This week, Lesli sets some questions for Helen from HelsBels, founder of the community. You can follow her on Twitter @Helsieboo.

How did you get into blogging?
I started my first website on Angelfire when I was 13 – it still exists but I’m too embarassed to share the bowlinglink! Then a few months later, I set up the first ever ‘HelsBels’ website which was full of random stuff for teens to kill time on. It made it into magazines like J-17, Bliss and Jump – I thought I had made it! The HelsBels name stuck, but I didn’t really begin blogging about fitness until 2010, when I decided to do a marathon.

Why do you enjoy blogging?
It’s somewhere for me to share my thoughts and ideas. If people read it, great! If they don’t, at least it’s an outlet for me. It’s also been a great way to meet people and I’ve made a couple of my closest friends through blogging. And that’s surely got to be the best bit?

Have you always been into sports/fitness and what got you started?
I have a love/hate relationship. I have a problem with my tendons in my legs and spent a lot of time in and out of plaster casts when I was younger. There is nothing like having both legs in plaster for weeks on end! So I find some sports a lot harder than others and my running gait isn’t particularly good as a result. Tenpin bowling is my big sport and I’ve played since I was 8. I also was on the athletics and netball teams at school, I could do shot put to a very good standard and as far as I know, the school relay record I helped to set still stands. Then I got lazy for a few years, put on some weight and decided I better run a marathon to get fit. Normal people start with 5ks.

What do you enjoy about keeping fit?
I don’t always enjoy it, but I do enjoy feeling strong after and the buzz from a good run!

What’s your favourite form of exercise?
Most people would argue it isn’t exercise, but I would always take a couple of hours of bowling over anything else. I used to play 5/6 times a week and everyone who says it can’t be a workout obviously hasn’t played in excess of 15 games a day. I’ve competed at the World Cup and World Championships and it really takes things to a different level. Traditional exercise? It’s going to be running, although I don’t always love it.

Have you any fitness goals?
I want to shift the rest of my baby weight and I want to run a 2 hour half marathon one day. But that’s a  a good couple of years off! My PB is currently 2:16:30, but I ran that injured and walked a lot. It was a shame because whilst I wasn’t going to do 2 hours, I was the fittest I’d ever been and my 10ks and training runs were all pointing at about 2:05. Never mind! I’m much slower now, so my short term goal is to try to get under 30 minutes for 5k and try to increase my speeds.

What’s your advice for people wanting to get into exercise?
Go out and do it. If you keep talking about it, you’ll never do it. Just go out and do it! And make sure you’ve got a good sports bra if you need one.
What inspired you to start the UK Fitness Bloggers network? 
There were lots of other blogger groups, but there didn’t seem to be anything for Fitness Bloggers. Plus with the popularity of the ‘athons during January and June (set up by my wonderful friend Cathy), lots of people blog about fitness. Why not bring them together to make friends, share advice and offer support? It’s been great as I’ve now discovered some blogs I never knew existed!

How do you balance everything you do (fitness, blogging, family, work etc)?
I’m working part-time and blogging is starting to take up more of that, as I’m now doing some social media outreach for a couple of companies, so blogging is starting to merge into work. Which makes it easier! It’s tough though as we don’t have the space at home to work with Rose on the go all day (she’s 17 months old). But I’m juggling it and chasing Rose is arguably a fitness workout in itself.

What’s your goal for the future of UK Fitness Bloggers?
I’d like to grow it into a bigger network, with regular meet ups and events. I’m toying with the idea of arranging a weekend getaway next year for those who are interested! It would be great to eventually have events held throughout the country and who knows? Maybe we’ll one day get to look after blogger outreach for some cool brands!

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