Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price)

September 22, 2016

My week kicked off with an exciting interview at 9am on Monday. This time, I was the one talking, not listening, as someone else asked me the questions…
she lifts discount promo code
My buddy Mike Samuels of Heavy Lifting Healthy Living asked me to be part of his new “She Lifts” project.

Are you a lady wot lifts? (If you’re reading my blog, there’s something like a 92.7% chance you are….)

Or a lady wot wonders about lifting, but isn’t sure what to do… how to get started… or how to REALLY get stronger and leaner (not “big and bulky”)?

Then take a look at this gem from Mike and Jason (Maxwell, of JMax Fitness – Mike’s co-author on the project). She Lifts is on special promo offer til Friday 23rd Sept It’s an incredible digital training resource for women who want to lift heavy, build muscle, and lose fat.

Here’s what you get

** 7 breakthrough lifting programmes written for women.

** Easy to follow program for building muscle, strength, and losing fat (no “bulking up”, I promise!)

** Templates for training 2, 3, 4, and 5 x week

** Programmes for women who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced.

** It’s all digital, so you can upload the programmes and videos your phone (or print out if you want)

The entire thing is on sale til END OF TOMORROW
Grab it now before the price goes up

For my video interview, I chatted with Mike about

The biggest myths surrounding female training, and strength training in particular.
(Hint – mine was about competing!)

Why women should include strength work in their programs?

My top 5 tips for women who want to get started with weight training.

My best advice re nutrition? Plus my approach.
(Hint – it involves potatoes 😉 )

The biggest difference between how women/men should train and diet?
(Do you even think there is one?)

Whether I prefer powerlifting or bodybuilding… And if I think they are compatible.

My advice for women looking to compete (in bodybuilding and powerlifting)…

So to get all that ^^^ plus the actual PRACTICAL and USEFUL bits of “She Lifts” 😉 like all those training programmes, videos, and lifting guidance to get you to your goals – take a look. The link for She Lifts is here. Tell Mike I sent you.

PS You also get bonuses like the “She Lifts” Glute Specialisation Guide
PPS Plus that video of me haha – not sure that’s a selling point! You do however get to see what I look and sound like at 9am on a Monday before a coffee…

Interviewed For “She Lifts” (Grab Your Copy – Promo Price) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Book Review: “Science & Development of Muscle Hypertrophy” (Brad Schoenfeld)

September 7, 2016

brad schoenfeld book review nicola joyce
When Human Kinetics asked if I’d like to review Dr. Brad Schoenfeld’s new book – “Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy”, I didn’t hesitate. Brad is one of a small number of people in this industry who I trust as an authoritative voice. He’s one of my go-to sources for research and smart discussion around the science of gaining muscle.

I interviewed Brad ages ago for Muscle & Fitness magazine and have followed him (online, not literally, that would be weird and impractical) ever since.

“Science and Development…” is Brad’s latest book. It’s the ultimate resource if you’re interested in the current research behind muscle hypertrophy. But before I get into my review – and why you really need to get a copy of this book – here’s how to follow Brad so you can stay up to date with what he has to say. >> Brad Schoenfeld PhD on Facebook and on his website/blog.

What is muscle hypertrophy? It’s the fancy name for increasing muscle size. So this book is essentially about the Science of Swole.

The book is exhaustive. It covers every factor which could influence muscle hypertrophy, including training, nutrition, genetics, gender, and age.

It’s divided into seven chapters:

Hypetrophy related responses and adaptations to exercise stress
The mechanisms of hypertrophy
Role of resistance training variables in hypertrophy
Role of aerobic training in hypertrophy
Factors in maximal hypertrophic development
Program design for maximal hypertrophy
Nutrition for hypertrophy

As you’d expect from Brad Schoenfeld, the book is a compilation of the latest science-based principles, research, and meta analyses. It’s got more than 825 references. And the most important thing (IMO)? It’s written in a very accessible, applicable way. It’s research, but it’s practical too.

Put it this way, the last time I “did science” was at GCSE (which is longer ago than I care to admit). And I can understand it just fine!

If you’re a strength, power, or physique athlete (or someone who enjoys training with weights but doesn’t compete), or if you are a coach or PT, you need this book. Anyone who is interested what happens to our bodies when we train to gain size will find it useful.

Here’s just a taster of what you’ll find in the book:

– how the body structurally and hormonally changes when exposed to stress
– ways to most effectively design training programs
– current nutrition guidelines for bringing about hypertrophic changes
– the specific responses and mechanisms that promote muscle hypertrophy
– how genetic background, age, sex, and other factors affect the hypertrophic response to exercise

There are even sample programmes to help you design a three or four-times a week undulating periodised program or a modified linear periodised programme.

As far as I can see, it leaves no muscle hypertrophy stone unturned. And if there’s one person I’d trust to do a great job on this topic, it’s Brad.

What more do you want, people? Get it, read it, apply it. 🙂

You can get the book (hard copy, PDF, eBook) from Human Kinetics or from Amazon.

Book Review: “Science & Development of Muscle Hypertrophy” (Brad Schoenfeld) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing?

August 22, 2016

fitness pro use press release for content ideas

The other day, I shared a press release I’d been sent in a fitpro marketing Facebook group. Some of the fitpros in the group asked me how they should use the info in that press release. Here’s what I told them.

First up: what’s a press release?

A press release (or news release) is a document sent out from a business to members of the media. Any business or organisation with news to announce can send one: brand, business, organisation, charity, NGB, sole trader, or the PR people who look after them.

Press releases are typically sent to journalists (in house and freelance), editors, and bloggers. But there are plenty of ways to access them (or get them delivered to your inbox) if you’re a business owner who writes their own content.

There is tons of info online about how to write your own press release. But what about using other people’s press releases as a useful prompt for your own content? With 26 gazillion (<< estimated figure) press releases being generated every day, why not use the info! Here’s how – and why – you should.

What kind of press releases have useful data/stats in them?

Most press releases will be about product news or business announcements. But some will be story-led (particularly in the fitness industry), and others will use data/research/stats as the “hook”. These are going to be the most useful ones for you as a fitpro in constant need of content ideas!

But I’m not a journalist or content writer like you… how can I access press releases?

Here are some resources – visit the sites, see if they distribute press releases in your industry (but do think outside the box, too), and sign up

e releases
PR newswire
PR web
PR genie
ResponseSource
Sport4Media

I’d also recommend signing up to email/newsletter lists. Fitpros could try signing up for latest news from NGBs (national governing bodies) in sport, sports organisations like UKActive and Sport England. PT and fitness training companies are another great source (the type that deliver training to fitpros). It is also worth trying to get on the email list of leading sport and fitness PR companies (like Promote PR) as they will regularly send out useful news about clients and industry research.

Finding your own best sources of industry news is a bit like building a great swipe file. It takes time. You’ll need to keep an eye out for sources, and then bookmark/sign up to them. It will be an ongoing process. But stick at it and before too long you’ll have a valuable resource.

OK. Got it. So how, when, and why would I use “stats” type press release info?

As a fitpro, you need to generate content, right? (PS If you don’t have time, or hate doing it, I can help << click 😉 ) Blog posts, Facebook posts, ideas for emails, newsletter articles. Every hook and idea helps.

Most of the press releases you’ll get won’t be helpful in this regard. But some will contain stats (from a study or survey), data, or industry insights. And you can use those as a hook for your own content.

Here’s an example:

You get a press release from a PT training company who are promoting their qualification for training older gen pop. As a hook for that press release, they have done a survey into attitudes and misconceptions about fitness. In the release, they give a load of stats from their in house survey.

>> 75% of women over the age of 55 have never gone into the free weights area of the gym. 63% of over-60s believe that lifting weights overhead will damage the spine.<> “Did you know that 75% of women over the age of 55 have never even set foot in the free weights area of a gym? That’s according to new researched published by XX Training Company, who recently surveyed XX men and women aged 50-70.”<<

(Then you'd add your own content, about how you can help older people train safely and with confidence… or whatever it is you do.)

You need to credit the course, and say where the stats are from. All the information you'll need will be on the press release.

Is that helpful? If you have any questions about using press release information for your own content, or about writing and circulating your own press releases, get in touch. I can help!

TheFitWriter Nicola Joyce on Facebook

Fitpros: Do You Know How To Use Info From Press Releases For Your Own Content Marketing? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


12 Years In Business (Part 2)

June 3, 2016

Sorry for the cliffhanger!

1st June 2004 was when I set up in business as a freelance copywriter. So, 2 days ago, I wrote a quick blog post about how I got to that point in my life and career.

Recap here if you need to catch up.

So there I was, in 2003. I’d just been made redundant from my Conference Production job. And I was ready to move out of London.

I made my way to Southampton (long story involving a man, which is another story for another day, preferably over a gin & tonic please… although you could read this if you can bear it!)

Once there, I took a role via a recruitment agency. Trouble is, their geographical knowledge of the south coast wasn’t great. And my knowledge about the A-road system in that part of the world was nonexistent. As a result, my new job turned out to be a couple of hours away. My heart wasn’t in it from the start. Quite honestly, I was terrible, and I made no effort to be better. I sometimes wonder if I wanted to be sacked? Anyway, I was.

In hindsight, I should never have taken another “real job”.

I should have made the leap right away.

But I guess I needed to be certain….

I’d always wanted to write as a career. As a kid, I wrote (terrible) short stories, meticulously hand-written in A4 hardcover notebooks. One of my clearest memories of primary school is when a local author came in to give us a talk. I studied English and critical writing for both my BA and Masters degrees. And my 32-year streak of keeping a journal recently made it onto BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

At the time, I was training to swim the English Channel. I thought to myself, look, if I can’t get a foot in the door as a sport and fitness journalist with a first-person feature story about swimming the bloody English Channel, then I clearly can’t pitch, can’t sell, and can’t spot a good story. I’ll give it a go.

And that’s what started it all.

From that initial feature, I struck up good relationships with the Editorial teams at various sport and fitness magazines. Over the years, my journalism career grew, and I’ve now written for consumer magazines, trade journals, the membership magazines of NGBs, the Washington Post, and books published by The Observer and by Weider/Muscle and Fitness.
nicola joyce journalist
Early on, I realised that I would struggle to build a business on journalism alone. I wanted to be more commercial, to deal with clients, to have a scalable business, and to make more money.
nicola joyce copywriter
So I took on copywriting work for local businesses. My journalism skills and experience were a useful foundation.

I networked relentlessly. I put myself out there at fitness industry events (Paul Mort’s FEB was pivotal for me). I took training courses with industry bodies and with independent copywriting coaches. I studied sales, marketing, advertising. I branded myself, walked the talk, and grafted hard to deliver good work.

And now it’s 2016. I can’t quite tell you how I got here. A strong brand, good quality work, focusing on a nice. Tenacity, consistency, and enjoying what I do.

A lot of exciting things are happening at The Fit Writer towers. Business is changing, and I’ll be rolling out at least one new service soon.

But copywriting for the fitness industry will always be at the core of what I do. I love it.

…I’m so glad I was made redundant in 2003!

See you at:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

12 Years In Copywriting Business: Part 2 is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Basic Information About Competing In UK Drug-Tested Bodybuilding Comps

May 15, 2016

Almost every week, I get asked about how to go about competing in drug-tested/natural bodybuilding competitions. Tis the season, I guess!

Having just Facebook messaged someone the same information (for the third time this week), I thought it might be useful to actually pop it all in a blog post.

If I stuff this first section full of enough SEO phrases it might even get picked up on Google 😉 “Natural bodybuilding comps in the UK”, “How do I start natural bodybuilding in the UK?”, “I want to do a natural bodybuilding show but I’ve no idea who the organisations are or when the competitions are, help, where do I look for information?”

That should do it 😉
ukdfba bodybuilding uk 2016
So, here’s what I send people when they ask me about competing in drug-free BB comps…

There are three drug-tested/ drug-free/ natural bodybuilding organisations in the UK at the time of writing.

Who, What, Where?

UKDFBA – United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association (website is in the link, and they have a FB page). They are the UK affiliate of the WNBF. The UKDFBA run a series of UK qualifiers, then a UK final. There is also a Pro Show and an International Show alongside the UK Final. They award WNBF Pro Cards at the Final. They then take a Pro and Amateur team out to WNBF Worlds.

BNBF – British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (website is in the link, and they have a FB page). They are the UK affiliate of the DFAC. They run a series of UK qualifers, a UK final, then they take a Pro and Amateur team out to DFAC Worlds. They award DFAC Pro cards at their UK Final.

NPA – Natural Physique Association (website is in the link, and they have a FB group). The NPA isn’t affiliated to an international federation. They have UK qualifers and a UK final, and sometimes then take a team out to the UIBBN competition.

Drug Free & Banned Lists

UKDFBA and BNBF are both 7 years drug free.
NPA is lifetime drug free.

They all use urine testing and polygraph testing. Although most of the “things you can’t take” are obvious (or ought to be!), some people are completely unaware of just how strict “drug free” is. So, if you choose to do all or any of the drug-tested bodybuilding organisations’ comps, it is 100% your responsibility to check the banned list OF THAT ORGANISATION and be certain you are in the clear. The information for each organisation’s rules and banned lists are on their website. If you can’t find it, contact the organisation representative.

Categories

All 3 associations have classes for men, women, teens, juniors, and older competitors (Masters). They all have Novice classes and weight classes. Some have Bikini and Men’s Physique. Some have Masters Figure as well as open Figure. Some of their women’s classes will be split by weight. Some have beginners’ shows and first-timers categories. The women’s categories tend to differ between organisations.

My (quick) advice would be:

– Choose the category your body is best suited to (or that you think your body will be best suited to, if you haven’t competed previously)
– Download the judging criteria, and/or contact the Head of the organisation to ask for the guidelines. Be sure you are clear about posing, footwear, whether there’s a posing routine or a T-walk (etc).
– If in doubt, ask advice. The organisation will be friendly and approachable and happy to help (if they’re not, find one that is!)

I’m very happy to chat more about any of this over message or email. I appreciate that it can seem overwhelming and confusing – like any new sport at first!

What To Do Next

Look at the Federations listed above, and their shows/calendars. Choose either by show dates and location, convenient to you (and your prep).

Mark your calendar. Train and diet. Keep in mind the judging criteria of your category. Put together a posing routine or T-walk to music.

Learn the poses you’ll need to do, and practice!

But more than that… do your research:
– make friends on Facebook with people who have done your category in your chosen organisation. Take a look at their competition pics and videos.
– look on YouTube for competition footage and competitors’ individual posing routines (or T-walks).
– see if you can get along to a show (ideally run by your chosen organisation, but anything will help!) Seeing a bodybuilding show before you compete is invaluable experience.

Then there’s stuff like posing suits/bikinis, tan… but that’s all for further down the line.

That was a whistlestop tour through the drug-free bodybuilding competition scene in the UK. I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten. Official folk: if I’ve got any of the facts and information wrong, please comment/messsage me and I will correct it.

And if anyone reading this ever wants any advice, tips, or “where to go next”, please get in touch. I love the sport and love to help. If I’m not the right person to ask, I’ll try to find out who is!

Basic Information About Competing In UK Drug-Tested Bodybuilding Comps is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them!

February 5, 2016

fitpro writing for local newspaper

A local newspaper has asked me to contribute regular articles. Help! What do I do next?

I had a call from a fitpro today who was asking for my urgent advice. Months ago, he’d contacted various local newspapers and magazines, offering to write one-off or regular editorial. Life got in the way, he didn’t follow up. (Hey, at least he pitched them! It’s more than most fitpros do!)

And then, today… after all these months… one of those local newspapers emailed him. “Hi, if you’re still interested in writing for us, we’d love you to contribute fitness articles…”

Here’s the advice I gave to that fitpro.

What To Do If A Newspaper, Magazine Or Online Publication Asks You To Write Something For Them

(PS: Dont’ forget, I wrote a blog post about exactly how fitpros can get featured in their local lifestyle magazine)

1. Do a happy dance
2. Email them back.
Say something like:

“Hi [name],

Thanks very much – yes, I’d be delighted to write for [publication name] and would be able to supply great content every [week/fortnight/month*] to meet your deadline.

For this first article, can you let me know:

– word count
– deadline
– do you have any topic in mind? or would you like me to send a couple of ideas?

Moving forward, I’d be happy to send you over a few ideas at the start of every month if that would help with your editorial schedule.

Best wishes,

[you]

*depends on whether it’s a weekly/monthly/other publication

3. Wait for them to get back to you. If you haven’t heard within 24 hours, give them a call. It’s fine, after all they offered you this opportunity, so they’ll want to hear from you.

4. If they ask for ideas before you submit your article, think about
– the readership
– the other kind of content they cover in the publication
– topics relevant to the area and community (assuming it’s a local magazine)
– wider topics (health and fitness awareness days, health and fitness topics in the news)
If it’s a weekly publication, remember that they’ll like things which are as timely as possible, or which are pegged to something which has happened or been discussed very recently

5. Once you’ve got the go-ahead, make sure you submit your article:
– on time (never ever miss their deadline)
– with minimal fuss
– in the exact format they require (if you are sending it as an attachment, don’t label the document “Article for paper.doc” or “Fitness article.doc”. Name it the agreed title of the article.
– with any extras they’ve asked for (high res image, headshot, your biog)

6. Don’t send them something you’ve already published elsewhere (like on your own blog or your Facebook page). Use your own blog posts as ideas, sure. But don’t duplicate. If the publication happens to be following your blog, and see the duplicated content, they might feel it devalues their own published article.

7. Don’t forget a call to action. Obviously you won’t be able to put in a strong sales-type CTA. But add something at the end of your article: a question, an invitation to leave a comment or engage with you (or the newspaper) on Facebook, or something to make the reader take some action – even if that action is pondering a question you’ve posed.

8. Send as much of a biog as you can. Be a bit cheeky here – include your name, business name, title “local weight loss expert” or “town-name’s top personal trainer”, and even include your website and social media links. They can always leave them out, but they won’t put them in fi you don’t send them.

9. Ask if it will also be used online or on their Facebook page. Then keep an eye out for it and like, share, tag and link – make the most of that online content.

10. Get hold of a copy of the article. Consider scanning it in and using it on your website or social media. Or just keep it and build up a portfolio.

11. Don’t use it to line the guinea pig’s cage.

Help! A Local Newspaper Has Asked Me To Write For Them! is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Send Your Social Proof Hero On Fiction’s Most Famous 12-Stage Journey

January 13, 2016

the-heros-journeyThe “hero journey” concept (or “monomyth”) is central to story telling. It’s been described by Jung, Joseph Campbell, and plenty of others.

Think about the latest film you saw, or TV series you watched, then take a look at the 12 stages on this image. The “hero’s journey” is present in the best, most compelling, most memorable stories.

And it’s SO relevant to the fitness industry, isn’t it?

Do you use the idea of a “hero’s journey” in your content?

It could be for your own story or – more likely – your clients’ stories.

Here are the 12 stages of the “hero journey” (with my own thoughts about how it applies to fitness industry content):

1 = Ordinary World

Where your client is before he finds you. He’s safe, but bored and oblivious of what awaits him on his journey. We get to know all the details about him at this stage. He’s human.

2 = Call To Adventure

Something happens to launch our hero onto his adventure (journey/transformation). Is it a threat to his health? A wake up call? It’s something that disrupts the safety and comfort of his Ordinary World. What is the challenge or quest that presents itself?

3 = Refusal Of The Call

Your hero might want to accept the challenge, but he’s got fears/doubts. There are barriers. He refuses the call… and suffers (again) in some way. Does his health suffer? Or his self-confidence? How do things get worse (and why did he refuse)?

4 = Meeting The Mentor

Here’s where you come in! Your hero needs expert guidance… and finds it. For the fitness world, the “mentor” he meets is in the form of advice, training, and practical guidance. He now has the strength and courage to go on his journey.

5 = Crossing The Threshold

Our hero is ready to go on his journey to better health and fitness. He crosses the threshold from his old, familiar world, to this new one: the fitness lifestyle. What actions does he take to signify his commitment? Where does he go?

6 = Tests, Allies & Enemies

The middle of the story. He’s out of his comfort zone but he’s not yet at his destination. There’s plenty to threaten him, tempt him and derail him. External sources (environment, foods, lack of supportive peers) and internal (self-doubt, dip in motivation, lack of self-belief). What tests does he face? What obstacles? Which os his skills are tested? How does he overcome (and how do you help him)? He finds out who can be trusted (…you!)

7 = Approach To The Innermost Cave

The “inmost cave” in our fitness context could be mindset, belief, eating issues, prior failures with diet or training. It will be a huge internal conflict and something which lots of your readers will also recognise in their own story. As he approaches the mouth of the cave, your hero once again faces his biggest personal battles. He’ll need to call on everything he’s learned. This is a chance for a pause in the story to recap on where he’s come from, how he got here, and what he learned.

8 = Ordeal

This is the ultimate test in your hero’s journey. It could be a big physical test (useful for fitness stories) or a massive emotional/psychological crisis. His biggest fear, or his most terrifying enemy. He needs to face it, and he needs to face it now. It’s time. Through this ordeal, he will be “reborn” and the new version revealed. This is the high point of the story, but everything is on the line.

9 = Reward

The enemy (within or without!) has been defeated. Your hero has been transformed (<<< ooh, what does THAT remind you of in the fitness industry?) He emerges stronger. And with a reward. The reward in our context could be better health, improved home life, or a better body (very visual and easy to use as social proof).

10 = The Road Back

Your hero is ready to return victorious. He’s not anticipating any threats or battles. Instead he is looking forward to some form of vindication. What would that be for your hero?

11 = Resurrection

Oops, there’s one more challenge for your hero to overcome before the end of his journey. He will face up to something bigger than himself, and the victory will have far-reaching consequences that leave an impact beyond his own journey. Your readers need to feel part of this: his success (or potential failure) will have a real emotional impact on them.

12 = Return With The Elixir

Your hero is back home, a changed person. He’s grown (maybe literally, in our fitness context). He’s learned plenty. He’s changed. He is the person he always dreamed of being. He is a hero. What does his journey mean to others? Hope? A solution? Proof of what is possible?

Remember the structure of the “hero journey” next time you’re writing some story-style content. If I can help you brainstorm ideas, structure content, or write copy, get in touch.
Chat with TFW on social media
Here’s where you’ll find me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Send Your Hero On Fiction’s Most Famous Journey is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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