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SparkPeople Radio Is Taking a Pause


Good morning everyone! I hope today is a lovely spring day in your region!
 
We wanted to give our members a quick SparkPeople Radio update. We launched SparkPeople Radio about a year and a half ago as a fun experiment—a new way to Spread the Spark and reach both our members and a new audience with the SparkPeople message. We've had some great hosts along the way—Lily, Karen and most recently, Bettina, as well as some awesome guests, from your coaches or inspiring members to outside health and fitness experts from around the country.
Posted 4/16/2014  1:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 8 comments   704 views
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Exclusive HSN Deal: Save $15 on a SparkPeople Fitness Bundle!


Update 4/16/14
We are happy to extend this exclusive HSN deal with our members while supplies last! Even if you weren't able to tune in to the live shows, you can still take advantage of this special limited time offer. You'll get the Spark Activity Tracker plus Coach Nicole's 'Total Body Sculpting' DVD together for one low price--a savings of $15! Get this deal online at HSN's website while inventory lasts!

Update (4/10/14, 12:45 p.m.)
Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch me on HSN! Because live TV programming is subject to change, we wanted to let you know right away about a scheduling change. The planned 4 p.m. segment will not be airing today. We apologize for the inconvenience. (P.S. If you missed the special on-air announcement I alluded to in this original blog post, click here for the news!)

Original Story
Hey everyone!

I'm very excited to announce that I will be appearing on HSN this Thursday, April 10! This is going to be a big milestone for SparkPeople—a chance for us to get in front of many new potential members. And it's also a great opportunity for you, as we are offering an exclusive deal on a fitness bundle that you won't want to miss!
Posted 4/7/2014  11:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 12 comments   9,522 views
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SparkPeople's Diet & Fitness Tracker App: Now Free At Last!


UPDATE: It's here!

After months of teamwork, SparkPeople is thrilled to offer you an improved version of our popular Diet & Fitness Tracker app (now renamed Calorie Counter & Weight Loss App)--for FREE. Our mission has always been to SPARK millions of PEOPLE to reach their goals and lead healthier lives, and we believe that offering our best food and fitness tracking tools in a free app will help more people than ever before.
 
As of today, our app is free for all Apple (iPhone and iPad) and Android users. You can download the app using the links below (or search for "SparkPeople" in your mobile phone's app store). And to sweeten the deal even more, you'll get 250 SparkPoints just for downloading the app! 
Posted 3/26/2014  3:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 45 comments   10,873 views
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The New No-Excuses Way to Work Out


There are a lot of excuses—or hurdles if you will—that get in the way of our intentions to work out. Not enough time. Not enough money. Fear of being judged by others. Not having easy or affordable access to equipment or a gym. Not enough options that fit your schedule. Traveling all the time.  Not knowing what to do on your own. Not having childcare. Bad weather.
 
Most of us have dealt with a number of these hurdles more than once in our lifetime. The truth is that working out is hard. All of these things are barriers that make it even more difficult to get and stay fit.
 
But there are a lot of amazing innovations that are bringing fitness to more people in ways that help you jump many of the hurdles above. One of my favorites recently launched. And while it sounds too good to be true that this one solution is affordable, accessible, flexible, easy to follow—and can help you get fit anywhere on your own time—it's true.
Posted 3/24/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 6 comments   13,133 views
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Introducing SparkPeople 'Friend Feed' Enhancements


Good morning, SparkPeople!

We've been hard at work revamping some of your favorite SparkPeople features to make them more fun and useful. Today we are happy to announce an update to your Friend Feed.
Posted 2/12/2014  11:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 51 comments   5,637 views
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Nutrition Tracking: New Recent Foods Tab


If you use the Nutrition Tracker regularly, you probably already know that you can save foods you eat frequently to your "Favorites" list. This makes it much faster to add foods to your tracker every day. But now it's even easier to keep track of what you eat most often.

The new "Recent" tab on the Food Tracker automatically generates a handy list of all the foods you've recently tracked so you can add them in an instant. Since so many people eat the same foods day to day, this is another option for making it easier and faster to track your calories and nutrition.
Posted 1/20/2014  4:00:00 PM By: Megan Patrick : 18 comments   3,694 views
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Get Your Daily Dose of Motivation from the DailySpark!


Good afternoon!

At SparkPeople, we are committed to helping our members and readers reach their goals in health and fitness—and in life. We know how hard it can be to stay motivated—especially with so many negative stories spreading around these days.
 
This is why we are particularly excited about launching the new feature that launched today: DailySpark. DailySpark features uplifting, positive and inspiring stories and videos from around the web, curated by our editors and experts. It's something you can look at each day for just a few minutes to reset your outlook and your motivation. Here are a few of my favorite DailySpark videos at the moment:
Posted 1/17/2014  4:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 7 comments   10,216 views
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BIG News: SparkPeople Workout DVD Now at Walmart!


I'm excited to share some news that we've been keeping under wraps for months: This January, Walmart stores across the country are stocking SparkPeople's critically acclaimed 28 Day Boot Camp workout DVD at an everyday low price! You'll find it in the fitness section of the store (not with other media and DVDs). This is a major highlight for me personally, and another great milestone for SparkPeople since so many more people will be exposed to our healthy and sane approach to fitness and weight loss thanks to this. To celebrate, we're offering a great deal to people who purchase the DVD at a Walmart store!
Posted 1/6/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 45 comments   16,005 views
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Announcing the Launch of SparkAmerica!


Update 12/17/13 2 p.m.: Check out this Washington Post story about SparkAmerica, featuring an interview with Chris Downie!

Hello, SparkPeople members!
 
I’m here to share with you the launch of our SparkAmerica campaign.  This is one of my favorite projects we’ve ever launched, so I took some time to try my best to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re trying to do with this campaign. I'd love to hear any feedback or questions in the comments on this post!
 
Setting the Stage: How to Think about SparkAmerica
First, I want to set the stage for how you can think about this project.  As you know, we like having different types of challenges on the site as a way to motivate members to reach their goals.  Examples of challenges can include:  eating more fruits and veggies, submitting a crockpot recipe to win a prize, learning a new exercise, and many more.
 
This emphasis on challenges fits well with the underlying SparkPeople brand and program that integrates these two areas:
  1. The best of all areas of health and fitness
  2. The best of behavior change – including goal-setting,  motivation, leadership, fun, and more
We have seen that the integration of these two main areas has been key to our success in helping to transform the lives of tens of thousands of people over the past decade – where challenges are a great way to emphasize setting goals, getting motivated, having fun, showing leadership, and more.
 
As you read about SparkAmerica below, just keep in your mind that SparkAmerica is really just a giant challenge we’re building into the site in several fun ways.  In fact, when I tell the full history of SparkAmerica, I love sharing how this concept originated from a small challenge started by members in the SparkPeople community!
 
What Is SparkAmerica?
Now that you understand that SparkAmerica is simply a new type of challenge on the site, I want to share that we think this challenge could become so BIG that it grows into a national and international grassroots movement that is led by SparkPeople members!
 
Here’s how we are describing SparkAmerica to many large partners coming on board:
SparkAmerica: A National Movement to Spark America’s Health and Health Leadership
"We are bold enough to believe we can change America, but humble enough to know we need help—continued help from our many millions of visitors...and
help from visionary leaders and organizations across America."

–Chris Downie, Founder, SparkPeople
We’ve all seen the statistics: 68% of Americans are overweight or obese. 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Only 22% of us report regular physical activity. $495 billion in lost economic productivity due to health-related issues per year.
 
At SparkPeople, we believe our nation’s health problems are just as much a leadership issue as a health issue. By looking at the situation from this perspective, we have developed an innovative solution that has never been done before.
 
SparkAmerica is a campaign championed by SparkPeople and our 15 million members that aims to improve the health of all Americans in a sustainable way.
**
One of the big points of this language builds on what I mentioned earlier: that the underlying SparkPeople program integrates the best of health and fitness with the best of goal-setting, motivation, leadership, and more.  In other words, SparkPeople + our amazing members may truly be ideally suited to lead this movement!
 
We’ve been incredibly excited that many visionary leaders and organizations are signing on to be partners with SparkAmerica in some way.  I’ll be sharing more about this with you soon.
 
But, I’ll let you in on a secret.  I strongly believe that our most important partner in this campaign is YOU and every other current and future SparkPeople member.  After watching so many people transform their lives on the site over the past decade, I KNOW that individuals working together are the real key to building a grassroots movement.  And I know that with many of the new features and programs we’re launching as part of SparkAmerica that we now have the right formula to bring this all to life right now in a way that will help motivate you to reach your goals, possibly help the people most important to you (your friends, family, co-workers, and social network). And then, if we have enough individuals working together on this, that is what really could make an impact on one community at a time, scaling up to cities, states, many other countries, and the world.
 
Read on to see how we’ll make this happen...
 
What Programs Are Included in SparkAmerica?
As you know, we love SparkPoints!  We originally developed this rewards program because we want it to be fun and motivational for people to take one small step at a time to reach their goals—and ultimately reach goals you may have never thought possible.

1. The comprehensive SparkPeople weight-loss and fitness program
One of the best parts about this new SparkAmerica campaign is that the most basic thing you need to do to participate is to just take one step at a time to reach your goals on the site.  We will then take your SparkPoints and fitness minutes you earn as part of reaching your goals and do something very fun and exciting with those points and fitness minutes that I’ll describe in the next section.

2. The 60-Second Daily Check-In
A new program we are launching along with SparkAmerica is something we’re calling the 60-Second Daily Check-In. Here is the thinking behind that option:  Whenever we get together with SparkPeople members in person, they tell us that they share the site with all of their friends.  They say that many of their friends will tell them that SparkPeople is great and they become SparkFriends.  But, they also say that some of their friends aren’t looking to participate in a comprehensive program like SparkPeople. So, for a long time, we’ve wanted to strip out the best of what we offer (tracking tools; articles & videos from experts; and our supportive online community) and build a very simple program that anyone can use to reach their goals—even if they don’t want to track their foods or lose weight, for example. This program is essentially a slightly modified version of the SparkPeople.com Start page that emphasizes easy fitness-minute tracking instead of daily food tracking.

Since this SparkAmerica challenge is all about encouraging everyone to take action, we aggregate everyone’s SparkPoints and fitness minutes from both programs and bring them together.  Next, I’ll show you what we’re doing that is fun and innovative!
 
SparkAmerica Leaderboards & Challenges
This section is where all of this comes together into something new and exciting that nobody has ever attempted before.
 
Several years ago in our hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, we did a small beta test called SparkCincinnati. It ended up being so fun that we knew we wanted to make this a national and international challenge at some point.  Now is the time!
 
Here is how the SparkAmerica leaderboards will work: A key part of the challenge is that we’ll have members select their “favorites” from many different categories including city, state, employer, favorite sports teams, favorite celebrities or athletes, non-profits, universities and schools, and more. One key new point about these SparkTeams like your favorite city and state is that you don’t need to be active in the actual SparkTeam in order to join or support it.  Instead, you are simply indicating that this Team is one of your favorites that you support (additional participation in SparkTeam community is completely optional).
 
Next, the SparkPoints and fitness minutes earned by members will be aggregated and applied to all of their selected Teams. We will then rank the Teams in each category and publish ongoing leaderboards. This framework will become a platform for countless types of challenges all over America in a way never done before. SparkPeople has seen that this type of friendly competition is a great way to motivate people to reach goals.
 
Another fun feature we launched to help you feel even more connected to your favorite Teams is the “Team Bonus Points” feature (Step 3 on your SparkPeople Start page).  As you earn SparkPoints throughout the day, you will earn Bonus Spins so that you can give extra points to your favorite Teams to help them rise on the leaderboards.  Our goal with this feature is to have a simple and fun way to connect you with your real-world affinities as a way to stay motivated to reach your goals by helping support your teams.
 
Some examples of SparkAmerica Leaderboard Challenges will include:
 
  • Healthy Leader Challenges ranking individual fitness minutes and SparkPoints
  • City Challenges
  • Sports Team Fan Challenges
  • Corporate Challenges
  • Fans of Celebrities & Athletes
  • School and University Challenges
  • Mom Challenges (where Moms across America come together to help the children of America to end childhood obesity)
  • Health and Fitness Professional Challenges
  • Rallying Cry Challenges that everyone strives to reach together (an example could be for all SparkPeople members to reach 10 billion fitness minutes in 2014)
In addition to many types of ongoing leaderboards, we will also do many shorter-term challenges like:
  • Challenges between two cities during the week that their sports teams play each other
  • Short-term goal challenges around some part of the SparkPeople program
How to Get Involved
The great part about SparkAmerica is that just by using SparkPeople.com as a way to help you reach your goals, you are involved with the challenge.  But here are simple ways you can take this involvement to the next level:
  1. Select your favorite SparkTeams. Be motivated by the fact that reaching your goals will help your favorite teams rise on the leaderboards.
  1. Use the site to reach your goals.
  1. Spread the Spark (more on that below) about this to anyone you know. Now your friends can participate on SparkPeople using either the existing SparkPeople.com program, or the new 60-Second Daily Check-In if they want a simpler experience.
  1. Share SparkPeople content with your social networks (Facebook, Pinterest and more). Our healthy and motivational stories could be that small “spark” that changes someone’s life!
 
Here are some examples for how you might Spread the Spark:
 
  • SparkTeams: Help your favorite Teams (cities, sports teams, employer, etc.) rise on the leaderboards by spreading the spark to anyone you know who also is a fan of that Team.  This can be a fun and simple way to introduce your friends to SparkPeople
  • Companies/Organizations: If you work at a company or are involved in any other type of organization (like a church, school, non-profit, etc.), you can consider starting a SparkTeam for that organization and then being the “SparkAmerica Champion” for that organization.  With the launch of the 60-second daily check-in, SparkPeople now has something to offer to anyone in an organization!
  • You! We realize that sometimes members will heavily use SparkPeople.com for a while to reach a weight-loss goal and then they might stop using the site. With more emphasis on simple ways to stay engaged with SparkPeople that go far beyond weight loss, we hope that members will stay more engaged with the site for longer periods of time.  The important part about this is that this simple consistency—even if it takes only 60 seconds per day—can build your momentum over time to reach goals you might have never thought possible!
Note to International Members
Our goal is to build out this challenge one step at a time. So, the first step is to launch in the U.S., our home country.  But we are very passionate about bringing this challenge to many countries around the world.  Our first step is to provide a leaderboard for all other countries.  A next step will be to build out those leaderboards into specific country challenges like SparkCanada, SparkUK, etc.  Another next step will be to reach out to possible large partners in other countries for help.  Please remember we’re still a small team trying to do our best to help as many people as we can, so stay tuned for more steps for additional countries.  Our real goal is to Spark the entire world!
 
We welcome your questions and feedback about SparkAmerica. Please comment below with any thoughts or questions about whether SparkAmerica makes sense to you, what you like about it or anything else!
Posted 12/11/2013  5:00:00 AM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 31 comments   15,565 views
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Earn 500 SparkPoints with Our New Welcome Guide


Good morning, SparkFriends!

This morning we launched a brand new Welcome Guide on your SparkPeople Start page today.  You'll find it just below the section for Step 1 on your Start page. Check out the screen shot below to see where it is.
Posted 11/13/2013  10:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 15 comments   6,570 views
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Nutrition Tracking: Now Even Faster


People who keep a detailed food diary (like the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker) lose twice as much weight as people who don't track what they eat. Are you using your Nutrition Tracker every day? Are you recording everything you eat and drink? Are you measuring your portions for accuracy? If you've gotten stuck on your weight-loss journey, this is the best place to start looking for small changes you can make to your eating habits.
Posted 10/31/2013  11:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 82 comments   8,647 views
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SparkPeople's Start Page Has a New Look!


Update 10/21/13 9:55 a.m.: SparkPeople's new Start page is now live! Read below for details and a video showing you how to use your new page. Thanks!

Good morning, everyone!

Today we are very excited to announce the launch of a big enhancement to your SparkPeople experience. We know, we know: Change is often viewed as a dirty word. It's something people don't always like, especially from a website that you are used to using a certain way. But this change has been many months in the making and has even been tested and approved by a group of SparkPeople members who got a sneak-peek! We wanted to get it just right—and we are confident that YOU are going to love what you see, too!
Posted 10/18/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 167 comments   24,736 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 : 7,358 views
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Say Hello to Our Little Friend: The SPARK Activity Tracker


It's an exciting time here at SparkPeople.com! After 12 years of helping people reach health, fitness and weight-loss goals with our free online programs and trackers, we have a new innovation that's been many months in the making. (Do you know how hard it is to keep something like that a secret for so long?)
 
Today, we are thrilled to announce the release of the Spark Activity Tracker, a tiny (and fun!) little reminder to fit more fitness into your day. About the size of a quarter, it's the first—and only—activity tracker that fully integrates with your SparkPeople.com experience.
 
If you need a little extra motivation to be active each day (and really, who doesn't?), then keep reading to find out what it is and how it can help you achieve your goals.
Posted 9/30/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 74 comments   20,154 views
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'Pin' SparkPeople Content, Get SparkPoints!


You might have already known that by "liking" a SparkPeople article or tweeting it, you could get up to three points per day. Now, we are offering the option of "pinning" for those points. If you click the "Pin It" button on any piece of SparkPeople content (still up to three per day), you will be awarded one SparkPoint. (See all eligible SparkPoints tasks here.) To receive your points, be sure to click the "Pin It" button on the share bar at the left of any page.

We think that sharing your favorite SparkPeople content on social media is one of the best ways to "Spread the Spark" and help us help you get healthy for free!
Thanks for your support, and let's start pinning! (And don't forget that the healthy living inspiration doesn't stop here--join us on Pinterest for more free support and inspiration!)
Posted 9/25/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 7 comments   5,989 views
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