Something dawned on me this week as I embarked on the Blogging 101 journey – I started my blog page with no real idea of who my audience would be. I knew that I wanted to help people by sharing my experiences, but I never really thought about who would be reading my blogs and what experiences they would want to read about. My blog title is “Beyond Mummy”, so let me introduce you to the person behind “Mummy”.
Hi! My name is Joanne, I am 29 years old and I am from the UK. At school I was very academic, I have 13 GCSE grades (1 A*, 8 A’s and 4 B’s), 4 A Levels at grade A and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. I graduated from university in 2007 and have held 3 jobs since then, none of which relate in anyway to the topics I studied. In my teens I was shy, I was overweight and. Tomboy. I didn’t realise until I was 16 just how unhappy I was with my weight, it was when my parents saw how depressed I was that I first started to try and lose weight. My dad bought me a cross trainer and I went on that thing every day for half an hour at least. Just mindless chugging away on it. I remember cutting out an article from one of my mum’s Sunday magazine that had suggestions for a healthy diet. It meant eating “healthy” for the majority of the time, but allowing yourself 2 squares of chocolate per day. Everything else had to be “healthy”. I don’t remember losing any weight doing this, and by the time I went to university I was still battling with my weight. I was still shy and unconfident; going to university was a big challenge for me.
At university, just like at school, I threw myself in to my studies and didn’t get overly involved in the social side. I joined the gym and would go 3 or 4 times a week, again just mindlessly chugging away on the cardio equipment, never having any programme to follow, just getting on the bike for an hour and then leaving. Again I didn’t see much weight loss, maybe the odd pound or two but I would always gain it back – probably because my diet was all over the place. By graduation I was at my heaviest.
For years I continued on this path – always wanting to lose weight, always trying to eat more fruit and veg, less chocolates and sweets; always “working out” by spending hours on stationary bikes, cross trainers and rowing machines. In 2013 I came across an advertisement for the “Insanity” workout. I straight away hopped on this programme – finally a solid structure for me to follow; everything was all laid out for me. All I had to do was look on the timetable, find which workout I needed to do that day and do it. If I missed a workout it would throw me off for the rest of the week, and my OCD couldn’t take that, so I would never miss a day. The programme is 6 days a week for 9 weeks. I did this programme 3 times through and lost 28 pounds.
The weight loss totally transformed me, I looked like a different person. People started to notice, I became more confident especially at work, I began “networking” with all sorts of people at work and when a manager suggested I should go for promotion I jumped at it – something I would never have dreamed of doing before the weight loss. I took my promotion exams and came in the top 5% of all candidates in the UK. I then applied for a position in another team within my workplace, for a role that would be completely out of my comfort zone. A role that would require greater levels of confidence and self-assurance that I have ever had.
I truly believe that if it hadn’t been for my weight loss, I would never have had the confidence to do the things I did.
So what does this have to do with my blog, and why did I start it? In March 2014 I came out of my promotion exam, drove home, made myself some toast and a coffee and crawled back in to bed (it had been an early start and I had the rest of the day off). I had been watching YouTube channels centring around fitness and lifestyle since I first started Insanity, for extra motivation to keep going. On this day I was watching a Q&A with the creator of Insanity – Shaun T, when I glanced at the Suggested Videos column and saw a video about how to get abs. I clicked on it and was introduced to the 20 year old guy from the USA who was in his final year of college studying sport and exercise science. He was explaining a diet called “If It Fits Your Macros”; all about controlling your diet, manipulating your calorie intake depending on whether you want to lose, maintain or gain weight. From that video lots of other suggested videos popped up and I was quickly introduced to a world of “ordinary people” who were keeping video logs of their workouts, what they ate, what they did on a day-to-day basis to stay healthy and to pursue their goals. And from the. I was hooked. I have gained a lot from following these channels – I have learned about the science behind diets and exercise, I have learned about different training approaches depending on your goals. I have watched people go from small YouTube channels which they did on the side at college, to then becoming successful business owners opening up gyms, selling gym apparel and offering online coaching. I have watched their “day in the life” videos and marvelled at their motivation, their drive for success, their passion for what they do. These people mostly are in their early 20’s, achieving things that are beyond imagination, especially at that age.
So once again, what has this got to do with my blog? I have called it “Beyond Mummy” and created a parenting blog, yet it was people sharing their fitness lifestyles that helped me and inspired me to share my experiences. I commit my free time to studying nutrition, to working out; I have completed a Gym Instructor qualification while I have been on Maternity Leave. So what experiences am I hoping to share on my blog, beyond my experiences as a parent? Well I am still trying to figure that out; will I share my home workouts? Will I share tips on manipulating calories to change your body composition? Will I talk about what foods I eat and when? Will I document my progress when I follow new training programmes?
These are all ideas in my head, and the Blogging 101 assignment on day 4 got me thinking about my audience – am I creating content aimed at a certain audience, or am I still gauging who my audience is before deciding what content I create? I wonder if other fellow bloggers out there feel this way………..
I look at where I am in life now. I’m a busy parent, trying to stay healthy and making sure that I do the things that I want to do, instead of just saying “some day”. I know how to manipulate my diet to make sure I maintain a body that I’m happy with. When I workout I know how to work smarter not harder. I still have that same work ethic that I had during my years in education, I’m still good at planning and making effective use of my time.