The College of Applied Science and Technology’s “A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum” series is designed to shed some light on how CAST alumni spend their days. As with many careers, our alumni will tell you that every day is different, but this series aims to provide a peek into an alum’s world.

Alumna Amanda Figge ’08, M.S. ’12, said: “You are always encouraged to study what you love. For me, my love and passion for leading a healthy and active lifestyle transpired into earning a B.S. in exercise science and then a M.S. in family and consumer sciences in the dietetics sequence, both at Illinois State University.

“Becoming a dietitian allowed me to use my knowledge on nutrition and metabolism to teach others how to improve their health and treat chronic disease. Dr. Mark Hyman stated, ‘Food is not just calories, it is information. It talks to your DNA and tells it what to do. The most powerful tool to change your health, environment and entire world is your fork.’ Each day, my goal is to guide others on improving the nutrients they fuel their bodies with. Too often, we turn to medications to treat our symptoms when more times than not, a change in dietary choices and lifestyle habits can help alleviate most adverse health outcomes.

“Because I studied what I loved at ISU, my job never feels like work. Every day is an adventure filled with challenges and opportunities to improve lives, change lives, and even save the lives of others.”

Figge shared her schedule with us: A day in the life of a clinical/community dietitian, mom, wife, and avid CrossFitter.

7:30 a.m.–noon: Early mornings are always exciting. I may be asked to do an interview or food demo at our local news station, set up meetings to discuss nutrition services and opportunities offered by our department, or reserve time to blog about nutrition and active lifestyles for our clinic wellness blog, Working at a multispecialty clinic allows me the opportunity to see a wide variety of patients with both simple and complex medical conditions. A common day would include educating and counseling patients with diabetes, kidney disease, gut sensitivities, high cholesterol, food allergies, or chronic inflammation to name a few.

Noon–1 p.m.: CrossFit. There’s no better way to break up your day than with a heavy barbell and friends. I began CrossFitting three years ago, and my love and excitement for this form of fitness continues to grow with every WOD (Workout of the Day). Whether I’m working on squats, power cleans, pull-ups, or doing a short metabolic conditioning workout, exercising in the middle of the day provides a nice break from sitting and doesn’t eat away time from my family at home.

1–5 p.m.: The remainder of my afternoon is split between seeing patients and handling day to day operations as the manager of my department. Another unique aspect of my work environment is that I change locations each day of the week. This allows me to best serve patients in the Springfield area, as well as the surrounding communities.

5–10 p.m.: My favorite part of the day is when I get to pick up my 11-month-old son, Oliver, from day care. We come home and play, which lately consists of building block towers and destroying them, opening up drawers and pulling out anything within reach, and tormenting our Australian shepherd, Bamboo. To allow more time with my family, I typically meal prep on Sundays, so I do not have to spend precious hours on weeknights stuck in the kitchen. After bath and story time, I am preparing baby bottles, breakfast, lunches, snacks, and packing my gym bag for the following day, while listening to the Cubs play on TV with my husband, Luke (Figge, ’09).

“Each day brings its own set of unique patients and opportunities; however, the core elements of living a healthy lifestyle always remain the same,” Figge said. “Cook real food. Pick up a barbell. Share a baby giggle (or two). And dance. Always find an opportunity to dance.”

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