What Nutritionists Do to Stay In Shape

The pros use all kinds of physical activity to keep their bodies (and minds) fit.

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June 28, 2021
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Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

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Photo By: AndreyPopov

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

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Practicing What They Preach

Nutrition experts focus on food as well as the importance of physical activity — and they practice what they preach! I connected with registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) from all over the country and all walks of life, and as it turns out, nutrition pros partake in several types of physical activity to help keep their bodies and minds fit.

HIIT Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) combines bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity activity. It is an efficient way to use multiple energy systems and burn more calories in less time. Sara Haas, chef, dietitian and author based in Chicago, has found workout bliss at her local HIIT studio. "I belong to PowerSculpt Fitness based in Chicago," she says. "The boutique fitness studio provides a wide variety of classes, mostly HIIT format. It's a super efficient workout (most classes are 30 minutes), which I love! I also love that I'm supporting a local, woman-owned small business!"

Circuit Training

Not to be confused with HIIT, circuit training involves various stations of exercises that follow a variety of tempos, sets and reps. (HIIT and circuit can also be combined.) I am in love with the combo of HIIT, circuit and functional training workouts at my local F45 Training studio and it appears I am not alone. "I love group-style workouts that offer a combination of strength training and HIIT," exclaims Texas-based dietitian Gabbie Ricky. "I joined F45 last year and find their 45-minute workouts are very effective! I aim to attend two strength workouts and two HIIT workouts per week, and that's been working very well for me. I love it because it's a very inclusive environment for ALL fitness levels, yet it still fuels my competitiveness."

Rowing

Whether it's out on the water or in the comfort of your home, rowing is a great way to mix things up. "The foundation of my training to stay in shape, for the last 30-plus years, has always been weightlifting," confesses Chris Mohr, PhD, RD. "But more recently we purchased a Hydrow Rower and that's now something I know that, if nothing else, I can at least make time for a 10-minute row most days of the week, which gives me a great workout in a very short time frame ... rowing is a full-body exercise that gets my heart rate up and engages a lot of my body."

Buy It: Hydrow, $2245

Racket Sports

Toby Amidor, FoodNetwork.com nutrition expert and HealthyEats contributor plays competitively on numerous USTA teams year-round. "I love playing competitive sports and being part of the USTA tennis league allows me to be physically active, relieve stress and spend time with friends. With the magic of tennis bubbles, I can play outdoors during the warmer weather and indoors during the cold weather." In order to increase her skills, Amidor complements her tennis time with reformer pilates, F45 classes and outdoor hikes with her rescue dogs.

If tennis isn't your thing, try some pickleball on for size like Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati. "I enjoy pickleball because it's a fun sport and it's very social. My close friend and I laugh the entire time we're on the court," she says.

Get Outdoors

"I use the motto 'do what brings you joy,'" shares Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, FAND, Founder of DiabetesEveryDay. "I am able to combine relaxation along with physical activity by choosing to walk outdoors every morning after breakfast and ride my bicycle for 10 miles every day after lunch. The timing of my activity is strategic as part of my diabetes management, and being outdoors offers me the opportunity to de-stress. It's a win-win."

Bri Bell also prefers the great outdoors for her exercise time. "I walk daily for 20 to 90 minutes in one of the numerous parks, hiking trails and walking paths — or throughout the neighborhood. I like that it is multifunctional, getting exercise while getting me outside to spend some time in nature." And don’t forget about the benefits of sunshine. "Fresh air and sunshine boost my mood and vitamin D level," adds EA Stewart. "And exercising with friends by playing tennis and hiking makes it seem almost effortless!"

Running

"Running is my favorite! Depending on how much time I have, I try to run two to three times per week, 3 to 5 miles per run. Running clears my head, improves my energy and helps me stay in the best shape," shares Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES. "If not running, I spend 30 to 50 minutes on my elliptical machine, or I do weights on other days. I try to do some form of exercise on most days of the week."

Jazzercise

"I am addicted to Jazzercise!" exclaims Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDN, of RealMomNutrition.com. "I attend classes at my local Jazzercise studio four to five times a week. It's utterly joyful to start the day with dancing, and every class includes strength training, so I also stay strong. It has changed how I feel about exercise. It feels like a gift to myself, not an obligation."

Chair Exercise

Tejal Pathak MS, RD, LD, CDCES, is a private practitioner and clinical dietitian based in Houston and has helped her clients and herself carve out small pockets of time to exercise because every bit counts. "Just like many of my clients, I do run into times when it's difficult to take out time for exercise. Hence, I try to do a 10-minute workout session whenever I can — and on those days, chair exercises are my savior. I do one minute of warmup seated jumping jacks, three minutes of leg extensions, three minutes of calf raises and three minutes of skater switches. I try to get at least 8,000 to 10,000 steps in a day by taking stairs, parking the car at a distance, playing with kids or simply dancing while cooking. Exercise should be relaxing and fun; if the thought of your exercise plan gives you stress, it's time to change it!"

Walk with Company

"I make time to walk every day," shares Alexa Schmidt, RD, an adjunct lecturer at Binghamton University. "Sometimes it is by myself in quiet, with my favorite music, or with an audiobook, and other times I schedule it with a family member or friend. I have my favorite walking routes at home and work, but I try to find a new route at least once a week to enjoy new scenery or add some challenges with hills."

Yoga

SO MANY nutritionists find their workouts and their zen with a yoga sesh. Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, practices three times per week. "The sessions range from 60 to 90 minutes. I really love this time to focus on myself, get centered and, of course, get stronger! I used to be afraid of yoga — I am not flexible! But then I found a yoga teacher whose style really speaks to me. She actually lives in Hungary, so we practice virtually!"

Lexi Endicott, RD, LD, CCMS, also finds ways to practice using virtual options. "Between work and training, I don't have time to get in full yoga sessions, but I love YouTube's nearly endless supply of 15- to 20-minute yoga sessions. These are great breaks throughout the day that keep my mind engaged and my body limber!"

SUP

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great way to get a total-body workout. It can also be combined with yoga as proven by Mandy Enright, the FOOD + MOVEMENT Dietitian and author of 30-Minute Weight Loss Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Sustainable Weight Loss. "As the weather gets warm, I’m excited to get my paddleboard back out on the water to go for sunset paddles and even practice SUP yoga," she says. "It's my favorite way to clear my mind and get in a fun cardio workout while exploring where I live via the waterways!" Mandy also showcases her SUP yoga on her Instagram account.

Daily Activities

All movement counts and it is vital to long-term health. "I'm not an exerciser, but since turning 60, I realize that if I don't use it, I'll lose it. So to stay in shape, I include one or more physical activity exercises into my day," says Liz Weiss, MS, RDN, host of the Liz's Healthy Table podcast and blog. "I rotate between yoga, walking and biking, and I don't bite off more than I can chew. Sometimes I do just 30 minutes of something, even if it's a quick walk around the neighborhood ... I really love the Peloton yoga classes and tend to do a slow flow style class a few times a week. I also use the Peloton for bike classes when it's too cold to bike outside, and I walk most days. I weave small bits of various activities into my week, including yoga, walking and biking."