Motivation Articles

Guilty Pleasures of the SparkPeople Coaches

What You Can Learn from Your Coaches

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Think that working as a fitness or nutrition expert is about being perfect? Think again! SparkPeople recommends a balanced lifestyle that includes moderation when it comes to food and exercise. Our experts live this way too. Don't believe us? Read about the SparkPeople experts' guilty pleasures!

The Experts
Dean Anderson: Psychology and Fitness Expert
Chris Downie: Goal and Achievement Expert
Becky Hand: M.Ed., Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Tanya Jolliffe: Healthy Eating Expert
Jen Mueller: Certified Personal Trainer
Nicole Nichols: Certified Fitness Instructor

How many days per week do you rest from working out completely?
Dean: I don’t really have a schedule. If I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t. It seems to work out to about one day off per week, on average.

Chris: Zero. I only do no physical activity if I'm really sick. BUT, I do highly recommend having light days where you do very mild activity. My program is based on doing simple things at home that are ingrained into my daily routine, like bouncing on a trampoline in the morning sun to wake up, or stretching at night under the stars to relax. Then, many days I'll also do full workouts, but some I won't.

Becky: I prefer to rest only 1-2 days, but sometimes up to 3 or even 4 days during those crazy weeks when too many activities are scheduled.

Tanya: Usually 2 days. If I have been good and fit all my workouts in during the week, I take the weekend to relax with family and friends.

Jen: I take at least one day of rest from all activity, and then if I need it, I'll have another 1-2 days per week where I do something lighter to give my body extra time to rest.

Nicole: Always 1 or 2 days. Sometimes more!

How often do you take a break from consistently exercising?
Dean: I don’t worry about exercise when I’m traveling or during special occasions. This year, I spent 5 days in Idaho for one kid’s wedding, and another week in California visiting my granddaughter—didn’t lift a finger the whole time.

Chris: Never. But when I am busy at work, I will have more light days where I just do enough to maintain my foundation and enough for regular stress relief.

Becky: Summer seems to be my downtime from my regular exercising routine—kids are home from school, various activities (sports, vacations, fair, trips) are scheduled—exercise just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list. My intensity and duration are often shorter.

Tanya: It depends on the year. Sometimes I rest for a few weeks throughout the year after races (half marathons, 10K's, mini-marathons); other times I rest a few months if I am really burned out and need to refocus.

Jen: I've never really taken a break completely. Usually I'll have periods of time where I don't do as much (in between training for different running events), but I'm pretty active on a regular basis.

Nicole: As a fitness instructor, I don't get a break from exercise as much as I'd like. Ideally, I take a week-long break from exercise 2-4 times per year just to rest.
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Member Comments

  • I really needed to find and read this article today. I am eating healthy and being active but not taking the time to track everything or enter my goals done on SP every day now that summer is here and I am more focused on spending all my days outside instead of on the computer. I needed to read that even experts at fitness and wellness have weaknesses and times when they allow themselves to be flexible with their choices. Reading this article helped me to dump my guilt trip little inner voice that has been nagging me because I haven't been completely contentious or consistent in my SP program entries. - 5/23/2014 2:49:38 PM
  • I loved this! It was perfect to see them give thier answers and to give me inspiration to be better and it really is ok to have a litte of what i love - 12/26/2013 1:45:37 PM
  • For me, getting plenty of rest and sleep is a necessity for good health. There's nothing "guilty" about it. - 7/1/2012 12:21:06 PM
  • Great article!! Now I don't feel so bad when I have my favorite guilty-pleasure pizza. All in moderation. - 6/20/2012 11:57:42 AM

    Thanks Dean, Chris, Becky, Tanya, Jen, and Nicole! It's so nice to know we're being led-inspired-taug
    ached by real human beings that admit to the same temptations we all face daily. Good questions, great answers and wonderful insight into the whole lifestyle thing! Life is a journey, life is choices, life is a challenge but most of all life is a gift from God. Make each day count and enjoy the trip! - 6/20/2012 11:00:47 AM
  • This was a great article and really resonated with me- especially the part about how even after eating healthy dark chocolate still tastes good, versus sugary sodas that just don't. - 4/11/2012 8:46:54 AM
  • Great Article. I loved it! - 3/31/2012 10:45:19 AM
  • The guilty pleasures ARE essential. The first time I did weight watchers I NEVER cheated. But then came the really stressful event, and I ate an ENTIRE sheet cake. Sad. It even had ugly green frosting (my sister was experimenting). Nasty. I even hate cake! But I indulge in the things I REALLY like now, and it helps stay on track. - 4/6/2011 3:16:35 PM
  • Thanks for the honesty! I am more willing to listen to someone's teachings when I know they aren't any more perfect that I am and have no problem admitting it! Great article! - 3/20/2010 10:33:06 PM
  • The new members need to read this article. It helped me re: snacks, chocolate, etc. I'd make this required reading as so many posts from new members mention eating too much of their favorite foods. It's opened my eyes and I won't feel guilty when I indulge. But we won't count the nearly whole bag of Doritos I ate while in Walmart when I went to buy an ink cartridge. Now why do they put Doritos in the computer/tech department? For folks like me. - 3/20/2010 4:40:18 PM
  • This was a fun read, made everyone so real! Thanks for being honest! - 3/20/2010 1:08:35 PM
    I needed to read this today. Thanks, Coaches! - 12/17/2009 2:14:52 PM
    Margemac: I thought the article was great, I'm just getting started and trying to find my way - 7/26/2009 11:02:48 AM
    This was a great article. It just enforces my "new" way of looking at weight loss. Moderation when it comes to food and nothing is off limits. Rest from exercise when you feel like your body needs it. Also, take one day off a week just to enjoy being, whether that is with family, or just for yourself. And by all means Dean, I agree, have a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup now and then! Especially around Christmas or Easter. They seem to be better than. *smile*

    ~Kat~ - 4/7/2009 1:40:41 PM
  • Ahhh I really enjoyed this article. I think when you're trying to lose weight, you tend to like give up ALL bad foods, and then when you get your hands of them, BHAM, it's like a natural disaster.... IT's nice to know that Coach Nicole has a sweet tooth and she indulge but not over do it. And It's good to know that hey even at her level, she lets her body rest at least once a week... I think a lot of ppl, myself included, tend to be all gung ho to begin with, and then deflate by the end of the week.. THANKS FOR MAKING MY DAY! :) - 1/24/2009 7:12:07 PM

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