“ Supporting people with weight and health problems by guiding a fitness program suited to the persons needs so they can take control of their life for a better, healthier lifestyle. „
I absolutely love sparkpeople.com. It such a great resource. It has eveything, online support, forums, an exercise tracker, which you can have work you out a plan, or input your own exercises you have completed which then shows you how may calories you have burned.
It also has a food tracker, again a plan can be worked out for you or you can input your own foods, and the best part, there is huge database of foods, calorie counted that you can just search for and add, not alot of these are American, but becaseu Sparkpeople has taken off all over the world, people from other countries have doen a lot of the hard work and individually inputted the nutritional informaton from food products they eat, and then sahred them on the site so you can just search for them and input them into yoru tracker. If a food item is not there, then you can input the information and add it to the database, or into your own personal favourites, which then makes it easier each time to log a food item as you just need to click on it and add it into the relevant section of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.
You can take or leave any part of the site and just tailor it to you, at the moment I used the initial goal setter, to input my weight and how much I want to loose, and it has given me a time frame to do this healthily. If you want to say input a stone in 4 weeks, it will not allow it as it advocates, sensible weight loss, which is great as it sets realistic goals that are achievable if you put in the effort. I also use the fitness tracker daily as it helps me keep track of what I do, and how many calories i have burned, but also how much effort i have had to put in to achieve that calorie burn. I personally do not track food as I can get a tad obsessive, but instead follow portion control and eating intuitivley and healthily.
Not only this but there are tonnes of articles, not just on weight loss, but also on living a healthy lifestyle both physically and emotionally, inspirational videos, real life sucess stories which unliek the infomercials you sometimes see on TV are about real people putting in the hard work and loosing weight the good old fashioned way with diet and exercise, and they really are motivating. In fact that is what got me runngin last year, I saw a lady on there from the sates almost 300lb who had ran a 10k, I thought if she can do it, I can do, joined one of the runnign groups on there and with a lot of support and hard work, I ran my first 5K, and this is from a woman, that would not even run for a bus if her life depended on it.
The best part - which I love, and use daily has to be the 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute fitness and exercise videos that you can fit in, really easily, into a busy day. I can even do these while my children are watching TV in the evening, which means I dont have to find time to exercise, I can fit it around my normal routine. Also if the site is down for maintenance, I can still access these videos as they are posted onto youtube.
I love the fact that it teaches no nonsense, faddy diets or extreme exercise programmes, just good old fashioned healthy eating and exercise, no fad diets.
And the most spectacular part is , IT IS ALL FREE!
This is really important for me, as i do not have alot of spare cash to join clubs like slimming world or weight watchers, I am trying to clear debt so every spare penny goes to that, another reason I find this site so invaluable.
I have lost alot of weight using the resources here in the past ( before i had my daughter ) and have just started utilising this resource again, and am already seeing losses in my wasit line and not from my pocket.
Sparkpeople is absolutely amazing. A completely free service, Spark offers Nutrition and Fitness tracking and guidance, as well as advice on health and wellness. Their positive community atmosphere really helps encourage and motivate users into acheiving their health goals, whether it be to lose, gain, or maintain weight and become fitter, healthier people all around.
Upon signing up, users create a profile that helps Spark's experts generate a plan tailored specifically to the user. You can opt into receiving meal plans and fitness plans, but you can also create your own and track your daily food intake and activity, if you would rather. I always do the latter. It allows me to keep track of what I am putting into my body, as well as how active I am during a typical day, without having me deviate at all from my normal routine. From this, I make my own judgement calls as to whether I would like to modify my diet or my fitness. Spark helps me stay on track with making sure I eat a balanced diet and get enough physical activity.
There are also community based features, such as articles, message boards, recipe swaps, and teams or groups to join to help educate and motivate users on their way to a healthy lifestyle.
Sparkpeople.com is something I will always choose to keep as a part of my life, it really motivates me to keep healthy, and I highly recommend it to others who want to do the same!
In my quest to eat a bit healthier I decided to use the internet to search for a few recipes. During one of my searches I stumbled upon sparkpeople.com. Not only did it have an abundance of great recipes but it also offered free weigh loss plans, fitness plans, supports groups and much more. I decided to register for free and so far I have been very pleased that I have done so.
A bit about spark people.com
Sparkpeople is a company which has created and now runs several different health living websites. Anyone can become a free member and can then tailor the website to suit their individual needs.
As mentioned before the price for this website is free. The website itself offers things such as free diet plans, nutrition checkers, fitness regimes and other methods to monitor your progress. The plans and routines have been put together by experts and are simple to start up and follow. There is also a very active community which offers some moral support when required.
I actually just stumbled upon this site and im really pleased that I did. It offers loads of great aids and methods for achieving a healthier lifestyle. The meal planner is excellent. Although I don't tend to stick to it I have used it many times when looking for healthy meal ideas (all of which have been lovely). One of my favourite was the grilled chicken with oregano and red peppers. This went down a real treat.
The site is regularly updated and features lots of useful articles all related to healthy living such as exercises that can be done at the desk to healthy drinks and snacks.
Overall I would happily recommend this site to anyone as it provides a great service. The only downside I have noticed is that they often send me a lot of emails but I would imagine that I could change this in my settings somewhere. Other than that it's a great site.
I decided to lose weight but money was a factor. Many websites offered FREE stuff, but it always turned out to be a free newsletter and/or spam, followed by a invitation to subscribe. When I came across SP I was understandably sceptical after being tricked into signing up for 'free' stuff so many times.
This time it was different. Sparkpeople really is free, minus their store where they sell SP merchandise. Everything you see is free, supported by adverts.
You'd think that being free means they lack what paid programs supply, but I feel SP provides even more.
The best part of SP is the forum. When you're feeling down, there's always someone on there to pick you up. When you've lost weight and want to share your joy, there's someone to congratulate you. When you're confused about something, there someone to explain it all to you. There are even sections for specific groups e.g. men, older people, underweight people who need to gain, and more. If you don't find groups to suit your needs, you can start a 'Sparkteam' where like minded people can converse, in private/invitation only if you all prefer. There are moderators for those moments when things get too heated, but I've never seen any arguments in the three years I've been there. The 'Sparkcoaches' are the people who started the website, and they regularly post for those who need expert advice.
SP is very safe. The moment you input your details, such as your starting weight and ideal weight, they tell you what is a healthy rate of weight loss. Do not expect SP to tell you how to lose more than 2lbs, the healthiest rate of weight loss, because the system will not let you. SP only pushes a 'Healthy Lifestyle', so not quick fix diets are here.
Your personal section on the website is a nice addition. You can have your own blog with photos, a weight loss 'ticker' that shows your progress, your favourite articles, and friends. In your private section, which you can display your blog, are graphs showing your weight and measurement loss progress, calories consumed and burned, personal goals and other ways you earn daily 'Sparkpoints'. There are many tools here, such as printable measuring tape, articles written by professionals, a test on how your progress is coming along in comparison to last month.
SP provides articles on living with a healthy mind and body, exercises and how to perform them safely, as well as more scientifically minded articles on different illnesses and diseases people live with. You can earn three Sparkpoints per article read- no more than nine points a day- and previously read articles are ticked off, so you don't find yourself reading them again by accident. There is also a 'Success Stories' page for SP members who met their goals and shared their journey. It's very inspiring to see before and after pictures, hear the tough times they worked through, and how much better their lives are now.
SP also have a Youtube channel, and they've added videos lasting approx 10mins on there. This is nice when you are bored with your DVDs and need a change. There is a nice range of videos focused on a specific body part, some with cardio to work the entire body, and a few where the trainer- a Spark coach called Nicole- uses exercise equipment like exercise balls and resistance bands. You can earn points for watching the video as well.
There is also a shop selling SP merchandise like drink bottles and the Youtube videos, but this is for American users only so I cannot comment on the buying process, but the product line looks promising.
I have mentioned Sparkpoints a few times in this review. They are points earned throughout the website that go toward a virtual trophy. This trophy is displayed by your name on the forum and in your personal section of the website. The gap between each trophy increases each time, so first it is around 100 but eventually it will be 10,000 or more. You can only earn a certain number of points from each activity e.g. one for using SP's online search function. If you do the activity/read an article again, you will not get more points. There are many ways to earn points: spinning a virtual SP wheel, where the pointer lands on the points you will be rewarded for that day, reading articles, watching videos, posting in the forum, writing on your blog, and much more.
I highly recommend Sparkpeople, especially to those who need to lose weight on a budget. I did not find any other weight loss website that provided so much for free. I believe everything you need to lose weight is on SP. I don't think I would've gone from 200lbs to 147lbs without the great support on there.