I’m 6 Years Old (So I Guess I Should Actually Blog…)

April 26, 2016

WordPress informed me today that this blog is six years old. In blog terms, that’s positively elderly. But a blog isn’t a blog if it’s not actually updated… so here goes!
the fit writer blog nicola joyce 6 years birthday

I’m not sure I’ve got a lot to say…

…so – for anyone still out there and interested – here’s a stream of disconnected ramblings about training, food, and my newest bits of home fitness kit.

My most recent blog posts were about powerlifting. Specifically the BDFPA full power Nationals in February (so long ago already?) where I squatted 105, benched 60, deadlifted 150 (but I’d like it to be known that I got 160 to my knees!) You can read about that comp by clicking the clicky <<< .

Directly after that meet, I really wanted to do more powerlifting. I had grand plans:

1) the BDFPA single lifts nationals (initially just deadlift, but then I fell in love with squatting and decided to both deadlift and squat)
2) a BDFPA qualifier, ideally with my girlbro Charlie, to qualify early for 2017 nationals
3) nationals in 2017

But then various annoying logistical issues got in the way – travel, dog sitters, accommodation – and I had to make an executive decision.

I decided to shelve my powerlifting for the year (I’m happy enough with the progress I made between my qualifier and Nationals), and to revert to plan B: get back to training, do a late qualifier (Jan/Feb 2017) and see how I get on.

What am I up to now, then?

TRAINING

I’ve brought more bodybuilding aspects of training back into my life (although my training has definitely altered since my time focusing on powerlifting). I’m enjoying doing a wider variety of exercises, and paying attention to body parts I didn’t have the time (or the need) to train as a powerlifter.

Remember “notch watch” from way back when? (No, nor do I really and I wrote it.) Well, that belt has long since been thrown in the bin (it perished – literally – after languishing in the boot of my leaky car). But I still wear my Inzer belt for heavy squats, and I’m down 3 “notches” on it since the start of the year.

EATING

Things got a little wild there out in the hinterland of powerlifting, so yes I am dieting, but very slowly and extremely “flexibly”. No meal plan, no eating out of tupperware, and no cutting carbs (indeed no cutting anything). I’m just paying attention to what I’m eating, tracking it, and working to macros. Carbs are lovely and high, and I’m loving life! I’m dieting to macros, rather than to a meal plan, but it’s a very “flexible dieting” type approach. Carbs are no lower than 180, and I got above 200 twice a week. I think I might turn into a rice cake soon!
rice cakes bodybuilder
MOVING

Cardio has made a re-appearance, partly to support the slow diet and partly cos it’s Summer and it’s a lot nicer to ride my bike and pull my sled around the field in this kind of weather.

(Sled from Celtic Strength)

Bit of sled work out on the field tonight with my push/pull sled, handmade and custom painted by @simoncelticstrength πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

A video posted by Nicola Joyce βœ’οΈπŸ’ͺ🐢✌️ (@thefitwriter) on Apr 13, 2016 at 2:45pm PDT

No plans for events/comps/meets just yet. I’m really enjoying getting some structure back into my nutrition and training, and seeing where it leads me over the next few months. If I end up in shape, I have the option of UKDFBA (bodybuilding) later in the year. To all UKDFBA competitors and the general UKDFBA “fam” – I will be at as many qualifiers as possible this year, and I can’t wait to see you!

I’m better at updating my social media…

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

I’m 6 Years Old (So I Guess I Should Actually Blog…) 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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Should a fitness copywriter have writing experience, fitness experience, or both?

January 5, 2015

The internetwebs – particularly social media – has flattened the landscape somewhat. It’s democratised things. Instagrammers with a good set of abs and a frisky amount of followers brand themselves “fitness models”. Clients no longer necessarily need to see their PT. And prefacing your online biography with the word “[aspiring]…” seems enough to do away with the need for a portfolio, qualifications, or real-life experience. In any sphere.

I feel I may have got off on the wrong foot with this one. So, before you all think I’ve got an axe to grind (I haven’t – if I had, I wouldn’t waste time grinding it, I use it to tackle my garden), I’ll explain the context for today’s post.

My client-now-friend Mike Samuels of Healthy Living Heavy Lifting recently posed a question to his Facebook followers: “do you need to actually train people to coach online and write about fitness?”

The video post prompted responses from trainers, coaches, PTs and PT clients. And from me. I responded as a copywriter. More than that, as a copywriter who specialises in writing about, and for, fitness businesses.

So, of course, my reply to the writing portion of the question was a resounding “no”. Although I do have extensive experience of training, being coached, and even competing in various sports, I don’t think this is a deal-breaker. After all, I also write for a funeral car company, and I’ve never designed a car, driven a hearse, or arranged a funeral. My fitness clients include businesses whose niche is running (I haven’t run properly for years) and post-partum yoga (I don’t have children, and corpse pose is my favourite because it involves lying down and having a nice sleep).

Now, granted, the context of Mike’s question was a PT who had approached him, asking about moving into exclusively online coaching and writing about fitness, rather than face-to-face PTing.

But it got me thinking.

In this online age, where boundaries get blurry and self-styled job roles merge, what do clients actually prefer?

A copywriter who can write about fitness?

Or a fitpro who can write?

Does it no longer matter? What’s more important: official training and experience in writing, or hands-on experience of the topic being written about?

Can a writer understand enough about a topic to be able to write about it with authority? And can a topic-expert know enough about how to get inside a reader’s head to write content which persuades and engages?

I don’t know. But I’d love to know your thoughts, particularly if you have ever commissioned anyone to write content for your business (or publication).

*No axes were ground during the composition of this blog post*

Should a fitness copywriter have writing experience, fitness experience, or both? 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.


thefitwriter blog in 2014 (and looking ahead to 2015)

January 2, 2015

Hello! I was taking a look at my wordpress stats this morning and got to wondering: what do you lot want to see more of (and less of) on the blog over the coming year?

Product reviews always seem to be popular, but I’ll only do them if you really find them useful (and I do turn down more than I accept – one day I’ll have to tell you about the sort of products I turn down. You’ll LOL and possible ROFL, promise).

Competition reports go down well, too, but I am still undecided about my plans for 2015. I might compete in bodybuilding, or I may take a year out from competing (and dieting!) in order to give my body a chance to grow and develop before I next venture into a deficit. If I do take a year out, I will possibly do some other kind of comp (powerlifting?) – would you want to hear about those, too?

Do my training sessions interest you? Would you want to hear more about the ins and outs of off-season?

And what about my actual job – copywriting. Do blog posts about the business of writing, about writing for the fitness industry and about freelancing interest you? Or would you like my occasional advice for business owners who write their own content?

Do let me know! πŸ™‚

Here’s a round up of how the blog did in 2014 (its fourth year… it’s positively elderly in blogging circles!)

Mentions!
It topped the list of top sport and fitness PR company Promote’s list of favourite fitness blogs.

Guest posts and interviews

– I was on the Katie Bulmer-Cooke podcast (yes, Katie who was in this year’s The Apprentice!) talking about copywriting for fitness businesses, PTs and fitpros, how to create content, what’s trending in marketing, why writing is so important for your business… and a bit of banter with Katie. You can listen to it here. I’m so pleased to have done this; being on a podcast was one of my goals for the year. Thank you for the opportunity, Katie (and thank you to those of you who have messaged me to say that you found my advice useful).

– I blogged twice for Karen Nadkarni-Ruffle at FitProClientRecipes (FPCR): this blog post gives fitpros and fitness businesses 10 easy-peasy ways to generate topics for their own blogs, and this blog post gives my advice about how to write press releases which get opened, read… and published!

– What else… I was featured on the blog of fellow Fitness Writers’ Association member “Fitcetera” (aka Georgina Spenceley) when she did a series called “Yeah, She Lifts”. Here’s my Yeah She Lifts interview (thanks, G!).

– And I was interviewed by Introvertology about my work as a freelancer and training and competing as a bodybuilder and former endurance athlete (thankfully, they let me send my replies in by email… haha πŸ˜‰ ). You can read that interview here.

I set up thefitwriter’s own Facebook page in 2014 and I’d be delighted to see you there – come on over and like the page.

Views and visitors
It had 83,000 views in 2014, from 55,000 visitors, and now has 253 WordPress followers (hello, and thank you! πŸ˜€ )

The list of countries those visitors come from is fascinating. Here’s the top of the list….
Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 14.14.10

…and here’s the bottom. Hollaaaaaah to the chap or chick in Honduras who had reason to read my ramblings once this year!
Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 14.14.28

My most popular posts

– An old review post of ON whey
– An old review post of the protein powder Tesco launched in Jan 2012 (this post’s enduring popularity continues to amaze me!)
– My review of the Phil Learney Fat Loss & Performance Seminar I went to in 2013
– An old review of Monkey Nutrition whey isolate
– A review post of Bare Naked Noodles (this pings to the top every time they’re in the press or whenever Ross’s Dragons’ Den episode is shown)
– My blog post about my pal Julia Buckley’s Fat Burn Revolution book
– Show report of this year’s UKDFBA Open (the only post from 2014 which is in the 2014 top 10… I guess this shows my writing’s staying power and my blog’s SEO strength!)

Big thanks to all of you who read, share, like and comment on my posts. A happy, healthy and successful 2015 to you all πŸ™‚

thefitwriter blog in 2014 (and looking ahead to 2015) 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.


Guide to getting the most out of your Bodypower visit

May 15, 2014

Are you going to the BodyPower Expo? It runs from tomorrow (Friday) to Sunday – I’ll be there on the Friday and for part of the Saturday with my “fitness industry copywriter” hat on and am looking forward to meeting up with existing clients, networking with potential new ones, and generally soaking up the crazy atmosphere of the fitness industry’s huge expo.

Bodypower is a valuable opportunity for me to meet fitness, health, training and nutrition businesses, entrepreneurs and established brands, PRs, commissioning editors, athletes and sometimes even blog readers!

Fancy a coffee and a natter? Text or call me, or send me a Tweet thefitwriter Nicola Joyce on Twitter. I have a huge list of friends, clients and fellow bodybuilding competitors to see – I hope I manage to spend a little time with you all!

Here’s a quick guide to getting the most from your Bodypower visit

Plan your visit: Bodypower is busy. Really busy. Particularly if you’re going on the Saturday. So plan your visit – take a look at the exhibitor list, the athletes, the talks and features you might want to go to and have some sort of itinerary. This will save you a lot of time (minimising time spend aimlessly wandering about) and will hopefully ensure you don’t miss anything important.

Do you know what’s in your sample? Tested athletes, be very wary of necking any old sample which you’re given or which is out on exhibitor stands. For those of us who are drug-tested against the WADA list (or whatever regulations your federation uses), we really must be vigilant. If you must grab samples and eat/drink them there and then, please read the label, and if it’s too small to read (as is often the case with sample sizes), ask one of the people on the stand. If in doubt, don’t take it. It’s just not worth it. There are so many samples being given out but honestly, how would you feel if you discovered that something you quickly threw down your neck at Bodypower caused you to fail a test later in your competitive year?

Dress for the conditions (rather than to impress!): far be it from me to tell you what to wear but, honestly, ladies, leave the heels at home. It’s an expo, not a modelling contest (there is one of those, but if you haven’t entered it yet you’re too late). Walking around a massive expo at the NEC is tiring and will leave you sore and achy, don’t make it worse by wearing heels. Obviously if you’re working a stand and your employer has you in hot pants and heels then that’s a different matter πŸ˜‰ I advise wearing leggings or light tracky bottom/yoga pants type trousers, a t-shirt or vest, a sportsbra (just in case you want to take part in any of the live fitness demos), and trainers. And don’t forget it’ll be warm in there, so minimise the amounts of outer layers you’ll end up carrying around under your arm. There is a cloakroom.

Take your phone but don’t forget the charger: you’ll no doubt be texting and whatsapping your mates all day (trying to arrange meet-ups), taking photos (including selfies of you and your favourite athlete) and trying to upload to instagram #sorrynotsorry. That shiz drains your phone battery (or it does mine anyway). Take a charger, just in case. Can you imagine your phone dying on you just as you go to snap a pic of you and your idol Benjamin Bicep?

Cash is King: there are no cashpoints within the show itself, although there are some around the NEC. But trust me, once you’ve actually got inside, you won’t want to go out again to get cash out. Lots of the exhibitors will take cards, but some won’t, and they will appreciate cash (much faster, so you’ll be helping the queue situation). Have a think about what you might want (need?) to buy, perhaps set a budget, get the cash out before you go.

Prep at least a few meals:
there are plenty of places to get snacks and meals at the NEC, and some prep-type food vendors exhibiting this year too. But I would advise you to prep at least a few meals so you don’t have to rely on whatever is there. And I’d certainly advise not living off samples of protein bars, washed down with BCAA drinks all weekend. Your poor guts!

Don’t forget water: you can buy water there, of course. But it’s set to be a hot weekend and will be very warm in the crowded expo hall. Have a bottle of water with you.

Don’t weigh yourself down:
do you really need to take your cool bag with you around the expo all day? Do you need a bag that big, or a coat that thick? The expo gets very crowded, particularly on Saturday. Be realistic about what you do and don’t need to take. And if you end up buying something large, ask the exhibitor if you can either leave it at their stand until you’re on your way home, or if they’ll post it to you (always worth asking!)

Have fun, enjoy, and do hit me up on text of Twitter if you’d like to meet up!

Guide to getting the most out of your Bodypower visit 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.


TheFitDog hosts a running magazine giveaway

April 10, 2014

TheFitDog has a big head at the moment. And I’m not talking about the generous proportions he was blessed with by mother nature. He’s puffed up with pride, far beyond his wrinkly jowls and square brain-box.

Why?

He’s in a magazine again.
nicola joyce running magazine

Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted him (and me, but that’s by the by) in the current issue of Women’s Running magazine. Remember when we went on a caniX training session? This article is the result*
IMG_3604

IMG_3605

Anyway, Frankie thinks that absolutely everybody should have the opportunity to gaze upon his handsome face and marvel over this athletic physique. So he’s offering one of you a brand new, slobber-free copy of May 2014 Women’s Running magazine.

To be in the mix – do these two things

1) share this blog post on Twitter (with my Twitter name @thefitwriter in your tweet somewhere)
or
share this blog post on Facebook (with my FB page link https://www.facebook.com/thefitwriter in the post)
2) leave a comment on this post to let me know you’ve done one of the above!

Frankie and I will pick a winner on Monday and get the magazine sent out to you ASAP.

Open to readers anywhere in the world πŸ™‚

*In case you think I’ve gone a bit quiet with the “where you’ll find my byline this month” posts, I don’t do much journalism these days – it’s mostly copywriting. I put a fair bit of client news on my website newspage, when possible.

TheFitDog hosts a running magazine giveaway 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.


Industry secrets – how fitpros should connect with industry media contacts

February 25, 2014

Ever wondered how people get their names, products and services in front of industry journalists and magazine editors?

How fitpros can get in there with editors, journalists and bloggers

First of all, understand how the chain of command in the media industry works.

There are in-house journalists (staff on magazines or newspapers). Their bosses are editors, commissioning editors and sub-editors. Then you have freelance journalists (like me), who usually specialise in a sector. Freelance journalists will be commissioned by inhouse staff to write features, interviews, kit tests and other bits of content for the publication. Then there are PR (public relations) people. They work on behalf of brands, and part of what they do will be managing relationships with journalists and editorial staff.

What’s the process behind a magazine commission?

There are two ways in which a magazine article can come about: from a pitch (from the journalist to the editor(, or from a commission (from the editor to the journalist). The latter usually – but not always – happens when the editor already knows the journalist by reputation, or if the journalist has previously written for the publication.

For pitches, journalists need to come up with strong, timely ideas. When we get commissioned by an editor, we will usually need to find case studies, expert comment and/or products to fit the brief. We may have to do this extremely quickly and we’ll therefore be looking for fitpros who can help us by getting spot-on product information, fantastic expert comment or strong case studies.

On the topic of kit tests – these are always commissioned. We will never be able to pitch an editor the idea of testing a single product. So, if you want to get your product in front of an editor, you need to send it to them first and then they will send it to one of their freelancers to test. (I can write a blog about press releases if this will help?)

What about fitness blogs?

If publicity via a fitness blog is on something you’re interested in, you need to get in touch with bloggers. Bloggers are our own “editors” and those of us who do product tests can be contacted directly to see if a review of your product would make good content for our readers. Are blogs are a suitable outlet for your product and a worthwhile part of your marketing strategy? That’s your call. But it’s worth bearing in mind that customers are increasingly reading blogs for online reviews and feedback.

You can also try contacting fitness bloggers to see if they need guest bloggers. Personally, I find “cold call” emails offering guest blog posts irritating at best, but that’s usually because they’re very sales-y and not offering anything useful or readable. So, by all means give this strategy a try (but not with me… πŸ˜‰ )

How can you make the most of freelance fitness journalists?

We want to work with you and hear from you, but you need to know what we need – and what we don’t need – when a deadline is looming. Here are a few tips.

Do contact us, but only with information we have previously stated we’ll find useful or which will fit the commission we’re working on
Don’t send information which doesn’t fit the bill, no matter how strongly you feel the magazine should feature it
Do note our deadline and tell us honestly if you can help us meet it
Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver
Do send complete information, images, case studies, contact details
Don’t send information and then disappear off the face of the earth (at least let us know who else in your team we should speak to)

How do magazine editors want to hear from you?

I asked one of the deputy editors I write – Laura Jones at Body Fit magazine – to give you some advice. Here’s what she had to say:

“Remember that editorial staff at consumer magazines like Body Fit get hundreds of press releases a day. To give yours a chance of being read, make sure it has an eye-catching headline, relevant content and all the contact details we might need. Make sure you read the magazine first so you know what kind of content we do – and don’t cover – and ensure you know who our target readership is.”


How to find a freelance journalist with a relevant commission

“This is all great”, you say, “but how do I begin to find freelance fitness journalists? And how can I know which articles they’re working on?” OK, I’m about to let you into some real industry secrets here… make sure you use these!

Twitter – search the hashtag #journorequest – journalists use this when they need a quote, comment, product for an article they’re writing. Save the search as a stream so you can see it every day.
Responsesource – use the website Responsesource – journalists and editors upload specific requests here
Networking – online and in real life. If you find a journalist in your sector, keep in touch.

Industry secrets – how fitpros should connect with industry media contacts 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.


What would you ask Brad Schoenfeld?

January 24, 2014

Morning!

Just a quick one from me today as it’s all go here.

bodybuilding journalist writer
I’m donning my journalist’s hat tomorrow (it’s one of those black porkpie ones with a press card tucked into the hat band) and going along to Brad Schoenfeld‘s seminar Maximal Hypertrophy, on behalf of my clients at Muscle & Fitness magazine. (Thankfully, I get to hide behind my notepad this time. I was too embarrassed to write about the time I had to be in the photos for the article, but my dog hijacked the laptop and blogged about it. He’s a better writer than I am to be honest.)

Brad is thought of as one of the leading authorities on body composition training (and he’s also a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder).

I wanted to ask those of you who are Muscle & Fitness readers, or who follow Brad’s work, or who are interested in the topics… what would you ask Brad if you were coming along?

Here’s the agenda:

1. The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy: What Makes Muscle Grow?

2. Hypertrophy Program Variables: Applying the Mechanisms to Practice

3. Hypertrophy Program Design: Periodising the Ultimate Muscle Building Program

4. Eat to Grow: Nutritional Strategies for Maximising Muscle Development

It’ll be interesting for me to hear your questions… I’ll try to get the answers from Brad, and then perhaps build the article around the most interesting answers!

What would you ask 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.


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