Balancing health and lifestyle, motherhood and a career as well as being an advocate for personal freedoms and expression, Carly Rowena has become an icon in the fitness and lifestyle community. A model of self-respect and openness, her videos and vlogging content is enjoyed by over four hundred thousand subscribers and touches on many important topics and not just at home fitness.
Carly first turned to YouTube after years of working in an industry that was not satisfying her ambitions and wasn’t making her happy at all. She reveals that the turning point was when she searched in Google “What is Carly’s dream job?” and all that the search engine was able to produce was a YouTube video about Necker Island.
“So, I made it my mission to figure out my own talent and treated my videos as a way to discover what I am passionate about,” she explains, “However, I never really expected to become a personal trainer.”
For eight years now she has been crafting what she refers to as her little corner of the internet and during that time it has seen some serious pivots from side to side. Carly started out teaching in a local 24-Hour Gym and working all the hours possible to make ends meet. Creating her videos in her spare time she made use of platforms like Skype, Zoom and Facebook to help train her clients when they weren’t able to make it to the gym.
“I was able to use these platforms to reach and train people all around the world,” she says, “And this meant I could plan my day around different time zones and help more people achieve their goals.”
ALONG WITH THE JOURNEY
Being comfortable and confident in your own body is an important aspect of Carly’s vlogs which serve as much as a journal of her own journey as instruction videos. Amongst the workout videos entitled “Carly’s Abs”- (demonstrating how to gain and maintain arguably the most impressive eight pack in the industry) there are other gems regarding dieting, sexual health, becoming a mother and training in parenthood.
The vlogs are interesting, engaging and unafraid to tackle sensitive topics that have affected Carly’s life. For many subscribers who have gone through similar issues, be it with health, fitness or life in general, this has meant a great deal and combated the feeling of loneliness that can sometimes come with dealing with our problems.
“I used to upload two vlogs a week but since having my little girl and only being able to work during her naps, it’s now once a week,” she says, “I also write my blog, share live workouts, post on Instagram, create content for brands and train my online clients.”
SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO VLOGGING
According to Carly, creating the vlogs is really a systematic process with completion time depending entirely on the type of video being created. Carly explains that if it is a sit down “chatty” video like her “Sexy Series” this can be around 30 minutes to film and then an hour to edit, upload and schedule but if it’s a vlog of everything that happened that week, a workout or travel vlog is can take a full day or longer.
LIFESTYLE AND FITNESS
Carly admits that it’s been a challenge to balance lifestyle and fitness and that she can be quite hard on herself when she’s not doing enough. Since Covid-19 has meant that everyone is staying home she is only really able to get work done during her daughter’s two one hour nap times or before she wakes in the morning. So currently the day starts at 5am which is when she answers emails, edits and schedules posts. Then, it’s Mum Mode for a bit which entails reading books and making a general playful mess before putting her down for her morning nap and sweating through an online CrossFit class or going live with one of her own workouts.
“I fit in some shower time before she wakes up and then we go for our one outdoor walk to escape the cabin fever and give Steven, our French bulldog a good run,” she says, “Then after lunch we’ll play in our garden or create obstacles or games before her second nap which is when I have online clients, Skype calls and film for my channels, then it’s dinner, bath time, bed for Jax and finishing up anything I didn’t get done during the day. I tend to switch off at 8:30pm for meditation and reading a book alongside my husband.”
Carly’s other half is also a fitness vlogger of some repute and this has made their daily lives unpredictable to say the least, with their weekly schedules changing at the drop of a hat. But fitness is one thing they don’t really speak about.
“It’s just like if you live with someone who gives massages or paints nails, we barely talk about exercise when together!” she says, adding, “However, filming ourselves has rubbed off on our daughter Jax as she loves to steal my phone and talk to herself on video so we might have another vlogger on the horizon!”
We asked Carly if she has seen any changes in her viewership since the Lockdown. She says that while we are all in such a negative situation, she has noticed many positives online. Obviously, more and more people are at home looking for things to do so naturally viewer time and reach has grown as well as the activity on the comment sections. Viewers are taking the time to really engage, question and share their favourite platforms which is wonderful.
And during this increase in demand for quality content and engaging viewers what should professional vloggers and other industry icons keep in mind when working with their audience?
“It’s important to know your purpose and not to sell out,” she says, “It can be hard to stick to your own purpose when brand deals come around or you notice other topics trending but it’s important to be authentic to yourself. And, when working with brands it is even more important to get them to understand who you are and what truly works with your followers.”
Considering the sudden, global shift that has occurred in people’s habits over the last month there have been a lot of changes that Carly has made to her brand and how she engages her audience. The internet is full of people going live, sharing workouts and creating content and it’s become quite overwhelming. According to her up to 90% of the content that creators share online is free as only content with associated ads earn them anything. With so many brands cancelling all events and brand deals she admits that she is relieved to have a revenue stream from her online clients that is away from social media.
“I’m using this time to make my corner of the internet a positive and realistic one and hope to inspire people to use this time to finish the things they promised themselves they would,” she says, “Be that to take up a new hobby or simply rest and recover.
COMBATTING CABIN FEVER
A billion people are currently staying indoors on Lockdown and there is an array of side effects that are for the moment going under the radar. Many people are struggling to cope with being confined. To help deal with this Carly has been making positive suggestions to her clients and one of the main ones is the importance of changing their environment.
“For those who don’t have a garden that they can enjoy as it gets warmer, you can bring the outside indoors,” she says, “Aim to let light in wherever you can and brighten up dark spaces with fairy lights, and plants and challenge yourself to be awake for an hour before you look at your phone.”
This last point is something she advocates strongly. She believes from experience that it allows the mind to create a little forcefield before letting the rest of the world in.
“If you’re finding everything a little heavy, use the mute, unfollow or simply get your apps to time out,” she says, “Read more books, play a positive playlist, dance with your loved ones, exercise, play boardgames and create pub quizzes with your friends over house party or Zoom. Do whatever it takes to not let things get on top of you.”
A firm believer in the importance of creating your own space, Carly herself makes sure that her exercises spaces always involve a healthy environment. For her home workout she puts a yoga mat next to the window to make sure she gets a lot of natural light and sets herself a specific time to train.
Exercise isn’t just something you pick up and put back down and Carly has learnt that you need to make it as important to your day as eating, sleeping and going to the toilet. You’re far more likely to stick to it if you form a habit based on repetition.
“Figure out if you’re a morning or evening person and exercise at the right time for you. Invest in your own little space. This doesn’t take a lot, a yoga mat, placed near a window for natural light can make all the difference. A good playlist is important too as is a plan that you can follow to map your progress,” She says.
Of course, during this time Carly believes that everyone should take things at their own pace and not expect too much.
“It’s also perfectly fine if ’the only thing you did today was breathe,” she says.