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Cool Summer Workout Gear


As the temperature climbs, don’t let your workout motivation fall.  With the right clothing and gear (as well as some extra precautions), you can enjoy outdoor exercise at any time of the year.  Here are some of our picks for the best workout clothes and accessories to keep you cool and motivated all summer long.  
Posted 7/21/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 5 comments   14,009 views
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10 Fit Gift Ideas for Father's Day


Father's Day is quickly approaching, so you might be thinking about ways to recognize the special dad in your life.  Fitness-related gifts can be a unique option to the traditional tie or coffee mug.  Whether you have $1 or $100 (or more) to spend this year, consider getting dad something that he can enjoy while benefitting his health at the same time!
Posted 6/2/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 1 comments   14,221 views
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Fun & Functional Gardening Gear for Spring


Gardening season is almost here. Whether you want to start your first herb garden or expand on the number of veggies you grow this year, now is the time to take stock of your tools and accessories and see what you need. And there's no reason why you have to settle for typical hardware store gear. It's easy these days to find cute gardening tools, hats, stools and more. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Posted 4/3/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 19 comments   18,429 views
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6 Fun Fitness Finds to Inspire Your Spring Workouts


The Polar Vortex is finally behind us! I know everyone is with me when I say Bring On Spring! Here in Cincinnati, we've had a couple 70-degree days giving us a taste of the warmer season to come. Granted, they were followed up by snowy days, but we'll take it!

Spring is such a great time for fitness. No matter how dedicated you are to exercise (or not) the change in weather seems to encourage everyone to get outdoors and get active. Even if you're not getting out yet (maybe it's still cold in your region), I'm sure you're noticing a heightened level of energy thanks to sunnier days.
For even more inspiration, here are some of the cool finds that are helping me stay fit and happy this spring. You just might find the right thing to put a little pep in your step, too!
Posted 3/20/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 12 comments   22,960 views
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Calorie-Free Treats for Your Valentine


Isn't it time we all start to figure out how to celebrate holidays, birthdays, promotions and other special occasions without always focusing on food?

Yes, Valentine's Day only comes around once a year, but if the person you love has been working hard to prioritize healthy eating, why tempt him or her to stray from those goals with an abundance of candy and sweets? Instead, show how much you really love your partner by choosing a gift that isn't bursting with sugar and fat.

Here are 16 creative alternatives to treats that will make your valentine's heart beat a little faster. There's something for everyone in this gift guide!
Posted 2/3/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 8 comments   17,490 views
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Winter Workout Clothes & Accessories You Need Right Now


The key to comfortable outdoor workouts during the winter months is layering. (Check out our handy layering chart to match the temperature with the appropriate clothing options.) We've done some post-holiday window shopping to discover great winter workout gear to keep you warm whether you're headed out for a long hike, a run around the park or just want to stay toasty before and after yoga class.
Posted 1/23/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 11 comments   12,180 views
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7 Cool Health & Fitness Gadgets from CES 2014


I just spent the last couple of days at the gigantic Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. To say that this convention is massive is an understatement. Companies from all over the world come to CES to unveil and promote their latest technologies and gadgets in virtually every category, from cars to crockpots to TVs to headphones.

One growing section of CES is health and fitness technology. This wing is dedicated to "Digital Health," where you'll find dozens of types of fitness monitors and activity trackers along with technology based sleep solutions, smoking cessation tools, teeth whitening gadgets and more. 

I had a chance to check out everything new in health and fitness tech earlier this week. Here's a selection of emerging trends and products that I thought were downright cool—and likely to take off in the coming years.
Posted 1/9/2014  5:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 19 comments   17,579 views
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Essential Weight-Loss Tools


While it's true that all you really need to lose weight are good information and determination, there are plenty of helpful tools that will make the path to health and fitness a little easier and a lot more fun. I've gathered a list of the kinds of things that have helped me in my own weight-loss journey. You'll need different tools at different stages, but these are great when you're just getting started.
Posted 1/9/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 17 comments   18,705 views
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This Season's 7 Hottest Healthy Gifts


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!
Posted 12/5/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 15 comments   10,543 views
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Gear Up for the Perfect Tailgate


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.)
Posted 11/15/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 7 comments   4,632 views
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Festive Football Food Accessories


Whether you're having a get together to watch the big game, a Super Bowl bash or a party for your kid's football team, there are tons of great themed accessories available to help bring your appetizers to life.
Posted 11/13/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 6 comments   6,583 views
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6 Reasons Why You'll Love the Spark Activity Tracker


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.  
Posted 11/6/2013  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 33 comments   12,896 views
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Plus-Size Workout Wear for Fall


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.
Posted 9/15/2013  8:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 32 comments   19,027 views
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The Heat Is On: Stay Cool with These Summer Workout Accessories


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:
Posted 8/7/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 13 comments   17,761 views
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What SparkPeople's Employees Can't Live (or Work Out) Without


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.
 
 

Wireless Headphones

 
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
 
Posted 7/10/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 22 comments   15,790 views
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