Integrating Your Fitness Industry Career with Health and Wellness Coaching

Catalyst Coaching Podcast
Catalyst - Health, Wellness & Performance Podcast

Full Transcript

Brad: Welcome to the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast. My name’s Brad Cooper. I’ll be your host. Today’s interview is with a pair of folks that their backgrounds are pretty interesting and they probably mirror many of your backgrounds. We are going to be interviewing Liz Brown and Serena Lane. They’re both certified wellness coaches, but they’re doing a lot of other things simultaneously. Let me introduce you to them here. Liz Brown has been in the wireless industry for 16 years. Personal trainer, group exercise, and Yoga Instructor. I mean she’s got every certification that you can name. She’s, just to give you a few of them, certified personal trainer through NACA. She’s an ERYT certified instructor through Yoga Alliance, Certified Wellness Coach through the Catalyst Coaching Institute, ACE nutrition specialist, and really important, she’s actually sitting for the national board exam that we mentioned a few episodes back through the NBHWC, so she’ll be a nationally board certified wellness coach in addition to all those things.

Brad: She’s worked as a personal trainer in studios. She’s had her own business. She’s managed a yoga studio and she’s been a wellness coach on a personal level. Loves fitness, loves her dog. Good to hear. She loves her husband, Josh of 18 years interestingly, and I forgot to ask her about this on the interview, but she also plays the violin. How do you like that? Serina Lane, Colorado native, four kids range 11 to 19, so some key ages there for dogs. She has already sat for the national board certification, so she’s a nationally board certified wellness coach. She’s been trained through the Catalyst Coaching Institute. She’s a mentor coach as well for CCI. She is also a certified personal trainer and she’s doing fitness coaching at corners theory fitness. With that, I’m excited to introduce you to these two and let’s get this thing started.

Brad: Alright, so let’s get started here with Serena and Liz. Very excited about this. This duo we have today, they bring a unique background in that they’re both certified wellness coaches. They’re both either have gone through the national board certification or they’re planning on it in this next round in November when this is being taped, but they also bring a really broad background as personal trainers, yoga instructors, they’ve done a lot of stuff and frankly knowing our audience on this podcast, a lot of the same things that you’re doing. So I thought it’d be helpful to hear them talk about how’s it all fit together, what is this integration between all these other elements of wellness and actually wellness coaching. So, we’ll just go back and forth. Thanks you too for joining us. I’ll do kind of a ping pong match here. I’ll start the first question with Liz and then we’ll move over to Serena, kind of do a back and forth. So first question on the docket, why wellness coaching? And as I said a minute ago, you’re both certified wellness coaches. You’ve been through the national board certification process or you’re about to sit for it. Why is this a route you chose to go in your career? Liz?

Liz: For me, I had previous, like you had mentioned I was a personal trainer, so I was very much used to being the expert and telling people what to do, how to do it. And with wellness coaching what really attracted me to this and what I still love about it is I get to take the expert hat off and put the coaching hat on and what I mean by that is I get to really listen to my training clients about what is important to them and really getting to the core of what they want, what’s important in their wellness and oftentimes what is important to them is not as an expert. What I would say is important, but I think what it does is it allows you to tap into what motivates them, what they want out of their wellness, and then you can better serve them when you do put your expert hat on as a trainer and then as the coaching when I’m working with coaching clients strictly that I was not trading or am not trading. I just like the ability to hold space for people to be able to sit in silence and really let people think through things and it’s helped us. What’s been interesting is it’s helped me outside of just my professional career, but just in my everyday life encountering whether it’s my husband or whether it’s, you know, students in class or just people that I’m working with on a project or something like that. So I really just liked the idea of learning how to better tap into what people truly want. And I think from there you can really help people and help work with people to change their lives.

Brad: Wow. You got us off to a great start here. Liz that’s great. I love that. Now we just had a podcast with two physical therapists talking about how they’ve been integrating in and your comment about it’s nice occasionally to take that expert hat off and say, wait a minute, it’s your life. It’s not mine. What do you think we ought to be doing with this? So awesome job and I’m going to come back later about that. That comment you made at the end about how it applies to your non professional things, but interesting to have you throw that in there as well. Serena, what about you?
Serena: Yeah, so I have not always had a health and wellness directed mindsets, but about 10 years ago, 11 years ago, shortly after I had my fourth child, I started going to the gym regularly and just learning about how I felt after working out and I just really noticed that positive change, so I just found out I had a passion for fitness. I really loved it, so of course I wanted to learn more about fitness and so I got some certifications, teaching group fitness classes such as body pump, cycling, even crossfit. So when the opportunity came about to become a wellness coach in 2012, it was definitely a no brainer. What better job could I have found to share my love of fitness and on those healthy lifestyle habits that I’ve recently learned with others and hopefully be encouraging and motivating to help them adopt behavior change as well.

Brad: Excellent. Excellent. So we shared both of your backgrounds, you have these amazingly extensive and broad backgrounds. At the same time, how have you seen the wellness coaching piece fit in with those other things that you’re currently doing? Also you’re overlapping both of them. How’s The wellness coaching helping you as a yoga instructor, as a personal trainer, etc. Are you getting outside of the professional realm more? More so as you think about, and you touched on this in the first part, but as you, as you think about, you’re in that Yoga Setting, does wellness coaching help you in that setting? Your interpersonal trainers, you’re providing personal trainers services. Do you see the wellness coaching? Either one of you see the wellness coaching elements or the things you’ve learned or experienced or integrated from wellness coaching. Do you see that playing a role in this other stuff even when you’re not “wellness coaching”?

Liz: Yes, so as a trainer, definitely because it was more of a one on one experience or like a small group, so I definitely would use that quite a bit and I found it not so much during the session but kind of afterwards just kind of talking about how things felt and it was a great time to just tap in and just kind of see what was going on in their lives. You know, for example, if I had a client that was actually on the holidays, like have a bunch of business parties, not sure what to do. Like I’ve been doing so well of nutrition. I’m not quite sure how to kind of navigate the holiday season. I don’t want to overeat, but at the same time part of her job was to, you know, go around and connect with clients. And so that’s when the coaching really helped because I could ask her through open ended questions and really find out a good strategy that would work for her.

Liz: It’s not something that I’m telling her to do in a classroom setting where I have, you know, 20, 30 people around you can still use it and it once again, it’s kind of like after class experience of, you know, how did that feel for you? They said, you know, I’ve been working on this but I’m having trouble getting to class more often and then using that time to connect with the student afterwards as to hey, well what is keeping you from coming and just kind of strategizing with them, but it ends up being their plan. So you’re kind of put this coaching hat on without really physically being like, I’m going to coach you now, but it kinda just happens organically. And I think that’s what’s so great about the training as you really learn how to weave this in without making it seem like, okay, the class is over and now we’re going to coach you with this. It just really, it blends really nicely and the tools that you learned is just really helpful and just makes that whole transition from I’m your instructor and being your expert and talking to you and telling you what to do. Let’s talk about what what’s going on in your life and what’s important to you.

Brad: Excellent. I was talking to a trainer the other day that he was coming to me saying, and he’s not a coach, he’s a trainer specifically, and he was saying, I don’t get it, like I have these clients and they’ll come for a couple weeks and they don’t do what I tell them to do, and then they stopped coming after a couple of weeks and I was like, dude, like seriously. Because we’re so engrossed in the moment coaching, I was in awe that he was missing it that much, but as we talked more, he got it and he’s like, oh, I see. What you’re saying is the complete opposite. You’re saying, wow, what a great opportunity to pull in. What is their reason for being there? What is their reason for struggling to get there and those kinds of things, so thank you. That’s good stuff. Serena, how about you on this one?

Serena: Oh yes. I definitely think all personal trainers that go through a wellness coaching certification. I have found my wellness coaching skills to be invaluable with my personal training business. So many of the coaching skills I feel like can and should be used or any personal training program. Would you like me to give you some examples?

Brad: Yeah, sure. Fire away.

Serena: Okay. Well, the first one that came to mind was this during the investigation stage when you’re first meeting with a client and building that rapport by showing empathy, which is obviously a wellness coaching skill, utilizing effective listening skills and asking open ended questions, paraphrasing, summarizing, using reflections in that investigation stages where the trainer gathers information about the clients and their current health and fitness and their past experiences and also helps the trainer identify different factors that may help the clients or hinder the client and in an exercise adherence.

Serena: And so of course adherence is a huge thing from a business standpoint as well. So if you can keep clients, it’s good for your business. The other area that I can definitely see those wellness coaching skills is when you’re helping a client define smart goals, smart goals. That’s definitely important for a personal trainer to be able to assist the clients. With Dan, like you had mentioned, the motivational interviewing techniques and being able to ask powerful questions, especially helpful for like the trainer that you mentioned when he doesn’t have clients that stick with the program or they’re not ready to commit to an exercise program. Those skills can definitely help with that.

Brad: Nice. Nice. Love it. Alright, so I’m going to flip it back here just so we don’t have Liz leading every single one of these so Serena we’ll start with you on this one. She kind of led us into this on her first response, but outside of the professional stuff, family, personal aspects, anything relational kids, whatever it might be, where you see the wellness coaching, maybe surprising you would get this comment a lot after class from people of, Huh, I came as a professional, but it actually helped my marriage or whatever. Have you seen any of those things personally that outside the professional piece, it helps you in a different area?

Serena: I definitely have seen wellness coaching does help me with enhancing my communication skills, it helps to build more meaningful and deeper relationships with your family, friends, even coworkers, so I definitely think it’s an invaluable skill set to have and just communicating with others and building relationships and I could definitely see it with my kids. I’ve got four kids and you know, they’re in those teenager years, which I think the motivational interviewing skills can definitely help with. That way I’m not always telling my kids what they should or shouldn’t be doing, but I’m using those skills and it helps to just move them along and get them making some own their own decisions more. They don’t feel like I’m telling them what they should

Brad: Love it. Great stuff, Liz. Anything you want to add to that at all?

Liz: Oh yeah, I agree with Serena. Like when you do the training, you think, okay, I’m going to use this in my professional life and I’ll come home and I won’t use it again, and it’s, it’s becomes kind of this interesting dance for you. We’ll be talking with someone and these tools are just so helpful because you know, my husband especially in sales, high pressure, sales job, come home, he’d be frustrated with something and I can just sit down and reflect and ask questions and he feels better. And what’s interesting is he’s read some of the things that I have read for trainings and he started taking some of these things. I’m like, you should really take the training, to make a lot more sense than just reading books that I have. I think it just allows you to communicate more effectively from talking to your husband to managing a condo remodel that’s about two hours away and just using the techniques that I’ve learned. I’ve been able to work with my contractor and other things because it rather than talking at someone, we’re talking together, having a conversation and I just think we can get to a kind of have a common space through that. So it’s invaluable both professionally and personally.

Brad: Very interesting. I didn’t even think about the contractor piece. That’s a great one. All right. So I’ll come back to Serena again, just wellness coaching in general. What are some of your favorite things about wellness coaching? What sparks you? What brightens your eyes when you’re doing wellness coaching?

Serena: Yes. That is a great question. I love being a source of encouragement to clients. I mean, I think that’s my favorite thing about wellness coaching before all my conversations. I try to just sit down and realize that I don’t know the challenges or stresses that a client may be facing that day. So it’s my job to give them 100 percent of my attention, unconditional positive and just keep an open mind when I’m talking to them and then my hope is for them to leave the conversation, just feeling better about themselves and hopefully with an achievable goal that they feel confident and excited that they can achieve.

Brad: Very nice. Liz, what do you, what do you want to add to that?

Liz: I agree. I think anyone that comes into a coaching or personal training or group instructor role wants to, PT or anything like that wants to the core help people. So I love that, you know, life is hard. It’s challenging, you know, we have and we’re very becoming more isolated. We’re on our phones more on tablets more, you know, people are working remotely more and there’s not a lot of connection. You know, I see it in class at people on their iwatches or bringing their phones in and I’m just like, it’s an hour. Like you can let some stuff go because I think people need that connection with someone over the phone or in person. So I love that this still plays to that are, you know, a robot cannot do this job better than a person can right? So I love that this is something that brings people back to connecting with someone else.

Liz: Whether it’s, you know, like I said over the phone or in person and I just think it’s great that we can offer this to people. It’s interesting when you do your first call I’ve had people say, oh, this is a person, a real person. You’re like, oh, and you’re just going to run through a list of questions and I’m like nope it’s a conversation and then they really are excited about it and they’ll end up telling you things that they may not tell their best friend because you’re this objective person on the other line that doesn’t know their whole background. All their friends, all that stuff. They just know the person they’re talking. I think it’s just a, you create a safe space for people to be vulnerable to error what’s going on in their lives and then together work a strategy to make things a little bit easier for them. And then, you know, as a working environment, I love the flexibility, I love the freedom. I think it’s great for someone that wants to set their own hours to have their own kind of work structured life. And I think this coaching position allows you to have that freedom and accessibility that a lot of other jobs sometimes in the fitness industry may not let you have.

Brad: So you made a fascinating comment about, oh, you’re not a robot. The computer technology and wellness has expanded dramatically as you will both of you know very well over the last what, five, six years, but we’re human beings. And what you shared there is so powerful and I think it’s why the wellness coaching profession will continue to grow because as everything else becomes AI oriented or computer generated or some kind of algorithm that tells you that you should do this or this or this. The problem with our health and wellness is not knowing it. It’s not a lack of knowing what we’re supposed to be doing. We pretty much all know that it’s how do I put that into practice in my real life and that’s the power of what you’re doing, so thanks for bringing that up. I hadn’t thought about that before, but that’s powerful. So let’s get into a couple of fun stories here and we want to keep it anonymous. Wellness coaching is confidential, but do you have an encouraging story about the positive impact that maybe you had on their life? You got to see because that to me, that’s one of the best parts of wellness coaching is we get to see and experience this along with the client. Do you have one that you could share with the audience here today?

Serena: Yes. One of my favorite stories to share. I had a client for about almost five years now and when I first started talking to her about five years ago, she claimed that she was overweight and she had a significant amount of weight to lose. She was really struggling to get into an exercise program and stay consistent with it. So I’ve been talking to her, fast forward five years to this past December, um, you know, she went through some ups and downs, had another child, you know, a lot of time had gone by, but last year in December of 2017, she took it upon herself to start a Christmas workout challenge facebook group where she was holding herself and others accountable to working out during the holidays. Then January she started a workout challenge for 2018 where every month she sends stickers and charts for people in the group to track their workouts.

Serena: So it’s really cool to see how she, you know, now is not only holding yourself accountable but also others. Hopefully, you know, I had some little bit of influence in that.

Brad: Wow. Liz, how about you?

Liz: Yeah, mine is more about, it’s interesting when you come from a fitness background, you think, okay, this person wants to start to do an exercise program. You can relate to Serena when you’re like, okay, this is easy. We’ll talk about when you can get outside and run or walk or go to the gym. And uh, so this woman, a lady who was really struggling to find something she enjoyed and we are more inclined to do what we want to do versus what we’re told or have to do right? So like what do you enjoy? And we started brainstorming. She’s like, I really want to try the trapeze.

Liz: I’m like, okay. Never heard that before. So she, you know, we started with, hey, why don’t you look, our goal was just to kind of look at what’s around, what’s available to you, where she lived there’s a couple of places and she ended up doing trapeze and ended up running and started a strength training program. So we’re working with a trainer to build strength all because she started to get into being on a trapeze and then she started doing performances just like within the club that she was in. But it was nothing that I would have ever thought someone would be like, you know what? I’m going to try the trapeze. It’s a little out there. And the fact that through the coaching she, we figured out and she decided this is what’s important to me. This is what I’m interested in, and it launched her entire exercise program and she’s lost weight.

Liz: She’s built strength, she’s motivated her friends. And you would never think that on the first call when you’re talking with someone about, okay, so what does this exercise program look like to you? And kind of being resistant to a couple of the, you know, the typical things that you do and when she said the trapeze and that she just kind of hit the ground running once you started talking and absolutely loved it. So it’s just interesting through coaching and following the different techniques, how you could get to someone’s core why behind their goal. And uh, yeah, she’s been doing great ever since.

Brad: That is so classic, just your comment about. I’d never heard that one before. That’s a highlight that you’re doing something right because if it’s always the same, if I’m always talking people into running or getting on the bike or get to the pool, we’ll then they’re just doing it my way and they’re probably not doing it. But wow. For you to draw something out that unique. That’s super cool. Alright, so our audience is really two different groups of people, so I’m going to ask you about one of them first and we’ll come back to the second group. The first group are those people that are considering this, they somehow found this podcast and they really enjoy health and wellness in general or they’ve had a personal transformation or they see this as something they’d like to do with their life and they’re on the fence and they’re thinking about it. Any advice for that person who’s not currently a coach because that’s our second group is the folks that are already coaches and looking to make their business better, become more effective with what they’re doing. That kind of thing. But for the first group, what advice would you have for those thinking about it in terms of pursuing this wellness coaching certification and pursuing this as a career?

Liz: This is really timely because I just met with a friend for coffee and she’s thinking about getting into this as a career and she very much the same question as what brought you to it. What were you excited about? And I think if you’re considering it, I think that thinking about how this is not going to not only help you professionally, but personally and how useful these tools can be that you learned of how to effectively communicate, getting to the core value, what people are interested in and what they truly want in their lives. And it is about trusting the process and taking a step into maybe an area that maybe it’s something you’re already in the fitness industry and you’re looking to enhance your toolbox and learn more about how to connect with clients and maybe it’s something you’re not in the fitness industry, but you want to help people and your excited about tapping into people’s true passion and how can they turn that passion into actual reality.

Liz: So I think if you’re considering it, not only just how it helps you professionally, but how it builds you as a person, is a huge piece of it too. I’ve been doing this for eight years and I’m always surprised when I meet a friend and they’re going through something and I’m like, wow. I just always think that I have these tools that I can help and work with someone and talk with someone and I mean I can’t say enough great things about the training and the wellness coaching aspect and how you can use all of these facets.

Brad: Serena, how about you?

Serena: I would definitely say it could only help you and it would never hurt you. I would definitely encourage them to explore, you know, what opportunities a wellness coaching certification would give them. I would encourage them to check out the website, of an accredited provider like C atalyst Coaching Institute, just to learn more about the career, read testimonials and just to learn more about the courses that are required and to see if it’s something they can see themselves doing.

Brad: Second Group, are those people that are already coaches, they’re certified, they’ve been through the training. Maybe they’re already board certified as well. What advice would you give for them to enhance their careers? Rebuild that, that passion, that energy. One of the things about wellness coaches is we’re kind of expected to be energetic about what we’re doing and we all go through phases where we’re not so Serena any advice either on enhancing your career or rekindling your fire, if you will.

Serena: So I would definitely encourage on if they’re not board certified to definitely take that national exam, just to add that title after your name and then also just to mindfully consider all opportunities within the health space that come your way. You know, you never know where those opportunities might lead to. Continue just gaining knowledge in all areas in the health and wellness field, especially in the ones that you feel the weakest with. I try to do this by listening to podcasts on health and wellness, reading books, keeping up with continuing education.

Liz: I think if you’re looking to rekindle inspiration because it is, right we’re supposed to be and typically we are very inspired, energetic people and that is what makes us, what makes us gravitate towards wellness coaching. But there are times where you kind of feel, I don’t know if maybe stuck or just kinda like, hey, I feel like I’m kind of saying the same things and I think a great way to Serena’s point is just continuing to gain knowledge through books, through podcasts, through trainings. I’m sitting for the national board exam and it’s been great to have new resources, different ways of hearing thing. So sometimes we hear the same thing but it’s presented in a different way or said in a different way and it hits us in a different way or we kind of understand it in a different way or a deeper level than maybe we had before.

Liz: So I think continuing to I mean just like exercise, right? You know, if you continue to do the same thing as you get the same results and sometimes you just got to shake things up and read some new books or get some new insight on things and you can take that and work through your coaching. And I think too also for anyone that’s looking at building their business is continuing to find ways to gain new experiences. So, you know, a lot of times clients are trying something new or they haven’t done this before and I think if you can kind of put yourself in those positions, you can kind of be empathetic to what they’re going through and you can also support them. So maybe not, hey, I’m going to go sky diving, so I’ve never been before. Maybe not that quite that serious, but more of hey, let’s try this new exercise class I’ve been kind of nervous about but I’m gonna try this. So I want to feel what it feels like to step into the shoes of someone that’s trying to go to the gym for the first time in six years so that you can really be relatable to your coaching clients and what they’re going through.

Brad: So just wrap up. Any closing comments or anything out there you know, who’s listening to this, either future coaches or current coaches? Just anything else that I haven’t asked the right question to give the chance to share that you’d like to share?

Liz: Yeah, I would just encourage anyone listening to, you know, move forward with just learning the wellness coaching skills because like I said earlier, it can only just help their communication with their family, friends and it will also help here in the personal training.

Serena: One thing that I wanted to mention that you know, I’ve been in the industry a long time as a trainer, as an instructor. I currently teach about 11 fitness classes a week. Then do this to compliment that as someone that just turned 40 and is starting to get a little older and my body feels great. I’m in a good space, but I don’t know how much longer I can be in the physical aspects of the fitness industry as far as teaching and those types of things. It is a lot on the body and wellness coaching is a great way for me to stay tapped into the fitness world but not being so impactful in my physical body.

Serena: So it’s a great avenue for me to pursue. You know, as I get older and I want to step a little bit away from being in front of the room and teaching squats and jumping jacks all day to still impacting people, but also taking care of me and my body. So that’s also a huge piece as to why I love the coaching aspect. And also with the Catalyst Coaching Institute, it’s one of the best trainings I’ve ever been through. I’ve been through a lot as a yoga instructor and a fitness instructor and the different modalities that you can pursue and I’ve gained by far more from this than I have through a lot of the other trainings I’ve taught. A lot of times they teach you what to do or here’s what it is and go out and teach it and I feel like the training that CCI presents shows you the tools, tells you here’s the techniques and then it shows you how to do it and walks you through it and then gives you feedback so that you know you’re on the right track and things are going the right way.

Serena: So I can’t say enough good things about the training and every journey starts with that first step and, you know, sometimes you just got to take that first step and the next step and pretty soon you’re in a whole new industry or whole new facet of your industry.

Brad: All right, well that brings us to the conclusion of another episode of the Catalyst Health and wellness coaching podcast. Hope you enjoyed it. Thank you. As always, you’re spreading this thing. We’re seeing people pop up in Asia and Australia and Central America and Europe and more and more and more states here in the US where people are listening and we’re like, how did they find this? But it’s you. I mean we send out emails here and there and we’ll do a facebook post once in a while, but it’s really because you’re telling people so. So thank you. Really appreciate it. There’s so many podcasts out there. You’ve got so many options. I appreciate you taking the time. As always, there are a lot of supplementary resources available at, different special reports and that kind of thing and reach out anytime we’re here. The email is and use that for questions you have or you can’t find something you’re looking for or we’re getting more and more suggestions of future podcast ideas. Love that, so keep that up, but thanks for joining us. It means a lot and I just want you to know we appreciate it. I’ll talk to you soon. On the next episode of the Catalyst Health and wellness coaching podcast.