This page is dedicated solely to my educational journey with regards to nutrition, training and subsequent weight loss and wellness career. I often dedicate posts and youtube videos to my loyal followers and this is dedicated to YOU Kimberly DuCheny!! I’m so so proud of you!! Kimberly had asked me about the different certifications and education I personally have and would recommend to her, because she wants to pursue a career in the weight loss/fitness industry. So I’m going to explain my personal story and what I recommend, if you’re interested in perusing a career in weight loss/fitness. So here goes. (I hope you like it Kim!! <3 )
There are a lot of shady people on the internet and it’s been a mission of mine to NOT be one of them. So here’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I started learning about the human body and health when I was 19. I was pre-med my freshman year of college. I always wanted to be a doctor after experiencing multiple (scary!) health issues. (I was born with a partially developed digestive system and often experienced malnutrition until I was 5… I had Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW) and at 15 years old had emergency mandatory heart surgery as there was a 33% chance I could drop dead every day… the medications left me with a weakened immune system which left me susceptible to illnesses and depression… which lead me to become an emotional eater and struggle with weight… which I explain on my About page and YouTube videos. Plus, I’m allergic to a LOTTTTT of foods and chemicals, and was in a car accident that herniated 2 discs in my spine. I absolutely cannot eat/exercise like everyone else.)
I only share my personal medical history with you because it made me passionate… and if you’re going to make it in any business… especially the weight loss/fitness business you need a LOT OF PASSION. (If you struggle to get motivated to workout… it’s going to be a LOT harder to wake up at 4am to meet your first client at 5am, ya feel me?)
After asking other Doctor’s about their opinion (about being a doctor) most often expressed regret about not choosing another path, as they they work long, thankless hours, and graduated in (a ton of) debt. Honestly, I was like yeahhhhhh that sounds awful and my chemistry classes were brutal… So my sophomore year, I switched majors to Finance and Real Estate. I continued to take medical-related classes as my pre-reqs (to figure out more about my personal issues) and even kept my biology and anatomy books for the past 11 years as a souvenir. *1 – pictured below*
I do NOT have a degree in nutrition or physical exercise. (Degrees are great, but legally you do not need a degree to help people reach their weight loss and wellness goals – I talk about this more a little later) I DO have 2 Bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Real Estate and invested the entire time I was in school… But by the time I graduated college (2005) the real estate and financial markets collapsed. (Now what??!?!?!?!) I couldn’t find any joy in my chosen career path. The only place I seemed to find joy was in the gym but I was soooooo frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get the results I wanted. (I have an inclination towards emotional eating and had been eating my feelings and my money vanished… and I had weight to lose but the friggin scale wouldn’t budge – I made a YouTube video about this)
I started reading books – dozens and dozens – about nutrition, training, the metabolism, food, hormones… literally anything I could find that was written by a reputable doctor or professor. *some of my faves pictured below – 7* Please note, at the time, the internet really wasn’t a viable source for information with regards to weight loss and social media didn’t exist yet(!!!) Like, my phone wasn’t capable of texting pictures…
I was working as a financial analyst for an intensive care unit at the time, and had access to the nurse’s continuing education training courses and would often attend. The lectures were like mini TED Talks hosted by doctors, neurologists, dietitians, and psychologists. This is where is started learning how anatomy, hormones, brain function, food, supplementation all work together and affect physical health and appearance. This is also where I discovered neutrogenomics and epigenetics…. which is the science behind how different macro and micronutrients can be used to manipulate hormonal responses and provoke changes in health and appearance at a cellular level. This is also how I learned about different body types and how different body types have their own unique metabolic reactions to different macro and micro nutrients… and how everyone’s body shape is determined by their muscle fiber densities and how those fibers are distributed throughout the body. This is also the same time I started earning certifications… I didn’t want to go back to school because I no longer had (or qualified for) my scholarship. Plus, I didn’t want to graduate in more debt (my money and credit were JACKED UP from losing my a$$ in my real estate investments)…
Every time I applied what I learned I experienced (virtually immediate!) noticeable changes in my health, energy, appearance, fat loss, water retention, PMS, mood, hair/skin/nails… sometimes changes would happen overnight… sometimes, it’d take a few days… sometimes weeks. I was able to lose 35 pounds and was looking better than ever. People started asking me what my secret was and I started working with people one-on-one. (By this time I was a certified aerobics instructor, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist) I’d get people crazy fast results, too, improving their health, physical appearance anddddd getting the number on the scale to drop fast, but in a safe way. This is also how my offline business took off. (If you give good service – and get people real results – and they feel good AND look good, they tell everyone they know. So if, you’re going to pursue a weight loss career ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS hook your clients up and be kind and loving, and they will become walking talking billboards. Half of my client’s became my friends and I truly love and care about them.) Even though I was certified and working, I was all out obsessed about learning about the BEST sources of nutrients needed to modify health, metabolism, and provoke fat loss and muscle growth. (organic, GMO-free, primarily plant based, proteins from organic, sustainable sources, etc.) Again, the internet wasn’t really a viable source for reputable information… a lot of blogs I’d find were pure garbage, written by internet marketers pushing scammy products… this is also when apps became a thing. *pictured below – 6 & 7*
While I have earned 7 certifications in the past 10, only 4 are currently active. *pictured below – 4/5* For example, my aerobics instructing certification from AFAA has been expired for about 7 years because I don’t teach aerobics classes and some of AFAA’s continuing education credits don’t translate into my other certs that come from different companies… and continuing education courses can get pretty expensive and time consuming. (Keep that in mind if you pursue a career in this. Even though I went the ‘cheap’ route and avoided pursuing more degrees, I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars of my education, certs and CEC’s) Plus, I still continue to attend continuing education courses for doctors… which is pretty time consuming (and expensive) and those credit hours don’t count towards my other certifications.
I currently have my Personal Training and Weight Loss and Wellness certifications through ACE and I have a Sports Nutrition certification through ISSA. (*pictured below 4 & 5) * (I LOVE LOVE LOVE both ACE and ISSA and highly recommend them if you’re interested in going the certification route. I found their testing processes and certification renewal process fit in perfectly with my very busy lifestyle.) Legally, that’s all I’m required to have active and current (in addition to my CPR cert *pictured 3*) to call myself a ‘nutritionist’ and ‘trainer’ and do what I do online AND train my in-person clients one-on-one. But, I like to think of myself as your coach and biggest cheerleader. (I work with people in a way I would have wanted to be worked with when I got started. No hype. No BS or gimmicks. No shame or shade. No saying NO EXCUSES when I couldn’t do a workout… even though it would have killed my spine/back injuries and/or heart. I only give loving guidance based on proven scientific strategies that REALLY WORK! And I always make sure I teach my gals in an empowering, easy-to-understand and actionable way. I don’t do obsessive calorie and macro counting. I use simple terms like this is what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. When to exercise, what exercises to do, how to do them…. Honestly, if I used the technical (latin/scientific) hard-to-pronounce terms to explain it all, you’d probably fall asleep. I still can’t say half of them right… they’re like acai x’s 10.)
Any who…. all of the above has taken place over the past decade. I still continue to learn new, exciting things that I’m passionate about and think could help people I work with. I find psychology and behavior modification fascinating and have mastered a lot of techniques that help with self-control to personally overcome my emotional/binge eating. (Honestly, it’s a lotttttt easier to stay in control when your hormones are balanced… the behavior mod tools can’t really do much when you have hormones affecting your mood/motivation/hunger and cravings) I also find that a lot of mind body techniques helpful. The most current certification I’ve earned was as a Reiki practitioner. (*pictured – 6*) (I reallllly like that kind of stuff.)
So what should you do? Step 1… make sure you have passion. My 10-year (ongoing, never-going-to-end) journey to get better and help others – never would have happened without passion. (I will always continue to learn, because things change as you get older. Not just your age, but your hormones, priorities, personal preferences, lifestyle, goals, muscle mass, etc.)
As long as you have passion, you have LOTS of options. You could earn a degree from accredited 4-year university…. and then pursue certification(s), license(s) or registration(s) in accordance to your state’s laws and requirements. (What you need, depends on if you want to work in person or online and if you want to be able to submit claims, charging insurance companies.) You could earn a degree by attending a school online. The Integrative School of Nutrition is a good one, with regards to nutrition. (While, I haven’t personally ‘attended’ it, I’ve studied their curriculum and love love love everything they teach. Although I already know what they teach, I recommend it because I have several friends that have and they loved it.) You could always earn certifications specific to the niche(s) that you’re interested in. (aerobics instructor, personal trainer, yoga instructor, weight loss and wellness coach, etc.) If you’re not sure, I’d suggest dedicating some time to low/no-cost resources and see if they jazz you up enough to pursue investing your time and money into your education/self.
I recommend the following books. *pictured below – 7* I have personally read them all (several times) and found them interesting, educational and inspiring. Heads up some are easier reads than others… especially the ones written by PhD’s. 😉 The gray blue book is called “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” by doctor Deepak Chopra. *pictured below – 8* It’s a good one! So is The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle. (not pictured)
Documentaries are also a great way to learn (a lot). You can easily find the following by searching for the following titles online/YouTube and Netflix.
If anything I hope this helped you understand more about who I am, my commitment to YOU and the story behind my education and how my personal fact-finding mission turned into a full blown career. (I am still mind-blown by how all of the above has allowed me to work with women all around the world.) I also hope this helped you get an idea of your options with regards to pursuing your own career in the weight loss/fitness/health industry.
Your Coach and Biggest Cheerleader