This Philly ER Doctor Makes Fitness, Good Food, and Me Time Top Priorities

Amanda Davala, an emergency medicine physician at Nazareth Hospital, prioritizes fitness and wellness despite a busy schedule and early wake-up calls.

When she’s not treating patients during 10-hour shifts in the ER, Amanda Davala enjoys all that Philly has to offer: boutique fitness classes, a delectable food scene, and bike-friendly streets. / Photograph courtesy of Amanda Davala.

Who I am: Amanda Davala (@docdavs), 31

Where I live: Fairmount

What I do: I am an emergency medicine physician at Nazareth Hospital in northeast Philadelphia. Emergency Medicine consists of shift work, so I typically work about three to four shifts per week, which comes out to be about 30 hours per week when averaged throughout the month. My shifts vary between mornings, midday shifts, and night shifts, so my schedule is always changing!

What role healthy living plays in my life: I’m a big advocate of practicing what you preach, so as a physician, I try to set a good example and educate my patients on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being healthy and practicing wellness are vital to my life and my career. I feel my best when I feel healthy in every sense, giving me the energy I need to maintain focus and exemplify appropriate leadership in the ER.

Health memberships (and what they cost):

  • Retro Fitness in Spring Garden: $20 per month
  • ClassPass: $50 per month for 27 points per cycle

Grocery haul for the week: $85 at Trader Joe’s (for me and my husband) and $50 for fresh produce and meat at Reading Terminal Market. We love how inexpensive Reading Terminal’s produce is and how long it lasts.


These homemade egg frittata muffins are a go-to when Davala needs a quick, healthy meal during shifts. / Photograph by Amanda Davala.

4:30 a.m. — Wake up time! My shift today is from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. I shower, get ready for work, and make a smoothie and an iced latte (with almond milk) to enjoy in the car. If you’re in need of a go-to smoothie recipe, I always blend bananas, almond milk, chocolate protein powder, PB Fit peanut butter powder, and cocoa powder. It’s my absolute favorite!

5:20 a.m. — Officially on the road. I like arriving at the hospital at least 10 minutes before start time. I learned in my residency if you’re not 10 minutes early in ER, you’re late!

6 a.m. — I take sign-out from my colleague and start seeing patients off the bat. I’m single coverage until 9 a.m. (meaning no other doctor is there), so it can get pretty busy depending on who is coming in to be seen.

Noon — I’m starting to get hungry, but working in an ER is tough, and almost every day a long lunch break isn’t an option. I usually eat at my work space while I chart in between seeing patients. For this reason, it’s really important for me to have access to quick meals that will go a long way and keep me energized since I’m on my feet all day long. This is my first of three consecutive shifts, so I’m eating some food I prepped last night: two egg frittata muffins and a chocolate protein muffin made from almond meal (both thanks to @toneitup). I also have some string cheese and grapes.

3 p.m. — I’m done seeing patients for the day, but I still have a lot of loose ends to tie up and charting to finish, so I’ll be here for another hour.

5 p.m. — Finally home! I usually relax for a few minutes on the couch and scroll through social media. I need to get a workout in before dinner, so I eat a few clusters of peanut butter protein granola from Trader Joe’s as a quick pre-workout snack.

6 p.m. — I walk about eight blocks to Retro for a total body workout. I’m talking squat and press, single leg deadlifts, bent-over row, wood chop, chest press, and side bends. After, I spend 30 minutes on the elliptical.

7 p.m. — Feeling great after my workout. I walk home another eight blocks and get ready to make some dinner. Usually my husband and I take turns making dinner. He works from home, so if I’m working he usually has dinner ready for me, and if I’m off, I usually take the reins. This week my husband is traveling for work, so I’m on my own! I make a tray dinner with wild-caught mahi-mahi from Trader Joe’s and assorted roasted veggies tossed in olive oil and spices (some of the vegetables are from my own garden plot at Eastern State Penitentiary!). I lay it all out on an oven pan and bake for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees. So delicious and so easy. Set it and forget it!

8:30 p.m. — I shower while dinner is cooking and get ready for some quality food and couch time. My husband and I have our regular series and shows that we watch every night, and of course, the Phillies.

10 p.m. — Time for bedtime!

Daily total: $0


Davala enjoys a 3.5-mile run along Kelly Drive (husband not shown but definitely present). / Photograph courtesy of Amanda Davala.

4:30 a.m. — Another early wake-up call because my shift is 6 a.m. until 3 p.m again. I get ready and make another smoothie for the ride, this time a blueberry muffin protein smoothie. I really need an extra pick-me-up this morning, so I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on my way and get a skinny vanilla latte ($3.91).

6 a.m. — I take sign-out and I’m ready to see some patients.

12 p.m. — Super busy shift! I had planned on eating my tray dinner leftovers but no time to sit and use a fork, so I eat yesterday’s go-to ER meal: two egg frittata muffins, a chocolate protein muffin, a string cheese, and some grapes.

3 p.m. — Yay! I made it through another early morning shift, but I still need some time to tie things up and finish charting, so I head home around 4 p.m. like yesterday. Doctors *never* get out on time.

5 p.m. — Traffic is brutal around this time, so I get home about an hour later. I have dinner plans at 6:30 p.m., so I have to fit in a quick workout. When I’m short on time, I’ll usually do a home workout. But today the weather is great, so I go for a run on Kelly Drive with my husband because he’s back from his business trip (yay!). We run 3.5 miles and enjoy the views.

5:30 p.m. — I shower and get ready for dinner.

6:15 p.m. — I cruise to dinner on my awesome pink bicycle. It’s a two-mile ride, but biking is totally quicker than driving with all the city traffic at this time. Plus, it’s a great way to get in some exercise and get where you need to be.

6:30 p.m. — I’m in a “supper club” with some friends in the city. We meet once a month for dinner, and each month someone different is responsible for planning the location. This month’s dinner is at one of my favorite Italian BYOBs, Giorgio on Pine. I get prosciutto with mozzarella and cantaloupe to start and lobster ravioli as a main. I also had a couple glasses of rosé ($36).

8:30 p.m. — Time to get back on my cruiser and head home to watch some TV with the husband.

10 p.m. — Sleep tight!

Daily total: $39.91


One of Davala’s favorite workouts in Philly is the November Project, a free early-morning fitness club that meets at 6:25 a.m. every Wednesday. / Photograph courtesy of Amanda Davala.

5:40 a.m. — Wake-up call! I don’t start work today until 9 a.m. (hallelujah!), which means I can do my favorite Wednesday morning workout: November Project Philadelphia.

6:10 a.m. — Out the door with my husband and a water bottle in hand. We walk about six blocks down to the Art Museum, where November Project meets every Wednesday morning at 6:25 a.m. — rain, shine, or snow. It’s a free, inclusive fitness group, and the workouts are usually a mix of cardio and interval training. It’s a really awesome community (did I mention it’s FREE?!) with an incredible group of people!

7:30 a.m. — I take a shower, get ready for work, and am out the door by 8:20 a.m. I eat two egg frittata muffins and an apple on the go.

9 a.m. — No sign-out needed, so I just start seeing whoever needs to be seen.

1 p.m. — I’m hitting a wall! My co-worker forces me to eat an actual lunch today (he said I stress him out because I’m always go! go! go!), so I had leftover mahi-mahi with roasted veggies from Monday night’s tray dinner and a chocolate protein donut. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you to slow down and take a breather!

6 p.m. — I survived another work day. Charting is the crux of any ER physician, so I stick around for another 45 minutes and am on the road by 7 p.m.

7:30 p.m. — Home and showered. Time to relax!

8 p.m. — Tonight for dinner, my husband makes a dry rubbed pork loin with corn on the cob and rice. We watch some TV, including Below Deck and the new season of Mind Hunter. It feels good to be a couch potato after a long, busy but productive day.

10:30 p.m. — Bedtime!

Daily total: $0


Davala’s homemade avo toast looks like something we all need in our lives immediately. / Photograph by Amanda Davala.

6:30 a.m. — It’s my off day — woohoo! Unfortunately, I’ve got a meeting at 8 a.m. that I have to attend. I’m out the door by 7:20 a.m., with two egg frittata muffins in hand.

7:45 a.m. — I’m early for my meeting, so I grab a free iced coffee from the cafeteria (doctor perk!).

9 a.m. — Meeting is over, so I head home. I’m looking forward to having the entire day to myself!

9:30 a.m. — I clean up around the house, do some laundry, and send some emails.

11:30 a.m. — I eat an early lunch because I’m hungry (who says lunch has to be at noon, anyway?). I make avocado toast with feta and a hard-boiled egg on bread. Yum.

12:30 p.m. — I hop on my bike and head two miles to the pool because it’s a gorgeous day and I need some sunshine and me time.

12:45 p.m. — I arrive at Vesper Dayclub and set up camp for a few hours. I open my book, apply some sunscreen, and don’t move for hours. I’m a member of the Philadelphia Free Library (highly recommend), so I’m constantly starting or in the middle of a book. Right now, I’m reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, recommended to me by one of my ER scribes.

3 p.m. — I’ve had enough sun, so I head home on my bike for another two-mile cruise.

3:30 p.m. — I’m home, so I get changed for the gym and munch on some Trader Joe’s cracked pepper and olive oil popcorn while relaxing on the couch.

5 p.m. — My husband and I are out the door to walk to our fitness class. It’s on 20th and Market, about a one-mile walk for us. My husband and I really like to work out together. It keeps us accountable!

5:30 p.m. — Time for class at EverybodyFights, which we take as a part of ClassPass. It’s the Train/Gloves class: a circuit of 12 stations consisting of three sets of 30-second exercises. I find it to be an awesome workout that takes me out of my comfort zone. EverybodyFights offers a lot of different classes, and the whole gym has a super cool vibe that makes you feel like you’re in an underground fight club (except you can actually talk about this fight club… I think).

6:30 p.m. — Class is over, so we walk home to make dinner.

8 p.m. — Dinner time! My husband grills fresh turkey burgers with spinach and feta, and I make Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi with Trader Joe’s marinara sauce (household fav). We settle into the couch and watch some more Mind Hunters.

10:30 p.m. — Lights out.

Daily total: $0


To end her week, Davala enjoys the tasting menu at Suraya, including the samke nayyeh. / Photograph by Amanda Davala.

7:30 a.m. — My husband and I decide to “sleep in” today because I have another day off! I answer some emails and tidy up around the house. I make myself my favorite smoothie for breakfast (same one as Monday) and get dressed for my workout.

9 a.m. — We’re both out the door to walk about six blocks to our fitness class.

9:30 a.m. — Today, we are taking The Full Body Burn at BPM Fitness, again through ClassPass. It’s 25 minutes of spin followed by 25 minutes of TRX and interval training. It’s honestly one of the most challenging, but rewarding workouts in the city.

10:30 a.m. — Class is over, so we wobble home because our legs are jello. We somehow find our legs guiding us to Starbucks, so we treat ourselves for surviving the class. I get a grande iced coffee, which is a definite energy booster ($3.20).

11 a.m. — I rinse off and get ready for the rest of my day.

12 p.m. — I eat lunch: a homemade pitaya bowl with vanilla protein, topped with fresh fruit, granola, shaved coconut, and honey. I make these a lot, either with the açaí packets from Trader Joe’s or the frozen pitaya packets from Whole Foods.

1 p.m. — I’m out the door to drive to a hair appointment in the suburbs.

2 p.m. — I arrive at Ulta in Montgomeryville, which is where I get my hair cut and colored about every 10 weeks ($140). I grew up in Gwynedd Valley, so I’ve been going to the same stylist for years, and I just can’t bring myself to find someone new even though it’s a 45-minute drive. I trust her, and she even did my hair for my wedding (which was amazing TBH).

4 p.m. — My hair appointment is over and it’s time to head home. Just kidding — there’s a full-sized Target next door because it’s the suburbs, so I obviously go in. I stock up on all my make-up essentials, buy a couple odds and ends food-wise, and pick up a gift for my nephew’s birthday. Suddenly I’m $100 in and I can’t even remember what I actually came here for. The Target Trap!

6 p.m. — I’m home and my husband is rushing me to get ready for dinner with friends. He makes me an Aperol Spritz while I get ready (one of the reasons I married him).

6:30 p.m. — We head to Frankford Hall to grab a few drinks before dinner ($12). We’re also headed to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany in two weeks, so we consider this “research” for our upcoming trip.

7:30 p.m. — We walk over to Suraya for our dinner reservation. Because we’re with two other couples, we decide to do the tasting menu. It’s a lot of food, but it’s amazing (and well-worth the price). I got samke nayyeh (raw yellowtail) for an appetizer and the baladi (black bass) for dinner. An incredible dining experience from start to finish, especially in their outdoor garden. ($58).

10 p.m. — We decide the party isn’t over, so we walk to Evil Genius for one more drink ($6) before heading home.

11 p.m. — I’m exhausted, but it’s been a great week. Time for bed!

Daily total: $303.20

Weekly totals

Money spent: $478.11
Workouts completed: 5
Hours worked in the ER: 30
Egg frittata muffins consumed: 6…but you can never have enough.