Andres Ayesta, MS, RDN, CSCS, CSSD, LD
for something nutrishus
Andres had an interesting path to lead him to dietetics, but it seems that he has already accomplished a lot in his career, so I feel his goals are within reason. Like Andres, I was attracted to the profession due to prevention rather than treatment. He reminds us that dietitians (not dieticians) are continually learning and very passionate individuals; something this series continue to remind me of.
Why did you become a RD?
I grew up wanting to be a doctor. I remember playing with toy stethoscopes and a lab coat since I was 5. When I graduated high school, my dream was shattered when I didn’t get into med school. In Venezuela, where I am from, Nutrition and Dietetics school was part of the same School of Medicine in the school I went to. I figured I would just enrol in that major, and then switch over since it was less competitive. Well I never switched. I realized that my job as an RD could have more value as I was providing people with quality of life, and preventing disease vs. treating it.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
Sports Nutrition and Weight Management
How would you explain what you do?
I run a private practice that aims to provide tools and strategies to improve lifestyles via nutrition knowledge at the same time as working with elite and pro-level athletes at the Applied Science and Performance Institute (ASPI), aiming to optimize sports performance and overall athlete health.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
- Create content for social media platforms. I started creating video recipes weekly on my Instagram back in November last year. I post every Monday.
- Nutrition coaching with clients along with meal planning and other supportive materials required for them to have
- Administrative work (Office supplies, accounting, etc.)
- Research and Continuing Education. I try to read at least one nutrition article from a peer-reviewed journal weekly, and listen to one nutrition and fitness related podcast to stay up to date on the latest.
- I make room to stay fit and exercise. I like to lift heavy things, and get my heart rate up pushing my boundaries. As an RD I believe we need to sell what we are, and taking care of yourself is a must for that.
What has been your career path?
I moved to the U.S. in 2009 from Venezuela to continue to dietetics degree at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN. In 2012, I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and was accepted to the University of Houston Dietetic Internship where I completed rotations at the Texas Medical Center. In 2013 I was hired as a sports nutrition coach at IMG Academy, a state-of-the-art athletic facility for high performance athletes. In 2016 I received my Masters Degree in Exercise Science and Sports Nutrition. I also founded my private practice Vive Nutrition in 2016. In 2017 I was hired as the Sports Dietitian for the APSI in Tampa, FL overseeing nutrition and fuelling for all-level athletes. My goals are to become a leader in sports nutrition, and possibly work with pro sports like NFL and MLB.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
This is a great question. We (millennials) are in a time of progressiveness in health and fitness that is amazing. More and more people are starting to become more active and have geared their focus towards understanding the importance of healthy eating. In an ideal world I think we should leverage that interest to continue to grow as nutrition professionals defending our expertise to avoid misinformation provided by various media channels. We will live in a world where people will recognize our value as RDs to provide knowledge to lead healthier and better lifestyles, ultimately understanding that it is better to prevent than to treat medical ailments.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
All RDs are different. We have specialties just like doctors do. A lot of people don’t understand that not all RDs are able to help them if their problems go beyond their areas of expertise. When looking for an RD to work with, make sure you find one that aligns with your expectations and explain to them what you are looking for to make sure you can both work together.
What would you like people to know about RDs?
We are humans, we eat everything. I feel judged everytime I eat a slice of pizza or a cupcake lol. There is room for everything people, Geez!
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
Finding yourself competing with Non-RDs “Nutrition Coaches” and “Nutrition experts” who grow their audiences in social media, and sell nutrition “solutions” and “shortcuts” for fat loss, with generic programs with little to no customization. People are different. It is a pet peeve to me to deal with misinformation out there. I also encounter the challenge of people spelling Dietitian with C instead of a T. That’s a NO NO.
What do people think that you do for a living?
Write diet plans all day long. I get asked for these even at late hours of social events.
What are you passionate about in dietetics?
That smile from people when they tell me I have been an instrumental part of their lifestyle change. Knowing I am making an impact in the future of people even if they do not see it immediately. When working with athletes, seeing them progress in their sport and that feeling of knowing nutrition has a large impact in their outcomes and results. That fires up my passion every day!
What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?
The intense education and training we receive. Only those who have a deep passion to this field make good RDs.
What is your favourite meal?
Pizza all day!
More about Andres:
YouTube: VIvenutrition (*for awesome weekly video recipes).
Blog: VIVE nutrition