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*
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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 🙂

*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.

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Blog post for the Fitness Writers’ Association

June 19, 2013

Just a quick one to say that I have a guest blog on the news page of the Fitness Writers’ Association today.
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I joined the FWA last July when it was launched and am still a proud member of this industry group, which champions the work of fitness writers and runs various networking events to bring us together (and to give us access to key names from across sport, fitness, health and wellness).

My blog post is on the topic of working on location as a freelance magazine journalist.

Here is my original post about the launch night and joining the Fitness Writers’ Association last year.

Thank you to Cheryl (one of the team behind the FWA) for inviting me to guest blog – and for setting up the FWA!

You can like the Fitness Writers’ Association on Facebook, follow the Fitness Writers’ Association on Twitter or check out the website for more info (or to join!)

Blog post for the Fitness Writers’ Association 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.


The Games are coming…

July 26, 2012

On my way home from the gym (which is in Windsor) today, I noticed how many little details have sprung up around the London 2012 Olympic Games. Here are some photos from my journey home….

The Games are nearly here!

I wonder what snapshots of “journeys home from the gym” would look like for people actually living in London? (I’m about 20 miles West – near Dorney, where the rowing, canoe and kayak, and paralympic rowing will be held).

Do you live near an Olympic venue? What Olympic-sights can you see from your home, gym or office?

dorney rowing lake london 2012 games




The Games are coming… 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.


Joining the Fitness Writers’ Association

July 19, 2012

Last night, I was at the launch of the Fitness Writers’ Association, a new industry membership group here in the UK which aims to unify the communications arm of the fitness industry, bringing together those of us who write about it and those of them who supply it, lobby for it, train people in it and otherwise contribute to the products, services, ideas, campaigns and trends which make up the sport and fitness industry.

What a great idea! I don’t quite know why nobody’s thought to put something like this together for us before now (similar things exist for the health industry, for example). Three cheers for the lovely Cheryl at Action PR and Fiona at The Running Bug (and a few other hard-working ladies) for coming up with the idea and driving it forward. The result of their efforts was unveiled last night, at the rather swish Dolphin Club in London.


We were treated to canapes and champagne (of which I had none 😦 being 7 weeks out from my comp 🙂 ) before the first of the speakers took to the floor. Fiona and Cheryl introduced the Fitness Writers’ Association, explaining why it had come about, why it’s needed and what it will develop into (events, education, training, contacts, a network of experts us writers can go to for information/ideas/leads/comment, as well as fantastic links with the FIA).

Then we heard from the Dolphin Square Fitness Club, who gave a thought-provoking talk about the legacy the 2012 Games will leave behind… and why it might not have the impact we’d like to think it will. Is the Olympics actually inspiring us to become fitter? Do the Games significantly encourage uptake in sport? What social/cultural shifts do we need to see in Britain to turn us from a nation of spectators (bums on seats) to participators (bums off seats!) The emphasis was on how we, as the writers serving the sport and fitness sector, can help make the legacy of the Games a lasting and positive one.


Then David Stalker, CEO of the Fitness Industry Association, talked about how we absolutely must link this fantastic opportunity – our Olympic Games – with much wider health and fitness goals and programmes in this country. The time is now, he said. We have to get it right. Dave is a passionate speaker and advocate of getting the entire population healthier through activity, exercise and fitness. He and the FIA have strong, respected links with Government, Public Affairs and Policy, huge corporates, the medical industry and the education sector. I have heard him speak in small settings like this many times now and, each time, I feel very honoured: this is a man who has direct links into, and is helping to drive, some of the most important health/wellness/fitness campaigns in Britain and here he is sharing it with us. Thank you David.

Lastly Dr Jess Leitch of Run3D in Oxford talked to us about the latest in high tech gait analysis and how this is helping our Olympic athletes – and those of the future – train, compete and continue on with their sport with as little injury as possible.

Then it was time to chat with the other writers, Editors, freelancers and inhouse people who’d been invited to this inaugural FWA event. I decided I definitely wanted to join – I get asked to join quite a lot of networking things, memberships groups and industry bodies, but the FWA is the only one of its kind and I think it will be very important to our industry.


Thank you to Cheryl and Fiona for organising, to Ruth, Dawn and all the others who helped make the night a success, and to Richard, Mark, David and Jessica for speaking.

You can follow the Fitness Writers’ Association on Facebook and contact join@fitnesswritersassociation.com if you’d like to ask about joining.

Joining the Fitness Writers’ Association 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.


Byline in The Washington Post (and “Swim: Why We Love The Water” giveaway)

June 27, 2012

I don’t just train. I do a bit of work, too 😉 I work as a freelance writer, doing both editorial work (features in consumer magazines, mostly, but some trade/industry publications, too) and commercial work as a copywriter (content for B2B clients, B2C clients and agencies).

I don’t often blog about work (I probably should do so more often), in fact there are only a handful of work-related posts on this blog:

Where you could have found my byline back in May 2010
How to engage with fitness journalists and bloggers
How I became a freelance writer (and other FAQs)
More bylines
My favourite commissions (at that point!)
A few fitness copywriting examples
– And a few more here.
The importance of quality content for fitness professionals

You can also check out some of my clients on my Pinterest board “my lovely clients” (cos they are all lovely – one of the benefits of being freelance is that you don’t have to work with the non-lovely ones).

On the whole, I am excited by everything I write. Every new commission still gives me a thrill, even after eight years. However, this one’s a bit special and I’d really like to shout about it. Indulge me, please. I promise we’ll be back to photos of my weightlifting belt and reviews of protein powders soon 😉

In March, I was contacted by someone who purported to be a commissioning Editor at The Washington Post. Yeah right, I thought. Ha ha! But… it’s not quite 1st April. So maybe this isn’t an April Fool. Sure enough, it was real. The Washington Post had been looking for a book reviewer for the book “Swim: Why We Love The Water” and had found me. (For those of you who have only known me, or this blog, since I took up bodybuilding, you need to know that I come from a swimming background and have swum the English Channel twice). The Editor had read a few of my articles, blog posts and online features about swimming and decided to approach me.

I was very excited. I mean, come on. The Washington Post?

The review came out and is still online here.

Would you like to win a copy of Lynn Sherr’s book, “Swim: Why We Love The Water”? Because you can. I have a spare copy here (not the review copy with my bits of paper stuck all over it).

To win, please:
1) “Like” “Swim: Why We Love The Water” Facebook page
2) Tweet a link to this blog post, including my Twitter name (@thefitwriter) and Lynn’s (@LynnSherr) and include the hashtag #SWIM in your Tweet
3) Come and leave a comment on this blog post to let me know you’ve done those two things… and then tell me your most memorable swimming experience. I’d love to hear about it, no matter where or when it was. Pool, sea, lake or lido… tell me 🙂

Byline in The Washington Post (and “Swim: Why We Love The Water” 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.


What not to say to a bodybuilder: 10 days out

June 23, 2011

So, I’m now 10 days away from my first bodybuilding comp. I’m tired. I’ve been training hard for a long time, and dieting for quite a while. I’m not sleeping well due to nerves and general insomniac tendencies. And I’ve still got a business to run, so there’s all that to stay on top of (and do a good job of!) too. These past few weeks, my diet has got even stricter, and I’m cutting carbs. Ever had “low-carb brain”? If you have, you’ll know how I’m feeling. If you haven’t, get a load of this true story from yesterday:

Scene: the local Co-op.
I am picking up a few bits because we’ve got this voucher for £16 and, even if you spend just 1p of it, you get the rest back in cash. I haven’t spent the full £16, and I know this.

The woman on the till puts my stuff through and I bag it up. “That will be £12.40,” she says. I root through my bag for my wallet, pushing the £16 voucher aside. “I’m so sorry!” I blurt, “I left my wallet at home, it’s only a 10 minute walk, I’ll be back.”

I walk home – having walked to the Co-op already – pick up my wallet, and walk back to the shop again, where I… pay using the voucher which I was well-aware I had all along. WTF?

Oh well, call the walking extra cardio. 😉

Do you have a bodybuilder in your life?
Tread a little carefully if they’re going through the latter stages of contest prep. Low carbs, lack of sleep, fatigue, soreness and nerves are not a great combination. Please accept my apologies on behalf of us all.

Here’s a handy, print-out-and-keep list of “things not to say to a bodybuilder in the last couple of weeks of contest prep”. I shan’t say which are from experience and which are from my imagination…

1) “You look thin!” (Why you shouldn’t say this: we don’t want to look thin. A better choice of word would be “lean” or, if you want to go all-out “ripped”.)

2) “Why are you doing this to yourself?” (Why you shouldn’t say this: because… just because. It sounds disapproving. We don’t see it as doing anything negative to ourselves. Even the idea of “doing” something “to” ourselves insinuates damage, punishment, enduring something bad. If we saw it that way, we probably wouldn’t be doing it. We are, after all, in possession of common sense.)

3) “You’re a bodybuilder? OMG, I won’t get on the wrong side of you,then!” (Why you shouldn’t say this: because it’s dumb and offensive. We’re strong, not aggressive. And, quite frankly, we probably wouldn’t have enough energy to punch/slap/whatever you think we’ll do to you anyway. Since when does bodybuilding mean fighting?)

4) “Oh yummy my pizza is here” (Why you shouldn’t say this: because I love pizza and I’d like to eat one. You could however follow this with “It’s a super supreme with extra cheese, stuffed crust and salami.” That would be fine.)

5) “You don’t look like a bodybuilder!” (Why you shouldn’t say this: because I do, actually. You just have a misconception of what bodybuilders look like. And I’m wearing neither my gym kit nor my bikini, so how do you expect to tell anyway?)

6) “I ate that chopped up, portioned out chicken from those tupperwares in the fridge.” (Why you shouldn’t say this: we have meticulously cooked and portioned-up that chicken to make meal planning easier over the next couple of days, particularly if we have to travel or spend a lot of time out of the house. There is no need for you to eat it. You could have eaten whatever you wanted.)

7) “Please do this very complicated mental arithmetic right now.” (Why you shouldn’t say this: just…no. There are no words to convey how exhausting this even sounds.)

8 ) “What is that you’re eating?” (Why you shouldn’t say this: because it’s annoying. It’s chicken/tuna/an egg white omelette/raw veg – OK? I know you probably only mean it out of genuine curiosity but this is the only food we get to eat (til next time) and we just want to eat it in peace. You may not mean to criticise it, but some people do, and we just can’t be doing with explaining why we’re eating this. Sorry.)

9) “…can I have a bit?” (Why you shouldn’t say this: whilst it would show that you’re not repulsed by our choice of food, which is nice, this is still not a great idea. Why? See above – this is the only food we get for this meal, we’ve probably thought about it for ages, and we’ve certainly prepared and portioned it out carefully. You can not have any of it. Don’t you know what that would do to our macros? 😉 )

Please know that (most of) this is completely tongue-in-cheek and (most of) these are from my imagination. I don’t want anyone thinking my husband thoughtlessly eats my meals, or my friends annoy me by asking what I’m eating in disapproving tones. There… that helps you work out which ones people have actually said to me over the past few weeks… 😉

What annoying things have people said to you whilst you’re preparing for a sporting event? How did you react? Can you believe that I walked 3×10 minutes to the Co-op only to use a voucher I had on me the whole time?

What not to say to a bodybuilder: 10 days out 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.


How to get your triathlon wetsuit on…and off

April 21, 2011

In my capacity as an age-grouper triathlete and triathlon feature-writer, I’m often asked the best, easiest and quickest way to get a triathlon wetsuit on and off. When someone asked me the question on Twitter today, I thought – why not write a quick “how-to” blog post. The open-water training venues are opening up very soon and the first triathlons of the season won’t be far behind. And I daresay this glorious sunshine will tempt a few of you into the open-water. But it’s a bit chilly to go without a wetsuit just yet (don’t be fooled by the air temperature!) And why swim without a wetsuit when the event you’re training for dictates you wear one?

So, here they are: my top tips for getting that skin-tight triathlon wetsuit on – and then off again!

Getting your wetsuit on

Remember a couple of things: firstly, no prizes for being the fastest person to put their suit on. Secondly: yes, it really should feel that tight (it will loosen off a little once you’re in the water, which is all that matters).

The clock doesn’t start ticking til the starter sets you off on the swim. So you can take as long as you like. Leave yourself plenty of time and find a cool spot (it’s amazing how hot and sweaty you get struggling into a wetsuit). Take your secret weapon (thank you to my triathlon pro and super-speedy swimmer pal Richard Stannard for this tip):

Yes, the common carrier bag. Put the carrier bag on one foot, like a sock. Slide that foot into the suit (the leghole, obvs). Take the bag/sock off, repeat on the other side. You should now have the suit on both legs, up to about the knees.

Pull it up. The zip should be at the back. You now need to make sure the groinal area of the suit (I know groinal’s not a word, but how I wish it were) is right up into your groin. Do this by inching the suit up, from below the knees if necessary, in tiny steps. Don’t yank and pull at it – therein lies a future of rips and tears to your suit. Use the pads of your fingers to pinch a bit of suit, and pull it up a few inches…and repeat all over the legs until the groin is in the right place.

Now check there are no rucks or folds behind your knees. This+swimming=ouch.

OK now check the time. Is your wave nearly ready to go? If so, proceed to the next step. If not, leave things here for a while. You really don’t want to be walking round for ages completely zipped up into your wetsuit on a hot day.

Put one arm and then the other into the suit (different arm holes). Then repeat the process you went through with the legs, but with the arms, making sure the suit fits right into your armpits. This is really important. So, inch the neoprene up in tiny bits from the wrists until it fits properly. Get someone to help you if necessary, don’t feel shy to ask, after all you need to keep your strength for the triathlon and it can be exhausting getting a wetsuit on!

Once your arms and legs are in and your groin and armpits are aligned with the relevant bits of the wetsuit, it’s time to zip up. Again, don’t do this if you have a long wait for your swim, it’s just not worth getting overheated.

Ask someone to help you zip the suit up (you may need to breathe out and draw your shoulders together right back behind you). They’ll need to press the velcro flap down over the top of the zip. Get them to hand you the end of your zip leash (if that’s what it’s called?) so you’re confident you can find it on swim exit.

Now just a couple of things to do to really check your suit is fitted snugly. Bend forward at the waist and grab any spare neoprene around your stomach. Yes, it really is neoprene and no I will not believe it is your belly. You are a triathlete! You have trained!

Ease any spare neoprene up, over the boobs (if you’re a lady…) and onto your upper chest/shoulder area. This is really the only area where you want any ‘spare’ neoprene. Can you grab a fistful of neoprene in that dent in front of your shoulder/under your collarbone? That’s OK. Can you grab a fistful of neoprene anywhere else? This is not so OK.

Check again for folds and creases in your elbows and behind your knees – get rid of them.

You’re ready to go (assuming you have your hat and goggles on). Enjoy.

Getting the wetsuit off

OK so you’re out of the swim. Time really does count now so it pays to practise getting your wetsuit off as fast as you can. What makes that super-tight wetsuit come off quickly? The layer of water inside. So act quickly before the water drains out. Here’s the drill.

Stand up out of the water, pop your goggles on top of your head, and start to run/walk towards transition. Immediately, reach behind you for your zipper leash and pull.

As you run/walk along, take one arm and then the other out until the suit is flapping around your waist.

Get to your bike and roll the suit down to your knees. Then lift one leg and the other until you can pull one foot free. Use that foot to stand on the other leg of the wetsuit, so you can pull the other foot free.

You’re done!

If you struggle with this technique, experience dizziness after the swim (me too) or feel a bit flustered, there’s no shame at all in just sitting down by your bike and pulling your suit off whilst you sit on the ground.

Hope that helps!

Do you have any tips or personal experiences to add? Please do!

Edited to add: My friend Dick (yes, really) has alerted me to the fact that “groinal” is, in fact, a word. Thanks, Dick!

How to get your triathlon wetsuit on…and off is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


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