The Problems with Health Coaches

Have you ever thought about working with a Health Coach?  Perhaps you are afraid that their expectations will be too high?  Do you have doubts running through your mind like – I don’t have time, or what if they ask me to start training at 5am or worse run a marathon?

Working with a personalised Health Coach sounds idyllic, someone that will solve all your weight loss, muscle mass, body shape, willpower dramas, and above all your confidence issues overnight – it sounds like the magic pill you’ve been waiting for!

But the nagging doubt still persists: what if… they are too demanding, too bossy, shouty, rude, too early, too late, too fit, too athletic, or simply just too annoying!  I’ve heard these concerns and more.

Over the years that I have been practising as a Health Coach, I’ve heard all these concerns and lots, lots more which is why I decided to write this blog post, to outline all the issues so you can make the informed decision whether working a Health Coach is right for you.

This blog post will outline some of the issues that working with a Health Coach will bring up for you and exactly what a Health Coach can do and can’t do to help you on your health journey.

The problems with Health Coaches.

Health Coaches can be a little overzealous, they are already fit, they already have their meals prepped, their life organised, shoes tied and ready to go…….

Health Coaches are ready for action.  Whereas most ‘normal’ people just aren’t all those things. They can’t find their shoes let alone have them tied up and ready to go!

You know you are supposed to have your workout gear ready, besides your bed, so you can jump out of bed at 5:30am, put on your running outfit, and go for a run before your morning shower, but who actually does that?

Oh yeah… a Health Coach.

The number one reason clients are put off working with me – and other Health Coaches – is that it all looks and feels unobtainable.

But there are other reasons… lots of other reasons, here are a few I’ve heard….let me know which ones you agree with, and feel free to add your own in the comments at the bottom of the blog.

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1. Health Coaches are too zen!

There is too much ‘woo woo’ – stuff that doesn’t make sense in the normal world of business and commerce.  Neuro – what – plasticity!

I have to admit it is daunting as I experienced when I attended my first Indian yoga retreat  – it all looked a little hardcore and my lululemon outfit looked a little out of place.  “Pilates isn’t Yoga you know!”

But I persisted and I learned to appreciate my own strengths and limitations and know that not everyone can freestyle handstand while chanting Deepak Chopra’s latest meditation.  I did learn that being realistic about what you can, and want to do, is very empowering and freeing.

2. Health Coaches are too complicated

Another huge concern that people have with Health Coaches is that they feel that they want you to work out how many calories and the macro balance in a ham sandwich!

Eating right consists of complicated maths equations.

3. Health Coaches make too many demands

With a busy lifestyle and time deadlines going ping all day long, including the weekend, you don’t have time to add in extra workouts, prep meals, or practising the splits!

If you are confused about the difference between a Health Coach and a personal trainer, read my blog click here What is the difference between a Personal Trainer and a Health Coach?

4. Health Coaches have unrealistic expectations

Another misinterpretation:

“I can’t do the splits! and I’m not sure I see the value of doing the splits and I don’t want to do the splits, but my Health Coach has told me I need to perfect them before Friday.

But I like wine on Friday!”

5. Hear in their tone of voice they are frustrated with me

It’s heartbreaking, you’ve done all the hard work, you’ve practised and practised the splits, your meditation mantra, your athletic prowess, you’ve prepped and tried your best and your Health coach is still annoyed that you ate the cucumber on Thursday!


Prefer Video? Watch My Video on The Problem with Health Coaches


6. It is all about salad

Eating salad day and night doesn’t work for me.  And yet a Health Coach will insist that is the only route to great health – salad munching in a loincloth!

7.Inspirational Health Coaches are either too young, too muscular, or out of touch with normal women

Instagram FOMO – Instagram pictures glorify the before and after photos and you can’t help but compare and contrast your own life. The ‘after’ photos are so unrealistic that most admirers simply give up.

8. Working with a Health Coach is way too expensive for me

This is another big issue for most clients which is why I’ve outlined the costs you can expect in my blog post read here How much do health coaches charge?

By the way, if you are looking for a quick weight loss app – I recently reviewed Noom the psychology-driven weight loss app

> click here to read more Does Noom App Work?

Bearing in mind all the concerns that you may have with working with a Health Coach, why would you start a journey with one?

Let’s start at the beginning and break the process down, so it feels more obtainable, realistic, and actionable for you.

Who are Health Coaches for?

Although it sounds daunting you will find a Health Coach that resonates with you. It is like finding an accountant, a mechanic, a trusted friend. There is a Health Coach that will suit your requirements, you simply need the time and headspace to look for the perfect accountability hero that will guide and support you.

A Health Coach will help you with a variety of health issues, including weight loss, stress reduction,  improving your diet, increasing your exercise, changing addictive behaviours,  adjusting to a life-altering event like a heart attack/stroke, or the management of chronic medical health conditions.

Health Coaches are for you if you are looking for:

  • the motivation that supports and works to improve your mental health and wellbeing
  • the confidence to choose the right nutrition for body shape and type
  • experience in finding a ‘movement’ solution that will fit your lifestyle
  • health problems that currently feel unsolvable – rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety.

What can’t Health Coaches do?

However skilled (or bossy) a Health Coach is they will not be able to get you started if you don’t have a vision. If you don’t believe in yourself or have a purpose then they’ll never work for you. You will not gain the rewards that you deserve.

Paying lip service and just going through the motions without attaching a personal commitment to your goals means you will fail. So forget it, pick up the biscuit and come back when you are ready.

Nobody wants to get up at 5am – I’ve read Hal Elords Miracle Morning – I tried it.  I got a banging headache and went back to bed a couple of hours later. You don’t need to get up at stupid o’clock but you do need to get up!

Unless you are Oprah nobody is going to turn up at 7am to get you going, a Health Coach can’t set your morning alarm. But a Health Coach can ask nurturing and consultative questions to get to the bottom of your resistance but they can’t overcome the resistance for you.  That power comes from you!

Some things health coaches do that I don’t agree with

Shouting ‘no pain no gain’

I often reframe words like ‘pain’ to ‘progress’ from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I’m trying’ but no pain no game is archaic.

My background is decades of biomechanics – postural alignment, correcting posture, and body awareness whilst exercising to prevent injury.  No pain no gain, means you are working through pain which will lead to injury.

Work hard, and improve but only in 5-10% increments.  It isn’t your body or your muscles that will give up first it is your willpower, motivation and if you want the dramatic response it is your ligaments, tendons and confidence will snap! And these take a lot longer to repair.

Whilst out running a few weeks ago I shouted across to a friend:

“Are you still working out, going to the gym?” 

Her response:
“No, I’m injured because I’m too old!

She explained:

“whilst I was working with a young PT the weights he gave me broke me!

– I’m now paying a physio £50 a week to fix me”

INSERT reality check: this is a true anecdote.

The true issue in this example is not age, it is simply too much too soon. It would happen at any age when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone – the no pain no gain doesn’t pay off. You break!

How does the coaching process work?

The coaching process is similar to talk therapy in that it involves two people discussing ideas and issues, the Health Coach is proactive and will help to create your goals as well as the strategies on how you need to arrive at these goals. There is an overlap between what a Health Coach does and what a life coach does, but a Health Coach works on the big deep dive into your motivations, your individuality, your subconscious coding as well as your nutrition, physical wellbeing and mental health.

How to get started

Start your journey click here to reset your mind and detox your body and create that transformation change, using nutrition, mindful exercise and personal coaching and become the best version of you.


Gorgeous is your journey of discovery

PS. discover the next stage of your journey  – click here to reset your mind and detox your body

Find out what other clients have to say…

Join my next Pilates retreat day 

Join us for some Spanish warmth, Pilates exercises and time to relax, unwind and consider your next steps for you.  A healthy and relaxing week combining powerful tools to help you relax, release stress. How often do you have the chance to step back from your day and … breathe?

Next Wellness retreat to Greece, with daily Pilates in the Greek sun click here



Sarah McIlveen Business Owner - Consumer Brand Marketer Gorgeous Pilates Retreat 11th February 2019


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