We’re kicking off National Nutrition Month with a spotlight on our very own Sports Nutritionist, Lauren Brown. Lauren shares her journey and gives us the skinny on sticking to a balanced diet.

Before moving to San Diego almost 11 years ago, Lauren grew up living in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Lauren attended University of Michigan and Wayne State University, majoring in nutrition. She has received personal training certifications from NASM and NESTA as well as her LPSN from the National Association of

Sports Nutrition and has worked one-on-one with Jeff Kotterman. Lauren has been involved in the fitness industry since then and recently joined our team as a valuable resource to our members.

Balanced: Lauren, tell us, what made you want to pursue this career? What is most fulfilling?

Lauren: I went through many years battling internal demons growing up. Learning how to fuel my body and exercise in a way that was healthy ultimately saved me. It was from this experience that my passion and interest in helping others do the same blossomed. Every day it continues to grow. Seeing how people can change in such positive ways, not only physically but mentally, just by teaching them how to eat properly and how to correctly train their bodies for their specific goals is the most fulfilling. Knowing that they are happy and comfortable in their own skin makes me just as satisfied, if not more so, at the end of the day. I love my job and would not trade it for anything.

Balanced: What aspects differentiate Sports Nutrition?

Lauren: In general, the discipline of Sports Nutrition gives nutrition, exercise, and supplementation advice in order to manipulate a person’s body composition and athletic performance whether it be in a gym or out on the playing field. Principles are applied based off of biochemical and physiological scientific knowledge in order to promote optimal health. This is achieved by conducting a series of appropriate tests and observations such as anthropomorphic measurements, body composition and nutritional and lifestyle analysis.

Balanced: What top 5 pieces of advice do you have for fans hoping to make a healthy lifestyle change?

Lauren: 1.) Make small and realistic goals. Many people think in terms of “all of nothing” when making lifestyle changes and that makes their goals and expectations of themselves difficult, and more often than not, unattainable.

2.) Know the reason (or reasons) you are wanting to make this change. This will make your purpose that much clearer and help to keep you on track.

3.) Don’t do it alone. Establish a support system, whether it be buddy workouts, hiring a personal trainer or nutritionist, or having family and friends start eating better and exercising along with you.

4.) Healthy eating does not have to be boring. There are so many ways to make meals and snacks that taste sinful but are actually so good for you. The key is experimentation and searching for recipes/blogs on how to create healthy dishes.

5.) Balance is key. Eating healthy and exercising regularly is important but so is treating yourself occasionally and allowing your body to rest. As long as you keep the treats small and in moderation you will not wreck your diet but actually can help it. Remember the age old “80/20 rule”…live 80% healthy and 20% a little less than healthy!

Do you have questions for Lauren? Visit our Facebook page and write any diet or nutrition question you may have in the “Ask the Expert” tab and then stay tuned every Wednesday when Lauren answers one of your top nutrition questions on our page!