Melinda Hershey (SP_MELINDA)

SparkPeople Editor and Health Educator

Melinda has a bachelorís 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:

Jump Into July with a New Boot Camp Challenge!

Hey, Sparkers! If you've been following along with us this month, you might know that we ran a "Streak Into Summer" challenge on our Facebook page from June 1st-June 21st. We're happy to say that this format was incredibly successful—over 2,000 of you participated in the challenge! WooHoo! We've been getting tons of requests for more Facebook challenges, so we're delivering a brand new one for July: the Bodyweight Blast Boot Camp Challenge! Here's how it's going to work: 

Posted 6/29/2015  3:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 25 comments   12,702 views

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Vote for the Best Running Songs of All Time (Volume 2!)

If you've been around SparkPeople for a while, you might remember when we created a list of the Top 100 Running Songs of All Time a few years back. Since more great running tracks have come out in the meantime, we decided we were due to create a Top 100 Running Songs of All Time: Volume 2!

Based on your suggestions for songs and artists that we missed in the first list, plus newer tracks that have come out in the past three years, we've created a list of songs for you to vote on (you can also write in your own favorite picks that we might have missed). The top 12 songs of the bunch will be made into a continuous playlist that's re-mixed at exactly the right BPM for running to help you become a faster, stronger runner!

Let your voice be heard: Vote for your favorite running songs here! Thanks for helping us put together another great list!

What's your favorite running song right this second?

Posted 6/6/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 9 comments   9,734 views

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21 Days to Your Healthiest Summer Ever

June is coming up fast, which means sweet, sweet summer is almost officially here! With its gorgeous weather, abundant produce and huge variety of outdoor activities, summer is the perfect time for reaching new health and fitness milestones. If you've been looking for a little extra push to get a leg-up on your healthy-living goals for summer, look no further! We're here for you with a new challenge to help you build up some seriously strong momentum as we dive into the season.

From June 1 through June 21 (the official first day of summer!), we're challenging YOU to ''Streak into Summer" with us. For these next 21 days, we'll give you one simple daily action to help you get on the fast track to a healthier, happier you this summer. 

Posted 5/29/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 53 comments   19,222 views

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The Mobile Update You've Been Waiting For!

Hi, SparkPeople members! We wanted to let you know about some great changes our team has made to the site over the past few weeks to make it easier for you to use on mobile devices.

As you know, you can get many of your favorite food and fitness tracking tools through the SparkPeople Mobile app and can find new recipes and save them with our Healthy Recipes app. But there are so many awesome features on SparkPeople that it’s hard to fit it all into one or two apps (though we do try our best and are releasing some new features soon!). So, instead of making our apps replicate exactly what we offer on our site, we’ve built our apps with the features that we think will work best for the best possible user experience for you. The rest of SparkPeople’s features are kept on the site only.

Since we can’t fit the entirety of SparkPeople into an app, our team has gone through our site piece by piece, making all of the pages more friendly for mobile devices. The font is bigger, and the layout of the pages automatically resizes for whatever device you’re on, so there’s no more pinching and scrolling.

Once you’ve logged in, the new mobile web design makes it easy to:

  • Track from your phone. This is great if you have a Windows Phone, or don’t have one of our great apps installed. You can use all of our tracking tools: nutrition, fitness, weight, sparkpoints and more!

  • Access articles, blogs and videos. All article, video and blog pages have been redesigned to make them easy to browse on your phone.

  • Interact with fellow SparkTeam members. You can now post to walls and forums, find new teams and see blogs from your team members, all from your phone.

  • Browse and post to message boards. Ask and answer questions on the go!

  • Click on links in our emails and see them on your phone. Click on links to community notifications and go right to your desired page.

  • Find great recipes and save them. Now you can find new, favorite recipes on SparkRecipes.com and save them right to your account from any device you happen to be using.

It’s easy to get started with our new mobile web experience. Go to SparkPeople.com on your mobile device, and click on the orange ''Login'' button in the middle of the screen. On the next page, enter your SparkPeople Username and Password and you’ll be ready to use all our site has to offer. You can navigate around the site by clicking the button at the top right of every page--it’s the square button with three horizontal lines on it.

Let us know what you think! If you have any ideas for how we can improve our mobile web pages, we want to hear about them in the comments below.

SparkCheers!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 5/27/2015  11:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 7 comments   3,954 views

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FDA Snack Attack: Are Kind Bars Unhealthy?

At least four types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements. The problem? Too much saturated fat. The FDA is considering pulling the bars from grocery shelves until Kind changes the labeling to meet the requirements.


Will you continue to buy Kind Bars?
 

The FDA has found that at least 4 types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements... in SparkPeople's Hangs on LockerDome

Posted 4/16/2015  9:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 25 comments   11,488 views

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5 Better Bites for Easter

Easter is synonymous with bright pastel-colored candy eggs, marshmallow chicks and creme-filled chocolates--which aren't exactly the most waistline-friendly treats. But you can still partake in the goodies without derailing your healthy habits. If you're looking for some alternatives to the usual fare, here are some small tweaks you can make to lighten up your Easter baskets this year (while still having fun)! 

Posted 4/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 7 comments   11,176 views

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Out Today: New Changes to the SparkPeople Mobile App!

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve made another update to the SparkPeople Mobile app! This update is for iOS users, and if you’ve updated your app today, you’ve already seen the changes. (Note: we rolled out these changes to the Android version of our app a few weeks ago.) We made a good number of tweaks to help improve the app, but there are two major changes we wanted to mention.
 
Change #1: We simplified and cleaned up the homescreen. When we asked our members what they most wanted on the homescreen, almost all of you asked for better, easier food and fitness tracking. With our new design, you can track your food and exercise even faster!
 
Change #2: You can now add images to your blog and status updates, right from the app! Lately, you may have seen more images in SparkPeople Mobile from other SparkPeople members who are using our newest motivational tool, pep. We wanted to make sure that our SparkPeople Mobile users could join in the image-sharing fun, too!
 
Check out the app here and let us know what you think! We love hearing your ideas for how we can improve our tools to make it easier to reach your goals.
 
SparkCheers!
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/17/2015  5:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 2 comments   7,025 views

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A St. Patrick's Day Challenge (SparkPeople Style!)

St. Patrick's Day is usually synonymous with corned beef, cabbage and pints upon pints of green beer (not to mention other unnaturally-dyed foods). But this year, we're celebrating in a way that's both fun and good for you! Starting tomorrow and leading up to the day before St. Patrick's Day, we'll be challenging ourselves to get in five servings of green fruits and veggies every day—and we want you to join us on Instagram! Even if you don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, this is still a fun challenge to help you eat those freggies. (And if you are celebrating St. Paddy's in the usual ways, it's a nice way to get in some nutrients before indulging in all that green beer!)

Posted 3/8/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 13 comments   11,037 views

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The Best New Healthy-Living App You Haven't Tried

Hi, SparkPeople!

Sometimes, you see something that makes you feel happy, inspired, or strong. It could be a delicious healthy meal you made, or the view from the top of that hill you just ran up. Images are powerful motivators, and we wanted to make a tool that would allow our members to easily capture, save and share their healthiest life snapshots to help them reach their goals alongside a community of like-minded people.

Enter our newest app: pep!

pep lets you record and share the images that make you feel proud and inspired. You can add custom filters, stickers, text and more to your pictures to get just the right look before sharing them within your community right within the app. See what other health-minded people are posting and motivate each other with just one snap of a picture! Best of all, the photos you take within pep will automatically feed over to your SparkPeople account, so your SparkFriends will be able to see them, too.

pep is currently available for iOS devices. If you click on the App Store button below, you can download pep right away and get started finding your friends and building your motivational community.

Try the app and let us know what you think! If you have an idea about how we can make the app better, let us know in the comments; we always love to hear what you think.

SparkCheers!
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/2/2015  1:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   16,323 views

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The 5-Minute Abs Workout

Want to work more on your core strength, but aren't sure where to start? We've got you covered! Strengthen your core at home in just 1-5 minutes per day with this quick video series--no gym or equipment required! 

We've created this 5-Minute Abs series for you to use as you see fit. If you're just easing into core work, you can do one video each day for a fun fitness boost, or do all five videos consecutively for a mini core workout that will seriously challenge you. Follow along with each video and post how you did in the comments. We'd also love to hear your feedback about the video series, and are open to hearing ideas about other workouts you'd like to see in this format. Have fun! 

Posted 3/2/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 16 comments   71,192 views

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Make Your Resolutions a Reality in 30 Days!

By now, you've probably got your New Year's resolutions all planned out and ready to go. If you feel like you need a little extra help to make your healthy-living goals a reality, we've got the answer right here! Maintain your motivation and help better your chances at turning your resolutions into lifelong healthy habits with the 30-Day Realistic Resolution Challenge. Not only will you get daily mini challenges to help you stick to your nutrition and fitness goals, but you will also get four weeks' worth of meal plans to help you clean up your diet and start your year on the right foot. The best part? All of the challenges are simple to complete (but effective!), and the meals are a cinch to make--which will help you avoid resolution burnout and allow you to create healthy changes that will actually stick past February. 

Posted 1/5/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   39,646 views

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Kick-Start 2015 with a 30-Day Challenge!

Welcome to 2015—a brand new year full of possibilities! Now is the perfect time to kick off a challenge to help you get on your way to your healthiest, fittest self yet: The 30-Day Small Changes Challenge. Start the New Year off right with a month of healthy (and realistic) challenges to help you look and feel your best all year long!

Posted 1/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 60 comments   201,627 views

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New Feature Round-Up: Enhanced Streaks and Photos With Status Updates

Hi, Everyone! We launched a few changes today that you will notice on your Start page and other places on the site.
 
The first is that we launched a number of enhancements to our ''Streaks'' feature, where we encourage members to set small goals every day, creating a ''streak'' of as many days as they can. Many members have found this to be a great way to stay consistent with reaching their goals. Now with Streaks, you can see your progress on the Start page, plus see some big ''Award'' images for your streak. You can save your Award to your SparkPage, and also share to Facebook or Pinterest to help motivate your friends. Click here to learn more.
 
The second update is that we now let members upload a photo along with their Status Updates. You can upload from the Start page, your SparkPage, and also our Android SparkPeople Mobile app (coming soon to iPhone). You can then see photos uploaded by your friends and leave comments or ''likes'' in your friend feed.
 
If you have any questions, comments, or problems with these features, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Posted 12/16/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 18 comments   12,727 views

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Which Halloween Treat Would You Rather Eat?

Happy Halloween! We hope you're planning to enjoy some candy (in moderation!) today. What's your favorite Halloween treat to splurge on? Take the poll below, and then check out some of our best resources to help you get through the day feeling satisfied--but not stuffed like a pinata! 

Posted 10/31/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 3,056 views

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Get Fit before You Feast: A November Challenge!

Halloween is just around the corner, and we all know what that means—the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Unfortunately, the "most wonderful time of the year" also tends to be the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people; especially for those who are striving to lose weight or get fit. How do you avoid falling off the wagon during such a busy time full of food, friends and family obligations? 

Posted 10/27/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 212 comments   80,571 views

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