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All Entries For behind the scenes at SparkPeople

Mike Lost 67+ Pounds Using SparkPeople--and Now He Works Here


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned. Today we're interviewing Mike, who joined the SparkPeople team earlier this year. In addition to being a SparkPeople employee, he used our program to lose almost 70 pounds (and he's not done yet)! Mike, who credits daily use of SparkCoach for his success, learned to love running. Read his story!  

Name: Michael Honkomp (HONKUS)

Position at SparkPeople: Ad Operations Specialist

Age: 38

Family: Married to Erin for 14 years, father of two girls ages 7 and 4

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? 4 months

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: My proudest moment happens each day when I walk in the door for work. I do everything I can to help SparkPeople spread its message so it can help others as much as it has helped me.

How do you stay in shape?
I do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day: walking, running, free weights, floor exercises. I also eat a well-balanced diet, keeping within the calorie range I have set on SparkPeople.

What's your favorite food?
Pad Thai with tofu

What's your favorite indulgence?
I like to pour a modest glass of scotch while the wife has a glass of wine and just hang out.

How do you feel when you exercise?
Simply put, I feel alive. After a run, when I'm breathing deeply, dripping with sweat, and slightly tired, it makes me feel more alive and in tune with myself than anything else.
 
What do you do to de-stress?
I read books.  I bought a Kindle a few years back, and have made great use of it.
 
What is your passion in life?
My family is my main passion.  Providing them with a home and a happy, healthy lifestyle has been what keeps me going each day.  I can’t find any joy greater than the smile and laughter of my girls.

How has working at SparkPeople affected your life?
I love the mission of SparkPeople.  It started to affect my life long before I started working here, but after working here and seeing the employees truly living it day by day has strengthened my resolve even further.

Have you gained or lost weight since starting here?
I have lost about seven pounds since I have started, and I plan to lose 13 more to reach my goal.

Have you started any new habits?
Posted 10/9/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Michael Honkomp : 30 comments   9,122 views
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Behind the Scenes on 'The Spark Solution' Recipe Photo Shoot


One of my favorite parts about writing a book for SparkPeople is the recipe photo shoots. Those days start early and end late, with nary a moment to rest, but it's some of the best fun I've ever had while "working."

Today I want to take you behind the scenes of the photo session we did for The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health.  (Available for pre-order now!)

Talking to the team before the day got started. It was already hot under the lights!

The book contains 70 recipes, all created by Chef Meg, plus additional tips and swaps to vary those recipes based on what's in season and your personal preferences. And all the photos are in full color! The inspiration for the recipes, which we call "Spark Swaps" is the standard American diet--and all the comfort foods we love to eat. Ours are lower in calories and fat, and quite low in sugar and sodium. All of the meals were designed to fit into a 1,500-calorie meal plan, with no more than 2,300 mg sodium a day.

A delicious quesadilla in the making, with a delicious pesto in the background. We measured all the ingredients that went into every recipe to make sure they were true to the serving size.

Peek behind the scenes of the recipe photo shoot!
Posted 4/10/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 8 comments   7,588 views
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Behind the Scenes of Coach Nicole's SELF Photo Shoot


Big news in SparkPeople land! I'm so excited that SparkPeople has partnered with SELF magazine to bring you an amazing workout that I created for their September issue. This workout is part of what they've dubbed the SELF Diet Club, a special (and free) weight-loss program that combines my fat-burning workout plan with a healthy, no-deprivation diet to help participants drop a healthy 2 pounds per week. The September issue is on newsstands now, so grab up a copy before they're all gone. What a way to Spread the Spark, am I right? (WOOHOO!)
 
While I have done a few photo shoots in the past, this SELF photo shoot was unlike anything I have EVER been a part of—so fun, interesting, and cool. I can almost sum it up in three words: THE. BIG. TIME. Before this experience, I never would have guessed what goes into creating what you see on the magazine pages you flip through, so I thought it would be fun to share some behind-the-scenes details and photos of what it was really like.
Posted 8/22/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 75 comments   15,217 views
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Meet One of SparkPeople's Best Problem-Solvers!


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Jeff Rezer (MRRERE)

Position at SparkPeople: Ad Operations

Age: 42

Family: Wife Sarah, son Ethan (6), two adopted ex-racer greyhounds
 
How long have you worked for SparkPeople? 1 year

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: As part of the Ad Operations team, I often get a chance to interact directly with SparkPeople members who might be experiencing problems with the website. When I’m able to help them solve their particular issue, whatever it might be, it really makes my day!

How do you stay in shape? Lots of treadmill – and I like to get out and take walks with my son when I can. When the weather’s nasty, I use my Wii Fit Plus in our basement…

What's your favorite food? There are so many things I like, so this is a hard one… but I guess it’s probably fresh seafood since I don’t get a chance to have it all that often now that I’m not living on the East Coast.

What's your favorite indulgence?
Posted 6/12/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 28 comments   9,130 views
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Meet Samantha, SparkPeople Employee and Supermom!


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Samantha Donohue (SAMANTHA_SP)

Position at SparkPeople: Community Team Member

Age: 36

Family: Patrick, Husband (37) Jacob (8), Jonathan (7) and Aliyah (5)

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? I started in August 2004 – 7 years.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: I love that I get paid to encourage pregnant women to stay healthy. My proudest accomplishment was the blog I recently wrote on my father and his health journey.

How do you stay in shape? I work out often, at least 4 times a week, but I’ve made it a goal to be active every day. I walk to pick my kids up from school and structure my time with them to include as much movement as possible. I love to run and you’ll often find me hitting the hills in my neighborhood or even the trails of Andale Park. My love for hitting the road on my road bike is on hiatus as I have young children, but in the near future I do see a future Donohue Family Peloton. I also like to exercise at the gym because I love the community of friends at the gym.  I take weekly core and strengthen training classes. My friends and I are able to drop our young children off and then are able to go for a run outdoors.
Posted 3/6/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 9 comments   7,061 views
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Making an Exercise DVD: The Good, the Bad and the Sweaty


The new SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp DVD is on Target shelves nationwide right now. It's glossy and new and ready to whip your butt into shape if you're willing to let it. It's hard to imagine that the process of creating this DVD started almost a full year ago! Just last summer, I was on a set in New York City filming these boot camp workouts, a process that was fun, challenging and interesting to say the least.

Here are some of the good, the bad and the sweaty things I experienced during the two-day video shoot.
Posted 1/11/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 44 comments   13,005 views
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Meet SparkPeople's Newest Employee!


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Sarah Felkey (SPFELKEY)

Position at SparkPeople: Marketing Coordinator

Age: 31

Family: I am married to my wonderful husband, Sean, and we have two cats: Frisches, who carries slippers around the house, and Izzy, whose only speed is "run."

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? Since May

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job:
Since I’ve only been here since May, I am still learning about my job responsibilities, but I’m excited about what I’m working on so far, including marketing for our upcoming cookbook, print ads, and emails. I’m also helping beta test a new member support feature that hopefully will be released very soon on the SparkPeople website!

How do you stay in shape?
Posted 7/14/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Sarah Felkey : 75 comments   11,837 views
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Behind the Scenes of Coach Nicole's DVD Shoot


I'm so excited to officially make this announcement: SparkPeople will be releasing a new workout DVD later this year! And this one is going to be bigger and better than ever before.

Just four years ago, my co-worker Paul and I decided to shoot a few workout videos right here in the office and upload them to YouTube. We set up an inexpensive video camera on a tripod, and I shot every video in a single take, slowly but surely building the library of fitness videos SparkPeople.com offers today.

We've come a long way, baby.

A couple weeks ago, I flew to New York City and spent a week shooting two new workout DVDs in partnership with the awesome DVD producer Acacia, a leading distributor of original and award-winning yoga and fitness DVD programming. You may have heard of some of their popular titles: exhale spa’s best-selling Core Fusion workouts; innovative yoga practices from the top female yoga teacher in the country, Shiva Rea; the leading dance and Pilates barre workout Xtend Barre; and workouts from Bethenny Frankel, Joy Bauer and Kathy Smith, to name a few.

We had a set designer, wardrobe specialist, hair and makeup, a seriously credentialed director who has worked with many of the biggest fitness "stars," including Richard Simmons. We had original music produced especially for our workouts. We even casted two background exercisers to work out in the video with me! There were at least 15 people on the set from hair and makeup to wardrobe to assistant directors, three camera operators, and production assistants. This was far bigger than anything SparkPeople has done to date.

Ever wonder what really goes into the making of a workout DVD? It's no small feat! It takes a small army of people to make it happen—and lots of sweat. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at my recent DVD shoot, plus some EXCLUSIVE details about my upcoming workout DVD!
Posted 6/22/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 40 comments   8,975 views
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Meet Tim, SparkPeople's Social Media Expert


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Tim Metzner (SP_TMETZNER)

Position at SparkPeople: Marketing and Business Development

Age: 28

Family: Amazing and beautiful wife Kristy, our yellow lab mix Canyon, and Carson, our overly snuggly cat.

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? Started as a co-op in June of 2001 and came on full-time in 2005 (so almost 10 years)!

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: I'm probably most proud of how early on I got to join the company and the crazy range of things that I've done in my time. Some of my wide-ranging tasks have included: property management in our early days (whether fixing toilets, painting, or showing up in the middle of the night to check on alarms going off), helping sell and flight/traffic ads on our websites, managing all of our marketing, and creating and managing partnerships with other great companies.

I also was responsible for creating and executing our social media strategy and am probably best known by our members as the guy behind our posts on Facebook and Twitter (love interacting with our members there!).
Posted 1/11/2011  6:06:36 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 23 comments   8,254 views
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Meet the Man Who Keeps SparkPeople Up and Running


Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Josh Knepfle

Position at SparkPeople: Chief Technology Officer

Age: 34

Family: My wife, Julie, and I have 4 kids: Joellen (7), Jacob (5), Janie (2) and Jonathan (7 months, above)

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? I started working at SparkPeople in October 2001, but I had worked with Chris previously at eBay and Up4Sale.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: I’m most proud of the efficiency of our team in keeping the busiest diet and fitness site running well 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How do you stay in shape? I like to take advantage of our small gym here at the office. I’m here before 7 a.m. most mornings, working out on our elliptical machine and recumbent bike before I start work. I also try to incorporate my kids into my workouts (taking them to the park for hikes, wrestling with them, having them sit on my back while I do pushups, etc).

What's your favorite food? I really love crab legs, and the raspberries, blackberries, and tomatoes from our garden taste so good right now, too.

What's your favorite indulgence? I have trouble turning down any chocolate, especially when it comes in a baked good. My mom’s brownies come to mind. But, I also love a really good fruit pie or cobbler, especially blueberry.
Posted 8/23/2010  11:02:48 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 172 comments   17,569 views
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Behind the Scenes on Chef Meg's Video Shoot


In addition to my blogging and editing duties here on the dailySpark, I'm also the editor of SparkRecipes.com, which means I spend a good bit of time working with Chef Meg and reading the recipes you submit. Some of you might have read on my SparkPeople Friend Feed that we taped another round of recipe and cooking videos with Chef Meg Galvin this week. We tape at the Midwest Culinary Institute here in Cincinnati in a state-of-the-art demo kitchen that is also used to tape a local cooking show called "The Dish," which stars Chef Meg.

Working with Chef Meg to develop and test recipes for you is one of the most interesting parts of my job. (OK, I admit. There is really no uninteresting part of my job!) Though I consider myself a pretty good cook, I'm no master chef, and each time we tape with Chef Meg, I learn more about cooking and food! Though it's hard work to produce the videos, it's also great fun for everyone involved.

I thought you might enjoy a behind-the-scenes blog post and a sneak peek at some of the recipes we'll be posting on the site in coming weeks! (Chef Meg adds new recipes to the site each week, so be sure to check out her Healthy Home Cooking page on SparkRecipes!)
Posted 9/4/2009  4:20:02 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 27 comments   9,182 views
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Meet Denise, A SparkPeople Member Turned Employee


You said you'd love to know more about SparkPeople, so we launched the series Meet the SparkPeople Team. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be interviewing various SparkPeople employees. The behind-the-scenes folks here are really excited to tell you a little about what they do at SparkPeople!
Read the entire series here!


Now meet Denise, one of SparkPeople's most inspirational employees--she started out as a member! She's a versatile and dedicated member of the team!

Name: Denise Tausig (also known as DENISE_SP)

Position at SparkPeople: SparkPeople Resident Expert and SparkTeens Community Leader

Age: 30

Family: I am married (to Matt, who is also a successful member!) with no children, but we do have two wonderful cats, Ares and Cora, who rule the house.

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? About 3 1/2 years.
Posted 7/8/2009  6:02:07 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 45 comments   9,634 views
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Meet One of SparkPeople's Newest Employees


You said you'd love to know more about SparkPeople, so we launched a new series: Meet the SparkPeople Team. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be interviewing various SparkPeople employees. The behind-the-scenes folks here are really excited to tell you a little about what they do at SparkPeople!

Paul kicked off "Meet the SparkPeople Team." Then our perky, generous and hilarious office manager, Kelly, continued it.

Now it's time to get to know the woman behind all things Local on SparkPeople! (Some of you probably met her at the Spark Your Life Convention!)


Name: Jenny Uhlmansiek

Position at SparkPeople: Category Brand Manager

Age: 27

Stats: 5’7" and athletic build. Lost 5 pounds since working at SparkPeople thanks to eating healthy and incorporating more workout bursts.

Family: I come from a large close family. A family party is never a small deal. Typically, a holiday celebration consists of 30+ people, ranging from age 1 to 80. I have a wonderful boyfriend, and we hope to add a new puppy to our family soon!

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? One of the newer employees, less than a year.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job:
Getting to work on the first-ever SparkPeople Spark Your Life Convention. It was so much fun to put together, and I loved working with members and our staff to pull it off. It was amazing to hear everyone’s stories and see the excitement the day of the Convention. I was definitely moved to tears and so were our members! It felt awesome to know that we touch everyone’s lives each and every day, and seeing it in person was so rewarding – I look forward to many more!
Posted 6/2/2009  10:17:11 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 51 comments   3,667 views
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Get to Know the Most Optimistic Person at SparkPeople


You said you'd love to know more about SparkPeople, so we launched a new series: Meet the SparkPeople Team. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be interviewing various SparkPeople employees. The behind-the-scenes folks here are really excited to tell you a little about what they do at SparkPeople!
Paul kicked off "Meet the SparkPeople Team." Now our perky, generous and hilarious office manager, Kelly, is continuing it. Get to know a little bit more about the woman who keeps this office running!


Name: Kelly

Position at SparkPeople: Office Manager and Message Board “Resident Expert”
Posted 5/6/2009  5:08:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 87 comments   4,696 views
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Meet the Guy Behind All Those Cool Videos on SparkPeople


A few weeks back, we shared a peek inside the SparkPeople offices. Paul had just returned from paternity leave and his co-workers welcomed him with a new office!
You said you'd love to know more about SparkPeople, so we've decided to launch a new series: Meet the SparkPeople Team. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be interviewing various SparkPeople employees. The behind-the-scenes folks here are really excited to tell you a little about what they do at SparkPeople!

Paul was the one who inspired this series, so we thought it only fitting to let him kick off "Meet the SparkPeople Team."
Posted 4/6/2009  11:07:38 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 103 comments   4,777 views
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