Frequently Asked Questions from Participants

I eat a specialized diet (e.g., vegan, gluten free, vegetarian), can I still participate in the program?

Yes. Although the coaches are trained in using Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, the healthy eating section of the program is tailored to each participant and their dietary requirements.

I have the HealtheSteps® smartphone app, but it doesn’t seem to be working. What can I do?

Let us know! Please send an e-mail to

I don’t have a smartphone, can I still use the app?

Unfortunately, no. In order to access and support all of the cool features on the app, you need a smartphone. The app runs on both iPhone and Android devices.

I don’t have a pedometer, does this mean I cannot participate in the program?

No. The goal of the pedometer is to help you track your steps each day, but guess what? We’ve got an app for that! Check out our HealtheSteps® smartphone app. The app has a built in pedometer that can track your steps, activity, and heart rate. Best of all….it is free!

Download the free HealtheSteps® healthy living app



I have mobility issues that prevent me from climbing stairs, do I have to complete the STEP™ test?

No. The STEP™ Test is ideal for identifying your target heart rate for exercise but is not necessary to complete if you are not comfortable with stairs or have mobility issues. You and your coach can still work through the exercise prescription without completing this test.

What is the STEP™ test?

The STEP™ test measures how well your muscles use oxygen when you are physically active. Specifically, the STEP™ tests measures the volume of oxygen you use or your “VO2 maximum” score as you step up stairs.  The higher the VO2 maximum, the more fit you are.

How do you take a STEP™ test? All you need is a set of standard height stairs (most sets of stairs would fit this category) with two or more steps. If you feel uneasy climbing steps without support, select a set of stairs with a handrail. Stand on the ground facing the stairs and using only the first two steps of the staircase walk out this pattern:  “left foot up (landing on the first step), right foot up (landing on the second step), both feet together (left foot joins right foot on the second step), left foot down (landing on the first step), right foot down (landing on the ground), both feet together (on the ground)” and repeat.. Your coach times you as you repeat the pattern 20 times and uses this score along with other measures (pulse, weight, height, age, and gender) to identify your VO2 maximum and tell you how fit you are! Still have questions? Send us an e-mail at to ask for more information about the STEP™ test.

What makes HealtheSteps® different from other health promotion programs?

It’s all about you! The HealtheSteps® program does not focus on weight loss, rather it is about improving your lifestyle, one step at a time. HealtheSteps® tackles 4 factors leading to chronic disease: physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, poor eating habits, and mental wellbeing. A key advantage to HealtheSteps® is that the program is tailored to your circumstances and provides you with the tools needed to make healthy lifestyle changes that you can realistically maintain. This approach works because the program is highly evidence-based and pragmatic, meaning that we’ve got the facts behind us and used those facts to make the program work for you.

Another advantage is that you are not alone in the HealtheSteps® program. A HealtheSteps® coach supports you as you take steps to better health. Every HealtheSteps® coach is trained in goal setting to support sustainable healthy lifestyles.

Personalized Prescriptions! Prescribing lifestyle changes is not a new concept, but having you as the main partner in making that prescription is unique to HealtheSteps®. You work with your coach to set your personalized prescriptions and strategies to achieve goals that are right for you. It’s about making small changes that have a big impact.

Is HealtheSteps® only offered in-person?

No. With the COVID-19 pandemic the HealtheSteps® program is being offered virtually. All sessions will occur via Zoom with a trained HealtheSteps® coach. Upon enrollment in the program, you will receive access to program materials and resources.

I’m interested in joining HealtheSteps®, how do I find out more information?

Congratulations!  By being on the HealtheSteps® website you’ve taken the first step towards improving your lifestyle.

If you are interested in participating please click HERE to be taken to the sign up page.

If you have questions regarding the program please send us an email:



Frequently Asked Questions about Coaching

How does the HealtheSteps® certification process work?

The coach training includes three different steps:

  1. Completion of eLearning modules
  2. Completion of Quiz after reviewing eLearning. A mark of 80% or higher is required to pass. If you do not meet the minimum (80% or higher), you will be asked to review the modules and take the test again.
  3. Completion of synchronous (live) session with the HealtheSteps research team. In this session you will be asked to deliver the baseline session and session 1 of the program. The research team will provide feedback to ensure you are prepared for program delivery.

If you are interested in completing the training, please click here to complete the contact form.

What type of supports are available for coaches?

Website: We are currently developing a community of practice for our website. This allows coaches to set up a profile and interact with other coaches delivering the HealtheSteps program. We also post podcasts and blogs which can be accessed on our website.

Twitter: Our twitter account @healthesteps is another resource where coaches can access healthy lifestyle information.

Research Team Support: We are always available through our e-mail at

We do not have pedometers available, can we still run the program?

Yes, check out our HealtheSteps® smartphone app which has a pedometer function.

Does everyone have to complete the STEP™ test?

No. It is up to the participant to decide whether they would like to complete this test. If the participant is uneasy about the test you can offer different options, such as using a handrail. The STEP™ test is recommended, however, it is not required in order to complete the exercise prescription.

What is the difference between physical activity and exercise?

Physical activity is steps per day…think walking at your regular pace.

Exercise is moderate to vigorous activity or completing activities where you reach and maintain your target heart rate…think cardio fitness class, running.

How long does the training take?

The length of training is dependent on the individual and their background in health promotion. Typically around 2-4 hours is required to complete the eLearning modules, a further 30 minutes to complete the quiz, and another 1-2 hours for the live training session.

Where is HealtheSteps® coach training available?

The training is completely virtual. The eLearning is available online through our website with a live session hosted by our team via Zoom.

How do I get more information about becoming a HealtheSteps® coach?

Click HERE to be directed to the coach contact form on our website. If you are interested in your organization delivering the program, please send us an email: