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Exercising isn’t always pretty—the sweat, the matted down hair, the locker rooms—but it’s definitely worthwhile! Whether you are just starting out or returning after a long break, there are a few things no one ever really tells you about exercise. Even you regular gym bunnies might learn a thing or two from this list—oh how I wish someone had told me these when I started working out!
When you can expect them, and know what to do about them, you'll have fewer barriers and hiccups along your exercise journey. Read More ›
If you're resolving to lose weight, get fit or tone up in 2013, then I have some news for you. It's going to take hard work, willpower, dedication, and some sweat (but not necessarily blood or tears). But you can make it easier—even fun—by joining SparkPeople's 4-week January Jumpstart Challenge, which includes an easy-to-follow workout plan, built-in support, and motivational prizes!
I created the January Jumpstart Challenge to motivate and inspire you to reach your fitness goals in 2013. This "bootcamp" style plan isn't highly intense, but it does involve daily exercise and commitment so you can get real results in just four weeks—talk about a great way to start the year! Read More ›
With the New Year just around the corner, exercise is on a lot of people's minds. So many of us are bound and determined to reach new fitness goals, hit the gym with vigor, and change our bodies once and for all.
Does this sound a lot like last year? What happens between January and December that causes so many people to fail, only to set the same fitness resolutions year after year?
No one wants to fail. When you start a fitness program, the hope is that all of your hard work (and sweat) will carry you to the finish line. A lot of people can start a fitness program, but very few can stick with it for the long-term. Why?
In my experience as a trainer and health coach, the excuses we use to miss a workout aren't the real reasons people fail. You don't have to be a fortune teller to predict who will be going strong next December and who will be starting over again. Most often, I can tell whether someone will succeed or fail based on four simple signs. Read More ›
If you’ve seen enough infomercials in your time, it’s easy to get convinced that you need to buy the latest and greatest in exercise gadgets or gizmos in order to reach your fitness goals.
The truth is, there’s no need to spend a ton of money on fancy equipment or even a gym membership to get in a good workout. In fact, many great workout routines don’t need any equipment at all. But if you are looking to invest in a few pieces to help you get fit in 2013, there are a few, inexpensive items I’d recommend.
As a personal trainer, I actually train all of my clients at home using these six essential items (and they’re each cost less than $20). Read More ›
Although I’ve been a fitness coach for years, I will admit that I don’t always practice what I preach. I don’t stretch quite as much as I should, and as a result, I’ve sustained frustrating injuries that could easily have been avoided.
Whether you’re new to exercise or a workout veteran, we all make workout mistakes from time to time. While some can be harmless—where the only consequence is burning fewer calories—others can lead to serious problems. Here are four common fitness mistakes that can lead to serious injury if you don't catch them early. Read More ›
Whether you hope to lose weight, improve your diet, get active—or a combination of all three—sometimes it's just getting started that is the hardest part. Giving up bad habits and implementing new ones can be overwhelming. It's a big reason why so many people just keep doing the same things instead of changing their lifestyles. They think they have to change everything overnight to be successful. And since changing everything is going to be so difficult, they might as well not even try.
Well what if I told you that you could do just one thing and see noticeable improvements? That taking one step—making ONE healthy change—could change your outlook and set you on the path to better health? I doubt you'd say "that's too hard." More likely, you'd say, "Let's do this!" Read More ›
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog and subsequently led a special SparkPeople LIVE! meeting on the topic of designing your perfect workout plan.The information I shared (how intensely and frequently you should do cardio and strength training throughout the week) is important and was well received, but really, it's just the tip of the iceberg.
I've given you the basic rundown of how much exercise you need to reach your goals, but next comes the hard part: How the heck do you fit it all into your schedule? And maybe even more importantly, how can you do all that exercise and still have a life outside of the gym?
That, my friends, is the million dollar question. Like many things in weight loss and in life, most of us know what to do, but that doesn't mean that we really know how to put that knowledge into practice. Lack of time is the biggest hurdle we face when trying to fit in exercise. And now I'm telling you to do cardio 3-6 times a week for up to an hour, to strength train at least twice a week with every major muscle group and to fit in stretching each time you do either. How are you supposed to swing that without making a second home of your gym?
That's what this blog is all about. Today, I'll share with you some sample workout plans that "fit it all in" plus my time-saving tips to get you in, out—and thoroughly exercised—in less time. I'll also share my own workout plan so you can see how I structure exercise in my week. Are you ready? Read More ›
"Viewing exercise as a tool for living the life you want is far more motivating than thinking of it as a means to an end." ~ Coach Nicole
If you look at my SparkPage, it is filled with quotes--quotes that I find motivating and inspiring, especially when life can be a tad too overwhelming for me to find the inspiration within myself to get up and move. These wise words allow me to connect with where I am right now in my life and apply them to where I hope to be in the future.
Having just celebrated my 7th anniversary of reclaiming a life of health and fitness, I must confess that after all these years of working out consistently at least five days a week, I still struggle with motivating myself to get up and out the door, whether that is for a run or going to the gym.
Don't get me wrong there are those days I am eager to don my running attire to head outside or to go to the gym, but when my motivation begins to wane, breaking that barrier of resistance is TOUGH. I have to remind myself that this journey is one I will need to be on for the rest of my life. Just ten minutes is all it takes--10 minutes or 600 seconds--to keep me moving in the right direction.
A few weeks ago when I was scheduled to go out for long run of 9 miles, I was doing everything in my power to find something to keep my mind occupied and away from running. I did not feel like running, but I knew if I did not get out that day, I was going to have to run the next day when I had a lot more on my plate. I really had no excuse. It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon with unseasonably warm temps for January. There really was no excuse I could come up with not to go, but I first had to convince my brain otherwise. Read More ›
You know that exercise improves your health and helps with weight loss, but if you're an average Jane or Joe (aka not a certified fitness coach or trained exercise physiologist), your best intentions may not be enough. What exactly should you be doing anyway? How do you know what exercises to do? How long should you exercise? How often? What types of exercises are best? Before you even set foot in a gym, you are feeling like a fish out of water. For many people, not knowing what to do is a big barrier to doing anything at all.
You don't have to hire a trainer to think like one—or to get started with exercise or even create your own ideal workout plan. Here are a few tips to help you get started. Read More ›
There are thousands of diet plans available these days, and there are just as many different workout programs. The trendy diets and workout plans of the past couple of years (think Paleo, Dukan, the 17-Day Diet, hCG, PINK, P90X, Insanity and more) will rise, peak and fall just like the popular diet and workout plans of the past. There will always be a new, trendy diet or workout plan. As different as they all may be, they all have one thing in common: They promise to be "the program" to help you take off the weight. But can they all be telling the truth?
As a health and fitness professional, the question I get asked most often revolve around my opinion on other diet or fitness programs.
What do you think about the [insert name here] diet?
Does [insert workout program/DVD] really work?
What's the best diet (or workout program) for weight loss?
Does [insert workout program/DVD] really work?
What's the best diet (or workout program) for weight loss?
My answer to these common questions may surprise you. Read More ›
Editor's Note (Nicole Nichols): So many workout DVDs land on my desk, but since I only have so many hours in the day to work (and work out), I've started enlisting the help of my fellow SparkPeople employees to test them. I asked Teri, a new employee on SparkPeople's sales and marketing team, to try the first (and recently released) DVD by Chris Powell, trainer from the TV show "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition." When I previewed the DVD, I liked what I saw: lots of encouragement, good modifications (plus tips to progress exercises), and workouts that seemed introductory and geared toward beginners and/or people who have a lot of weight to lose. I also loved seeing the real people doing the workouts along with Chris. The DVD includes three workouts (15 minutes, 25 minutes, and 30 minutes) that increase in intensity as you get fitter.
Teri is getting back into fitness since starting her job at SparkPeople two months ago, and her goal is to lose 25 pounds. Find out what she thought about this workout DVD! Read More ›
Wanting to lose weight and get healthier this year, but not exactly sure where—or how—to start? SparkPeople's 4-week challenges can motivate you to reach new goals, develop healthy habits and have fun along the way!
When you join one of our challenges, you'll get a specific plan to follow, plus all the information you need to reach a new goal or make a new personal breakthrough. You can even earn a special SparkTrophy for each official challenge you complete!
These challenges are a great way to get support and motivation to reach new healthy goals this year, no matter where you are in your weight-loss journey. Choose from any one of these six health, fitness and nutrition challenges! Read More ›
Happy New Year! Millions of people are resolving to lose weight, tone up, and get healthy this year, and if you're reading this, you are probably one of them. In reality though, only some of us will succeed in reaching those goals. (Sorry, it's true!) But you can set yourself up for success starting today, and I'm going to tell you how.
Did you know that the first two weeks of your new, healthy lifestyle might just make or break your success? It's true. More than 50% of people report losing momentum within the first two weeks of starting a diet, and almost 20% lose willpower within 3 days according to one SparkPeople.com poll! But you CAN get results, increase your motivation, and meet your expectations during these first few weeks of January—if you do the right things. By following these tips, you'll be five times more likely to reach your goal!
Recently, I shared the seven secrets to a strong start with Cincinnati's local FOX affiliate, FOX 19. These are the actions that SparkPeople.com members followed during the first two weeks of their programs in order to lose twice as much weight as people who did not follow these steps. And now, I'm sharing that video with you! Read More ›
I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, mainly because my history of sticking to them past the first week or two of January is pretty bleak. The times when I’ve actually been successful at changing my behavior (especially behavior related to eating and exercise) didn’t begin with a special date or a resolution for the new year. They began when I realized I was in trouble, and finally had to acknowledge that I really needed to start changing my behavior NOW—no more putting things off, even for a few days.
This year, I find myself in that kind of situation today, which also happens to be Jan. 1. So, I figure I might as well take a little time to write down exactly what it is that I think needs to change, and some ideas about how I’m going to make those changes happen. Read More ›
Fitness experts recommend a triad of exercises we should incorporate into our lifestyle in order to achieve optimum fitness. These exercises include cardio-respiratory activities, flexibility exercises and resistance training. Cardio-respiratory activities such as walking, cycling, running, and swimming help with our overall health, while flexibility exercises, such as stretching, help with range of motion around the joint. Lastly, we should all participate in some form of resistance training regardless of our age or gender, whether with free weights, machines, resistance bands or even your own body weight.
If you feel you do not have time to incorporate all the various exercises into your busy schedule, according to the American Council on Exercise, "significant fitness and strength gains can be made in just two strength training sessions per week when you target all muscle groups."
Read More ›