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Get Motivated! Top 8 Sites for Fitness Inspiration

 

Sometimes, you need a little extra inspiration to get motivated. Fortunately, these 8 websites feel your pain. Beyond inspirational stories and motivating tools, these sites each have special insights, points of view, or sharing features that help you follow through on an "I'm going to do it" impulse. Hire a life coach if you want, or use these sites to get (and keep) the change ball rolling.

1. The Happiness Project

What is it? The Happiness Project is an online toolkit (literally) for success. Not only does it help you create specific goals (not just the "do what it takes" pseudoplan!), but the Happiness Project Toolbox lets you track your progress and document how fantastic it feels to stick with it. One entry: "Woke up for 7am yoga, and felt so energetic for the rest of the day!".

Why we love it: Making a resolution or setting up "personal commandments" to live by in public (you can set it to private if you want) definitely inspires you to keep them. Plus, seeing other people's ideas is endlessly inspiring ("Write one positive thing about my day, every day") and amusing ("Tell my husband I love him every day and mean it").

2. Before You Were Hot

What is it? Before You Were Hot is an online collection of users' not-so-hot pics from childhood or their teens (uh, 80's bangs, anyone?)—plus photos of what they look like now.

Why we love it: Transformation is a beautiful thing. If you ever doubt that you can change something about yourself, check how far people these people came. See? You can do it.

3. SparkPeople

What is it? SparkPeople is the largest online weight-loss community, with more than 8 million members working toward their goals—and encouraging each other as they do it.

Why we love it: A motivation tab features articles, quotes, videos and success stories that'll get you moving even on your laziest days, including 5 Things You Can Learn From Your Mistakes (we love places that support messing up every now and then). If you've got any excuse not to work out, this site will likely bust it.

4. This Is Why You're Thin!

What is it? Thank you! A site that makes healthy food look as good as what you see in a pastry case! While This Is Why You're Fat features calorie bombs like bacon wrapped in cheese and wrapped in more bacon—and then deep fried, this is the anti-site that showcases pretty-enough-to-eat images of foods that make and keep you healthy.

Why we love it: The inventive dishes (no—yawn—poached chicken!) look so delicious, you'll wonder why you ever reached for the bad stuff.

5. Yum Yucky

What is it? Yum Yucky is one mom's no-holds-barred blog about her attempts to strike a healthy balance between her love for food and her fitness goals. Warning: This site's occasional four-letter feistiness isn't for the prim.

Why we love it: Blogger Josie Maurer's oh-so-relatable posts—including getting over carb delirium (and not being bloated) and "reverse journaling" (you write down what you managed to pass up and not eat!)—galvanize us to follow her lead.

6. 43 Things

What is it? 43 Things is a collection of lists of things people want to do, from running a half marathon and taking a photo every day for a year to keeping a notepad of awesome moments and empowering girls and women to be free-thinkers and be self-sufficient.

Why we love it: Not only can you list your dreams, but you can add others' to your list (including things you never would have come up with on your own, but are great ideas). Some are predictable, some, not so much. One recent day, "grow wings" was one of the most popular goals. But so were "stop procrastinating" and "lose weight."

7. Diary of a Fat Woman

What is it? The story of Joanna, a 28-year-old mom of three, full-time student and part-time teacher who's on a quest to lose 113 pounds to get to her goal weight of 150 (she's lost 60 pounds already).

Why we love it: Joanna finds smart ways to sneak healthy activity into her days—by running around with her kids at the park ("Sitting on the bench and watching them doesn't count!"), participating in a Biggest Loser contest with coworkers, getting rid of junk food in the house ("The kids will get over it"), and waking up at the crack of dawn for exercise ("Painful, but feels so good when it's over"). If she can do it, you can, too.

8. StickK

What is it? Set your health, nutrition or fitness goal, plug in your credit card number and pledge a specific amount (an amount you'd really miss!) to a charity or political party that you don't support. If you don't reach your goal, the folks you disagree with get the dough.

Why we love it: Putting cold, hard cash on the line is a sure way to get motivated. Hey, sometimes it takes a little fight to get you moving.