Meet Allie.

Allie Mason is the founder of The Health Mason, a
website aimed at empowering women to live healthier, more nutritious, and well-balanced lives. Allie is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, blogger, and recipe developer, who believes that eating "clean" doesn't need to be difficult or depriving. It is all about balance. Her passion for health and wellness fuels her drive to find simple solutions to eating well, and live a life based on holistic foundations.

My Health Coaching Program Experience [IIN]

My Health Coaching Program Experience [IIN]

Hi guys! I hope everyone is doing well!! Who else is ready for Spring?? I know I'm ready for warmer temps! 

I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now, because I am frequently asked what my thoughts were on my health coaching program, where I received my certification, etc. I want to preface this post by saying these thoughts are completely my own. This is just MY opinion on my program, and everyone's experience is different. Some people find the program to be totally beneficial, other people I know have not. It's all about what you want to get out of the program, and how invested you are in it. That being said, I hope this post helps you if you're debating signing up for IIN.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, in 2016 I signed up for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching program.  I had heard about this program through a friend who completed it, and thought it could be an interesting way to further my nutrition knowledge. I had recently graduated from college when I first was made aware of the program, but didn't ultimately sign up until a year later. 

I've compiled some thoughts that include pros, cons, and what I wish I knew before starting IIN. I feel like this is the best way to organize my thoughts regarding the program. There were things I liked about it, and things I didn't like, which I think is normal of ANY experience. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.  

Pros: My overall opinion of the program was this: if you are looking for a basic and beginner course in general nutrition knowledge, this program is for you. You cover SEVERAL dietary theories, methods, and viewpoints which give you a high-level overview of each. The modules are not overly complicated, which makes learning so many theories a bit more manageable. 

The second pro is the fact that you're able to work at a leisurely pace. Besides the 4 exams you have to complete, "Health Histories", as well as the 6 "Coaching Circles", IIN lets you complete the modules at a speed that works for you. Some of the modules were MUCH longer, which would take me about 4-5 days to complete, whereas others would only take me 1-2 days. 

If I remember correctly, the only things that were graded were the exams. The Coaching Circles and Health Histories were required for graduation, but they were more of a participation grade. If the idea of numerical grades stresses you out as much as it did for me, then you'll like this aspect of IIN. Additionally, each exam was open book (since it's an online course) and you're given TWO attempts to pass. This was a little funny to me, but I did take advantage of that to get a higher score the second time. 

I'd say the final pro is the fact that you can access your IIN dashboard anytime. Even after graduation. The modules are always open and you can revisit any document whenever you'd like. This would be really helpful if you are health coaching full-time, because you can print health history documents that they provide. The fact that it is a virtual program makes it very manageable, which was great for me since I had a full-time desk job at the time!

Cons: My biggest con of the program was how limited the nutrition section was. I understand that it is a health coaching program and they want to focus on how to be a good health coach/business person, but I wanted more nutrition info. The first half of the program focuses on nutrition, while the second half is pretty much all about growing your health coaching business. Unlucky for me, I realized shortly into the yearlong program that I did not want health coaching to be my primary focus. Of course, it was great to have the business insight as to how to grow my practice (if I had one), but I wanted more. I typically describe IIN as a beginner course in nutrition. "Nutrition Theories 101" if you will. Don't do this program if you want to be well versed in nutrition concepts. 

My second biggest con is the fact that IIN founder, Joshua Rosenthal, is not a nutrition expert at all. His experience is not in nutrition science, but rather psychology. I wish I read THIS article about him before starting IIN. I also disliked the fact that he was the primary lecturer. It's like having a teacher you realllllly don't like or take seriously, for a year. Personal problem I guess, but he just bugged me. 

Lastly, I'd say my final con is the fact that literally ANYONE can and will (likely) be accepted into the program. When I realized how simple the application process was, it kinda lost it's appeal (but I still did it anyway...lol). It felt like they accepted me for my money, which is FINE, but there was no standard for what they accept with their students. They do say that no prior nutrition knowledge is required, which also ties into why it felt like a beginner course. 

What I wish I knew before: At the end of the day, this program just gives you a certification after a year. You do not get a degree or a distinction other than "Certified" Health Coach. I suppose I wasn't fully aware of this fact before signing up for the course. 

Something else I'd like to note, they are pretty generous at handing out grants and program discounts. If you're in touch with a customer service rep, they usually will let you know when they are going to have holiday sales (seriously, I think they offered a sale every other month). I also was offered a grant when I signed up. I took SO long to decide whether or not I was going to do the program, that they offered me $1,400 off my registration fee. Basically their way of roping you in, which clearly worked for me! I'd say, if you're going to do the program, DEFINITELY wait until they have a promotional discount running. 

Bottomline: If I had the chance to do IIN again, I would not. I don't think it gave me any additional nutrition knowledge than what I knew before/had learned in my own research. I wish I had spent more money to get a degree in nutrition through an accredited university. However, it is important to note that IIN can be a great place to start if you're new to the world of health and nutrition and just want more info. Several noteworthy people in the health and wellness industry have completed the program, which was what I think initially pulled me in. 

IIN is also an excellent program if you want to be a health coach. As I mentioned above, I learned that I didn't want to be a full-time health coach while completing the program. I also don't think you need to complete this program to consider yourself a "health coach", but I understand why some people want the certification. 

I hope this post helped you. Please reach out via the comments below with any questions or concerns you have!  

Here are some other articles and videos I've found that offer a similar perspective to mine. You may sense a theme here, but I think having LOTS of opinions is GREAT before making your decision. 1, 2, 3, 4

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