Fitness Friday: Sparkpeople

Last Friday I announced my #Powerof41 challenges. After hitting publish, I realized that I now have a lot of things to keep track of. Rather than give up before I even started, I created a spreadsheet with different tabs for the various projects and activities.

I don’t need the spreadsheet for everything. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been using SparkPeople for many years to keep track of my weight, exercise, calories and water intake.

spark

 

I love the philosophy behind the site: begin with small changes to work toward short-term goals that have long-lasting effects. I also like that I can earn points and virtual badges for entering food eaten, logging in my fitness minutes, reading articles and completing challenges.  The points can’t be redeemed for anything – they just remind me of the gold star stickers of childhood.

points

The site, which is free to registered users, offers many resources. Users have their own page where they can post photos, status updates, and blog entries. Members can join teams with common goals or interests. There are many thirty-day challenges available for all types of activities: increasing fiber intake, making small changes, walking more, or training for a 5K.

challenge

One resource I plan on using more over the next year is the collection of workout videos. There are videos for all levels of fitness and for both aerobic and strength training. Most are designed to use little or no equipment in your home or even at your desk.

Is SparkPeople perfect? No. I have friends who prefer Weight Watchers or MyFitnessPal because they find their tracking programs easier to use. I agree that it can be cumbersome to enter foods. I have no idea if this is easier using a smartphone. Still, I’ve found that my fitness journey has been easier with the tools available on the site. And if you are looking for inspiration, the motivational articles and member stories can’t be topped.

Do you use a web-based program to track your eating and exercising? Would you recommend it to others?

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