Alicia Capetillo

Alicia graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a minor in film and media studies. Prior to joining SparkPeople, she worked in marketing and public relations and once left it all behind to backpack through South America. Alicia enjoys practicing yoga outside on sunny days, farmers markets, planning trips to practically every country and cheering aggressively for her beloved Cincinnati Reds and New Orleans Saints. She can also make a mean guacamole on toast.


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Body Bullies and Happy Tears in This Month's Go Get It Guide

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
 

Smile: Happy Tears
 

Sometimes life is scary and depressing and just plain sad. Whether it's a tragic event, a news story or just a bad self-esteem week keeping you down, we can all use a reminder that there are uplifting stories and beautiful people out there doing beautiful things for this world.
 
This month, Ellen DeGeneres delivers with a video montage of her favorite stories of everyday heroes. If you're an Ellen fan, you may have seen some of these stories (as a Saints fan, I have the Drew Brees and best friends story bookmarked for days when I need a good cry.). Watching these videos all at once, watching the kindness of strangers, of friends and of people for eight minutes is an important reminder that there are good, great and selfless people in this world. It's also a good reminder that you should always keep tissues at your desk because I forgot and ended up wiping my face with my shirt sleeve until it was drenched.
 

 

Spark: Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!
 

Perhaps you've seen it flipping through an issue waiting in the grocery checkout line or maybe you have a subscription so you never miss an edition, but you've likely seen Us Magazine's "Stars—They're Just Like Us!" feature. I used to have a mild obsession with the wordsmith behind their taglines for the sheer enthusiasm and excitement they were able to pack into just a brief caption, bringing the red-carpet-worthy, flawless, celebrities back down to Earth. There's just something about knowing that "They Carry Their Cords!" (Harrison Ford), "They Pump Gas!" (Heather Locklear) or "They Use Baskets!" (Alexander Skarsgård) that erases the glitz and the glamour and reminds us that they're just regular people, too.
 
Last month, two stories reminded me that, as many of us can relate, celebrities also endure harsh body image critiques. After the birth of her daughter, tennis superstar Serena Williams penned an emotional and powerful message to her mother, thanking her for all of the lessons and strength she learned as a result of her mother's influence. The letter focuses primarily on how her mother made her proud of her curves, her muscles and what her body is capable of achieving, rather than feeling insecure about being too big or too masculine.
 
She writes, "I am proud we were able to show them what some women look like. We don't all look the same. We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!" She notes that her baby girl has her arms and her legs, which makes her fearful that her daughter might undergo the same body criticism she's endured since she came on the professional tennis scene in 1995.
 
Then, in a story in ESPN the Magazine, Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy opened up about years of internet trolls casually, often cruelly, reminding him of his weight via social media. For years, people commented on his love of Chinese food, calling him fat and doing things like photoshopping his stomach to make him look like Santa Claus.
 
"Ever since his weight became a public topic during his four years in Green Bay—which included two 1,100-yard seasons—Lacy had read those kinds of comments and brooded in silence, convinced he couldn't win," the article says of Lacy, who grew up in Louisiana and found food to be a comfort after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. "Responding would only give his tormentors a smirk of satisfaction, knowing they'd wounded him. If he worked hard, got back in shape through yoga and P90X, maybe then the jokes would fade. Except they didn't fade. If anything, they multiplied."
 
It's easy to think you're the only one with body image issues. After all, with everyone's social media feed full of joyous photos and "Great news!" updates, it certainly appears that people seem to be more confident than you could ever dream. But those are pictures and words on the internet, not reality. Our bodies are with us forever and each one responds to outside factors—exercise, healthy eating plans, stress—differently. We stress that what works for one body doesn't always work for another it's the truth. There will always be those people who can eat whatever they want and somehow lose weight, and there will be others who look at a doughnut and have to buy bigger pants.
 
What the haters fail to see is what that body can do—including being one of the greatest tennis players of all time like Williams, a powerhouse running back like Lacy, a plus-size yoga inspiration, a mom who wears her tiger stripe stretchmarks with pride after three babies or a phenom female boxer who learned her thunder thighs are awesome.
 
So whether you're an elite athlete dealing with internet trolls and rude reporters, the girl next door who hears the boy next door commenting on a belly roll, or a confident-on-the-outside executive who still can't get over feeling like their thighs are too thick, it's good to remind yourself that most everyone has some big or small issue with their body. You're not alone. Trolls are usually trolls because they're hiding an insecurity themselves and feel it's easier to be mean than to own up to their issues. The next time someone makes you feel bad about the way you look, invoke the powerful beauty of Williams or the strength of Lacy or the confidence of any number of body positive ambassadors, cast their (wrong) opinions aside, smile and know that if Serena can be better than the digs and critiques, so can you.
 
How do you deal with body bullies? 

Posted 10/6/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 78 comments   5,872 views

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Free Workouts and Tangle-Free Hair in This Month's Go Get It Guide

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
 

Spark: How to Find Cheap or Free Workout Classes

 
I went to my college gym approximately five times in my four years of attendance. Now that I'm older, wiser, I'd like to take this time to apologize to ye olde college gym for my complete and utter negligence: College gym, I am so terribly sorry that I never truly appreciated the luxury of having a free and fully stocked gym a mere 10-minute walk from my residence and classes. I can't believe I never took advantage of your many exercise classes, stacks of dumbbells up for grabs or the various cardio machines available for my use, for free. And while our time together was brief, I will never forget those five times swiping my college ID and having the opportunity to work out for free (mostly. Thanks, tuition).
 
As I've discovered since graduating and moving into various apartments over the years, getting fit can come with a steep price tag. Trendy athleisure and home equipment aside, boutique studios and specialty workouts can drain your bank account faster than your kid disappears the minute it's time to clean up after a sleepover. According to USA Today, the average gym membership costs just under $60 a month, but a boutique membership can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on where you live, not to mention that a single class could cost $20 to $40.

Posted 9/1/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 78 comments   11,514 views

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A Full-Body, Abs-Burning Bosu Ball Workout for Beginners

Maybe you've seen it in the gym and thought to yourself, "Why would someone slice an exercise ball in half?" Perhaps you've seen people precariously perched atop one, their gaze fixed ahead as they focus on balancing. Whatever your experience, the Bosu has become a fixture in many gyms and, when used correctly, can offer a unique burn for every muscle group. 

Due to its design, the Bosu ball creates a balance challenge for the body, whether it's sitting with the flat sound down or with the dome side on the ground. As with a traditional exercise ball, you are forced to engage your core and legs in order to perform many moves, making it a versatile and challenging piece of equipment.

When you're ready to feel an abdominal burn like you've never felt before, start with this full-body workout from our friends at Fix.com. Pick a few moves here and there, or dive right in and try the whole workout from start to finish. Aim for one to two sets and eight to 12 repetitions for each strength move. For cardio, start with 20 to 30 seconds for each exercise, working up from there as your endurance improves over time.

If you are a first-timer, take a few minutes to review some safety tips before you get started and be sure to always start slow, especially when performing balance-based movements. 

Posted 8/30/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 57 comments   13,737 views

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This Video About Healthy Eating Is so Funny Because It's Painfully True

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
 

Spark: Carbs Are Bad! No, Wait! It's Eggs That Are the Enemy!
 

Here in my head, we have a saying: Another day, another diet fad. My inbox is regularly flooded with pitches about the latest and greatest in healthy eating, many claiming that this ingredient or that nutrient is to blame for years of obesity and health issues. Others swear by a regulated list of diet rules based on some vague research study or decades-old philosophy that—Hallelujah!—has been resurrected to save us from our worst snacking sins.

Posted 8/4/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 93 comments   14,502 views

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8 Low-Impact Barre Moves You Can Do Anywhere

If you've ever gotten out of bed the day after a workout, grimaced and thought to yourself, "I didn't even know I had a muscle there!" you're probably experiencing a post-barre-based class soreness. The trendy ballet-based workout that utilizes a barre for deeper muscle-burning moves continues to attract new devotees due to its body-transforming powers and hurts-so-good tiny, pulsing movements that leave your muscles feeling shaky yet strong. You've never felt isometric moves quite like these.
 
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, The Bar Method wants you to know it's different than the other barre-based classes out there. While the technique is also based on the Lotte Berk technique, The Bar Method was created with the help of physical therapists to accommodate and challenge students of all ages and body types, even those with physical limitations. "Every new exercise and/or variation is vetted according to high standards," Kiesha Ramey-Presner, a Bar Method master instructor and trainer, says. "The technique itself has evolved over many years to provide an even safer and more effective workout that includes modifications for a multitude of injuries and ailments."

Posted 7/18/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 63 comments   21,666 views

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A Rant Against Unrealistic Diet Expectations

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
 

Spark: No, I Really Don't Care What Cher Eats for Lunch
 

There's a trend that's been popping up all over the internet the last few months and, before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with using the weirdest item in your home to apply makeup. No, this trend is worse because it simplifies a complicated issue by trying to make us think, "Celebrities: they're just like me!" But, I mean, they're not.
 
As editor of SparkPeople, I make it my mission to stay on the up-and-up with the latest and greatest in health, fitness and nutrition. To keep up, I follow several outlets on social media. A few months ago, I started to notice this framework, over and over and over again: "What [Insert Popular Celebrity Who Probably Has a Bangin' Bod] Eats in a Day." A quick search and you can get an intimate look into the breakfast, lunch and dinner plates of everyone from Nicole Kidman, Shay Mitchell and Cher to Misty Copeland, Gigi Hadid and Wonder Woman herself. Also, the Queen. Oh, and the Kardashians, obviously.

Posted 7/7/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 91 comments   17,266 views

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50 Things to Consider Before Giving up on Your Goals

When you set out on your journey to self-betterment, what were your goals? Were you determined to fit in dreamy dress before December? Pushing toward becoming a Pilates pro? Fixated on flexing your fierce muscles four times a week? Maybe you were motivated to meal plan your way to health? Riled up by the idea of running a race posthaste?
 
Whatever goal drives you, there are bound to be days when you're just not feeling it. Between stress at work, shuttling kids back and forth between activities, getting dinner on the table, enjoying a happy hour, walking the dog and remembering to pick up the dry cleaning, daily life has a funny way of getting in the way of our goals and motivation no matter how determined we were at the start of the journey. On the days when the couch is calling your name or the thought of eating another kale chip makes you want to cry, even the most inspired vision board is futile. On those days, you'll be happy you bookmarked this list.

Posted 6/12/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 109 comments   43,046 views

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Start Summer With Socks, Santa and Squats With Schnauzers

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Spark: Santa! I Know Him!


 

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Whether you were a skeptic or a more-excited-than-Will-Ferrell-in-"Elf" believer, most of us fell for the world's greatest lie to some degree as children. Santa Claus was the man. He could do no wrong, he was a people pleaser and that magical giggle was enough to bring a smile to even the grumpiest of faces.

As kids, we believed in the impossible, the magical and the opportunity for greatness. Santa Claus was the epitome of this and as we aged and stopped believing, many of us lost that zest for the incredible and magical along the way. One of the unfortunate side effects of our transition from the gawky teenage years to the anxieties of adulthood and beyond is that we sometimes stop believing in our ability to do great things. When life comes at you hard and fast, or you've experienced one failure after another, or you simply feel like you're stuck in a rut that you can't climb your way out of, it's easy to think "Well, I'm just not worth it" or "I guess this is just the way things are now." It's what leads to overeating and complacency, weight gain and being sedentary.

Posted 6/2/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 53 comments   14,691 views

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Are Your Fears and Self-Criticisms Holding You Back?

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Spark: Little Ears are Listening


From a young age, it's an uncontested truth that mother knows best. While we don't do it often enough, every Mother's Day is a chance to reflect on all the ways the women who raised us regularly resembled superheroes in disguise. Whether it's them flying in out of nowhere to help you find that shirt that you swore was in your bottom drawer but is now lost and you absolutely must wear today; calming you down when you take the curlers out of your hair an hour before prom only to realize that there's a good chance your date might mistake you for a poodle; or talking you off the ledge the first year you do your taxes on your own, moms have this omniscient extrasensory perception that seems to give them advanced degrees in almost anything at a moment's notice.

As with any great power, this indubitable wisdom also comes with great responsibility. For moms who are struggling with their body image or weight, it's the offhand remarks that make just as permanent a mark as the intentional advice. "Well that cookie is going straight to my thighs." "I could never wear a shirt like that with these belly rolls." "I just wish I could lose my arm jiggle." "I love pasta but I always feel so guilty! Looks like I'll be skipping dinner tonight." Children especially are at risk of latching on to these self-deprecating sighs mumbled under your breath. Take this video featuring young girls repeating phrases they've heard their mother's say, for instance, and consider all the times you've verbalized a frustration with your own body.   

Posted 5/5/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 70 comments   19,222 views

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Regain Agility and Reduce Pain with the Alexander Technique

It happens quickly, seemingly overnight. You stand up after a decent night's sleep and suddenly there's a small, irritating pain in your low back and you can't for the life of you figure out how you would have tweaked it. A few months later, it's your knee and then your left shoulder and neck. Suddenly it's difficult to remember what it felt like to spring out of bed like some kind of superhero without the twinges of pain that cause you to cringe before the day even begins.
 
Yes, getting older can be a literal pain sometimes, but you can decrease your chances of aches running your life with some smart, targeted training. While many are familiar with the benefits of functional fitness training, Mary Derbyshire, author of the book "Agility at Any Age," endorses another kind of training to keep your body in tip-top shape no matter your age. The Alexander Technique is a mindfulness practice that focuses on how our daily habits negatively interfere with how our bodies were designed to move. Introduced to the technique as part of her acting and theater curriculum in college, Derbyshire later became a certified instructor after realizing that she was drawn to teaching and communicating with people.

Posted 4/26/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 82 comments   28,195 views

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Why You Should Embrace Humor and Your 'Thunder Thighs'

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Smile: A Love Letter to the Goofballs Who Play Baseball


I love baseball for a lot of really important reasons—the intensity of a pitcher's duel, the glory of a walk-off, the anxiety of a no-no in action, the excitement of Opening day, a well-executed double play, all-out diving catches in the outfield, the grace of an infielder flipping a ball behind his back or through the knees after a particularly epic sliding catch. My brothers play ball, I played softball, my family and I are aggressive Cincinnati Reds fans and, really, is there anything better than taking in a game on a cool summer night under the lights? I could go on and on.

Posted 4/7/2017  12:00:00 PM By: Alicia Capetillo : 56 comments   22,048 views

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The Case for Stuffing Your Sorry's in a Sack

Honestly, friends, last month got the best of me and I wasn't feeling 100 percent like myself. Between a few frantically busy weekends plus a bunch of appointments during the week, I failed to squeeze everything in and slowly started drifting away from my resolution to not be so late to every social engagement I make. I ended up apologizing left and right for a lot of things that were ultimately out of my control, which is perhaps why this post resonated with me as we move into this new month: 

Posted 3/3/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 16 comments   23,982 views

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The Fuel You Need to Go After Your Goals This February

While it might be St. Valentine who's on everyone's minds this month, I'm using February to realign myself with Team Me and you should, too. January is the month to get swept up in the excitement of change, but it's February where winners are truly made. Chances are you went into January with clear eyes, full hearts and we all know what that means. Now that it's been a month, you've probably hit some bumps along the road and some of that New Year sparkle might be starting to wear off. But this is the time to shine.

Posted 2/3/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 8 comments   17,496 views

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10 Functional & Flattering Black Leggings You Can Buy on Amazon

The black legging is to exercise as the little black dress is to wedding season: an essential wardrobe staple. Tall, short, small or large, the black legging is flattering on practically every body shape and it's functional to boot. With a lot of stretch in the fabric, cuts and seams that accentuate your curves and muscles, lengths that keep you warm or comfortable depending on the season and the ability to seamlessly transition from gym to grocery, the black legging boasts endless reasons why it's is an absolute must no matter what your training schedule requires.

Posted 1/20/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 23 comments   52,191 views

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Why I'll Never Be a Runner and That's Okay

In this industry, the phrase "new year, new you," tends to lose its pizazz right around September, after my inbox has been flooded for a month with PR pitches claiming their product—we swear!—is the one that's going to turn the common promise into a reality. The same tag has been used on this site, as well as countless other health, fitness and wellness websites, and for good reason—it's promising, catchy, optimistic, all the ingredients you need to inspire daydreams about New Year's resolutions.

Posted 1/6/2017  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 36 comments   28,754 views

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