Balancing Blogging, Fitness & Grad School With Amanda F.

Have you ever considered starting your own blog? How about blogging while training, studying for your masters degree and maintaining your sanity? If this sounds like a chapter out of your life, you're not alone. We had the chance to chat with Amanda Folk, a Philly-based blogger and grad student who finds her happy when she's enjoying the great outdoors.  When and why did you start blogging? 

Amanda: I started blogging in 2012 when I studied abroad in Rome as a way to update my family and friends back home on my adventures. When I landed back in the U.S., it turned into a health and fitness blog. Through some name changes and breaks, I have now landed at Chasing My Sunshine.

Finding meaningful content to share can be challenging, what do you talk about on your blog? 

Amanda: It’s all about me doing things that make me happy. Mostly I talk about my outdoor adventures, travel, and fitness. I really love connecting with people in the blogosphere, so that’s a big benefit from having a blog. If somebody can find something to resonate with on my blog that sparks a connection, then I can be happy.

How do you manage blogging, training, and going to school?

Amanda: I made the choice to only blog about once a week for my sanity. But those once a week posts have some substance to them; there aren’t many “fluff” posts in there. Also, my calendar is my best friend. Everything is on there from blogging to school to fitness.

How has keeping a schedule helped you focus on your workouts? What does your training routine look like?

Amanda: When I don’t schedule my workouts, I simply don’t do them. My schedule just flipped again for summer, but I try to run three days a week. I ride my bike everywhere in the city, but I try to head out on longer rides at least twice a week. Group runs and rides really help with this goal! To balance out all that cardio, I try to do strength training at least three days a week as well. This can be bodyweight or weight room style, but I try to fit it in. I am interested in so many activities, both outdoor and indoor. Because of this, my training schedule changes constantly with whatever my latest interest is. It’s good to keep the body guessing!

Are you training for any events this summer? If so, do you ever get nervous during training?

Amanda: This is my first year as part of the Bike MS City to Shore ride! I will be doing the 100-mile ride on Saturday. Honestly, I fluctuate between excited and nervous all the time. What keeps my head in the game is the support and awareness that I can hopefully bring to the community of the National MS Society.

Cycling can be pretty intimidating for new riders, how did you get into it? 

Amanda: I started cycling when I moved into Center City Philadelphia about 3 years ago. I used it as a way to get to and from school. It wasn’t until last summer that I joined other riders for longer rides. I go to a lot of Women Bike PHL (part of the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition) events and I have learned so much just from talking to other women in the community. The best routes, group riding skills, maintenance tricks, what to do when other people are less than friendly, etc. Cycling in the city is much more manageable if you have a supportive community to help you out with any and all questions!

What are your training essentials? Like gear/gadgets/shoes you can't live without?

Amanda: My running shoe collection is probably too extensive. Right now, I am into the Hoka One One Clifton. My one true shoe love, though, is the New Balance 890. I have a couple of pairs that have taken me through many miles! As far as biking, my bike is my baby and pretty essential. But you can know it is me riding down the street when you see my pink helmet. Anything brightly colored will get me moving!

And your favorite post-workout meal?

Amanda: I know it’s not unique, but I love a good green smoothie after a really tough workout. On the weekends, I try to work out in the morning, so it is a perfect breakfast! My combinations are always changing, but a big handful or so of kale is always the last thing to go in the blender.

Any your favorite "cheat" meal?

Amanda: I am a sucker, however, for a good burger at Bareburger. I don’t eat out a lot (heyo grad school budget), but whenever somebody asks where to go for dinner, somehow this option always pops out of my mouth…

Anything else you'd like to add? 

Amanda: I don’t know if this has shown through a lot of my answers, but try to find people in your area that are striving for an active or healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to have the same goals, but it is nice to have a buddy to challenge you and support you. My first year of graduate school was really rough because I didn’t have that. Whether it be online or in person, it can totally change your health and fitness perspective!

Want to hear more from Amanda? Check out her blog Chasing My Sunshine and connect with her  on Twitter & Instagram: @MandolinFolk

Ready to start your own fitness/wellness blog? Start today with these tips!