Ask Dr. Everett!

Dear Dr. Everett:

I recently joined a gym and want to take some group exercise classes. Where is the best place to stand, in the front or back row?

Dr. Everett:

My patients know that exercise is not my fave, but I do work out regularly. I’m going to hand this question over to my fitness professional sister Robin. She LOVES to talk about fitness stuff. Take it away Robin!

Robin: Do you remember gym class when you were in elementary school? Fond memories or no, you probably also recall your “spot”. As in an actual white or yellow circle that was your designated area for the torture fun activity of the period and the year. Today, competition for spots in classes have ascended to an Olympic proportions. An article in the Wall Street Journal states that some members go as far as to form alliances to get prime spots in popular classes, and arrive early with the instructor’s favorite protein shake in hand. Which position provides a better workout experience, the front row or the back row?

Front row

Is this you?

Is this you?

The front row is Mecca for some group fitness class fanatics. This position not only gives them proximity to the instructor, but an unobstructed view of themselves in the mirror (the better to check out their new outfit or admire great biceps). If the instructor is not on a raised platform, it is easier to see and follow the instructor’s new choreography to Janelle Monae’s “Yoga” or form on a kettlebell move. Some group exercise instructors prefer that the participants in the front row have a certain level of skill for the format to help the class flow. For example, a new person may be able to emulate a seasoned front row person’s form on a squat until the instructor can get to them to help them with their form. Dance classes have more flow and electricity when the front row can move like the instructor.

Front row cons:

  • For a popular class, the spacing in the front row might be too close for comfort. Scuffles have broken out when mats are too close.
  • Like to sleep in? No front row for you!
  • Be ready, all eyes will be on you!

Back row

Back Row

Newcomers or the mirror shy sometimes retreat to the back of the studio because of a lack of skill, strength or confidence. It is also a good place to stand if you know you have to make an early exit and don’t want to disturb the class. But if your goal is to hide or not be seen by the instructor for fear of feedback, you might want to change positions – the instructor can actually see you better in the back row, especially if they turn around to face the class. A cycling instructor’s gaze is probably going to land on the back row first, so watch your cadence!

Back row cons:

  • Stereo speakers are usually located in the back of the studio, you may get more than an earful.
  • Some studios have equipment storage in the back of the studio, make sure you watch your step moving backwards.
  • If the instructor is not using a microphone, it may be hard to hear important safety cues.

So which one is better?????

The answer to this week’s debate is determined by the experience and skill level of the participant.

Are you a type “A” exercise perfectionist? Has an instructor ever used you as an example of how to do an exercise properly? Step into the front row.

Are you a seasoned group exercise participant who just wants to get in a good workout but doesn’t want a lot of attention? Get fit in the back row.

First time in class and don’t know what to do or expect? Introduce yourself to the instructor and stand in the middle for a good view of the instructor and the class superstars. You will be up there before you know it!

Food Truck Review: The Happy Pita

On Thursday, June 18 Dr. Everett hosted an open house to introduce CoolSculpting to the patients of Everett Medical. We served sparkling water with fresh blueberries and über healthy cuisine from The Happy Pita lunch truck from our parking lot!



Talk about door to door service!

The Happy Pita food truck is the brainchild of Steve Bernstein. This time last year he was sitting in a windowless cubicle regretting his lunch choices (cheesesteaks, hoagies, you get the drift). He tried buying salads, but it would take his entire lunch break to finish! Next he tried wraps, but they seemed to be made up of tortillas, meat and more tortillas – not a vegetable in sight. Steve found a tasty lower calorie tortilla, filled it with freshly grilled protein, lots of fresh produce (locally sourced from Milky Way FarmTwo Gander Farm and Lapps Meats) and homemade dressing. Voila! A high protein salad in a wrap was created.

The menu features items such as:

Chicken Mozzarella -grilled chicken, romaine, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and organic balsamic vinaigrette

The Veggie – homemade hummus, romaine, tomato, onion, pickles, banana peppers, with choice of dressing (balsamic, ranch, blue cheese, Caesar, tzatziki, tahini, hot sauce)

Dr. Everett’s favorite – The Happy Pita – strawberries, avocado, roasted almonds, grilled chicken, fresh romaine with greek yogurt poppyseed dressing

All of the wraps can be made with the regular lower calorie or gluten free wrap. They can be served as salads for the carb sensitive.  Chef Jason Ziglar also prepares a savory gyro (lamb) and tasty falafel for any wrap or salad.

It's lunchtime at Everett Medical!

It’s lunchtime at Everett Medical!

  • Garlicky goodness!

    Fresh hummus and crudites.

     Steve travels all over Chester County providing healthy fare for company picnics, county fairs and customer appreciation events. To get The Happy Pita truck at your next event,  send Steve and email or call 610.420.8627

    Please note, all opinions expressed in this review are completely unbiased and unsolicited. Everett Medical contacted The Happy Pita and paid for all food and services.


Ask Dr. Everett

Dear Dr. Everett,

I have heard so many things about the health benefits of chia seeds and flaxseeds. Which one do you think is more nutritious? 

Chia Seeds

Chia, it's not just a pet anymore.

Chia, it’s not just a pet anymore.


The Chia Pet was a novelty item in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. Since then it has emerged on the health and wellness scene as an add in to cereal, salads and smoothies. Once the little black seeds are added to liquid they form a gel,  adding volume to soups and stir frys. Two tablespoons has:

69 calories

4.4 grams of fat

2.3 grams of protein

6 gram of carbohydrate

Chia seeds have a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 20% of fiber  plus many essential vitamins and minerals:

Calcium – 9% RDA

Phosphorus – 12% RDA

Magnesium – 12% RDA

Potassium – 2% RDA

B1 – 6% RDA

The seeds do not have a taste and some anecdotal reports by runners claim that the seeds help provide energy for long distance runs.



This seed doesn't take any flax!

This seed doesn’t take any flax!


Flaxseed has been getting a lot of positive press as a food that can help improve heart health. The seed has a hard hull and has to be ground before using (please make sure you use a different grinder than the one you use for coffee beans). Any unused ground flaxseed must be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to stay fresh.

Two tablespoons have:

75 calories

6 grams of fat

2.6 grams of protein

4 grams of carbohydrate

Flaxseeds have a RDA of 15% of fiber

Calcium – 4% RDA

Phosphorus – 9% RDA

Magnesium – 14% RDA

Potassium – 3% RDA

B1 – 15% RDA


The Winner Is….


Both seeds have valuable nutrients that can help supplement a healthy eating plan. The high fiber content can act as a natural laxative, so start with a teaspoon or two per day before adding two tablespoons to your diet. The slightly higher RDA of vitamins and minerals along with it being deemed a “functional” food places flaxseed as Dr. Everett’s favorite.



Ask Dr. Everett!

Dear Dr. Everett:

Which eating plan is better for weight loss, low fat or high fiber?

Which one comes out ahead for nutrition and weight loss?

Which one comes out ahead for nutrition and weight loss?

If you made a list of resolutions for 2015, chances are weight loss is at the top. Working out three to five times a week will help you increase your lean muscle mass and improve cardiovascular endurance, but to lose weight you have to (gasp) eat less. Yes folks, you have to diet. With so many diets out there, it is hard to pick one that is effective and doesn’t transform you into a cookie craving monster. Just this week US News and World Reports published the top diets of 2015. Many of the diets are variations on low fat or high fiber plans, but which one is most effective for weight loss?

Low Fat Diets

Let’s review a little basic nutrition first:

  • Protein – 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram
  • Fat – 9 calories per gram

Over the years fat has earned a bad reputation by clogging the arteries of cheeseburger lovers and creating a niche market for high waisted leggings. Learn the difference between fats that help your body function properly and those that raise your blood cholesterol levels before you slash all fat from your diet. 20 to 35 percent of your calories should come from fat, so a 1200 calorie diet would have about 240 to 420 calories from fat a day. By choosing lean cuts of meat, lower calorie dairy products, (read the label to make sure that it does not have added sugar) small amounts of plant based oils and learning to love avocados (healthy Tex-Mex anyone?) you can lose weight and help improve your cholesterol level.

Choose lean protein and vegetables for a lower fat meal.

Choose lean protein and vegetables for a lower fat meal.

High Fiber

Fiber or roughage is the insoluble part of food that helps you digest food efficiently and effectively. It helps lower cholesterol and can control blood sugar levels. As a weight loss plan, high fiber is lower in calories and can help you feel full. That feeling of fullness, or satiety can help you stay on track and avoid dieting mishaps.

Examples of high fiber foods:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Lentils
  • Almonds
  • Carrots

A high fiber meal may consist of a bowl of black bean soup, steamed broccoli and a scoop of Greek yogurt with a cup of raspberries.

Blueberries add antioxidants and fiber to your breakfast cereal.

Blueberries add antioxidants and fiber to your breakfast cereal.

The Winning Loser

Dr. Linda Everett says, “It is easier for most people to lose weight by cutting fat calories, but many times they end up consuming more sodium and sugar, especially if they rely on processed foods. A high fiber diet is a plan that can be more nutritionally sound and also lead to more permanent weight loss. Psychologically, a high fiber diet is more manageable  because you are adding a variety of high fiber foods to your menu instead of eliminating foods that are high in fat. “

Speed Jump Rope Review

When Natrualico offered me a speed jump rope at no charge in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance. I love jumping rope because it is a very effective and intense workout. Ten minutes burns 150 calories! Add that to rounds of push ups and squats for an awesome total body workout.

The rope is 10 feet long with four metal ball bearings in the handle which helps the rope turn faster and comes with a handy mesh carrying bag.


I’m going to list the pros and cons of the rope, then give my final thoughts.


Rope can be easily adjusted for any height.

Very lightweight.

Does not get tangled up if you throw it in your gym bag.

Handles turn quickly.


The rope is a little too lightweight.

Handles could be slightly larger.

When I first started using the rope it took a few adjustments to get the perfect length. I noticed that I seemed to be gripping the handles tightly, which I realized was because the handles are small in width, but got used to it after a few minutes.

The rope is great for speed jumping and doing tricks such as crossovers and double unders. The light weight is fine for an experienced jumper, but a novice could probably benefit from a slightly heavier rope.

All in all, I did enjoy using the Naturalico speed jump rope and recommend it for seasoned jumpers.


Goddess Rash Guard Review

Upon first glance you may think this is a review about a fancy topical cream for irritated skin! A rash guard is a long sleeved athletic shirt that is traditionally worn under a wetsuit to prevent chafing or alone to prevent sunburn and abrasions.  I received a Goddess Rash Guard at no charge from Legend to review.

I always wear sleeveless tops when I work out and teach classes, so I was curious to see how it would feel to wear long sleeves. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was during my dance class; my upper body movements were not  restricted!


Love the white! I look like an ice skater!

Love the white! I look like an ice skater

The Goddess Rash Guard is made from a moisture wicking material, so it was not soaked after I finished teaching dance class. I also took a hot  yin yoga class at Priya Hot Yoga while wearing the rash guard and was very comfortable as I moved around on my mat.

The shirt is treated with UPF 50+ which will help protect my skin from sun damage when I start training for 5K races on Kelly Drive. The shirts are made in the USA, have a money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty! You can order a Goddess Rash Guard on Amazon.

Adventures in Hot Yoga

In the 90’s I used to take yoga at least two to three times a week. Yoga was a good counterbalance for all of the cycling, aerobics and strength classes that I taught (as many as 20 per week). The other thing that I loved was that I was able to slow down completely focus on myself for a change! Since then I am lucky if I take one or two classes a year.

I recently started renting space for personal training sessions at Priya Hot Yoga in my neighborhood. The studio is owned by three lovely gals: Eve, Katie and Kristin.

grand opening

Last week I finally decided to take a class. (Check out the details/benefits of hot yoga here.) I signed up for the introductory special – 30 days of unlimited classes for $40. After that, Priya has a selection of class cards and memberships. They are also part of the ClassPass network.

I wear glasses 95% of the time, but popped in a pair of contacts in anticipation of many downward dog poses. The class had six other participants in the beautiful studio. The front wall was a collection of multicolored distressed wood, a departure from the typical mirrored wall. I think that the lack of reflective material would make newcomers and yoga neophytes more comfortable.


Our instructor led us through a series of Vinyasas featuring Warrior and Triangle variations. I found the flow to be challenging and enjoyable. The warm temperature was surprisingly soothing and seemed to enhance my performance. Yes, as a fitness professional I do have fairly good flexibility and range of motion, but only in certain muscles and planes. My body’s theme song would be “Hips Don’t Lie”!

We finished on the mat with a few hip (yes!) stretches before final meditation. Again, the warm temperature allowed me to relax, something that I was not always able to do at my gym’s yoga classes because the air conditioning would sometimes kick in unexpectedly.

If you are hungry or thirsty after class, Priya sells healthy goodies from Pure Fare and Down Dog Healing Cafe.


So far I have taken five classes, all of them challenging but enjoyable. My goals are to prevent lower pain from scoliosis and to be able to gracefully hop from position to position!

Have you tried hot yoga? Please share your experiences in the comments!