SparkPeople Guest Blogger

Eating to Fuel Different Race Lengths

Running is an incredible source of exercise and one of the best things about it is that you can compete against yourself. Whether you are participating in a 5K or a full marathon, there are races for all levels, and plenty of good causes to get you out there to run. But before you lace up and take off, make sure you are taking the time to fill your tank with proper food and hydration. Here are some ways to ensure that you are adequately fueled to finish any race with power and energy.

Posted 5/21/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   21,098 views

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'After Losing 100 Pounds, I View the Entire World Differently'

Seeing her 275-pound self on TV at a football game motivated Jan-Marie to get serious about her health. Read on to learn about her journey to an amazing 100-pound loss!
 
Name: Jan-Marie Ruminski
Username: BOBCATGIRL76              
Amount of weight lost: 100 lbs
Hometown: Beavercreek, Ohio
Occupation: Academic Advisor
Age: 24
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
Looking back, I was never really an unhappy person. I loved life and had a ton of friends. But I was always aware that I was bigger than the majority of people in my life. I was involved in a ton of things in high school and college, like sports and theater, but I now realize how much my weight held me back in those areas.

What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?

Posted 5/18/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 36 comments   40,071 views

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The Hidden Exercise Risk No One Talks About

I thought I knew a thing or two about diet and exercise. For example, I knew how to do a squat, and that avoiding carbs altogether wasn’t necessarily a wise thing to do.

Then I enrolled in personal training school and realized just how much I didn’t know.
To be perfectly honest, I had never really given any thought to the subject of exercise safety – and it took getting a formal education to bring it to my awareness.

When you want to lose weight and get in shape, you focus on the important things: what foods to eat, which fitness program to follow and how to balance your calories in vs. calories out. Of course these factors are normal and helpful, but when it comes to exercise—an activity designed to bring you optimal health and well-being—there are hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface if you aren't paying attention.

Posted 5/14/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 78 comments   83,735 views

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The 11-Minute Miracle Workout

One of the major benefits of HIIT (high intensity interval training) is it’s efficiency! This type of intense work means there’s no need to spend 60, 30 or even 20 minutes doing cardio. This 11-minute HIIT session is short, sweet and sweaty! It’s perfect for when you are short on time, as an add-on to another workout or as a staple in your regular weekly rotation (I don’t recommend doing it more than 3-4 non-consecutive days per week, though).

Posted 5/6/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 19 comments   122,983 views

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6 Exercises That Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

What’s the best way to stay in shape during your pregnancy—and beyond?  Get in the best shape of your life before you get pregnant! Here are my top six exercise recommendations for preparing your body for a strong and healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

Posted 5/5/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   27,954 views

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DVD Review: Get R.I.P.P.E.D. in Less Than 50 Minutes a Day!

We're always on the lookout for new fitness DVDs that are fun, challenging, and easy to fit into a busy day. So when R.I.P.P.E.D.: Total Body Challenge promised us a calorie-torching, full-body interval workout in less than 50 minutes, we had to take it through a test run. Interval-style training always drives away our workout boredom—and it delivers serious results to boot—so we couldn't wait to give this program a try! To find out if R.I.P.P.E.D. really delivers (and whether it's right for you), keep reading. 

Posted 5/1/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14,041 views

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The Top 5 Myths about Women and Strength Training

Have you ever heard a woman say, "I can't lift weights. I don't want to get bulky." Or how about, "I don't want to gain muscle. I just want to tone the muscle I already have."

These are just a couple of the common responses I hear when I suggest strength training to women who are interested in getting in better shape.  Sadly, there are many myths that women believe about muscles and strength training.
Although we've seen a bit of a paradigm shift happening the past few years in which more women are making their way into the weight room, there are still just a few myths that won't die, and I'm going to bust them now.

Posted 4/29/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   30,556 views

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6 Pre-Race Food & Fitness Blunders

You have a race coming up—congratulations! Whether it's a 5K or a 50K, you have a lot to be proud of! To make sure your race goes off without a hitch, start here.
 
When it comes to race day, there are plethora of do's and don’ts to set yourself up for success. While there are a variety of expert opinions on how to approach a race, it ultimately comes down to figuring out what works for you—and trust me, I have had plenty of personal trials and errors from which anyone can learn. Here are some of the common nutrition and fitness mistakes even experienced runners make that can be detrimental during the race itself.

Posted 4/24/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   32,101 views

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4 Tips to Stop the Fat Talk for Good

Fat talk.  We've all done it.  We have all looked in the mirror at one time or another and said negative things about our physical appearance. 

In fact, we probably do it so often that we don't even notice it anymore.

We pinch our bellies and grumble about our thighs rubbing together and look at the dimples on the backs of our legs in disgust for years. We say it in our heads, we share it with our girlfriends, and even when our partners complement our bodies, we argue with their assessment. We do it so often that it seems totally normal. 

But it's not. 

We aren't made to be filled with self-hatred, self-loathing and negative self-talk; yet somehow it has become completely acceptable to be our own worst enemy.
So how can you stop this kind of talk?  How can we go from bashing our bodies on a regular basis to thinking more positively and replacing those negative thoughts with loving ones? Start with these four strategies.

Posted 4/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   31,789 views

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3 Symptoms Your Husband Shouldn't Ignore

Your husband says he has a nagging pain below his ribs, chest tightness that won’t quit or has simply been feeling sluggish lately, but doesn’t feel like calling his doctor (or doesn’t have one). Here are three symptoms he (and you) should take seriously.

Posted 4/16/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   104,233 views

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A Quick, Zero-Equipment Cardio Workout

Are you getting bored with your cardio routine? Spice things up with this quick, efficient (and kinda fun!) cardio workout that can be done with or without impact in a small space at home. I’ll show modification options during the routine, so be sure to stick with whatever works best for your body!  

Posted 4/16/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   27,769 views

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2 Easy Tips for a Great Workout Every Time

Whether you're a casual exerciser or an elite athlete, we've all been through workouts when our minds begin to interfere, preventing us from achieving our daily goals. In fact, research has proven that it's usually the mind—not the body—that fatigues first and stops us from reaching our full physical potential.  
 
Even top Olympic athletes deal with mental distraction and fatigue during their training sessions. It is in these moments that they must learn how to effectively master their minds in order to sustain motivation, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotional control so that they can follow through on their pre-planned workouts and prepare for competition. 

Posted 4/14/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   17,349 views

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Rise and Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning

One of the best ways to start your day in a healthy way is to take a moment to ground your thoughts by stretching and intentionally breathing.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in less than seven minutes to set your day on the right path.  
 
When you stretch deeply, you should always be warm.  So performing this series after a morning workout or after a hot shower is optimal. If you do it right out of bed, make sure you stretch more gently.  

Here are eight stretches to add to your morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded. These exercises cover all your major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day, including after your workouts.

Posted 4/11/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 23 comments   174,109 views

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How to Keep Your House Clean in 15 Minutes a Day!

If you hate having a designated cleaning day, but love having a clean house, it can seem that the only solution is to hire a cleaning service. But that can be expensive, and many people who hire others to do the dirty work for them often end up cleaning before the cleaning staff arrives anyway! You can avoid spending an entire day cleaning the house if you break the housekeeping chores up into about 20-minute segments each day of the week. This will let you maintain a pretty clean house much of the time without having to spend your entire Saturday scrubbing.
 
Here we've broken up most of the cleaning necessities into shorter sessions you can fit into each day of the week—with one cleaning-free day off to enjoy your spic and span house!

Posted 4/7/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 27 comments   57,948 views

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Kim Changed Her Eating Habits and Made a Commitment to Exercise to Drop 95 Pounds!

Name: Kim Phelan
Username: KIMPY225
Amount of weight lost: 95 pounds
Hometown: Richboro, PA
Occupation: Clerical
Age: 28
 
While growing up, Kim played many different sports including soccer, softball and volleyball. In high school, she weighed 140 pounds. At the time, she felt overweight because most of the girls she knew weighed 120 pounds or less. When Kim started college, she weighed 155 pounds. Over the years, she kept gaining more and more weight until she reached 250 pounds. By that point she had stopped playing sports and stayed inside most of the time because she felt out of breath constantly and hated the way she looked. Unfortunately, she also didn't like herself enough to do anything about it.

Once Kim's doctor warned her that she had high blood pressure, which put her at risk for having a stroke, she knew she had to do something about her weight. Kim decided to do whatever it took to lose weight and be a healthier person. Learn how she accomplished so much more in the process.

Posted 4/6/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 28 comments   16,176 views

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