It started with an innocent Tweet.

JasonFalls Wife and I are discussing a family YMCA membership. Could it be that I might start exercising? Stay tuned …

And, after a couple of responses, I threw this out there:

JasonFalls If I, Mr. 275 pounds and no exercise since 1988, will commit to a consistent exercise program, I want 50 followers to do the same. Takers?

Never understimate the power of your Twitterati. As of 10 p.m. ET Monday night, just five hours after calling on takers, I counted 28 different folks who either said, “I’m in,” that they’re already involved in a fitness goal but are with me or wanted to lend support in some way. Several others chimed in to say, “You go!” or offer other insights or suggestions.

I don’t need 50 people to inspire me. I just need 28 of the folks who think my random brain smatterings are worthwhile enough to click, “Follow.” So today I’m hoping anyone wishing to improve their health, be it through fitness or diet or both, will join me in a Twitter experiment.

Twit2FitI’m calling it Twit2Fit – using Twitter to support and inspire one another to improve our wellness, whether it be through diet, exercise or even spiritual health. Let’s use one another as a check point to keep everyone focused on their goals. Even if it’s just a daily checkin with a Tweet that reads, “Walked 30 minutes this morning. Avoided greasy lunch. Not bad for a Tuesday.” Know that there are folks out there also focused on improved wellness who are supporting you, cheering you on and keeping you honest.

Laura Fitton (@Pistachio on Twitter) reports she has used hashtags (tags with a “#” in front that are tracable and trackable if you follow @hashtags on Twitter) for, “small, self-imposed exercise/new habits, challenges.” She used #21day for example to track fitness-related entries for what I assume is a commitment to the 21-days makes a habit theory of exercise. I would propose we use #twit2fit as our hashtag (be sure to follow @hashtag) and even subscribe to the feed of a Tweetscan of the term. This way we can all participate as a community of interested parties, following one another and reporting our own ups and downs. Just report your progress on your fitness or wellness, vent, ask for support or lend support to someone else and slap on the “#twit2fit” tag. Together, we can all work to become a healthier group.

In my conversations Monday night, I asked for advice on some web-based tools that would help us stay on track. Several good ones emerged, including fitday.com, traineo.com and gyminee.com. But we don’t need to go signing up for yet another social network to be unified here. We can just use Twitter to our advantage and make it function for us in this regard. Other ideas for group support I saw included starting a public wiki, using Google Docs with everyone invited to contribute to a master log or even building out our own Ning community. But I fear the complexity of it would hinder participation and success. Twitter is where we are. It’s instant, it’s simple. We can communicate about wellness there just like we communicate about other things. Why complicate matters?

For the record, though, I believe I’m going to try Gyminee.com out for my own personal tracking. I’ll certainly report back as well, but it seems to be the most success-centric of the tools I’ve found. For starters, there’s a Gyminee blog. I can subscrbe to the RSS feed and get the every-so-often reminder that I need to log in and update my information. Of the fitness and wellness support sites I’ve seen, Gyminee and traineo.com both seem the most web 2.0 friendly.

Another reason I didn’t want to recommend we all go join some site and be friends with each other there is the fact that everyone defines success differently. I am not putting a weight loss goal down as where I want to go. Some others may feel like 20 pounds is success. I’m 35-years-old, have weighed at or near 275 pounds for the last 20 years, and I have two children. Seeing them both as adults is success. Just a 30 minute walk every other day may be all I need to get there. It may take more, but putting a destination down on paper only gives me an expectation that may be unreasonable. My goal is to try, to do more in the way of taking care of myself and to hopefully reap the benefits from that action.

What started this all is a discussion my wife and I had about a family membership to our local YMCA. There are great activities for my son, who is three, and several friends with children are looking into summer memberships now that a newly-opened swimming pool dons our closest facility. Since there’s a YMCA not too far from my office as well, Nancy and I have both committed to using the family membership for us as well as our children. If you aren’t a member of your local YMCA, I would encourage you to look into it. Membership supports fantastic programs for children in addition to providing you with your wellness needs.

My plan is to use my local YMCA, but also to commit myself to daily walks, monitoring and controlling the amount and what I eat and, for the first time in my life, cutting back on the number of sodas I drink. (For those of you who don’t know me, I’m probably looking at about 200 or more ounces of diet soft drinks per day. And, no, that’s not an exaggeration. My kidneys contain the same ingredients as Duracell batteries.)

Here’s the starter list of the Twitterati who have, in some way, initially indicated a commitment to join me, or that they are already involved in a fitness program and are happy to coincide. Follow them and let’s help one another:

@ConversationAge, @MarinaMartin, @vdegeorge, @SuzeMuse (and her dog), @markfrisk, @aronado, @OutlanderUSA, @shey, @beiting, @leeodden, @marcthollander, @Owlbert, @mammaren, @marobella, @krusk, @ashleycecil, @smorty71, @JustinSeeley.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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