Must Reads: A Life Unfiltered on Instagram

You love perusing Instagram for fitness inspiration and to ogle people’s fabulous lives — but have you ever thought of what’s beyond the filter? This article about a college freshman’s suicide may make you think differently. Plus, high-tech sports bras could record your vital signs. Read on to get the full scoop on these stories and others that have caught our eye this week.

A Life Unfiltered

Every day, millions of users double-tap their way to workout inspiration, motivated by everything from crazy fitness feats to everyday bloggers showing off their routines. But often, the true story is what lies beneath the filter. Last year, Madison Holleran, a student athlete at the University of Pennsylvania took her own life after a serious struggle with depression. On the surface, she appeared happy and successful but she was anything but that on the inside. An article on espnW examines the disconnect between her true feelings and how she portrayed herself on social media as a cautionary tale for others who might also be struggling. (espnW)

Are You Washing Your Workout Gear All Wrong?

Photo: Pond5

Would You Wear a High-Tech Sports Bra?

Maybe the idea of wearing a bracelet that monitored your steps and sleep seemed a little odd at first, but most of us don’t give a second thought to trackers these days. Now, companies are betting on intelligent clothing as the next generation of wearable technology. Conductive yarns in the fabric act as sensors that detect electrical signals and measure heart rate and muscle activity. The sensors are put in close-fitting garments such as sports bras or T-shirts, and the signal is transmitted to apps on a smartphone or tablet. The CEO of one such company, SmartLife, hopes to use these products medicinally in the future. The doctor will now see…your app. (CNN)

Good News for Coffee Lovers

Depending on the day and the study, coffee either has magical health powers, stunts your growth or does absolutely nothing for your health. But a recent analysis of research on the caffeinated elixir shows there might be more of a consensus than previously thought. The review looked at 36 studies spanning more than one million participants and found that those who consumed a moderate amount of coffee were at the lowest risk for potential health problems. Other research within the subset shows that moderate consumption has also been linked with lower risk of strokes and heart disease. We’ll take ours black. (The New York Times)

Craziest Workout Excuses

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In Defense of Dad Bod

Just in case you haven’t heard,“dad bod” is now a thing. A college sophomore at Clemson University wrote an essay called “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod” that has since gone viral. The piece celebrates the man who “goes to the gym but also pigs out on pizza, drinks protein shakes, but isn’t above a platter of wings.” Men have embraced the label and the trend, but detractors call the movement both sexist and nothing new. Either way, if you’re looking to get back to the gym, why not start here. (New York Daily News)

Virgin Sports Steps into the Racing Industry

Media mogul Richard Branson owns everything from an airline to a record label, but his latest effort will focus on the running industry. His new company, Virgin Sport, will launch and acquire recreational athletic events, such as local races. Running USA, an industry research organization, estimates that the number of road race finishers jumped 300 percent between 1990 and 2013. Mary Wittenberg, former CEO of the New York Road Runners, will lead Virgin Sport. While at NYRR, Wittenberg grew the New York City Marathon from a field of 37,000 to 50,000. (Wall Street Journal)

BetterBack

Photo: Katherine Krug / BetterBack

A New Meaning to Being Chained to Your Desk

If a standing desk isn’t for you, what about wearing a seatbelt to improve your posture in a chair? The BetterBack is a device that you strap around your knees and back to support your spine while sitting, forcing you into a neutral position. The $49 product is currently raising funding on Kickstarter and is expected to start shipping in October. (Fast Company)