For the month of August, we're highlighting a special woman we met this year who instantly inspired us by how she wants everyone to feel their personal best through nutrition and performance. Christina Chu is a performance dietitian right here in Chicago and is going to tell you a little bit more about her story including her clientele, her favorite Chomps flavor and what inspires HER.
What is your name?
Can you tell us about yourself - what you do, a bit about your story, etc.?
I am a performance dietitian based out of Chicago, IL, who works with athletes/other high performers to optimize their fueling. My clientele includes youth baseball players to professional combat athletes, cyclists, corporate executives, creative producers, and more. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs as a tennis player, and always had a love for food as a Taiwanese-American (give me all the braised pork over rice, mango shaved rice, and cold noodles)! I loved marrying food, science, and health so much that I earned my Bachelor's and Master's degree in Clinical Nutrition at Boston University and passed my Registered Dietitian board exam shortly after. I started my private practice and consulting business in the height of the pandemic, knowing that I have athletes to serve and people who need help with their nutrition.
My philosophy is based around evidence-based practices applied in a practical manner to maximize my client's potential. Food is so much more than just fuel - it's nourishment, joy, culture, and community.
What’s your best tip on how to stay positive?
Something that has helped me is to talk about what I'm grateful for (almost) every night. Even if I've had a bad day, there is something to be grateful for, even if it just the roof over my head or the clothes on my body.
What’s your workout routine?
I love lifting weights (fun fact: I was a personal trainer in college!), and I teach cycling classes at Equinox! I am always down for a long walk along the Chicago River or tossing the football around in the park.
How do you consider yourself a “game changer?”
Throughout the plethora of nutrition information, marketing, social opinions, unsolicited advice that athletes have exposure to, there is one thing that remains true to my practice - it's all about the athlete. In my practice, I don't try to sell my athletes on products they don't need, make them feel a certain way, etc. I know I am one voice in this athlete's life, and they have the autonomy to make the choices that they want to make. It is my job to try and convince them that the evidence-based route (even though it may not be as glamorous!) is the way to go. I want my athletes to be happy, healthy, and confident in their nutrition. It's not about me, it's about them - and eventually it's my job to not be needed anymore because they are highly competent in their fueling. This may not be the best business advice, but I'm not pulling teeth trying to maximize profits, I'm trying to authentically help people - that's what athlete healthcare is all about.
What’s the best thing you do for your personal health everyday (mental or physical)?
Something that I'm working on is reminding myself that life is a journey, and wins/challenges are just pit stops along the way! This is definitely out of my comfort zone as a Type A individual, but it's about progress, not perfection!
What is your favorite Chomps product?
Jalapeño Beef Sticks, no doubt.
How does Chomps fuel your lifestyle?
Chomps fuels my lifestyle because it is such an easy, savory grab & go protein option. I actually don't have a big sweet tooth, but I LOVE savory foods. I am also on-the-go quite often, and so having a fuel source I can just throw in my backpack (paired with a carb/fruit for an optimal snack composition) that I actually enjoy is a lifesaver!
To follow Christina and social media, you can find her here.