How to Become a Health Coach


I’m often asked about where I studied nutrition and how I became a health coach, and I absolutely love sharing about this topic! I’m so grateful to have studied at such amazing schools, and I want everyone else who is interested in working in wellness to have an amazing time studying as well.

I completed my Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell, and my Health Coaching Certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I learned so much from both of these programs, and they’ve had an enormously positive influence on my life and the lives of those around me. While studying, I was able to transform my health, and be a source of information and a positive example for my loved ones as well. I am so grateful to now be sharing my wellness knowledge through my coaching practice, and to be supporting my clients as they transform their lives.

If you’ve been thinking about studying nutrition and becoming a health coach, I highly recommend looking into both Cornell and IIN. These schools will prepare you for a successful and fulfilling career in health and wellness. You’ll be equipped with all of the knowledge, resources, and experience you need to support your clients as they make transformations of a lifetime.

I loved this program because it gave me an in-depth understanding of the science behind the plant-based diet. It’s extremely unique because the program content is 100% focused in plant-based nutrition. It’s based on Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s research, and also features the research and perspectives of 20 other plant-based experts. The course consists of video lectures, and interactive assignments and discussion questions. It’s entirely online, which is great because it makes it extremely flexible.

If you’re interested in learning about plant-based nutrition, and you think that this program might be right for you, I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives and reading The China Study. These resources are a good introduction to the content you will learn in the Cornell Plant-Based Nutrition program. You can learn more about the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification program’s syllabus and structure on Cornell’s website.

Once I completed Cornell’s program, I had a great understanding of the science behind the plant-based diet, but I wanted to learn more about how to implement this research into people’s lives and how to help people build sustainable healthy lifestyle habits. I was realizing more and more how connected our diet and lifestyles are, and how all areas of our lives work together to create our overall state of wellbeing. This led me to studying at IIN, which is an online school health coaching school that is based in New York.

I was extremely drawn to the IIN because of the two main principles the school teaches:
1. Bio-individuality:
Bio-individuality means that everyone different needs. When I heard about this concept, it really resonated with me. As I got more and more into the wellness world, I was realizing that so many different and conflicting dietary theories and regimens exist. I was finding that people often feel bad about themselves when these strict regimens don’t work for their unique bodies. At IIN, we learned about over 100 different dietary theories, and we learned how to empower our clients to listen to their own bodies and create a diet and lifestyle that works for their individual needs. Our bodies are smart! We have to listen to what they are telling us. Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of IIN, would always say “given half a chance, the body will heal itself by itself”.

2. Primary food and secondary food:
At IIN, the actual actual food you eat is called Secondary Food, and non-food forms of nourishment are called Primary Food (e.g. your physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality). We would always be reminded that you can eat all the kale in the world, but if you’re experiencing an imbalance in your Primary Food, you’re not going to thrive. IIN teaches its students how to help their clients navigate cravings mindfully and how to improve their relationship with food by looking at a holistic picture of their life. IIN’s Circle of Life tool is extremely helpful for getting a clear picture of any lifestyle imbalances that you may have.   

Another reason why I loved studying at IIN was that it has such a strong community. I met some of my closest life-long friends through IIN. Each IIN cohort has a Facebook group where students can interact. It’s suggested that you practice your coaching skills with your classmates through accountability coaching. This is not a mandatory part of the program, but I highly suggest taking advantage of the opportunity to connect. It’s such a great way to build amazing relationships. In addition to finding accountability buddies, I also suggest reaching out to as many people as possible on your Facebook to simply say hello. You never know who you’ll meet! And IIN is international, so it’s so fun to make friends all over the world. There is also a live IIN conference every year, and students and grads come from all over the world to attend. Last year the conference was in Miami, and It was absolutely magical to connect with my classmates in person.

If you feel drawn to IIN, be sure to check out these free resources to learn more about the school:
• IIN Sample Class
• IIN eBook Exceprt
IIN Curriculum Guide
• IIN Curriculum Syllabus

Since I am a proud Ambassador for IIN, the people that I refer to the program are often given tuition discounts and extra freebies. The discount given changes throughout the year, but it can be up to $1,500! Be sure to mention my name, Alessandra Savoia, when you sign up to take advantage of the discount.

And if you’ve been thinking about studying nutrition and holistic wellness… what are you waiting for?! If you’ve read up to here, it’s likely that you’re interested in becoming a health coach. It’s also likely that you’re already a “health freak” like me… you’re always reading wellness blogs, trying different recipes, and going to yoga classes and meditation workshops; you get overly excited about going to Whole Foods and the local farmers’ market; and you’re always talking to your friends and family about personal development, mindset tips, and new fitness routines. If that sounds like you, it’s time to take your journey to the next step, and learn the information, systems, tips, and tools that successful health coaches use to build their dream careers and to transform the lives of those they work with!

If you have any questions about studying nutrition and becoming a health coach, please feel free to ask in the comments below. You can also email me at or reach out to me on Instagram!

I’m excited to hear from you!

Lots of love,