DiscoverRethinking WellnessFitness Culture with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
Fitness Culture with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Fitness Culture with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Update: 2023-03-13


Fitness and wellness historian Natalia Mehlman Petrzela joins Christy to discuss her new book, Fit Nation; the historical shifts that made fitness go from being viewed as a narcissistic practice to being seen as a good thing across the political spectrum; why so many people are disillusioned with our medical system and looking for answers and validation in the alternative medicine space; how people can be critical consumers of online wellness content; and more. (Content warning: discussions of fitness and the food environment.)

Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture. She is the author of FIT NATION: The Gains and Pains of America’s Exercise Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2023) and Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015). She is co-producer and host of the podcast WELCOME TO YOUR FANTASY, from Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet – and recognized as the “best of 2021” by Vogue, Esquire, the New York Times, and Vulture – and the co-host of Past Present Podcast. Her work has been supported by the Spencer, Whiting, Rockefeller, and Mellon Foundations.

Natalia is a frequent media guest expert, public speaker, and contributor to international and domestic news outlets, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN to the Atlantic. She is Associate Professor of History at The New School, co-founded and directed the wellness education program Healthclass 2.0, and is a Premiere Leader of the mind-body practice intenSati. She holds a B.A. from Columbia and a master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford and lives with her husband and two children in New York City. Learn more about her and her work at

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Fitness Culture with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Fitness Culture with Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Christy Harrison, MPH, RD