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!

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RELATIONSHIPS & FITNESS

Hi, I know we took a little break from the blog.  We’re working on Kaos and Tim’s Fit Club.  He will be writing more about it in the next few weeks.
I had no idea what to write about this morning.  So we just decided to enjoy the day and I knew something would come.  We had such an amazing day- full of fun, fresh air, some sun, great food, getting some exercise in and most of all, great company.  I love spending time with Tim.  He truly is my best friend above all.

Me & Tim at the beach

Me & Tim at the beach

We started the day with a little beach workout – together.  There’s nothing like it…spending time with your partner…and getting your workout in.  While at the beach, a woman asked me: “You guys look so happy together, what is your secret?”
Secret?  Well, no secret really…we enjoy each others company.  We love spending time together.  And we found a perfect match between fitness and our relationship.  It’s important to find something that you both enjoy to do, and keep it fresh.  Quite a few of out friends are going through some marital problems, so I’m dedicating this post to them and all the couples out there, hopefully this articles help you and inspires you a little.  And we’re always here for you.

The beginning of a relationship is marked with intense passions; the brain during young love resembles that of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or addicted to drugs.  When this stage fades, couples in a long-term relationship might find their relationship more boring, just remember, things change, but don’t be sacred of the change, change can be liberating…embrace it.    To add excitement and passion to a long-term relationship, start doing new things with your partner. Great relationship isn’t forced, but it certainly worked on.  My best example were my parents, who were best friends, and yet they were madly in love.

So instead of going on a date once in awhile to the same old place, try something novel and new to help bring back the butterflies and excitement.  Cook for one another, or do a surprise dinner, invite your partner to a restaurant you both haven’t been to. We do that all the time.  You don’t need an occasion to surprise your loved one.  I did some research online and found studies of Arthur Aaron, a professor at State University of New York, who has been researching this phenomenon on couples that have been married for a long time, this is pretty interesting.

In one study, middle-aged couples were given questionnaires about the relationship and then assigned to three groups:
One group spent 90 minutes a week doing a familiar activity (such as going to dinner), the next spent 90 minutes a week doing an “exciting” activity that they don’t normally do, and the last group was not assigned to do anything in particular.  After 10 weeks, the couples were given the questionnaire again. Those that had done exciting, new dates had a much greater increase in relationship satisfaction than the other groups.   Aron and his colleagues also did another study with married couples. One group was assigned the boring task of walking across a room together, while the other group was challenged to push a ball across a floor while crawling with their wrists and ankles tied together!  After the exercise, the couples that were challenged had a larger increase in love and satisfaction scores than the “boring” couple.

It’s definitely possible to stay passionately and romantically in love; One study of couples that had been married for more than 10 years showed that their brains, when looking at their loved one, showed activity in the area of the brain that is associated with romantic love.

You don’t have to swing from the chandeliers.  Go to a beach for a workout, take a walk on the  beach, take a bike ride to see the sunset/sunrise together.  We love staying fit, so we inject our day with a lot of physical activity.  We have fun while we stay fit, what more can you ask for???!!!  Be spontaneous, don’t make plans, and see what happens. 😉

The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant.  Couples that have fun together are the ones who end up staying together and having a good, enjoyable relationship. So think of something original to do, try a new sport; take a class together; go on a guided tour; take a mini-vacation; drive to a town you’ve never been in before.  Keep it fresh, fun and remember you don’t need extravagant vacations or expensive gifts to be in a healthy loving relationship, the time you spend together is what counts!

Enjoy your night everyone!  We hope you had a great weekend. xo

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!

10 tips to rev up your workout

1. Eat one hour before your workout- To maximize your workouts you need to eat for fuel, the key is finding foods that will sustain your workouts and not make you crash and burn. Foods high  in sugar will give you instant gratification but then will make you fall short of the finish line.  Here  is a list of my favorite pre workout foods:

Morning workouts: If I have time I will whip up some steel cut oatmeal (The complex carbs give me sustained energy) and a banana( The potassium in bananas will help muscles contract) or blueberries. If I am running out the door, I will have whole wheat toast and almond butter with a banana.

Afternoon workouts: Brown rice or whole wheat pasta (Complex carbs), salmon (high in omega-3 fats and vitamin B)

Beans(Packed with protein, fiber and minerals – they give you sustained energy)

In a pinch: Almonds and yogurt.

2. Drink H2O: This sounds simple but so many of my workouts lack energy because I am dehydrated, if you work out in the morning have water before you go to sleep and again when you wake up. If you work out in the afternoon, drink water through out the day. Men on average should get 3 liters a day and women should get 2.2 liters a day.

3. Set mini goals: We all set those long term goals like, I want to lose 30 pounds or I want a to fit in my old jeans, but don’t forget the little victories t0o. Whether it is lifting 5 pounds more, shaving 30 seconds off your run or making it through an intense workout, set yourself mini goals for each workout.

4. Grab a workout partner: I have a few different people I workout with, that way I am always doing different exercises and I get motivated in different ways. Some of my friends are great runners, some are innovative in the gym and some are great at sports. Pick someone who challenges you for that workout.

5. Use some new gear: Try using a kettlebell, medicine ball, bosu ball or a physio ball in your next workout. By stimulating your mind and body in different ways you will push yourself in a little more each workout.

6. Get going out of the gate: Pick up a jump rope or hop on the treadmill for a light 5 minute run before you hit the weights. Get the music going and pump yourself up, the first few minutes of a workout can dictate how the rest will go.

7. Sleep: It is hard enough to get a good workout when you are awake, but close to impossible when you are tired. Your body heals itself during sleep and if you don’t get enough, you risk injury and definitely compromising your workouts.

8. Get some new workout clothes: I know I mentioned this before but here it is again. Working out is such a mental game and when you look pro you tend to workout a little more pro.

9. Mentally get there before you get there: It is easy to psyche yourself out before you even get to the gym, if you go there with a plan on what you are going to do and set yourself up by getting your weights and space ready, you won’t waste time in the gym and you will get a better workout.

10. Change your scenery: I have said it before and I will say it again, when you change your surroundings your workouts will improve and your body will get a better work out.

I know changing your lifstyle is not easy, I want to give you as many options as possible to make the transition easier and educate you on getting it right. One of the many things I learned in the marines is that the biggest hurdle in all physical activities is your mind, however your mind is a lot stronger than you think. If you only use one of those tips — it is a mini victory for me.   Happy workouts all!

Diets DON’T WORK!

Lana Antonova

Lana Antonova

When you want to lose weight, are you quick to run to the latest fad diet?  Often a quick 5 to 10 pounds will come off quite fast, then your old eating habits return. If you stick with it to attain your weight goal, you may still find yourself back at the same weight or higher in a few months.  The market is filled with all kinds of gimmicks and promising diets. They’re always made to sound easy and fast; like the “pickle diet”, “Miami diet”, “Hollywood Diet”, and the list goes on.  Who do you think profits from these made-up diets??? Definitely NOT you. You end up spending your hard earned cash and at the end of the day, you’re at where you’ve started in no time. I’ll share with you as to why diets don’t work.

A Diet Should become a Lifestyle, Not an Event

On many diets, you are eating the foods you may not like very much and don’t find satisfying. If you are determined enough, you may stick with it until you reach your goal. But as soon as you go back to eating normally, you will quickly gain those pounds right back.  Why diets rather than finding healthier foods you enjoy in amounts that don’t cause weight gain.

Diets Can Be Downers

The very word “diet” is depressing to many of us. We think of giving up foods that are comforting and enjoyable.  We feel deprived, alienated and alone, except for others who are dieting. Eventually we give up and enter back into the world of happy uncontrolled eating, carrying negative feelings toward healthier “diet foods.”

The Dangers of the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle

Studies are finding dangers in the yo-yo diet cycle of losing weight, gaining it back plus a little more, losing, and gaining again. It is stressful on the body systems to have wide swings in body weight.  Plus Yo-Yo Dieting May Weaken Immune System.

Control Issues

At first a diet can give you a sense of control. You are taking charge of your eating patterns. You may see success as the scale drops. But soon you are fighting cravings for forbidden foods, as well as hunger pangs and a lack of energy from the lower calorie level. Eventually you rebel against the diet and start “cheating.”

Diets Slow Your Metabolism

Your body reacts to fewer calories by slowing down your metabolism — burning fewer calories each day just to maintain your body functions. If you don’t add exercise along with the diet, you will lose lean muscle mass as well as fat and water weight. When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down even further and you would have to eat even fewer calories per day to continue to lose weight.

If you don’t exercise and then you fall off of the diet, the weight will come back on even faster, as your body is burning fewer calories per day. Even worse, the weight will come back on as fat rather than as the muscle you lost. Your body will look even less lean and healthy.

Solution: Get Active for at least 30 min to an Hour a Day, per Tim Trost’s recommendations

Your first step to improve your health and appearance is to begin daily exercise.  And if you’re new to exercising of haven’t done it in a while, please read Tim’s following post – Back to basics.  The exercise doesn’t have to be intense — you can even pick activities you enjoy such as walking, biking, or swimming. Get your body moving most days of the week.

Solution: Make Simple Eating Changes

Start thinking of how to implement healthy eating into your lifestyle.  Don’t forget — SMMO [smaller meals more often].  That’s the key.  And watch your portions, if it doesn’t fit on your palm, it’s too much for you, referring to the protein in your life.  And don’t make any drastic cuts, like cutting out bread or pasta at once.  The drastic changes will almost always cause the yo-yo effect.  To simplify – find a 100-calorie change you can make for this week. Perhaps it is drinking one less can of cola each day, or having non-fat milk in your coffee instead of cream. Substitute string cheese or an apple instead of a bag of potato chips. Make a 100-calorie change each week for the next six weeks and you will have made a significant change in your eating habits. Don’t think in terms of depriving yourself of foods you love, but eliminate empty calories you don’t really like and find substitutes that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

And the most important thing – eat when you’re NOT hungry.  People always think that you have to eat only when you’re hungry, when your eating patterns are healthy, you should NEVER be hungry.  Hunger means something is out of balance.  You shouldn’t let more than 4 hours go by without food/snack.  This is very important! If you need ideas for snacking or want to read more about healthy reading, please refer to this post.

By making these changes, you can tip your energy balance to building and maintaining lean muscle while burning and losing fat. This will probably be gradual rather than dramatic, but you will eventually notice clothes fitting looser, your waistline shrinking, and your energy level higher.  For example, my father came to town, he was here for only 10 days.  He’s was under an impression that you should only eat twice a day.  So he gained a little weight around his belly.  Today he put his favorite jeans on and they fell off his waist.  He couldn’t believe it.  And this was even without any exercise.  He simply experienced healthy eating.  He now understands the effects of healthy eating, and will adjust his habits accordingly.

I’ve always struggled with weight myself, but NO MORE!  I eat what I want today, I don’t DIET, I don’t deprive myself from any foods.  I eat small meals, 6 times per day, two of them are snacks, of course.  I even eat pizza, ice cream, and cakes!!! But I exercise at least 4 times per week and I drink a lot of water and green tea.  My metabolism is faster in my 30’s than it was in my 20’s.

Just incorporating healthy eating and understanding that your eating habits should become your lifestyle – rather than gaining a few pounds each year, you will be losing a little weight each year. Friends who haven’t seen you in awhile will be impressed by the difference. Best of all, you will not have shocked your body with a deprivation diet, but instead have been feeding it appropriate amounts of better food while giving it the exercise it needs for health.

Are your surroundings motivating you?

Weather it’s a movie like  Rocky, Chariots of fire, 300 or Fight Club — find something that motivates you. I talked about my music but I also find that the surroundings really affects my work outs.  As I mentioned before, I work out at Gold’s gym in Venice, CA and for all its flaws, it is a great place to workout. I mean where else can you be doing bench presses next to Lou Ferrigno, Russian lunges next to the half of the NFL or squats next to the UCLA track team — you’ve got to admit, it’s motivating!

So my question is: are your surroundings motivate or demotivate you?

If you feel like you need a change, it’s as easy as trying out a new gym, or taking your friend up on that offer to try a new class. I also love the outdoors, there is something very calming about running on the beach, or going for a hike. The beautiful thing about working out is that there is always something new to do and you can make it what ever you want! If it’s not motivating or it’s not fun, try something new because there is something very satisfying about trying new things and getting better at them and feeling that sense of accomplishment!

Exercises and its effects; Mental Fitness

brain on fitnessPhysical activity has been known to do everything from treat depression to improve memory, with the power to cure a host of problems while preventing even more. In particular, exercise leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. Additionally, it is one of the few ways scientists have found to generate new neurons. Most of the research has been focused on running, but all types of aerobic exercise provide benefits.  Exercise exerts its effects on the brain through several mechanisms, including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release.   It has been shown that physically active people recover from mild depression more quickly, and physical activity is strongly correlated with good mental health as people age. Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine (reference). Exercise increases concentrations of these neurotransmitters by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.

Another factor to consider is endorphins, the chemicals released by the pituitary gland in response to stress or pain. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins within approximately 30 minutes from the start of activity. These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.  The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time. In fact, endorphins attach to the same neuron receptors as opiates such as morphine and heroin. Yet, exercise is not nearly as addictive as these opiates; it’s not even as addictive as milder substances such as nicotine. It seems strange that an activity as beneficial as exercise, with a built-in mechanism for addiction, is so easy to give up.  According to some polls, only about 15% of Americans say they exercise regularly.

The key to this seeming contradiction may lie in the delayed gratification experienced during exercise. Exercise differs from other addictions in that there is an initial amount of pain to endure before the euphoric payoff. The approximate 30-minute delay in the release of endorphins requires a certain level of fortitude that has not been cultivated by the American culture of video games, 30-second commercials, and various timesaving devices. In addition, exercising is made up of several tasks like putting on correct clothing, deciding on a form of exercise, maintaining adequate hydration, etc. Though each task may be mundane enough to form a habit, putting all the tasks together requires too much attention for exercise to be experienced entirely as a habit, which associates the reward or pleasure of completing a particular task with the first step of that task.

While exercise is attractive in theory, it can often be rather painful in actuality, and the discomfort of exercise is more immediately felt than its benefits. The delayed release of endorphins creates a lapse between the pain and the pleasure elements of physical activity. This is where KAOS training program comes in.  Tim and Dr. Della Bruna  have been working closely on finding ways to make the benefits of exercise more apparent while the exercise is actually occurring, thus satisfying the need for instant gratification and tipping the scales in favor of exercise.  So stand by for me…KAOS is going to change the way people excercise.