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    Top 10 Most Useful Articles for Health & Wellness Professionals

    Over the course of 2020, AFPA published over 100 original articles; 10 downloadable e-books and guides; and shared hundreds of summaries of cutting-edge health, nutrition, and fitness research publications through our newsletter and blog.

    Through sharing freely available digital content, we aim to support the work and businesses of health and wellness coaches everywhere. In 2020, our content focused on: 

    • Providing information on nuanced approaches to supporting behavior change
    • Sharing practical, proven tips for managing and growing your coaching business
    • Giving you resources to help support your clients with the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Grounding research on chronic conditions and health systems so that coaches can apply the knowledge in their profession
    • Integrating mental health, body-positive, and diversity awareness into the content.

    In this article, we’ve chosen 10 of the best articles and resources from 2020 for you to review, download, share, and save for

    10 Best Health Coaching Resources of the Year

    Lessons the Year 2020 Has Taught the Health and Wellness Industry

    This article, divided into Part 1 and Part 2, is rooted in a reflection of the multitude of significant events of 2020 and transforms the reflections into lessons for the health and wellness industry.

    Rather than focusing on passing lessons like what we learned about specific dietary regimens or the benefits of the specific foods, this article focuses on lessons which, if we learn from them as an industry, could help guide programming and policy for more effective, holistic, and more equitable approaches to health.

    As the two-part article shares the seven lessons 2020 has left the health and wellness industries, it ends each lesson in concrete actions that health and wellness coaches can make to apply the lessons in their practice, with their clients, and in their communities.

    Some of the lessons you’ll read about include how:

    • Health Crises Impact ‘Normal’ Lifestyle and Wellness Behaviors
    • Systemic Injustice Continues to Be at the Root of Many Health Problems
    • A Wellness Focus Has Proven to be Just as Important as Physical Health
    • Well-Designed Online Health Services Help Keep People Healthy, Active, and Safe
    • Current Food Systems Put the Population at Risk of Food Insecurity

    Click here to start reading Lessons the Year 2020 Has Taught the Health and Wellness Industry.

    10 Strategies for Keeping Your Health and Wellness Knowledge Up-to-Date

    As a health professional, keeping your knowledge up-to-date is more important than ever. In the hustle and bustle of running a business, however, it can be difficult to keep up with the most recent scientific publications and food and health trends and understand current debates.

    This article suggests ten concrete strategies for keeping your health and wellness knowledge current in a way that is realistic for your lifestyle. Rather than using this list as a to-do list, we encourage you to identify which strategies can help fill your current knowledge gaps and go from there. As your knowledge needs change, take another look at this resource and adapt your continued education strategy.

    Best of all, the main takeaways are summarized in an easy-to-read infographic, which you can print out or save for easy reference.

    Read 10 Strategies for Keeping Your Health and Wellness Knowledge Up-to-Date.

    Health Behavior Science and Why It’s Important for Health Coaches

    Do you need a refresher on understanding why people make certain lifestyle choices? This article is a great place to start.

    The article reminds coaches that health behaviors aren’t as simple as learning what is best for your health and choosing to put that knowledge into action. Instead, they result from a complex process of decisions, habits, mental state, social support, trauma, experiences with discrimination, and access to health care, among many others.

    If you wonder why your clients are making certain choices or are looking for tips for how to improve your coaching plan to reflect health behavior science, take a few minutes to read Health Behavior Science and Why It’s Important for Health Coaches.

    If you want to take your knowledge about health behavior change strategies a step further, we suggest you read Behavior Change vs. Mindset Change: Using Design Thinking to Develop Healthy Habits That Stick.

    Tips for Adapting to Working Remotely With Clients

    While several industries had seen a growing demand for digital services, the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing orders accelerated the need to find ways to work and socialize remotely.

    The health coaching industry was no exception. In 2019, digital coaching services were sometimes an added value to the business model. A year later, digital coaching services became a necessity for you to offer your services safely to your clients. 

    This article provides six concrete tips for adapting to working with your clients in a remote fashion. The tips aren’t only for coaches who are taking their business online for the first time; the article also offers great ideas and suggestions for coaches who may have offered their services digitally already but whose work environment has changed.

    What to Look Out For Before Taking (or Recommending) a Supplement

    In the US alone, the health supplement industry was worth $3.4 billion in 2020. Supplements have become ubiquitous in many health and fitness circles. As a result, it is common for health and nutrition coaches to have to know what different supplements do and ultimately decide if they want to recommend them to their clients.

    This article provides an in-depth overview of things you should think about before recommending a supplement or even taking a supplement yourself. It reminds you that there is an enormous variety of supplement types, and there is also variation regarding their safety for different individuals.

    Ultimately, the article invites you to think critically about your and your clients’ nutrition and overall health and to be intentional about doing the research on active ingredients and brands before offering advice.

    Open and bookmark this page for the next time a client asks you a question about a supplement.

    Six Principles to Follow to Build an Immune-Boosting Exercise Routine

    Does exercise weaken the immune system? Or does it strengthen the immune system? The answer isn’t as clear cut as many people might think. Whether exercise contributes to immune health depends on several factors like the routine, current health status, and individual fitness.

    This article sifts through the research to explain how exercise impacts the immune system, and it lays out six basic principles you should follow as a fitness coach when building a fitness routine with your client.

    The article also includes some straight-forward graphics you can print out and use to explain to clients how fitness routines can affect their immune response.

    You can check out the article here.

    Know Your Worth: How to Confidently Set Your Coaching Rates

    Setting your rates and program prices can be extremely tricky in the coaching business. When you provide a service, the rates need to cover your income in addition to operating costs and some cushion for expanding your services. Because there are so many factors to consider when calculating your rates, it is not uncommon for coaches to undervalue their services and even lose money.

    This article offers a clear-cut method for calculating your coaching rates that considers your niche market, your goals, your business environment, and your service offerings.

    To make the most of this article, we recommend you open up an excel sheet or take out a good old fashioned piece of paper to actually calculate a realistic rate that reflects your value.

    By the end of the exercise, you’ll be able to confidently know what you should be charging for your service offerings.

    Read Know Your Worth: How to Confidently Set Your Coaching Rates.

    How to Make Healthy Food Delicious

    This article made this list for two main reasons:

    First, it provides concrete suggestions for nutrition-filled snacks for both salty and sweet cravings.

    Second, the article takes a critical look at the definitions of “healthy food” and “junk food.” Over the past several decades, with the rise of diet culture, people have placed a moral value on different foods. In reality, however, food is just food; it is how we interact with foods in terms of frequency and quantity that affects our health.

    So, to clear up the confusion, this article turns to the research to take a critical look at what we define as junk food, and instead uses the more accurate term “ultra-processed foods (UPF)” to describe foods we should generally eat less of, and provides concrete suggestions of nutrient-rich foods that will enrich the diet.

    Nutrition Practice Laws: How Can I Practice in My State?

    Not long ago, AFPA published a complete guide that summarizes nutrition practice laws by state. It outlined the basic types of state laws, key terms, exemptions, and cautions. It also included a comprehensive chart that summarized the laws by state.

    To get that information to more nutrition professionals, AFPA published an article with a summary infographic that is easy on the eyes and some of the most referenced details about state laws for easy reference. From knowing what title you can use with your certification to seeing which states require a license to provide nutrition services, you can use the infographic for a quick answer to the questions you might have as you build and expand your nutrition coaching business.

    Coach Resource: Comparing 10 Plant-Based Protein Supplements

    This article was one of the most viewed of the year, and we have a pretty good idea as to why. Not only does it include clear information about protein requirements while on a plant-based diet, but it also provides a thorough comparison of plant-based protein supplements.

    Best of all, it includes a free, downloadable PDF for coaches who have determined their clients may benefit from plant-based protein supplements.

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