Redefining success in health and fitness coaching. How 7 coaches are rethinking their careers & how you can too.

We all want to be successful and achieve our dreams, but what does success really look like? A new generation of fitness and nutrition coaches is redefining success the way it should be. Coaches everywhere are taking a step back from “the treadmill” and examining the true meaning of success. They are making changes to their lives, treating clients the way they want to be treated and helping them define their own truths. This is the new face of health coaching.

I’ve been coaching for over 3 years and I love it. But there is so much more to coaching that I didn’t know…

Health and fitness coaching is a booming business, but while the industry is growing, it’s not always clear what success means. Is it about making a living? Or is it about making a difference for the people you’re coaching? As our industry matures, it’s time for us to rethink success for a new era.

A good roster of 30 in-person clients, complete control of your business, and a net profit that allowed you to take a vacation or two a year used to be considered “success” in coaching. These days, health and fitness instructors are eschewing cookie-cutter standards in favor of creating their own companies. Here are seven inspirational coaches who are redefining success in the health and fitness coaching industry, and how you can do the same.


It used to be very simple to “make it” as a fitness and health coach.

“Success” meant having a constant stream of customers knocking on your door, as well as earning enough money to pay your bills, live comfortably, and take your family on vacations.

However, we’ve recently observed that health and fitness instructors are becoming more inventive in their definitions of “success.” They’re establishing their companies to help them achieve particular personal and professional objectives.

Everything from developing a practice that allows them to work from anywhere in the world (including amazing, exotic locations), to establishing flexible work hours so they can spend more time with their children or pursue other hobbies and interests, to collaborating with specific groups that are most meaningful to them based on past experiences or future aspirations.

It’s a lot of fun to see.

As a result, we enlisted the help of a number of our ProCoaches:

For you, what does success entail? And how are you going about it?

I wanted to share their tales with you today because they were so wonderful – so inspirational. They may even assist you in redefining your definition of success.


Living life on your own terms is success.

Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesDaniel Hennessey is living the life of a celebrity.

Thailand, Costa Rica, and California are just a few of the places you may visit. Dan travels the globe with Wendy, his business partner and fiancée, while teaching fitness and nutrition online (and building an amazing Instagram account in the process).

Dan used to spend much of his time on the gym floor (or sitting in traffic on the long commute to work.) But, after years of working as a personal trainer and gym owner, he eventually asked himself, “What am I doing?”

The fact is, he wasn’t cut out for the gym. He wanted to be in the open air. It is to travel. To seek out fresh ways of thinking about life and new methods of living a healthy lifestyle.

“I wanted to do things my way,” she says.

Dan decided to take the risk. He downsized his belongings and adopted a minimalist lifestyle, traveling with just a bag. In the meanwhile, he started a new career as an online coach.

Now that he’s 30, Dan concentrates on individuals who, in his opinion, would benefit from online rather than in-person coaching, such as busy mothers or people who are frightened by the prospect of entering a gym.

“With online coaching, a lot more people will have access to health, and I can coach you from the comfort of your own home.”

Dan does it via Procoach, an online nutrition coaching platform. His services start at $200 a month on the high end, and he provides a “90 day for 90 dollars” program to help people get started on the low end.

“All that truly counts is this: What do you want to do, and why?” Dan advises. What brings you pleasure and gives you a sense of purpose? Go for it, whatever it is. There’s a lot more to life than being afraid.”

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Making coaching accessible and inclusive is success.

1625999215_201_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesJon Mills went into a martial arts class ten years ago and was given a simple mantra: “Anyone ready to put in the effort is welcome here.”

Unfortunately, he started to realize that this strategy didn’t appear to work in many areas of health, fitness, and martial arts. Many individuals were being left out, particularly those from low-income families. Some people, such as LGBTQ people, have found gyms and studios to be outright unfriendly.

Jon, 30, now provides online nutrition counseling via Procoach and offers personal fitness, martial arts, and mindfulness coaching.

His goal is to make coaching accessible to everyone.

Jon emphasizes on creating a welcoming and secure coaching environment for all clients, particularly queer and trans clients. He also encourages low-income individuals to pay what they can – or perhaps train for free.

It may seem weird, but it works for Jon.

“The odd thing is, not only am I assisting people, but it’s also profitable. People, I’ve learnt, will contribute what they can, when they can. They will undoubtedly recommend you. I also have no competition because of the way I operate. My recommendations come from people in the neighborhood.”

Jon has a people-centered approach. “I don’t care about making money; I simply focus on helping people,” Jon adds. “I’ve realized that this isn’t simply a fantasy, but something that may be both satisfying and long-term.”

How he does it: Jon collects contributions via Patreon, an online donation service. Clients who can afford to pay do so, and if they want to, they may add contributions to help those who can’t. Jon’s nutrition coaching services are available via Procoach to both in-person and online customers.

“There’s a lot of things in the fitness business that will tell you to fit a mold,” Jon advises. But, in order to be a successful coach, you must be yourself, since that is how others will connect with you. You must accept yourself as you are.”

Turning your job into your ideal profession is success.

1625999216_491_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesIrene Pace, a Registered Dietitian in Kitchener, Ontario, had seen something significant while working in a clinic with doctors: some clients don’t appear to achieve the outcomes they desire through the health system’s conventional approach of nutrition treatment.

“I couldn’t give what they wanted, whether it was because of the psychology of my coaching or because of the system itself. I recall one customer in particular, with whom I worked for many years. Despite my attempts, her health deteriorated and she gained weight. I was unable to assist her.”

“I have to do better,” Irene told herself.

So, at the age of 40, Irene decided to take a serious look at nutrition coaching. She earned her PN Level 1 Certification and went on to work at PN as an assistant coach. With the Level 2 Certification, she’s been able to further improve her abilities.

Now that Irene has added ProCoach to her RD offerings, she’s getting the sorts of results she’d hoped for. Her customers are breaking free from their’stuckness’ in ways they’ve never done before.

“Clients may interact with me on an ongoing basis using this platform. Instead of waiting weeks for an appointment, people may call out anytime they’re stuck… The difference between having frequent touch with customers during their transformation process vs sporadic visits adds up to a significant difference. It seems to be magical.”

Irene enjoys the satisfaction of watching her clients thrive. She is able to focus her family and spend time with her three children at the same time.

As a consequence, Irene is forging a career that is both emotionally and professionally fulfilling in ways she never imagined.

How she does it: Irene began using ProCoach with a $35/month ‘test group’ of friends and relatives. She introduced a new $50-per-month cohort once the test round was completed. As she continues to develop her company and discover her specialty, she is currently working on preparations for her next cohort launch of full-paying customers.

“We all come into coaching with numerous transferrable skills,” Irene advises. Never underestimate the value you can offer to the table. If you allow it, anything from your past experiences, whether from a prior work or your life, may help you become a better coach.”

Success is defined as… establishing a gym that is so much more than a gym.

1625999218_198_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesMichael Espinosa is the owner of a gym… But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Michael provides free nutrition counseling via ProCoach to any members who desire it, in addition to in-person training (with an emphasis on strength/conditioning and Olympic weightlifting).

“It enables me to connect better with clients and teach them things like mentality and body awareness… things you can’t think about between your clean and jerk,” Mike, 33, says of ProCoach.

The gym, in particular, is operated as a non-profit with the aim of fostering an integrated and accessible community. Students in middle and high school get free training, while university students receive a reduced cost.

The gym also has a communal garden, “so that kids can see what broccoli or radish looks like while it’s growing,” as well as a small free outdoor calisthenics park.

Why do you give out so much things for free? It all boils down to Michael’s fundamental beliefs, he argues.

“One of my principles is justice. There has been a lot of injustice in the region where we are now. This is how I balance the scales. I provide a welcoming environment where individuals may work out together in a safe environment. Everyone is welcome here, including families, professors, university students, and neighborhood kids.”

How he does it: Those who can afford it pay a monthly membership fee ($144 for adults; $100 for students), which helps to keep the gym running. Michael admits that it isn’t a profitable venture. He considers success to be making a good effect on the community and improving people’s lives, both of which he cherishes highly.

“Be shamelessly conscious of what you’re doing and why,” Michael advises. Make an honest assessment of yourself. Continue to study and develop; flowing water never gets old.”

Helping people create better communities is what success looks like.

1625999220_766_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coaches“When you’re standing on the top of your home, the last thing you want to speak about is nutrition.”

Following Hurricane Harvey’s destruction, A’Tondra, 35, realized she didn’t only want to help people become healthier; she also wanted to help them grow stronger so they could better serve their communities.

A’Tondra chose to serve a smaller number of individuals, some in person and others online, to accomplish this. Her services were designed to provide her customers a high level of individualized attention and responsibility, as well as to assist them in developing their own support networks.

“I’ve discovered that when people feel supported, they may find meaning in their lives. And that improves things not just for themselves, but for everyone in their lives.”

It was difficult for her to reduce her customer list at first. “I had fewer customers but almost quadrupled my income” after the first year. In addition, I was having a greater influence on my clients.”

A’Tondra has seen her customers become not just healthier and stronger, but also more giving to their jobs, families, and communities.

At the same time, she has more time to devote to her own community, particularly her family. “I have four kids, and I can attend all of their science fairs, basketball games, and chess tournaments. This means a great deal to me.”

How she does it: A’Tondra costs $3,500 for singles and $6,800 for couples for three months of in-person fitness, diet, and lifestyle counseling. (She’s discovered that couples that exercise together tend to be quite supportive of one another.) Her online customers, whom she serves via ProCoach, pay about half as much as in-person ones.

“Learn to appreciate what’s wonderful about where you’re at,” A’Tondra advises. It’s easy to believe you’ll need hundreds of customers, with individuals pounding on your door begging to work with you. But with fewer customers, I have a greater effect on them, it’s more monetarily beneficial to me, and I have more control over my time.”

Success is defined as… enjoying what you do and making a decent livelihood doing it.

1625999222_554_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesChristie Miller, who lives and works only feet from the ocean, has something that many people aspire to: she loves what she does for a profession and earns a decent income doing it.

She is not only enthusiastic about health and fitness, but she is also able to coach at a reasonable cost. “I wake up every morning thinking… ‘I get to do this for a career – and get paid for it?’” she says.

Christie, 53, didn’t become famous overnight. She began her online coaching company after a series of previous jobs, only to be greeted with dissatisfaction and piles of debts.

(In fact, the IRS contacted her during her second year of operation because they didn’t think anybody could lose that much money.) She had, though.)

Christie, on the other hand, discovered her target customer after a few years, and it made all the difference. She now works with “aspirational ladies who want to reduce weight and succeed in all areas of their life.”

A higher price point proved more beneficial for this kind of customer. It drew the sort of committed, goal-oriented customers she was seeking for: individuals who were committed to getting results and ready to pay for them.

Christie’s earnings skyrocketed: by the second quarter of year three, she had earned $57,789, which was more than she had earned in the previous two years combined.

Christie uses ProCoach as part of her six-month group program, which reaches ladies from all across Europe, North America, and even Dubai. This package is available to new customers for $597 per month. Some customers are asked to stay for additional six months after the first six.

“Be polarizing,” Christie advises. Knowing who your target audience is and who they aren’t is essential. It may be frightening and a rollercoaster ride at times. But it’s well worth the effort.”

Success is… assisting women in regaining control of their health and empowerment.

1625999223_585_Redefining-success-in-health-and-fitness-coaching-How-7-coachesStephanie Hinders was in an abusive relationship once upon a time. She made it her goal to assist other women reclaim control of their life when she was able to get out and become healthy (with the aid of her community at a local gym).

“Why did I go through all of that if not to utilize the experience to assist others?” I reasoned.

Stephanie, 29, now works with women who are disempowered to reclaim their health, strength, and self-confidence via a mix of in-person and online coaching services.

Stephanie finds it very rewarding to see the improvements in her customers.

“I’ve seen people move from berating themselves to congratulating themselves on their accomplishments. On the opposite side of the tunnel, they discover the light. They recover their mental, physical, and emotional confidence. It’s difficult to put into words how much it means to me.”

Stephanie has been instructing people at a small gym in Powell, Ohio, for more than four years. She introduced ProCoach services this year, starting with a three-month free trial in return for feedback. Stephanie is presently working on a new price structure as well as increasing her online customer base. She’s expecting her first child and is thrilled that ProCoach will enable her to continue teaching on a more flexible schedule once the baby comes.

“Be true to your own story,” Stephanie advises. When you look at other instructors, it’s easy to feel intimidated and doubt yourself. You may glance around and think, “Perhaps I should do it that way.” But it’s essential to remember that you have your own motivations for doing what you do.”

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

If you need a jump start on a goal, health and fitness coaches can be a good place to start. With their help, you can turn your health and fitness dreams into reality. But what does this mean for you? If you’re ready to take the leap and make a change, you should know that it takes more than a workout plan and a quick diet to stay healthy.. Read more about how to get clients as a nutrition coach and let us know what you think.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.