The Checkup: How to Stay Energized All Day (Without Downing Buckets of Coffee)

• Fall is a comin’. And while I am overjoyed about the changing leaves and the lack of strangers’ perspiration dripping onto me on the subway, I am bummed that the sunshine-filled days will soon be getting a whole lot shorter. If you’re anticipating a dip in energy, take note of these caffeine-free tricks to stay energized throughout the day. [Women’s Health]

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Brains Behind Feast Pop-Up Dinners Now Offering BYOB Cooking Classes

Finding drool-worthy healthy food can be hard; making your own drool-worthy healthy food can be even harder. But sometimes all we want to do is make our own plant-packed pizzas — and have them look just as good as the versions on Pinterest.

Back in January, we told you guys all about Feast, a seasonal vegan supper club put on by local health coach Jessica Baumgardner that offers three-course plant-based pop-up dinners at Animo. And now, the nutrition and culinary experts behind Feast are helping to make your Pinterest-worthy homemade dinner dreams come true: Starting October 6th, Baumgardner and her partner, Jen Clark, will be offering pop-up healthy cooking classes at Bella Vista’s Function Coffee Labs, with the first class focusing on plant-based proteins.

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Philly Free Streets: Group Runs and Bike Rides to Know About

The time has come: Time for Philly’s first-ever open streets event — an event where the city will shut down a stretch of streets to cars so that we can all run, walk, bike and frolic through them, sans traffic. Insert all the ecstatic squeals here.

In case you need a refresher, the open streets event, dubbed Philly Free Streets, will be going down this Saturday, September 24th, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the car-free route is nothing to scoff at: It spans nearly 10 miles long, from Front and South Street all the way into West Fairmount Park. Yeah, it’s going to be a good morning.

While you’re welcome to take to the streets in your running shoes or on two wheels on your own, there are also a few group bike rides and runs that will be going down throughout the day. Take your pick! (And note: Philly Free Streets has said they’ll have all sorts of fitness programming across the route, from zumba to boot camps, and more; they’ve yet to announce the schedule and locations of these events, but you can stay tuned here.)

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Spend Your SEPTA Commute Thinking About This, Science Says

This morning, I spent my SEPTA commute — a super-short ride compared to the commutes of some of my coworkers, who train in from places like Bucks County every single day — doing what I do every morning: Listening to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the trillionth time and mentally cursing the person lacking any sense of self-awareness bumping me with their backpack over and over and over again. Because there is always, always one of these backpack-wielding, spatial-awareness-lacking humans on the El at 8 a.m. on a weekday.

But a new study suggests that if you want to turn a somewhat miserable morning commute into a beneficial activity, then rather than spending your train time daydreaming about what life would be like if Beyoncé were to swoop in on a unicorn (I’m sure she owns one) and adopt you right then and there, you should think about work. Yes: Science says we should all be thinking about work on our daily commutes into the office.

I know, that sounds kind of terrible. But hear me out.

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New Philly-Based Fitness App Makes Incentivizing Workouts Its Mission

A workout without added incentive — you know, aside from the endorphin rush — is a workout many people probably (definitely) won’t end up doing. So added workout incentive is just what the new Philly-based app Vea Fitness, launching this weekend in conjunction with the Philly Free Streets event (who else is excited??), is aiming to give folks.

As Vea co-founder Jonathan Maxim, a former graphic designer who started putting his all into the app about two years ago, tells us, “I was really inspired by my own fitness journey and realizing how much fitness does for your confidence, wellbeing and state of mind. I wanted to be able to share workout motivation on a grand scale.” And what’s the way to do that nowadays? Software, he says.

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Get Fresh, Local Produce All Year: Your 2016 Fall and Winter CSA Guide

Greensgrow Farms CSA share | Photo via Facebook

Greensgrow Farms CSA share | Photo via Facebook

If you missed the boat for a summer community-supported agriculture program (CSA), now’s your chance to get in on the farm-fresh veggie game: Believe it or not, it’s already time to start thinking about fall and winter CSAs.

In case you aren’t familiar, a CSA usually works like this: You buy a share of a farm’s harvest and, in return, you get a weekly or biweekly delivery of fresh produce that you grab at the nearest pick-up site. Most of the farms we’ve listed below sling a prepaid share for the whole season, but a couple are offering flexible pay-as-you-go options where you can choose which weeks you want a share. If you want in, sign up now so you don’t miss out on your fresh sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and kale!

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The Checkup: The Skin-Clearing Drink Your Fridge Should Be Stocked With

Kombucha. It’s all the rage — taking over the drink section at Whole Foods, on tap at your local watering hole, and even in cocktails. And reaching for a bottle of the fermented drink isn’t just oh so Gwyneth Paltrow of you, it’s also good for your skin. Long story short, when your digestive tract is happy, so is your face. [Health]

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We Asked Guster: What’s It Like to Play a Philly Half Marathon?

Guster's Ryan Miller singing

Guster’s Ryan Miller sings at the post-Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon concert in Philadelphia on Sunday morning | Photo: Bruce Buckley

“Do you see a space blanket on me?” Guster’s Ryan Miller says to the crowd assembled in front of the stage on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. “Then, obviously, I did not run the marathon.”

A lot of people had, though. Guster, a melodic alt-rock band from Boston that first broke in the late ’90s, played a concert after the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia. The race, once called the Philadelphia Distance Run, had about 12,000 participants finish the 13.1-mile course in August-like hot-and-muggy weather. (In response to a question about how many people went to the hospital after the race, organizers said “nothing beyond what we were prepared for.”)

The early-morning (10:30 a.m.), post-race concert was a first for Guster. Frontman Miller said he literally had no idea how the band got the gig. At this point, with his band being a quarter-century old, he didn’t even really prep.

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Wait, Wait, Wait — Should We All Be Working Out Without Music?!

The other day, I was chatting with a runner friend who mentioned she doesn’t run with music. My jaw dropped. I asked, “WHY, oh, whyyyyy?” She said she simply likes to soak up her surrounding environment, something that doesn’t happen so easily with Pitbull blasting into her eardrums.

Fair enough.

And turns out, along with allowing us all to be more conscious of the world around us, ditching music can also help you uncover aspects of your workouts that are usually drowned out by Beyoncé’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” At least that’s what fitness instructor Ryan McCann told the folks over at Well + Good last week. As he, a believer in headphones-free sweat sessions, explained, when you lose the distraction of music, you increase your ability to pay attention to things like posture, form, breathing, pace, intensity, and all sorts of other important details that impact athletic performance.

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