People are often unclear on the difference between a nutritionist, a health coach or wellness coach, and a nutrition counselor. In fact, the definitions for these may differ with each individual practice. However, there are some official differences between them that are important to understand.
Health Coach / Nutrition Coach
A health coach, wellness coach or nutrition coach, is often the same thing, but be sure to check with the person offering the services as to what they actually offer to clients. The general function of one of these people is to help a client reach their health and fitness goals, including dealing with low energy and fatigue, weight loss or weight management, digestive issues, muscularity, athletic performance, physical fitness and physique, and even mental clarity.
Coaches do not prescribe medicine. They attempt to deal with physical symptoms by addressing diet and nutrition first, as well as stress reduction, physical movement and exercise. The Venice Nutrition Certification for example, addresses water intake, sleep, and other personal activities in addition to food intake.
Technically, to call yourself a nutritionist you are a registered dietician and must have a license to take clients. This requires a BA from a university, as well as approximately a year in residency. It also requires the passing of a national exam. They usually work inside of a hospital or clinic alongside doctors and clients are prescribed to them in order to deal with serious medical issues.
They are not as free in what they can prescribe to patients. All registered dieticians must follow the policies of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in what they prescribe to their patients.
What does a nutrition coach do?
Functions of a Nutrition Coach and Health Coach
Certified nutrition coaches and health coaches perform many functions. They typically work with clients to help them improve their overall health and fitness, and help them to maintain a good diet and exercise program on a daily or weekly basis. Work may include creating exercise routines, nutrition plans, and ways to track their progress.
Nutrition Coach Health Coach Functions
- Counsel clients on their current state of health and explain how a scientifically based nutrition program can help them reach their health and fitness goals more quickly and permanently.
- Educate clients on the value of a healthy lifestyle as well as providing nutrition advice.
- Create customized nutrition plans for clients.
- Create goals and performance tracking for clients.
- Offer additional advice on supplements and other tools and programs that may assist your clients in reaching their specific goals.