Name: Danielle Fryer, RDN, CSCS
Business Name and Title: The Country Club at DC Ranch. Director of Health & Fitness
What is your specialty? Nutrition, Strength Training, Yoga and Meditation
How long have you been doing this and how did you get your start?
I have been a fitness professional for 24 years (1995), and a registered dietitian nutritionist for 19 years (2000). I grew up doing gymnastics for 13 years. Essentially, I was raised learning and understanding strength and conditioning concepts. I began lifting weights when I was 16 years old. I got inspired to weight train at a Pennsylvania gymnastics camp. I noticed other gymnasts were beautifully stacked, strong and able to throw some tricks that I wanted to throw as well. I was already a strong little string bean, but I knew I had to get stronger to excel. I asked for their written, strength and conditioning program, went home to Alabama and bought myself a Weider bench set. I experienced great results and started sharing my program with my team. I was soon leading our strength and conditioning routines after gymnastics practice. I started working at a local gym when I was 18 while attending college for food and nutrition. I worked as a fitness assistant and learned from other experienced trainers before gaining my certifications over the years. My dietetic career began at an outpatient nutrition clinic in Pittsburgh, PA. I worked along some experienced dietitians who gave me a strong foundation for teaching science evidence-based nutrition education, motivational interviewing, and coaching effective behavioral changes. As for my start with Yoga, as a former gymnast, the yoga postures were nothing extraordinary to begin teaching to my clients in early 2000. However, practicing meditation rocked my world and continues to blossom as I invest in my personal growth.
Why did you choose this as your career path? I don’t think I chose exercise science, as much as it chose me. Life would have it that I was always engaged in learning more about human performance. Possibilities would arise, doors would open, and I was willing to walk through them. However, in regards to my nutrition career path, I remember my Mom encouraging me to choose a profession that I had a deep interest in. She urged me, “Don’t choose a profession for the money.” So, I noticed I found myself very interested in nutrition beginning my junior year of high school. I was deeply confused by the conflicting information I was reading. I was determined to know the truth about food! I was struggling with disordered eating and poor body image. I wanted to know how to manipulate food so that it wouldn’t manipulate me! So, I got an education on it. LOL! Over time, my disordered eating behaviors seemed to have quit me. Meditation practices helped me heal the root of the issues. The root was what I was thinking and believing about it, not the reality of what was happening in the moment. Today, I get to share what’s true for me about food and body perceptions, and how I evolved my negative behavior challenges into freedom.
Why is this work important to you? For me, there is nothing more liberating that being happy in your own skin! Whatever your path of your life may bring, whatever your body composition and structure! It is important to me to serve as an experienced teacher on the subject. It’s important to me, because I think your light matters! If it didn’t, you would not be here. Our bodies are an instrument for Life to experience itself through. If I can connect with someone and point to that in which is already inside of them, we all win. We are all in this together.
I know I have done my job when… I know I have done my job when a mental shift occurs. Mine or yours. When we perceive things that hurt us, differently, that gap is where understanding arises. When I witness it in others, I see it in their eyes. Most times there is a pause in thought, then there is a moment of peace. Sometimes, there are tears. The body follows our thoughts. It is not the other way around. When we begin noticing what we are thinking and believing that causes us to suffer, we shift. If I can facilitate a shift in another’s relationship with food and their body, I’ve done my job.
What are your hopes for 2019:
To witness an evolving health and fitness community here at The Country Club at DC Ranch. Our brand-new fitness and performance facility will open April 2019! My team here at CCDCR and I have been diligently working to build it from the ground up. Additionally, I hope to publish my first book, Evolve Healthy. A Mindfulness Guide to Food and Body Liberation. It’s been a true labor of love and I am hopeful I will hold this “book baby” in my hands and share it with others. I am hopeful a book publisher will invest in my message, and if that doesn’t happen, I will invest in myself and self-publish. I hope y’all stay attuned to my book launch via my social media accounts.
Are there any trends you foresee in your industry for 2019?
I foresee a trend that includes ever evolving technology, and greater youth participation in fitness and nutrition concepts. It is important to me to engage and nurture these trends by blazing my trail and making way for these generations coming up. I would like to project that there will be a resurrection of root concepts regarding movement and food; a coming home to the foundational basics, so to speak. The fitness industry has gone wild with fusions of this and that, and dietary misinformation is spreading at an all-time high. This is an exact point I make in my book, Evolve Healthy.
Do you have any anecdotes regarding a client and how your work impacted them?
One of my long time, dear clients, Sarah M. from New Jersey, says that my direction to “evolve healthy” has impacted her life, greatly. Our relationship started with one fun, holiday-morning charity workouts that I offered my community. Then, she enrolled into one of my fitness and nutrition programs that encourage mindful attention to her relationship with food and exercise. I practiced yoga with her while she was recovering from a surgery that removed cancer from her throat. Today, we speak monthly on the phone. I facilitate a listening ear and ask her a lot of questions that she explains, “drives me to centering and reason.” Sarah wrote to me recently, “I think you have an ability to reach people in the right way no matter where they are, mentally and emotionally. You’ve always been able to help me along my journey at whatever place along that path I was – not providing just set answers or boxed-up tools, but really taking the time to identify what I had going on and what might help me most. I think that’s what I’m most grateful for.”