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Do you want to become a health coach?

Catherine Barnhoorn IIN Health Coach

Do you want to become a health coach?

I have been asked by many people about my experience of studying Health Coaching through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

Here is the long and short of it…

I simply cannot recommend IIN highly enough!

For me, it was nothing short of revolutionarylife changing – and most importantly, life affirming.

And yes, I am an Ambassador which means I earn a referral fee for anyone who signs up through me – but I am an Ambassador because I truly believe in the school and the program. (Please read my affiliate disclosure here.)

IIN’s next class starts on 13 November 2023.

As an Ambassador I can gift you 20% tuition discount – simply mention my name (Catherine Barnhoorn) to the Admissions Team, or use this discount code at checkout: CATHERINEBARNHOORN20

Or, contact me for more information.

How I came to study at IIN

As with most things in my life, I came to study at IIN in a back-to-front way!

Most people sign up because they want a new career, and one as a health coach. After qualifying, many graduates branch out into starting food product lines, hosting nutrition / wellness workshops, becoming public speakers or writing books.

I never wanted to be a health coach!

I did it the other way around.

I had already been researching and writing my book ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics’ for some 2 and a half years before I enrolled at IIN.

My motivation for studying through them was not to be a health coach. I felt that my book would have more credibility if it was written by someone other than “just-a-mom” – someone who had a nutrition qualification of some sorts behind their name.

I looked into other nutrition qualifications and courses, but decided against them because:

  • I didn’t want to spend 4 years studying (I had already spent 6 years of my life in tertiary education and time was of the essence)
  • I didn’t have the money required to study a 4-year nutritionist degree
  • and, it would be money wasted anyway, as I didn’t want to be a nutritionist – I just wanted to be able to share my knowledge and my beliefs (and have people believe me!)
This is my story of how I came to IIN, my experience of IIN and what has happened since I graduated. 

I am sharing the stage with Rebecca – IIN’s global admissions representative. She shares more on IIN and the health coaching program.

Why did I decide on IIN?

1. You are qualified in a year! (or even 6 months!)

If you already have a career and need to continue to earn a living while studying, the workload (5-8 hours/week), the online learning environment, and the 12 months it takes to qualify is perfectly suited to this.

The 6 -month accelerated program would require a time investment of 10-16 hours / week.

2. The teacher list is like the Who’s Who of functional medicine and mind-body-spirit health & wellness!

You have access to the most innovative, highly respected, forward thinking, wellness, spiritual,  medical and integrative practitioners on a GLOBAL level.

IIN’s lecturers include (to name a few):

With more than 95 world-class educators who are the leading physicians, researchers, and wellness experts at the forefront of the health revolution, you receive a holistic health education that cannot be matched.

3. In-depth and holistic nutrition, coaching AND business education.

The IIN curriculum is broken down into seven categories: physical health, nutrition, mental and emotional health, primary food, spirituality, coaching, and business.


While a nutrition degree might focus solely on food, IIN has developed the concept of Primary & Secondary Food. Essentially Primary food is nourishment that doesn’t appear on your dinner plate.

IIN’s core primary foods for adults are:

  1. Movement
  2. Spirituality
  3. Life purpose
  4. Environment
  5. Relationships/connection

The premise is that when these areas of your life are in balance, food is secondary. Joshua Rosenthal (IIN’s founder, director and primary teacher), says that, “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.”

They are, essentially soul food.

This concept was revolutionary in my own personal health journey and I can now see why it is a vital part of any discussion about nutrition. You can eat kale until you turn green, but if your Primary Food plate is empty, chances are you will not experience vibrant health.

And then there is the nutrition/dietary information – the course delves into over 150 dietary theories! You are guided through all of them and given an additional year-long access to the nutrition library to allow you enough time for all the information to be explored and absorbed.

The combination of Primary and Secondary Food is what makes IIN’s approach INTEGRATIVE nutrition!


IIN coaching curriculum


IIN Health Coach Training Program Business Curriculum

4. You will be Health Coached!

Your year at IIN will be a personally life-changing one – I can guarantee it.

You are essentially health coached while studying to be a health coach! It is very clever how they do it – you don’t actually know is happening until it is. You LIVE this education – it is not simply cerebral. This alone, is worth the tuition fees!

The IIN Health Coaching Program helps you connect to yourself and your needs – a deeply personal transformation that helps you gain clarity, align with your purpose, reach your potential, and feel better in body, mind, and soul.

5. A global community

IIN has trained the most Health Coaches in the world — over 155,000 Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches in 175 countries!

A Facebook group is set up for you and your classmates and this is where you will meet and interact with like-minded people from all over the world. This is a golden opportunity – especially for us in South Africa, I feel. To be part of a global community is like a golden ticket! I have no doubt the connections you make through this school will benefit you professionally, as they have me.

6. Amazing support

You may feel that learning online in a school that is based on the other side of the world could be isolating. This is not the case at all – in fact I felt more connected to my classmates in IIN from across the world than I did to those I sat next to for 3 years at The University of Cape Town (UCT)!

Or you may feel that you need to “see it to believe it”. Trust me, it is a real school, with real people! The student support offered by the school admin staff is immediate, and effective.

7. Growing opportunities

Health Coaches are growing community – a necessity in response to the current state of ill-health and medical care and, a new field in South Africa for which demand will grow. Especially since we are currently ranked as The Unhealthiest Country in the World!

Here are some examples of the careers and opportunities you can pursue with your IIN Health Coaching certificate:

  • Build a private coaching business with ultimate work-life balance
  • Become a social media wellness influencer
  • Work alongside doctors, dieticians, and other medical professionals
  • Create a blog with brand partnerships
  • Lead wellness-focused retreats all over the world
  • Open a health-focused restaurant or meal delivery service
  • Create a corporate wellness practice
  • Become a published author
  • Get involved in local health advocacy
  • Develop healthy food, beauty, fitness, or self-care products

And us Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are in good company… Chef Pete Evans is one!

Chef Pete Evans
Pete Evans is an internationally renowned and household chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. His passion for food and a healthy lifestyle inspires individuals and families around the world.

Purely Elizabeth Whole Foods

Elizabeth (class of ’09) created a healthy line of granola, oatmeal, and mixes that is now sold at Whole Foods, Target, Wegmans, Fresh Market, and other major grocery stores.

I Quit Sugar

Sarah (class of ’11) is an Australian journalist and TV personality who created the New York Times bestseller I Quit Sugar and the online 8-week program.

7. Launch Your Dreambook

As a graduate of IIN you are also given the opportunity to enroll in their Launch Your Dreambook course (which I did while studying the health coaching course).

This 6-month course takes you on a step-by-step journey to self-publishing a book. While I was already far down the line with writing my book when I did this course, the information and support in getting book published was invaluable.

There are many IIN graduates who are now successful, published authors (like me 🙂 )

I’m proud to say that these are some of my classmates:

And besides, being a published author leads to many other opportunities such as speaking engagements etc.

8. Speciality Courses

As science discovers new things and certain states of ill-health become more prevalent and require our attention, IIN keeps adding more learning opportunities. They have the following Advanced and Speciality Courses available:

Remember my 20% discount code applies to ALL these courses!


9. Become Board Certified

Once you graduate as an IIN Health Coach you can become board certified through the the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), a recognised industry leader, to set yourself apart as a Health Coach. To prepare you for this exam, IIN offers the Coaching Intensive Practicum 2.0 course. You will be taught advanced coaching skills while completing your education requirements to sit for the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) certifying exam.


Is the course credible?

Yes – absolutely! 

Dr Frank Lipman (Founder of The Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York and  integrative medical doctor to the who’s who of Hollywood) employs a team of Health Coaches – and only IIN Health Coaches!

Names you might recognize:

Miranda Kerr, Alicia Silverstone, Bobbi Brown, Emily Didonato, Nina Agdal all studied through IIN and Venus Williams even works with an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach 🙂

IIN’s Educational Partnerships and Affiliations

IIN is licensed by the New York State Education Department and affiliated with one of the largest university systems in the United States – The State University of New York (SUNY) – as well as other institutions that accept IIN’s Health Coach Training Program to be applied towards relevant degree programs.

They’ve have earned recognition by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) as an approved program provider, as well as recognition by other organisations that allow graduates of IIN to apply for membership.

Colleges & Universities Where IIN Graduates Can Pursue Higher Education with their IIN Certificate

IIN is strategically partnered with institutions that provide a variety of educational pathways for our graduates, including continuing education as well as bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

Each institution offers unique opportunities for IIN graduates to further their health and wellness education that can be tailored to each individual.

Some of the partnerships include:

  • Goddard College
  • Excelsior College
  • SUNY Purchase
  • Maryland University of Integrated Health


Now is not the right time?

Ah “the right time”. When is the right time?

This was my perfectly timed plan… finish writing my book by December 2013, then study at IIN, then work part-time while raising my children (with little to no life drama forecasted or anticipated).

This is what really happened… I was writing my book while being a full time mom to Mila all of 2013 ready to meet my self-imposed deadline. In November 2013 I had a miscarriage and stopped working on the book for 3 months. I started writing again but in April 2014 I got divorced. I took a break from the book for a few months again, then picked up where I left off but in September 2014 my friend and sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer – she passed in April of 2015.

This made me realize that there is no such thing as “the right time” – there is only now!

Between March 2015 and March 2016, I enrolled in IIN’s March 2015 Health Coach course, I enrolled into the Launch Your Dreambook course, I continued writing my book and published it in December 2015. I graduated from IIN as a health coach in March 2016.

While it might seem like madness to enroll in two courses while grieving and writing a book – those courses are what pulled me through a very challenging time. The timing was in fact… perfect!

I’ll say it again – there is no such thing as the right time – there is only now.


But… I am not a full-time Health Coach. Why?

Since graduating, I have been approached by many people asking me to be their Health Coach. Imagine that?! Potential clients approaching you with no marketing effort whatsoever!

I graduated from IIN in March 2016, but, as a single mom to a young child and a self-published author my time and energy has been taken up largely by these two priorities. My non-negotiable is to be fully present and available for my daughter (while earning a living to support us). It wasn’t until 2020 that I felt I could commit the time and energy to a full day of clients and give them the level of care I want to and I feel they deserve. Well then – 2020 didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned thanks to the global pandemic and it’s curveballs!

But thats the beauty of this qualification from IIN – it opens so many doors to such a variety of income-earning opportunities.

This is something I have been so incredibly grateful for during this crazy time we live in! I have gone from opening a health coaching practice, to coaching online via zoom, to partnering with Integrative Medical Doctors to support their clients with meal plans, to moving back into the corporate world where I consult as a Brand & Nutrition Strategist for Functional Food Brands and their conscious consumers! (You can follow me on LinkedIn to keep track of my professional movements.)

I can sum it up like this…

  • My year at IIN was an incredibly uplifting and empowering experience.

  • I have absolutely no regrets.

  • It was money very well spent.

  • I am using what I learned at IIN everyday, and in all that I do.

(I actually miss the weekly lectures!)

Interested? What next?

As an Ambassador, I can offer you a 20% tuition discount.

Please email me if you would like more information on this. Or simply mention my name (Catherine Barnhoorn) and “Ambassador Savings Offer” to the IIN admissions representative to qualify.


If you are interested in IIN, I suggest signing up to receive the IIN newsletters – they also announce discounted fees every now and then and this is what finally pushed me to enrol sooner than I was planning to.


But wait.... there's more!

IIN Chopra

Two visionary brands have formed a landmark partnership to bring healing to the world

In partnership with Chopra Global (Chopra), the company founded in Dr. Deepak Chopra’s vision, all Chopra courses will be part of the IIN portfolio, expanding IIN’s health, wellness, and coaching course offerings to include meditation, Ayurveda, and yoga, as well as Chopra’s coaching certification!

My 20% Tuition Discount applies to ALL the IIN and Chopra Courses (excluding the CIP course). Discount code: CATHERINEBARNHOORN20

Please let me know if you have any other questions

Health Coaching making Headlines

New York Times Logo

“We Could All Use A Health Coach”

“Health coaches give patients the tools they need to improve their own care and well-being, but they aren’t widely available.”

– The New York Times

Well + Good Logo

“Interested in Health Coaching? Here’s What It Takes”

“Holistic health coaches look at the whole picture (meaning besides food) to help clients with other issues, such as time management, anxiety, and stress.”

Town & Country Logo

“Why A Health Coach Is 2020’s Spiritual Guru Health is wealth, after all.”

“If 2019 was the year that made spiritual enlightenment the new status symbol, then 2020 is the year that the nutritional health coach becomes the new guru for the upper crust—and the ultimate luxury. With the wellness movement on the rise, and self-care as fashionable as ever, routines are turning inward towards the ultimate temple: the body and its internal function. Enter: the health coach.”

Forbes Logo

“Here’s The Major Celebrity Career Change You Can Do Too”

“Miranda Kerr, Alicia Silverstone, Bobbi Brown, Emily Didonato, Nina Agdal all studied at IIN alongside well-known teachers such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Oz, and Gabby Bernstein. As the leading nutrition school, IIN is on a mission to redefine wellness by educating and training the next generation of holistic health coach and entrepreneurs.”

67 thoughts on “Do you want to become a health coach?”

  1. Avatar
    Marijke Crafford

    Oh my goodness, what a great idea! Would love to do this, first for my own family and to reach my own health goals and then later to help others!

  2. Avatar
    Hanneke Barlow

    Mila’s Meals changed the way I think about food in the most incredible way, so much so that one day when the littlies are a little older I would definitely consider a course like this!

  3. Avatar
    Natasha Raymond

    I love the recipe book. I purchased mine from bub hub broadacres. I want to have the knowledge and skills to provide my baby with the best possible nutrition. Outside of breastfeeding.

  4. I’m not sure i would want to be a health coach but could definately benfit from seeing one! My second child is 5 months old, we are starting solids and I need to start attempting to loose my ‘baby weight’. It would be wonderful to get some guidance x

  5. What an inspirational journey – I have walked a similar one myself and am moving more and more toward a vegan lifestyle which, if you had asked me years ago, I would have fallen down laughing. Thank you for sharing this with us! I am so inspired!

  6. Thanks, Catherine. I’ve been inspired by your story to only feed my child the best of the best.

    Looking forward to exploring all that your book has to offer!

  7. I love how so many universities are introducing more courses which are the alternative of medicine such as dietetics having someone direct you and help u understand what is good for your body instead following the next of latest craze.

  8. Avatar
    Shaaista Mahomed

    I would love to become a health coach, it sounds like something i could be great at. I wanted to become a dietitian/nutritionist but never went down that route in University. This seems like simpler route. I have recently discovered that both my kids have certain allergies and intolerance.

    Love what you doing.

  9. Avatar
    Angela Hausner

    I’ve been toying with doing a nutrition course of sorts next year once my littlest has spread his fledgling wings. Will read up more on this one… looks interesting. I’m sold on a gluten and sugar free & organic, whole food lifestyle! Implementing it in varying degrees of success with my two fussy eaters. Buts it’s our base!

  10. Thank you so much for all of your inspiration Catherine! The work you are doing is phenomenal! I have been searching for a nutrition course for almost 2 years, and truly believe that this is the vert best one on offer. It is so very much more than just a course, it is a lifestyle change and encompasses almost every aspect of health, not just the food that you eat! Highly recommended! Although it is very pricey, I am saving up towards it as I believe what I will learn will serve me for the rest of my life and help teach me the best health habits and practices possible.

  11. I’ve been changing my life and that of my family to a more natural lifestyle. Slowly I’ve been implementing small changes with food and health. It can be overwhelming at times since there is so much ‘bad’ to eliminate from our lives. Next on my list is your book which is recommended so often. I would like to research more on health coaching not as a business venture but to keep myself and my family’s health in check, and maybe educating people as I go along. I love your recipes and honestly find what you do to be inspiring.

  12. I don’t know if I’d want to be a health coach but I definitely think that the course would be awesome to do for my own knowledge and for implementing in my own family. Good to know there are online places like this

  13. Hay there C,
    Please email me the details about the course. Been looking into different courses and thia one sounds legit.


    P.s. LOVE YOUR BOOK. Well done!!!

  14. My three year old hates eating breakfast and I hate sending him to school on an empty tummy so would love to be able to make him nutritious juices every morning.

  15. I also have a 3 month old little Mila..looking forward to introduce her to the world of food. Love the cookbook and the juicer will be great for my toddler,Matthew. Keep up the awesome work!

  16. I would love to be a health coach, even if it means just coaching my family 🙂 Money is always an issue, so hopefully the first step will be to finally get my hands on your book 😉

  17. You’re such an inspiration to many mothers who are striving to raise well-balanced, contented children, thank you:) diet is so often overlooked yet has a contributing factor to many health problems in children including allergies, eczema, irritability and poor concentration

  18. Thank you absolutely interesting and informative, well written article. Has inspired and motivated me.
    A wonderful giveaway thank you
    Best wishes and blessings

  19. This must be the best recipe book I have seen on the market for healthy eating and getting the nutrition the body needs and making it delicious and fun as well. Thank you. I follow your posts like a hawk and my baby gurl just loves your recipes.

  20. Avatar
    Cathy Badenhorst

    great Blog post! I really think it is beneficial that I get a health coach as I do tend to be fairly inconsistent when it comes to eating healthy meals or sticking to a health plan. I need the support and encouragement as well.

  21. Avatar
    Bernice Vermaak

    I would Love to become a Health Coach. As nutrition is always something Ive been interested in. Im a stay at home mom. Twins go to school & would be perfect route to study.
    But I also need a Health Coatch. As i dont have a Gall bladder anymore could only eat sertain foods & takes me longer to lose weight. Been eating a Mostly Vegetarian based diet till Nov’16, I ended up in hospital with Kidneystones. So most things I could eat on my Gallblader food list I cant eat now on my Kidneystone food list. As I have to follow a Low Oxalated diet. Been keeping my pain and stones at bay. By drinking . SlowMagMagnesium once daily aswell as Braggs ACV 3times daily.
    Inbetween that being on on monthly pillz didnt work I had the Mirena inplanted. In a year and a hal my weight just climb uncontrollabley, my skin got very very bad. And went from thick gorgeous hair, to thin straw hair. Went for test to show doctor it couldnt be anything els.Eventualy had taken out. They said would take 2yrs for hormones to normalize and everything to get beter. Finaly new baby hairs grew back. Now my hair is much thicker till shoulder length and from there till my middel back you can see the major differince in thickness. Skin beter get flairups now and then. And weight lost alot over the past 3yrs of the weight i picked up with that “Thing”. So still have a distance to go.
    So I would be a Challenge for any Coach

  22. Hi I would like to enroll for IIN but it’s expensive as hell. R80 000 for a year of study actually equates to 4 years worth of tuition fees in South Africa… I really want this though. Are there any bursary or any other aid programmes?

  23. Hi Catherine,
    Would love to sign up to do the integrative nutrition coaching course this coming year.
    Please can u let me know how to enrol.
    Kind regards.
    Heidi Mitchell

  24. Pingback: Do you want to be a Health Coach? Part 2 - Mila's Meals

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