All Entries For stuff we love
If there's ever a time to wish for an extra hour (or six) in the day, it's during the holidays. In addition to our normal work, family, and home obligations, we have all those seasonal responsibilities. That can leave very little time for yourself--and lead to excess stress that can interfere with your ability to reach your goals. To help streamline your shopping experience this year--which means more "you" time for healthy habits--we're sharing some of our favorite healthy gifts of the season. We think anyone would love unwrapping one of these!
Monster Isport Freedom Headphones: We love everything about these headphones: Bluetooth, wireless, sweat-proof, no cord--great sound. They're perfect for working out and durable enough for everyday use.
Cuisinart Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System: This is such a great gift for the healthy foodie in your life. It makes smoothies and protein shakes easy to make and take on the go!
The Spark Activity Tracker: The Spark is the only wireless activity tracker that fully integrates with the FREE tools, content and community on SparkPeople.com. You won't catch me without mine--I love that not only does it track my steps taken and calories burned, but it also knows exactly which type of exercise I did! Read More ›
Once you've planned the perfect tailgate party, you'll want to stock up on gear to help you celebrate your favorite team and serve up delicious snacks in style.
We've rounded up 10 of our favorite products to make your party even more fun.
(We're showcasing Bengals gear here, since SparkPeople's hometown is Cincinnati, but all the team products listed are available for your favorite NFL teams.) Read More ›
I'm not much of a "gadgets" person, but I am a results person. While I don't go for every trend or spend a lot of money on the latest technology, I will invest in things that have a big benefit to me. If that means a premium iPhone app, an amazingly accurate GPS watch (love my Garmin Forerunner), or a simple activity tracker, I'm generally skeptical at first, but very loyal once I find something that works.
Many of you know that I've been a Fitbit fan for many years. I still love the Fitbit and think it's a great device. It happened to be the tracker that really resonated with me, but that's not necessarily because the Fitbit is better or more accurate than anything else. From my perspective, any activity tracker that has the basic features you need and is easy to use can work wonders even if it's not the best or the most impressive. Regardless of the brand or type of device, the biggest benefit you'll get from any activity tracker is that wearing it each day as motivation to set and reach new goals. For me, that's why I love certain gadgets and data.
I'm proud to have been involved in the testing and developing of the Spark Activity Tracker's online features. After years of using an activity tracker, I had more than a few ideas on how to make our tracker great. For people who don't already have an activity tracking device—or for those who simply want a more streamlined experience—the Spark is an affordable gadget worth checking out. I love it for all the reasons I fell in love with my Fitbit years ago—but as loyal as I've been to the Fitbit, I have to admit that The Spark has several more perks that you won't find in other activity trackers.
Here are six reasons why I think you'll love the Spark as much as I do. Read More ›
Since I started working at SparkPeople this April, I've gotten into the habit of wearing workout clothes to work on most days of the week. It helps me fit in fitness breaks throughout the day without having to spend time changing clothes. But because I'm wearing fitness gear so much, my old ratty yoga pants and oversized T-shirts just aren't cutting it anymore. If this is what I'm going to wear every day, I want to look cute, too! Luckily, it's getting easier and easier to find cute workout clothes in extended sizes. (I wear a 14 or 16 depending on the brand.)
Fall is a tricky season for exercise clothes. It can be quite cool in the mornings but then warm up throughout the day. There are also sometimes weeks of lingering summer heat or sudden, overnight cold snaps. At least that's what it's like here in Ohio. If you don't like the weather, just wait 24 hours and you'll get something completely different! My strategy is to dress in layers and to always keep some of my summer clothes in the rotation until the first freeze of the season. Here are some of my current favorites and some things I'm putting on my list for fall shopping. Read More ›
The summer heat is enough to keep even the most dedicated exercisers lying indoors with the lights off and the shades drawn. But if you want to make fitness a lifelong habit, that often means dealing with the changing seasons and temperature extremes without breaking stride.
I used to be much more of a "fair weather" exerciser. If it was raining, I'd skip my daily walk with the dog. If it was cold, I wouldn't leave the comfort of the indoors to walk to my car, let alone go out and run for an hour. But I can tell you that if you want to stick with a lifelong fitness plan—especially one that involves the highly accessible and inexpensive forms of exercise we know as running, walking or biking—changes in the weather are a fact you have to deal with. But I promise—no, really, I PROMISE—exercising in the summer heat (or even the dead of winter) is not as bad as you may think.
For me, exercising consistently in summer's hottest heat waves is dependent on four factors, all of which I have control over: Read More ›
For this month's installment of "Stuff We Love," the round-up of products that make healthy living easier and more fun, we reached out to a half-dozen SparkPeople employees. We asked: "Which product makes working out more enjoyable or fun for you?" Keep reading for their fun and healthy responses.
Two employees recommended these wireless headphones, which easily sync with your phone so you can listen to your workout tunes without the hassle of any cords. Plus, if you get an incoming call while you’re exercising, you can answer it without taking off the headphones! They have a long battery life, too.
-- Sarah, Marketing & Megan, Editorial
Read More ›
For those of you avid gym-goers out there, you know how important it is to keep your gym bag stocked and ready to go! If you are anything like me, you also like to stay stylish, even while getting sweaty, which is why I designed my oGorgeous brand of bags, so that I can have a gym bag that is as pretty as a purse! I make sure to pack my bag full of the essentials so that I'm always ready for a workout, wherever I am. Let me share some of my gym bag must haves:
These really come in handy when you're lifting weights and want to avoid getting calluses. They're also great as you're developing grip strength.
Read More ›
About six months ago, I moved from downtown Cincinnati to the rural mountains of Western North Carolina. I went from going out my front door and hitting the hot new restaurants to going out my front door and hitting the hiking trails. I've always liked hiking, but with so many trails, mountains, and places to explore surrounding my new home, I'm using the great outdoors as my personal grown-up playground far more often.
My hikes have all been a half day or shorter, so I haven't needed too much specialized equipment. However, I have accumulated a few items that have made hiking much more enjoyable for me. Today I'm sharing some of my favorites with you.
Water backpacks are a great way to haul your food and supplies on a hike while staying hydrated. This 50-ounce size is great for longer hikes, and there's a pocket to hold energy bars and your keys.
ExOfficio Women's Nomad Roll-Up Pant
Even if the day starts off sunny, you likely will need an extra layer or more coverage when you start your return trip. Roll-up pants are convenient and versatile--and more practical than the kind that zip off. (Who wants to risk losing a pants leg in the woods?)
Dakine Hip Pack
For shorter hikes, opt for a lumbar pack to stash a water bottle and all your necessities. These from Dakine are fashionable as well as functional. Read More ›
Can you believe that spring is finally here? (Officially, anyway.) Here in Cincinnati we've received a few little tastes of spring-like sunshine and temperatures over the past couple of weeks, but it's been enough to get all of us excited about the changing seasons. I can't wait to break out the grill, get my hands dirty with a new vegetable garden, and go for a run without wearing an extra 20 pounds of insulating gear. How about you?
To celebrate spring, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things right now, from new running shoes to my favorite protein powder to new apparel that supports your active, healthy lifestyle. Read More ›
One of my favorite times of day to run is in the early morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s quiet and gives me time to think before the craziness of my day begins. I prefer to run when the sun is already up, but at certain times of the year, that becomes more difficult. When I do head out in the dark, my first priority is safety. Although I never assume that cars can see me, I try to make myself as visible as possible.
I hear of too many runners, walkers and bikers out with no lights, no identification, wearing dark colors and expecting that everything will be fine and that cars will gladly move out of their way. Accidents happen all the time, but you can reduce the chances they will happen to you. Here are some of the products I recommend to help you stay safe and visible when exercising in the dark. Read More ›
At its very core, yoga is about connecting the mind and body. You can "do" yoga without any equipment at all. Even sitting and breathing mindfully as you quiet the mind is a form of yoga. That said, when you do a yoga DVD or take a class, there are a few items that can help you feel more comfortable.
Today I'm rounding up some of my favorites as both a certified yoga teacher and student!
Manduka PROlite Yoga Mat: Manduka mats have a lifetime guarantee. I've had mine for almost four years and it looks brand-new. If you plan to practice regularly, invest in a high-quality mat. Cheaper "sticky" mats tend to fall apart and shed yoga mat confetti all over the place. After wearing out two yoga mats during yoga teacher training, I treated myself to a sturdier mat as my reward for earning my certification. Manduka mats are lightweight yet sturdy--you won't need to layer a second mat under it as some people prefer to do with foam mats. (Plus they come in a variety of fun colors!)Read More ›
Editor's Note: We've asked SparkPeople member MOSTMOM1 to share her favorite fun fitness tools. Read on for gadgets that will turn any workout into playtime!
My husband calls me the Pied Piper of Fun. He rolls his eyes when he says this, but I take it as a compliment. I believe having fun is more important than people realize. For me, having fun usually makes me a nicer person to be around. Plus, it often means hanging out with friends, and that’s good for me, too. So, it only makes sense that I would look for ways to make my fitness fun. Here are seven fun things that keep me moving every day. Read More ›
Exercise is an important part of my life, not only because of my job, but because of what it does for me personally. Exercise helps me relieve stress, makes me feel good about myself, and since I've become a mom, it's one of the few things I do these days that’s all my own. I’ve blogged in the past about being a busy mom of three small children, and most of the time I put 110% of my effort toward my kids, leaving little for me. I know that’s not good (and something I need to work on), but one thing I do try to make time for almost daily is exercise.
Whether it means getting up early, squeezing in a few 10-minute workouts throughout the day or doing a quick video while they nap, exercise calms me and helps me get through a busy day without a (mommy) meltdown.
Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, so whether or not you exercise comes down to how you choose to spend your time. It’s not always easy, and just because I exercise regularly doesn’t mean I pop out of bed at 5 a.m., excited and energized to work out. I have to drag myself out of bed most days, and some days, my scheduled workout doesn’t happen. I do the best I can.
So if you’re a busy mom like me, how do you begin to find time for exercise? Here are a few suggestions that work for me. Read More ›
If you've been struggling with the "no eating between meals" rule, you're in luck: in recent years, that diet myth has been debunked. Snacks are important, especially when are active or trying to lose weight. Go too long without eating, and your blood sugar will drop. Your stomach will rumble. You'll get grouchy--and you'll turn into the cookie monster (or the chip monster or the "will eat the first thing I find" monster).
However, it's easy to fall into a snack rut. If you're tired of eating the same old snacks, you'll love today's "Stuff We Love" list: I'm sharing some new-to-you foods you might want to swap into your snack rotation this year.
I keep snacks in my purse and car at all times to ward off hunger-induced grouchiness and overeating. Believe me: I'm a mild-mannered yogini and health food lover when I'm fed regularly, but when I am starving, watch out! I get cranky and will eat anything in sight! Read More ›