This Philly Trainer Says You’re Working Out All Wrong



Imagine that you’re buying a house. You find one that’s in your price range, has a big yard, good kitchen, sweet roof deck and garage, but you notice some water damage caused by a leaky roof. Clearly, before you buy the house, the owners need to do some work. But instead of thinking about the work that needs to be done, your first thought is, What color should I paint the walls?

This, of course, is flawed logic when it comes to buying a house. We can all agree on that. But what most people don’t recognize is that they fall into this same flawed thought-pattern when it comes to their fitness routine. It’s understandable: We all want pretty results. We all want to succeed. We all want it now. To get there, most people ignore the real challenges and follow the path of least resistance: They do only what they are already good at, what they enjoy, and what gets — according to their own definition — “results.”

The problem is that by so narrowly focusing your fitness on what your body can already do well, you are neglecting the very movements that your body needs help developing, improving and mastering.

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The Case for Why You Should Weigh Yourself Every Day



I used to tell my personal training clients that they shouldn’t step on the scale. I knew that it could be an emotional experience for someone trying to lose weight.

“Don’t worry about the number,” I’d say. “Gauge progress by how you look and how you feel.”

Truth was, I wanted them to focus on making strength gains in the gym and complying with their nutrition plan.

But in the past several months, I’ve done a total 180. When I’m helping clients with weight loss, I now recommend they weigh themselves every single day.

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Confession: I Ditched Vegetarianism for a Pat’s Cheesesteak

Photo via Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Plate after plate of potato salad makes everyone uncomfortable. I know, because I’m pitied at cookouts. Thanksgivings are worse: touching the turkey like tainted goods, skipping the stuffing with giblets and au ju, waiting for green bean casserole like some sort of a godsend.

Those nightmares were recalled as I stood in line at 9th and Passyunk. A few minutes later, a soggy lump of simple carbs and gummy beef landed at the bottom of my stomach, transporting me back to a glutton’s heaven that no tofu can reach.

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No Thanks, I Don’t Want My Face Waxed and Other Tales of Beauty Shaming


“While you’re here, would you like us to wax your sideburns?”

Over the last year, there’s been a lot of talk about shaming. (In fact, Jezebel called 2013 “The Year of Shaming.”) Fat-shaming, slut-shaming: It seems like we can’t get enough of classifying people’s ill-will toward others.

And, to be fair, barring the examples above (I think they’re totally legit), I didn’t really buy into the idea that every instance of disagreement or rudeness was an example of “shaming.” Sometimes people are just assholes.

But then I experienced something that I guess was tantamount to—what?—body shaming. (Maybe?) It was really only a part of my body. My eyebrows. My bushy, never-been-waxed, kind-of-in-style-now eyebrows.

And apparently someone had something to say about ‘em.

Grantland’s Triple Bogey: How Grantland Botched More Than Trans Politics in the Dr. V Controversy

grantland dr v controversy

FOR THOSE OF you not familiar with the Grantland Dr. V controversy, here’s a brief recap:

Caleb Hannan, a journalist writing for the sports and pop culture website Grantland, starts researching an article about a new putter that supposedly will revolutionize the way we think about putters which has been designed by a physicist who knows basically nothing about golf and seems to be somewhat of a mad scientist character. The physicist, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, is extremely private and only agrees to an interview with the stipulation that the article be about the putter and the science behind it, not the scientist. Hannan moves forward with the interview. In the course of fact-checking the story, particularly in trying to verify academic and employment credentials for Dr. V he runs into some roadblocks. Namely, he can’t seem to find any evidence that Dr. V is credentialed in the way she claims to be. So Hannan digs a little deeper. Turns out, Dr. V is a transwoman who transitioned in 2003 and has taken steps to keep her pre-transition identity private—something that many trans people take great pains to do, for various reasons including personal safety, mental health, protection from job discrimination and termination, or simply because it’s no one’s business but their own.

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Expert Opinion: Inactivity Is a “Hidden Bomb” Aimed at Our Kids

video game


Editor’s note from Emily Leaman: Last week, I came across this post from Jefferson pediatrician Gary Emmett and thought it an interesting—and alarming—read about the dire state of children’s health in our country, so I wanted to share it here. This post is reprinted from the hospital system’s @Jeff blog with permission. 

Recently the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that only one in four American children aged 12-15 get the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Moreover, the federal agency reported that the percentage of adolescents—both boys and girls—who were physically active at the recommended levels declined as their body mass index increased.

Jefferson pediatrician Gary A. Emmett, MD, discusses the implications of these data in a guest commentary for @Jeff:

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“Curves Are Getting on My Nerves”: The Fat-Versus-Curvy Debate



Our 2013 Health Hero Leslie Marant, who’s a Philadelphia coach for Black Girls Run, has an interesting post today over on BGR’s website. It’s about the debate (myth?) of couching unhealthy fat as desirable “curves,” something she calls “a crazy cultural shift to accepting poor health (which includes more than being overweight) as long as it’s stylish and sexy.”

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New Year’s Resolution: Quit Smoking … to Get a Job?



Last year, several hospitals in Pennsylvania began testing incoming employment candidates for nicotine, in addition to routine drug and alcohol screening. Apparently, if a candidate has been given a job offer, gets tested at the employer’s occupational health clinic and screens positive for nicotine, he or she is deemed not medically cleared to begin work and, effectively, does not get the job.

As an occupational health physician, I am all for wellness programs and healthy lifestyles. And as a primary care physician schooled in patient-centered medicine, I understand how hard it is can be to make certain lifestyle changes, such as opting for healthier food and quitting smoking. In fact, one of the hardest clinical challenges for me has been to get my patients to quit smoking.

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Reaction: “Why I’m Proud to Be a Lululemon Ambassador”

Unite Fitness's Jesse Frank

Unite Fitness’s Jesse Frank

Note from editor Emily Leaman: Earlier this month, we ran a piece by Diana Vitarelli, owner of Philly’s Dhyana Yoga studios, explaining why she opted out of the Lululemon Ambassador program. The piece made the rounds, far and wide, online, and I heard from lots of readers, yogis and other studio owners about why they agreed or disagreed with Diana’s position. One such person in the latter camp is Jesse Frank, co-owner of Center City’s Unite Fitness studio, who has been a happy Lulu ambassador since 2012. Below, his take on the ambassador drama, reprinted from his blog post “Lululemon Ambassadors, Unite!” with permission from Unite Fitness. The views and opinions are the author’s own.


I pride myself on generally staying out of other peoples business, gossip, and private conversations.

But last week, when my co-worker forwarded a recent blog-post from “one-disgruntled-former-ambassador”, I knew it was time to sit down and write a letter in response to show my support and appreciation to the Lululemon Ambassador program.

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