Melinda Hershey (SP_MELINDA)

SparkPeople Editor and Health Educator

Melinda has a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and education and is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. Before working as an editor for SparkPeople, she developed and taught health programs for several non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing, interval training, yoga, and cooking with friends.


Read More of Melinda's Blogs:

20 Ways to Eat Better On the Go

Editor's Note: We had a chance to sit down and chat with former NFL football player and current television star, Michael Strahan, who was kind enough to share with us his tips on balancing fitness, nutrition and motivation while leading a busy life. We'll be sharing his best tips in this ongoing series, "A Minute with Michael." 

At SparkPeople, we believe that it's important to keep healthy eating a priority, especially if you're constantly on the go. Healthy food helps give you the boost of energy you need to help you feel your best and get through a demanding day. You might think you're too busy to consistently eat well, but it really is possible to fit in positive, impactful habits in minimal time. Take it from Michael Strahan, who always tries to make nutrition a priority--even in between endless travel and television appearances. When it comes to eating right, Michael says, "Preparation is key. Don’t let yourself get caught without a healthy snack on hand. You never know when you might be stuck in traffic or held up at a meeting. When you’re hungry, your mind is not in the mood to make good decisions. It wants to make the easy decision—and a lot of times, it ends up being something that’s not great for you."

So, how do you avoid making that "easy" decision? Simple: Make eating healthy the easy decision! When you arm yourself with good-for-you snacks at all times, there's never an excuse to hit the drive-thru or office vending machine. 

Posted 9/25/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 30,422 views

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10 Ways to Fit in Fitness When There's No Time

Editor's Note: We had a chance to sit down and chat with former NFL football player and current television star, Michael Strahan, who was kind enough to share with us his tips on balancing fitness, nutrition and motivation while leading a busy life. We'll be sharing his best tips in this ongoing series, "A Minute with Michael."

Between television appearances, media events, constant travel and time with his kids, Michael Strahan has a lot going on (to put it lightly!). But despite a jam-packed daily schedule, Michael knows that it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to keep up with it all. When we asked Michael how he manages to fit exercise into his full days, he had some great advice for us. 

Posted 9/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 36,111 views

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Get SparkPeople Community & Coaching On the Go!

When we released the new, FREE version of our Nutrition Tracker app earlier this year, we asked for feedback about what would help YOU get more out of SparkPeople. You gave us some great ideas,  so we took the most popular suggestions and built them into the app.

Starting today, you can update your app and enjoy these new features:

  1. Take the SparkPeople Community with you! We’ve built mobile chat boards right into the app for easy access wherever you are. You can also easily check your SparkPage on the go.
     
  2. Want to set a small reminder to help you reach your goals? Check out the new (free!) SparkPeople Coaching Center. Here, you can get small reminders, coaching notifications, and great advice from our SparkPeople food, fitness, and motivation experts.
     
  3. Connect your favorite fitness tracking device with our app! Set up your Fitbit, Jawbone Up, or RunKeeper app to feed your step data into your SparkPeople account from your mobile phone.

These updates are available now for both Android and iPhone users. If you’re new to our Calorie Counter and Weight Loss app, you can download it at Google Play, the Apple App Store, or the Amazon App Store. Give it a try and tell us what you think! Thanks and SparkCheers!

Posted 9/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 37 comments   15,187 views

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Join SparkPeople On the Road This Fall!

Big news! This fall, SparkPeople will be sponsoring several races across the country—and we're going to be there to cheer you on! SparkPeople representatives are hitting the road to attend six different national events, kicking things off in our hometown of Cincinnati at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 at Coney Island Park.  Chris Downie (SparkPeople Founder, CEO and author of The Spark) will also be with us at the Cincinnati race to autograph your book, answer questions and do what he does best: provide motivation! We are excited to take our show on the road to support fellow health enthusiasts as they come together to reach their goals. 

Posted 8/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 29 comments   11,118 views

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Message Board and Site Header Changes Launched Today!

Hi, everyone! We launched a few changes to the site today that we wanted to let you know about:

  • An improved and cleaner design for our Message Boards and Team Message Boards
  • An improved and cleaner design for our SparkPoints, SparkMail, and some other pages
  • Moved ''Today on SparkPeople'' from the right side of the site to the top right of the site, in a new dropdown
  • Added a link on the very top right of the site to your Account Settings, SparkPoints, and SparkPage
We hope you like these changes! We made them to help new members easily navigate the site. We also think they are great additional features for our current members. About a month ago, we surveyed our SparkTeam leaders about the Board changes to the Community Team, and we got some great input that was incorporated into the design. This included creating more of a visual separation between posts. Additionally, we heard a lot of feedback that the ''Today on SparkPeople'' features were important to you, so we now have them available on every page of the site. SparkGuy, Coach Jen, and the rest of our team truly do appreciate the feedback and support of our members, and we love using this feedback as a tool to help us continually upgrade and improve your SparkPeople experience.
 
If you can’t find something or have any other feedback, please post a comment below. Thanks!
 
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 8/25/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 22 comments   1,992 views

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New Changes to SparkPeople Articles and Resource Pages!

Hi, everyone! We'd like to make a quick announcement about some changes we made to a few SparkPeople features today. Hopefully you're loving the new look and feel of the site! Here is what we changed and what you can expect:

  • Streamlined Articles and Resource Center Pages. We gave our Article and other Resource Center pages an upgrade. You’ll find bigger images, a cleaner format, and some other small design adjustments on these pages.
  • Get SparkPoints for Re-Reading Articles. Due to popular demand, we now let you get SparkPoints for articles you read in the past. We know sometimes our members like a refresher on certain article topics, and we wanted to give you points for re-reading!
  • Refreshed Fitness Library with Animated Gifs. We completed a huge enhancement of our animated exercise demonstrations. We have new, clearer photos and animated gifs, plus a cool new search tool that lets you filter exercises by experience level, equipment, and muscles worked.
  • A Bigger, Better "Share" Bar. The ''share'' bar on our articles and videos and resource pages has been improved to allow quicker sharing, and we fixed a bug to make sure you get SparkPoints when you share our content.
 
We hope these changes enhance your SparkPeople experience and make it even easier for you to reach your goals! Some things have been moved around, so if you have a hard time finding something, just shoot a quick note to support@sparkpeople.com for help. Thanks for your support, and Keep Sparking!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 8/12/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 30 comments   12,721 views

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It’s Here! The Best App for Eating Better On the Go

Over the years, we've learned that some of our best ideas and most useful tools come from you, our SparkPeople community. A few months ago when we were releasing the newest updates to our Calorie Counter and Healthy Recipes apps, we asked our members (that’s you!) how we could improve our tools to better fit them into your lives. You responded with honest and insightful ideas that are helping us decide which tools we want to work on next.

There was one suggestion in particular that we kept hearing: You wanted a simple app that could pull up the nutrition information for any food, without the food tracker component. That's it--just a streamlined, one-use app that wouldn't take up much space on your phone, but would still be able to access SparkPeople's extensive food database to deliver quick nutrition information on demand. So, we decided to give the people what they want! Today, we're proud to announce the final product: the SparkPeople Nutrition Lookup App.

Posted 8/11/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 8 comments   9,142 views

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Back On Track: A Consistency Challenge for August!

It's almost August, and whether we like it or not, the days of summer are dwindling. Bathing suit season may be mostly behind you, but that doesn't mean it's time to abandon your healthy efforts now that autumn is in sight! Plus, maybe all those barbecues you've attended this summer are starting to show on the scale. Maybe your vacations and kids' activity schedules have taken precedence over your exercise routine. Maybe, now that the wild ride of the season is coming to an end, it's time to get back on track and consciously recommit to your healthy lifestyle. And we're here to help you do it with a brand new challenge!  

Posted 7/29/2014  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 449 comments   103,409 views

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A Sale to Spark Your Fittest Summer Ever!

Have you been thinking about getting the Spark Activity Tracker? Now is the time! For the month of June, we’re offering $10 off any purchase of the Spark. To sweeten the deal, we’ll also include a free copy of Coach Nicole’s Total Body Sculpting DVD with your order to start the summer months off right.

To get this special deal, simply visit sparkactivitytracker.com and select the color and quantity of the device you’d like. Enter the code “freedvd” at checkout to get $10 off your final purchase. We’ll send the tracker and the dvd together so that you can start meeting your fitness goals right away!

Posted 6/1/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 9 comments   13,605 views

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The Best Tool for a Healthy, Happy Pregnancy

Hey, moms-to-be! Have you ever wished you could get accurate, useful information about pregnancy health, fitness and nutrition, all in one place? Today, we’re happy to announce the SparkPeople Pregnancy Health & Fitness App! For just $1.99, you can download it for your iOSAndroid, and Windows mobile devices. (The Android version is also available from Amazon.) And to sweeten the deal even more, you'll get 250 SparkPoints* just for downloading the app!

Here’s what you can expect from our new app:

Posted 5/28/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 1 comments   10,519 views

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Step into May with a New Challenge

When it comes to building healthy habits, consistency is the key. It's a great idea to get in the habit of flexing your consistency muscle as much as possible, across as many parts of your life as you can. When you're consistent in one area of your life, it makes it even easier to start and stick with other, bigger challenges. An easy way to do this is to commit to a small, doable act every day that will get your healthy momentum going. That's why we're starting a month-long challenge that's possible for almost everyone: "A Mile a Day in May"! Simply walk, run, bike, or do any other sort of activity to accumulate at least one mile every day in May on top of your regular daily physical activity. You can do your mile in small bursts or all at once; however you get it done is up to you. The important thing is that you do it! 

Posted 4/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 52 comments   32,095 views

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18 Upbeat Songs to Pump Up Your Workouts

We thought it would never happen, but it's true: spring is finally here! If you've experienced some serious cabin fever over the long winter, you're definitely not alone. We're beyond ready to pound the pavement out in the sunshine while listening to some upbeat tunes. Here are 18 of our favorite feel-good songs to sweat to right now. Take them for a spin during your spring workouts! 

Posted 4/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 22 comments   80,815 views

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Wake Up to a 10-Day Challenge This April!

Raise your hand if you're a morning person!

…Anybody?

Ok, so waking up early is tough for most of us. However, when you make an effort to do so consistently, it's entirely possible to make it a habit—which is a great way to build more fitness and productivity into your day. So, how would you like a little extra boost of motivation to A) Get up in the wee hours, and B) Make strides toward your healthy lifestyle goals at the same time?

We're going to help you do just that with our ''Rise and Shine'' Challenge!

Posted 3/25/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 249 comments   120,164 views

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55 Things the Scale Won't Tell You

Picture this: It's time for your weekly weigh-in, and you are confident that you've lost a pound or two. You've eaten very well this week and have been even more consistent with your exercise than you usually are. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and step on the scale, your heart skipping a beat. You brace yourself, open your eyes, and… your heart sinks into your stomach and you clench your fists. Your weight is up one pound since last week.

What's going through your mind? Is it a frenzy of horribly negative self-talk? Do you feel like a worthless failure who can't do anything right? Do you swear and stamp your foot and move the scale to another spot on the bathroom floor in the hopes that the number will change?

If you've had any (or all) of these reactions after a disappointing weigh-in, you're not alone. But think about how crazy that roller coaster is! Why should a number on a scale make you feel so nervous—and then so painfully defeated when it isn't what you had hoped for? Why should a number on a scale ruin your day and make you say horrible things to yourself that you would never dream of saying to a friend? 

Posted 3/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 24 comments   69,227 views

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Spring Into Shape with a 20-Day Challenge!

It's almost March, which means we've made it through the worst of winter (knock on wood!). Can you believe that spring is less than a month away? Although the arrival of spring promises warmer weather and better conditions for exercising outdoors, it might also make some of us realize that we hibernated a little too much over the winter. Maybe you skipped a few workouts due to bad weather or the flu, or the winter blues derailed even your best efforts to stay consistent. It can be hard to get active again after a lull in your exercise plan, but it's entirely possible to get back on your feet. And we're here to help you do it! 

Posted 2/25/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 215 comments   133,886 views

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