How to start a successful blog

Due to the success of ResultsBy Fitness Blog, we’ve had a lot of friends and colleagues of ours ask how to go about starting a blog. After helping a few of them get started with varying results, I would have to say that these are a few most important things to keep in mind when starting a blog:

Get your feet wet. I compare becoming a blogger to learning a new language. There is a very specific culture that you have to understand (though, not necessarily follow) in order to be successful. Once you start reading blogs regularly, and more importantly, commenting, you’ll better understand the ethos of the blogging culture, you’ll have an easier time fitting in and becoming part of the conversation.

Worry more about being good than getting traffic. While the blogosphere isn’t exactly a meritocracy, it’s very difficult to be popular without being good.  Start slow, and build a depth of quality posts before you start aiming for link exchanges. If you’re good, people will recognize you. Be passionate about what you write, stay personal and draw in the reader, so they can identify and feel as if you’re writing just for them.  The key is to stay interested yourself, if you’re interested, then will your readers be.

Write for your audience. The obvious thing to keep in mind is that you need to start a blog with a purpose. If you’re just writing about yourself, then “success” is fairly irrelevant. If you’re writing about your business, your industry, your band, or your upcoming film, you need to decide from the outset the type of content you are going to write about, how often you’re going to write and the voice you’re going to take. If those things are inconsistent or incongruent, you’ll lose your reader, you’ll lose recommendations and your blog will be less successful. Audiences want some level of predictability. If you write about advertising almost exclusively and then start writing about your cat, people will get confused and annoyed. Confused and annoyed readers do not stay around long.  Take Tim’s blog for example…we always write with you, the reader, in mind.  Tim started this blog because he wanted to vertually help people with their fitness goals. And he does just that, day after day.  Of course we have since added a few other topics, only because we’re listening to you, and responding to your questions and needs.  Our main goal was to create an online community that is wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.

Connect with your readers through an about page. One of the best ways to make a lasting impact is to connect on a personal level with your readers. That means letting them know who you are and what your background is. You don’t necessarily need an author pic to relate to your readers, but you should find some way to allow readers to connect with you on a personal as well as a professional level to develop some rapport.

Don’t get seen naked: Never launch a blog with fewer than 5 posts. In the blogosphere you typically get just one shot at impressing a visitor or fellow blogger. Too many new bloggers throw up two posts and then start working on promotion. In the world of blogging, you are selling yourself and your writing. If you can’t give people a fully dressed picture of what your blog is all about and what type of writing will be on it, then why should they throw a link your way, or subscribe to your RSS feed? When someone links to you or subscribes they’re giving a vote of confidence that your site is worthwhile, so give them something to grab on to, and let them know your space won’t be “just another abandoned blog.”

Make sure a link to your RSS feed is available above the fold. It should be obvious to anyone launching a blog, but its amazing how many new bloggers do not make a link to their RSS feed readily available. New bloggers often don’t want to devote space on their site to an RSS feed when they could squeeze in a bit more AdSense. While this thinking is understandable, it is simply wrong. The returns of having subscribers are much more valuable because subscribers drive long-term traffic organically, while an additional AdSense block provides at best a marginal short-term gain. We haven’t even started to advertise, because that is not our goal.

Finishing touches:
Ask friends for feedback on your site. Ask some of your webmaster friends to review/critique your site a few days before its official launch. The blogging world is largely comprised people who consider themselves somewhat entrepreneurial, and as a result, bloggers tend to respect (and want to help) people who are out there trying to start up their own site. By asking other bloggers to give you feedback, you put them in the role of expert and create in them a sense of ownership in your site (which means they will be more likely to give you a hand when you need it). Not surprisingly, this technique usually does provide some valuable feedback from people who have experience, if not expertise, in running a blog. But in addition, by putting your peers in the position of expert, you dramatically increase the chance that they will follow your launch and drop you a link once you get off the ground.

Patience. Blogging success does not happen overnight. Be prepared to stay dedicated to promoting your blog for the long haul. Eventually, your hard work should pay off with increased traffic and a significant growth in popularity of your blog. The key is to not give up and to stay true to what you’re writing and why.

Good luck!

HEALTHY VACATIONS: ResultsBy Destination Spa Guide

Usually around this time people start plannig trips/annual vacations.  Why not lean toward a vactaion for your body, mind & soul.  You may ask, what is a destination spa?  It is a place whose sole purpose is to help individuals develop a healthy lifestyle through:
  • healthy spa cuisine that emphasizes protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritional education
  • a full program of fitness and stress reduction classes
  • therapeutic spa treatments including massage
  • educational lectures that teach you how to bring your healthy habits back home

Destination spas usually require that you stay at least two or three nights to get the full benefit. Some require a longer stay. Prices at destination spas usually include all meals, classes and some spa treatments.

How Destination Spas Differ From Resort Spas?
Traditionally, resort spas offer spa treatments alongside leisure activities like golf and tennis. They offer some spa cuisine menu options and limited health and wellness classes, usually at extra charge.  Recently, though, the lines have been blurring. Some resorts and inns are calling themselves “destination spas” even though they don’t match all the traditional criteria, like extensive fitness programming and education. Other resort spas are taking on the characteristics of destination spas, like offering classes at no extra charge. Your best bet is to decide what you’re looking for and see who offers it.

The People At Destination Spas.
Destination spas have a spirit of camaraderie. You’re with like-minded people who share your interest in health. Many have a small number of guests at any one time and you can get to know people even if you go by yourself. Small groups go on hikes, take exercise classes, and share tables together. There is usually a high staff-to-guest ratio, and staff is enthusiastic.

The Food At Destination Spas.
Destination spas serve healthy food exclusively, but there are different philosophies. Some destination spas are geared towards weight loss, with restricted calories and strict portion control. Others have an all-you-can-eat philosophy. Many don’t serve alcohol, while others serve wine with dinner. While destination spas emphasize healthy, whole foods, it might not necessarily be organic.

Destination Spa Personalities.
Destination spas have different personalities and vary widely in size, price, setting and programming. They can accommodate anywhere from 8 to 250 guests, with an average around 60. They come in a wide variety of prices, from most budget spas that are a few hundred dollars a night to $8,000 a week.  But you can always find a place that suites your budget.

Below are a few spas we recommend, but first here is our FEATURED Destination Spa:

SIX SENSE DESTINATION SPA

Six Sense Destination Spa in Thailand

Six Sense Destination Spa in Thailand

The first wellness retreat created by Six Senses, brings together fifteen years as a global leader – to create the premier destination spa of the 21st century.  Multi-day integrated health programmes focus on preventative wellness, helping to enrich lifestyles through complete immersion into healthy and mindful living. They provide the feeling of wellbeing in a sustainable learning environment that inspires lifestyle choices, creating harmony through nourishing products, transformational treatments and passionate service.

Aquaterra Spa at the Surf and Sand Resort
In Laguna Beach – Skin care, massage (signature, therapeutic, soothing sea, head to toe, back, shoulder and neck, reflexology, maternity, couples), hydrotherapy, and body treatments

Montage Resort & Spa
In Laguna Beach – 20,000 sf oceanfront spa, salon, lap pool, fitness room, yoga/aerobics studio, boutique, 21 treatment rooms, separate locker rooms with indoor/outdoor relaxation areas, fireplaces, shower, steam, sauna, Jacuzzis, cold plunges. Services include herbal and hydrotherapy body treatments, fitness consultation and classes such as aerobics, beachside yoga and Tai Chi.

Spa Xanadu
Voted “Top 10 Spa In LA” Best day spa in San Gabriel Valley

Golden Door
Golden Door in Escondido, Calif., is a women-only spa that serves no more than 40 guests. Wooden walkways link a series of serene garden courtyards inspired by the ancient inns of Japan. It has 377 acres of Japanese gardens, orchards and waterfalls and a Japanese bathhouse. This spa emphasizes individualized service and guiding guests toward a balance of mind, body and spirit. Men are welcome during men-only weeks.

The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, California
This is a converted inn right on Ojai’s main drag, with a real weight-loss focus. It’s about a 90 minute drive from Los Angeles. 800-753-6257

Hopefully you’ll find your perfect destination spa. Next week we will have more.  If you’re looking for a destination spa in another city/town, please don’t hesitate to drop us a question, we’ll be happy to suggest the right place for you.

Cooking healthy with the ResultsBy chef-Turkish Delight

Turkey was one of my surprisingly favorite places I have been to, the beaches in Bodrum, the ruins in Ephesus, the white salt deposits in Pumukkale which make you feel like you are in Alaska in winter  but with 100 degree weather, the breath taking beauty of Istanbul and the pure culture shock. Each place was so unique, I drove from Bodrum to Ephesus and would have sworn I was driving through the Red lands in Northern California except for the insane drivers. I stayed in the Sultanahmet district in Turkey which was amazing, in one direction I could see the Blue Mosque and in the other just 200 meters away, the Hagia Sofia, two of the most awe inspiring structures I have ever seen!   The real circus in Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar, miles of anything from huka pipes, ginormous rugs, beautiful dishes, Turkish delights… The most pleasing to the eye though was the spice market, the aromas were so good that I did not want to leave, ever.  So when I had the Kabobs I thought I was going to flip, the spices tasted even better than the smell. I wanted to bring back these flavors and every time I have these Kabobs, I’m brought right back to that spice market, smiling and never wanting to leave. So join me in my Turkish delight and let’s cook up some Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kabobs.

Break out the grill and let’s get the ingredients.

What you need:

Let's get the ingredients together
Let’s get the ingredients together

2 tsp. of dried crushed red pepper

2 tsp. of paprika

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt

3 tblsp. of olive oil

2 tblsp of red wine vinegar

2 tblsp of tomato paste

a dash of sea salt

fresh ground pepper

2 lemons, 1 sliced into thin rounds and the other in wedges

2-4 organic fresh chicken breasts

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 zucchini

Lets get prepped!

Let's get prepped
Let’s get prepped

In a large mixing bowl put the dried crushed pepper and paprika in with 2 tblsp. of hot water and stir until it becomes a paste. Then add the yogurt, olive oil, tomato paste red wine vinegar , salt and pepper to taste in  the mixing bowl and stir until  everything is mixed together. Add the chicken and stir and cover and put in the fridge, let it marinate for at least a couple of hours. Then cut the peppers into 1 and a half inch squares and the zucchini into one half inch and thread on the skewers.

Heat up the barbecue on medium heat for 10 minutes and oil up the grill rack. Thread the chicken and lemon circles on the skewers. place the chicken and veggies on the grill for about 12 minutes, flipping the skewers occasionally.

You can serve this on a nice platter with some hummus or just place it on the plates and serve up a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal.

This is my Turkey dish, next time I will do my pistacio sirloin Kabobs but I am sure you will enjoy this. Happy eating all and happy 4th of July!

Let's chop & mix
Let’s chop & mix
Almost ready...let's set up the table.
Almost ready…let’s set up the table.
And here we are :-)
And here we are 🙂
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Tim!

I got up super early to get this quick post in.  It’s Tim’s Birthday today…let’s help him celebrate it!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIM!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIM!

Fitness & Travel

Biking in Belize

 

 

Biking in Belize

When I’m traveling on business or pleasure, I always try to include fitness and a well balanced meal on the road.  

A common resolve: find creative ways to exercise, eat right and reduce stress on your trips.   The need for better fitness while traveling has never been greater. Nearly one-half of travelers polled by USA Today felt that they were in worse shape because they lack the time or the means to exercise properly during travel.  I’ve been blessed with careers that allow me to travel, and over the years I’ve picked up tricks that help me stay in shape while traveling, I decided to share them with you, enjoy:  

  • Once you get to your destination, drag yourself outside and do something active, even for 30 minutes. You’re not only getting a little exercise , but it will also help you recover from jet lag much quicker. 
  • Cabin air is drier than the Sahara. Before you hop the plane, fill your own water bottle. To combat dehydration (and the fatigue it causes), drink two 8-ounce glasses before boarding, then another one each hour in flight. 
  • To preserve your hard-earned fitness level, try to exercise at least every third day while on the road, performing at least a third of your cardio routine at your typical level of intensity and completing your strength training program at least once a week, using the same amount of resistance.  If you don’t have a gym at your disposal, no problem, there are so many things you can  do…try the outdoors – go biking around, walk instead of taking a cab; of course depending on where your trip takes you, just scope out the area, and be creative – there are always things you can do to get some exercise in. 
  • When eating out on the road, especially on vacation, I think you can’t be too hard on yourself  —  you’re going to break down and have some dessert or a great pasta dish, or a few pieces of warm sourdough loaf  —  and that’s OK.  As long as you get back on the track the next day, and do some physical activity.  Or after dinner, instead of getting into a car or a cab, take a 15 min walk. It all counts.  
  • snorkeling in belize

    snorkeling in belize

    Whenever I’m on the road, I get creative and I’m determined.  I work hard to stay in shape, whether on the road or at home.
    Take my trip to Belize (pics included).  It was a beautiful vacation, and I didn’t want to count my calories, plus food in Belize isn’t the healthiest, so I did every possible outdoor activity there was to keep my metabolism on high speed.   I drank a LOT of water, and when I could, I substituted a fried lunch with something simple, like a fruit salad with cottage cheese, and you can find that anywhere.  So just be CREATIVE and when you get to your destination, check out your surroundings, see what is available and if you’re committed to staying or getting yourself in shape, believe me, you will see the opportunities are all around you.  And you will no longer be making the excuses.