Friday, August 10, 2007

Nifty site: SparkPeople

Every so often, a website called SparkPeople will be mentioned over on the WW boards. I finally checked it out yesterday and I like what I see. It's a diet site to be sure, but it's completely free and looks like a lot of fun.

It has the basic tools like calorie intake calculation and a customizable food tracker. But where the really nifty part comes in is the fitness tracker. You can create your own strength training routine by selecting from a long list of exercises designed to strengthen your core, upper body, or lower body. Just keep clicking on the exercises you want to try, and it adds it to your routine for the day. It will also tell you how many sets and repetitions are needed for each exercise. Unsure of how to perform a certain exercise? There's demos of everything. And as near as I can tell, you don't need any special equipment aside from dumbbells, stretching bands, and an exercise ball. If you don't have all of those, you can set your preferences to indicate which of these you do have and it'll only show you exercises you can perform using the equipment you happen to have on hand.

The other tool that I'm excited about is their recipe section. Like Recipezaar and similar sites, it has user-submitted recipes, as well as reviews. However, the recipes at SparkPeople are geared towards the healthy crowd so you're not wading through scads of recipes looking for something that might fit your points allowance. There's nutritional info, too, but like anything user-submitted, be sure to recalculate it yourself.

There's a lot of other fun tools on SparkPeople like being able to join teams that may have similar goals. During the account-creation process, the site will suggest teams that may fit the goals you've entered. You can choose to join the teams right then or wait until you've had a chance to check them out. Each team has their own message board on which you can participate. Speaking of message boards, there's also a public message board system with private messaging and the ability to add pictures to your profile and signature. And lastly, there's something called SparkPoints which you earn by accomplishing certain things every day or by taking one-time challenges. I'm not entirely sure what they're there for (you can't exchange them for physical prizes) but they seem fun enough to try and earn some as a no-cost reward system.

All that said, I wouldn't jump ship entirely from eTools to SparkPeople. Each is designed for a specific need. My need happens to be counting points. However, I see sites like SparkPeople as an additional resource which may help with my journey. Plus, I like fun gadgets whether they be online or in the real world.

Check it out if you have a spare few minutes, there's bound to be something there to help you with your goal!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I enjoy that site too, it's nice to have other resources to help us out on our journey's :)