As a registered dietitian, obviously my interests and expertise lie in food and nutrition science. But for me personally, my passion extends beyond that. Starting gymnastics at the age of 4, I have always been an athlete. I continued my gymnastics career through high school, as well as diving and equestrian events. After high school I walked on to the Michigan State University (MSU) women’s gymnastics team, but suffered a career-ending injury during my freshmen year. However, I was not ready for my collegiate career to be done, so I transferred to the women’s diving team and competed as a 3 meter springboard and platform diver during my last three years at MSU.
After college, during my dietetic internship, I became heavily involved in the running community. I ended up running five full marathons, several half marathons, and I coached a running team at the local YMCA. Today, I still enjoy running, but I also love bodybuilding, water and snow sports, hiking, and going on long walks with my dog and fiancé.
Due to my extensive background and love for sports I have always enjoyed studying and reading about how to fuel for optimal performance. Therefore, after receiving my dietetics degree and working for a few years, I went back to school and obtained my Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. Along with this degree, my other personal career goal was always to become a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), which is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the U.S. The requirements to become a CSSD include:
- Current Registered Dietitian (RD) status by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
- Maintenance of the RD status, for a minimum of two years from the original RD exam date.
- Documentation of 1,500 hours of specialty sports nutrition practice experience as an RD within the past five years.
- Successful completion and passing grade on the certified board specialist in sports dietetics exam.
Some of the hours I completed as part of my Master’s degree counted towards the 1,500 sports nutrition specialty hours, while the rest came from my time working as a registered dietitian and personal trainer at my local YMCA, as well as sports nutrition work I completed during my most recent RD positions. I was involved in the sports nutrition programs at the dairy council and helped develop the sports nutrition program for high school student athletes during my time in school foodservice.
The most fun and valuable sports nutrition experience I have been involved in to date, has been shadowing the Detroit Red Wings dietitian. Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to work with the Red Wings RD to:
- Plan and prepare menus for the players
- Shop for sports performance foods and use these ingredients in menus
- Coach the players in a cooking competition using specific sports performance ingredients
- Observe the RD educating and counseling individual players
- Learn how to design, implement, and monitor safe and effective nutrition strategies for athletes and teams
All of these experiences have been invaluable to me in reaching my goal of becoming a sports dietitian. I love using my knowledge and expertise, as well as my passion for sports nutrition, to help athletes and teams reach their full performance potential!