Friday, 24 March 2017

How I Lost 44 Pounds In One Year And Transformed My Health

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I've always wanted abs.

Just the idea of wearing a t-shirt and not having to tug on it whenever the wind blew in my direction motivated me to keep searching for weight loss secrets. I remember when Twilight: New Moon released and all the girls in my life lost their marbles over Taylor Lautner's body.

Rather than being jealous, I was motivated!

I wanted to have washboard abs and I was willing to do as many crunches needed to blast all that chubby belly fat away.

Nothing really worked out for me. Crash diets crashed. Crunches messed my back up for days. Running on the elliptical was as boring as hell. Worst of all, I wasn't seeing any result.

I was a 'healthy' 86kgs and my body was shutting down. It was 2012 and not only were food intolerance's creeping up on me, but I was experiencing acne and severe weight gain regardless of how much I tried to get things under control.

Around September 2012, my body malfunctioned and I was bloated for over a month. After an endoscopy, the only thing doctors discovered was acid reflux - not something you'd call the reason for my problems.

So, after some long nights of research, I discovered different diets (nutrition plans), at home fitness program INSANITY and a system of eating that promotes health over weight loss.

I was absolutely tired of being sick and bloated so I directed all my attention toward health and wellness.

In a space of one year, I lost 44 pounds, dropped 3 jean sizes and looked super fit. Stick around because I've laid out the essential weight loss plan below. If it could change my life, I'm more than certain it can do the same for you. Oh, and as usual, consult a doctor before implementation of any health related content you read online, including this one.

1. Calorie Deficits On A Low Carb Diet

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The science for weight loss is simple. You don't need to spend large amounts of money on magic potions or a personal trainer.

Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body uses to maintain itself on a daily basis. Believe it or not, the body doesn't like losing weight. For survival, the body prefers to be in a state of maintenance.

There are two ways of being in a calorie deficit, by burning calories through exercise or by consuming a set amount of calories per day that's lower than your daily maintenance.

If your body needs 2500 calories a day to maintain it's current build, if your total calories for the day is under 2500, you're in a deficit. One pound is the equivalent of 3500 calories. By simply being in a 500 calorie deficit on a daily basis, you can lose a pound a week!

Here's the crazy part, you have the choice of deciding which calorie deficit approach best suits you. Look, the body holds onto fat when you consume sugar or high carb foods.

Why?

Because carbs are broken down into sugar which causes the release of insulin. When insulin is released, fat burning hormones are reduced making it difficult to lose weight.

Processed food is usually designed to induce weight gain. They're either high in sugar, high in carbs or both.

Alternately, a natural and holistic nutrition plan can work wonders on you.

Get rid of bread, pasta, rice, sodas, chocolates, ice creams, chips, and biscuits. Without a doubt in mind, the person on an average American Diet but cuts out the abovementioned foods will lose a ridiculous amount of weight in just a matter of weeks.

They're so high in calories that when reduced and eliminated, you enter a calorie deficit without much effort. How epic is that!

For nutrition, you can implement one of these diets below:
  1. High Fat, Low Carb Ketogenic Diet.
  2. The Paleo Diet.
  3. The AutoImmune Paleo Diet (Absolutely fantastic for people with inflammation).
  4. A Plant Based Diet Rich In Healthy Fats, Fiber, Vitamins, And Minerals. 
I was pretty unwell when I decided to change my lifestyle and though weight loss was a huge goal, feeling healthy was more important to me.

It felt easy to cut out junk and replace them with large amounts of vegetables because my body healed. I was full of energy, positivity, happiness, health and in a state of momentum.

Structure your weight loss plan to encompass health. 

If so, things like binge eating and cheat days become a thing of the past. The entire process feels easier and your family will be more on board with your goals if health and longevity are the ultimate goals.

At the end of the day, lean, fit and strong bodies are the result of a healthy lifestyle. 

I want to share one more piece of advice on calorie deficits: You don't have to starve yourself.

Gradual weight loss is healthier and more sustainable than crash diets. Stick to a 300 - 500 calorie deficit per day and you'll do great.

Slow and steady wins the race. I couldn't cut out rice completely but that's okay.

It fit within my macros and I sustained a deficit even while consuming an average amount of carbs. I believe exercise added a significant contribution to my deficit.

Calculate your calories using this cool online tool (it's free!) - Calorie Calculator 

2. Implementing High-Intensity Interval Training With INSANITY

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I'll be honest, when it came to gyms, I couldn't afford a membership. Times were different and I was just starting out in life.

I wanted to exercise but I needed something structured and systematic. When I discovered Shaun T's Insanity and Focus T25, it was like waking up on Christmas morning and being surprised with a gift you've always been in search of.

At that time, even 100 bucks was significant money for me. But, for the sake of my health and weight loss goals, it was money worth investing.

After reading all the rave reviews and success stories, I purchased Insanity and got to work. Believe you me, after the test workout to gage my fitness level, I was curled up on the ground close to puking.

Never have I worked out so hard like I did in those 20 minutes.

The first week was brutal and on most days, I couldn't even drag myself off the floor for about 15 minutes after finishing the workouts. It was BRUTAL!

Because I spent money on the program, I wasn't about to waste that money by quitting.

This is the importance of investment.

If you put the time, effort and money into something, quitting becomes difficult. It feels easier and worthwhile to get your money's worth out of something than to just give up.

If you haven't checked out Shaun T's Insanity, you can do so here!

Within the first month, I lost 15 pounds which was way above my expectations. For years I battled to lose any weight on the elliptical trainer and yet within a month, I blew through 15 pounds like they were never even on me.

Crazy!

Things began to slow down as time went on.

By the time I finished 90 days of Insanity, I was probably down by 30 pounds and 2 - 3 jean sizes. I was more than happy with the results and I looked lean as hell.

For the first time in maybe a decade, I had a clearly defined jawline (how about that, ladies lol).

Here's the thing about High-Intensity Interval Training, it's exciting. You exert 100% of yourself for about 30 - 60 seconds and recover for 90 seconds.

You can do any kind of body weight movement, even run outside, and by the end of 20 minutes you'll be drenched in sweat and gasping for air.

My metabolism shifted and so did my daily calorie maintenance amount.

At this point, if you can stick to your nutrition plan and not binge eat after a hard workout, you'll absolutely lose weight and achieve results. Lots of protein and vegetables are a great source of fuel when you've completed an Insanity workout.

3. A List Of Foods I Reduced And Increased To Lose Weight

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For your convenience, I've decided to list all the foods that I reduced to lose weight. When I do something, I like to go big or go home. You don't necessarily have to be as extreme as me but it definitely speeds things up.

Foods I Reduced:

  • Bread, Pasta, Buns, Rolls and Wheat Flour.
  • Cakes, Biscuits And Desserts (unless natural). 
  • Chips, Sodas, Fruit Juices (unless freshly squeezed), Chocolates, Ice Cream And Mousse.
  • Artificial sweeteners and added sugar.
  • Processed microwave foods and Coffee. 
  • Hydrogenated Oils.

Foods I Increased:

  • Every kind of Vegetable: Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Broccoli, Green Beans, Peas, Carrots, Baby Marrow, Lettuce, Beet Roots, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Watercress and Herbs.
  • Brown Rice and Quinoa.
  • Fruits: Green Apples, Bananas, Berries and Melons. 
  • Chicken, Fish And Meat. I used to make burger patties at home without crappy fillers. 
  • Avocados and Eggs.
  • Organic Dairy, Cheese and Keffir.
  • Loads Of Green and White Tea, Chicory and Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Bone Broth and Pea Protein Shakes. 
  • Coconut and Olive oil.
  • Peanut butter enriched with omega 3's. 

4. Why Sleep, Support And Structure Matter In Weightloss

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Cranking out heavy workout sessions in the gym doesn't make you more muscular, firmer and leaner. On the contrary, it tears you apart. A broken body is of no use and destroying muscle tissue seems counterintuitive.

When you sleep, however, the repair and rejuvenation that occurs within the body create results of weight loss, muscle repair, and bodily growth. You wake up stronger, fitter and sexier.

If you compromise sleep, weight loss and muscle growth will feel impossible. I've encountered this myself. You can't be sleeping too little nor can you be sleeping at ridiculously odd hours.

Ideally, you ought to be sound asleep from 11 pm to 6-7am.

The hours between 11 pm and 1 am is super important as most of the body's repair takes place within this window.

Hormones are regulated by proper sleep and the way you feel the next morning weighs heavily on how well you slept the night prior.

Simply cut down on all electronic devices before 11 pm, soothe yourself into a slumber with a relaxing cup of white tea (the caffeine levels are too low for any significant energy boosts) and read a paperback or plan your to-do list.

Join someone who will support you. Forget about everyone who is demotivating and negative. When you decide to embark on a weight loss journey, surround yourself with people who are supportive and helpful.

At the time, my mother would prepare meals that aided my cause and tasted fantastic. It took much effort and I'm insanely grateful for everything she has done for me (if you're reading this Ma, thank you!)

My best friend kept a track of my plans and held me accountable.

When I achieved results, he was the first to compliment and point the difference out to me. That form of attentiveness felt good and inspired me to keep working.

All you need is a single valuable person to be aware and have an active interest in your plans. I promise you it will make a huge difference, especially psychologically.

A structure is as important as exercise and diet.

Don't let weight loss hog every minute of your life. 

Set aside time for your friends and family, for other passions and hobbies, for me-time wherein you forget all the worries in the world and indulge in something fun just for the sake of it.

This kind of structure promotes longevity of any plan and emphasizes the importance of balance even in an unbalanced life.

5. What Forms Of Exercise Creates A Toned Body And What Creates A Skinny Fat Body

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Simply put, weight lifting workouts build muscle and creates a strong, toned body whereas pure steady state cardio creates a lean-to-skinny fat body (a smaller version of yourself).

Personally, and from the accounts of many others, a combination of weighted workouts and interval cardio training, builds an ideal body. Not only will you become stronger and build muscles but you should be able to reduce body fat.

That lean but firm body is best achieved with combination workouts.

Insanity is an effective home workout system if you don't suffer from any joint ailments.

There's loads of cardio but it's not steady state. The body weight movements challenge your muscles incredibly well.

An alternative to Insanity is Focus T25. Also by Shaun T, Focus T25 offers a lower impacting and shorter workout with similar results. I find Focus T25 to be the perfect at home workout for its fun moves, body sculpting structure and ideal combo of body-weight, plyometric and weighted workouts all fused together.

If you're not looking to spend money on a system, you could follow my bodyweight exercise plan below.

  • Push ups - 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Squats - 4 sets of 15 reps
  • Planks - 4 reps 35 seconds each
  • Jumping Jacks - Continuous for 1 minute
  • Mountain Climbers - 50 reps
  • Floor Sprints - Two 30 second sprints
  • Upper Cuts - Until failure or 1 minute

As you get fitter, bump up your reps until you can add an entirely new set to each workout. You can them up in any order to keep things fun and exciting. Over time, you will see noticeable improvements in your body. Give it 30 days and I guarantee results! 

6. The Mistakes I Made At First That Hindered My Results

Perhaps you're dieting and working out but the weight won't come off! Ugh! I feel your pain. I hit a similar hurdle prior to understanding the mechanics of nutrition and exercise.

Excessive dieting and crazy low caloric intake will massacre your metabolism. Without a doubt in my mind, I know that a low metabolism can hinder all efforts of weight loss. Avoid crash diets and eat a nourishing healthy diet.

Your body can use a different source of fuel for energy. Sugar or glucose may be its primary source of energy but fat can do the trick too.

When eating a ketogenic diet, a total annihilation of sugar or any foods that cause a drastic increase of insulin can force your body to use ketones as a source of fuel.

Fat is pulled from around your body and used that as energy provided you're not stuffing your face full of crazy fatty foods.

As long as you're in a caloric deficit, it doesn't matter if you have 6 small meals or 2 large meals. Don't get so hung up on eating less. Map out big tasty and healthy meals that fit into your caloric goals, you'll still lose weight.

Exercising uncontrollably without ample rest and recovery does more damage than good. Look, health and fitness is an ongoing lifestyle goal.

Don't overwork yourself to the point of illness, it's counterproductive.

7. How Anyone Can Lose Weight Regardless Of Circumstances

In 2015, I was surprised with an illness that damages my joints. Being able to walk was difficult and pain riddled my body.

When it comes to bad circumstances and excuses, I had a legit reason for not getting back onto a healthy lifestyle.

But, to feel good, you have to eat good and do good.

Rather than accept my circumstances, I decided to radically transform my health and do beneficial exercises regardless of anything.

It was painful at first. Fatigue tried to hold me back and the fight to get simple things done was tedious. But, I never gave up.

9 months later, not only was I looking good again but my illness disappeared!☺

Don't run away from pain, embrace it. Look for those moments when most people will quit and keep pushing forward. This will build grit and will power. When you have those attributes, no amount of excuses or hurdles can prevent you from great results.

Going cold turkey isn't the only approach at your disposal.

Trust me, small but consistent changes accumulate and generate results.

Start off by cutting down on junk until they're eliminated, add in some vegetable juice to your meals, drink extra water and do a couple bodyweight exercises for 10 minutes a day.

Growth occurs from actions.

Regardless of the size, any form of action is susceptible to growth. Hold onto that and you will lose weight and get fit.

8. How I Prevented Weight Gain

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Remember we spoke about being in a caloric deficit state to lose weight? Well, to prevent weight gain and to maintain your new physique, consuming a bit more calories will do the trick.

Perhaps you think it's okay to start munching away on burgers and huge servings of lasagne.

Guess what?

That's a huge mistake people make.

Eat more of what you ate to lose weight (which ought to be healthy whole foods). Don't go back to processed junk food.

Keep exercising. After a month, exercising feels great!

All those sore muscles and aches disappear, the tightness of your joints loosen and everything works as they should. Just maintain regular exercise to stay lean and healthy.

Oh, on the topic of cheat days, there's no such thing as cheat days.

I would rather have a pack of M&M's in my day while still eating super clean rather than set aside a day every week to binge on every bit of junk in the world.

A cheat meal is fine but jump right back to eating healthy in your next meal.

Here's a cool trick, fast for the entire day when you're planning to indulge in a bad meal. Usually, Saturdays are when I go out with friends.

For most of the day, I down green tea or green juice and water. Nothing else. By the time supper arrives, I'm starving! Even though the desire to eat 3 meals in one sitting is there, in reality, all I'm able to eat is a good substantial serving of a cheat meal before feeling stuffed.

The greatest thing about this tiny technique is that even with a cheat meal, I'm still in a caloric maintenance state. 


You're All You Need


I'd like to leave you with this message and if there's just one thing you take away, let it be this - You have the ability to transform your body and health.

Even if it takes you 5 years to reach true health and your dream body, it's possible if you commit to improving yourself.

All the advice in the world is worthless if you don't trust in your innate abilities.

I wish you all the best and if you found some value in my story, please share it with others who can benefit from it.☺

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Everything You Need To Know About Blogging In 2017

I've been blogging since 2011 and in that time, I've succeeded and failed, been through a bunch of Google updates and watched a dozen blogging gurus come and go.

Everyone wants to build a big, thriving blog that makes six figures but not many want to put the kind of effort that validates a six figure blog.

I hate sugar coating things so I'll be brutally honest - Most of you will fail at blogging. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be a douche and I'm not taking the position of a leader who has built a six figure blog.

You and I are similar.

We crawl around the web, jump from shiny idea to the other, get inspired by other bloggers success and decide to replicate their earnings just because they could.

It's a flawed system. I'm terribly sorry to burst your bubble but I would hate to see you waste time, money and energy on ideas you aren't truly invested in.

Most popular niches are saturated. No longer can we buy exact phrase domains, slap on a keyword rich post, build a few crappy backlinks and hope to make huge amounts of money.

I've come across two case studies recently, Thankyourskin.com and 10beasts.com

Both of these sites have gone on to make ridiculous amounts of money and sparked motivation in 100s if not thousands of people around the world. Heck, it even motivated me to purchase a domain name in the heat of the moment.

When it actually came down to working on reviews of products I had absolutely no interest in, all my inspiration and excitement died. That domain name will probably expire by the end of this year and I'd have wasted $10.

10 bucks may not seem like much money but if you keep making the same mistake, 10 bucks quickly turn into a 100.

I know of many people who impulsively invest much more money into blogs that go on to make no money because it's a dud. It upsets me. So, I figured it's time to finally write a blog post that contains the absolute essential of blogging in 2017 that can and will always bring about results.

I tried running away from mastering the fundamentals but it only resulted in wasted money and effort.

No longer am I looking for an easy way to make money. The only interest I have right now is to build an authoritative blog with content I'm proud of sharing.

I'm not pretending to be an expert at something I have no interest in and I'll shy away from working in the shadows and embrace the spotlight.

This article will have everything you need to know about blogging in 2017.

Stick to the rules, apply the principles in them and you'll see growth and success. I won't promise you a six figure income nor do I claim that it will be easy. I'll stick to the truth and share valuable techniques.

Qualitative, Engaging And Popular Content



Let's say you have an actual interest in a niche and want to share insightful content. But, you don't know how.

What if I told you that there's a step by step guide for writing content that has a higher likelihood of doing well and you don't need to be an experienced writer? It's more than possible and below are a few characteristics of a qualitative, engaging and popular content.

Value Providing Content - From solutions to health conditions to entertainment and laughter, all great content provides some form of value. Even with personal blogs, it's not just about you. Readers take priority. What can your content offer them? When I write a blog post, all my attention is directed at the reader. So, I don't really write for myself because it's easy for me to get carried away with what I can gain rather than what I can give.

Simplistic And Conversational - Who do people listen to, teachers who are easy to understand and welcoming or teachers who are stuck up and complicated? The former. 

It's easy to pay attention to someone you like. If that person is willing to explain complicated matters in a manner that doesn't require you to feel frustrated or stressed, you'll listen and benefit from the information offered. 

Don't worry about trying to sound hyper-professional or scientific. Write as if you're talking to your friend about something that can change his life and make his day better. 

Edited Content - I'd absolutely love publishing a blog post daily but then it's likely the quality of my work will suffer. I stand to gain more views by publishing daily but you'll stand to lose out on better content. 
That sucks because I created this blog to help people improve their lives! 

Writing is more than a one-shot job. I don't know of many successful writers or bloggers who sit down, write a post in one sitting and hit publish in the same session. Usually, a lot of editing is required for converting standard content into something special. 

Just throw in 2 separate editing sessions spread apart 2 hours and then consider publishing what you've done. 

Three Step Formula - Results -> Explanation -> Direction. That's how you teach people valuable lessons in all blog posts. Share the results, explain how the results were achieved using the solution and then layout a step by step guide of how to use the solution to achieve similar results. 

Long Form Content
- Considered the best length of content for reader, rankings and lead acquisitions. Most of my work takes a long form approach and for the most part, it works well As long as you avoid filling the empty white spaces with fluff words, you'll do well. 

Content Variations
- The most important aspect of content comes in the form of diversity. If you analyze blogs in popular niches like health and fitness, crafts and DIYs, you'll find the most successful blogs consists of a variety of content types. Lists, words, pictures, videos and infographics all wrapped into one article.

Give The People What They Want - It's as simple as that. If you're in the finance niche, give people solutions to how they can save money and make more money. In the health niche, give them fat loss solutions, recipes, and methods to get six pack abs. In any and every niche, scan through the most shared content or interacted content and make a note of what the people want. Once done, give the people what they want. Simple!

Backlinks And Context

Ah! Backlinks! The trick every seo master loves.

Everything from Private Blog Networks, link swapping, purchased links, expired domain links and so on. We've seen them all and probably tried them all.

There's lots of data and truth to the power of backlinks. Simply put, you need backlinks to rank higher in Google. We can try to swing it any way we like but backlinks are essential. But, it's not the most important aspect of building a popular blog, especially in 2017.

Valuable content or services matter most. But, backlinks come in at a very close second. Here's the thing, content that people want and like will attract backlinks. It's natural for other bloggers to link and share valuable content from around the web.

I hate all things SEO (even though I have no choice but to engage in it) but learning as much as you can about clean code, properly structured content with h1 titles, relevant tags, optimum amount of keywords in pictures and titles, great outbound and inbound links within most posts, site speed and mobile templates all matter.

Back to backlinks! Here's the thing, build backlinks with relevance and in context. Google is ever evolving and it catches up with most tricks and techniques. Backlink building techniques that are of a high standard sits well with Google whereas dodgy techniques always end up biting website owners in the ass.

Whatever blog or page you're considering building backlinks to, let it be from sources and websites that provide context.

If you wrote a great post about how you lost weight, build backlinks in the health and fitness niche.

Eventually, Google catches up with most SEO strategies, the best approach is a long term one.

Guestographics has been a popular means of building backlinks, so has the skyscraper technique. For more information on building links to your blog, visit Backlinko.com and pay heed to all the advice Brian provides. He's incredibly smart!

Check out this epic infographic on the future of link building!


Guestposting And Visibility

Where there are people, there's an opportunity to market and brand yourself. I believe guest posting is a marketing (and SEO) technique that will be around for a long time.

Why, though? Why do you need to appear on other people's websites? A huge part of it comes from attracting new people to your site but I believe it plays a better role in establishing authority.

The owner of a company has the most authority from anyone else, correct? However, his CEO, CFO, and close personnel don't fall too far behind. These individuals operate closely to the owner and in essence, feed off his authority. People look up to the owner and the people closest to him. It's a social norm.

Rather than debate over it, shouldn't we embrace this norm and use it to our advantage? Appearing on websites and blogs with a strong presence and authority can do wonders for your reputation. Make a grand appearance with superb content and people will instantly be looking you up and following your work!

I don't have a problem scoring guest posting opportunities because I'm always prepared. Before even pitching an article to a blogger, I spend days working on it in advance. Reaching out to them is the easiest part and one of the last steps. Even if you get rejections, all you do is move on to more bloggers who are open to guest posts and pitch them. The hard work is already done, closing the deal is all about consistency and persistence.

Here's the thing - any blog owner willing to let you appear on their blog is doing you a favor. Don't think only about what you have to gain. The point of guest posting is to add value to someone else's blog an audience. Put your best foot forward and it will bring rewards - like a juicy strong do-follow backlink! 

Valuable Giveaways And Incentives

eBooks, programs, a video series, podcast, printables or even a quick chat with you, these valuable takeaways can easily be the bridge between turning casual readers into subscribers.

Granted, this is probably something you already know and have come across in many other articles. But, from a privilege, this has become a necessity.

Readers have become picky about the kind of freebies they sign up for. Perhaps, those same individuals who were utilizing dodgy SEO techniques were the same ones to slap together junk giveaways for subscribers and then spammed the living hell out of them (poor chaps).

Two things play a role in making giveaways valuable - Good Copywriting and Recommendations.

Good copy hooks people interested in your giveaways and recommendations or results from other users seals the deal.

Believe it or not, I've learned about this from Amazon. If you browse any product, aside from a bestselling status, good copywriting and reviews tend to impact sales tremendously.

My best advice on copywriting is to be blatantly honest and straightforward. Make promises you can keep, scream about your great reviews and recommendations and deliver the goods without fail.

That's it.

No need to beat around the bush and sound like a cheap commercial (or MAYBE...nope, don't do cheap commercials. Just don't).

Facebook And Pinterest As Sources Of Traffic

Picture credit: fatstacksblog.com

I have mixed feelings about Zuckerberg. I really do.

A part of me wants to thank him for Facebook because I've met some amazing people on it whereas a part of me wants to throw a pie on his face for the catfishing psychopathic peanuts that have tried to infiltrate my life. 

Mixed feelings. 

But, all things considered, Facebook is wonderful for all bloggers. In 2016, it was reported that Facebook had 1.86 BILLION active users. A tiny, tiny percentage of that can change your entire life and drastically transform your blog.

Here's the thing - Facebook pages, groups and ads are superb. 

I like Facebook pages because they've become to optimizable and easy to maintain. I tend to favor Facebook Groups over pages simply because of the high conversion rates compared to my experiences with pages. Facebook ads is a beast that deserves its own post! I've seen people make 6 figures from Facebook ads with their kindle books! 

If you have a page or group, share content specially crafted for Facebook. I know a lot of users who just share their blog articles but that detracts from intimacy and rapport with your followers. Instead, make a few regular posts every week exclusively for Facebook to encourage engagement and more followers. 

Pinterest is a bloggers dream site. It has become famous for its boards. You can share content on boards with 6 figure followers if added into a group which has become a popular way for many bloggers to radically boost their blog traffic and links without relying solely on Google organic traffic.

Sign up to Pinterest for a business account, activate rich pins (adds bold headlines to images you pin), use PinGroupie to discover group boards in your niche, apply to be a contributor and wait for an acceptance. 

List posts, case studies, infographics and result based posts tend to do ridiculously well on Pinterest!

Closing Up
These are, according to me, the essential parts of blogging everyone needs to master in 2017. Implement these techniques over a long period of time and the results will manifest.

Create epic content, build links to it, market yourself and enjoy growth. Rinse and repeat until you've built a big successful blog.

I wish you all the success in the world. Feel free to share this post with bloggers who could largely benefit from it.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Ultimate Productivity Guide For 2017

Productivity is one of the hottest topics you can stumble across on the internet. Hundreds of articles, videos and books have been written on the subject and I’ve probably read or watched them all over the last 3 years.

When it comes to the topic of productivity and getting a full days work done in half the time, I’ve become somewhat of a specialist.

Not to boast or to sell myself as some super productive wizard but I write upwards of 5000 words in total every day, lift heavy weights, fit in an extra session of cardio, deal with my email marketing plans, consult clients, design book covers, blog and run errands in no more than 8 hours.

As much as I love to work and make money, time spent with my family is non-negotiable. 

If I can’t fit in at least 2 hours of downtime, my mood takes a terrible turn and I struggle to focus on being creative.

I’ve indulged myself in every kind of productivity technique known to man and I want to share a bunch of techniques that has transformed the way I work and doubled results.

Before we dig any deeper, let’s go over a small pact I want you to make with yourself. Promise that you will take action on the techniques in this post and avoid getting sucked into an endless search for productivity secrets. I’ve wasted precious time studying about productivity in the past rather than putting the techniques I learnt into effect.

The most results in life come from the moments you take action.

I want you to succeed and get as much done in a sustainable fashion. So, do you promise to take action after reading this post? If so, I want you to drop me an email and let me know that you’re committed to accomplishing your goals along with what those goals are. With that being said, let's kick of this ultimate productivity guide for 2017!

Interval Work Sessions – The Superset Pomodoro Technique

The basic technique of working for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break is popularly known by now. I won’t waste your time explaining something you’ve probably read on a dozen websites by now. 

However, it’s not a fixed technique.

25 minutes is a good amount of time to focus but I feel like my brain starts to kick into overdrive when I conduct 35 minute sessions.

We live in a time of constant distractions and that has caught up to me. The constant need to check Whatsapp or my emails has absolutely destroyed my concentration levels so it took my some time to overcome that obstacle.

Now that I have, I don’t want to reduce the amount of time my brain can be fixed on what activity. 

A simple extension of the pomodoro technique solves all my problems. My wordcounts have exploded ever since I bounced each session up by 10 – 15 minutes!

Here’s what 4 of my pomodoro cycles look like:
  • Cycle 1: 45 minute work -> 10 minute break
  • Cycle 2: 35 minute work -> 8 minute break
  • Cycle 3: 30 minute work -> 6 minute break
  • Cycle 4: 25 minute work -> 25 minute break
I observed something interesting that led me to this flexible system. Bodybuilders conduct a form of working out known as super sets.

They start by lifting a fairly light amount of weight with the largest rep count and as they increase the weight, they reduce the amount of reps. As far as possible, they take little to no breaks during a super set and many fitness enthusiast praise this system for its effectiveness because the muscle is in a constant state of increased torque and stress.

I wanted to incorporate supersets into work sessions and designed my pomodoro cycles as mentioned above. During the first session, my thoughts are usually clustered and my performance isn’t as solid as I’d like it to be (bleh).

However, the more I work, the easier it feels. I can start writing at a faster pace and thoughts on a specific topic flow easier than when I started! 

Just because I’m decreasing the time spent per sessions doesn’t mean that my performance slows. On the contrary, I get just as much if not more work done as the intervals shorten.

I get bored so easily! 

I’m like a child that is allergic to monotony. But, then again, most people are. Rather than failing to get things done because I’m incapable of maintaining a standard pace, I may as well push myself to work harder in decreasing intervals.

All’s well and ends well.

A great side effect to implementing this system is the amount of words I can write in a period of 30 minutes. Not only do I get faster during each session but I’ve noticed my overall speed of typing and writing has increased by a substantial amount.

The first time I was able to write about 2000 words in four sessions but now I easily hit +-3500 words! That’s a huge improvement from what I’m used to!

The 2 Minute Rule – The Time For Excuses Are Over

Anyone familiar with Nerdfitness.com?  I love that site and have been reading Steve’s work for the better half of 3 years.

He’s written on a foray of topics but it’s usually the way he conducts himself professionally that attracts my subscription the most (even though it’s a site about health and fitness :p)!

I came across the 2 minute rule from Steve so I’ll just direct all credit towards him. I’m sure he’s done the same for the person who he learnt this nifty little trick from.

The 2 minute rule is pretty darn simple – If you can do something within the next 2 minutes, do it now.

Simple!

By procrastinating and putting it off for later, you’re wasting time by waiting to tackle it. Whether you do it now or later, it has to be done. Doing it now saves you time from actually trying to convince yourself it’s okay to wait until later to do it.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

The dishes are in the sink and you have to do it but somehow you convince yourself to tackle it later when you feel like it. You waste about a minute or two thinking about a reasonable excuse for postponing it whereas it could be completed in the exact same time!

Something that would ordinarily takes you 2 minutes to complete now takes you 4 minutes because you wasted those 2 minutes earlier thinking about a reason why you didn’t want to do it then.

If it’s a small task and objectively you can finish it in about 2 minutes, do it now!

You know that you have to subscribe to my blog so why wait until later, get it over with and do it now. You’ll save yourself 2 minutes by doing so and I’ll gift you with my popular 30 ways to be more productive in 30 minutes ebook because I’m such a nice guy! ;)

Scrapping The To-Do List And Breaking Out The Essential List

Ah! To-do lists. We meet again, my old friend. For most of my schooling life, I was far too lazy to make to-do lists. I liked to wing it, as I’d say to my mother.

It was only when I hit my twenties when it dawned on me that winging it doesn’t really work in the real world. Systems and structures is what the business world thrives on. In all it’s flexibility and unorthodox results, there’s always a system for how things are done.

To-do lists seemed to be a popular way of being productive so I figured it was time to finally give it a try.

For quite some time, my to-do list journey was a success. I’d pack it up with about 10 – 15 things every single day and get most of it done. I felt incredibly productive but the results were dismal. I wasn’t making enough money nor was I seeing much growth.

The real danger with to-do lists comes down to how you use or abuse them. 

Let’s be honest for a moment, most of us a lazy as hell. We’ll opt for the easy way out, even when we want to be productive. So, we’ll pile on a list of tasks that are unessential but effective at making us feel productive.

There’s a huge difference between being busy and being productive. 

Spending an hour on Facebook is an easy way of being busy. Time is being used towards something. That’s busyness. 

Spending an hour cold calling clients or gathering new leads for your online business is a way of being productive.

Was I wasting time with my to-do lists? Yes! Was I keeping busy with tasks that led me not a step closer to achieving my goals? Yes!

Talk about a double whammy!

Here’s what I changed my list to – an essential list.

What are the top 3 – 5 things you need to do in order to achieve your goals? Those are your only tasks for the day and deserve precedence over everything else.

Getting six pack abs is my fitness goal which is a 6/10 on my essential goal list, whereas building a 6 figure business as a writer is my career goal which is a 10/10. It’s my main goal in life. So, no longer was I dedicating most of my time and energy towards exercising rather than writing. 

Most of time now revolves around my business goals and when I’ve completed everything I need to do as a writer, then I move onto my fitness goal.

Just an hour at the end of my day is spent exercising. I’m still pursuing my fitness goals and making daily progress but not at the cost of my most important goal!

This is my essential list:
  1. Write 5000 Words Minimum.
  2. Consult And Acquire Clients.
  3. Exercise For About 35 – 40 minutes.
  4. Respond To Emails.
That’s it! When I’ve done all four of these essential tasks, then I consider tackling other unessential tasks.

I want you to compile a list of essential tasks that can bring about the most results in your life. Give them priority and never compromise on completion of these tasks.

If You Don’t, Someone Else Will

I’m going to move onto a psychological technique that may possibly light a fire under your ass (it lit one under mine!).

When it comes to owning up to my mistakes, I don’t shy away from it. My folks always held me accountable for my actions in the past and even if I tried to evade getting caught, they somehow always found out (psychic? maybe).

2016 was a good year for me. 

Financially, physically, psychologically and academically, I succeeded in many aspects of my life. However, one of the biggest failures of 2016 was not pursuing my dream of being a full time writer.

I dabbled. 

I wasted time. 

And, I failed to show up. 

Nothing in this world comes easy and great success comes to those who show up to put in the work.

Showing up means making your intentions known to the world and pitching up day after day to try and succeed. I was trying to do things from the shadows and it was an awful way to operate. In attempting to shield myself from exposure if I failed, I created a bubble of comfort that prevented me from taking necessary leaps.

2016 was a year I should have dedicated to my craft but I did not. 

I own it and I’ve learnt my lesson after discovering someone who started after me, who succeeded and kicked my ass. 

That was the greatest wakeup call I’ve ever received!

He didn’t possess any natural born gifts that set him and me apart. The only difference between the two of us was his commitment to show up and put in the work.

He succeeded and I failed.

It pissed me off. I pissed myself off. Kudos to the individual who succeeded, he deserved it. At that point, I clearly did not. I learnt a truly valuable lesson from that experience – If you don’t, someone else will.

Success doesn’t wait for anyone; neither does your dreams. The rat race is real and everyone is competing for the top spot. You and I cannot afford to be complacent, especially in the early stages of growth.

If you put in the work to become number 1, you will become number 1. Nothing else matters. Forget about secret recipes and shortcuts to success.

Take blogging for instance, almost everyone has a blog these days. 

Countless newbie bloggers read an article about someone earning a couple thousand dollars and they get super excited. They want to replicate that success but without putting in the same, if not more, work than that successful blogger.

You won’t succeed if that’s the mind-set you’re working with.

I’m taking the approach of becoming the most relatable and practical blogger on the web. I want to bring long, in-depth and insightful content to all my readers.

I’ll hustle, seek out opportunities, market like a mad man and produce content better than anything else you’ve seen on the net. That’s my goal for this blog. I want you to be waiting eagerly for an email update notifying you of a new article because what I write is phenomenal and it makes a difference in your life.

Look, I’m not trying to put a dampener on you day but there’s someone else gunning to beat you. 

Rather than accepting that and letting yourself fall behind, why don’t you get the hell up and start cranking out hard work like you’ve never done so before.

I always say this to myself at the beginning of each day – results equals productive. If I don’t create some form of results in my essential goals, I fail.

Let’s show up and show the world what we are made of! Sparta!!!!

Do What You Can While Learning What You Can’t Do Yet

Boom! Best headline ever!

Whenever I engage with someone who is depressed and hasn’t succeeded, one of the common things they always complain about is ignorance or lack of resources.

They make excuses for why they haven’t tried.

For example, I can’t exercise yet because I don’t know how to do calisthenics or I can’t write a book because I don’t how to structure it.

These are legit problems. Sure, but they’re useless excuses! 

If you don’t have the tools, make do with what you have. If you can’t afford a gym membership, create a circuit of bodyweight exercises that are simple and require no monetary investment from you.

You know how to run, right? What about jumping jacks? Or squats and lunges? These are basic moves that even kids know about and they can easily be used to create a workout system.

Oh, you don’t know how to structure a book? GOOGLE IT! Instead of spending all that time reading about who Taylor Swift is dating now or what Zac Efron does to look so ripped, why don’t you learn something that could enable you to take action on your goals! (I feel like RobertFrank615 shouting hardcore shit at you LOL)

There will always be circumstances and problems standing in your way. You simply have to work around them.

I remember a time when I couldn’t type because the joints in my hands were completely destroyed. Rather than allow it to destroy me, I decided to find alternate ways to get the job done.

I broke out the microphone, grabbed a copy of dragon and spoke my words onto paper. It was uncomfortable at first and there were a few learning hurdles to overcome but I managed to write while figuring out how to use the program.

Perhaps I’ve finally become a list kind of guy but I tend to make a list of things I need to learn and an accompanying list of things I CAN do.

Give it a try.

Buffer Days And How To Use Them

All work and no play? 

That doesn’t sound good to me. 

I value my free time and I genuinely believe a social life is critical to an overall healthy lifestyle. With that being said, buffer days add a well-deserved day to break up a string of work days.

Here’s the thing, I could work 7 days a week but it often leads to burnout which takes me about a week to fix (it truly sucks!).

That’s counterproductive. 

So, I’ve restructured my week around buffer days. 

I work from Sunday to Tuesday, Wednesday is a buffer day and then I resume work from Thursday to Saturday afternoon.

Mid-week buffer days help me unwind after 3 days of consistently working like crazy, the change in scenery and routine prevents boredom from spoiling my routine and the break often rejuvenates my mind before it reaches a state of burnout.

Buffer days are meant to be fun, relaxing, therapeutic and all about you. Buffer days can even appear on the weekend after 5 days of consistent work but the principle behind this technique is built on detaching yourself from all things work related.

It’s a day when you forget your worries and stresses in life. You can do anything your heart desires without feeling guilty.

A good buddy of mines uses his buffer days to go surfing at the beach whereas I find myself gardening and meeting friends at the mall. Do something fun that reminds you of why you’re working so hard to achieve big things.

Let’s see if you battle with a lack of motivation after that! ;)

Sacrifice – There’s No Way Around It

How easy life would be if we could do everything our heart desires without an issue in the world. I’d be a practicing lawyer, full time writer, skydiver, athlete, painter, nomad, marathon runner and cage fighter (okay, maybe not a cage fighter).

Time is fleeting. 24 hours is never enough. Heck, almost 50% of our time is spent sleeping, we only have about 12 hours to play around with.

Sacrifice, as I’ve come to learn, goes hand in hand with time management.

I get bored super easily and my mind wonders from idea to idea. Shiny object syndrome has often screwed me over and resulted in many potentially great projects failing.

At some point or another, you have to make a conscious decision of what activities and ideas aren’t feasible or functional to pursue.

As much as I would love to be a proper athlete, I don’t have the time or the commitment to pursue such a goal. Most of my grit and energy is directed towards writing large amounts of words every single day. If I redirect that energy and attention towards training like an athlete, my biggest dream would pay the ultimate price.

Right now, I can’t afford to give up hours every day to training. 

So, I’m putting that goal or idea at the back of my mind. It’s not an easy thing to do. I love health and fitness but I love writing more. I’m at that point in life where I cannot afford to do everything and anything at the same time.

Multitasking is a fool’s errand and it is the least effective productivity technique to grace the world.

Attention and focus ought not to and should not be divided between multiple tasks at the same time. Quality and results suffer from such a ludicrous way of working.

Focus and dedication to a small and specific number of goals unlocks the doors to productivity. 

As an author, I could easily divide my time amongst a 100 difference things. Social networking, book marketing, keyword research, writing, designing covers, seeking out book deals, editing, copywriting, freelance writing, blogging, guestblogging, publishing videos, courses, podcasts and even more.

But, I’ll get burnt out and most probably achieve ridiculously demotivating results. I’m not built for multitasking and I believe most people aren’t.

3 – 5 goals per quarter of the year is the sweet spot for most people. In 8 hours a day, I can easily write 5000 words, exercise for a bit and design covers. These 3 activities bring about most of the substantial results in my life and I’m finally happy with the progress I’m making.

Before, I’d dip my feet in a 100 different things and fail at 99 of them. The one thing that I may succeed in was usually something unimportant. Sigh!

From your list of 10 or 100 things to Do, Be or Become for 2017, cut that list down to 3 items per quarter or half of the year.

Dedicate all your attention towards those goals and sacrifice time consuming activities that are neither rejuvenating nor progressive in nature. In other words, drop all those 15 shows you watch on a weekly basis for multiple hours at a time to just 3 – 4 shows (No more Arrow for me!).

Develop An Addiction For Completion

Yes! We’ve made it to the last section of this article. Hang with me for just another minute as I share the last piece of the puzzle.

Productivity is actually a path to success. 

My goal on a daily basis isn’t to be productive, it’s to be successful. Productive behavior is just a tool used to reach a state of success. Success, as you may very well be aware, is dependent largely on completion.

An athlete who never crosses the finish line can never be first in a race.A writer who never completes his book isn’t an author until he does. A recipe is never complete until it has been prepared.

Completion creates results.

Trust me, you’ll feel fantastic when you put an end to a goal. That rush of dopamine is unlike anything else you will ever feel. Not to forget the amount of rewards attached to a job well done. 

Abandon the mindset of being busy and dedicate you every waking moment to completing tasks.

Are you familiar with cumulative effect? 

Okay, in case you aren’t, let me quickly explain. Results can be invisible at first. An individual who works out for the first time isn’t going to notice any visible results. The result from his workout is invisible. If, however, he continues to workout for a couple of weeks, all the small results he achieves on a daily basis begins to add up/accumulate until they become a visible result.

Boom! 

He or she loses weight and looks visibly leaner!

For every completed action, you are adding new layers of results one on top of the other. After some time, all those results are definitely going to accumulate and present a visible result that blows your mind.

While everyone is running around aimlessly multitasking, you just focus on completing a set number of tasks like a boss.

You’ll end up ahead of everyone else with this mind-set!

That’s a wrap!

Get out of here now and get focused on your goals. I’ve kept you for long enough and you have all the tools needed to be productive.

Grab the techniques that will benefit you the most and start implementing them immediately. I want to see you succeed and work like never before. Let’s put in the work to be the best!

What do you think of this article? 

Let me know in the comment section and I’ll share more productivity articles with you in the future.