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 four and holds a number of fitness certifications (including ACE's Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and Behavior Change Specialist). She is passionate about helping people reach their health and fitness goals. In her spare time, Jen loves running, kickboxing 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:

5 Weeks to a 5K and a Healthier You!

Spring is just around the corner, a time when 5K races are a popular weekend activity. Perhaps you’ve thought it might be fun to try one, but fear you’d never be able to finish. Maybe you’ve walked a 5K in the past, but you’re ready to take things up a notch. Whatever you goal or experience level, we have the perfect training plan for you!
 
SparkPeople developed three unique “5K Your Way” training plans to get you ready to complete a 5K race in less than five weeks. Join a challenge and you'll get daily workouts and tips on how to stay motivated, what to wear for your workouts, how to cross-train properly and more!

Posted 2/10/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 3 comments   26,535 views

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Streaking Her Way to Success 2,000 Days in a Row

This is a featured "SparkStory", one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community. 

SparkPeople Member: NORASPAT

In 2009, I came across “The Spark” while at a bookstore with my husband. I had never heard of SparkPeople, but had recently (and surprisingly) been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I purchased a copy for myself, as well as three more as Christmas gifts for my sons. Shortly after, my son set me up with my first computer so I could make the most of everything the book had to offer. I was 66 years old, and had no clue how to use a computer or navigate the site.

Posted 2/4/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 59 comments   18,640 views

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Fear of Heart Transplant Leads to Beth's 200 Pound Weight Loss*

This blog is a featured "SparkStory", one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community. 

SparkPeople Member: EMSSBEARS

I am the perfect example of the yo-yo dieter. Having been overweight for most of my life, I tried nearly every diet out there, some several times without success. Each time I’d diet, I’d lose the weight, but then as the attention and compliments became stressful, the insecurities and low self-esteem would kick back in and I would start overeating again. The end result was not only gaining back the pounds I’d lost, but adding an additional 20 or 30 pounds each time.

It took a long time for me to realize that I was using my weight as a defense mechanism to keep people away, a thought that came as the result of being physically attacked once when I was at my ideal weight.

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and found myself unable to walk or use my arms to exercise for seven months, I became quite depressed. Over the next two years, I was given chemotherapy treatments and eventually regained the ability to use a walker and limited movement. By that time, though, I was at my all-time highest weight and my heart muscle had been severely damaged. I was ready to give up.

Posted 1/15/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 36 comments   26,317 views

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Health Problems Prompt Sarah to Lose 90 Pounds*

This blog is a featured "SparkStory", one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community.
 

SparkPeople Member:  SM0RE007

In 2011, I weighed close to 240 pounds. I was starting to experience an array of health issues. I had all sorts of aches and pains. I often felt like I had the flu because my glands were constantly swollen and I was regularly exhausted. I was depressed, lonely and I hardly left my new house.

Posted 1/11/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 35 comments   39,086 views

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A Shocking Diagnosis Leads to Big Health Decisions*

This blog is a featured "SparkStory," one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community.

SparkPeople Member:  SHADOWSPARK

I can only describe the feeling as being in a state of shock. I was leaving the doctor's office after learning that I weighed 275 pounds, my cholesterol numbers were high and I was entering the range of being a borderline diabetic. Worse yet, I was holding a prescription for a cholesterol-lowering medication that the doctor had highly recommended I take. 

Posted 1/4/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 22 comments   25,178 views

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Introducing Two New Challenges for the New Year!

By now, you probably have your New Year's resolutions planned out and ready to go. If you feel like you need a little extra help to make sure this is the year your healthy-living goals become a reality, we've got the assist right here. We are very excited to introduce two brand, spanking new challenges, designed to help you get your New Year started on the right foot! 

Posted 1/1/2016  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 20 comments   82,947 views

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SparkPoints Monthly Contest Winners

Each month you earn at least 300 SparkPoints by doing various activities on the site, you’re automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card or one of 5 Spark Activity Trackers. You can find more details on the contest rules here.

Each month, we’ll update this blog with the winners, so keep checking back to see who’s won!  (If you are a winner, we will also contact you via email.) Good luck!

January, 2016

Amazon winner:
KACIE209   

SAT winners:
TARTLESCAPRI     
CZARINA98     
HAVENPEACE            
HOPEFUL215             
ASTRONGNEWME 

December, 2015

Amazon winner:
ARTISTICGRL

SAT winners:
MOJIATA            
CRKREKEL           
GOTTARUN26   
JAPERS1              
MARGOTB822

November, 2015

Amazon winner:
ROOMINATOR

SAT winners:
MLKDUD             
MUSICMUSTPLAY           
ELENNARE          
MELITAG            
PORTHOS75

October, 2015

Amazon winner:
ABUNNA

SAT winners:
ROLLAND
WMORGAN
CANTATA
LCJNMO1
CHELLIEB
 
September, 2015

Amazon winner:
KMD121
SAT winners:
XRAYLADY65
CONCHA77
EUSTIS525
OREGONTHEA
LYRICCA

Posted 11/11/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 4 comments   15,777 views

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Sugar Showdown: Hard Cider vs. Junk Food

As both temperatures and leaves continue to fall, you may have noticed grocery and liquor stores stocking up on a large variety of seasonal alcoholic drinks, including many types of hard cider. Once a niche ruled by Woodchuck and Strongbow, a quick Wikipedia search now lists more than 130 cider brews in the market and growing. Like it or not, seasonal brews are here to stay. According to IRi, a Chicago-based market research firm, cider sales grew 75 percent from November 2013 to November 2014, making it the fastest-growing beverage in the beer and flavored malt industry.

Posted 11/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 16 comments   24,316 views

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How a Busy Mom of Three Lost 55 Pounds*

Anne Marie (ANNIEONLI) recently attended the M2Moms Conference in New York City with members of the SparkPeople team.  She shared her success story with the 300 attendees, and now we want to share her story with you!

Posted 10/14/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 14 comments   40,987 views

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Done with the Excess Weight and Moving Forward!*

This blog is a featured "SparkStory", one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community. 

POSTER: PORITA

I found SparkPeople in 2011 after weighing in at the doctor's office and realizing how out of control my weight had become. After lots of reading and finding encouragement here, I started to take steps to improve my life. By tracking everything I ate and starting with baby amounts of exercise, I lost 20 pounds. I was excited. I finally took a picture of myself to start tracking the progress. I'm DONE with excess weight and all the problems it causes. 

Posted 8/28/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 19 comments   13,181 views

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DVD Review: BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn

As a busy mom of four, my only time to exercise is before the kids wake up in the morning. DVDs are a regular part of my workout rotation, and I’m always looking for new ones to try. I was excited to check out the BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn DVD to see if it’s something I could add to my routine.

BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn promises ''high intensity intervals combined with body changing barre exercisesYou’ll do Tabata style workouts, longer cardio intervals, low impact fat blasts and sculpting exercises to hit every main muscle.'' The DVD has 3 different workouts: extreme cardio fat burn (26 min), cardio sculpt (17 min) and cardio core (17 min), as well as a 2-minute warm-up and 12-minute cool-down stretch. So, does the workout deliver on its promise of ''extreme results''?  Here’s what I thought.

Posted 6/22/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 5 comments   15,062 views

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5 Tips to Keep the Momentum Going

At this point, the novelty of the New Year has worn off. Hopefully you’re still going strong with your healthy living goals. However, if motivation is starting to wane, don’t despair! You aren’t destined to fall back into old habits, or fail at those goals you set just a few months ago. There are simple ways to get back on track and refocus so that this becomes YOUR year of permanent change. Are you ready to get started?

Posted 3/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 18 comments   25,749 views

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How to Make 2015 the Year of Lasting Change

How much can you relate to the following scenario:  You start every January 1st with great intentions.  You’ve renewed your gym membership, stocked your pantry full of healthy food, tossed out all of the chips and cookies and told yourself this is it.  The healthy lifestyle begins now.

Things go well for the first few days, the first few weeks or even the first month.  Then slowly, the old habits start to return.  You’re tired of getting up an hour early every morning to head to the gym, so you hit the snooze button and begin skipping workouts a few times a week.  The occasional splurge is becoming more frequent, and staying in your calorie range becomes the exception rather than the rule.  Eventually, all of the hard work that began on January 1st has been undone, and before you know it, you’re right back to where you started.  What went wrong?!?  Here are some ways to prevent history from repeating itself in 2015.

Posted 12/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 14 comments   25,643 views

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Please Stop Feeding My Kids Junk Food

I’ll admit that I’m very particular when it comes to the foods my kids eat.  I’ve learned not to be too restrictive, because it’s important how to teach them to make their own choices and how to incorporate treats and other foods they love into their diets.  My oldest is 8, and so far, I think we’re doing pretty well.  My kids don’t feel deprived that they don’t eat fast food on a weekly basis, and they don’t mind when I add kale or other leafy greens to their favorite smoothies.

I always assumed that school would be a place that would support my healthy eating efforts.  What I’ve found is actually quite the opposite:  by far, school is where my kids get the most junk food. 

Posted 12/26/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 17 comments   12,868 views

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10 Ways to Socialize Without Food*

If you’re someone who likes to go out frequently with family and friends, you know that most outings revolve around food.  It’s easy to say “Hey, let’s meet for lunch!” or “Want to join me for a few drinks after work?”  Whether you’ve just started making improvements to your diet or you’ve stuck to a healthy eating plan for years, you know how tempting these situations can become.  Your friend orders a plate of French fries and you start munching on them without even realizing, or your mom asks if you want to split a dessert you weren’t planning on ordering.  In most cases, it’s best not to avoid these events completely.  Avoidance can help you stick to your plan, but it’s not a long-term solution.  Eventually you’re going to be in situations where food is involved, so you have to learn how to deal with temptations.  This helps change your new habits into permanent lifestyle changes, instead of a “diet” that you are on and off periodically. 
  
Although it’s certainly possible to stay on track with your diet in social situations, sometimes it’s nice to have alternatives that don’t revolve around food.  If it’s your turn to make the plans, choose something fun and different!  You might find that one of the activities below sparks a new way to socialize with those you love.

Posted 12/22/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 4 comments   28,381 views

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