T Nation

For Those Who Read Fitness Articles, Advice for a Writer?


#1

I’m curious what sort of stuff keeps you people reading, what sort of stuff you hate, and what sort of stuff you want to read more of.

I’m working on finding my footing with fitness blogging, but I need to narrow my focus. I have skills in flexibility and gymnastics work, and a decent amount of proficiency with basic barbell work despite my current state of strength.

As an unproven guy writing on the internet, what would keep you reading?


#2

@T3hPwnisher has a pretty bad ass blog that has quite a number of readers here on this site. Might want to check it out


#3

Accomplish something first. My biggest pet peeve is “fitness authors” who dole out tons of advice, presenting themselves in a position of authority and yet have never accomplished anything worthwhile themselves (or they lie a lot as a certain “coach”/author who used to put tons of stuff on here and elite used to do)

S


#4

nothing. make a name for yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be through your own physique or through success in competition, but to me, that’s the easiest/best way. Prove results with your own body. The only other reason I would listen to someone is if they have had success coaching high level athletes. Have you done that?

If you don’t have credentials, no one will have any reason to even give you a chance. Build a resume first.


#5

Literally nothing. Any putz with a keyboard, 4-pack abs, and an Instagram account thinking they should be giving out advice is probably one of the worst trends in the fitness business today.

How long have you been a coach or trainer?

This is gonna suck to hear and I’m going to sound like a giant dick, but after taking a quick look at your log, there is absolutely nothing you should be “fitness blogging” about unless it’s a straightforward log tracking your own personal progress. Do not blog to dish out advice.

The stuff that keeps people reading is results. Trainers delivering them with clients and people getting them on their own. For example, when @ActivitiesGuy finally hit his 600-pound deadlift after steadily plinking away at it for months and months, it was huge because people were invested in seeing him achieve what he was working for.

You don’t need to narrow your focus. You just need to focus on reaching your own training goals. If you put together a few paragraphs about what you’re doing along the way, cool.


#6

I’ll go against the grain here. You do not need to wait until you are proven to write something depending on your target audience. Keeping in mind that the hardcore fitness or bodybuilding type crowd is in it of itself a selected niche. There is a reason why Planet Fitness does so well commercially.

Would I read it? No, and my guess is neither would the folks here. But there are people who like to read that of people they can relate to, rather than those who intimidate, alienate or emasculate them.

It comes down to what you are trying to accomplish, being a good FITNESS writer or a good fitness WRITER. There are some coaches and authors who write like troglodytes but have great content. There are some who know or provide nothing original but rather chronicle or report with great prose.

There are people with thousands of views, followers and such who are just your typical overweight ordinary person just chronicling their journey and people like it and relate to it by either their writing, personality or mutual feelings.

Writing is about finding and catering to an audience. I hate to even say it, but catering to the skip leg day, skinny with abs and like to post shirtless 130 lb social media selfie crowd is probably a more lucrative market then us, or the ‘purist’ crowd who want actual content rather than story telling or placating. It’s not hard to be a successful shill in fitness. It is hard to be authentic and commercially successful though.


#7

I’m like a basic consumer of fitness/strength/conditioning content.

Why would I read or listen to you? (not a rhetorical question)


#8

I agree with Waittz.

Write about yourself and what you’re doing as a dude with a sore back making a return to the gym. Tons of guys come through here in exactly the spot you’re in. Write about the stuff You try and the improvements You make.


#9

I have independently coached 3 people to state championships in powerlifting, and 2 further people in weight loss journeys totaling over 250lbs. I also have a lot of experience in the injury rehab/prevention space though no formal schooling.

Definitely agree my personal accomplishments are lacking in my log here. I’m coming off fairly severe back and knee injuries and am working my way back up without letting injuries flare up. My log doesn’t focus on my strengths - I don’t cover my handstand or flexibility work in there, as it’s not trackable stuff.

This is definitely true - I originally posted this in the “35 and older” forum (it has since been moved) for just this reason: an attempt to cater to a specific crowd


#10

Okay, then we really need to work on your writing skills because none of this info was mentioned anywhere and it changes a large part of where I was speaking from.

As an aside: I moved the thread out of the Over-35 Lifter forum because, again, nothing in it was particularly related to lifters over 35. Seems like you’re getting solid advice here as-is.

EDIT: SkyzykS had a good question you should address.


#11

Sure, ok. I wasn’t intending to use this thread as any sort of introduction to the world, it was more a question in the realm of generalities. Why do people read fitness material from those without big names? What is the draw? What makes it stand out? Reading Mike Robertson’s blog or Dan John’s blog is one thing but why does this mythical reader continue to read “Tom’s Fitness Shack”?

I’ll answer the question below:

I grew up with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis - from the age of 9 until it was considered in complete remission at 16. It caused a lot of long term damage to my joints. I never imagined myself as fit or athletic and thought my ship had sailed. So I came to things late in the game - mid twenties. I spent that initial stretch of time focusing on gymnastics, circus arts, and flexibility in an attempt to improve my movement quality from that which I was cursed with. It worked mostly. I can still perform a variety of tumbling acrobatics to the delight of my kids.

A while later in my late 20s, I was bitten by the barbell bug, and spent a lot of time learning the movements. I realized early on that I didn’t have the mental drive to really push for high numbers and focused a lot of rep work - I did hit a 455 DL at 185, which I’m proud of.

During these stints I coached my wife (a significant feat in it’s own right, if you’ve ever tried to coach an SO) to a state PL championship, as well as two others at different periods. I’ve helped friends and acquaintances lose weight and keep it off for over a decade, I’ve helped people heal injuries and prevent further ones. I’ve even given talks at my office about postural corrections to improve the aches and pains brought on by desk work.

I’m currently coming back from a downward trend in my fitness pursuits due to injury (and having a second kid) but still have all the knowledge to make it work


#12

Interesting. Go for it man. You got nothing to lose anyway.


#13

Just to expand on this, I’ve been writing a blog since 2012 and have picked up a regular readership, despite not self-promoting or really doing anything to grow the blog.

I write the stuff I wanna write, which is based purely on my own experiences and thoughts. There’s already a ton of people that are much smarter than me writing about science, research, studies, facts, figures, etc, so I figure the only thing I have unique to contribute is what I’ve personally experienced and observed.

Seems to be a lot of folks that are interested in that: assuming you’ve experienced and observed things worth writing about.

I think if you try to tailor what you write to what an audience wants, they’ll be able to tell.


#14

How do I find your blog?


#15

There you go!

You have a good bit of subject matter to work and be relatable with.


#16

I don’t know this forum enough to figure out where your blog is.


#17

That is it, yes. Most likely be a good idea to remove the URL and just keep the name, as linking to outside stuff can be frowned upon.

@wanna_be search for “mythical strength” and you’ll find it.


#18

Good point. I guess something OP has to consider is if you’re writing primarily for yourself like a hobby, or writing for an audience as pointed out. The former seems like a good place to start. Just my opinion.


#19

I’ll second what pwnisher has said. Sharing your personal journey is probably the best way to attract attention. And it needs to be packaged in a way that sets you apart in some way from other people doing the same thing. From there, you can use your platform to deliver whatever message you’re trying to deliver.

Sure it is. Try to track it. Any actions can be described with words. Talk about what you do. Honestly, this is the only thing you’ve posted so far that I’d be interested in reading about. It’s a more personal thing to you, and like you said, it’s a strength. I don’t need to read about your journey to a middling deadlift, because that makes you one of millions doing the same thing. I also don’t care to read about your thoughts on injury rehab/prevention unless you’ve helped at least 50 people in a significant way. School or skins on the wall matter in that arena. If you have something to contribute regarding your circus performance stuff, flexibility, handstand stuff, gymnastics… All of that can be interesting to fitness enthusiasts in many disciplines.

Anyway, long story short, if you want people to read you, don’t focus on the things that make you average.


#20

-Refute widely accepted methods in the title to gain interest (full body is terrible! compounds suck! splits kill your gainz!).
-Article must plausibly be read in monster truck rally commercial voice.
-Write condescendingly and imply that not following the article will leave you SMALL and WEAK.
-If writers’ block hits whip something up about band pull-aparts being good.