We’d like to give a warm welcome to the newest addition to our nutrition team here at VIDA Fitness, Registered Dietitian Alayna Markwordt! Alayna received her Masters in Medical Dietetics from Ohio State University and will be joining forces with veteran VIDA RD Cat Taylor to make our nutrition services more accessible to members of all VIDA locations.
Alayna will be starting out stationed at U Street, so U Street and Metropole members will have nutritional counseling options that are a little closer to home! With an athletic background and experience working in both medical and performance nutrition, Alayna has the ideal skill set to offer our members quality guidance for creating healthy lifestyles.
Growing up Alayna was always active and playing sports. She played lacrosse at Ohio State, where she was 2nd time All-American and still holds the record for most career goals in the school’s history! She credits this impressive feat to the fact that proper nutrition has always been a key element in her life.
“Since I was so active growing up I always wanted to eat the right foods that would help me perform my best. Being an athlete allowed to me to see the results firsthand of what good nutrition and taking care of yourself does for your body – I was able to start and play in every game of my college career,” she explains. “That’s the power of good nutrition!”
While working on her Masters in Medical Dietetics at Ohio State, Alayna also worked with the student athletes gaining valuable experience in the sports and performance nutrition field. After graduating, she accepted a position with the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, Florida, as one of their in-house Registered Dietitians.
“Our clientele ranged from youth to professional athletes. I worked in the NFL combine training program doing consults for the athletes looking to maximize their performance through nutrition,” she says.
Now that she’s back in DC (Alayna grew up in Woodvine, MD, only an hour away from the city!) she was glad to find a similar atmosphere at VIDA with individuals looking to improve their lives through fitness and wellness.
“I love the mixture of clientele here. Whether you’re training for a triathlon, power lifting or just trying to get in shape, good nutrition is key to all those things,” she says.
Alayna explains that there are common misconceptions and roadblocks people face with nutrition that she looks forward to helping them work through. For instance, she stresses the importance of creating healthy lifestyle habits that will help you achieve long-term results, rather than the short-term results typically seen by following the latest fad diet or myth.
She also specializes in helping people find ways to incorporate healthy choices into their busy day-to-day routines and working with them to find a method that will actually work for their lifestyle. There’s no one-fix-for-all approach, she explains, and creating a customized plan for your goals and lifestyle is essential to seeing results.
She also provides assistance with navigating those ever-so-tricky food labels with promises that can be misleading.
“The food industry can trick you into thinking something’s healthy for you when it’s really not. I can show you what you should actually be eating instead,” says Alayna.
You won’t have to worry about getting bored with Alayna’s meal suggestions either. She’s currently doing a challenge where she cooks meals from all over the world – one from every culture until she tries them all! She also loves experimenting with ancient grains (quinoa, buckwheat, wheat berries, bulgur, etc.) and creating new dishes with them (recipes that she’s happy to share with her clients!)
The kitchen isn’t the only place Alayna likes to try new things – she’s constantly evolving her fitness routines to keep herself challenged as well.
“My fitness goals have always been about getting outside my comfort zone and pushing my boundaries. I love to try new things,” she says.
Alayna’s favorite activities include biking and tennis, and she’s been getting more into yoga recently. She’s also the proud finisher of two marathons, and has her sights set on doing a triathlon one day. She’s big on the outdoors, too, and completed a month-long backpacking trip through South America last summer!
“I love to travel so two of my friends and I backpacked through the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Peru and Machu Picchu. We stayed in hostels, camped, went surfing, snorkeling, biking, repelled down waterfalls and even hiked a volcano!” she says.
“We would hit all the fresh farmer’s markets and stock up on produce, nuts and seeds. It definitely helped me understand the challenges some people face and how to be resourceful with what you have,” she says.
We believe Alayna will be a valuable resource to the VIDA Fitness team and are excited to welcome her on board. If you’re around our U Street location, stop by to say hello and schedule a Nutrition Fit with our newest Registered Dietitian!
“I’m very excited to get started. Whether you’re looking to lose those last 5 lbs or train for a marathon, nutrition is the vital tool that can do that for you and I’m happy to help!” she says.