily energy. The main focus with Wellness Coaching is to make long-lasting healthy lifestyle changes, not to provide quick fixes.

How is Wellness Coaching different from personal training, therapy, seeing a nutritionist or even going to my primary care doctor?

While many Wellness Coaches are nutritionists, personal trainers, or therapists, not all trainers, therapists and nutritionists are Wellness Coaches. The biggest difference between a Wellness Coach and other allied health practitioners is in the approach that they take towards helping you to achieve your goals. A Wellness Coach won’t tell you what to do, but will rather ask you where you want to go with your wellness, why it matters to you and how you want to get there. Unlike therapy, a Wellness Coach will not focus on your past, but will rather look towards your future. Unlike a personal trainer or nutritionist, a Wellness Coach does not lead you through exercises or give you a specific diet to follow, but rather will help you establish fitness and nutrition goals and see that you accomplish them, little by little. Unlike a primary care physician, a Wellness Coach has the time to spend with you on your health and wellness vision and objectives. A Wellness Coach will support you and guide you to create your definition of wellbeing and what that means to you. The main focus of Wellness Coaching is to concentrate on your strengths and build on them to help you realize your goals. Together, you and the coach will identify your motivators and obstacles as you create your wellness vision for the future.

What are kinds of credentials does a Wellness Coach have?

A nationally recognized organization called Wellcoaches, in collaboration with the American College of Sports Medicine, currently provides an outstanding model in Health and Wellness Coaching education and training. This organization certifies health professionals who meet pre-requisites in the fields of exercise, nutrition, or other allied-health disciplines. Coaches go through a rigorous training, take both a written and oral examination, and must regularly take continuing education courses to stay updated on the latest research and information. Coaches only work within their scope of practice, however, and will refer to other health professionals when and if necessary. Coaches do not make diagnoses and may recommend that clients seek a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or other health care professional for treatment, if appropriate.

Why would I work with a Wellness Coach?

Most of us know that we need to be fitter, lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, etc. but we find that it is extremely difficult to make these important and critical changes on our own. We might begin a fitness program or go on a diet, but we don’t seem to be able to follow through with what we started. The knowledge and information about being healthy is all around us, yet achieving good health is much easier said than done. A Wellness Coach can work with you to set goals, prioritize what matters most and help you to follow through! A good coach will help you build confidence in your ability to make changes and create new (healthy habits) on your own, so eventually, the coach is no longer needed. In Wellness Coaching, a close relationship and partnership with a coach provides structure, accountability, expertise, and inspiration. This enables the client to learn, grow, and develop beyond what he or she can do alone.

What is Wellness Coaching really like?

In the first session with a Wellness Coach, the client and coach go through a very long and detailed medical questionnaire to establish a baseline of where the client is on his or her ‘wellness journey.’ This is followed by the coach asking the client to come up with a very detailed ‘wellness vision’… a picture of exactly what he or she imagines their best self to be in one year, 3 months, one month and one week from the day they start working together. After that, motivators and obstacles are identified, and long-term behavioral goals are set that align with this vision. After the client and coach establish the ‘why’, then the ‘how’ is addressed in great detail. Potential obstacles to each desired behavior are discussed, and strategies to overcome them are developed. The client is encouraged to remember and discuss how he or she used their particular strengths to overcome obstacles in the past, and to formulate ideas of how to use them successfully again.

Finally, at the end of this and each subsequent session, weekly, realistic and well-defined goals are set by the client. The coach’s job is to encourage the client to stretch him or herself just enough to feel challenged by these weekly goals, but not so overwhelmed by them. Incremental, weekly successes, small as they might be, are why this process works as well as it does. Clients begin to feel accountable to themselves and their coaches. Their self-confidence and self-esteem grows with each success. Before long, they are accomplishing more than they believed possible when they first started.

Who could benefit from Wellness Coaching?

Do you have significant changes you want to make in one or more areas of your life? Do you need to overhaul your eating patterns, or begin to make exercise a routine part of your day, rather than have it be an afterthought? Do you know that your stress coping mechanisms are not working, but you don’t have any idea what to do about it? If so, a Wellness Coach might be exactly what you are looking for to help you establish and realize your health and wellness goals.

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The Business Case for a Healthier Community

The four primary components (also known as the components of health related fitness) that are important to improved physical health are as follows:

* Cardiorespiratory capacity is the ability of the body to take in oxygen (respiration), deliver it to the cells (circulation), and use it at the cellular level to create energy (bioenergetics) for physical work (activity). In fitness, we also refer to cardiorespiratory capacity as aerobic capacity. This capacity includes aerobic endurance (how long), aerobic strength (how hard), and aerobic power (how fast). Some of the long-term adaptations of cardiorespiratory training are: decreased resting heart rate, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, improved endurance, increased stroke volume and cardiac output.

* Muscular capacity refers to the spectrum of muscular capability. This includes muscular endurance (i.e., the ability to apply force over a long period of time or to complete repeated muscle contractions); muscular strength (i.e., the ability to generate force, or the maximum amount of force that a muscle can exert in a single contraction); and muscular power (i.e., the ability to generate strength in an explosive way). Some of the long-term adaptations of improving muscular capacity are increased strength, improved muscular endurance, increased basal metabolic rate, improved joint strength, and overall posture.

* Flexibility is the range of movement or amount of motion that a joint is capable of performing. Each joint has a different amount of flexibility. Some of the long-term adaptations of improved flexibility are decreased risk of injury, improved range of motion, improved bodily movements, and improved posture.

* Body composition is the proportion of fat-free mass (muscle, bone, blood, organs, and fluids) to fat mass (adipose tissue deposited under the skin and around organs). Some of the long-term adaptations of improving body composition are decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, improved basal metabolic rate, improved bodily function, and improved BMI.

The secondary components of fitness (also known as the components of performance based fitness) are involved in all physical activity and are necessary for daily functioning. Athletes experience different levels of success depending on how well these secondary fitness components are developed. Although the primary components of fitness are thought to be the most important, we should not ignore the secondary components because of their importance in the completion of daily tasks. The secondary components include the following.

* Balance is the ability to maintain a specific body position in either a stationary or dynamic (moving) situation.

* Coordination is the ability to use all body parts together to produce smooth and fluid motion.

* Agility is the ability to change direction quickly.

* Reaction time is the time required to respond to a specific stimulus.

* Speed is the ability to move rapidly. Speed is also known as velocity (rate of motion).

* Power is the product of strength and speed. Power is also known as explosive strength.

* Mental capability is the ability to concentrate during exercise to improve training effects as well as the ability to relax and enjoy the psychological benefits of activity (endorphins).

Health is a dynamic process because it is always changing. We all have times of good health, times of sickness, and maybe even times of serious illness. As our lifestyles change, so does our level of health.

Those of us who participate in regular physical activity do so partly to improve the current and future level of our health. We strive toward an optimal state of well-being. As our lifestyle improves, our health also improves and we experience less disease and sickness. When most people are asked what it means to be healthy, they normally respond with the four components of fitness mentioned earlier (cardiorespiratory ability, muscular ability, flexibility, and body composition). Although these components are a critical part of being healthy, they are not the only contributing factors. Physical health is only one aspect of our overall health.

The other components of health (Greenberg, 2004, p. 7) that are just as important as physical health include the following:

* Social health-The ability to interact well with people and the environment and to have satisfying personal relationships.

* Mental health-The ability to learn and grow intellectually. Life experiences as well as more formal structures (e.g., school) enhance mental health.

* Emotional health-The ability to control emotions so that you feel comfortable expressing them and can express them appropriately.

* Spiritual health-A belief in some unifying force. It varies from person to person but has the concept of faith at its core.

Wellness is the search for enhanced quality of life, personal growth, and potential through positive lifestyle behaviours and attitudes. If we take responsibility for our own health and well-being, we can improve our health on a daily basis. Certain factors influence our state of wellness, including nutrition, physical activity, stress-coping methods, good relationships, and career success.

Each day we work toward maximizing our level of health and wellness to live long, full, and healthy lives. The pursuit of health, personal growth, and improved quality of life relies on living a balanced life. To achieve balance, we need to care for our mind, body, and spirit.

If any of these three areas is consistently lacking or forgotten about, we will not be at our optimal level of health. We are constantly challenged with balancing each of these three areas throughout life.

As fitness professionals, we have a responsibility to guide and motivate others to improve their level of health and wellness. We can promote a holistic approach to health (mind, body, and spirit), not just encourage physical activity. As good role models, we should demonstrate positive health behaviours that assist in improving our own health and the health of others. If our focus is strictly on the physical benefits of exercise, we are doing a disservice to our clients and we are not fulfilling our professional obligation.

As fitness professionals, we spend a great deal of time inspiring and assisting others in their pursuit of improved health. Education is an important aspect of this. We must promote the benefits of regular activity and help people understand why they should be active.

Figure 1.2 will help you educate your clients about the benefits of activity and why each of these benefits is important to long-term health.

Health Canada introduced Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living to help Canadians make wise choices about physical activity as a way to improve health. Scientists say you should accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy or improve health. The recommendations in the Physical Activity Guide are as follows:

* Endurance-On 4 to 7 days a week, perform continuous activity for your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Time required for improvements depends on effort.

* Flexibility-On 4 to 7 days a week, perform gentle reaching, bending, and stretching to keep muscles relaxed and joints mobile.

* Strength-On 2 to 4 days a week, perform resistance exercise to strengthen muscles and bones and improve posture.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has also developed activity guidelines for improving health:

* Perform 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week for cardiovascular health. The 30 minutes need not be continuous.

* Performing 1 set of 8 to 12 repetitions of resistance training for the entire body is necessary to maintain and develop muscular strength and endurance.

* Flexibility training should be performed daily, including stretches for all major muscle groups, in order to maintain mobility.

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Fitness and Exercise – Health and Wellness from Humana

Boost strength, flexibility, and resilience

Exercise isn’t just for athletes and the image conscious. Regular physical activity is important to everybody – no matter what your age or level of health. Physical strength along with flexibility and endurance will help you fight illnesses and maintain good health. Whether you’re training for a marathon or working up to a walk around the block after surgery, see which type of exercises can benefit you and how to stay motivated to stick with a fitness routine.

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10 Articles on Fitness and Wellness by Traver H. Boehm

Traver H. Boehm doesn’t do things by halves. Following a short professional mixed martial arts career, the decision for Traver to dedicate his time to educating people on the benefits of healthy living became unavoidable.

Traver is now co-owner of a CrossFit affiliate, a strength and conditioning coach, and a performance nutrition specialist, as well as being a licensed acupuncturist. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Asian studies, and a Masters from the Yo-San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When not speaking or writing on the topics of fitness, wellness and nutrition, he can be found surfing, kickboxing, learning Brazilian jiu jitsu, and spending time with his better half.

Here are ten of Traver’s articles on fitness and wellness, spanning across many of these areas of expertise.

One of the most common martial arts injuries is cervical strain or sprain – meaning a sore, tight, or injured neck. Here are three simple ways you can help yourself heal.

Making a hobby into a living is part of the American dream, and many CrossFitters are following suit. Here are three questions from an affiliate owner to ask yourself before taking the plunge.

That stop between your thumb and forefinger – yes, that point, Large Intestine point #4, is great for headaches and a number of other ailments, many of which strike athletes in particular.

As an acupuncturist and competitive athlete myself, here are the things I tell all my patients and clients when they come to me for advice on their testosterone levels.

Valery Fedorenko started setting kettlebell world records as a teenager in Russia. He doesn’t believe in the 2-handed swing or the Turkish get up. Find out why and what he does coach his students.

Training takes a little bit more thought when you’re balancing it against work and a family life. Here’s some advice on how to stay on the mat and in the gym as you do both.

Everybody poops. It’s true. I poop. Hopefully, you poop. But sometimes the act goes smoother than others. Here are some tips on how to get things moving again.

When I was an MMA fighter I had to sit my wife down and tell her I would be abstaining from our regular ‘adult time’ activities for the month and half prior to my fight. This did not go over well.

Meditating can be done anywhere and just about anytime. I do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Read on and I’ll share my tips on how to incorporate this habit into your daily life.

Only 3% of Americans have written goals for themselves. Do you have concrete goals you are after? Are any of them true ‘game-changers’ if you achieved them? Or even if you simply pursued them?

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Wellness Articles

Use a three-pronged approach to help frail participants move better, get stronger and improve their balance. From Italy to India, many countries can teach us a lot about healthy eating-and fortunately, a number of traditional eating habits from various nations can be easily implemented into our diets to give them a nutritional upgrade. Take a cue from the time-honored dietary strategies of Okinawa, Japan. Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, dietitian, freelance nutrition writer and recipe developer in Waterloo, Ontario, shares how.

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Health and Human Rights Journal

What Constitutes Evidence in Human Rights-Based Approaches to Health? Learning from Lived Experiences of Maternal and Sexual Reproductive Health
Maya Unnithan

Looking for Evidence of the Impact of Introducing a Human Rights-Based Approach in Health: The SaluDerecho Experience
María-Luisa Escobar, Leonardo Cubillos, and Roberto Iunes

Empowerment for the Right to Health: The Use of the ‘Most Significant Change’ Methodology in Monitoring
Fanny Polet, Geraldine Malaise, Anuschka Mahieu, Eulalia Utrera, Jovita Montes, Rosalinda Tablang, Andrew Aytin, Erick Kambale, Sylvie Luzala, Daoud al-Ghoul, Ranin Ahed Darkhawaja, Roxana Maria Rodriguez, Margarita Posada, Wim de Ceukelaire, and Pol de Vos

The Impact of Human Rights on Universalizing Health Care in Vermont, USA
Gillian MacNaughton, Fiona Haigh, Mariah McGill, Konstantinos Koutsioumpas, and Courtenay Sprague |

Measuring the Impact of the Human Rights on Health in Global Health Financing
Sara L.M. Davis

A Review of the Impact of the Human Rights in Healthcare Programme in England and Wales
Lindsey Dyer

Rights-Based Citizen Monitoring in Peru: Evidence of Impact from the Field
Jeannie Samuel and Ariel Frisancho

Using Technology to Claim Rights to Free Maternal Health Care: Lessons about Impact from the My Health, My Voice Pilot Project in India
Jashodhara Dasgupta, Y. K. Sandhya, Samantha Lobis, Pravesh Verma, Marta Schaaf

Evaluating a Human Rights-Based Advocacy Approach to Expanding Access to Pain Medicines and Palliative Care: Global Advocacy and Case Studies from India, The Universal Periodic Review: A Platform for Dialogue, Accountability, and Change on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Kate Gilmore, Luis Mora, Alfonso Barragues, Ida Krogh Mikkelsen
Kenya, and Ukraine
Diederik Lohman and Joseph Amon

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