Becoming a Functional Medicine Health Coach with Elijah Sacra

July 03, 2019

Meet Elijah Sacra, a member of the Practice Better community and a Functional Medicine Health Coach committed to helping US veterans.

Elijah is a US Marine Corps Veteran and founder of Warrior Wellness Solutions, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing personalized Functional Medicine Health Coaching, Rehabilitative and Adaptive Exercise, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Resiliency training, and wellness education to Wounded, Ill and Injured Warriors, their families and caregivers.

Elijah has over two decades of experience as a health and wellness practitioner, trainer, consultant, and educator. Today, he’s sharing with us his personal and professional journey to health coaching and the impactful work he and his team are doing to help veterans.

Hi Elijah! Can you tell us a bit about Warrior Wellness Solutions and what makes it unique?

There are many great nonprofits in the military and veterans space, but many solely focus on recreational events, weekend getaways, or handing their clients’ material items that do not keep them engaged after the event is over or after the excitement of the gift wears off. It is widely known that the most critical issue facing the veteran community is the healthcare system and their access to tools that empower and create a shift in their own lives. Warrior Wellness Solutions guides our clients to create lasting sustainable solutions in their own health and wellness and keeps them engaged, supported, and inspired to help maintain their success.

What was it that started you on this path and led you to become a Functional Medicine Health Coach?

I sustained several major structural injuries while serving on active duty in the US Marine Corps to include cervical spine fractures. Since my honorable discharge in 1995, I have been on a relentless quest to return myself to some level of homeostasis as a trainer and wellness practitioner in varying capacities with a strong focus on clients in chronic pain. Every year, I am looking for the latest innovations that will upgrade my own life and the lives of my clients. In 2009, I watched a Ted Talk with Dr. Mark Hyman explaining what Functional Medicine is and how he used it to heal himself and his patients from complex issues. I discovered the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy in 2016 and completed their coaching program in 2017.

How has health coaching supported and guided your clients to reach their health and wellness goals?

A health coach is an extremely valuable member of a collaborative care team who helps patients make lasting lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, and other modifiable lifestyle factors. Health coaches make the clinician’s treatment protocol more effective and improve patient compliance and outcomes by providing individualized support.

The Functional Medicine Health Coaching credential in concert with my other certifications has allowed me to form referral partnerships with Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Medical Doctors, Physical Therapists, and Bodyworkers. I am also able to add the service of health coaching to clients who start off on the physical training side and vice versa for clients who hire me starting with health coaching.

What tools, technologies, and methodologies help to support the work that you do?

Client Management — Practice Better, Living Matrix, Active Campaign, Zoom
Spreadsheets and Administration — Google Drive
Accounting — QuickBooks Online, MileIQ
Fitness Tracking — Garmin Fenix, WHOOP, FitBit
Apps — Tabata, Gratitude, StandUp,, Headspace, SleepMachine, Naturespace

What pearls of wisdom can you share with other practitioners about becoming a successful Functional Medicine Health Coach?

Elija Sacra (US Marine Corps Veteran, Exercise Physiologist, Functional Medicine Health Coach)

It is extremely important to be organized, on time, and overdeliver. I strongly encourage constant continuing education within the confines of what you can afford financially or handle in terms of your schedule. If you have access to one, I strongly encourage you to go through the entire process of working with a Functional Medicine MD as it will enlighten you to the patient perspective thus making you a better coach.

What strategies do you use to help you prioritize your own self-care so that you can better help your clients?

I implement numerous tools for self-preservation and longevity as it is paramount to my success and long-term sustainability. I am extremely diligent about managing my diet and fuel intake to maintain mental clarity, energy, nutrient density, and keep inflammation at bay. I work hard to maintain good sleep hygiene, a solid strength and conditioning regimen, and use the restorative tools of red light therapy, infrared sauna, massage therapy, chiropractic, myofascial release, and acupuncture. I see a Functional Medicine MD on a regular basis and undergo yearly testing to make sure my digestive health, brain health, and overall physical health is working towards homeostasis. I do copious amounts of reading as it relates to Stoicism, mental conditioning, and maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude. My motto is “Just keep showing up and get a little better one day at a time.”

A huge thank you to Elijah for sharing his journey with us!

You can find out more about Elijah and his company Warrior Wellness Solutions here. Follow his amazing work on Facebook @WarriorWellnessSolutions or on Instagram @warriorwellnesssolutions.

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