Chris "SparkGuy" Downie (SP_STAFF)

SparkPeople CEO and Founder and Motivation Expert

Chris earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Cincinnati. He started his career at Procter and Gamble, where he used proven health, goal-setting and motivation techniques to get fit, manage stress and create the fuel he needed to reach his goals. He left P&G to co-found an early Internet company, which became eBay's first acquisition. With the freedom and capital to do whatever he wanted, Chris founded SparkPeople so that he could SPARK millions of PEOPLE to get healthy and reach their goals, too. Since 2001, Chris has invested $5 million of his own money to create and operate SparkPeople.com.

Chris wrote his first book, The Spark (Hay House, 2009), which was a New York Times Best Seller. He is proud that this book was a team effort involving the resident experts from SparkPeople and its members, too. The Spark tells the inspiring account of how Chris founded SparkPeople and distills the best of the SparkPeople program, along with new strategies and secrets of success, in an easy-to-follow 28-day plan.

More by Chris:

The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life


Read More of Chris "SparkGuy"'s Blogs:

Attention Gmail Users: Where to Find Your SparkPeople Messages

Google has recently changed the structure of Gmail so that newsletters and other messages from businesses are being filtered under a special tab called Promotions.
If you want to continue receiving your SparkPeople newsletters in your regular Inbox, you have two choices:

Posted 8/2/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 19 comments   9,399 views

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New Feature: Calorie Ranges Based on Fitness Tracking

UPDATE 7/15/13: All members can now switch between either calorie calculation option at any time. Here is a link that will help you determine which option is right for you and how to tell which setting is currently active for you.

UPDATE 7/15/13: Today we launched this change as optional for all new and existing members. You can switch between either calorie option at any time using your Account Preferences page. We'll update this blog with more information on those details in the coming days. But for those asking, YES, it is now optional!

UPDATE 7/12/13: We hear you! We are currently working on changes to make this new feature OPTIONAL for all current and future members. With this change (coming soon), ALL members will have the option to turn this feature on or off at any time! Stay tuned. We will update everyone as soon as that goes into effect.


This morning (7/10/13), we launched a much-requested change to  your Fitness and Nutrition Trackers that may interest a large percentage of our members, especially those with active jobs or lifestyles—and people currently in weight-maintenance mode. 
 
Until now, our Fitness and Nutrition Trackers didn't really communicate with each other. Your daily calorie range assumed you were generally sedentary, and even if you tracked exercise, your Nutrition Tracker didn't take all of those calories burned into account when creating your calorie range. SparkPeople believes so much in the power of even small amounts of consistent exercise that we decided to do more to integrate fitness into our calorie equation. Now we have updated how the Trackers "talk" to one another so that your calorie range will automatically adjust (increase) on the days that you track exercise (calories burned)—IF you adjust your settings to allow for this communication (details on that below).

If you don't want this change, there's nothing you need to do. If you are interested in learning more or putting this new feature into action, keep reading. (Note that all new members who create SparkPeople accounts after today (7/10/13) will be in this program by default and cannot switch out of it.

Posted 7/9/2013  5:00:00 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 206 comments   57,619 views

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Help SparkPeople Win a Members' Choice Award

We have some great news, and it could lead to even better news if we can enlist your help! 
 
SparkPeople has been named a finalist in the OMMA Awards (Online Media, Marketing & Advertising).  Winning would bring great national exposure among key influencers in the media and therefore be a terrific way to Spread the Spark and help more people get healthy and happy and reach their goals.  
 
We are a finalist in the Website Excellence Group within the "Social Networking (excluding Facebook and MySpace)" category.  The winner of that category will be chosen by judges, but there’s a much bigger prize at stake that we hope will be chosen by YOU: a Members’ Choice Award, which is decided by voters who are fans of finalists’ sites. 
 
If SparkPeople is sparking YOU to lead a healthier, happier life and reach your goals, or generally brightening your days, we would love for you to express your support by voting to make SparkPeople a Members’ Choice Award winner!

Posted 9/22/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 141 comments   17,250 views

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More Motivational Stories On The Way!

Hi Everyone!

One of my favorite parts about SparkPeople is reading all the amazing stories that come in from members. We literally have tens of thousands of great comments with new ones posted to the site every day.

I love finding these posts and sharing them with the SparkPeople team (along with other members of our team who help gather these great posts). These posts motivate us to continue improving the site every day. Seeing how the site impacts people in so many ways makes SparkPeople not really feel like "work" much of the time. Instead, it feels like we're all together on a mission to spark millions of people to reach their goals!

Posted 5/30/2010  11:00:54 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 44 comments   8,892 views

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We're Ready to 'Move' on the First Lady's Childhood Obesity Initiative

SparkPeople is incredibly excited about this morning's launch of Michelle Obama's childhood obesity initiative. As the largest and most active weight loss and fitness website in America, SparkPeople is ready--and able--to fully support this initiative.

Announced last month and explained in detail this week, the plan--called Let's Move--would unite federal, state and local governments with businesses and the nonprofit sector to provide healthier food in schools, more ways for kids to get moving, and supply better access to affordable, nutritious food in all communities--and call for more accurate food labeling.

"Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; nearly one third of children in America are now overweight or obese," the East Wing said in a statement. The First Lady cited the latest statistics: Around 32% of children and teens are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; about one in five of children ages 6 to 19 are obese.

These statistics are beyond alarming.

But we believe that with so many people and organizations across America joining the fight, there is an incredible opportunity to help end childhood obesity in our lifetime. Weíve seen some promising trends in the SparkPeople community that give us much hope, too. Iíll tell you about some of those.

Posted 2/9/2010  11:16:14 AM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 214 comments   29,115 views

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Spotted: 'The Spark' and Some Amazing Members

Greetings, SparkPeople! I'm writing to you from back home. I visited the team in Cincinnati last week, and we had a party to celebrate our recent successes. A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to send us photos of your "Spark Sightings." Round One was a hit, and so was Round Two. Check out these great stories and photos of members Spreading the Spark--and spotting The Spark.

"I purchased a copy of The Spark and donated it to my local library, which is also where I am employed. My theory is that some will not want to spend the money until they have had a chance to really Ďcheck it outí to see if it is worth their hard earned dollars. I see it as a win/win situation, if they donít care for it, at least they have heard of it, if they love it, they will go out and purchase a personal copy.

So far, our library is the only one in the state to offer The Spark.That means that folks in other towns may request an interlibrary loan and borrow ours. I have made an announcement and posted a photo on the ĎSpark Maine The Official Teamí so that all will know.

The photo is of myself at the Ellsworth Public Library, Ellsworth, Maine.

I LOVE my book! I am on chapter 3, and reading if VERY carefully, and slowly, taking in as much as I can! I donít want to miss a morsel of the great information!"

Sandy Abbott (HIKERSAN)

Posted 2/1/2010  3:33:13 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 56 comments   15,265 views

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Great Article in Good Housekeeping

Remember last week when I mentioned some big news and an article in a major magazine? I couldn't divulge details then, but that magazine is now on newsstands, so I can share: I wrote an article for Good Housekeeping (in the February 2010 issue with Amy Grant and Vince Gill on the cover). The article is a cover story! (Can I get a Woo-Hoo?)

When I was in New York, I had the honor and privilege of meeting GH Editor Rosemary Ellis--and got a tour of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. It was really impressive to see all the research that goes on there, and it's an incredible honor to have such a respected magazine give us such amazing coverage.(Happy 125th Anniversary, Good Housekeeping!)

Posted 1/13/2010  10:15:19 AM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 407 comments   44,959 views

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'The Spark' is a Best Seller--and We're On 'Today' Again

I've been pinching myself so often lately that I might soon have a bruise on my arm. So much good news has been coming our way in the last few weeks that it's hard to believe that it's all happening at once. While 2009 was a pretty amazing year for SparkPeople, 2010 is the year of The Spark.

Last week, I recapped my trip to New York with you, and I told you that we had even more exciting news to share.

And here it is:

Posted 1/12/2010  11:00:02 AM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 77 comments   14,969 views

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Spotted: 'The Spark'

Last week when my new book, The Spark, was published, I shared with you the photo of me first spotting the book in stores. Since then, I've traveled from my home in California to New York and a few other cities, and I've seen it in bookstores--and even in people's hands. I asked you to share your photos of The Spark, and many of you did! As promised, here are "Spark Spottings"!

Posted 1/10/2010  3:14:03 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 40 comments   14,325 views

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SparkGuy: On the Road Again

Hello, SparkPeople! It's SparkGuy again. Wow, was it a busy week! I was in New York and Washington, D.C., for press tour to support The Spark, and boy, has it been exciting!

Posted 1/8/2010  2:00:38 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 129 comments   20,210 views

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SparkGuy, Live from the Big Apple

Greetings, SparkPeople. It's SparkGuy here, blogging from the road. I'm a long way from home this week, on the East Coast to promote The Spark. I've done TV interviews with local stations around the country, spotted The Spark in Times Square, and even met with some old friends and members. I've also had a few really exciting meetings. (Stay tuned to the dailySpark for more news on those! Just keep Spreading the Spark! It really helps.)

Even though New York is crazy-cold, I did a run for an hour around the city today--brrrrrr. Luckily my hotel room has high ceilings, so I did some jump rope in here to warm up.

I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to share some of the highlights of the trip so far!

Posted 1/5/2010  4:29:02 PM By: Chris "SparkGuy" Downie : 141 comments   17,717 views

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