On Falling Out of Love: What My First Philly SoulCycle Class Taught Me About Myself

A workout that includes savasana is more my speed now | microgen/iStock.com

A workout that includes savasana is more my speed now | microgen/iStock.com

I waited three long years for SoulCycle to open in the Philadelphia area. (I even wrote about my longing for a SoulCycle to open in Philly for Be Well Philly here!) When the news broke that the Ardmore studio was opening, I quickly reserved my bike and made the half-hour drive to Ardmore to be reunited, finally, with my long lost love.

I was so excited.

When I arrived at the studio, a cookie-cutter replica of all the other SoulCycle studios I’d visited in the past, it felt like a “coming home.” Finally, I didn’t have to take a train or a plane to take a SoulCycle class.

At the start of the class, I clipped into my bike, closed my eyes (they were playing new Beyoncé!), and was instantly flooded with goosebumps. The first 10 minutes were AWESOME. As I cycled, I had a flashback to my very first SoulCycle class and saying to myself, “If we had this in Philly, I’d go all the time and be so thin and fit.” Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush, but in those first few minutes of class I started to negotiate with myself and convince myself that I could ABSOLUTELY make the drive from Center City to Suburban Square to take a class a few days a week.

Then, things turned ugly. Really ugly. I went from feeling so high and confident one minute to feeling like I was going to black out, fall off my bike, hit my head and vomit all over myself. This wasn’t just an “Oh, this is a hard workout — I need to build up my stamina” kinda moment. It was like my body was protesting. Read more »

Snack Attack: 5 Healthiest Food Finds at Starbucks

protein box lead 2Having a Starbucks on every corner could be seen as either a blessing or a curse. If you ask me, it’s the former. And no, it’s not because you get to have their oh-so-cute cake pops at your fingertips at all times. It’s because having a Starbucks on every corner makes staying fueled easy when you’re on the go.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Eating whole, unprocessed foods that you whip up in your own kitchen with a hefty dash of love is obviously always the best option when it comes to your health. But hey, life throws us curve balls and crazy schedules, and sometimes you can’t help but catch yourself feeling hungry with no homemade snack to tide you over. So for those holy-crap-I’m-hungry moments away from home (we all have ‘em), I’ve handpicked my top five healthy food options Starbucks has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a last-minute breakfast or an on-the-go dinner, or just something to satisfy your sweet tooth, I’ve got you covered.

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6 Secret Gems in Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Aisle

All photographs by Claudia Gavin

All photographs by Claudia Gavin

Confession: I’m a health coach that hates to cook.

I used to think that in order to have a healthy toned body, I had to cook 80 to 100 percent of my food—and for a while I did just that. I used to spend six hours on a Sunday shopping, chopping and cooking all my food for the week because I never had the time during the work week to cook a healthy, elaborate meal that didn’t taste like cardboard.

Guess what? This got old very quickly. I prefer eating food rather than making it. And unless you’re a Powerball winner and rolling dough, you can understand why eating out at the healthiest farm-to-table restaurants every night of the week isn’t an option, either.

So I was determined to find a solution that would save me from slaving away over the stove for hours but that didn’t force me to give up eating the foods that were good for me.

And that’s when I discovered this secret: the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s. Seriously, it’s one of the best places to find healthy “fast food” (i.e. food that doesn’t take 100 years to make)—you just have to know what you’re looking for.

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How to Jump-Start Your Post-Holiday Detox (Without a Juice Cleanse!)

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After packing on a few pounds from all the holiday fa-la-la-ing, you can’t help feeling bloated and sluggish. Chances are that right about now, you’re desperately searching for a reboot.

In the past, January always meant signing myself up for a juice cleanse, which required forcing down foul-tasting juice for a week and completely clearing my calendar because I couldn’t handle being around solid food without wanting to punch my friend in the stomach and run off with her pizza.

Sounds like fun, eh? Trust me—it wasn’t.

Sure, by the end of the cleanse I’d fit back into my skinny jeans … but then a few days later, I wouldn’t. In fact, I’d gain all the weight back I lost and then some.

For those who struggle with emotional eating, cleansing can be torture and only guarantees a binge later on. That’s why instead of going on a cleanse, I plan what I call a “detox done right.” It’s an affordable, luxurious week of self-care, pampering and nourishment that doesn’t turn me into hermit or starving psycho. It’s more effective, restorative and a whole heck of a lot more fun than a cleanse.

Here’s an example of five simple things I include in my five-day detox:

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We Need Some SOUL in Philly: An Open Letter to SoulCycle


Dearest SoulCycle,

I sweat (with) you. I’m very blessed to have taken many of your classes when I travel to New York and LA. The hum of the bike, the bump of the music, the way we find the beat together … But this long distance relationship has gone on long enough.

I’ve been watching you expand and have put in many requests myself for you to come to Philly. Since it seems like you might be hesitant to make the commitment to come here, I’m giving you five more reasons you need to plant your SOUL in our city:
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