As the Oct. 1 coverage deadline approaches, there are many complaints about the Affordable Care Act. Reduced benefits and increased costs are two of the most common complaints about the healthcare reform law, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010.

In theory, the goal of the ACA is great — to provide healthcare coverage for all Americans. Yet the ability to reach this goal leaves doubt in the minds of many. The ACA extends benefits to most Americans, and the extended benefits include services and treatment options that only the Cadillac of commercial plans once provided. In short, the ACA projects to add further stress to an overstressed healthcare and taxation system. While this is a challenge for healthcare, it is an opportunity for fitness professionals.

After losing 145 pounds and keeping it off since 2005, I know there is only one person responsible for my health, me. Relying on healthcare for testing and treatment options is important, but ideal health starts from within. Further, ideal health starts with weight management because excess weight directly causes or aggravates all diseases.

As an obese woman, I often looked to fads to help me lose weight. I believed the latest diet or exercise machine would change me. Yet I continued to gain and lose weight for 25 years. Going through weight loss, I found that I had the answers all along — follow a healthy lifestyle. By following the advice of fitness professionals, I reached my ideal weight. More importantly, I've stopped the yo-yo diet cycle and kept the weight off.

There is no doubt the Affordable Care Act will reform healthcare. At nearly 18 percent of the gross domestic product, healthcare is expensive. Further chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer and heart disease account for 75 percent of the total healthcare expenses.

The cause of many chronic diseases is unhealthy lifestyle habits. These unhealthy habits include smoking, alcohol use, inactivity and high-fat diets. When the full effect of the ACA begins in 2014, fitness professionals will be well positioned to coach and educate clients on taking control of their unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Rather than becoming victims to an overstressed healthcare environment, many clients will seek wellness and prevention strategies. Clients frustrated with the new healthcare changes will enlist the help of competent professionals to assist with their health goals.

Initially, some will continue unhealthy habits with the belief the ACA will cover their healthcare costs. However, most individuals will soon learn the quality of their life will improve when they take control of their health. When this realization occurs, fitness professionals will find themselves in a position of demand for services.

This is a great place to be when you chose a career to help others live longer through supporting healthy lifestyle habits.