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Let's talk some more about trying to stay healthy and fit as freelance writers. More specifically let's talk about workout buddies, the different kinds, and why you might want one. Then I'll show you how to use one of our free online tools for writers as a fitness tracker that you can include in forums, blog comments, posts, your own sites, etc. either here as a collective workout buddy group or with workout buddies of your choice.

What is a Workout Buddy?

In the most traditional sense, a workout buddy is someone you physically work out with. The idea is when you have someone else relying on you to be there, it will hold you more accountable and make sure you don't miss your workouts.

That's great if you have someone around you who's interested in the same kind of exercises that you are, and someone who wants to workout on a similar schedule. But what if you like to exercise very early or very late, or doing some obscure activity? It might be difficult to find a workout buddy. That's where virtual workout buddies come in.

Virtual Workout Buddies Keep You Accountable

I have a virtual workout buddy -- Abigail Beal, another freelance writer. I live in Pennsylvania. She lives up in New York. We can't workout together in a physical sense. But we can still do all of the other things workout buddies do. For example, we:

  • share our weekly weigh-in information with each other to track progress (she's probably the only other living soul that knows what I weigh -- now that's trust!);
  • share workout details when we find ones we like (for example, I emailed her to tell her that I loved the Dance off the Inches: Sizzling Salsa workout the other day -- the one I mentioned in our recent post on exercise videos);
  • share fitness product leads and deals (she recently let me know about those Sketchers fitness shoes and deals on bathing suits if / when we reach our goals);
  • share our weight loss goals with each other so there's something to compare our weigh-ins to;
  • share inspirational stories and work to motivate each other through the slumps.

The key is that we "share." Having a virtual workout buddy is about having someone to talk to -- someone who understands what you're working towards because they're doing something similar. I love that whether I'm having a great week or I'm packing on a few extra pounds, I can always tell Abby about it. She'll never judge. She'll understand. And she can light a fire under my ass by sharing her own success.

You can have groups (I remember a few friends and I did that a looooong time ago way back when we all used LiveJournal still). You can choose an individual. Your virtual workout buddy can be another freelancer who understands the benefits and challenges of trying to stay fit while working from home, or it can be any friend, family member, neighbor, or whoever you're comfortable with. Just make sure it's someone you really don't want to let down. if you don't care about "showing up" for that sharing, you won't do them or yourself any favors.

All Freelance Writing's Freelance Fitness Group

For those who don't already have a virtual workout buddy in mind, I'm thinking about running a group similar to the virtual book club we just launched this month. But I'd like your feedback first to see if there's any interest.

What I'm thinking is this:

  • I'd create one post per week here for group workout buddies. It might tie into that week's Freelance Fitness post theme.
  • Those who want to be a part of the group can comment to share their own experiences, including adding a fitness tracker (more on that below -- I'll test this in a comment below the post).
  • No one would have to share any information they don't want to share. For example, rather than stating your actual weight and updates, you could share your total goal (lose 10 lbs for example) and progress towards it.
  • The idea would be to lend support, share ideas on how to incorporate healthier habits into the freelance lifestyle, and anything else related that people wanted to talk about. Essentially it's just about having a weekly commitment to stop by and share your thoughts, even if it's just to let us know you slipped up and you're getting back on those goals. It's about accountability.

Are you interested? If so, comment here so I know, or you can email me at jenn@allfreelancewriting.com if you have any ideas.

How to Use Our Advanced Word Count Tracker as a Fitness Tracker

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Hopefully you know by now that I periodically contract custom tools for freelance writers, and you can find them on our writer freebies page. One of those tools is our advanced word count tracker (not the separate simple one). I had this one designed specifically so you could customize the output. For example, rather than tracking word counts, you can use it to track your  number of pounds lost. You might even use it to track the number of days you completed your workouts. Here's how to do all of those things:

Track Your Weight Lost

Note that this counter is set up to count up, meaning you should enter the pounds you want to lose (goal) and the pounds you've already lost (current). Don't try to track your actual weight and your end weight goal -- it won't work if the goal is a smaller number than the current number.

  1. Visit the word count tracker page linked above.
  2. Enter your goal (for example enter 30 if you want to lose 30lbs -- do not enter the unit of measurement here).
  3. Enter your current weight loss so far (also only use the number -- we'll say you've lost 12 lbs so far for the example -- no units of measurement)
  4. Choose the tracker bar size you want from the drop-down menu.
  5. In the "what are you counting?" drop-down menu, choose "Other." A new text box will appear.
  6. In that new text box, enter any unit of measurement you want -- lbs, kg, etc.
  7. Tick or un-tick "show percentage" depending on whether or not you want to display that information.
  8. Click the "update" button to get your code and to preview your tracker bar. You can paste this code anywhere html is allowed.

You can find an example posted in a comment below this article.

To track your workout days you might just set a goal of 20 workouts for the month. You would enter that as your goal, the number of days you've successfully worked out so far as your current status, and "workouts" or something similar as your unit of measurement. You could do the same to track miles run in a month, steps taken, etc. Just about whatever you want, as long as you're counting up towards a goal instead of counting down it should work fine.

Feel free to comment with your own example using the word count tracker as a fitness tracker.

Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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