Nicole Nichols (COACH_NICOLE)

A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as “Coach Nicole.” Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.


Read More of Nicole's Blogs:

Why You Should Have an Affair at the Gym

You put on your sweatpants and baggy T-shirt. Throw your hair up into a ponytail and wipe the make-up off your face. You fill your water bottle and head to the nearest elliptical. Headphones in, you tune out the world, focusing on the show you're watching or that new song you downloaded. You set your sights on the console and the clock, watching the numbers—calories, time, and distance—tick up until you've hit your goal on one (or maybe all three). Get in and get out, that's what the gym is to you. You're not there to talk or make friends. You're just there to get through your routine and go home.

But what if I told you that going to the gym could—and should—be a little more fulfilling? The truth is that having an affair at the gym happens more than you might think. It can change your mind and your body—and how you feel about yourself. If you've been going through the motions lately, feeling uninspired or tied down, then break free from monogamy and bring the excitement back with an affair!

Posted 4/1/2015  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 73 comments   80,172 views

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The 100 Best Workout Songs of 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year...the time when we release the best booty-shaking, iron-pumping, fat-burning songs you exercised to during the past year.
For the past 12 months, we compiled a list of new and popular songs worth working out to. Then we asked members of SparkPeople.com, America's #1 weight-loss and fitness website, to vote on their favorites.

Find out which song most people worked out to this past year,  whether any of your own favorites made the list, and how you can download a brand new 60-minute cardio remix of the top 15 songs (as voted on by exercisers like you)! 

Posted 12/19/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 23 comments   175,874 views

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10 Trainer Tips That Will Transform Your Body

In 2011, I was both shocked and honored to be named America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch in the first-ever contest of its kind, which was run by Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise, and I have continued to be involved as a judge and consultant for the contest in recent years. It has expanded outside of America to search for and name the best trainers across the globe. A few weeks ago, Life Fitness crowned 2014's top personal trainers to watch and a new winner in yet another amazing competition.
 
I recent caught up with the top 10 finalists (and the winner himself)—the crème de la crème of fitness pros—to share their best exercise tips with you! From time-saving exercise techniques to the best workout you can do when you're short on time, these must-read ideas are like consulting with the most inspiring and credible fitness trainers around the world without leaving home.

Posted 11/12/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 10 comments   50,414 views

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Jawbone UP Now Syncs with SparkPeople

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Jawbone UP, a popular activity and sleep tracker that wirelessly tracks your distance, steps, calories burned and more.

Posted 6/9/2014  9:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 30 comments   17,504 views

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People 'Half Their Size' Issue Features SparkPeople Member's 177-Pound Weight Loss

People magazine has just released a new "Half Their Size" issue, and this one is bigger and better than ever. The entire publication is dedicated to weight loss and featured some amazing success stories along with various diet plans, workout plans and healthy recipes for ideas and inspiration.
 
We are thrilled to announce that a long-time SparkPeople member, Brandy (BBANGEL1214), is featured in the issue. Brandy credits the supportive online Community at SparkPeople as making a big difference in her 177-pound weight loss. Way to go, Brandy!
 
We recently caught up with Brandy to celebrate her magazine debut. Here's what shared some tips from her journey to losing more than half her weight.

Posted 6/6/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 36 comments   25,336 views

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New & Improved SparkRecipes App for iPad

Several weeks ago, we released a much-anticipated update to our Healthy Recipes app for the iPhone. Today, we are excited to share that these same improvements are now available for the iPad version of our app! We are particularly thrilled about this update because iPads are such great tools to use in the kitchen when searching for and following recipes.

Posted 6/5/2014  2:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 5 comments   7,138 views

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Contest Closed: Win a Full Year of Access to Streaming Workout Videos

This giveway is now closed. The winners are: CAHUAU, MJOHEMME, DDHEART, REESE76, and MACANBEFIT. Winners will be contacted directly from a representative at Acacia TV.

A couple months ago, I told you about a new low-cost workout option called Acacia TV. The service offers access to more than 75 different full-length workout DVDs, set up for online streaming from your PC, laptop, iPad, Roku or internet-enabled Smartphone for a super low rate that allows you to exercise with world-class instructors anytime, anywhere.
 
Today I'm excited to tell you about a special giveaway Acacia is offering to SparkPeople members!

Posted 5/30/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 5 comments   7,256 views

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Get in Shape with a New Workout Set from SparkPeople

Good afternoon, SparkPeople!
 
I hope you are enjoying this spring weather as much as we are here in Cincinnati! I love the changing seasons because it always inspires me to change lots of things in life: my wardrobe, my attitude and even my workouts.
 
If you're looking to change up your exercise routine, I've got some great news for you!  

Posted 5/19/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 7 comments   16,228 views

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SparkPeople's Diet & Fitness Tracker App: Now Free At Last!

UPDATE 5/6/14
Today we released all of these awesome updates for the Android version of our app. Click here to download the brand new app on your Android device. (Original blog post below has been edited to reflect this.)

UPDATE 4/9/14: 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 5/6/2014  4:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 70 comments   34,176 views

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Get 'The Spark Solution' in Paperback—and Get in Shape for Summer!

Great news! Our popular book "The Spark Solution" is now available in paperback, which means you can snag what U.S. News & World Report named one of the "Best Diets" around at an everyday low price! (And when you purchase the book, you'll earn 500 bonus SparkPoints—WooHoo!)

Posted 5/6/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 2 comments   17,146 views

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Check Out Our New SparkTeam Features!

Update: 5/1/14 at 3:45 p.m.
We appreciate your feedback. Today we added back links to recent blogs posted by Team members since so many of you commented about regularly using that feature. Enjoy!

Update: 4/30/14 at 10:10 a.m.
Good morning! We are happy to announce that the new SparkTeam features we allued to yesterday (see below) are now live for you to use. Read the original blog post to learn more about these updates. Thanks!

Original Post:
Good afternoon!
 
Everyone at SparkPeople has been working hard to improve the website (and mobile apps) these past few weeks to enhance our members' experience. Today we wanted to give you a heads up about some changes coming tomorrow (April 30, 2014) to SparkTeams.
 
SparkTeams are one of our most popular Community features because they allow members to meet and interact with others who have similar goals, interests, geographic locations, lifestyles and more. These new changes will make SparkTeams easier to use based on input from members and Team leaders, plus data on which Team features are used the most and the least. It also comes with a visual redesign to clean up and simplify Team pages.  

Posted 4/29/2014  3:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 199 comments   11,009 views

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Download Our New & Improved 'Healthy Recipes' App for Free!

On the tail of our recent announcement about the new, free Diet & Fitness Tracker app, we are very excited to share that a brand new version of the SparkPeople's Healthy Recipes app is here, too!
 
Today we launched our new and improved recipe app for the iPhone! Now you can take the best features of SparkRecipes.com—top-rated recipes, cooking videos, nutrition facts and more—wherever you go. With the free Healthy Recipes app, it’s easy to plan healthy meals and shop for nutritious and delicious foods that will help you reach your goals.

Posted 4/22/2014  2:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 5 comments   14,871 views

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Health Magazine Shares 3 'High-Tech Diets That Work'

Good morning everyone!
 
A few weeks ago, we announced some major upgrades to our Diet & Fitness Tracker app—as well as a new price: free! So far the reviews and comments have been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you for downloading the app and sharing your thoughts with us.
 
Last week, we were happy to find a story from Health magazine that put some of the most popular weight-loss apps to the test. We are proud to say that SparkPeople's app was ranked in the top three and got some great praise from testers and experts alike:

Posted 4/21/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 6 comments   9,532 views

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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 : 44 comments   27,281 views

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Getting Started with Strength Training in 5 Easy Steps

You know that strength training (also called resistance training) is good for your body. It can help you maintain and build muscle mass, rev your metabolism, make you a better recreational athlete, strengthen your bones and reshape your body. But unlike cardio, where you usually just pick an activity you enjoy and get out there and do it, strength training can be a lot more complicated to a novice. Most people don't just walk into a weight room, stare at the sea of weights, and know how to begin.

If you've never lifted weights before (or it's been a long time since you have), it can be intimidating to know how to start. There are so many weights, machines, classes and options. Which ones are right for you and your goals?
 
While the idea of strength training can be complex, hopefully these basics will point you in the right direction so you feel comfortable starting a training program.

Posted 4/8/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 3 comments   52,891 views

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