The Checkup: The Gym Machines You Should Stop Wasting Your Time On

• Choosing a gym machine over free weights can seem like the logical choice when pumping iron at the gym. Why would you want to venture into the unknown dumbbell territory when you could stick to an exercise you are absolutely, 100-percent sure you are doing correctly? (Shoutout to those little illustrations on the side of the machines!) But turns out, these particular gym machines are wastes of time, according to fitness pros. [SELF]

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Why You Should Stop Buying This Sauce at the Store and Start Making It at Home

Ever since I was a little kid, every summer, my mom has made a habit of making her famous pesto sauce using basil from her garden. And every year, my sisters and I practically beg her to make enough so that we can freeze it and use it all year long. Obviously, we realize that we could just run to Costco or Trader Joe’s and grab a jar of pesto, and in desperate times, we have. But no store-bought sauce has ever compared to my mom’s fresh, nutty, creamy, homemade pesto sauce. I put it on everything: pizza, pasta, salads, chicken, bread, crackers, sandwiches, wraps — everything. It’s that freakin’ delicious.

So the other day, when my dad came home from doing some shopping at a local produce stand and told me that one of the farmers who worked there was making pesto sauce out of kale, I was a bit confused. Kale pesto? I’d only ever enjoyed the mouthwatering goodness of the basil stuff. I was intrigued, and thanks to my friend, the Internet, I discovered that the word pesto is derived from the Italian word “pestato” or “pestare”which just means to crush or pound, usually in reference to garlic and some kind of herbs—not limited to just basil!— in olive oil. This got me thinking: what other kinds of pesto are out there? The answer? Lots. Read more »

The Checkup: How to Choose the Best Wine for Your Waistline

• If you, like Olivia Pope, love a good glass of wine after work but don’t want to overdo it in the calorie department, this super-helpful guide to choosing the best wines for your waistline should come in handy. First tip: Don’t follow Pope’s lead with a bottle of red — opting for white instantly cuts calories. [SHAPE]
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The Checkup: How to Navigate the Grocery Store Like a Boss (And Save Big Bucks)

• You walk into the grocery store with one thing on your mind: “I just need avocados, I just need avocados.” Then, suddenly, a bright bag of kale chips catches your attention, so you grab it and toss it in your cart without much thought. Next thing you know, your cart is piled high with foods you never even planned on buying and the cost of a simple trip to buy just avocados has eaten up half of your paycheck. We’ve all been there — but how does it happen? Turns out grocery stores have lots of tricks up their sleeves to get you to buy more than you planned. Never fear, though: There are a few ways to combat their sorcery. [Huffington Post]

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The Checkup: The Key to Getting Ripped With Weights, According to Science

• Entering the weight-lifting section of your gym for the first time can be intimidating — not to mention confusing. Should you reach for the weights that look like they were designed for Hercules or the way more approachable (and lighter) weights on the other end of the room? Well, new research shows, if you’re looking to build muscle, it doesn’t really matter as long as you work your muscles to failure. [Runner’s World] Read more »

What Do Dietitians Think About the Soda Tax?

As most of you probably know, Mayor Kenney’s much-talked-about soda tax passed a few weeks back. Over the past six months or so, we’ve heard tons of talk about the soda tax, but we haven’t actually heard much from healthy-eating experts in terms of how they think the soda tax will impact Philadelphians’ sugar consumption. So, we decided to ask a few Philly-area dietitians what they think of the tax. The top takeaways from our talks with them, below.
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Stripp’d Juice Hosting Bizarrely Awesome Kanye-Themed Dinner 

Stripp'd Juice | Photo via Instagram

Stripp’d Juice | Photo via Instagram

Old City’s Stripp’d Juice is getting in on the dinner game with the first of many themed dinners, owner Khoran Horn tells us. The first themed dinner on the list? A Kanye West-themed dinner, complete with ALL Kanye-inspired menu items, Kanye music, and Kanye “ambiance.” Weird? Yes. Amazing? Also yes.
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The Checkup: Why You Should Be Grateful for Your Childhood Nail-Biting Habit

• Confession: I am such a nail biter. I know: It’s pretty gross. It’s not that I actively set out to bite my nails but place me in a stress-inducing situation and there they go. But while it is a disgusting habit that I will never actively encourage, according to new research, biting your nails as a child could be related to less allergies as an adult. I will take it! [TIME] Read more »

The Checkup: How to Make Every Single Workout More Effective

• There is nothing worse than hitting the gym after a long day and walking out feeling like you didn’t accomplish all that much and probably would’ve been better of just hitting the couch for a Netflix marathon. But never again: Here, 12 simple ways to make any workout more effective — from sipping a cup of joe beforehand to using visualization techniques — so you never feel like you’ve wasted your gym time again. [Self] Read more »

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