Dr. Rachele Pojednic is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Simmons College and a prior Research Fellow at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Harvard Medical School. She holds a PhD from the Tufts University in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and an EdM in Physical Education and Coaching. As a researcher, her work has a specific focus on physical activity and nutrition interventions for the prevention and treatment of non-communicable chronic disease. She serves as co-chair of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Is Medicine® education committee and the American Council on Exercise Industry Advisory Panel. Dr. Pojednic has also been an active member of the fitness industry for the past 15 years and is an indoor cycling instructor at Flywheel Sports in Boston. She has been a consultant and writer to several organizations, including Joy Bauer and the Today Show, Huffington Post Healthy Living Blog, Boston Magazine, and Self Magazine.
How (and when) did you get into your current field or company?
I recently took an Assistant Professor position in the Nutrition Department at Simmons College after completing a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. I’ve been teaching indoor cycling for almost ten years, the last three at Flywheel Sports in the Prudential building.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Most mornings I’m up before the sun to teach a sweaty cycling class (or two), grab breakfast and head to campus where I teach 2-3 classes and labs to undergraduate and graduate students. I try really hard to be home for dinner with my husband, always with a glass of red wine!
What is the favorite part of your day?
I feel incredibly lucky that my days are packed with time in front of a class. Whether lecturing about the science of nutrition and physical activity to my students, or letting it rip in front of a packed cycling studio, I am so grateful for the opportunity to spread a message of health and wellbeing to all the people around me!
What excites you about working in your industry?
We live in a world where health and wellbeing are finally taking a place at the forefront of our agendas. After decades of packing our days with more work and stress than we can handle, I am determined and excited to be a part of recreating a culture of health.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Walk the talk.” Specifically with self-care. It is critical that as an educator and practitioner, I am finding ways to incorporate exercise, healthful food, and rest into my own life. In that way, I am able to understand how damn hard it really can be to pay attention to these essential parts of my day and also ensure that I am always at my best when I am doing my work.
What is your favorite part of being a woman in STEM?
The female colleagues that I have. Holy, the women that I work with are such an incredible force. Not only are they extraordinarily smart, driven, and determined, they figure out how to balance complicated professional careers with positive family lives, all the while moving the field forward. It’s totally inspirational and empowering.
What other women inspire you?
The women that are “in the arena” are always inspiring to me. The ones “who strive valiantly; who err;…but who actually strive to do the deeds” (T. Roosevelt, 1910, remixed). In our modern world, I am ever moved by women like Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and Beyoncé. An eclectic group, but all badass women who aren’t afraid to literally stand in a stadium, voice their true convictions, and never back down.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I hate watermelon. All melon actually. I’ve been trying to like it all my life, and it just won’t take.
What do you geek out about?
I get SO excited to understand how food and exercise change your body and mind at the molecular level. Reading the research and literature is actually really fun for me and I love figuring out how to make it relevant and useful for people!