“Best food we’ve seen in over ten years of baseball.”

Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Rilling

“Best food we’ve seen in over ten years of baseball.”

A bold and deserving statement made by Rocco Baldelli, of the Tampa Bay Rays, to describe the organization’s Coordinator of Nutritional Sciences, Ryan Harmon, in her first year with the Bay Area ball club. FLocal Magazine was thrilled to send a few of our FLocal Locals to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida to sit down with the highly regarded and highly decorated dietician.

Harmon’s love for health and nutrition started as a young girl. “Nutrition was always a part of my life,” she recalls from her Bar Harbor, Maine upbringing. “It was important in our household.” The influence she received from her parents’ own interest in nutrition shaped her choice of extracurricular activity. Harmon’s athletic career began early, with a special interest in soccer and tennis, and continued into her years as an undergraduate at the University of Maine. What she didn’t know then was how far her love of the game would take her. “I never thought sports dietitian, I always thought medical school.” Harmon’s years as an undergraduate student would allow her to dive into the world of pre-med, along with psychology, in hopes of someday reaching her then-set goal of medical school. From the University of Maine, she moved onto the University of Florida (UF) to work towards her Ph.D in nutrition and genetics. Between her studies and lab work, Harmon also ran the Weight Management Program in the Athletics Department at UF, where she was able to combine the education she was gaining with her passion of athletics. This experience helped to spark a light in Harmon that would help guide her into her chosen career path.

Having already compiled an elite resume, a highly recognized and highly competitive internship at the Mayo Clinic was her next stop on her train to success. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she tells our Locals about the experience. “It’s a highly regarded program. They expect perfection.” Harmon reminisced about her time at the Mayo Clinic, “During the internship there comes a time where you have to choose the path you want to take. I told my director I wanted to be in the field of sports dietetics. She told me that I’d never do it because it is too hard and too competitive. So, of course that made me want it even more.”

Go to www.flocalmagazine.com to see the full interview with Ryan Harmon in the February issue of FLocal. Read to the end where Harmon leaves us with a few tips and tricks that anyone can implement into their routine!

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