Jen Mueller (SPARK_COACH_JEN)

SparkPeople Community Director and Fitness Coach

Jen Mueller left her first career in corporate finance to earn a master's degree in health education. She is a busy mom of three and holds a number of fitness certifications (including ACE's Health Coach and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist). She is passionate about helping people reach their health and fitness goals. In her spare time, Jen loves training for marathons (crazy, huh?) and spending time with her family. Jen enjoys blogging about raising healthy children and how small behavior changes can impact health and quality of life.


Read More of Jen's Blogs:

What Nobody Tells You about Getting Back into Shape after Baby

You often hear people talk about how having kids changes your entire life.  I have to agree, having been through it more than a few times over.  I have four children ranging in age from nine months to seven years, and although they are exhausting, they are equally wonderful.  Pregnancy was never a walk in the park for me, but I tried to do all of the right things--eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and gain a healthy amount of weight.  Because of this, I assumed it would be pretty easy for me to bounce back into shape after baby arrived.  While that’s been true to a certain extent, there have definitely been some surprises along the way.

Posted 8/26/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 9 comments   10,093 views

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Happier Meals: Cool School Lunch Strategies

As summer starts winding down and back-to-school shopping begins, lunch boxes and supplies might be on your list. What can you do to help ensure that your kids eat the healthy food you pack instead of trading it for chips and cookies--or even throwing it away? There are lots of cool accessories to make lunchtime more exciting. Looking for ideas to turn boring carrot sticks into a food they won’t want to turn down? Here are some of our picks to brighten up lunch and make healthy eating fun! 

Posted 8/18/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 5 comments   17,839 views

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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 : 7 comments   17,348 views

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5 Cool Indoor Workouts for Hot Days

Summer is a great time of year to get outside for some fresh air and physical activity.  Unlike the dark mornings and evenings of winter, summer provides plenty of daylight hours for a walk, run or swim in the pool.  But as the temperature climbs, there could be days when it's just too hot to safely exercise outside.  Does that give you an excuse to skip your workout?  Not a chance! 
 
There are lots of ways to exercise indoors, which can help you stay safe, cool and comfortable.  Then after the hard work is done, you can relax with a cold drink, feeling proud that you stayed consistent with your workout routine.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

Posted 7/7/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 6 comments   22,290 views

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A Note about Recent SparkPeople Changes

As you know, we’ve made a number of changes to SparkPeople's website (and apps) recently. Most of these changes were welcomed by the majority members, while some have voiced concern that the new changes take some getting used to.
I wanted to try and provide some perspective about why we’ve been doing these things, so that you can understand the strategy behind it and know that our goal is not to frustrate or confuse our long-time members.  

Posted 6/18/2014  11:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 6,667 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   15,151 views

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8 Signs Your Cardio Workouts Are Doing More Harm Than Good

Aerobic exercise (think running, biking, and jumping rope) is good for your health, helps with weight loss and generally makes you feel good.  But believe it or not, you can have too much of a good thing—even exercise.  It's important to find the balance between challenging yourself, making exercise a regular part of your daily routine, and doing more harm than good. But where exactly is the line where a healthy amount becomes too much?

Posted 3/19/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 9 comments   60,888 views

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13+ Budget-Friendly Ways to Work Out at Home

I remember the days when I had time to drive to the gym for a workout multiple times a week.  Now as a busy mother of four, those days long gone! However, that doesn't mean my fitness level has to suffer.  I'm still able to squeeze in a good workout in the morning before the rest of my family wakes up.  By investing in a few key pieces of equipment, I've been able to create quality, low-cost workouts without ever leaving the house—and you can, too! 

Posted 3/7/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 2 comments   22,051 views

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Find Your Sole Mate: The Perfect Shoe for Every Workout

Wearing the right shoes while exercising can mean the difference between a comfortable workout, and one filled with pain, or worse-injury. With thousands of workout shoes on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? By answering a few simple questions, you can narrow down your options and use this guide to find the pair that is your "solemate."

Posted 2/14/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 30 comments   70,926 views

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Take This Many Daily Steps for a Healthier Heart

For anyone looking to lower their risk of diabetes and heart disease, an increase in physical activity is a common prescription from doctors.  But often the advice ends there and patients are left asking themselves, "How much additional exercise do I need?" and, "What kinds of activity should I be doing?" 

A recent study shows that even moderate increases in physical activity can have a big impact on your risk for certain diseases.

Posted 1/23/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 1 comments   9,960 views

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6 Races So Fun, You'll Forget You're Exercising!

Perhaps you’ve considered training for a 5K, but the idea of running or walking a traditional race just isn’t motivating enough to get you off the couch and out the door.  These days, there are a wide variety of races to participate in, from the local run through your neighborhood to some of the more entertaining (and crazy!) runs popping up across the country.  Have you ever thought about running from zombies, crawling through mud or sprinting through glowing trees and tunnels? 

Fun runs like these can break up the monotony of traditional races, and can also be motivation to pick up the running habit even if you’re not that into it.  Here’s a guide to some of the races gaining popularity as people look for fun ways to get up and moving. 

Posted 9/6/2013  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 33 comments   27,563 views

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You Didn't Reach the Goal, But You're Still a Success

Instead of being thankful for the things I can do, it’s much easier for me to get frustrated about the things I can’t.  I’d love to be able to run an 8 (or even 9!) minute pace comfortably.  I’d love to be naturally flexible without having to work at it, and it would be great if I had endless energy for my early morning workouts.  I demand a lot from my body, and honestly, it gives me a lot in return.  I think I need to take a more positive attitude towards my body and my accomplishments.  How about you?

Posted 6/21/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 81 comments   21,001 views

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Most Americans Think Their Diets are Healthy

If you've recently started tracking calories and watching portion sizes, chances are you've been surprised that your morning cereal is really three servings instead of just one. Or that the salad from your favorite restaurant you thought was a healthy option really isn't. It's easy to convince yourself that your diet is fairly healthy until you really start measuring and tracking your food throughout the day. That's why I'm not totally surprised by a new survey that says most Americans consider their diets to be at least "somewhat" healthy.

Posted 5/23/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 173 comments   38,303 views

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Do You Have 'Quick Fix' Dieters In Your Life?

When it comes to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle, everyone has to do what works best for them.  I can give all kinds of reasons why a balanced diet and regular exercise is the way to go.  But in the end, everyone has to find a style of eating and activity that they can live with for the rest of their lives.  It’s not my place to judge whether or not someone is right or wrong if they choose to go about weight loss in a different way.

Posted 5/16/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 81 comments   12,944 views

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How Full is Your Glass?

Most of the time, I’m running around like a crazy lady all day long.  I’ve got work to do, errands to run, kids to take care of, chores at home, etc.  I’m sure a lot (if not most) of you can relate.  I bring a lot of it on myself because I’m the type of person who likes to get everything done -- right now.  For a long time, I considered my busy routine to be a drag.  I was easily overwhelmed, stressed out, and felt like I never had time for me.  And to be quite honest, those feelings made me sad. 
 
More recently, I’ve taken a step back to look at my life from a different perspective.  Instead of getting so bogged down in all of the day-to-day details, I’m trying to adapt to the chaos and appreciate all of the good things in my life.  I’m trying to see my life for what it is so that I can start taking small steps to make it better.  Instead of wishing things were different, I’m putting together a plan for change. 

Posted 5/15/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 88 comments   33,609 views

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