Our nutrition department has expanded quickly over the last year, and we’re more excited than ever to welcome a new healthy habits guru to our U Street team! Our new Registered Dietitian Addie Merletti (you can call her AC!) has a passion for creating healthy, nutritious and creative meals in her own kitchen, and she’s ready to share her tips and secrets with our members!
Addie grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended college at UNC Chapel Hill. She studied psychology and Spanish during her Tarheel years, and graduated on track to pursue a mental health career in 2010. For the first year post-grad, she worked in community mental health and helped those dealing with mental health issues.
It was through working with clients closely in their day to day life that Addie realized how prevalent unhealthy eating habits and lack of nutritional knowledge were in the people she worked with.
“Food has always been a huge part of my life and cooking has always been a passion of mine. I was raised with great nutritional values, but when I started working in the mental health field I learned that not everyone had that knowledge,” she says.
With a new perspective on how she could help people improve their lives, Addie decided to transition into physical healthcare instead. Food and healthy cooking were her passions, so she began her Masters in Nutrition at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina later that year.
Once finishing her Masters, she received her dietitian creds through the Aramark Distance Dietetic Internship in Baltimore. She completed three rotations, two clinical roles at hospitals and one in sports nutrition for the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department. She regularly performed body composition tests, helped those dealing with eating disorders and worked with the athletes to properly fuel their bodies to maximize performance.
“I liked working with motivated people who have really specific goals in mind, or helping them create those specific goals if they don’t have them already. I love seeing how nutrition can help push people past their performance plateaus,” she explains.
While she loved working in collegiate sports, the frequent travel and long days were less than ideal. She and her husband had moved to Arlington in December of 2014, and she was looking for something close to home. The fitness industry offered the ideal clientele of active, motivated and goal-oriented individuals, so finding VIDA was a perfect fit!
“I love VIDA because it’s a one stop shop for healthy lifestyle goals. You can do everything here – work out, design a meal plan, visit the spa and hair salon. Plus, everyone is so pleasant and friendly! It’s awesome to have a job that you want to come to hang out at even on your days off,” she says.
Addie started with us in mid-June, and has fit in seamlessly with our U Street family. She’s been working one on one with many of personal trainers and their clients, taking tons of group fitness classes (she also teaches Barre on the side!) and has been gracing the office with delicious home-made treats all month long.
She’s already provided a handful of new clients with sustainable meal plans to compliment their fitness routines and goals, and has shared tips with all of us about properly fueling our workouts to get the most out of the time we spend in the gym.
“I’m a big fan of meeting people where they are and customizing plans to an individual’s goals and lifestyle. I only prescribe things that are actually doable, I’m not an advocate of cutting anything out completely from someone’s diet. I like to find creative ways to satiate that craving instead,” she explains. “VIDA members are already investing time and money into getting results, and without a proper nutrition plan you’re only going to get halfway there, maybe less.”
Addie has a strong understanding of cooking and preparing foods that she loves sharing with those who those skills don’t come as easy for. She recognizes that many people seek out information online that can be confusing and contradictory, and she offers a science-based explanation of what they’re reading and how it actually applies to their unique goals and nutritional needs.
Her favorite foods? Anything Mediterranean, and anything resembling Peanut Butter & Jelly! She’s also a big fan of Le Diplomate on 14th – so you may catch her and husband there enjoying some tasty French food this summer!
Interested in setting up your complimentary Nutrition Fit with Addie? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your first consult, all U Street members receive their first visit free!
**Attention U Street! Addie will be hosting a Healthy Happy Hour at the Penthouse Pool on Thursday, July 28th from 6:30-8pm. Come get to know her and try her signature healthy whole fruit margarita – it’s to die for!