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Fitness Starts Here

Emma Nelson, RD, LDN, CPT Explains How Physical Fitness Begins in the Mind

Emma Nelson’s passion for helping others learn to create a healthy, balanced lifestyle has been a life-long journey, and it hasn’t always been an easy one. Growing up as a dancer, Emma became acutely aware of how health and fitness impacted her performance and abilities. Unfortunately, she also discovered that, for dancers, the pressure to “look the part” didn’t exactly foster a healthy relationship with things like fitness, body image, and diet. She would soon take her experiences and use them for good by helping others along in their own fitness journey. 

Emma knew she wanted to be in the healthcare industry. But it wasn’t until she began her studies at MTSU that she realized she had the experience and the drive to help people learn that enjoying a healthy lifestyle through fitness and diet was not only attainable but it also went hand in hand. After Emma completed the dietetics program at MTSU, she continued her studies at Lipscomb University, where she underwent a dietetics internship and eventually achieved her goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. 

Now as a fitness instructor and a registered dietitian, Emma is using her expertise and experience to show her clients that true fitness begins with a healthy mindset. She starts by finding the why or reason a client wants to begin their fitness journey. Many of us have been unfairly conditioned to strive for physical fitness in order to be better accepted or to even accept ourselves. Emma is trying to change that by stressing the importance of focusing on things like energy, mood, and longevity as motivators for fitness. She states, “a lot of people are motivated by body image, and I just really try to teach my clients to find a why or motivator outside of that.” Emma explained that working through her own struggles and misconceptions around diet and how it pertains to fitness has only emboldened her passion for helping others going through similar experiences. “It definitely helps when you’ve been through something yourself... education is one thing, but if you have experienced it yourself, I think that’s really valuable when approaching a situation with a client.”

Emma has a deep understanding of what it takes to achieve fitness that is fueled by a diet that not only delivers strength but enjoyment too! She works diligently to teach her clients how to honor their bodies and minds by creating a practical, healthy relationship with food and fitness. She knows that finding that balance will ultimately feed the soul. 

1| Be Aware of Your Motivation.
Is your motivation self-loving or self-loathing? Self-loathing motivation is never sustainable in the long run. Try flipping your perspective to come from a place of love so that you are driven to nourish yourself in a sustainable way. 

2| Create a Good Routine.
Humans naturally gravitate toward routines, healthy or otherwise. Look for ways to establish a routine that is constructive enough to offer the changes you want to see yet gentle enough to stick with it and ultimately thrive!

3| Schedule Exercise or Movement.
Again, people are routine-oriented. Therefore, scheduling a practical amount of exercise within your day can lead to a well-balanced fitness lifestyle. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Move your body in a way that you know you will enjoy!

4| Eat Enough Food!
Emma mentions that the danger of not enough food throughout the day is its ability to perpetuate an unhealthy relationship with food and eating in general. Set yourself up for success by eating a good breakfast! Emma also recommends staying well prepared and keeping yummy snacks on hand.  

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