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Rooted in wellness
from food to fitness

Some may say it’s one of life’s great mysteries and while it’s not the fountain of youth, it may just help to stay young longer. It’s not a face cream, weight loss gimmick or nutrition scam. Nope, not one bit. The key to living a long, happy life boils down to overall nutrition and movement.

“Nutrition I feel, people see as an only one-way road and there are so many ways,” Nutrition Specialist and co-owner of Rooted in Modesto, Marisol Fernandez shared. “Nutrition is as unique as we are individually. So, I try to teach people a unique way by helping them evaluate their own life and their own goal.”

Now with 16 years of experience and a varied clientele, Fernandez shared the biggest struggle is breaking the mindsets of diet trends and restricted eating. Curious by nature, when first entering the health and fitness industry, she put herself through training as a body builder.

“It was challenging not only physically and mentally, but emotionally. I met a lot of other body builders and I started realizing there’s a lot of eating disorders,” she said.

Recognizing the way society viewed the body builder physique as ideal, Fernandez shared the experience taught her “what is real.”

“Being in this really taught me what is real. What is sustainable,” she said of the experience. “My clients are coming from desk jobs and thinking this is what really defines health and it didn’t define health. It just defined a sport.”

The nutrition coach noted she works with clients individually to customize a plan which will not only work for their lifestyle, but their budget, as well as the time they have to give to maintaining a healthy overall plan.

“If a person is really, really busy. They have kids. Their kids have sports. They’re not going to be able to cook every night,” she said, “and I’m not going to set them up for failure. I’m not going to make them feel that’s the only way.”

The health enthusiast added that it’s important to her to listen to the clients’ needs and treat them each as individuals. Helping them with a “road map” to work toward optimum health. 

“The human body is designed to do certain things,” she continued. “The main goal is to keep us alive, move us, have muscle mass. Everybody is the same, but at the cellular level it’s all unique.”

Acknowledging the uniqueness of the body as well as the individual, Fernandez teaches clients how to understand what they’re eating, as well as taking into account their environments and setting realistic goals.

“I want to give people joy and confidence with themselves and I think that all comes down to food,” she said.

At a time when so many embrace the title of “Nutritionist,” Fernandez said it’s important to her to not just share her knowledge but truly educate those whom she works with. Part of this begins with debunking two of the biggest myths by way of health and nutrition.

The first she describes is the myth that there is food that is bad, which according to her, there is no such thing as bad food. The second myth is cutting out a food group. Examples of this would be the non-fat trend; non-carb trend; Intermittent Fasting trend or carnivore trend.

“If you look at what all of those trends are, it’s eliminating one thing,” she stated. “That’s all. Eliminating that one thing just makes you aware. Paying attention more to what you’re doing. Your environment. What you’re eating. How does that feel.”

Fernandez shared she feels part of the current struggle with proper nutrition stems from the medical profession.

“We go to the medical professionals, and we hold them on the highest pedestal,” she said. “But they are very limited on the information and they’re giving us a lot of information from the 1950’s, so people are not taking the time to get involved with this new research and keep their education updated as to how the body works.

“We’re still eating the same way even though the quality of our food changed,” she continued. “We’re still eating the same way, even though the fast-food industries are now involved.”

And while education on nutrition, eliminating myths and trends, as well as exposing her clients to the mindset of ‘there are no bad foods’ is important to Fernandez, so is movement.

“In society, I guess the biggest trend would be calories in, calories out,” she said of diet and exercise. “That’s the most deceiving thing and it makes me really sad because so many humans are walking on empty. When you walk on empty, you’re unhappy. You’re moody. You’re so susceptible to stress yet we’re afraid to eat.”

Acknowledging that much is based on an ideal height for an ideal weight, which leads to an ideal BMI, the nutritionist noted the perfection mindset is one she finds most troublesome.

“We need to stop undereating,” Fernandez stated. “Everyone thinks they need to eat less. When you eat less you stress out your body. That’s why it’s not sustainable.”

Fernandez enjoys equally working with clients on their strength and fitness through her business, Rooted Movement, something she has had a passion for since first opening 16 years ago.

Fernandez stated that she and business partner, Ricardo Garcia do not consider the downtown Modesto location as a gym. Through the time and attention they’ve given their clients, they’ve created a community. Offering a customized program for each person. Teaching reduced stress, nutrition and physical health.

“We teach you how to use your own bodies,” she said. “We don’t have machines for a reason. There’s more success in making sure that your brain and your nerve system are connecting along with your muscular system.”

Now more than a decade and a half since first opening Rooted Movement, the co-owners remain focused on overall health for their clients.

“I want to teach people how to not be afraid of food,” Fernandez said. “To see their health and their nutrition as an investment. You’re going to invest a little bit, but it’s going to take you really far.

“Just come in and move,” she continued. “Doing some kind of movement every day is more beneficial than working out really hard two times a week.”

As for what keeps her motivated and committed not just to her clients, but the goal of educating others about nutrition, there’s no hesitation.

“Overall health,” she said of the optimum goal, “your body will naturally change. When we just focus on a specific size and a specific weight, that’s way more unhealthy. Now you are creating an unhealthy mental mindset and negative emotion. It’s easier to make mindful choices when we love ourselves and appreciate ourselves more.”