SparkPeople Guest Blogger

How One Couple Worked Together to Lose 267 Pounds

A couple facing diabetes and other health issues joined together to start a weight loss journey that took them from sedentary and lifeless to vigorous and healthy. They now have many Valentine's Day celebrations ahead of them as a couple thanks to careful food tracking and daily walking!


Names: Steve and Debbie Cartwright
Usernames: Sac-6582 and Debarizona
Amount of weight lost: Steve lost 180 pounds and Debbie lost 87 pounds
Hometown: Peoria, AZ                 
Occupations: Steve is in ministry and Debbie is a facility director for a camp/retreat
Ages: Steve is 54 and Debbie is 52

Posted 2/10/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 85 comments   42,262 views

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The 9 Best Exercises for Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common problems that many of us experience. Studies show that 30% of people experience neck pain, with women affected more often than men. The neck includes seven segments (or vertebrae) with discs acting as shock-absorbers between the segments. The vertebrae are supported by 18 groups of muscles that maintain support and allow function. Why so many muscles? Well, the head weighs about 10 pounds and sits about 10 inches above the shoulders with only the neck to support it. No wonder it gets sore from time to time!

So, how do we keep our neck healthy and strong? The answer is maintaining motion and strength exercises. So let’s look at both. And remember, if you experience pain, stop the exercise and consult your doctor. And don’t feel you have to do all of the exercises. Pick the ones that help the most and don’t cause increased pain.

Posted 1/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   54,549 views

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6 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Best Body Ever

My husband Terry, once a top collegiate division one athlete, martial artist and dancer, recently realized that he'd added six inches onto his waist since our three-year-old daughter was born. When we first met, he had a lean six pack, but just a few months ago, he was grabbing a sizeable spare tire with both hands in front of the mirror. ''What happened? How did I get here, Tina?'' he asked me almost helplessly.

Terry knew he had to make a change, but not just for vanity's sake. He knew that if he wanted to see his daughter grow up into a beautiful woman someday and be there for all of the milestones in between, he needed to do something differently right away. So, he started the process of getting healthier immediately. How? By planning for sustainable results. 

Posted 1/30/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   22,932 views

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15-Minute Beginner Barre Workout

This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Barre (or ballet-inspired) workouts are typically low-impact and help develop total-body flexibility, strength and coordination, making them a fantastic way to get fit! If you've been wanting to try a barre workout, this is the perfect place to start! 
 

Posted 1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   73,567 views

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Finally: A Yoga Routine for Bad Wrists!

This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Yoga is a wonderful way to build flexibility, range of motion and relieve stress. But if you are just starting out, some traditional yoga poses and postures can be a little overwhelming and/or too tough on the wrists. This gentle, yoga-inspired routine uses a chair to help safely support your body into a deeper stretch.

Posted 1/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   26,567 views

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4 Things Nobody Tells You about Your Post-Partum Body

About seven years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, I was on a plane visibly embarrassing my husband as I laughed my head off (loudly). The reason that I was laughing was because I was reading Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs, in which she tells new moms about all of the amazing changes that come with pregnancy and the time right after. Now that I am the mom of two handsome boys, I can definitely relate to Jenny--and I love to share my own stories with new mommies in my pre and post-natal fitness classes in Los Angeles. Here are some things nobody tells you about your post-natal body that I've learned from personal experience. My intention is to bring laughter and levity to some crazy changes that the gift of motherhood brings. 

Posted 1/16/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   12,985 views

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15-Minute Bodyweight Basics Workout

This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Whether you are just starting to exercise, or have been working out for years, there is nothing more effective for building strength, alignment and body awareness than basic, bodyweight only exercises. This 15-minute full-length home workout routine helps keeps your heart rate elevated while developing strength and stamina from head to toe. Refresh your form and perfect your body alignment with these traditional moves to safely get more out of every workout. 

Posted 1/12/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   29,787 views

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A Zero-Equipment Cardio Jump-Start

This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Forget slogging through countless miles on the boring treadmill or running outdoors in the bitter cold--a good cardio session can be quick and effective, and done from the comfort of your home with zero equipment! Join me for this short and sweaty cardio workout any time you need a fun way to spark up your calorie burn FAST. 

Posted 1/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 16 comments   36,998 views

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How to Start Exercising: A 20-Minute Routine

Ready to start exercising, but not sure where to begin? I’ve created this workout just for you! Everybody has to start his or her own personal exercise journey somewhere, so if you are ready to start moving, join me for this efficient and effective workout that uses just your body weight, a chair and a wall. This 20-minute routine will help you develop strength and stamina and will teach you proper form for basic exercises like squats, planks and push-ups.
 

Posted 12/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   67,995 views

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7 Reasons Parents Should Feel GOOD--Not Guilty--about Exercising

Whether you're a parent who works full time, part time, or stays at home, working out can be a challenge.  Finding the time amid cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, sports, lessons, and bill-paying; finding the energy when you're short on sleep; and finding someone to watch the kids so you can get to the gym or go for a jog is no small feat!  And then there's the guilt.  Maybe you feel guilty because working out means even more time away from your kids, so you choose to skip the gym.  Maybe they're with you all day but they cry when you drop them off at the gym child-care, so you opt to stay home instead.  Whatever the reason, if you're missing your workouts because you're feeling guilty, read on to shake off the guilt and get fit—because as it turns out, your workouts are actually good for your kids, too!

Posted 11/17/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   11,255 views

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The 12-Minute Better Posture Workout

Your mom was right--standing up straight really is good for you! Better posture can also help you look taller and slimmer instantly (no Spanx required). With all the sitting and slouching we do while typing, texting and driving, maintaining good posture can require a little extra work. Join me for this equipment-free, full-length workout video designed to develop strength, flexibility and proper alignment in the postural muscles of the neck, shoulders, back and core. A mat is recommended for the floor work (though a carpeted surface should work fine). 

Posted 11/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   38,475 views

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The Best Abs Exercises (that Won't Hurt Your Back)

If traditional abs moves like crunches and twists bother your back, don't suffer! There are plenty of ways to work your abs without straining your back that are just as (and sometimes more!) effective. Join me (and my puppy Peanut) for this full-length workout routine that is designed for those who experience back pain during floor abdominal exercises.
 
All you’ll need for this workout is a sturdy chair and a single light dumbbell (or similar weighted object). 

Posted 11/3/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   121,595 views

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5 Smart Exercises to Support Your Knees

Perhaps the most common question I receive from patients is, ''I can’t exercise because of knee arthritis. What do I do?'' Over 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 suffer from knee arthritis. This can make exercising more challenging. As a result, many people with knee pain from arthritis just stop exercising. This can lead to obesity, loss of muscle tone, worsening of the arthritis and depression. You heard that right--exercise improves knee arthritis, and lack of exercise makes it worse!  If you have knee arthritis, there are some moves you may wish to avoid until your symptoms improve:

1. Bending  the knee while bearing weight
2. Flexing the knee past ninety degrees
3. Stressing the ligaments by leaping from side to side

If the above moves cause you discomfort, below are some alternative exercises that will move the knee joint safely while strengthening all the supporting muscles.
You will want to be on the floor for most of these exercises, so take your time getting down and back up again. Use a thick rug or exercise mat for comfort. If you have a firm mattress, you can even do some of these moves in bed. 

Posted 10/9/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   185,235 views

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A 15-Minute Lower-Body Workout for Bad Knees

Squats and lunges are two of my favorite classic moves to incorporate into lower-body workouts because they really work! However,as effective as they are, these particular moves can cause knee pain for a lot of people. The good news is that you can still effectively target the lower body with these alternative exercises that won’t strain your joints. This full-length, low-impact workout doesn’t include a single squat or lunge and is designed to be gentle on the joints but tough on your hips, thighs and glutes! 

Posted 9/30/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   101,227 views

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You've Never Used Your Microwave Like This Before!

Now that school is back in session and you're getting into your fall routine, you're going to need after-school snacks and quick weeknight meals you can prepare in a flash to keep those kids happy and healthy. And you probably have just the secret weapon to do it—your microwave! From defrosting frozen items to preparing side dishes for dinner, your microwave may be an overlooked tool in your kitchen. 

Posted 9/23/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   18,014 views

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