Get to know: Rabaa Souissi

Published On: December 18, 2023

Next up in our blog series getting to know the CSCM team is a conversation with Rabaa Souissi, CSCM Practicum Sport Dietitian.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Rabaa: I was born in Algeria. Raised in Qatar. Most of my schooling, high school, university, and my first years of working were in Qatar. I’m very outgoing, and I love adventure.

What brought you to Winnipeg?

Rabaa: I got married and joined my husband here. Loving it!

How do you like living in Winnipeg?

Rabaa: It’s been good. It’s obviously great to be with my husband, he has been making this very easy and great,  I wouldn’t imagine being here alone. I’ve actually been enjoying Winnipeg a lot, the outdoors especially. I came here in the summer, and the weather was great for me. In Qatar in the summer, we would get 45 or 47 degrees and it’s nearly impossible to do outdoor activities when it’s that hot, unless you’re in the water. When I got here the spring/summer season was just beginning and I was living for it. I love running and I have been enjoying my runs since I got here!

I’ve been on lots of road trips, to lakes/other provinces since I got here and it’s been great! I’ve been loving the transition between seasons here, and I came to realize that fall is my favorite season! As the leaves turned yellow and oranges, outdoor runs/walk were magical, there is golden trees everywhere, and the weather is just perfect. Gloomy fall weather is my all time favorite and I’m going to be looking forward to fall every year.

In addition to running, do you do any other sports?

Rabaa: I also do weightlifting and I’m very much into fitness in general. I love doing Olympic style weight lifting like squat, deadlift, bench, I like to see how far I can push my limits and challenge myself/my body. When I was young, I played basketball. Nothing professional, just school teams. Basketball has been one of the sports that I admired the most.

Why did you choose to work in Sport Nutrition?

Rabaa: I was in the human nutrition program at university and the final year of the program is an internship year. We go through rotations at professional practices and one of my rotations was in sport nutrition. It was a month at a prestigious orthopedic hospital where many elite athletes were seen. I was really enjoying the rotation and discovering a lot about sports. I was also getting into fitness at that time, so it was starting to link fitness with nutrition and lifestyle. Working with injured athletes, monitoring their nutrition plans and evaluating what they’re doing in terms of nutrition to work on their injury or injury prevention. I realized then how important nutrition is in sports. That’s when my passion for sports nutrition began growing.

After I graduated, I worked with a nutrition center where I was seeing some recreational athletes. And then I switched to another job in pediatric nutrition and in my free time I took a course in sports nutrition and my passion just grew bigger. I was then a certified sports nutritionist so I started my own little practice. And then, to enrich my knowledge again and I enrolled in a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition from the Institute of Performance Nutrition (IOPN) in the UK and I’ve been doing that for a year and a half. I feel like it’s a privilege when you’re able to do something you love and you’re passionate about. I feel quite lucky that I’m able to do that.

How did you end up working with CSCM?

Rabaa: After I moved here, I started my search for potential opportunities to work in Sports Nutrition, that’s when I came across CSCM. I reached out to Jorie and I was able to volunteer with her in some of her summer camps, and then I was able to start a dietetic practicum with CSCM.

Do you have any go-to advice for athletes?

Rabaa: Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is what I like to tell most of the athletes I work with. I feel like the environment around athletes is usually pushing them towards getting numbers, getting qualified, making it to nationals. There’s usually that expectation to always be the greatest. But it surely takes time, and patience for athletes. Some world professional champions took years to get an Olympic gold medal. I have 2 brothers who are shot-put/discus throw athletes, and they are usually very hard on themselves. I’m always trying to encourage them, provide them with the support they need, and remind them that it takes a while to get where they want to get and that little steps matter.

Last question! Do you have a favourite moment from the last year?

Rabaa: My half marathon at the annual Ooredoo marathon race in Qatar. I raced with an Achilles injury but I honestly had such a blast, although I had to stop running and recover for a couple months after, I had no regrets!

Image 1: Rabaa on a ferry in Istanbul / Image 2: Sunrise stand up paddle with Doha Qatar, Corniche skyline behind / Image 3: Rabaa at the Doha Ooredoo Marathon

Thanks, Rabaa! For more about CSCM Sport Dietetics, check out our Sport Dietetics overview and our Sport Nutrition Resources.

Have you read any of our other recent staff interviews?