When I was doing research for 19 Tips for the Aspiring Fitness Writer, my first message was sent to the lady to your right, Amanda Vogel.
Amanda is who I have to give credit to when it comes to my fitness writing career.
On a summer Saturday afternoon (about 4 years ago), in a hot studio gym in Vancouver, BC, Amanda presented a short 2-hour seminar on how to write an effective pitch letter (I didn’t even know what a pitch letter was!). After the 2-hour presentation (which was awesome), I knew this small afternoon seminar was all I needed to get my writing career started.
Amanda definitely presented the goods that afternoon and the rest is history.
I applied what I learned and waited patiently. I landed my first article with Canadian Running Magazine in the spring of 2009. Since then, I’ve contributed to 32 magazine issues (published 30 times and quoted twice) and to several websites (8 articles for Men’s Fitness and 2 for T-Nation). Oddly enough, English was my worst subject in school – go figure.
For a complete list of my published articles, click HERE.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Amanda when writing my tips for aspiring fitness writers blog post – that’s why I only have 19 tips instead of 20. BUT, I decided Amanda was worth a blog post to herself, so here we are. Before we get to the meat and potatoes, I just want to thank Amanda for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me.
Okay, let’s get started!
JK: For those who don’t know you, can you please tell us about yourself? Who have you written for?
AV: I’ve been a fitness professional since 1994, and I specialize in writing articles about health and fitness. Everything I write, basically, comes back to the fitness industry in some way, whether it’s an article on new ab-training research or a piece about how fitness pros can make the most of their time on Facebook. In addition to teaching fitness classes, I present at fitness conferences.
My articles have appeared in dozens of fitness and women’s magazines, including Oxygen, Best Health, Chatelaine, Clean Eating, Prevention, SELF, Women’s Health and IDEA Fitness Journal. I’ve also written a couple of books – one I co-authored for Baby Boot Camp, and the other I ghostwrote for a yoga expert.
JK: How did you get into fitness writing?
AV: After I finished my Master’s thesis from the University of British Columbia, I wanted to share the results of my thesis work, which was on body image and the role of the fitness instructor. I wrote a few articles on this subject for small fitness trade magazines and liked it so much I wanted to write more – and make some money doing it! I took out a lot of books from the library on freelance writing – I wish I’d had resources specifically for fitness writing like the ones I eventually created. Many of those library books said freelance writing was very hard to break into, but I ignored that outlook and forged ahead anyway.
My first paid article appeared in Fitness Management magazine. Shortly after that, I got my big break writing for Chatelaine. It was a short piece on working out in the snow. After that, I kept working on sending out queries (i.e, article pitches) and garnering more assignments. Even though my business has branched out since then to include social media consulting, I still write articles on a regular basis and am very passionate about it.
JK: What is a common mistake you see performed by aspiring fitness writers?
AV: Simple: They don’t know the professional and expected approach to getting their articles published. Once you understand what editors expect and how to break into magazines and websites, a whole world opens up to you. It’s all about how you present your article idea through what’s called a “query letter.”
JK: What would be your best advice for hopeful fitness writers?
AV: When you’re coming up with story ideas, consider the relevance to the reader. You should be able to answer the question: Why now? Why does this article need to be written right now, and what’s in it for the reader? How will the article educate, inspire, entertain and/or help readers? Also, consider if the article you have in mind is appropriate for the magazine or website you’re targeting.
JK: What services do you offer and how can people get a hold of you?
1) Fitness writing, editing and consulting: In addition to writing articles, I help other fitness pros and aspiring writers get published. My services include consulting on how to be successful with freelance writing. I offer two products on this subject: “How to Write Winning Queries” is an online workshop that includes my one-on-one consultation on how to sell your article ideas for profit and promotion. And “Anatomy of an Article” is a step-by-step guide for writing compelling health/fitness articles that get the results they want.
2) Social media support: I manage Facebook and Twitter accounts for fitness brands and public figures, including The Official BOSU Fan Page.
3) Fitness presenting: I love to present at conferences and connect with other fitness pros there. Some of the recent conferences I’ve presented at include ACSM Health and Fitness Summit, IDEA World, BCRPA BC’Fit and Can-Fit-Pro.
Thank you very much again Amanda – this was amazing. I know my readers will truly benefit from reading this.
I strongly encourage all of you to inquire about Amanda’s services if you’re interested in fitness writing. It worked for me!
Thanks for reading.
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