The FBGs are big on encouraging real life change in people. We believe that fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes and that the journey—and life—should be an adventure. And a fun one that is full of good foods, the occasional treat and lots of activity that you love. We’ve reviewed a lot of books over the last year and a half, but rarely do we read a book that passionately echoes our own mission statement. In order to get you interested, most fitness and diet books hook you with a big promise or magic bullet to life change. Not today’s book though. The Spark really is as the subtitle says: “The Breakthrough Formula for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life.” And it does it sanely with the same message that we deeply believe in: Losing weight isn’t about a diet or a quick fix, but rather it’s about changing your life for the better in all aspects.
Reading The Spark was honestly like opening the lid on my brain and stepping inside. Chris Downie, the author of the book and the founder, CEO and motivation expert of SparkPeople.com details much of his life in the book. He begins by describing himself as a shy, anxious child and young adult who later turns successful entrepreneur and finds confidence through sports and fitness. Then, through his own fitness pursuits, he inadvertently inspires others to get active. He gets drunk off of the feeling of helping others, and eventually begins Spark People to continue spreading the get-healthy gospel. Over the years, I’ve also been drunk on this feeling, as it prompted me to co-found Fit Bottomed Girls, and you readers’ words and accomplishments keep us drunk and going, posting new content day after day. (For the record, this kind of drunk is a very, very good drunk.)
Chris’ story is absolutely fascinating, and the book gives you a behind-the-scenes look at why and how Spark People was started and operates. It also breaks down the principles of the Spark lifestyle in book format, reaching those people who aren’t online junkies like me (and probably you, if you’re a fitness blogger or fitness blog lova). Additionally, you can also read countless stories and motivational words from successful “Sparkers,” or those who have used Spark’s free online tools to lose weight and ultimately reach their dreams. (A big what-what to FBG reader spring4fal who is featured as one!)
Part 1 of the book details Spark’s Fuel for Improvement System with its four cornerstones: Focus, Fitness, Fire and Positive Force. Part II focuses on the SparkDiet, which includes four stages: Fast Break, Healthy Diet Habits, Lifestyle Change and Spread the Spark. Notice how willpower, deprivation and exhausting workouts aren’t included? This is a very livable plan—that’s the point!) The book concludes with an appendix of all kinds of goodies, such as mix-and-match meals, a list of “super foods,” 10-minute workouts, tracker pages and more. And if that wasn’t enough fun stuff for you, the book also includes a bunch of free online resources.
Now it’s no secret that I’m a Spark lover. Heck, I regularly write for its fitness section, and we’ve listed them as one of our favorite free fitness resources. This book doesn’t disappoint either. It’s perfect for the hardcore Spark fan who wants an insider look at the site. It’s also ideal for those who have never heard of Spark and are a bit intimidated by online weight-loss programs. (Just expect to be sold pretty hard on the online site—that’s really my only compliant of the book.) Now, if you already know the Spark story and know the program like the back of your hand, you probably don’t need to read the book, but the reader success stories and the free bonus online resources are enough to justify the price.
Overall, the book is like the site, just in a format that you can take just about anywhere. And with a message that’s darn near close to our own, we love it! —Jenn
Want to try this book for yourself? SparkPeople is generously giving away FIVE copies of this stellar book! If you’re in the U.S. and haven’t won anything on FBG in the last 30 days, comment below to be entered to win!