IN THE BATTLE AGAINST EXCESS BODY FAT, Sarah Mattison poses a double threat. She and husband Ryan Berndt own Hybrid Fitness and Fit Fresh Cuisine, two businesses that work in tandem to help clients get in shape. Located under the same roof in Fitchburg, Wis., Hybrid and Fit Fresh combine a workout gym with a restaurant offering locally grown, nutritionally balanced food including counter service, delivery, and calorically controlled carry-out meal plans. A registered dietitian and a certified personal trainer, Mattison opened Hybrid/Fit Fresh in 2009 after a stint as a dietitian for UW athletic teams. A second restaurant, sans gym, opened earlier this year.
How did you arrive at your profession?
I’ve always loved science, animals and the environment. I’ve also always been really active and enjoyed sports. When I entered UW, zoology seemed the obvious choice, and during that time I studied marine biology on a semester abroad in Australia. But after graduation I felt that marine biology was a better hobby than a career. During a lunch with my sister she casually said, “You’ve always loved cooking and food—why don’t you go into nutrition?” After giving it some thought I realized she was right—I had always been experimenting with food, cooking and nutrition.
How did you hit upon the nexus of fitness and healthy food? Most businesses seem to do one or the other.
An all-inclusive approach to health makes sense. My husband, Ryan, is a master-level personal trainer. Clients get expert advice from him on their exercise and learn cutting-edge techniques to improve their fitness. As a registered dietician, I provide reputable individualized nutrition information. The meal plan service takes it a step further by making healthy eating convenient. We’re a one-stop shop for expert fitness and health enhancement. As entrepreneurs, we saw an opportunity to combine our skills to offer something unique.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?
Helping people make positive changes toward their health. It fuels me to work harder as more people I work with make changes and are so grateful for my help. I also value that I can be creative daily through exercise, cooking and motivational techniques.
What’s your best advice for people who want to lead more healthful lives?
Define what “healthy” is to you and create a plan to make changes weekly. Also, when it comes to weight loss there is a science to work with, so seek professional advice and help where necessary so your efforts pay off.
Does being an entrepreneur have its scary moments?
Yes, but that fear becomes a fuel, a drive to work harder and smarter.