Wednesday, March 12, 2014

National Nutrition Month: Highlighting Sports RDs

National Nutrition Month continues and today also happens to be National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day! Yipee! Gotta love a holiday promoting my favorite profession :)

To celebrate NNM, and in lieu of this months' individual athlete spotlight, I decided to highlight a few dietitians from around the region who are athletes and/or sports RD's (with the inclusion of a few RD's "2 Be" also :)  These are some lovely ladies who are putting their knowledge to the test in utilizing nutrition to maximize their own athletic outcomes. Furthermore, they are sharing their passion with others to spread the message that nutrition IS a BIG deal!  Thank you ladies for promoting the dietetics profession in your own unique ways, displaying maximum girl power in your personal pursuit of excellence and serving as a role model by "practicing what you preach."

The question I asked everyone was: 

Enjoy their responses below and be sure to check out their personal blogs/websites too!

"I would have to say being in the dietetics field has benefited my athletic endeavors in triathlon. I would also have to say that my athletic endeavors have benefited from my experiences in the dietetic field! When you think of triathlons specifically, you visualize three core elements of swim, bike, and run. I like to think of another core element too...nutrition! While fueling for competition or just getting through the work day at the office, nutrition is a vital element that can set you up for success. I love the aspect of using real food first principal to fuel my body day to day and the dietetic field has helped me shape my perspective on nutrition."

-Edith Nault, MS
Triathlete, Adiago Health Dietetic Intern
Author of

"Weightlifting has been a passion of mine for almost five years and I have been competing as a powerlifter for over three. When I first got into this sport, nutrition was more of an afterthought. I ate fairly clean but was way more concerned with having the latest and greatest supplements and making sure I was eating enough protein. The terms "health", "nutrient dense", and "balanced diet" never crossed my mind. It was not until I was well into my undergraduate degree at the University of New Hampshire, that this mindset began to change. I realized that not only did real food help me to preform better, but it was way cheaper than any supplement out on the market! Now that I am closing in on the end of my internship at Virginia Tech, I have become a huge advocate of the food first philosophy. There will never be a supplement or workout routine that will overcome poor nutrition. Food is my fuel!"

-Brooke Warren
Powerlifter, Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern

"Working as a registered dietitian and board certified specialist in sports dietetics has opened up a whole new world for me as an athlete. With my nutrition knowledge, I'm able to train smarter, recover faster, and get the most out of my body on race day. Racing as a professional triathlete has taught me that nutrition is that "fourth discipline" that will truly make the difference on race day. I honestly believe in the power of nutrition to help athletes reach their true potential, and I'm always excited to share my nutrition principles for athletic success with dedicated athletes who are looking to take their performance to the next level."

-Jennifer Lentzke, MS, RD, LD
Pro Triathlete, Owner of Toro Performance Nutrition

P.S. Jennifer's motto is "Be Brave, Do things that scare you but make you happy," which I absolutely LOVE!

"Being an RD has really taught me the importance of fueling my body correctly. When I was younger, I played a ton of different sports, but I never really cared about what I ate. Now that nutrition is my profession and I've learned how much of an impact food can have on your athletic performance, i've been able to adjust my intake to help me perform my best during my crossfit workouts!" 

-Lindsay Livingston, RD
Crossfit Competitor, 
Freelance Writer & Author of the blog The Lean Green Bean
(among other things!)

"My training in sports nutrition and wellness has helped me realize how important eating the right food, at the right time is for sports performance. There will always be fancy supplements and new eating philosophies but they will never be more important than eating a healthy balanced diet day to day to stay healthy and meal timing to fuel training and recovery. I eat right to stay injury and illness free so that I can train harder to get better. My nutrition training has also helped me realize the importance of maintaining a strong skeleton and muscular system that will support my activities for years to come, not just on my present goal."

-Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
Crossfit/obstacle course competitor
Owner of Nutrition Checkup, LLC

"Both my personal and professional experiences have molded my perspective of what is required to fuel appropriately for successful competition, and most importantly, live a healthy life.  I think many athletes involved in sports that are more dependent upon jumping, running and aesthetics can easily fall into the mindset that losing weight will automatically increase performance and athletic success.  As a result, inadequate nutrition intake can ensue, compromising recovery and/or overall health.  This is an area I have personally dealt with, and have learned by experience what is required to not only put together an effective nutrition game plan, but also how to increase nutrient absorption for desired results.  More of my personal story can be read HERE, if interested.

-Crystal Witte, RDN
Triathlete, Owner of Customized Nutrition Works, LLC

"More than anything being an RDN has shown me I could have been a much better college athlete had I known what I know now, or seen a Dietitian at the time. I swam for the University of Connecticut and while I was majoring in nutrition, did not realize until taking sports nutrition and kinesiology classes my Senior year, that healthy eating is much different for an athlete compared to a non athlete. Since I can't go back in time, I use this as motivation to educate young athletes as best as I can so they don't make the same mistakes I did and can fuel themselves correctly. As an athlete now, running and competing in triathlons, the role of nutrition in recovery has been the most important to me, especially coming back from a couple of injuries. Eating healthy fats and hydration in particular have made a big difference for my joint health and are dietary factors I always stress that runners focus on."

-Kelly Jones, MS, RD, LDN
Owner of Eat Real Live Well
Faculty of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bucks County Community College

"I have always been an athlete from swimming, running, triathlons etc. But I was always so focused on my appearance and being ultra thin and the only way to do that as an athlete was through cutting calories extremely low and living off of protein powers. I wasn’t very conscious of my macronutrient, vitamin and mineral breakdown and I was constantly getting sick. When I finally realized the importance of nutrition with training and joined the field of dietetics, not only did I PR in my own personal athletic endeavors, but also I actually stopped getting injured so much, starting having energy and enjoying life. Now I am a National Level NPC Fitness Competitor. A major focus in this sport is nutrition and it feels great to watch my physique change for shows but know how to compete in the sport in a healthy manner without a crazy crash diet that only makes me hate life and suppress my immune system."
-Kerry Potter, MS, RD, CDE
Fitness Competitor, Sports Dietitian, Diabetes Educator

"In college, I played softball and soccer at McDaniel College in MD and then transferred and ran cross country at UNC-Greensboro. Playing college sports and serving as a student athlete representative to the NCAA has shaped who I am today. I can relate to the experiences of the athletes I work with and I've carried over the lessons I learned and discipline I developed to my work life. Right now I love lifting weights, using TRX and doing HIIT training.
I wish I had a fraction of the knowledge I have now when I was competing in college. By combining my knowledge of exercise science with nutrition I workout more effectively now, see results in a shorter period of time and I have more energy. In addition, I love being able to turn to food to help mitigate excessive soreness, build strength and recover faster than I did in college when I worked through fatigue and soreness."

-Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD
Spokesperson, Author and Sports RD

"The science of food and nutrition has taught me how to eat to prepare, eat to repair, eat to compete and not to deplete."

-Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, RDN
Sports Dietitian

And at the suggestion of a friend, I am including my response too :) 

"Being a Registered Dietitian has given me a unique perspective towards the integrative role food and nutrition plays in my overall health, well-being and athletic performance. I've gained a deep appreciation for providing my body with quality 'fuel' to burn each day, for both life and training, while learning to balance the pleasurable aspects of nutrition by incorporating many of my favorite foods into my daily routine. In my mind, proper nutrition that balances performance, weight management, overall health and pleasure is a art, and we as dietitians are the artists!"

Kristen Chang, MS, RDN
Ultra-Runner & Triathlete
Clinical Dietitian, Wellness Blogger

Happy National RDN Day!!



  1. This is such a great round-up for National R.D. Day :)
    Love that you included yourself and Eddie because you two are some of the most dedicated athletes I know!


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