Elizabeth Lowry

I'm a member of SparkPeople's editorial team and I write, edit and manage the content you read. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and enjoy cooking for my family and friends, running, strength training, teaching weekly spin classes and playing outside with my kids. I also love a good challenge and recently found that in Barre class. That's not to say I don't enjoy a good indulgence once in a while--wine and chocolate are two of my favorite things. I am grateful to be here, helping our members reach their own healthy living goals.


Read More of Elizabeth's Blogs:

Spark Spotlight: Linzy (LINZY7)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
 

This Week's Spotlight: Linzy (LINZY7)
Age:  26
Location: Midlothian, Virginia
 
Small Success of the Week
 
Linzy is proud of how much she's accomplished in one year and shared her amazing "before" and "after" photos on the Community Feed. In addition, she stated her optimism toward her weight-loss journey by saying "It’s never too late to change your life."

Posted 8/13/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 21 comments   5,046 views

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Discover Amazing Fitness Deals at These 5 Discount Department Stores

How many times have you found yourself at a discount department store searching for one specific thing, only to find yourself wandering the maze of aisles and randomly scanning the shelves or racks "just to see"? If you're like most, probably more than once.
 
While shopping can be a pain at times, the thrill of the hunt (and a good deal!) keeps many coming back for more. However, did you know that many of the health and fitness items you stumble upon at a store can also be found for the same price (or better) on the store's website, including items like weight-lifting gloves, yoga mats and even kayaks?  

Posted 8/8/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 47 comments   8,418 views

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Spark Spotlight: Jeanie (WALKIN4JEANIE)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Jeanie (WALKIN4JEANIE)
Age: 57
Location: Hickory, North Carolina

Small Success of the Week

Jeanie is proud of her NSV (non-scale victory): She put on and wore a pair of pants that she was not able to even pull up at the end of the last school year! She says it felt good!

Posted 8/6/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 21 comments   5,818 views

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10 Fitness Items You Can Get for Less Than $10 on Amazon

When you think about working out, do you imagine yourself having to shell out hundreds of dollars a year on a gym membership or buying expensive equipment that you'll probably never use? While there certainly are benefits to belonging to a gym, or in owning home gym equipment, none of those things is necessary to get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, there are plenty of items you can purchase for the price of a burger and fries that will last a lot longer and serve your health goals a heck of a lot better.

From light weights that travel well to a mini exercise ball that helps you target those tiny muscles, items that help you stay in shape can be just a 10 spot (or less) away.

Posted 8/1/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 42 comments   9,748 views

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Spark Spotlight: Celynne (CEL3131)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Celynne (CEL3131)
Age: 29
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Small Success of the Week

Celynne hiked 15 kilometers while carrying a 30-pound pack. She is training for long-distance overnight hikes and this was her longest hike at the time of her Community Feed posting. Since then, Celynne has worked her way up to 20 kilometers!  

Posted 7/30/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 26 comments   5,690 views

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Spark Spotlight: Tara (TMP0418)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
 

This Week's Spotlight: Tara (TMP0418)
Age: 42
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Small Success of the Week

Tara is happy to report that she fits into a size 10 bathing suit for the first time in decades.  

Posted 7/23/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 30 comments   6,120 views

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Spark Spotlight: Tiffany (JAPANGURL17)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.
 
This Week's Spotlight: Tiffany (JAPANGURL17)
Age: 27
Location: Imazato, Osaka-Shi, Japan (Hometown: Kahoka, Missouri)
 
Small Success of the Week
 
Tiffany is happy to report she ran her first 2.5 miles ever without stopping! 

Posted 7/16/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 29 comments   5,406 views

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6 Accessories You Need Before Exercising in the Sun

Unfortunately, you can't "roll-over" workouts like you can phone minutes. To stay in shape, lose weight or maintain weight, you have to do the work and do the work often. This can mean swims in chilly water, walks in snow flurries or runs, bike rides and outdoor yoga sessions in the high humidity and heat of summer.

While you can't predict the weather, you can prepare for it. When the heat and stickiness of summer threaten to put a damper on your outdoor workout, fight back with the right attire and accessories to keep you cool.

Posted 7/16/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 66 comments   47,394 views

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10 Athleisure Brands Plus-Size Women Will Love

Shopping for clothes can be a pain no matter what size you are. What looks cute on the model in the store, online or in a magazine almost never looks right when you try it on in real life. Because finding the exact right fit is such an ordeal, many people either stick to the brands they know and love or shy away from shopping all together.

At SparkPeople, we believe that no one is too big too exercise, and to exercise effectively, you need the right clothes. They don't have to be fancy or expensive but you'll appreciate the difference once you've experienced the benefits of wearing a sweat-wicking shirt instead of a cotton one on your next bike ride. From roomier sandals to shirts designed to move with you (and not cling!) these plus-size apparel brands are not to be ignored.

Posted 7/10/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 56 comments   25,561 views

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Spark Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)
Age: 56
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Small Success of the Week

When we first noticed Karen's small success, she had posted on the Community Feed that she hadn't eaten added sugar in a whopping 171 days! She has continued that streak and is now up to 190 days sugar-free. Karen also reports she's in her best health ever and has gone from taking 14 medications to zero.  

Posted 7/9/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 39 comments   8,282 views

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5 Workout Machines for Your Home Gym That Are Worth Every Penny

There are lots of exercises you can do that don't cost a thing, like taking a walk around the block, doing squats while you brush your teeth or performing biceps curls with water bottles. However, sometimes you want more--more strenuous cardio, more options for lifting weights or more machines that can help you sculpt and grow your muscles better than your own body weight or pantry items will allow.

Unfortunately, that "more" often comes with a price tag. Whether you choose to pay gym fees, purchase a package at a boutique studio or take the plunge and invest in your own home gym equipment, sometimes to get what you want you have to be willing to pay for it. If you do decide to purchase exercise equipment for your home, you'll find there's something to be said for the convenience of getting in a full gym workout without leaving your house.

Although major pieces of exercise equipment aren't exactly cheap, remember these pieces are worth the investment if you want to invest in yourself. You'll be grateful for your treadmill or stationary bike when the weather is too cold, too hot or too rainy, and you'll thank yourself for purchasing that home gym system when you catch your first glimpse of muscle definition in the a mirror. Plus, with major fitness equipment only a few steps away, you'll finally find yourself out of excuses for not making fitness a priority.


Take the Dread Out of the Treadmill

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

We've reviewed our favorite treadmills before, but, newer models come out all the time. Built to be better and last longer with fun features (fan! iPod holder! lifetime warranty!) added all the time, it's worth doing new research every now and again to check out what's on the market.

This treadmill by ProForm has four stars on Amazon, and for good reason. With the ability to push your incline up to 12 percent and your mph up to 12, you can choose any combination from walking to running, flat roads to hills and everything in between for a custom workout suited to your needs.

You can also connect this treadmill to your favorite outside running and walking routes using its iFit-compatible linking to Google maps. If you are looking for another route to take, choose from one of ProForm's 22 built-in workout apps designed by a personal trainer.

With a 60-inch belt length, you can feel free to stretch those legs long, while proshox cushioning softens the noise so you won't have to worry about waking up others in your house during those early morning workouts. The treadmill is easy to lift, move and work out to your heart's content, and you can rest easy knowing you'll have a lifetime frame and motor warranty, two-year parts warranty and one-year labor warranty.

What: ProForm Performance 600i Treadmill
Price: $775.99 (+$18.82 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 82.5 x 30 x 13.5 inches; 224 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Crush It With Your Own Home Gym

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If you roll your eyes even thinking about a Bowflex, you're not alone. It's hard to not recall their cheesy infomercials from the 1990s and believe they are still around and selling home gyms. But the truth is, the home gym is a great addition to any, well, home gym.

While barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, resistance bands, nautilus equipment and other tools that help you gain muscle and strength train are great, wouldn't it be nice to choose from among more than 65 full-body exercises in just one piece of equipment?

Your Bowflex home gym comes with up to 210 pounds of progressive resistance. And, if you need more, you can always upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds in the future. The Xceed also features a squat station, bench press, leg attachment and a lat tower, so you can move between arm day and leg day with ease.

What: Bowflex Xceed Home Gym
Price: $699.99
Dimensions: 100 inches of side-by-side space required; 185 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Love to Ride Your (Indoor) Bicycle

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If you're looking for a more economical and low-impact machine to add to your home, then this recumbent exercise bike by Marcy might be the perfect fit.

Safe for those with back or knee issues, the step-through design allows for easy on and off from the bike and is heavy duty enough to hold up to 300 pounds with its sturdy construction and 14-gauge steel tubing.

This bike also offers eight levels of resistance, an LCD computer screen that displays your distance, time, speed and calories burned. The padded seat will keep you comfortable through rides of every length and the counterbalanced pedals are weighted to help you control your ride while supporting your feet. The pedals also come with adjustable foot straps to make your ride as comfortable as possible.

What: Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Price: $139.00 (+ $73.69 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 55.5 x 25 x 37.5 inches ; 60 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Row, Row, Row Your Way Fit

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

A rowing machine is a perfect piece of fitness equipment to add to your home gym or as a standalone, full-body workout machine in its own right. It's also a mid-priced piece of equipment that is low-impact and provides both strength training and cardio in one workout.  

This magnetic rowing machine by Sunny Health & Fitness allows you to row through eight levels of resistance, so you can find the one that's perfect for you at every level. The LCD screen displays your calorie count, time spent on the machine and your strokes, and the padded seat and handlebars with non-slip grip ensure you'll enjoy your entire workout in comfort. If your workout space is small, you can easily move the machine from storage to your workout area and back again thanks to built-in wheels.

What: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower
Price: $209.99 (+ $81.03 for optional assembly)
Dimensions: 82 x 19 x 23 inches ; 59 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

Ski Your Way to Slim

Photo courtesy of Amazon. 

If nothing compares to the elliptical for you, but you get tired of waiting in line for your turn at the gym, consider adding one of these popular machines to your home.

Sync up your Bluetooth device and move to your own grooves on this Nautilus elliptical trainer. Move among 25 levels of resistance to vary your workout intensity or choose from 29 program options: 12 profile, nine heart rate, four custom, two that test your fitness level, one quick start and one recovery.

You can also sync the RunSocial app to the elliptical, training through 27 preset routes and 19 locations with other people using the app all over the world. The inertia drive system in the Nautilus trainer is high-speed and has a perimeter-weighted flywheel to make the beginnings of your workouts run more smoothly and consistently. You can even charge your devices and enjoy a cool breeze as you sweat from the machine's adjustable fan.

What: Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer
Price: $999 (free assembly)
Dimensions: 20" precision stride path; 198 pounds
Purchase: Amazon

What kind of home gym equipment can you not live without?

We hope you love these products a much as we do! SparkPeople may collect a small percentage of revenue from links on this page. Prices subject to change.

Posted 7/5/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 51 comments   13,575 views

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Spark Spotlight: Liz (BIZZIEE)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Liz (BIZZIEE)
Age: 54
Location: Kelso, Washington  

Liz's Small Success of the Week

Liz just completed her first 5K! Even though she had a million reasons running through her brain about why she couldn't do it, one positive thought pushed the negative aside as the mantra: "But what if I can?" Those five simple words were enough to keep her going all the way to the finish line!  

Posted 7/2/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 21 comments   6,277 views

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Spark Spotlight: Pamela (PAMBROWN62)

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

Posted 6/25/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 28 comments   6,992 views

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14 Things I Learned in 14 Years As a Spin Instructor

Fitness class can be a scary place. Let's face it, even watching one of those classes can be intimidating. Whether you walk past a boutique studio or find yourself staring through the glass at an aerobics class at your gym, the jumping, body contortions or the crazy amount of sweat can be enough to send you running the other direction.

Posted 6/13/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 37 comments   15,811 views

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Get 90 Days of Personalized Training and Nutrition: Join The Oxygen Challenge 4!

“It’s important that people learn to love themselves no matter what stage of their weight-loss journey they’re in, that it’s never too late to start, and that being healthy has no age or weight limit,” says 2017 Oxygen Challenge 3 participant Stacey A. Byrd.

We all know the importance of exercise and nutrition in the quest to live a fit and healthy lifestyle—but it's easier said than done. Knowing which exercises to do on any given day, what kind of meal plan you should follow or how to keep yourself accountable are all factors in making sure you not only start a plan, but also stick to it.

That's where The Oxygen Challenge 4 (OC4) comes in. For more than 20 years, Oxygen magazine has been at the forefront of women’s health and fitness. The Oxygen woman is strong, confident and healthy. She isn’t training just for aesthetics—she wants to increase strength, endurance, performance and mobility to improve her overall wellness. Sound familiar? We thought so.

This marks the fourth year for the Oxygen Challenge series. Beginning July 15, 2018, participants will be guided through a 90-day fitness and nutrition program instructed by movement experts and coaches Jen Widerstrom from NBC’s The Biggest Loser, and Karina Smirnoff from ABC's Dancing With the Stars. These women have a lifetime of experience with exercise, training, nutrition and competition, and are ready to share their extensive knowledge exclusively with you!

Coach Jen’s program focuses on transformation, whether you’re beginning an exercise program from scratch, want to lose fat and inches or take your training to the next level. Coach Karina’s program combines yoga, self-defense and cardio with—of course—dance, creating a unique and exciting workout unlike anything you’ve seen before. She breaks everything down into its simplest components so that anyone—dancer or not—can do the workouts and succeed. Both programs are well-rounded and progressive. Each month, you will grow and face new challenges, ultimately getting into the best shape of your life—all for less than $1 a day.

"I found a lot of healthy new options to mix in and break up the monotony while keeping my energy high," says 2016 Oxygen Challenge 2 participant Virginia Cooper from Bakersfield, California.

By signing up with coach Jen or coach Karina (or both!), you will receive instant access to three months of detailed video programming that includes step-by-step instructions to guide you through your workouts. Anyone at any fitness level can participate, and each coach offers modifications and intensifiers, enabling you to tailor the program to your own purposes.

In addition, OC4 includes a nutrition component, complete with grocery lists, preparation tips and detailed recipes crafted by your coaches which they themselves use to get healthy, strong and lean. They will take the guesswork out of meal planning, and will make getting in shape delicious and easy.

"I now eat to stay healthy and don't look at healthy eating as a diet. I am loving every moment of my life and loving the new me," says 2016 Oxygen Challenge 2 participant Michele Scheilbelhut from South Bend, Indiana.

By signing up you’ll also gain exclusive access to a private Facebook group, a community of women just like yourselves who will sweat, laugh and transform right along with you! Accountability is an integral part of success, and this group can help get you through the rough patches and give you a push when needed.

OC4 is an all-encompassing training, nutrition and motivational program that gives you the tools you need to make lasting changes to your physique and your lifestyle. Coach Jen and coach Karina will be with you every step of the way, encouraging and educating you and helping you achieve your goals.

What to Expect

  • Exclusive training tips and exercise progressions/regressions
  • Comprehensive nutritional guidelines and discussions
  • More than 30 unique recipes
  • Weekly workout charts and breakdowns
  • A grocery list of all needed ingredients
  • Video blogs based on hot topics and participant queries
  • Motivational support
  • Much, much more!

Share
Take part in The Oxygen Challenge 4 and share your milestones with your fellow @OxygenMagazine sisters by using #OxyChallenge, #TeamJennifer and #TeamKarina when detailing your 90-day journey.

Sign Up Now!

Posted 6/8/2018  12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth Lowry : 0 comments   29,187 views

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