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How I run an online business, blog regularly, keep learning and manage my life with Evernote

A short introduction

To understand why I do online training and why I decided to use Evernote, I have to tell you a little story. It all started when the economic crisis hit Europe a few years ago. Many friends and clients were forced to emigrate to find a new job. United States, Canada, Chile, UK, Australia and even Vietnam were some of their destinations. If everyone had gone to the same country, I would have gone with them, but that was not the case. As many of you already know, I live in a small Spanish coastal town that suddenly saw its population drop from 12,000 to just 8,000. You do not have to be very smart to realize that my traditional personal training business was going to sink. Fewer people, with lower purchasing power, would consider personal training as a luxury they could not afford.

So I had three options: look for another job, emigrate or reinvent my business. I chose the third option.

Emails and PDFs always seemed like a shabby way of sending training plans, so I started looking for other ways to network with my expatriate clients.

Each coach understands personal training in a different way. I approach each client as a project. They have a goal, which can change over time, they face difficulties during the process and they need a fluid, constant communication that can adapt to their new situations.
So I tried different apps with them to manage projects like Asana, Basecamp or Trello. They all are great apps, but some way or another they didn´t fit all our needs.

Then, I found Evernote, and everything started to fit in a natural way.

Why Evernote

When you decide to exercise and start a training plan the very first thing you must do is keeping a training journal, period.

Every day write what you have done, how many series, how much weight you have used, how you feel after training and the next day, what you have eaten, how you have slept, etc. To verify how the training plan went, you should also write down your weight and body perimeters at the beginning and end of the training plan. This is called facing reality, has it worked or not? Then you can adjust according to the results.

I used to give each of my clients a paper notebook to do all these things. Today, with Evernote, I do this same thing and much more, digitally.

Even though I can not be with my clients in person, they have a link for each exercise where they can watch a video and read a description to do the exercise correctly. Also, they have a notebook with a lot of recipes, so they do not have to ask me what they can eat today. They have a long list of recipes to choose from at any time.

food

And of course, I’m available via workchat for anything you need, in addition to talking regularly about how their training is going. If they are not convinced that they are doing an exercise correctly, they simply send me a video doing it, and I will correct them, if necessary.

Evernote, the perfect environment for online training

One of my first goals for my business was to create an exercise library. An extensive one. Today I have exactly 1259 exercises stored in Evernote, organized by tags (muscle, equipment, and level) and I easily find what I need to create the perfect training for each client.

Exercise library

I created my own training templates and I just have to copy the exercise I want in the corresponding place. This saves me a lot of time.

fitness templates

Each client has their own exclusive notebooks and it is impossible to get training, recipes or notes that do not correspond to them. With Evernote, you decide what you share and with whom.

The best part of all this? Anyone can do it. Even if you´re not a trainer, you can create your own notebook and save any exercise or workout you want to do, that you find in a blog, YouTube or wherever, thanks to the Evernote Web Clipper.

In my opinion, Evernote is the perfect environment for personal online training and I still wonder why not many more coaches are using it.

More things Evernote has helped me with

Finding this perfect environment is far from starting an online business. You need a website, advertise on Google, create your accounts on different social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. And I had no idea about all these things.

One of the first tips that anyone can find if they want to build an online business is to write a blog. Of course, I started blogging without having the slightest idea where to start, except I had to talk about fitness.

My first fitness posts got four or five likes. Now it’s no surprise, but then that was a disappointment. Blogging has many points in common with fitness, you have to start small, learn to do things correctly, a few tricks and progress at your own pace.

In both cases, consistency is the key. I could not find anything smaller to begin with than a daily quote. Making a simple comparison is like starting doing push-ups and chin-ups. Evernote helped me do this and almost effortlessly, I posted a daily quote for more than 500 consecutive days. How? I simply created a note, I titled it “quotes” and there I wrote down each quote that I liked. Then I just had to publish it on the blog and mark it as published, to not repeat it. I still have about 200 quotes that, maybe, I’ll publish someday.

Quotes

Instead of writing drafts in WordPress, I create a note for each new article and organize them by topics in different notebooks. For me, it is much easier to organize it so I do not have a list of drafts in WordPress.

I also keep in Evernote a lot of post fitness that I find on the internet, on different topics such as injuries, nutrition, new training methods and the latest studies. I keep them all in a notebook, organized by tags, so I find them easily when I need them.

But there is much more than fitness in my Evernote: marketing, web design, SEO, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook tips, and many other things are in another notebook, perfectly tagged. There are many things one must learn to build an online business and with Evernote, I have everything in the same place, organized and easy to find.

Managing my day to day

To organize my day to day, I created my own version of the Eisenhower matrix.

Eisenhower Matrix

I reduced the matrix to only three areas because I do not understand why I need the fourth quadrant if those things are neither urgent nor important and they need to be dumped. Why should I bother and waste my time on that? I apologize for showing you the blank note, but my daily schedule, my tasks, and ideas, are not of your concern:

my todo list

I also have a shortcut to this note on my cell phone, to access it at any time, anywhere.

todo today

When I complete a task I delete it, and every night I check and fill in the blanks for the next day with new tasks. I couldn´t find a way to be more productive, but I´m open to suggestions.

As you can see, there are many reasons to use Evernote, what is yours?

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My lower back routine

Sitting for long periods can definitely cause lower back pain or worsen an existing back problem. Does your back hurt? Do you know what I mean? Sitting is a static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and in particular, can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.

I have an old injury and over the years I´ve been trying and adjusting exercises to relief my back pain. This is an easy and quick back pain routine relief that never fails. It takes 5 minutes and you need no equipment.

I do this routine almost every day, some days twice, after two or three hours in front of the screen. I bet most of you sit for longer than I do, so I´m sure this routine will help you if performed regularly.

Taking a little time during the day to stretch and relax has an extra benefit: your productivity will increase when you feel your body free of stress. Think about it this way, you take a break when you finish a task to do the next even better. Read more about movement and productivity on Forbes, these guys really care about productivity, right?

Take your lower back seriously and start stretching, often. Remember that stretches should never be forced or cause any pain.

Click on exercise´s name to watch the video. Also, how to perform each exercise is just below the image. Here´s a screenshot.

Lower back routine

Get the full note, free, HERE.

To get the most out of it, I recommend you to create an Evernote account, in case you haven´t done it yet.

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Automatically save your activities in Evernote

There are many apps and activity trackers: Nike +, Strava, Fitbit, etc.
ifttt fitness services
Even when every app saves your activities, I have a couple of reasons you should save them in Evernote too.
My clients use different apps and if I want to check their progress, I have to try any app they use, to know better how each one works, I have to ask them to share their activities with me, and that´s a mess.
Even if you are not a trainer, you should try a few apps for a few weeks before deciding which one best suits your needs. After this process, why are you going to lose the data of the apps that you are not going to use anymore? you don´t have to, and the answer is really simple: Evernote. Save all your workouts and activities in Evernote so you have all of them in one place, which will save you a lot of time. Plus, you can edit these notes and add any additional info you want, tags, etc.
Maybe the best part is you don´t need to save your workouts manually. Integration apps like IFTTT or Zapier do it for you, connecting your favorite apps and saving you a valuable time.
As an example, today we´re going to connect Strava to Evernote and Strava and save any new activity.
First, go to ifttt.com and get started.
You may sign with Google or Facebook.
ifttt 2
This is the dashboard.
ifttt 3
Search for Strava. Authorize IFTTT if needed.
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Click on My Applets -> New Applet
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A New Applet looks like this.
Click on +this
ifttt 6
Choose a service, Strava.
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Choose a trigger,  New activity by you
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Which activity? Any.
Then click “Create Trigger”. We´re almost there.
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Choose action service, Evernote.
Authorize if needed.
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Choose action: Create a note
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You can customize your future notes, title, info included in the note, notebook, and tags.
IFTTT call all these “ingredients”.

ifttt 13

Click on Create action.
Click Finish and it´s done.
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Every new activity will be saved in the selected notebook.
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Evernote for Fitness 1

evernote-for-fitness

Let me introduce you Evernote for fitness

In theory, Evernote is a dynamic workspace that boosts your productivity. It´s a cloud note-taking app that makes very easy keeping track of pretty much everything. You can use Evernote for blogging, doing research, writing a book, planning your vacation, write your ideas on the go, etc.

As a personal trainer, I use Evernote for fitness, keeping track of my client´s workouts, meals, etc. Traditionally, trainers have encouraged their trainees to keep a training diary. You may use Evernote as a brand new digital version of the training journals.

Since 2014, I´ve been delivering personalized workouts and meal plans to my clients through Evernote. Results have been pretty amazing. I´ll give you some ideas on how you can use Evernote, making of it the best training diary!

Saving your old workouts

The first thing you should do is to save all your old workouts and diets. This way, you´ll prevent future losses.

Evernote allows you to save all kind of files (pics, docs, pdf, etc) so you can turn Evernote into your fitness command center.

The first feature that caught my eye was photo capture. All you have to do is grab your old papers, your phone, and click on the camera icon.

evernote-photo-capture

Automatically, Evernote will capture your papers. evernote-photo-capture-2

You can save as many pics as you want in a single note, or you can make a note with each pic. Of course, you can reorganize and edit all your notes anytime later.

This time, let´s save a single pic as a single note. Click “V” and chose a title for your note (Dark red). Then, click on the notebook icon to pick the notebook you want to save the note (Light red).

evernote-photo-capture-3

Click “V” again to save your new note.

You can also add any file from your phone or pc. If you want to add files from your phone, click “+” to add a new note, and select the clip icon.

evernote-photo-capture-4

I have some recent workouts in my phone memory for this occasion. I´m part of the Jordan Breakfast Club and Jordan uses Facebook Messenger to deliver the workouts. I prefer to save them in Evernote because it´s much easier to find a workout than scrolling and scrolling the conversation in Messenger until I find what I want. I save each pic (workout) as a note.

evernote-jordan

Later, I check my new notes on my pc, and I realize that there are too many. How do I fix this?

Select multiple notes, holding “Ctrl” and clicking on the notes you want.  You´ll see your selection on the right side of your screen and some options. One of them is “Merge”.

evernote-merge-notes

evernote-merge-notes-2

You´ll get a single note with all workouts. A 30-day challenge in a single note. Easy, right?

evernote-multiple-pics-attached

You can do the same thing with any Pdf, excel files, docs saved on your p.? Press Ctrl + N to create a new note. Then click on the clip button, and add your files. When you finish, you have all your workouts on all your devices, anytime.

Use the Evernote Web Clipper

The Evernote Web Clipper is available for almost any browser and it´s the easiest way to collect anything from the web.

Once installed, you´ll see the elephant´s head next to the title bar. The browser context menu will also get an Evernote Web Clipper item. To use this option, right-click the mouse while browsing.

web-clipper-icon

There are 5 modes of saving a note via the web clipper.

web-clipper-saving

The extension can show the page as it is (“Article”)

web-clipper-exercise-2

or bring a simplified version (“Simplified Article”).

web-clipper-exercise-3

The “Full Page” option, stores the whole web page on your Evernote account. Later you can edit the contents of these saved pages. I do not recommend this option because you´ll save all the ads and crap showed in that page.

The “Bookmark” option saves the URL along with a pic and a short description.

web-clipper-exercise-4

To annotate a webpage’s contents, the screenshot option can be handy. Take a screenshot using the extension and use its rich set of annotating tools.

web-clipper-exercise-5

 

As you can see, you can save any exercise or workout you like or plan to do in the future in Evernote.

Track your workouts

To track your current workout, I recommend you to create a new notebook, like “My workouts”. Then, create a new note for each day (Tip: Use the date in the title so it´ll be easier to find it later). Make sure to write any information you may need. For example, today is your first day and you may want to take a selfie to review your progress a month from now. Just take the picture and add it to your new note. I ask my clients to do this so we can see the progress every month. This is one of my clients the first day of training.

selfie

I encourage you to explore the toolbar and find what fits better with you and your workouts: tables, checkbox, etc.

For this example, I would like to try something tough, a giant drop set. Four, actually. Have you ever been able to log a giant drop set in any other app? Me neither.

workout1

After each set, you can easily write how much you´ve just lifted. Also, adding any comment on the go is really easy.

If this is not enough for you, enrich your workout with links and take it to a new level. Let´s say you´ve saved some new exercises you want to include in your routine, but you need to refresh your memory on how to do it. In this case, lateral raises. Right-click on the note where the description is at, and select “Copy Note Link”.

workout2

Go back to your workout note, select exercise´s name and press “Ctrl + K” to open a dialog box like this.

workout3

“Ctrl + V” to paste the link and then, ok. Video and description are just one click away, while our workout note is still clean.

You can also save your data automatically from your tracking devices into Evernote. See how to do it, here.

Organizing your workouts with tags

Organizing is a very personal thing and you have to find which way works best for you.

These are some differences between notebooks and tags you should know:

  • Notebooks are limited to 250 per personal account, but you can have up to 100,000 tags per account.
  • A note can only exist in one Notebook at a time, but a note may have multiple tags.
  • Notebooks can be stacked but not nested. In essence, this means you can only create a hierarchy that is one level deep: a stack with a group of notebooks. On the other hand, tags can be nested into multiple hierarchies.

Applied to your fitness notes, you have at least two options to organize them:

  1. Create multiple notebooks for different topics: Exercises, Recipes, Tips, Motivation, My workout, etc.
  2. Create a single notebook to store all your fitness notes. Instead of placing a note into a specific notebook, create a tag and assign that tag to the note. For example, instead of a notebook called “My workouts” create a tag and assign it to all your workouts. The advantage is that you can add other tags as well, like “Weightloss”, “Hypertrophy”, etc. so you´ll know what´s the goal of each workout.

Here is how you can quickly add a tag to notes in Evernote:

  1. Open the note you wish to tag.
  2. Open the tags editor.
  3. Type to add your tags. Tag suggestions based on previous tags in Evernote will appear as you type.
  4. Press Return to add a tag
  5. To delete a tag, backspace over the tag text.

Tags can be nested into hierarchies according to whatever makes sense for you. Keep in mind that they will display alphabetically, so you can use symbols like periods, hashtags, or numbers to force your tags into the order you want.

Search Tips

We´ve seen how to get your data into Evernote but, how do you find your notes when you need them? Evernote provides a set of tools for finding almost anything, easily and on-demand.

If you don´t have a lot of notes, the first and easiest way to find your notes is by clicking on a notebook or tag in the left side panel and visually scan the notes.

search-1

This is probably the least advanced method there is, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. If you know exactly where you want to go, and have organized your notes effectively, simply going to the notebook or tag that the note is categorized by is a great option. As you add more notes, it becomes increasingly difficult.

Next option is the search box. It´s where all the magic happens.

search-2

It works the same way like a search engine, start typing whatever you’re looking for and Evernote will begin narrowing down the results in real time.

If you click on a notebook or tag first, Evernote will limit the search results to those within that notebook or tag group. Also, the search automatically filters out common words like “a”, “and”, “the”, “these”, as well as others, by default. The default method will only display notes containing every word in your search query, but not necessarily in the same order as they are in the search box.

Every note that you create within Evernote has a lot of properties related to it such as what media attachments are included in the note, how it was uploaded and when it was created.

Below are a few of the search operators you can use to narrow down your search:

tag: this operator can be used to find notes with specific tags.

-tag: will search for notes excluding that specific tag.

any: this operator can be used to make a difference between “and” and “or” when you perform a search with two or more words. For example, if you search for shoulder exercises the results will be notes that contain only the words: shoulder exercises. However, if you add the “any” operator before (any: shoulder exercises) the results will be notes containing shoulder OR exercises.

notebook: this operator will specify the search to a specific notebook.

intitle: this operator will search for the specified words in the titles of your notes.

source: this allows you to search via the source you added the note. source:mobile will show you all notes that were created using Evernote on a mobile application.

created: this allows you to search for notes created over a specific time period. created:20140816, searches for all notes created on August 16, 2014.

updated: Searches for notes updated on or after the date specified. If a note hasn’t been updated since the date it was created, the ‘updated’ date will be the same as the ‘created’ date. updated:20140626, searches for all notes updated on June 26, 2014.

todo: Searches for notes containing one or more checkboxes. todo:true, surfaces all notes that contain a checkbox that is checked. todo:false, surfaces all notes that contain a checkbox that is not checked. todo:*, surfaces notes that contain a checkbox, if it’s checked or not.

encryption: Searches for notes that include text that has been encrypted with Evernote’s built-in encryption system.

latitude: longitude: altitude: Searches for notes that were created at or near the specified coordinates.

Use the + or – to include or exclude certain words. Example: weightloss -diet +exercise  will display all notes with the words weightloss and exercise, but not diet. Note that these also work with other search operators, such as tag.

The asterisk can be put at the end of anything and will give you the results of the search term before it. For instance, if you can remember how to spell an exercise, but remember part of it, type what you can remember and add the * at the end, Evernote will take care of the rest. This is especially helpful in cases where you’re searching for the base word, but want to include other variations of it, like plural forms.

You might already use quotations to get an exact phrase. However, you only need one quotation (“) at the beginning of your phase.

You can combine search operators to improve and narrow results. Using the Boolean techniques in combination with search operators is yet another way to improve results.

Eventually,  you can create a “Saved Search” and re-use it whenever you need it. To do this, just search and select File | New Saved Search. Name your search in the first field (this is solely for your use, so name it whatever you feel will make it easy to recognize). To see your saved search, just clear the search bar and click on it. A list of recent and saved searches will appear.

I think you have now an idea how to use Evernote for fitness. Let me know if you have any questions. I´ll be glad to help you!