Nutritionist in Low Demand at ARC

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COLUMBIA - The Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) supervisors observe an ironic trend lately as exercisers seek personal training and weight loss programs but fail to start at the source - diet.  

Jane Parker sticks to a pretty strict work out regimen.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she focuses on cardio, starting on the eliptical then usually moving to the stationary bike.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are when she focuses on strength training with weights.  Although Parker has her schedule down pat, she doesn't consult with a dietician.

"I guess I felt like I was knowledgable enough, that I could make decisions healthwise for myself and nutritionwise," Parker said.

A year to a year and a half ago, the ARC employed a nutritionist to work alongside personal trainers and be a component of programs offered.  The position was quite under used and Supervisor of Operations, Brian Higginbotham, noticed that trend continues today.  

"I think a lot of people have the notion that they come into a gym and they get on a treadmill, lift some weights and they can get in shape and lose weight, which at extremes you can, but without the dietary component, it makes it very hard for a good weight loss," Higginbotham said.

He said he sees people come in who want to lose weight quickly, wanting to know a fast fix for problem areas, like the mid-section for example.  "What machine can I use to get rid of x, y and z?" is a common question ARC-goers ask Higginbotham.  His response... there isn't one.

As 80 percent of weight loss is diet, exercise equipment and personal trainers are only part of the solution.  

"We are what we eat," said Higginbotham.  

He stresses that people wanting to get in shape need to assess what they are putting into their body first, then obtain an exercise plan.

The question now remains: why refill a position for which there is no demand?  The nutritionist slot is currently vacant - Higginbotham says it will stay that way until he sees a need from his customers.