The Fascinating Fitness Stories You Haven't Read


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  29 comments   :  13,262 Views

I wanted to write one more post about my favorite fitness stories from the past year. Some of these are the best products I reviewed, while others are short-lived series you may have missed. (Remember Burn It Off?). See my favorite posts, fitness products and tips from the past year!

Favorite Product Review: Bender Ball. I LOVE the Bender Ball. It's one product from an infomercial that gives a killer workout and is well worth the money (about $10). Denise and Nancy are both converts now, too. Luckily, you can buy the Bender Ball at sporting goods stores everywhere these days! If you're looking for a fun new way to challenge your core, this is it! Runner Up: The Wave. It was fun and different, but I'm not sure that it would keep my interest for the long-term.

Favorite DVD Review: Work Out with Jackie Warner. I loved these workouts, the variety, the instruction—everything. I still follow this DVD from time to time at home when I want a good strength-training routine that also gets my heart rate up. Runner Up: Cardio for Beginners was a lot of fun! I think it's perfect for people of many levels if you enjoy cardio dance workouts.

Favorite New Workout: Kettlebells. WOW! I had a lot of fun—and was sore for days—after my first kettlebell workout. I admit, I don't use my kettlebell as often as I'd like, but each time I do, I really feel it.

3 Best "Habits of Fit People" Tips: I started this series to share some of the tricks I use to stay motivated and help make fitness a habit. I DO plan to add more "habits" over the next year. But if you really want the top 3 habits that I think will help you most, they are (in order): Find Something Fun, Commit to Just 10 Minutes, and Have Plan B.

Most Controversial Post: I'd say that my Wii Fit: Is It Really a Workout blog upset a lot of Wii Fit fans. I didn't mean for it to sound as negative as it may have sounded. I just think it's really important that we understand the difference between "activity" and real exercise so that we're not cheating ourselves or thinking we're doing more (or burning more calories) than we really are. Dean's bodybugg post was also a hot topic among readers, although I have to say that I agree with his perspective 100%.

Other Popular Posts You May Have Missed:
  • Gwynyth Buys into Bulking Up Myth. I thought that this was important information to share about overall fitness, the idea of women "bulking up," and the difference between looking fit and being fit.

  • Want the Body of a Fitness Model? Find Out What It Really Takes. I had fun interviewing my friend Kelly for this. I wanted to keep my own commentary out of it and let people interpret her words themselves. Most of you got the message we both intended: This ISN'T healthy or realistic for most of us. Kelly was frank with her answers and she told me many times that it isn't healthy to limit calories and carbs in order to drop body fat fast—it isn't something that most people can sustain, either. But at the same time, I think it's remarkable that people are able to stick with such regimented training and eating plans for so long. Talk about dedication!

  • Peek Inside the Fridge of a Fitness Expert. This was an experiment on my part. I wasn't sure that anyone would be interested in this, but the comments were very supportive. Our bloggers might do more posts like this in the future!

  • Discover the Perfect Workout for Your Fitness Personality. This was a fun one and is definitely worth the read if you missed it!

  • What Do 300-Calorie Meals Really Look Like? A picture is worth a thousand words...cliché but true! This was a very popular feature for us and it's a great illustration of how you can eat so much more when you eat healthful, wholesome foods instead of restaurant and processed foods.

2 Short Lived Series: Should I Bring Them Back?
  1. Burn It Off. I enjoyed doing this series while it lasted, but to be honest, I had trouble continuing to come up with ideas for it! Plus, I was nervous that it was giving people the wrong idea—that you have to exercise to burn every calorie you eat in a exercise-bulimia sort of way. That is not what I intended; I wanted it to be more of a "think before you bite" prompt so people will think twice about "extra" calories BEFORE deciding to indulge, not after. What do you think about Burn It Off?
  2. Fitness Defined was another series that didn't last long, mostly because I didn't think there was enough interest. The posts Active vs. Passive Recovery and Open vs. Closed Chain Exercises might not sound exciting, but they're very educational in case you missed them. Should this series make a comeback next year? Any fitness terms you'd like to learn more about?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See More: anniversary,
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Win a Copy of 'Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200' in the dailySpark Anniversary Giveaway


  • 29
    could you please review debbie seiber's "slim in 6" dvds/program? it caught my eye, and i'm wondering if it is worth the money. - 9/5/2009   2:27:45 AM
  • 28
    Great ideas, everyone. Thanks for the comments! - 8/24/2009   10:04:15 AM
  • 27
    Hi Coach Nicole,
    I'm s big fan of the Bootcamp Teams and especially enjoy and am motivated by your style and approach to exercise and common sense fitness. I am saving this blog to my favorites, so that I can read all of the articles and blogs you mentioned here. Thanks for all you do. Paula - 8/23/2009   3:30:57 PM
  • 26
    Nicole, I enjoy your blogs, so whatever you choose to write, I'll read ... I hope you will bring back Fitness Defined. Those were among my favorite articles. I'd also love to have you start a series about different ways to set up fitness rotations, and perhaps reviews of health/fitness books (Nutrient Timing, Rethinking Thin, New Rules of Lifting, ...). You have such a nice, down to earth style; there's so much hyp[e and angst around those things that we could use a balanced SP-view :) - 8/23/2009   2:36:26 PM
  • 25
    Nicole, I enjoy your informative posts. It is great to get the info without all the hype. I may not always comment, however your words spark thoughts and make me want to take action. - 8/23/2009   9:07:21 AM
  • 24
    I'm really interested in "functional fitness" -- by which I mean things that will help me to use my body properly in my day-to-day life so I don't get injured or pull a muscle or fall and break a bone. At my age these are more important considerations than whether I can run a marathon (I can't, but I might be able to walk...) - 8/23/2009   8:02:54 AM
  • 23
    I need an anatomy lesson...When people at the gym refer to glutes,buns, abs, pecs, biceps, ligaments, meniscus, rotator cuff, achilles tendon, etc. it seems to be another language to a novice. I know thunder thighs, big butt, bye-bye arms, love handles, and headache, but sports terms - phew, blow right over my head. How about a dictionary of terms so we can talk gym, Nicole?? - 8/22/2009   3:27:00 PM
  • 22
    I've read all of your posts. I really enjoyed all of them. I did like the ones where you defined fitness terms. I always feel like I learn a lot from those. And I've especially loved your reviews, my husband and I are saving up the money to afford kettlebells and one day I will find the bender ball. =) - 8/22/2009   10:36:10 AM
    I JUST READ- Burn It Off: How Many Laps to Undo Taco Bell's Big Box Meal?
    NO MORE Burrito Supremes for me! I've only read about 3 Burn It Off, articles but NOW I see there's another 4, and... you BET CHA' I'm gonna' read em'! They're gr8!!

    Haven't read-
    The Bender Ball, Denise, The Wave, Work Out with Jackie Warner, Gwynyth Buys into Bulking Up Myth, What Do 300-Calorie Meals Really Look Like?, or... the, Fitness Defined: Active and Passive Recovery, or... the, Fitness Defined: Open and Closed Chain Exercises.

    READ- Cardio for Beginners, and saved to favorites to re-read.
    READ- and commented (#28) on- Kettlebells!! LOVED IT!!
    READ- all but 2 articles in the- "Habits of Fit People" and one of them IS one you recommend- Find Something Fun, so I've got them bookmarked.
    READ- Wii Fit: Is It Really a Workout
    READ- Dean's bodybugg post.
    READ- Want the Body of a Fitness Model? Find Out What It Really Takes
    READ- Peek Inside the Fridge of a Fitness Expert, and LOVED IT!! Used to have it saved in favs and just re-saved to re-read!!
    READ- Discover the Perfect Workout for Your Fitness Personality- LOVED IT!!

    *L*O*V*E* & have read MOST of Nancy Howard's articles...

    THANKS SOOO MUCH for sharing, Nicole!! I've got THIS blog saved to favs PLUS articles I've missed bookmarked to read, AND a few articles I've read and want to re-read!! :)
    - 8/22/2009   9:01:17 AM
  • 20
    I don't tend to be a commenter, but I do love reading all of your blogs! - 8/22/2009   1:08:07 AM
  • 19
    I LOVE the Burn It Off blogs- they DO make me think at least twice before biting. And it really helps hit home just how much calorie damage some of these foods do! - 8/21/2009   8:35:48 PM
  • 18
    Thank Nicole for providing us with a little journey through the mind of Coach Nicole in a year. - 8/21/2009   6:33:12 PM
  • 17
    Nicole - I don't always comment on your posts, but I do read all of them. If you feel like writing it, I'll read it.
    I did enjoy the Fitness Defined series and learned a lot from them. Gee, I didn't even know that the topics existed.
    I thought your interview with Kelly was very enlightening. I would never be a fitness model because I don't have the stamina, persistence, and I don't think it's healthy for me, but it was nice to know that to get to that level you have to do ridiculous (in my opinion) things.

    - 8/21/2009   6:24:51 PM
    Nicole, I enjoy reading your reviews ! They are always informative. And thank you for mentioning the Gweneth Paltrow article. I went and read it. I'm disappointed that such an intelligent woman as GP believes that women bulk up by using heavy weights. It makes me wonder if her trainer has told her this myth or if she thinks that women with muscles aren't beautiful.

    - 8/21/2009   1:23:06 PM
    great reviews! - 8/21/2009   12:31:04 PM
  • 14
    I just read the Fitness Defined blogs. They were very interesting and informative. I consider myself fairly informed about health and fitness and definitely learned a few things. I would be happy to see more blogs like that. - 8/21/2009   9:52:48 AM
  • 13
    I also loved the burn it off series. I could show it to my husband to convince him that really, one Panera bagel and cream cheese is enough. - 8/21/2009   9:40:49 AM
  • 12
    Please do some more in the Burn It Off series! It really does make you stop and think before you take a bite, if you know that you'd have to do x amount of y exercise to negate that extra treat! - 8/21/2009   9:08:30 AM
  • 11
    Great reviews. The other day, I posted a blog on my page doing a review of your Cardio Blast DVD. I think reviews are a great way to help people contemplating purchasing something. You did a great job on these. I may get the Bender ball. - 8/21/2009   9:00:38 AM
  • 10
    Nicole, I really like the idea of both the Burn if Off series and the Fitness Defined series. While I don't eat fast food, there are some things like ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies that are my weakness. It would be nice to quantify how much working out I'd have to do to burn them off (even though I'm a workoutaholic already!)

    I'm not sure if you're into the sciency stuff, but it might be nice to read an article about what actually happens when we work out with hormones like cortisol and how that affects muscles and recovery. - 8/21/2009   8:59:40 AM
  • 9
    Maybe the "Burn it Off" series should have been called "Think Before You Bite." Along those sames lines I read an article in Guideposts recently by a woman who created a bracelet for herself with the letters D.I.E.T. on it to remind her of the question - "Do I Eat This?" It worked for her, maybe it would work for more of us. - 8/21/2009   8:54:50 AM
    Great article. I love Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds" series....low impact but very effective. - 8/21/2009   8:00:24 AM
  • 7
    I enjoy all of your articles! - 8/21/2009   7:57:20 AM
    Nicole, I always love your reviews. You always seem to review products that I've been contemplating buying. Did you know that Wii is coming out w/ a game solely for yoga practice. I believe it's named YOGA for Wii and it has a release date for September. Would you consider reviewing this game? Keep up the great work! - 8/20/2009   10:21:21 PM
  • 5
    I got the Bender Ball after reading about it in the dailyspark blogs and love it, too! I haven't used it since I got my personal trainer, but back for 9 months where I was without a gym membership, it was a fantastic buy!

    Also, bring back the Fitness Defined series! - 8/20/2009   9:42:09 PM
  • 4
    The Bender Ball really is awesome! I was skeptical of the infomercial and didn't purchase it until recently when I found it in Target. I remembered Coach Nicole's review and decided to go ahead and pay the $19.99 for the ball and 3 dvd's. I am so happy that I decided to get it as it really does give a great workout for your core! If you are able and willing, you should give the Bender Ball a try! You won't regret it! :) - 8/20/2009   9:06:41 PM
  • 3
    I love all your posts! I liked the Burn it Off series a lot. I haven't eated a doughnut since I read that it would take 3 miles to walk it off!! I also liked the post where we got to see your fridge. Maybe its just that I am nosy, but I liked seeing that your fridge looked about the same as mine!! Keep up the great work, you are such an inspiration to us! - 8/20/2009   7:33:44 PM
  • 2
    Thanks for the reviews, though I have sworn off buying anymore fitness videos or equipment until I begin to faithfully use the ones I already have; these reviews were helpful. Especially the one on the bender ball and the DVDs. - 8/20/2009   6:57:16 PM
  • 1
    Thanks! Since I am relatively new to the Spark, I enjoyed this review! - 8/20/2009   5:58:02 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›