SparkPeople is a goal based website aiming to help its members achieve overall health, weight loss, and wellness. In a sense it is a community website that has over 11 million people actively associated within the system. It offers calorie counters, meal plans, recipes, personalized fitness programs, advice from experts, and community support. It was founded by Chris Downie, ex Ebay employee who saw success early on and started in 2001. To date there are over 8 million people taking advantage of the free service on the website from 150 countries.
How Does SparkPeople Work?
When you go to the website, you will see the word FREE everywhere. When I see the word FREE I know there is always a catch somewhere down the line. Sure enough I registered for free, and was able to personalize my profile right away with information such as weight, height, age, gender, and goals. Please note if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are not allowed to join the sight to my surprise due to specific diet, nutrition, and fitness exceptions. I was a little taken aback by this!
Once you set your profile up, it takes you to a page that will automatically ask you to upgrade to the premiums site for $4.99 per month. Not expensive by any means, but it can add up if you do not pay attention to it. The only difference between the free site and the premium site is:
- No ads
- Smart Start Program: Video and other tips to help your progress
- E-mail a coach option
- Advanced Reporting on your progress
At the top of the website once you get through your profile set up you will see a few tabs:
- My Trackers
All of these tabs break down into specific areas such as community boards, nutritional advice, different workout challenges that are taking place, and blog posts to read on select topics of choice.
The Bottom Line: This is a free website membership with options to upgrade. You will be able to track your daily workouts, diet, and articles applicable to what you are interested in.
Is SparkPeople Safe?
Other than possibly getting spammed with e-mails from this website, the community is entirely safe and it is healthy too! It is a great way to get motivated to track your habits, set goals, and see results. There is nothing unhealthy about the way the company assists you in tracking your goals, and they will even give you advice regarding your current weight. If you put into the system that you are 128 pounds and want to get down to 120, the website will tell you based on your height if it is healthy to lose that weight or not. The program is customizable to your exact needs, and there is a community of people that you can collaborate and work with along the way.
The Bottom Line: Totally safe.
Pros and Cons of SparkPeople
There are a few pros and cons with this free membership, see below.
- Free website with a lot of great resources to help a willing person lose weight, gain weight, or get into the best shape
- Easy to sign up with minimal options to upgrade
- Cheap upgrade price for their premium website
- A lot of members are active making the community feel strong and supportive
- The website feels busy making it hard to read and organize your thoughts
- There are not a lot of blog posts on certain topics making the content seem shallow
The Bottom Line: There are more pros than cons with Spark People for sure.
Overall, Chris Downie created a nice system for people looking to be a part of a healthy community. I like how many options the website gives you for free, and the upgrade is simple as well. This is a great website that I personally will be using, and the idea he had behind creating the service for people is truly genuine. Spark People is a nice weight loss, health, and wellness product that I recommend anyone take advantage of if they are looking for some fast, free, and easy resources! With the internet and mobile phone apps readily available to so many people in such a quick amount of time there is no reason not to sign up!