Grey shirt and pink adidas sport trainers

I love fitness and have almost by not thinking about it maintained a level of fitness since my school days. It can be hard however, these days with work to keep on top of it. Especially as you don’t want it to seem like a chore. Here is my little fitness history, routine and some lovely kit I have brought recently.

Fitness History

Sport for me growing up I was indifferent really. I wasn’t the best but wasn’t the worse either. I played in the school netball team at primary school (I still kept my winners medal!), competed in cross-country for my school at 12 and just did the usual PE lessons until 16 when I joined my school’s cross country club. 18-21 I played lacrosse for my University team, an highlight being going to Salou in Spain and playing mixed lacrosse in the National Lacrosse Championships.

Parkrun

I am not a runner AT ALL. As a dedicated cyclist of about five years. Pounding the pavements does not float my boat, however I love Parkrun. I got into Parkrun through my friends and for those of you that don’t know, it is a free timed 5k run. There is no time limit – you just run at your pace. I run it, normally, in about 32 minutes, I do hate running around the route (even though it is beautiful Cannock Chase) and do wonder to myself when is it going to end. However, it gives me a good start to the weekend and I love seeing if I have smashed a PB and where everyone has come in the run.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is the one thing that I keep going back to time and time again. I started circuits after finishing University. I love the variety of changing workout’s every minute. When I moved to where I live now (near Stafford) I go to the sessions run by G Force. G Force is great because each circuit session is slightly different. Not only this but they have started to add tabata training (an high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout) on Sunday’s which I love. There is also Vibe cycle where you essentially cycle to the beat of the music. I have only been to one vibe session which I enjoyed and would go to more but cannot get over from work in time! Each circuit training session is £3 so money is not an excuse. I just love the feeling exercise gives me afterwards.

Cycling

Ahh my biggest love. If you ask anybody who knows me they know I love cycling. I started just after the mighty trio which is Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell- Shand won the team pursuit in the 2012 olympics. Inspired, I dragged my bike down to the local outdoor velodrome and went from there. These days I take my road or mountain bike out. As I live close to Cannock Chase I am very comfortable with the blue and red trails and off trail biking. I love being out in the fresh air and the views of the chase are stunning.

My top tips of getting fit

Get Some Nice Fitness Gear

I have steadily built up a collection of fitness gear throughout the five years since I have finished Uni. Lots of people use old shirts etc but I like to look nice and feel comfortable. You need to be motivated to get fit! I do however hate people that spends loads on kit and then never wear it. I set myself targets such as going mountain biking six times in a row to buy some new mtb trousers etc.

Go With A Friend

It is really daunting at times going along to a session on your own. If you can go with a friend, you can help each other out and not feel as intimidated.

Think Of The Mental High When Things Get Tough

A lot of my fitness isn’t about getting fit physically but it does help my mind. My mind is busy working all of the time so a circuit class or mtb trail is the great way to take my mind off thinking for an hour or two! It can be hard to get motivated at times – but when I think of the natural mental high I get at the end – it is well worth it!

I would love to read your fitness tips and experiences. Leave your comments below x

I really enjoy Twitter chats, I take part in them and I have hosted them as well.

I recently hosted an #lbloggers chat with my topic about ‘Creating a movement on the internet’. It was a topic that I hadn’t really seen much written about online so I was excited to see everyone’s thoughts.

My first question was:

Do you feel that blogs have empowered people to create their own movements or join one?

What was interesting with this was I saw a movement as something such as feminism however a lot of Twitter users saw it as building their own communities.

In addition twitter users that took part in the conversation as a whole felt that blogs helped people connect with other like-minded people and increase the confidence in expressing themselves.

 

Do you think the internet can be a more effective way to support causes from behind a screen rather than being out there?

Twitter users found that starting from behind a screen can be a brilliant way to dip your toes in activism and then as confidence grows and physically getting out there seems possible.

A Twitter conversation regarding activismOne twitter user bought up the very valid point that it depends on the blog and the blogger and I whole heartily agree.

My blog is less likely to get people involved or support a cause compared to a blog with millions of followers.

Are you involved in activism?

I am not involved in activism myself at all other than the odd retweet and reading Lenny Letter (a feminist newsletter). I was interested to see if other people were. Jasiminne Yip from Posh, Broke and Bored wrote about her experiences volunteering with the Greyhound Trust and Crisis UK. One twitter user pointed out that mental health issues was widely being recognised.

Lauren from Blonde Vision has done volunteering for the Race for Life, packing Christmas presents for children in Ghana.

A Twitter user, Ada Lovelace said that she volunteers at the local library and donates to charity. Another user said that she speaks up for small indie businesses.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Desk with laptop, pencils, iphone and books

I definitely fall into the camp of being a ‘lazy’ blogger at times. Especially working in Marketing there are some things I don’t do or haven’t done properly that I know I definitely should do.  Let me know how many you agree with in the comments below.

Not using a self-hosting platform
I am currently using Blogger as you know I should move over to self-hosting but I am so meh about it. I know the benefits its just it seems like a enormous task I don’t really want to take on by myself right now.

Using stock images way too much
I know you should ideally take your own images but I do feel like a bit of an idiot doing it for my own blog – I don’t know why. I don’t have the jazzy motivational note pads just the standard stationary ones haha!

Not using Photoshop
This is more on the principle that I cannot really spend the money on Photoshop at the minute so I am using the free version of PicMonkey – which to be fair is pretty good.

Not having a consistent layout
I am pretty consistent with image first but titles – do I go with all capital letters or not, should I have the title within the image or just have the image bare… the list is endless!

Not consistently posting
As much as I hate to admit it – I suck at posting often. I do feel that when I post my content is of value but it isn’t as often as I would like it to be. Its mainly time management and it is something I am working towards improving. This also affects my social media following as I tend to get more followers as I post my posts.

Not updating my own profile image
The one of me in my hoody – yeah that was taken when I was at Uni (and first year at that!) I have left Uni fours year ago now and have had that on my list to update but I can never find the right light/time…

BUT there is something I am good at I reckon and that is posting evergreen content. The majority of my content is evergreen (i.e. it stays relevant) long after it has been posted.

Image of laptop, iphone and journal

Blogging can be hard for many reasons – generating ideas for posts, having the time to write and schedule in content, editing photographs… the list can go on. However planning and structuring a blog post correctly means the article is likely to be well written and a well written article is more likely to be shared and this means more hits to your site and that ultimately is the aim of the game 🙂

Today I will tell you the way I like to structure my blog posts, none of what you see below is revolutionary but hopefully helpful.

How I Structure My Ideas
I like to either bullet point them or use a mind map format to write down all my ideas. If I am particularly stuck for ideas I will have a scroll through what other bloggers have written for inspiration. Some may argue that it is copying but the majority of content written on blogs is repackaged or has been rewritten already anyway, so I don’t see it in that way.

Your post ideally should contain ‘evergreen content’ this helps boost your SEO. Evergreen content is content which isn’t dated so for example if this article contains lots of data then this article will be out of date very quickly as the stats would become out of date. Fashion blogs are another example. My social media and blogging articles I like to keep the content ‘evergreen’ as much as possible.

Once I have an idea on what I want to write about, if I need to do any research this is usually done first. It helps inform the rest of my writing and helps me think of points that I may not have thought about originally or from a different view point that I then may expand upon. I tend to write intro, middle and end as titles and then list the points I want to make below each.

The Writing Part
When I start writing, I tick off each point to help keep me on track and additionally keeps me motivated to finish the post (I am one of those people that like lists!). When I am in the planning stage I like to have a lot of time to plan my posts. I turn off all distractions, this means leaving my phone in the other room and not being on Twitter to keep me focused and it speeds up the creation of the post. Additionally, setting myself a deadline helps to keep the momentum. At the end I find a image using a free image site, sometimes I will add text it depends. Just keep in mind with your deadline to take time to find or create a decent image and make sure you include an alt tag in the image. At the end if you have written any previous blog posts that link with the post you are about to publish, add them at the bottom to boost engagement to other posts.

The Bit After You Click Publish
The planning just doesn’t stop at the blog post it also extends to social media. There is really no point writing a blog post unless you are really going to push it (I don’t know, maybe you want to keep it to yourself, each to their own I guess!). When I plan social media, I take into account popular hashtags (I use ritetag) and twitter profile pages that will retweet posts. I use Hootsuite to schedule the posts in and I tend to have a social media scheduling session when I am too tired to write a blog post. I pin my blog post on Pinterest straight after it is has gone live so it is done and I don’t have to think about it.

So the short version of all of the above:

  • Turn off all distractions
  • Mind map or bullet point ideas
  • If your stuck for a topic then have a google to see what other bloggers are writing about or what the popular topics are at the moment (taking into account making your content as ‘evergreen’ as possible)
  • Start with a topic and plan a beginning, middle and end
  • Remember to include scheduling in social media and finding images within your allocated time limit
  • Add in links to other relevant blog posts 

Have you got any tips on creating an effective blog post? Which has been your best blog post in terms of views? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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Open laptop on a table

Hello, hello today I am writing about self evaluating your blog via a SWOT.

A SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It may sound boring and time consuming but by writing down what each of these are, it can visually make you see your blog’s weaknesses are so you can tweak them to maximise potential. The strengths you don’t need to ignore either – by capitalising your strengths it will help make your blog stronger.

It sound’s like something that takes a lot of time but there is no point publishing content that your readers do not like to view. At the end of the day it is your blog and you can publish what you want – but if your aim is to increase readership, earn money, or increase engagement – then you need to get strategic.

To show you how a SWOT can work for you I have included a SWOT of my own blog below. If you google SWOT analysis you will see many done in a box. Personally I prefer working from a list, hence listing them below.

SWOT for becbec.uk

Strengths
Own URL and professional blogger template installed.
I have full control over my blog.
I have a full – time job so don’t need to worry about making money from my blog.
My social media and blog posts do very well in terms of page views and comments and that is the content I prefer writing about.
From working in marketing I know the a lot of websites to get good quality royalty free imagery etc

Weaknesses
Struggle to find the motivation to write content regularly.
Not enough regular content.
Social media strategy needs to be better.
My content away from blogging and social media do not so as well.

Opportunities
Know several contacts where I can get my work published – which gets my name out more.
Very confident about Twitter chats and hosted several chats before so can do those again.
Getting a lot better at Photoshop so can start creating some work sheets.
Know several graphic designers that if I reach out too, could help me make my brand better.

Threats
Established bloggers.
Blogging is a market that has become very saturated and it is getting harder and harder to stand out.

What have I learned from my SWOT?

So from my strengths I know that the social media and blog tips posts are my best posts so it is best to keep writing posts about them. Having a full – time job means there isn’t the pressure of me having to churn out content to make money.

I know I need to work on writing regular content therefore by dedicating time per week to do this is one way where I am more likely to achieve writing and getting my content published. Again by dedicating time just for social media means that I am more likely to hit my goals of pushing more people to my site. I am going to stop writing life posts because there is no point spending my time writing them as it is not what my audience want to read.

Knowing your opportunities is easy, now it is finding the time to make the most of those opportunities. It is important because if you don’t realistically have the time to take advantage you could waste other people’s time and it can make your life harder in the future when you do have more time or you try to take advantage of other opportunities because people talk to each other!

Therefore, ideally by maximising on your opportunities, expanding on your strengths and working on your weaknesses this should help reduce your threats. Your threats are likely to always be there – you should always keep an eye out on what your threats are doing so you can capitalise on there failings or find a gap in the market they are not catering for.

I hope this SWOT blog post has been useful, ironically for me by listing everything down it has made the task of getting my blog up to date not as daunting as first thought. Let me know your thoughts and how you got on below.

If you liked this post, how about reading my other posts:

Best sites for blogging and social media beginners
Best sites for blogging and social media beginners #2
How to link your blog posts to pages in blogger