During the last 29 years, we’ve certified over 130,000 health, nutrition, and fitness professionals. Each month, we recognize one of our distinguished graduates who are using what they have learned to inspire others and make a difference.
Meet our featured graduate for the month of August, Emily Hudak, an AFPA Certified Holistic Health Coach.
How did you initially become interested in health and wellness?
My interest in health and wellness didn’t start until later in life. I was always envious of people that had something that set their soul on fire. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I was able to uncover that for myself, and that’s when I realized I truly loved nutrition and lifestyle as it relates to mental and physical health.
Why did you choose to become an AFPA Certified Holistic Health Coach?
My desire to get certified initially came from the desire to learn more. At the time, I didn’t know that I would move forward in building a business and actively practicing as a coach. I just knew I wanted to learn and understand as much about health coaching as possible. But as I started to move along through the program, I realized that I had a responsibility to take this knowledge and go out, educate, and help others.
What was your career like prior to becoming certified as a Holistic Health Coach?
Over the course of the past 10 years, I have been bartending, which allowed me to complete my associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. While I was completing my master’s degree, I also completed my health coaching certification. Upon graduating with my master’s, I applied to a role that was looking for a provisionally licensed mental health provider that was interested in nutrition and mental health. I applied, got the job, and worked there for about a year and a half.
Last November I decided it was no longer serving me how I hoped it would. So I decided to pursue my business full-time. Since November 2022, I have been working for myself as a Certified Holistic Health Coach within my business Whole with Emily, and I also continue to bartend.
What is your career like now as a coach?
My career as a coach is so fulfilling, and I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to wake up every day and support others in what I find to be one of the most important things we can do for ourselves in our lifetime.
I predominantly work with clients one-on-one. I have some clients on a 3-month or 6-month package, and some even up to 10 months. It really depends on a client’s needs and circumstances. I also intend on offering group coaching in the coming months, as well as my 90-minute intensive, which includes a 90-minute call where we explore your habits and lifestyle and how we can better optimize them to better support your health and wellness.
What are your favorite parts of being a Holistic Health Coach?
This one had me thinking! There are so many favorites, so it’s challenging to choose only one. One of my favorites is when clients make connections between how they feel and behaviors or habits that they have — both healthful and less healthful. Making this connection not only allows them to strengthen their awareness but also encourages them to move closer toward their wellness. It offers them awareness, reinforcement, and direction.
Furthermore, I love educating my clients on why they are making the choices they’re making — why they’re eating the foods they eat, why it’s important to move their body (beyond the physical appearance), the value of practicing good sleep hygiene, and prioritizing self-care, and more. This offers them a sense of self-empowerment as they truly understand the why behind it all. They can now take authority in their own wellness because they have a solid foundation to stand on. Through education — paired with behavioral change — they can effectively make sustainable change and understand the value of their investment in themselves and their health.
How has becoming certified with AFPA impacted your life?
Becoming certified as a health coach with AFPA has completely changed my life! I could never imagine that I would be where I am now when I completed my certification! I feel so lucky to wake up every day with the opportunity to impact others physically and mentally by sharing my passion with them. It truly is a dream come true.
Do you have any client success stories you would like to share?
I have been working with a client who has completely transformed since July. She has gone from not understanding how to properly nourish her body, living a sedentary lifestyle, not feeling good in her skin, not having a morning or night routine, having poor hydration, and much more. Now we can confidently say that she is nourishing her body, eating the rainbow, and caring for her gut. She has transformed her supplement routine, is exercising every morning, getting up with her alarm, and practicing healthy self-care and self-management. She is on top of it, and she feels so much better as a result of it.
I think one of the most powerful parts of this process is the awareness-building. Awareness is the key to self-transformation. Regardless of what behavioral changes you’re making, you always need to develop that awareness to sustain the change and understand why you’re trying to change your habits in the first place.
What advice would you give others thinking about becoming certified as a health coach?
My advice to others who may be considering entering the world of health and wellness — do it! The value this has been for my own personal wellness, as well as those around me, has been incredible. There is no greater investment than the investment we make in ourselves, in our health, and in our wellness. In a nation filled with suffering, there are so many people to be served. While I’ll do my very best to reach each and every person, I’d love your help alongside me.
Self-promotion time! Why should people work with you?
When working together, it is my goal to support you in not only making your desired lifestyle changes but also support you in shifting your mindset while doing so. Behavioral change will not sustain unless your thoughts and mindset align with it. Oftentimes, our past experiences with diet and exercise or any component on a wellness journey, shape the way we see ourselves and can sometimes lead to sabotage if we haven’t been successful in the past. If we’ve struggled 99 times before, how can we expect the 100th time to be any different?
This is where I come in. I infuse our conversations with the acknowledgment of the ebbs and flows of life, the reality that we can’t be “perfect” all the time, the importance of habit development and steps to making long term change, and I plan to hold your hand throughout all of it. Black and white thinking can take over and we are quick to abandon ship on our wellness the second we aren’t perfectly accomplishing all of our goals. Instead, meeting yourself where you are and taking an inch is how small steps yield incredible results. This is for the long term; it’s not meant to be a quick fix. Feeling better and living a better quality life is meant to last forever. Self awareness is the key to transformation; you must be aware before you can make any change. And most importantly, I believe wholeheartedly that wellness lies within the intersection of physical and mental health. This manifests in a number of ways, and it is my goal to continually consider it within the circumstances of each of my client’s lives.