Read more about our #WomenWhoBlog Series.
We know your blog EightsandWeights, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Suzanne Brume, and I’m a health and fitness blogger. I’ve always loved to write, and I’ve always been passionate about people, but I started to get really passionate about my body and my health a few years ago. So I thought the best way to mesh all three passions way to write fundamental life tips to help people stay fit, especially my people – Africans. Let’s be honest, we don’t grow up with all the information we need to live healthy lives. And when we do, it is kind of thrown at us in highly complex terms. I really wanted to simplify the rules and make it practical enough for everyone to understand and be able to implement. I want people to understand that fitness is a process, and everyone has a different journey. My own journey can be summarized in that Alicia Keys’ song ‘Superwoman’. Basically, “Even when I’m a mess, I still put on a vest with an ‘S’ on my chest”. Coincidentally, my name also starts with an ‘S’.
Why exactly do you blog?
I blog because I want to connect with people, and help people reach their fitness potential. I’ve been lucky enough to write for a couple of magazines as well, but blogging really allows you to banter back and forth with your readers. You can truly judge who is interested in what you have to say, take questions and feedback, and write about what people ask for. People read the information in real time, and tell you whether it is helpful or not. There are few feelings in this world comparable to when someone comes back and tells you that they have implemented what you wrote about, and it has helped them grow.
What is the unique thing people get when they come to your blog?
Care. I truly care about my readers. Some days I wake up thinking about a question someone asked me, or how I can give them some new information I learned. And I think I’m also pretty honest. A lot of websites are either on one end of the spectrum or another. Either they are trying to sell a product so they are not very honest about how difficult it truly is to stay fit, or they make it seem like if you are not ready to give up your life, you cannot be fit. I really believe fitness is a lifelong process, and the more you do, the more you realize how strong you are. I try to be as honest as possible about my own exercise and diet regimen, about what I know and don’t know, and about how much work it takes.
How important is your personal health and fitness?
After God and my family, my health is the next most important thing. That is why no matter where I am, I always make an effort. Some of my friends say my passion is infectious because it inspires them to make health conscious decisions through the day. In fact, I should probably copyright a “Is this Eights and Weights approved?” phrase, shouldn’t I? So folks would carry me in their thoughts wherever they go.
What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
My biggest challenge is that most of the folks I am trying to reach are either people who don’t always understand why health is important, or people who want it and want it now. Don’t get me wrong, there are a large number of people who are trying to be healthy and are grateful for the information. But those two groups are the biggest challenge. With those who don’t understand why health is important, it is pretty tough to crack that shell because it is more about the lack of drive to eat healthier or get engaged in physical activity. With those who want to get fit asap, I constantly try to preface most of my topics with disclaimers that there is no quick fix to the human body.
With so many blogs focusing on health and fitness how do you create visibility to your blog? -The truth is that for Africans, I don’t think there really is too much out there on health and fitness. So I try to tailor a lot on my blog to reach that demographic because we have the least information specifically tailored to us. I also connect with a lot of readers via other blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has been a great tool to have one on one discussions with readers. It lets them reach me directly to tell me of their successes and their daily struggles, and I can give them encouragement and follow their journeys.
The gossip blogs seem to be the destination of choice these days; do you think your focus area is not a popular choice for readers?
It is sometimes difficult because we all like celebrity gossip, and so people naturally flock to those blogs. Sometimes it can be discouraging because readers don’t always realize the amount of work I put in to make sure people have the right information to meet their goals. However, I have seen a lot of change over the past couple of years as people are becoming more and more interested in staying healthy. That inspires me to write even more because I just want to be a part of the change. If I have a small part in getting people aware of their bodies, I will count that as a success.
How will you prioritise these; Comments/Traffic/Good Content
Good Content, Traffic, and then Comments. I feel good content will pull in the traffic, and then if people want to leave comments, they can.
Many of us will like to earn from our blogs, how important is that to you?
I would love to earn from my blog! I think that would inspire me more and let me be able to afford to try some new things that I can tell readers about.
You were part of a run recently? Tell us about that and other outdoor activities you do
Early summer and early autumn are the best seasons for me because I get to run outdoors. I am an avid runner, but I am not the biggest fan of the treadmill because I constantly stare at the time. When I run outside, I can go for miles and miles. This summer, I have been able to run a half marathon, a few 10K races, and a few 4 milers. For those races, I have had to train outside by running on different kinds of terrain, so it is very important for me to be outdoors. Besides running, I love love love hiking with friends. I have been to some of the most amazing hiking trails, and I can’t wait to try some trails in other countries as well. Biking is another outdoor activity I think is amazing. In fact, the funny thing is that I am not a woodsy girl (total city girl here), but as my friends say, if you want to get me to participate in anything outdoors, just state the physical activity involved and I will be there.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
Working out. No, really, I spend a lot of time working out and trying new types of exercises. But besides exercise, I spend a lot of time working (I have a tasking corporate job), and hanging out with my friends. Connecting with my friends and family is very important to me, and so I find creative ways for us to have a good time together. I like to cook for my friends (I’ll let them judge my culinary skills), go hiking, dancing, bowling, etc. Anything that gets us together. It’s really about the company, not what we do.
On your life’s priority list where does blogging fall?
It is pretty high up there because it allows me to reach people.
What are the life changing experiences you’ve had from blogging?
Blogging can humble anyone. If you have ever got any nasty comment, you realize that people can sometimes be insensitive. You realize people may not always like you or what you have to say, but in the end, that’s okay, as long as your heart is in the right place. On the positive side, blogging has allowed me to connect with so many people I may not have met otherwise, and I get to live their journeys and experience their struggles with them. It takes me out of my own head, and puts me in someone else’s shoes every single day. That is a constant life-changer.
What skills have been the most important to you in blogging?
Dedication. Every blogger has the days where we just want to give up, but if you have a cause and are dedicated to it, every fibre of your being would not allow you to, even when it is tough.
An advice for new bloggers?
Be passionate about what you are writing about, whether it is your life’s story or fashion. Passion pushes you to do more and give more, and that is what generates success.
Suzanne Brume blogs at http://www.eightsandweights.com/ and tweets as @eightsnweights
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Contributions are opinions of the writers and not necessarily the opinions of FL.