Steroid Myths, Busted

Ever since famed slugger Mark McGwire was infamously accused of using performance-enhancing drugs back in 1998, anabolic steroid use has not only become a part of the pro game, but also infiltrated average Joe gyms across America. And even though steroids are illegal in the U.S. and have some serious negative health side effects, they’re still growing in popularity — particularly among everyday gym rats who want bigger muscles, faster.

But while guys are plenty familiar with the supposed “benefits” of steroids, they’re typically in the dark— or, worse yet, downright misinformed—about all the nasty side effects they have on your body and possibly even your mind. (And they are nasty.)

In an enterprise story for Men’s Fitness, I spoke with two experts — Dr. Ed Sebanegh, M.D., the department chair of urology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and Dr. Stuart Weinerman, M.D., an endocrinologist at North Shore–LIJ Health System in New York — to clear up some of the myths about steroid use.

The Star Wars Workout

I like working out. I like Star Wars.

So on the eve of Episode VII’s U.S. premiere, I visited New York Sports Club for a sweat-inducing cardio workout class that involved one key piece of equipment: a lightsaber. (I got a blue one, thereby assigning myself to the “Light Side of the class.” No, that’s not me in the picture.)

The workout incorporated martial arts, calisthenics, and bodyweight moves that wiped out all but the fittest people — Jedi masters, one might say — in the studio. (If the Force was flowing through me, it was at a trickle. Then again, that may have been the sweat running down my face.)

Guided by Jedi master/instructor Amira Lamb, C.P.T., I endured — and then, for Men’s Fitness, wrote about — the Star Wars Workout.

Hot Workouts vs. Cold Workouts

Sure, working out in the extreme cold or the extreme heat make you mentally tough. But when it comes to burning calories and performing faster, which direction should you spin the thermostat?

Writing for Men’s Fitness, I spoke to Michael Joyner, M.D., a marathoner and specialist in exercise physiology, about the scientific evidence for the benefits of working out in extreme conditions. Here’s what he told me.

An Interview With the Fastest “Beer Miler” in the World

Lewis Kent is very good at doing two things extremely quickly: He can run. And he can chug a lot of beer.

Kent, a Canadian college student, set the world record in the “beer mile,” in which competitors must chug a 12-oz. beer, run 400 meters, and then repeat that three more times — without “losing their beer” in the process.

So, naturally, I interviewed Kent for Men’s Fitness. We talked training methods, the most important characteristic in a champion beer-miler, and why he prefer blondes—or at least one particular blonde.

13 Cold and Flu Remedies That Actually Work

Someone once told me that the best way to cure a cold was to slice open an onion before bedtime, and then put one half (open side facing up) on a nightstand. The onion would absorb the nasty viruses in the air, and the patient would be miraculously cured.

I’ve always been curious about these kinds of home remedies for viruses like the common cold. Some folk medicines have some value, after all, even if they get the theory wrong.

So, in a story for Men’s Fitness, I asked two experts: Dr. Pritish Tosh, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Donald Ford, M.D., a family medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. We discussed 13 home remedies for colds that actually work, so our sick readers could get back to bicep curls and back squats in no time.

(Oh, and the onion thing? Total bull. But onions do have some astringent effects, which can help unclog stuffy sinuses.)

Every Exercise From Every “Rocky” Training Montage, Ever

We don’t often do humor writing at Men’s Fitness, if only because we’re usually too busy cranking out service pieces to help guys lose weight and get six-packs.

But when Rocky Balboa returned to the big screen in Thanksgiving 2015—this time as a mentor Men’s Fitness November cover star Michael B. Jordan in Creed—it gave me a chance to take a lighter look at the some of the most beloved gym scenes in cinema: the training montages from the Rocky movies.

From South Philly to Siberia and back, I detailed every montage and every move you need to get jacked like the Italian Stallion himself.

The Kick Felt ‘Round the World: Holm Defeats Rousey in UFC 193

One of my main roles at Men’s Fitness is quickly reporting, writing, and promoting news stories that affect and interest our readership. Granted, not much qualifies as hard news that we’d cover in depth. We’re not a sports brand, and we don’t really touch science or politics. Our cover stars tend to be actors in big-budget films, meaning that we do entertainment stories more often than not. Even the Olympics Games are mostly outside our typical coverage.

But there’s one big exception, and her name is Ronda Rousey. By virtue of her fighting ability, well-earned braggadocio, and media-ready persona, she seems to be a lightning rod for discussion among our audience. Everyone’s got an opinion about Ronda. Especially dudes.

So on the morning of Sunday, November 15, as the East Coast was waking up to the results of her bout against Holly Holm in UFC 193, I was the guy at the computer, reporting and writing, trying to answer a question that Men’s Fitness basically had no choice but to cover:

Ronda lost? What the hell happened?

What happened was the kick felt ’round the world.

Past Papal Visits, as We First Saw Them

When Pope Francis visited Washington, New York, and Philadelphia in September 2015, he became the fourth pope to visit the United States. But his visit was more than a continuation of that papal trend; it also marked a high point of enthusiasm, from both Catholics and non-Catholics, for Francis and his vibrant message of inclusion for a global church.

Together with Daniel Sircar and Jessica Glazer, I researched and wrote a multimedia retrospective of past papal visits to the U.S., which was then published on NBC’s Owned Television Stations sites, which included NBC New York, NBC Washington, and NBC Philadelphia.

Everyman a Hero

Years before Guardians of the Galaxy unexpectedly charmed its way across the silver screen — before the movie made $774 million with a gun-toting raccoon and a talking tree — the galaxy’s unlikeliest heroes first entered the imagination of an editor at Marvel Comics named Bill Rosemann.

In a profile for Notre Dame Magazine, I spoke with Rosemann about the genesis of his comic book career, and discovered how Rosemann’s story arc so closely mirrors — and inspires — the pulp heroes we love.

Read “Everyman a hero” at Notre Dame Magazine

Senior Digital Editor at Men's Fitness Magazine