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A healthy skeptic

The founder, CEO, president, and editor-in-chief of a digital communication company, Robert Davis has worked in a range of public health communication roles.
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Robert J. Davis 90MPH is the consummate communicator. The founder, CEO, president, and editor-in-chief of the digital communication company Everwell, Davis has worked in a range of public health communication roles. He’s been a reporter and an editor, a host and a producer, a columnist and a professor. In many capacities, he plays the skeptic, calling in to question the diet and fitness fads that consume Americans.

His latest venture is a book, Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day, that takes a skeptical stance on fitness trends and weighs them against current research and medical science. For instance, he finds that there’s little evidence behind the fasted cardio trend (doing aerobic exercise on an empty stomach); he suggests that the 10,000 steps a day guideline may be overrated; and he finds that athletic clothing intended to keep you dry may be more likely to make you stink. He also explores common fitness questions like, “Is too much exercise dangerous?,” “Is it okay to exercise with a cold?,” and “What type of protein supplement is best?”

The book, co-authored with Brad Kolowich, an Atlanta-based certified personal trainer, also breaks down common obstacles to exercise, shares success stories, and provides a fitness plan that’s fast and flexible.

“The No. 1 excuse people give as to why they don’t exercise is they don’t have enough time,” says Davis, who uses the book to break down what he calls the “three D’s” that get in the way of exercise: dread, drudgery, and dislike.

The fitness plan developed for the book combines high-intensity interval training, plyometrics (also known as “jump training”), cardio, and weightlifting for workouts that are safe, simple, and easy to do at home with minimal equipment.

The book is just the latest in a long line of health-related endeavors. Davis was working as a producer for CNN’s medical unit when he earned his MPH in epidemiology part-time at Emory. He then pursued his PhD in health policy at Brandeis University.

Throughout his award-winning career, Davis has fulfilled numerous roles in both print and TV journalism that include creating and hosting a video series called The Healthy Skeptic, producing and appearing in a number of television programs (including the PBS show Health Week), serving as a contributing health columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and authoring two other books (The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting Through the Hype About Your Health and Coffee is Good for You: The Truth About Diet and Nutrition Claims).

Davis relocated to Los Angeles while writing his latest book, and now splits his time between LA and Atlanta, the headquarters for his company Everwell. Founded in 2007, the company creates high-quality health videos that physicians can play in their waiting rooms. “I thought [delivering video content to doctors’ waiting rooms] could be a good way to communicate with people while they have health on their minds,” he says. Today the company’s library contains about 650 videos, and Davis and his colleagues are exploring new ways to deliver their content.

He is also involved with the board of the Center for Health Journalism program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism—which trains health journalists—and he has served as an adjunct professor in the department of behavioral sciences and health education at Rollins.

“My time at Rollins has had a significant effect on my career,” he says. “As a teacher, it’s been enormously rewarding and continues to be a source of great pride and fulfillment for me.” —Kelly Jordan

Related Links

Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day (Book Listing on goodreads)

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