I Tried It: Penn Medicine’s Med School Boot Camp

Students at Penn Medicine's Laparoscopic Olympics

Last week, when I learned I would be checking out a summer camp at Penn Medicine, I have to admit I was slightly disturbed at the thought of 55 high schoolers actually choosing to spend their summer vacation at a camp modeled after med school. My idea of a camp, at least at their age, involves bonfires and archery and dips in the lake, not physiology books and cadavers and lectures with physicians. What kind of person willingly swaps one of his last summers of little to no responsibility for a four-week long boot camp devoted to all things medicine? And at age 16, at that? Even I’m not that much of a gunner. I should know: I just finished my first year of med school, and I wouldn’t elect to redo it if you paid me.

I’m happy to report that I was wrong—so wrong. This camp, at Penn Medicine’s Perelman School, in partnership with Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, is med school on steroids—in a really, really good way. It’s the kind of med school that real medical students wish their med-school experience could be, one packed with as many fun and interactive activities as staffers could think of. (Seriously, they have weekly check-ins with students to make sure the “fun factor” is turned high enough.) Instead of spending the majority of their time slaving away over textbooks and sitting through long lectures with PhDs, Penn’s med school boot camp teaches students to draw blood, certifies them in CPR, lets them watch live-surgeries, and organizes lectures on topics ranging from addiction to global mental health, without the pressure of a big test at the end. These kids are even getting to practice techniques, like suturing, that I—and the camp’s six TAs who are also going into their second year—haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Jealous.

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To Do Tomorrow: Spin and Sushi at the Wall Cycling Studio in Manayunk

Okay, so we’ve got wine and yoga nights galore, group runs that end at a bar or burger joint, and now Spinning and sushi? The folks at The Wall Cycling Studio in Manayunk are trying it out tomorrow night. And I have to tell you: This half-Japanese girl and new Spinning addict is just jumping in her seat just writing about it.

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., a 45 minute spin class will be taught by instructor/owner Juliet Sabella followed by a night of sushi over at Yanako Sushi on Main Street. Food will be around $20 per person, cash only. Looks like they will send over more details via e-mail for those who sign up here.

First ride is free, otherwise it’s $15 for drop-ins, July 25th at 6:30 p.m., The Wall Cycling Studio, 100 Levering Street, Manayunk.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Photo: Shutterstock

To Do This Week: Michael Jackson vs. Janet Jackson Ride at Flywheel

Which Jackson is the best Jackson? You decide this week at Flywheel, which will host a head-to-head theme ride rocking both Michael and Janet tunes.

The Bryn Mawr location will take the plunge first, with a Jackson ride on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. Then, it’s Center City’s turn on Thursday at 6:45. Both classes will run 45 minutes. A killer soundtrack, obviously, is a given.

First ride is free, otherwise it’s $25 for drop-ins. Flywheel Bryn Mawr is located at 711 West Lancaster Avenue; the Center City location is at 1521 Locust Street. Register for the Bryn Mawr ride here and the Center City ride here.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

To Do: Bootylicious Beyoncé Hip-Hop Workshop (Take Two!) at Philly Dance Fitness

We all remember watching Beyoncé stun the crowd at the Super Bowl in February. Yeah, I know. Your jaws were on the ground and you were probably asking yourself questions like: How does this woman dance like that? How is she so flawless and fierce? Can I be her??

Although we can’t embody the complete fabulousness that is Beyoncé Knowles (sorry), we can totally learn her awesome dance moves. Philly Dance Fitness is doing an encore of its popular Bootylicious Beyoncé Hip-Hop Workshop on July 14th. Instructors Angela, Maya and Deborah will teach 90 minutes of non-stop “hip rolling, booty shaking, chest pumping, heart thumping hip-hop” to Queen Bey’s biggest hits, including “Single Ladies” and “Independent Woman.” The Sunday afternoon class starts with easy follow-the-leader routines that will build into longer combinations, so both novice dancers and veterans can have a good time. Sign up here.

$12 for members, $20 for nonmembers, July 14th at 2 p.m., Philly Dance Fitness,  1170 South Broad Street, Center City.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Photo: arvzdix / Shutterstock.com

Free Sunday Yoga at Race Street Pier Now Extended Through August

If you build it, they will come. And apparently, if they come, you will build it even bigger. Or something.

I got an email yesterday from the folks at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, who said their free Sunday morning yoga classes at Race Street Pier have been so ridiculously popular that they’ve decided to extend the series through August. The program, which had been slated to run its course by the end of June, is led by Dhyana Yoga instructor Malik Wilson. He’ll continue to helm the classes every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Bring your own mat and water. It’s hot out there.

To Do: Yoga for Back Pain at the Yoga Garden Narberth

I can’t get over these stats! According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, the most common reason for missed work, and the second most common reason for a trip to your doctor’s office. Oh yeah, and Americans spend about $50 billion on back pain every year.

For those who want to kiss back pain goodbye (everyone, right?) and want to try a non-medical approach, check out The Yoga Garden’s special two-day workshop on Yoga for Back Care. The workshop will be run by Deborah Wolk, the co-director of Yoga Union Center for Backcare and Scoliosis in NYC, who will teach how the healing powers of yoga can work magic on your back. The sessions will focus on anatomy basics, classic yoga poses to relieve pain, and asanas to align the spine and limbs. Pain relief without the meds? Sold. To sign up, go here.

$55 for Saturday, $65 for Sunday, $110 for both days, July 13th from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and July 14th from noon to 3:30 p.m., The Yoga Garden, 131 North Narberth Avenue, Narberth

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Photo: Shutterstock

Student Discounts at Flywheel and Body Cycle Studio

Photo via Body Cycle Studio on Instagram

I’m not going to lie—I’m totally wagging my finger and singing “nah, nah, nah, nah, boo, boo” at all of you who aren’t still in school. (I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be a college student.) But seriously, if you, like me, are home from college this summer and in need of a fun workout to get you through, I’ve got two ideas.

First, Flywheel is offering discounted entry to its indoor-cycling classes for any student with a valid ID. Normally $25 a pop (my broke-college-student heart weeps), the popular Spin classes will be $15 each for college students (yay!). All you have to do is stop in to either of their locations in Center City (1521 Locust Street) or Bryn Mawr (711 West Lancaster Avenue) and show your school I.D. They’ll put you in the system as a student so you can sign up online for any class at your discounted price for the rest of the summer.

Over at Body Cycle Studio, which is another indoor cycling studio in Philly, students can score $13 walk-in entry, down from $20 for non-students. You can also get a discounted class card: $100.00 for 10 classes, which brings you down to $10 a ride, or $170 for 20 rides, which gets you down to $8.50 a pop.

Also note that at both Body Cycle and Flywheel, the first ride is always free. How’s that for motivation?

>> Know of other studios in the area offering killer student discounts this summer? Share in the comments!

To Do: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Training Ride at Body Cycle Studio


So much chatter about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half this week! Here’s the latest: Body Cycle Studio just gave me the heads up that on July 13th, they’ll be hosting an RnR training ride, complete with a killer playlist of the all-time greatest rock hits (natch). Format-wise, the class will mix hills, sprints and jumps, the perfect recipe to help get your lungs and legs in shape for the September race.

Riders are encouraged to come dressed in their “very best rock n’ roller outfits” (Concert tees? Kiss makeup? Clearly, this is open to interpretation) for a chance to win a free ride. The Philly race’s awesomely titled Ambassador of Rock will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about the race and give away free swag. Drinks and eats will be provided after class. It’s $20 to ride unless you’re a first timer—first rides are free. Sign up here (scroll down to the Events section).

$20 (first ride is free), July 13th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Body Cycle Studio, 1923 Chestnut Street, second floor, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Free Yoga and Vita Coco This Sunday on Kelly Drive

Head over to Kelly Drive on Sunday afternoon for a free pop-up yoga class with Philly instructor Stacia Nero and Vita Coco. In addition to the hourlong, bring-your-own-mat class, which starts at noon, they’ll be raffling off yoga mats and giving away free coconut water. The class will take place in the grass along Kelly Drive at the Girard Avenue bridge, near the boulder tunnel. Look for the Vita Coco tent.

If you want to sneak in some extra fitness, run to the meet-up spot from the Art Museum; you’ll cover two miles, total, round trip.

FREE, June 30th from noon to 1 p.m., Kelly Drive and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia.

I Tried It: Outdoor Yoga Atop a 45-Story Building in Center City

The view from the sundeck!

Outdoor yoga on the beach, outdoor yoga at the park, outdoor yoga on the patio

Yes, folks, outdoor yoga classes are all the rage this summer. But here’s one sun-drenched spot you may not have thought to look for a yoga class: 45 floors up on the sundeck of 1500 Locust apartments. And—lucky me!—I got to try it out last weekend.

The apartment complex happens to be home to Nawrocki Fitness, a boutique-style fitness studio that opened up about three years ago. Owners Marlene and Ed Nawrocki offer private training as well as oversee various fitness classes, many on the sundeck, including yoga.

On Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m., Megan Duncan comes in to teach a very casual, happy-go-lucky Vinyasa-style class for about 45 minutes. She gets cool points for being a Fox 29 producer by weekday and yoga teacher in her free time.

Now, I’m not new to yoga, but this was the first time I did a class outside, right in the direct sunlight during the summer heat. There are a few things I advise:
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