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Step into May with a New Challenge


When it comes to building healthy habits, consistency is the key. It's a great idea to get in the habit of flexing your consistency muscle as much as possible, across as many parts of your life as you can. When you're consistent in one area of your life, it makes it even easier to start and stick with other, bigger challenges. An easy way to do this is to commit to a small, doable act every day that will get your healthy momentum going. That's why we're starting a month-long challenge that's possible for almost everyone: "A Mile a Day in May"! Simply walk, run, bike, or do any other sort of activity to accumulate at least one mile every day in May on top of your regular daily physical activity. You can do your mile in small bursts or all at once; however you get it done is up to you. The important thing is that you do it! 
Posted 4/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 52 comments   30,666 views
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Wake Up to a 10-Day Challenge This April!


Raise your hand if you're a morning person!

…Anybody?

Ok, so waking up early is tough for most of us. However, when you make an effort to do so consistently, it's entirely possible to make it a habit—which is a great way to build more fitness and productivity into your day. So, how would you like a little extra boost of motivation to A) Get up in the wee hours, and B) Make strides toward your healthy lifestyle goals at the same time?

We're going to help you do just that with our ''Rise and Shine'' Challenge!
Posted 3/25/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 249 comments   118,733 views
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Spring Into Shape with a 20-Day Challenge!


It's almost March, which means we've made it through the worst of winter (knock on wood!). Can you believe that spring is less than a month away? Although the arrival of spring promises warmer weather and better conditions for exercising outdoors, it might also make some of us realize that we hibernated a little too much over the winter. Maybe you skipped a few workouts due to bad weather or the flu, or the winter blues derailed even your best efforts to stay consistent. It can be hard to get active again after a lull in your exercise plan, but it's entirely possible to get back on your feet. And we're here to help you do it! 
Posted 2/25/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 215 comments   132,569 views
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Quit Your Bellyaching: A 3-Week Program to Reboot Your System


Are you sick of fighting constant tummy troubles? Many people suffer from bloating, discomfort and digestion problems--sometimes for no apparent reason at all.  Isn't it time you did something to quit your bellyaching for good (quite literally)? We have a fun way to reset your system and get your digestion into tip-top shape with plenty of help along the way. Plus, it'll only take you 20 days to feel better! 
Posted 2/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 11 comments   69,851 views
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Jump-Start Your Motivation with Our February Challenge!


See if this sounds familiar: It's cold and dark outside. You're tired and cranky, and that once-shiny New Year's resolution you made at the beginning of the month is starting to look less and less appealing. Even despite your best intentions to plan your exercise and healthy meals, all you really want to do is eat a cookie, take a nap and lie in bed for a long, long time.
 
We get it. If the novelty of your New Year's resolution is starting to wear off, you're not alone. Statistically, only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually stick to them. But guess what? You're already one step ahead of the curve, because we're here to help you make gradual, attainable lifestyle changes by offering consistent support, motivation and resources. No matter what goals you've made for 2014, we're not going to let you drop them. Don't sacrifice what you want most in the long term (better health, more energy, weight loss, etc.) for what you want right now (to veg out on the couch). YOU are worth more than that, and you deserve to live your best life. That's why we're going to help you press on through the darkest days of winter with our #2Fit2Quit social challenge for February! 
Posted 1/22/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 41 comments   21,728 views
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6 Surefire Ways to Make Your Resolution a Reality


There's no time like January to start fresh! It may be the dead of winter, but everyone's spirits are up and our willpower is in full force. We are ready and committed to make a change.
 
As a fitness instructor, I love this time of year. The energy in the gym is contagious and the classes are packed! And as a SparkPeople employee, it's a great time, too. So many new people find us and join our site to reach their goals!
 
But as you probably know, this New Year motivation fades quickly. It's easy to give up on your goals when you don't have a plan, don't have support, or don't have a realistic way to keep yourself motivated. Let's vow to make this year different. Let's commit ourselves to just one simple goal to keep our focus. You might not be able to do everything on your giant list of goals, but you can be successful with one or two things when you have a good plan in place.

SparkPeople has a lot of fun, simple and effective challenges that are the perfect way to get started and stay motivated. I would recommend choosing ONE program listed below to focus your efforts, but if you're feeling extra motivated, try a couple! Don't worry: You can join in the fun any time, even if you can't commit to everything you'd like to do at once. These are all great ways to hit the ground running in January!  
Posted 1/7/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 4 comments   36,437 views
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Your Fittest Year Starts Right Here!


If you're resolving to lose weight, get fit or tone up in 2014, 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 get off to a strong start in the new year. This "bootcamp" style plan isn't highly intense, but it does involve a commitment to daily exercise so you can get real results in just four weeks—talk about a great way to start the year!
Posted 1/2/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 63 comments   64,672 views
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30 Days to a Happier, Healthier Winter


Happy New Year! Now that the holiday season is behind you, you're probably ready to settle back into a routine and reevaluate your health and fitness priorities (we know we are!). This time of year, there seems to be a new gimmick around every corner that promises to get you into the best shape of your life this time (and fast).

At SparkPeople, we don't believe in quick fixes--we believe in good, old-fashioned hard work, consistency and determination. However, we also believe that a nice boost every once in a while can re-ignite a spark that's been fizzling out. So, don't start 2014 with a gimmick that's sure to fail, or an exercise program that's way too extreme for your lifestyle. Instead, join our 30-day Winter Wellness Challenge; a realistic, sensible plan that will steer you in the right direction for a happier, healthier year ahead—no gimmicks and no fine print. Just honest, doable challenges to make you feel great, inside and out, all winter long. 
Posted 1/1/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 14 comments   17,064 views
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A January Challenge You Can Stick With!


We're (finally!) entering the home stretch of the holidays. If you've been following along with our #SparkTheSeason challenge, we hope you've been creating and sticking with goals to keep you motivated throughout the month of December. But January is coming up fast, and if you're anything like us, you're probably starting to think about your goals for 2014. Whether or not you believe in making New Year's resolutions, you can't deny that January is a prime time to kick your routine up a notch after a few months of heavy eating, drinking and general merry-making. And what with the dreary weather and the warmth of the holidays behind us, a little extra boost of motivation after the first of the year can't hurt! That's why we’re introducing a brand new challenge for January, hot on the heels of our #SparkTheSeason challenge: #RockYourResolution!
Posted 12/19/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 46 comments   39,083 views
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One Easy Way to Stay on Track in December


Thanksgiving is coming up in just a few short days, and you might still be participating in our November #Fit2Feast challenge (WooHoo!). We know that it’s tough to stay motivated leading up to the holiday season, so congratulations for participating and making it this far already!

You might have made some good strides (hah!) with our November challenge, but we recognize that you’re probably going to need some motivation to stay on track through the busy month of December—which can easily be the hardest month of the year to stick with a healthy eating and exercise program. There always seems to be an endless barrage of feasts, family gatherings and work parties to attend! However, we’ve seen time and again how just a little bit of accountability can go a long way, no matter what the time of year (yes, even in December). And that’s why, by popular demand, we’re hosting a challenge to get you through the bulk of the winter holiday season. Welcome to our #SparkTheSeason challenge! 
Posted 11/21/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 65 comments   32,001 views
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6 Smart Ways to Stay on Track This Season


The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the couch is looking a whole lot comfier. This time of year, attendance at the gym drops and our desires to exercise and eat right fall lower on our priority list. Between back to school, tailgating, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the year-end frenzy at work, Christmas, New Year's and everything in between, it's no wonder we need to "restart" again on January 1.
 
As fall morphs into the busy holiday season, let's choose to make this year different. Let's commit ourselves to just one simple goal to stay on track. You might not be able to do everything perfectly between Halloween and New Year's Eve, but you can do something.
 
SparkPeople has a lot of fun, simple and effective challenges that are the perfect pick-me-up for your program. I would recommend choosing ONE program listed below to focus your efforts. These are all great ways to re-commit this fall and hit the ground running this holiday season!
Posted 10/25/2013  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 14 comments   22,107 views
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Get Fit before You Feast: A November Challenge!


Halloween is just one week from today, and we all know what that means—the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Unfortunately, the "most wonderful time of the year" also tends to be the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people; especially for those who are striving to lose weight or get fit. How do you avoid falling off the wagon during such a busy time full of food, friends and family obligations? 
Posted 10/24/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 164 comments   34,561 views
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Contest Closed: Exclusive 'Trick or Track' Step Challenge for October


We're taking a big step in helping you get fit! SparkPeople has just released the Spark, our very own activity tracker that integrates perfectly with the rest of SparkPeople's online tools. The Spark Activity Tracker requires no charging, determines the specific type of workout you're doing (walking vs. running vs. elliptical) and automatically logs your fitness minutes directly to your SparkPeople Fitness Tracker!

The new Spark Activity Tracker is just one more way to get you motivated and moving toward your goals—and we're here to help you along the way. Everyone who uses a Spark is eligible to participate in monthly fitness challenges that will motivate you to get out there and walk, run or bike your way to reaching your goals each month. Our very first challenge, the Trick or Track Halloween Challenge, starts on October 1 and offers some BIG prizes! 
Posted 10/3/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Megan Patrick : 7,879 views
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The 30-Day Skinny Jeans Workout Plan


No matter what the season, body hugging trends like fitted ("skinny") jeans and leggings appear to be staying with us for a while. That may be even more reason to keep up with your healthy diet and fitness plan year-round!
 
As a fun way to motivate our readers to keep working toward their goals, I developed a brand new challenge that is sure to kick your butt—and legs and abs—into shape. I know how much people love plans they can follow, so I created the 30-Day Skinny Jeans Plan. Don't be alarmed: Even if wearing these trendy pants isn't high on your priority list, I promise you'll get a lot out of the challenge, including motivation, support, and new workout combinations designed to help flatten your belly, strengthen your legs and re-shape your rear.

You can head right over to www.sparkpeople.com/skinnyjeans now to check out the challenge, or keep on reading for more details on how the plan works and what to expect.
Posted 10/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 35,655 views
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Join the 30-Day 'Fit Food' Challenge!


Now is the perfect time to kick off a brand new challenge to help you get on your way to your healthiest, fittest self yet: 30 Days of Fit Food. It's a great way to kick the season and head into the holidays (just around the corner!) feeling your best.
Posted 9/26/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 27 comments   93,688 views
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