Charlotte shares with us how she and best friend Emma began their fitness blog, Lunges & Lycra.
Lunges & Lycra is for women who like sweating, fitness and the odd nip of gin. Created by Charlotte Thomas and Emma Lax, the London-based blog offers advice about running and fitness, reviews of classes and monthly listings of fitness events. Emma is a qualified personal trainer and Charlotte is an England Athletics run leader and qualified exercise to music instructor. The blog is for women who love working out but enjoy a good night out and a tub of ice cream as well.
Like all the best ideas, Lunges & Lycra began in the pub
Emma and I met at a local running club and we’d always go for a few drinks after. Back in 2013, Em told me she was thinking about starting a fitness blog. I’d been thinking the same thing, so we decided to join forces. There weren’t many fitness blogs around at the time and the mags back then tended to be very straight laced and either for beginners, offering advice like ‘get off the bus a stop early and walk to burn extra calories’, or for hardcore exercisers. We wanted to create something for all those people in the middle who work out regularly but still go out for drinks and eat takeaway. We wanted the site to be fun and have a sense of humour.
Working in the industry
The best thing about working in the fitness industry has to be the people, everyone’s so friendly and supportive of each other. Plus you get to wear lycra, trainers and comfy clothes all the time. The worst thing has to be when you’ve got a hangover and you just want to slob on the sofa with a packet of crisps but you’ve agreed to run a 10k obstacle race in the pouring rain. We’re also a bit over all the glistening abs on Instagram, they just make us want to eat cake.
Keeping up with the latest fitness trends
London’t fitness scene is amazing and it’s always changing. We mainly keep up with the trends through Twitter and Instagram as well as press releases from PRs. We’ve also made loads of new friends through blogging – trainers, gym owners, other bloggers – so they let us know when something exciting is happening.
Arranging our content schedules
We’re very bad at arranging our schedules as we both work full time; I’m a freelance journalist and Emma works as an Account Director for CSM Sport and Entertainment. At times this means we’re really busy and the blog has to take a back seat but then when we’re less busy we binge blog. We used to live around the corner from each other so it was much easier but now we try and schedule a blog catch up meeting once a month, although this usually descends into gossip and a bottle of wine.
Programmes wise, Trello is really useful for managing work flow as you can move items into different columns as you complete a stage. Our shared Trello has columns for idea, written, uploaded and publicised on social. We move items between the columns as each stage is completed so we can see where we are with things at any time. Well, that’s the idea anyway.
Trying out new exercise classes
We both love running and getting outdoors so we’re big on all the free running and adventure type classes, such as London Midnight Runners, Advent Running and all the amazing trips to the countryside for trail running, geocaching and climbing with The North Face Never Stop London community. The best class I’ve done though was the WWE wrestling class at Gymbox. They don’t run it anymore but it was amazing, you were taught wrestling moves and holds from pro wrestlers in a boxing ring and they staged a full on fight in costume. I seriously thought about taking a WWE wrestling course after that.
Although we try out lots of new classes, there comes a point where you need to realise that you can’t try everything. Tempting as it is to go to them all, we’ll work out which is going to be interesting to write about and try and attend those. Having two of us helps as one of us can usually go along. We also like to try things together at the weekend so we get to go for brunch after and have a chat.
Engaging with our readers
We mainly engage with our readers through social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Twitter’s our main channel. Sometimes we ask readers who are training for their first marathon or Ironman Triathlon to blog about their training. In 2014, we also ran the Summer of Sweat in collaboration with London Sport. It was a six-week programme of fitness classes for women, and included stand up paddle board yoga and trampolining; we got to meet loads of our readers there. Some of them have become good friends.
Working with brands
When it comes to working with brands, we only work with those that we genuinely like and believe in. We get approached by a lot of nutritional supplement companies and diet products but it’s not something we’d personally take or want to promote. Nut butter brands and snazzy leggings though, bring them on.
Plans for 2016…
We’re racing horses across hills in Wales in June for Man V Horse and later that month we’ve got our first ultra marathon Race to the King, which is 52 miles in the South Downs. We also need to learn how to edit videos so we can start getting some more workouts up on the blog! After that I reckon we’ll just need to sleep for a couple of months.