COACH_NICOLE's SparkPeople Blog COACH_NICOLE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Winner Winner Chicken Dinner + Final Days of Sale + Fun Fitness Challenge <img src=""> <BR> WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! WE DID IT! I'm so excited because this morning I found out that my <a href="" target="_blank">SparkPeople: Total Body Sculpting</a> DVD took the top honor in the <a href="" target="_... Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:26:29 EST Streaking In the Rain <img src=""> <BR> <BR> On <a href="" target="_blank">my Facebook page</a> , I started a little goal for myself (and my followers) to complete 31 workouts this month. I'm still going strong and on track to reach that goal and a lot of people have joined in the challenge, too! WooHOO! <BR> <BR> Today I completed my Day 20 workout. It didn't turn out the way I expected it would, as seen in <a href="htt... Thu, 20 Dec 2012 14:09:46 EST Further Proof The first step to recoverly... <BR> <BR> is admitting you have a problem. <BR> <BR> For context, you have to have watched my blog from earlier this week first: <BR> <link><BR>blic_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=51<BR>36673 </link> Sun, 18 Nov 2012 08:38:46 EST Here's the PROOF Everyone at SparkPeople is hard at work creating new videos for our SparkCoach feature (if you haven't check it out yet, go now: <BR> <BR> I usually pride myself on getting things RIGHT on the first take. But there are definitely exceptions to that. I'm human! Things don't always go perfectly, I know. <BR> <BR> Today I received an email from our video editor titled "PROOF". I had no idea what it was, but I clicked on it to see...this. Which is, apparently, exactly what... Thu, 15 Nov 2012 18:53:38 EST Coach Nicole's SELF Magazine Debut--on Newsstands Now! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Good morning, SparkPeople! <BR> <BR> I'm writing to share a fun and exciting update today. You may have seen this mentioned on SparkPeople or <a href="" target="_blank">my Facebook page</a> already, but in case you haven't, here's the big news! <BR> <BR> I designed a workout for SELF magazine that's on newsstands now (the September issue). It features a kick-butt cardio plan... Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:29:44 EST Spring Fun, DVD Sale, May Workout Challenge & More! Hi everyone! <BR> <BR> I hope you're having a great spring so far. I know I am! I've been biking to work once a week (loving it), working out with kettlebells pretty regulalry, and studying for my 4-years-in-the-making Pilates certification, too. Whew! I also just auditioned (with hubs) to be on the next season of my FAVE CBS show "The Amazing Race." (Time will tell on that one!) Things are busy as usual in SparkPeople land! And there are SO MANY MORE wonderful and exciting projects I'm work... Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:52:03 EST Only a Handful of Spots Left in My LIVE Online Class Tomorrow! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Greetings, SparkPeople! <BR> <BR> I hope you are all having a great 2012 so far. I know I am! We're getting lots of wonderful feedback about the new 28 Day Boot Camp DVD, and I hear from member everyday who are having a blast in SparkPeople's January Jumpstart Challenge. Keep it up! <BR> <BR> I wanted to write quickly to let you know about the SparkPeople LIVE! class I'm leading tomorrow at 8 p.m. EST. I'll be co... Wed, 25 Jan 2012 11:40:06 EST The Best Kept Beauty Secret <img src=""> <BR> <i>Photo by Kate Messer</i> <BR> <BR> Hi SparkPeople! <BR> <BR> I just wanted to share with you a cool little story I was recently involved in locally for the Cincinnati-based women's website Every year, people nominate women in the city who are doing amazing things in many categories from health to savings to fashion and career. This year, I was nominated for and selected as one of the "Women Of The Yea... Tue, 27 Dec 2011 10:22:12 EST Coach Nicole in Chicago Nov. 6: Free DVDs & Fabulous Prizes! Hi everyone! <BR> <BR> I am super excited about an upcoming event I'll be doing for SparkPeople on Sunday, Nov. 6 in the Chicago area. We've partnered with Best Buy to help promote an interesting new store concept that sells tons of really cool fitness and health gadgets. I'll be at the event demonstrating MY favorite gadgets (things I actually use and swear by!) and giving away advanced copies of my new DVD. I'm pasting the event details below. I really hope that everyone in the area can ma... Wed, 26 Oct 2011 15:19:18 EST A Happy Announcement and a Thank You In my last blog I shamelessly asked for your vote in a couple of contests I had entered. So I wanted to take a moment to let you know about the outcome of those contests. <BR> <BR> First, thanks to your votes, I was a Grand Prize winner in the profile contest, which landed my a spot on a Times Square billboard. Last weekend, I flew to NYC with my family to check out the billboard. It is larger than life! And it is Spreading the Spark far and wide. Here are a couple photos of my port... Mon, 17 Oct 2011 10:53:41 EST Please help me reach my latest goals! Greetings, SparkFriends! <BR> <BR> As you can see from my photo gallery, my latest DVD is packaged and ready to hit stores this December (more info coming soon). I am super excited for this release, and doing everything I can to bring safe, fun and effective workouts not only to members like you, but to the world! As part of that, I'm pleased to report that I am a finalist in two BIG contests that will help us Spread the Spark even further--just in time as we gear up for our ... Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:44:47 EST Find my blogs at! In case you haven't heard, SparkPeople has launched a brand new blog-style website called <a href="" target="_blank"><b></b></a> . Instead of adding new blog entries here on my SparkPage, I'll be blogging there from now on, along with our other Coaches and experts! <BR> <BR> To learn more about what the dailySpark is all about, <a href=>check out this article</a> for a full explanati... Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:35:00 EST Watch Your Body's Cues to Improve Your Posture Your body is pretty smart, you know? It tells you when you're hungry, when something hurts, and when it needs sleep. But it also points out your muscular imbalances. Everyone has them, even the most fit people—weak areas, tight muscles, and poor range of motion during certain movements. In fact, when you exercise (or even just when you move), your body gives you cues to what's going on. <BR> <BR> Here's an example of an all-too-common problem: poor posture. <BR> <BR> If slouching or round... Fri, 8 Aug 2008 11:49:31 EST Obesity Epidemic Continues to Grow: Who's to Blame? I read <a href=>this news story</a> in the Health News section of SparkPeople this morning. One-quarter of Americans report being obese—that's not just overweight (which would push the number even higher). It's obese (a BMI of 30 of higher, which equates to a 5'9" adult weighing 203 pounds or more). <BR> <BR> When I was in college studying fitness and health education, I remember learning about the government's pl... Wed, 23 Jul 2008 10:10:50 EST Cook Like Me: My 7 Favorite Cookbooks When you want to eat healthy for life, learning how to cook is essential. Choosing healthy, whole ingredients and using healthy cooking methods is one of the best and easiest ways to ensure that what you're eating is good for you (and isn't just masquerading as healthy at the store or from a restaurant). One of the easiest ways to start learning your way around the kitchen is to try out a new cookbook. <BR> <BR> It's no secret that I'm a long-time vegetarian, so all of my favorite cookbooks... Fri, 18 Jul 2008 10:46:34 EST What's for Dinner: Easy Vegetable Rice Pilaf <BR> While <a href=>I love cooking healthy foods from scratch</a> , I prefer simple one-pot meals. I recently concocted a delicious dish that I think is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds. <BR> <BR> I ran across a "Harvest Pilaf" blend in the bulk bins at Whole Foods the other day. It looked so good and colorful, and the price was right (about $2.50 per pound). The blend of dried rice and legumes... Fri, 11 Jul 2008 17:19:19 EST Corn Syrup: The New Health Food? <br>Check out the image above. It's an ad I came across in an email newsletter I received recently—from another health website, no less! Think about what it's trying to say and why. Who would want to PROMOTE the use of corn syrup to consumers? I think it's obvious who would benefit—the makers of corn syrup and the companies who use the cheap, unhealthy sweetener in their food products. I clicked on the ad only to prove my hunch right, and it took me to a website that would look very pretty an... Wed, 25 Jun 2008 12:17:59 EST Love Yourself More Than Anyone Else Even though I'm not a fan of country music, I've always been a fan of Jewel. This new song off of her first country album really speaks to me. In fact, the first time I heard it, it gave me goose bumps! These lyrics are good for anyone to hear, as a reminder to love yourself, no matter how far you might be from your own weight loss goal or ideal body. <BR> <BR> <b>Jewel: Stronger Woman</b> <BR> Here's a link if the video isn't displaying for you: <link><B... Tue, 17 Jun 2008 14:20:43 EST I <strike>Can't</strike> Can Do Pushups! I have something embarrassing to share. Let me preface this by saying that when you're a fitness professional, especially an "expert," people expect certain things from you. They expect you to be super-fit for one, but I busted that myth in an entry a while back (see <a href=> I Don't Have a 6 Pack</a> ). They expect you to be strong and to be able to do certain athletic endeavors that others simply cannot. After ... Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:19:30 EST Sidewalk + Running = Wipe Out It happens to the best of us! I was out for my evening run a couple nights ago, happily running along a residential street, jamming to my favorite new Coldplay song ("Viva la Vida" if you haven't heard it yet) and next thing I know, I'm on the ground. Big ouch! I scraped up the palms of my hands, an elbow, and the side of one knee, but nothing was bruised as much as my ego. <BR> <BR> But in all seriousness, it really wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it might be. (Luckily this was not a bu... Thu, 12 Jun 2008 17:19:25 EST Cook Like Me: Recipe Organization I'm a highly organized person. I love calendars and spreadsheets and file folders (and my SparkPeople co-workers can attest to that!). Needless to say, all of this organization comes in handy when you're busy and trying to fit in healthy habits, like cooking and exercising. I love cooking all kinds of foods from scratch and that sure takes a lot of time. So every small thing I can do to stay organized and make healthy cooking easier is a plus. One of thing that helps me is my "Recipe Door" (... Wed, 4 Jun 2008 13:42:11 EST Nobody's Perfect...So What? <br><br> <BR> <link><BR>R4 </link> <BR> <BR> I just wanted to share this video that DENISE_SP shared with me a couple weeks ago. It's from the Dove Real Beauty campaign, which I like in some ways for its compelling videos and advertisements. But I can't help but see the hypocrisy of a beauty company telling women that they shouldn't listen to the messages and agenda of the beauty industry. But keeping that aside, their messages really get people thinkin... Wed, 14 May 2008 12:43:42 EST I Learned to Like Vegetables (and You Can Too) When I became a vegetarian, I could have probably counted the number of fruits and vegetables that had crossed my lips the previous 18 years on two hands. <BR> <BR> But things are different these days, and veggies are the highlight of my lunches and dinners. But it wasn't always that way. Like most people, I hated all things green and healthy. <BR> <BR> I see questions about this on the boards a lot—people calling themselves picky eaters, saying they don't like a single vegetable out ther... Thu, 8 May 2008 14:02:50 EST 7 Things to Consider Before You Buy another Fitness DVD If you’re like me, you probably have a thing for workout DVDs (and if you’re old school like me, the VHS videos too). Working out with fitness videos can be a nice way to add variety to your routine, try new types of exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and fit in a workout at home when you’re short on time or trying to avoid bad weather. <BR> <BR> Over the years, I’ve amassed quite the collection: yoga, Pilates, cardio dance, jump rope, step aerobics, kickboxing and more.... Tue, 22 Apr 2008 10:52:37 EST Take the “work” out of working out My boyfriend was telling me a story recently. A small group of his company’s European investors were visiting the states for some meetings. The investors specifically requested a hotel that was one-hour walking distance away from the conference center where their meetings were taking place. <BR> <BR> When they talked to the concierge to get directions to the conference center he said, "You can't walk there! It's at least an hour away!" <BR> <BR> Well, that was the whole point of course. T... Tue, 8 Apr 2008 17:05:53 EST Eat Like Me: Sprouted Grain Bread I’ve often seen people on the message boards talking about how they’re looking for healthy breads, but have a hard time picking the right thing. Look at the bread aisle in any grocery store, and it’s no wonder. There are seemingly endless choices: Whole grain, multigrain, seven grain, whole wheat, white wheat (what is that?!), honey wheat, wheat… <BR> <BR> The bread aisle (like most others in the grocery) looks like an explosion of marketing ideas and tricks! You’ll find all kinds of buzz wo... Tue, 1 Apr 2008 10:31:37 EST I don't have a 6 pack Last week, I was leading a group of my SparkPeople co-workers through a 10-minute core workout. Since I teach fitness classes (including Pilates) regularly, most of the exercises we do as a group are pretty easy for me since I’m used to doing them (and usually for much longer than 10 minutes). But they’re new and challenging for the group, who like to complain about their soreness during the workout (and the day afterwards). <BR> <BR> Anyway, the next day my co-worker Rachel, after tellin... Fri, 21 Mar 2008 10:16:17 EST Spotlight on Spinning I took a Spinning class for the first time after I moved away to college. Although I was active in sports throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to stay strong and in fit, and now it was up to me to do that on my own. I didn't know anything about Spinning or what to expect (I'd never taken a fitness class at all), but I had heard the stories—that it burns serious calories and it'll kick your butt. I was game. <BR> <BR> I took classes a few times per week and enjoyed it most of the tim... Tue, 18 Mar 2008 10:25:11 EST 5 Ways to Save Money on Healthy Groceries Like most people, I’m on a budget. But buying healthy, high-quality food is a high priority for me. It’s such a high priority in fact that I’m willing to spend less money on things I deem unimportant (like clothes and other consumer goods) and more money on food. After all, you literally are what you eat! <BR> <BR> The average American spends less than 10% of their income on food. In fact, we spend less money on food than the majority of the planet, and even less than our parents and grandpa... Tue, 4 Mar 2008 17:30:26 EST Coach Nicole's Favorites: BOSU Squat with Overhead Press Hey everyone- <BR> After a bit of a hiatus (thanks to jury duty!) I'm back and hope to update my blog more regularly again. <BR> <BR> Anyway, I created a series of videos that we're currently adding to the site that each spotlight one of my favorite exercises. I thought I'd share one of those videos with you here. <BR> <BR> This exercise is a great way to work many muscle groups at once, saving you time in the gym. It's called a BOSU squat with an overhead press. It works your lower body, c... Wed, 27 Feb 2008 14:00:22 EST 60-Minute Pop Playlist & Cardio Workout I’ve gotten a few more requests for workout music ideas, so I’m going to share another one of my workout playlists. In case you missed it, <a href="" target="_blank">click here for my 60-Minute Rockin’ Playlist & Cardio Workout</a> . <BR> <BR> While this is one of the many playlists I use when teaching my Spinning classes, you don’t have to ride a bike to use it. Below I give a general idea of how to match your mo... Thu, 7 Feb 2008 09:36:35 EST The 8 Habits of Fit People I recently saw an article talking about the "10 habits of fit people." Sounds interesting, right? Well, some of them were okay, but it's a lot of the same things you hear all the time. Who needs to hear more about "making lasting lifestyle changes," or to "exercise in the morning"? Well, maybe some of us do. But it got me thinking—what are <i>my</i> habits for keeping fit and staying healthy? Here's a quick list that I came up with. <BR> <BR> <b>Mark your calendar. </b> One thing that ke... Wed, 30 Jan 2008 09:13:08 EST DVD Review: Jamie King's Rock Your Body Way back in the day, I used to not only be a dancer, but I used to think that I'd be a professional dancer—it was my dream as a young girl to be on Broadway. But things got in the way, as they often do, and other things took priority in my life—school work, competitive athletics, and social activities throughout my teens meant that dancing lessons and performances hit the back burner. But my love of dancing in general has never waned! <BR> <BR> I recently heard about a fairly recent workout... Wed, 16 Jan 2008 16:01:00 EST Stuff I Love: For Pilates Pilates is a staple of my workout program. I teach Pilates 3 times per week, and I really enjoy it. Don't get me wrong—I'm the type of exerciser who really loves a challenge. And I think that is why Pilates appeals to me so much. Sure, it's a gentler form of exercise, and you aren't meant to work to "exhaustion" during Pilates, but its mind-body components, along with its slower, more controlled pace appeals to me. It's all about precision—executing moves with control, grace and perfection. ... Fri, 4 Jan 2008 12:00:54 EST Healthy & Green Gift Ideas Here are a few gift ideas—things that I love and some that are on my own wish list—that are perfect for the health- and environmentally-conscious people in your life. Isn't that just about everyone these days? ;-) <BR> <BR> <b>CARDS</b> <BR> <img width="200" alt="" src="" /> <BR> These <a href="" target="_blan... Fri, 7 Dec 2007 10:33:29 EST A New Way to Give During the Holidays I'm not much of a Christmas or holiday person. In general, I choose to live a life of simplicity—one that isn't cluttered with excessive "stuff" just for the sake of having things, and one that doesn’t spend money just because money is available to spend. When it comes to holidays, I'm not usually one to give gifts—not to my family, parents, siblings, co-workers or friends. It's not that I don't care about these people—of course I do. It's just that I personally don't buy into the idea that... Thu, 6 Dec 2007 14:22:19 EST Thanksgiving Wrap Up As I mention in an earlier blog post, <a href="" target="_blank">I was in charge of cooking and hosting Thanksgiving</a> this year—for the first time ever. I had lofty plans to include locally-grown foods, organics, and make a fully vegetarian feast. When I got back to the office on Monday, everyone was asking about it. It made me wonder if people didn't expect it to go well. Maybe they were just curious. <BR> <BR... Wed, 28 Nov 2007 09:15:53 EST 60-Minute Rockin' Playlist & Cardio Workout! Music goes a long way with motivating me (and most others) to work out. I can't imagine running, teaching Spinning class or even lifting weights without some good tunes to keep my mood and energy levels high. <BR> <BR> When I teach classes, music takes center stage—especially in Spinning. I take a lot of time to create a good playlist and craft a class that follows the speed, beat and mood of the music itself. Most classes I've been to don't do this—and I think that's a disservice to the stu... Fri, 16 Nov 2007 09:40:01 EST My Thanksgiving Feast I am hosting 8 people at my new house this year for Thanksgiving! I'm really excited about this. For one, I'm cooking a 100% vegetarian and organic meal. And two, I've always wanted to chance to do this around the holidays—something I've never done before. <BR> <BR> Whenever I go home for the holidays, there are little to no options for me because I'm a vegetarian and picky eater when it comes to food. I want to eat healthy, wholesome foods every day and holidays are no exception. My bod... Mon, 12 Nov 2007 15:08:45 EST Stuff I Love: For Spinning Spinning classes are my main form of cardio exercise. I teach three Spinning classes each week (and sometimes take one as a student), and I have always loved it. It's been the best form of cardio exercise I've ever done--even as I continue to get more conditioned, Spinning changes along with me since I have total control over how hard I'm working. I also like that it's lower-impact, so the chance of joint injury from impact or repetitive movement is smaller too, and that keeps me in the game... Thu, 8 Nov 2007 09:46:27 EST Granola Bars: A Halloween Hit! Yesterday I taught a Halloween playlist in my Spinning class...yes, it was as corny as you can imagine, but we had fun with it. Instead of junky treats, I made my "famous" (haha) Granola Bars to give out, and they were definitely a hit. (You can find the recipe in both my CookBook and my Shared Recipes on my SparkPage.) <BR> <BR> After making these 100% organic and ultra-healthy granola bars weekly for several months now, I feel that I've definitely perfected my technique and flavor combos... Thu, 1 Nov 2007 15:39:04 EST Yesterday's Workout: Pilates + More So yesterday I did something that is out of the ordinary for me. I attended a Pilates class as a student (not an instructor) for the first time in years! It was a 35-minute Mat Pilates Express class. I went to see if I could get some new exercise ideas for my own classes--but plus, I wanted to do something that wouldn't totally aggrivate a minor knee injury I've been nursing for the last week. <BR> <BR> Anyway, the class was okay. The instructor not that great (another of many instructors I... Wed, 31 Oct 2007 13:09:01 EST Yesterday's Workout Disaster! So yesterday I taught my usual Wednesday night classes—Hard Core Pilates and Spinning. Pilates went just fine—I did a stability ball class, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Spinning on the other hand…didn't go so well. <BR> <BR> I should probably preface this by saying that I used to, very regularly, have nightmares about teaching fitness classes. In these dreams, everything imaginable would go wrong—I'd sleep in and be 30 minutes late for a Saturday class; the stereo wouldn't work; I'd forg... Thu, 25 Oct 2007 09:25:25 EST Subscribe to My Blog! Ever wonder what the health experts eat and how much they exercise? Do you feel that they've got it easier than other people? Do you wonder how they manage to make healthy choices most of the time while other seem to struggle? Well now you can find out. <BR> <BR> I've decided to start blogging more regularly--at least a few times a week. I plan to give information about what I do to workout, my favorite workout playlists and songs, stuff that I love (products, DVDs, etc.), fitness ideas, ... Wed, 24 Oct 2007 11:17:09 EST Helpful books for People with Eating Disorders Here is a list of books that I highly recommend to our members who are struggling to overcome disorderd eating behaviors, poor body image, and obsessions with food and weight: <BR> <BR> 1. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. <BR> <BR> 2. Hunger Pains: The Modern Woman's Tragic Quest for Thinness by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. <BR> <BR> 3. (This is my top recommendation!) Intuitive Eating; A Recovery Book for the Chronic Dieter; Rediscover the Pleasures of E... Tue, 14 Nov 2006 11:17:30 EST