As Denver’s Fitness Dietitian, Monica Salafia work with gyms, fitness studios, ironman athletes, triathletes, professional athletes, and helps anyone reach their fitness goals with food. Monica currently works for the Denver Nuggets. How awesome?!
Keep reading to learn all about Monica and her experience!
Tell us a little about yourself, how did you get started as a dietitian and what do you do today?
Hi! I am a sports performance RD. I specialize in fueling athletes to enhance their sports performance! I was about 15, so very little credible nutrition knowledge and decided that I was going to pursue sports nutrition. That was 12 years ago! Today, I am the Team Nutritionist for the Denver Nuggets #GoNuggets! I am a Performance Dietitian at Landow Performance for their NFL Combine Athletes and members. I’m also the Performance Dietitian for The Institute where I work with student athletes, sheriffs and corporate wellness members. I have a private practice where I see mostly women who want to learn how to better meet their fueling needs for their sport or training. I work in media, appearing regularly on TV and some social media influencer work.
What is your mission as a dietitian?
Fuel my athletes!! Get all my clients in top nutrition state so they can perform the best and love what they eat. And also, pave the way for future dietitians to be in pro sports. But, I know I have to focus on my athletes first and hopefully create a good reputation for future dietitians to follow.
What do you look for when choosing new products to buy or recommend to clients?
I always look at…
1. The language they use to promote their products.
2. Reliance on evidence-based nutrition science for marketing and product development.
3. Does their nutrition profile match what it’s promoting itself as?
4. Does it taste good or not? (This is a biggie! It’s not nutritious unless it’s eaten.)
5. Will it actually fuel my athletes and enhance their performance (in other words, would I put their product in a meal plan for them to achieve a stronger physique, improved recovery, healthier immune system etc.)?
Those are the basic questions I ask myself before I accept a brand. Then I go above and beyond for companies that are just super nice and happy to welcome my creativity. B Corp gets a bonus from me too.
What is the value of working with brands to both you and your customers/clients/audience?
The value is that there is a two-way street! I not only get to improve clients’ relationship with food and fueling by sharing new products, but I also get to weigh in on the products themselves.
How did you start working with brands? (or what was your first brand partnership?)
Athleta was my very first brand partnership! I was the store ambassador for Cherry Creek in Denver. I was at 600 followers on Instagram, but they didn’t care about that metric. They wanted someone who had influence in real life and in the Denver fitness community. It was a perfect match!
What are some of the more unique ways in which you’ve partnered with brands?
TV is the most unique because not a lot of brands have television in their marketing budget so it feels less saturated. It’s also my favorite way because it feels the most natural and authentic. I have the most fun and brands are happy to share the content. I’ve also been a panelist for a speaking event that Kroger hosted at the Civic Center in downtown Denver.
What advice do you have for other RDs who want to connect with brands?
I recommend being true to your audience. I also think when you celebrate the brand on their profiles, genuinely, of course, it creates a better partnership. Certainly getting on platforms like Link is great too because there are so many brands who may just be starting out and want to grow something awesome!
Do you have any advice for brands who want to connect with RDs?
Haha, I can only speak for myself but I really like having flexibility in my content. Deadlines are super helpful. One more piece of advice is to send a product but without expectation. I know it sounds weird but it’s really uncool when a dietitian is promoting a product he/she/they doesn’t/don’t genuinely like it. I have discontinued my relationship with very popular brands because I truly did not like their product and didn’t want to keep up with the demands of their posting schedule. Like, don’t make me live on Instagram. Brands have to make money, so do RDs. And most of the time the dietitian they’re working with isn’t making their living from influencer work but influencer work takes time. I don’t make much money from influencer partnerships so it makes me want to do them less, but if it helps my clients then I’m more open to it.
Just for fun, what is your go-to healthy snack?
Smoked oysters from the can and Siete Lime Chips. My mouth is watering just typing it. Yum!