I got a chance to catch up with an old friend turned online health and fitness coach, Carissa Novak. She is a health enthusiast with an epic list of hobbies including surfing, hiking, running, yoga, and free-diving. Now living in North Carolina, she spent years in Hawaii and she has pictures on her social media that will make you want to book a vacation tomorrow. We caught up and talked about the hurdles of being a health coach and connecting with a client base:
Eric: So what’s your athletic background? I know you played softball in college but I saw you got into some other things when you were in Hawaii.
Carissa: In High School I played softball, soccer and basketball. Of course continued playing softball in college. When I moved to Hawaii I got into surfing, running, yoga and free diving. Honestly anything that keeps me moving and outside makes me happy! Oh and hiking in Hawaii, a LOT of hiking!
Eric: I remember seeing those pictures, that looked amazing. What did living there do for your fitness? Was it much easier to be active?
Carissa: Definitely – I didn’t realize how much growing up in New England effected my activity level. Winter months were so cold I was much less active. In Hawaii you can be active year-round, in many different ways. I tried to enjoy running for years before moving to Hawaii but it was hard to escape the beautiful landscapes and trail-running opportunities Hawaii presented. Yoga became a huge focus due to the weather as well, who doesn’t want a great stretch and cool-down on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world?
Eric: I can’t argue! So what made you turn fitness into a profession?
Carissa: So this might be a little long-winded. My good friend Megan Ewoldsen, who was always into health and fitness – became a Beachbody Coach. She invited me to coach on her team – honestly it took me 1.5 years to say yes. I didn’t think it was “legitimate” or “actually possible” to grow my own health and fitness business online, but when I saw she was living proof I couldn’t resist.
Eric: I agree, working with people and investing in their success must be rewarding as well. So what kind of services do you offer now?
Carissa: So as an online health and fitness coach I work to find the best “at home” fitness program, combined with great nutrition and shakeology, for my clients. I provide challenge groups, which I run monthly, for my customers – these groups provide accountability, support, fitness and health tips, recipes, lifestyle tips, and a lot of fun! They are private groups available only to my customers, so that they feel a sense of comfort and intimacy. I want them to open up, talk about their struggles, successes and inspire and motivate one another – all online.
Eric: It seems like a vulnerable spot for potential clients, what’s something you do to get them to jump right in?
Carissa: Some people have never worked out a day in their life – and they are reaching out to someone they don’t know personally, to get help over the internet. Then while I can encourage them all I want, they still need to have some independence and personal accountability to do it all at home alone. I always explain how worth it, it will feel in the end. Close your eyes and think about working hard for 30 days, making big changes and working your tail off – Think about day 30, after committing to a different lifestyle. How does day 30 feel? It takes commitment, and the readiness to work hard. Whether you are in a CrossFit gym, on a sports team, trying something new for the first time, or working out in your living room. You have to know and remember what you are fighting for in the first place. What is your why?
Eric: Absolutely, the battle is mostly mental it seems like. What makes you good at connecting with people?
Carissa: I build relationships. Period. I am not trying to “sell” anything other than a better and healthier life. I am genuinely interested in helping them, and helping them long-term. I want to understand exactly what their goals are, what their ideal fit level is, what they want to look and feel like. I want to understand why they don’t feel like other things have worked – and then I want to support them fully throughout the entire process. I have tried many, many gyms. I have felt cared for, and I have felt like people just want my money. I never want people to feel like I just want their money, it isn’t a good feeling.
Eric: I think I got enough! Final thoughts, if you had to motivate someone to join you in one sentence, what would you say?
Carissa: Give me 30 days of your life, we will learn how to overcome your struggles, how to fuel your body properly and how to push through some difficult workouts – your energy level and mood will be entirely different at the end, just trust me! People always ask me for “scripts” but I don’t have any! It depends on the person and the conversation! (Laughs)
You can find all of Carissa’s content, blogs and offerings at carissanovak.com!