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A health coach teaches the power of small changes

Emily Leland By Emily Leland

Man smiling in the forest

Ricky Moore calls Atlanta home, but his passion for helping others is making a positive impact across the country. The Aetna health coach, fitness buff and father of a 16-year-old daughter has a knack for motivating people to make healthy changes in their daily lives.

Ricky’s infectious energy helps him connect with people like Larry Beach, who lives 900 miles away in Chester, New York. Despite their physical distance, Ricky and Larry have formed a close bond that Larry credits with keeping him on track to better health.

“Talking to Ricky pushes me to meet my goals each week,” Larry says. “He doesn’t judge me. If I’m having a bad time, if I’ve been sick, I can talk to him. Not as an excuse as to why I didn’t meet that goal, but for his understanding.” (Find out more about Larry’s story.)

Ricky has two decades of experience in personal training, health education, disease management and tobacco cessation coaching. For the past seven years, he’s helped Aetna members live healthier, happier lives. We asked him about his best health advice and his favorite spots around Atlanta.

Q: What do you do as a health coach?
A:
To me, being healthy is finding balance between many dimensions of wellness — physical and mental. I help people achieve that balance.

Q: What do you like most about it?
A:
My job is different every day. I’m challenged with new ideas, concepts and perspectives. It keeps me motivated to learn and be the best coach I can be.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring health coaches?
A: Attain as much knowledge as you can. Always try to stay current on what’s happening in your field by attending training, conferences and seminars. There’s always something new to learn. Find new opportunities to grow.

Q: What should people take away from stories like Larry’s?
A: Persistence and a positive attitude will produce significant results over time.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
A: Atlanta is a mecca for fans of fine dining, historic monuments, concerts, plays. One of my favorite places to go with my family is the Georgia Aquarium.

Q: What are some ways people stay healthy in Atlanta?
A:
Biking, walking and running trails are big here. Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain Park and the Chattahoochee River are all popular. Outdoor boot camps can be found all around the city. When it gets too hot for some people to exercise outside, Jazzercise and Zumba are very popular.

Q: How do you and your family stay active together?
A:
We play tennis and go to the gym at least 4 to 5 days a week. My daughter grew up going to my fitness boot camp with me, so being active has been part of her life since she was a little kid. She dances for her school’s dance team as well. My wife also knows the value of exercise to help manage her blood pressure, weight and just feel better overall.

Q: What’s the best piece of health advice you ever received?
A: Nothing is unrealistic. If you believe and are determined enough, you truly can achieve anything.

Q: What is your go-to healthy snack?
A:
Peanut butter and celery or carrots sticks.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?
A: I would like to visit Dubai one day. I’m intrigued by the scenery, and friends who have visited have had really positive things to say.

Q: What was your most fulfilling professional moment to date?
A:
I helped a member lose over 100 pounds, and enabled him to stop taking prescription medication.

Q: What’s your motto?
A:
Actually there are two I really live by. The first is “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” The other is "Change your thoughts and you will change the world.”

About the author

Emily Leland is a writer and marketing professional living in Charleston, SC. Her goal is more exercise, less caffeine and finding balance as a working mom.