Strongman competition winner (or “That Time I Got 31 Deadlift Reps in 90 Seconds)

May 13, 2018

*is this thing on?* It’s been a minute since I blogged about a competition, but now I have something to tell you, so here’s an update. Not bodybuilding or powerlifting: strongman!

I haven’t stepped on a bodybuilding stage since 2016 (no firm plans to do so again, but haven’t “retired” either). But I’m always up for any kind of challenge – the more fun and weird the better.

Strongman definitely fits the bill! Pulling a truck? Flipping a tyre? Deadlifting a car? That’s weird in anyone’s book.

(If you’re not sure which one Strongman is – here’s the handy cheat-sheet I wrote, mostly for the benefit of my Dad).

Last Sunday’s Strongman & Strongwoman comp was hosted by my lovely friend Nikky Ricks at her gym – Waugh Machines – in Ramsgate. Strongman comps are few and far between, and tend to be organised by gyms, so I jumped at the chance to do something relatively local.

I knew the events and weights long in advance but didn’t get the chance to train on the kit (for various reasons). So I showed up with the knowledge that I am strong but… that’s about it.

The thing about Strongman is that nothing is predictable. Yes, there might be a deadlift event and you might love deadlifting. But WHAT will you be deadlifting, exactly? Not a bar with plates, that’s for sure.

Strongman is about full body strength, power, speed, and thinking on your feet.

The comp was split into three groups – men (split by weight) and one open women’s class – with different weights (but the same events) for each. There were four women in total.

Here’s how I got on.

Event 1 – truck pull

When I turned up at the venue, a couple of us ladies asked if we could have a go just to see if we could at least move it. I’ve done vehicle pulls in comps before, but never a sodding massive actual truck. It looked…. huge. Anyway, I managed to pull it across the line. We then realised that it had been loaded up to the advertised men’s weight. So we said sod it, we can do that, so give us that weight and put on extra for the men.

  • 9.7 tonnes over 20 metres for time.
  • Not sure where I came in this (2nd?) but I completed it

Event 2 – log press

This is where you clean (lift) the log from around knee height to chest, then press overhead. If you place the log back down, it’s a no-lift. I had no idea how I’d do with this. I don’t do this move in my regular training, and a log is awkward compared to a barbell.

We started at 30kgs then went up in 5kgs in a knock-out format. I was OK til we got to 45kgs – as I was pressing overhead, the weights slipped off one side, the log tilted, then the weights came off the other side. I was allowed another go, but obviously that had tired me out a bit. Anyway, I got the 45kg on my next go. There were a couple of us still in at this stage. The other lady tried to get 50kgs and didn’t manage. I stepped up, not at all sure that I would. It took two goes (but I didn’t set the log down, so that’s fine). After what felt like a very slow lock-out, I got it.

  • Very chuffed to log press 50kgs
  • And shocked to win this event!


Event 3 – car deadlift max reps in 90 seconds

(Here’s a video)
We didn’t actually get to deadlift the car (the guys did). But we had a 130kg tyre on the car deadlift jack. I’ve no idea what that actually weighs – obviously the angle and lever movement means you’re not actually deadlifting 130kgs. I got to go last in this which was great because it meant I could see what the others did and commit to beating them at all costs. Deadlifting is my favourite, and I would be gutted not to win this event! The lady just before me was banging them out like a machine. I counted 22. Right. 23 or more it was then.

I still had no idea how heavy the thing actually felt, though. I set up, lifted, stumbled back into a more comfy position… and went to a dark place haha! I literally just jammed my feet into the ground, gripped the bar, and refused to stop deadlifting until the 90 seconds was up. It felt… OK. Not that heavy (I reckon it was 100kg-110kg?) But it was a lung-buster. You try deadlifting ANY weight for 90 seconds let alone that. My body felt relatively OK but my heart and lungs were screaming. The referee was in front of me making sure I locked out and came to a deadstop on each rep. At one point I just shut my eyes and carried on lifting. I lost count completely and asked “how many?” “how many!” 27 was the reply. I’d already won but wanted to keep going. Bam bam bam…

  • 31 reps. In 90 seconds. PMSL
  • I won this

Event 4 – farmers walk into tyre flip
(Here’s a video)

I probably should have remembered that the deadlift was only the 3rd of 5 events. I still had this horrorshow to do. Farmers Walk/Carry (55kgs each hand) for 20 metres, drop, turn, and flip a 130kg tyre back for 20 metres. I’ve done a Farmers Carry before (although not this heavy as far as I can remember). But I’ve never done a tyre flip. I’ve tried one or two just in training and always find it so awkward and just horrible. I completed this – the Farmers was OK and at least I didn’t stumble or fall! – but the tyre flip was disgusting. I made a big song and dance of it, with various dramatic squeaks and yelps.

  • 55kgs each hand Farmers (20m) into 130kg tyre (20m)
  • Not sure where I came in this but completed it

Event 5 – 50kg sandbag over 1.2m yoke for reps

If you’ve never tried to lift a heavy bag of sand off the floor and shove it over something at roughly chest height, let me tell you how it feels. Horrible, frustrating, aggravating, exhausting. A bag of sand does not want to be picked up, held, or manoeuvred. I don’t have a lot to say about this event. I asked how many I needed to beat (3) and I did…. 5. Because that’s the kind of person I am.

  • 5 reps
  • Won this event

All done. I really wasn’t sure if I’d won, because of the timed events. I didn’t know if I’d done enough in those to put me in first place. I thought I was second to be honest, because the lady with the 22 deadlifts had been very quick on the truck pull and carry medley.

Turns out I did win! I reckon there wasn’t much in it, and I know 2nd place lady is up for a rematch next year. Me too!

[Edited to add: since writing this, I’ve been sent the times and placings for each event and I actually won them all (!) But I do reckon it was very close on the timed ones:]

  • Truck pull 46.5 secs 1st
  • Log lift 50kg 1st
  • Car deadlift 31 reps 1st
  • Farmers into tyre flip 1 min 32 secs 1st (<<< longest 92 seconds of my life I might add)
  • Sandbag 5 reps 1st

I’ve put a few videos and photos on my Instagram (in my feed, but also as a Highlight at the top of the page) if you want to look.

Big thanks to Nikky and Paul at Waugh Machines for organising and hosting the comp, and to everyone who helped referee, encourage, motivate etc on the day. It really was a fun day with a fab atmosphere. Deadlifting + getting a suntan – what better way to spend a Sunday!

Have you ever done a Strongman event? Would you?

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

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Want more ideas for content? Get my weekly curated media links

April 4, 2018

Join these fitpros, gym owners & online coaches who get my #Mondaymediaroundup emails✅

If you struggle for content ideas – or just always welcome more! – this is a no-brainer.

✅ weekly email of ready-made “hooks” for your content
✅curated by me (all you need to do is click the link)
✅ free advice on HOW to use the stories as a hook for your content or a discussion point in your group

= WHY? =
I used to be a journalist (writing health and fitness features for magazines) so I still have access to press releases, media stories, news databases.

YOU need this info (probably more than I do!) but I can’t sign you up to these resources or send you the log in. (Trust me, I’ve tried on behalf of clients – no press card, no access!)

So –  every Monday, I email a round up of relevant news stories, press releases, and other “hooks” for your content that week. Use them for email content, FB and Insta posts, blog posts…etc.

I gather the stories, curate the best, and code in all the links. All you need to do is pick the most useful ones, and let them spark off some content ideas.
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Want the emails? Sign up via this link, or message me on Insta.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

 

 


Storytelling for fitness business marketing: The Quest

April 4, 2018

It’s time for the third and final type of story in my series….

The Quest

“The Quest”-type stories come after “Rags to Riches” stories in Christopher Booker’s famous list.

The protagonist (and usually some companions) bravely strike out to unknown lands – either to find or win back some very important object, or to finally reach a meaningful location.

The journey is long, tiring, and littered with every kind of hazard you can imagine.

Of course, the hero faces temptations, obstacles, dangers, and perils along the way (it can’t be too easy, can it?!) But he or she ultimately returns home to tell the tale, usually with riches/reward/new status to show for it.

If you’ve heard of The Hero’s Journey, you’ll recognise this classic narrative arc. (If you haven’t – go to my blog and search Hero’s Journey for an explanation of this fundamental trope.)

Think Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, and – the film that scarred me for life – Watershed Down.

For examples in advertising, look at the Kia 2017 advert for the Niro, or Chipotle’s 2014 The Scarecrow.

Perhaps the most famous Quest in advertising is Apple’s story – with Bill Gates inventing (rather than finding) a valuable object and overcoming obstacles on his way to success. Aesop’s 2017 Brand Storytelling Survey listed Apple in the number one spot – for the 5th year running.

OK, but how can you use The Quest type stories in your fitness business marketing?

  • What obstacles and challenges did you battle to bring your vision into reality?
  • You learned a lot along the way – how can you share these lessons and educate your reader?
  • How do the values of your brand do good in the world?
  • Show how your product delivers on its promises to support your clients on their quest towards a better life.

Unlike many consumer brands, you – as a fitpro – are selling something that actually delivers positive results. You’re not selling the idea of something, or the promise of a feeling. You’re selling real, measurable, positive improvements in people’s lives.

What are the most effective stories for your brand? And how can you share them?

Let me know if you need any help with this stuff.

=

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


From RAGS To RICHES – storytelling for fitness business marketing

April 3, 2018

I’ve been talking about storytelling recently – and the most effective “categories” of story for fitness businesses like yours.

Let’s look at another type of story (as identified in Christopher Booker’s 2004 book “Why We Tell Stories“).

Rags To Riches

We can all name several rags to riches stories from fairytales through Disney and beyond. Think Cinderella, Aladdin, Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump, Slumdog Millionaire, and Rocky (yep, him again – I know I mentioned him in the “Overcoming The Monster” post but this is why boxing movies get us so hard in the feels – they are impeccable examples of storytelling).

You know how the R2R story goes. Poor (yet plucky) hero faces incredible challenges despite all the odds being against him. He usually has a loyal sidekick or just one person championing them. Our hero gains something, loses it, then gets it back again – but not until they’ve overcome a situation, learned something important, or become “better” somehow.

There is conflict and drama. The narrative has ups and downs (it would be pretty boring otherwise). The hero always loses something (or someone), or has to leave something behind in order to progress.

So how can you use R2R in your marketing?

Two ways…

1️ For social proof
Client case studies don’t need to be as dramatic as a movie plot, but they do need to show clear progress – with the client overcoming the odds and triumphing in the end. Build the story around contrast: what was life like before, what happened during the journey, and what is life like now? How will your products or services bring “riches” (health, happiness, confidence, fitness) into their life? What are the “rags” they so desperately want to leave behind?

2 Your own story
Intelligent and subtle use of R2R in your own storytelling can really help you connect and resonate with your target market. Do this clumsily, and you’ll come across as cheesy or – worse – insincere. But get it right, and it can create a deep connection which showcases your empathy. Where did you start from? What obstacles did you overcome along the way? What did you learn? How can your story inspire and encourage potential clients who are further back in the process?

Some examples of Rags To Riches in sports and fitness advertising: remember the Nike Golf ad (2016) where Tiger Woods inspired young Rory McIlroy to greatness? Fantastic example – watch it on Youtube to remind yourself.

Or Gatorade’s ‘Rise Up’, ‘Greatness is Taken’, and ‘The Secret to Victory’ campaigns: “Every athlete loses. It’s part of the game. But what separates the good from the great is how they bounce back.”

Want to know HOW to use stories like these in your own business content marketing? Just get in touch – happy to help!

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


Help Your Client Overcome Their MONSTER (story telling for fitness business marketing)

April 3, 2018

You already know that your content needs to engage people on an emotional level – and that doesn’t mean steering clear of negative emotions. Yes, joy, wonder, and curiosity are valuable. But so are fear, frustration, and disappointment.

In my previous post, I talked about “types” of story you can use in your copy.

It’s widely accepted (thanks to Christopher Booker’s 2004 book “Why We Tell Stories“) that every story ever told falls into one of seven categories: Comedy, Tragedy, Voyage and Return, Rebirth, Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches and The Quest. Fun fact: he worked on the book for over 30 years.

The book looks at why humans are psychologically programmed to imagine stories this way – and why we react so strongly to them.

I want to talk to you about three of them – the three I think are most useful for fitness businesses and brands.

Up first – “Overcoming The Monster”

What barrier is your reader facing? What stands in the way of where they are, and where they want to be (or what they know, and what they want to know)?

And how can you provide the solution – get them from A-B?

Your client is the underdog of this story – and they need to “win”. Your job is to make them the hero.

In OCM stories, our hero sets out to challenge and destroy an antagonist. It can be an individual or a force, but it’s usually bigger or seemingly greater than them, and it threatens him/her, the family, the community, or the entire future.

It will take a lot of courage and strength for the protagonist to Overcome The Monster – they will often face difficult choices, decisions, losses, and will experience painful growth along the way.

They are never the same at the end of the story.

>> Think Star Wars, Terminator, most Westerns, Rocky (and most boxing films) David (of defeating Goliath fame), and – if you remember your mythology – Perseus and Theseus.

= For your purposes, the “monster” is unlikely to be a physical creature looming into town. It’s going to be your client’s fears, anxieties, biggest dread, self-doubt, self-sabotage, or perhaps the words of someone who has told them not to bother, or that they will never be sporty or that “everyone in this family is fat” =

>> Some examples to Overcoming The Monster in fitness advertising: Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign…. and pretty much anything Nike has ever done since they created the “Just Do It” call to arms in 1988.

There are five stages to an OTM type story – and you can use these to structure your copy…

1. Anticipation and Call
What is the monster? Why does it seem powerful? What type of threat does it pose? This is where your hero needs to accept the challenge.
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2. Dream
Your hero prepares to battle whilst they are still some distance away (think about all those training montages set to music!)
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3. Frustration
The monster shows itself, and its power is revealed. Has our hero bitten off more than they can chew? It all hangs in the balance.
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4. Nightmare
The battle is on. At first, our hero seems to be getting crushed by the monster. It looks bleak. But there’s no giving up. It looks like it’s all over for the hero…. but hang on, what’s this? The battle is about to take a turn.
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5. Escape from Death, and Death of the Monster.
Hooray! Our hero wins (of course). Monster is defeated, hero is victorious, and he/she gets presented with riches or some kind of reward and returns home the conquering hero.

==

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


Where Does Storytelling Fit Into Your Marketing Activity?

April 3, 2018

NJ 18.50.00

Fitness business owners – have you ever told your audience why you came up with the idea for your business?
Why you do what you do?
Where you were when you had the flash of inspiration: were you alone, or chatting with a friend? Were you outside in nature, or stuck in your office?

If not – why not?

Stories matter.

People DO want to hear the story behind your brand, your business, your flagship product, and your newest service.

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most natural ways for us to share ideas and make sense of the world.

And, these days, consumers care more about the stories behind the businesses they trust.

Your story builds connections, fosters trust, and nurtures relationships.

The more people know about your brand story, the more they will feel invested in you – and loyal to you.

🔻Why Is Storytelling Important?🔻

Emotional connection matters – perhaps even more than customer satisfaction. Clients and consumers will forgive a great deal if they like you.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t (over) deliver excellent products with absolute passion. But if people “know” you – through your story – then you can be human, too.

And emotionally connected customers are more valuable – on a long term basis – than those who are satisfied with your product, but don’t care about you.

Stories can help your audience find common touchpoint – reasons to engage with you. Excuses to reach out without feeling weird about it. If and when they meet you in person, the ice will already have been broken.

( 🐶 That’s one reason I always try to get my dog involved in Skype calls with new or prospective clients – or at least have him in the background. Dog people like dog people!)
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➡️In my next post, I’d like to tell you about the three most useful types of stories for fitness businesses to use. Would that be helpful?
==
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


Favourite Fitness & Nutrition Podcasts 2017

December 11, 2017

I like podcasts. Maybe you do, too. We should talk about that.

It’s been ages since I did a favourite podcasts post (my first podcast round-up was back in 2011 if you want a LOL, and then I wrote one in 2013 and later in 2013).

Many of those podcasts have departed to the great audio booth in the sky, and some are still around but either they’ve changed direction of (more likely) I have.

Either way, it’s time for an update. Here’s what I listen to on the regular.

(Most are about training and/or nutrition, but I’ve included some of my favourite business / personal development ones, too. You can only listen to so much industry chat, you know, however good the content and solid the banter!)

Got any recommendations for me? Leave me a comment.

Shredded By Science
(Lawrence Judd & the SBS team)

The SBS podcast is hosted by Lawrence Judd with regular input from Patrick (of Eat, Train, Progress) and SBS head honcho Luke Johnson. This podcast is mainly aimed at fitness professionals, but don’t have to be one to get a lot from it. If you’re interested in training, nutrition, and how the industry is changing, you’ll learn a lot (and laugh a lot!) They discuss great topics and have some brilliant guests. And Lawrence’s very dry humour often has me literally LOLing (awkward since I listen to podcasts when I’m out walking the dog)

3D Muscle Journey
(Andrea Valdez & the 3DMJ team)

3DMJ are kind of the OGs of the “flexible dieting” world, and the collected wisdom of host Andrea Valdez, Brad Loomis, Jeff Alberts, Alberto Nunez, and Eric Helms packs a punch. The 3DMJ podcast is firmly aimed at natural bodybuilding competitors, but anyone who is interested in training and eating for body recomp will get something from it. By the way, I’m #TeamJeff.


Muscle Box Radio
(Team Box)

The Muscle Box podcast will at any one time feature two or more of Team Box’s six coaches. Sometimes you even get all of them, which is equal parts hilarity and knowledge overload. This podcast will interest you if you’re into flexible dieting, training for hypertrophy, competing, and staying one step ahead of industry BS. Each of the coaches brings their own experience to the topics, and you’ll get plenty of clear advice to cut through diet and fitness confusion. Oh – you must like puns if you listen to this podcast. Sorry, I can’t decide which #TeamBoxCoach I am. That’s like asking me to choose my favourite member of Take That.


Push Pull Legs podcast
(Dan Meek and Tom Hall)

A second mention for Dan Meek (who is one of the Team Box coaches). The PPL podcast will interest you if you’re more into training as well as nutrition, since co-host Tom Hall is a powerlifting coach. As the name suggests, there’s plenty of training and programming talk on the PPL podcast, plus myth busting and the regular “Stupid Things We’ve Seen On The Internet”.

Sigma Nutrition Radio
(Danny Lennon)

If you’re into sports/performance nutrition, you’ll want to listen to Danny Lennon’s Sigma Nutrition show. It can sometimes be heavy going, but this is not designed to be magazine-style fluff. He has some outstanding guests on and discusses latest research, and his hosting style is really engaging. Listen to this podcast and you will be more clued-up than the majority of the people in the industry.

Mastery podcast
(Mark Coles)

M10’s Mark Coles is back with a new podcast that gives unmissable content on business mindset and personal development. He puts out some very short weekly content, aimed at getting you focused and fired up for the week ahead. And his longer episodes delve deeper into the key personal development topics that Mark is known for throughout the fitpro industry. I love listening to this on a Monday morning dog walk.

Mindset With Muscle
(Jamie Alderton)

Anyone who has the kind of attitude to life that means he will run backwards for 24 hours to raise money for charity is worth listening to (yes, Jamie did that). This podcast is packed with his trademark no-nonsense, practical, motivational content about business, personal development, and self-improvement. There’s something here for everyone. I deny you not to get fired up. (Although you might not go out and run backwards for 24 hours… but that’s OK.)

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


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