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:
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 30,781 views
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 : 14,829 views
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 : 3 comments 26,465 views
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 : 11 comments 183,208 views
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 54,717 views
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 : 37 comments 220,568 views
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 : 2 comments 16,373 views
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 : 34 comments 36,432 views
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 : 82 comments 25,613 views
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 : 177 comments 50,623 views
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 : 82 comments 16,972 views
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 37,612 views
Most people who decide to make a lifestyle change will tell at least a few others about their intentions. All of a sudden you’re buying more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and you’ve dusted off those gym shoes to go for a walk a few times a week. Something is up, but how many people do you tell? Do you tell anyone at all, or just let them figure it out for themselves? New research shows that sharing your goals could negatively affect your behavior and success.
Posted 5/9/2013 6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 201 comments 39,984 views
Let's face it: Losing weight can be hard work. It requires patience, dedication, and the drive to make permanent healthy changes in your life. It's not always fun to head to the gym instead of watching your favorite show on T.V., or turning down the French fries at dinner and opting for a side of veggies instead. Those who make healthy choices are able to look at the bigger picture and know that these choices aren't always easy, but will leave them better off in the long run. Knowing that it is hard work, would you be willing to trade time to get the body you've always wanted? A new survey says some women are willing to make that trade.
Posted 4/24/2013 12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 281 comments 46,703 views
The idea for this blog came from a member, and when I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to talk about. It's something I wonder about all the time as I read blog comments on The SparkPeople Blog, answer questions on SparkPeople and interact with the Community. Here was her suggestion:
Posted 4/17/2013 12:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 872 comments 34,405 views