If you’re interested in pursuing a career in health coaching, this interview is a must-read. Our guest will share his insights and advice on how to get started, build a successful business, and make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Aaron Darko is a 33 year old London native and a seasoned health coach with years of experience in the field. He has helped countless individuals achieve their health goals through personalized coaching and a holistic approach to wellness.
Aaron started traveling when he was 20 and has spent more than a decade in Asia. He currently lives in Bali (envy). He enjoys playing sports, working out with to his favorite music, eating dinner at steakhouses with his friends and traveling to new exciting places. He also likes geeking out on marketing and human psychology.
In this interview, we will learn about Aaron’s journey to becoming a health coach, the skills and qualifications required to succeed in the field, and the challenges and rewards of working as a health coach.
So, whether you’re a health enthusiast, a recent graduate, or simply curious about the world of health coaching, join us me as I explore the exciting and rewarding career of a health coach.
What does a health coach do? How would you explain what you do to a five-year-old?
I help business men and women who are aged between 30-55 to get in the best mental and physical shape of their lives so they can enjoy life more.
I help them work out in the right ways. I help them eat healthy food consistently and educate them on what foods are healthy and why.
Then I also analyze their blood work results and tell them what their results mean and how to make their bloodwork great, so they can have confidence in their personal health, so they can be around longer to enjoy life and be with their loved ones.
What sparked your interest in this field and led you to become a health coach?
I was always into health but wasn’t serious about it after I left university. I pursued my career, and that was more important to me than health at the time. It wasn’t until a friend came to hang out with me that I really changed my ways.
He was ripped with good muscle mass and an example of what I could have been had I been focused on being exceptional in my health. He was a great example of the man I wanted to be and, more importantly, deep down, knew I could be.
So I started working out with him, he taught me his ways, and I was also eating with him too. His approach to working out and nutrition was interesting and different. I started getting ripped.
I started sharing my pictures online, which led to my audience (primarily middle aged online marketers) ask me how I was doing it.
And that’s where my health business started as I came out with my first course teaching people the method I was using to get ripped fast… called Alpha Shredding.
What is a typical day like for you as a health coach?
I am focused on the three things one of my business mentors told me:
Sales means taking calls from people who have expressed interest in my service after watching my webinar presentation.
Marketing means putting out content that targets my ideal client.
Service means fulfilling the clients I already have and making sure they are more than happy with their results they’re paying good money for.
What is your approach to helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals? Do you customize your coaching style to meet the needs of individual clients?
Yes its very customized to each person. My approach is very different to most health and fitness coaches out there.
Because I go deep on the mindset side to get into the core of my clients problems.
A weight problem is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Usually it’s something that happened in childhood, and they made that mean something that is now how they live their life or cope with stress as an adult.
Overeating is a common problem I help with, and that often stems from the person attaching the emotion of love to food – so of course if that happens, one can never get enough of it.
But people are unaware of this stuff, so I help them become aware of the patterns that have been running their entire life in this area and make them realize they are not broken. They just need to know what they were unaware of before, so they can remove it and replace it with more empowering beliefs.
Then I go into habits and how to create healthy habits, how to upgrade their self image and then we go into nutrition, workouts with a focus on improving mobility and joint health for longevity, and then we go into self care, both physical and mental.
So its a holistic approach to their health. Its a one stop shop for their health issues.
Can you provide examples of specific strategies or techniques that you use to help clients make lasting behavior changes?
Simple one is asking them questions about why they do that behavior and really making them think. A lot of what I do is smart questioning. I don’t really use any “technique”
I just know the right questions to ask because I’m always looking for the core of why that person does what they do, and a lot of times, its a big aha to that person because they don’t know.
Once they know why they do it, I help them remove that story, and then its easier for them to take the desired action.
How do you assess your clients’ progress and determine whether their goals are being met?
We track their progress in a spreadsheet and also in the workout app. We track many metrics like what food they’re eating daily, their stools, how much water they’ve drank, their mood, their sleep times and quality. Lots of things.
How do you handle challenges or setbacks that clients may experience along the way?
Its normal for life to happen. Sometimes they don’t train for a few days or miss a workout. That’s exactly where I am valuable with coaching them through that to ensure they don’t fall off (like they usually did before hiring me) and still make progress.
I encourage my clients and show lots of empathy, compassion, and understanding toward them because I can relate to their struggles.
They then feel this support and want to get back on the regime.
How do you stay current on the latest research and trends in health and fitness?
I follow a select few experts in health I respect. That’s it, really.
How does one become a health coach and get started in this field?
You gotta first have results yourself. You can’t be an armchair coach who’s never done a single pushup!
Then you need to learn sales and marketing. That is a lifelong pursuit, but you can learn enough to be good in a few weeks/months.
Everyone thinks its about knowing how to train people. Well yeah, thats obvious – if youre in great shape, you clearly know how to train and eat, now you need to help others – usually that looks like helping them for free to build up your confidence and testimonials – but really its more for the belief in yourself and confidence because that is the ingredient you really need.
If you believe you can get people results, thats whats important, and then you need to know how to market and position yourself so you can get clients.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the health coaching profession?
Adding to my advice above, I would say get a mentor. Someone who knows their stuff and makes you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities.
Are there any specific trainings or certifications required to be a health coach? If so, which ones would you recommend to someone interested in this field?
The best results are the ones you get for yourself and clients. All people care about is results.
Also you can get a certificate for personal training in a weekend, so how the heck does that make you qualified to be a good trainer? It doesn’t! Thats the problem with the industry. Lots of armchair coaches with no experience.
Experience and results are what people want, so get that under your belt, and you’ll be fine.
How have you found your niche in the health coaching world, and what sets you apart from other coaches?
I already mentioned some of it when we talked about how I help my clients achieve their goals. To add to it, its just been a lot of trial and error by doing. I first started serving guys who wanted to get ripped and found that it was a shallow result i was helping people with. So I started to change my marketing and messaging to align better with who I wanted to attract. So now, my niche is corporate people and entrepreneurs because I am an entrepreneur and busy person, so I can relate to my markets’ problems.
One thing I’ve learnt is clarity comes from action, not sitting there twiddling your thumbs. Make mistakes faster, and the niche will come to you. Things will get clearer. What you want becomes clearer.
As a health coach, how do you find clients and build your business?
Posting content that helps people move them closer to their desired outcome, which for the most part is losing weight, building muscle, getting stronger so they can look and feel better.
Clients are all on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok (although I’ve never gotten clients from there yet)
Focusing on whats in it for them vs. whats in it for me. Because i’m already in shape, its all about them!
Can you tell me more about how you found your first job in health coaching?
It was an inbound lead, which i love the most. That’s called attraction marketing – when you become the hunted instead of the hunter.
I want people coming to me. I don’t want to be going to people; much better way to do business.
So because I had good positioning through my content, this guy messaged me for help, and I enrolled him over the phone (which is a whole skillset I had to learn!)
What is the salary range for a health coach, and would people who choose this career make a good living?
Anywhere from 3k-20k a month to 100k+ a month which in yearly figures is 36k – 240k to 1.2m+
The reason for that gap is whether or not your mind is right (do you really want to do this, and are you ok with a lot of pressure and risk). There’s lots of factors that go into it, like skillset of sales and marketing.
Are there any common mistakes you see people make when starting out in the health coaching field?
Yeah, not getting a mentor and not believing in themselves, not knowing what the heck they’re doing.
Being delusional about how good you are when that is only validated by your clients results.
Not learning and getting good at sales and marketing.
Are there other health coaches or mentors in the field that have inspired you or that you think others should know about?
There’s too many to name. I think the most important ones are Paul Saladino and Hunter Fitness. Get your nutrition and mobility in check because that will serve you in the long term.
What is the most rewarding part of your job as a health coach?
To see the clients make lasting change and become the healthy person they knew they could be. To see them continue on doing the things I taught them is incredibly rewarding, and seeing how much of an impact I’m able to create on this earth one person at a time is nice. Its part of my purpose to lead by example to inspire people to be great themselves by me conquering my fears, crushing my goals and inspiring through my actions.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The tech work is tedious, its not challenging and the emotional side of business, which I have been working on a lot.
Is there a particular moment or achievement in your career that you are especially proud of?
Seeing one of my clients have his first boxing match as a result of the confidence he gained from working with me. That was amazing to see him go from strength to strength. Momentum is a powerful thing.
When he joined me, he was not making much money in his business, was not confident at all and was overweight. After we worked together, he went on to make multiple 6 figures in his business and put a down payment on his first property.