I receive this question all the time––“Should I study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition”? Like any education program this one has its strengths and weaknesses, lovers and haters, success stories and fails. Today I’m going to share with you my own experience with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), where I received my health coach training in 2012. I hope this is helpful for you if you’ve considered enrolling to further your career, start a new one, or for personal enrichment.
I would also love to hear from those of you who have already done the program; what was your experience? Let’s get that convo going in the comment section below.
FULL DISCLOSURE: After completing the program I became an “ambassador” or affiliate. That means that I receive a monetary reward when people I recommend (via this blog or in-person) enroll at IIN. If you do want to enroll and to use me as a referral, here’s a link you can use to save $$. Still, my experience below does include both goods and bads, so take that into consideration before making your decision 😉
Now, on to my IIN review!
WAS IIN WORTH THE TIME AND MONEY?
I can honestly say it was worth it. I learned a lot about nutrition and business, met wonderful people, expanded my career possibilities, and gained confidence in myself. Now I have a successful career as a vegan culinary and nutrition expert. My career has given me the opportunity to work with clients around the world, and given me the flexibility to travel and enjoy my life. I love that by following my passion I am helping and inspiring others; I see growth and expansion in my future, and that inspires me to continue pursuing my dreams.
I didn’t get a thorough scientific nutrition education at IIN, and I am not a nutritionist. But I didn’t want to become a nutritionist. I wanted to deepen my understanding of how food affects our overall health, so I could apply it to my business as a personal chef and blogger.
Though I didn’t go into the program thinking I would use my “health coach” certification professionally, I quickly realized how valuable people like me can be to society. I don’t think you need to go to a nutritionist to learn how to eat a healthier diet, or to lose weight. I also learned, from IIN and another program that I completed and adored––Holistic MBA––that true health doesn’t just come from what you put into your body, but from fostering physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Sometimes these things can be out of whack, and a health coach like me helps you find the balance again. Being a health coach is a lot like being a life coach who focuses on nutrition––a valuable career, indeed.
WEAKNESSES OF IIN
Some may argue that the fact that IIN gives you a health coach certification and not a deeper nutrition education is its biggest weakness. If you think you are going to go to IIN and become a nutritionist you’re mistaken. The program doesn’t claim to, nor do they offer you, the education or credentials to become a nutritionist. For that you must go to an accredited university and get a degree.
The biggest weakness of IIN in my opinion is the way they make it seem as though, by completing the program you will become a successful health coach. You certainly CAN become a successful health coach. I’m one! However, for me, it wasn’t nearly as easy as IIN made it out to be. When I didn’t have a thriving business by graduation I thought something was wrong with me!
Any entrepreneurial endeavor takes entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, and thick skin. If you don’t have these things you can still work as a health coach, but you may be better suited to work for a company who finds the clients and does the business stuff. Sometimes I wish I were working for a company, because running a business ain’t easy. But it sure is rewarding in so many ways.
IIN will give you tons of business know-how and support, but it’s totally up to you to implement what you learn, to go out and find clients, to be able to charge enough for your services so you can pay your bills, and to keep going when the going gets tough.
HOW TO MAKE IIN WORK FOR YOU
If being a health coach is what you want to do, I support you! Make sure you have plenty of moral support, and the support of other people who understand what it is to be an entrepreneur. If you do the IIN program, make sure you take advantage of the network of other people who are studying there. Like I say in the video, I met one of my best friends through IIN. That alone could be worth the investment 😉
Whether you want to be a health coach or do something else, take advantage of all of the valuable business lectures and learning. The program is structured in a way that allows you to start applying what you are learning right away. Cool, right?
Again, any entrepreneurial endeavor takes entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, and thick skin. In business, like in life, you will make a lot of mistakes but you should learn from each one of them. You can’t let the set-backs, hard work, or tough days stop you (unless this isn’t what you want to do). The only way to be successful is by working really hard, learning as you go, and being patient.
SHOULD I DO THE PROGRAM FOR PERSONAL ENRICHMENT?
I wouldn’t, but then again, I’m very frugal. A lot of people do complete the program for personal enrichment though. They enjoy the structure of the program, and the interaction they’re able to have with other people who are enrolled. I can see the benefit of doing it for personal enrichment, but it just isn’t my M.O.
If you want to become healthier you can hire a health coach, find healthy friends, read great nutrition books, read nutrition blogs and websites, start eating healthier, and watch my cooking show!
Now I’d like to hear from you! Have you completed the IIN program? Why did you choose to do it, and what was your experience?
If you have any more questions about IIN, about my career, or whatever, please leave them in the comment section too. I can’t wait to get the dialogue going.