Does Texting Clients Work?

Apr 18, 2014

Fitness Forum

Editor’s Note: In the February Food for Thought section, we asked if personal trainers use texting as a behavioral or weight loss intervention method with clients. One IDEA member shared the following:

I regularly text many of my clients. I check in on them and ask them how their week of exercise has been. I ask how they are feeling after a recent workout we performed together, or I send along motivational messages to keep them accountable to me and themselves. They like the personal follow-up and tell me that it keeps them more adherent to exercise because they know I’m keeping them accountable, even when they might not have a work-out scheduled with me for the rest of the week.

In January, I sent this text: “Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone! The game doesn’t start until 4:30 pm, so you have plenty of time for some exercise today! Go ski; go snowshoe; go to the gym; go bowling; walk the dog; walk yourself . . . have fun moving. . . . And if you watch the game, do 10 burpees for every touchdown as a bonus!”

Kevin Bretting
Personal Trainer Laramie,
Wyoming

Low Group Ex Instructor Wages Baffle Reader

I have always revered San Diego as the fitness capital of the United States, and I recently moved here. I have lived all over the United States and have been teaching group fitness for 18 years. I have been AFAA-, ACE- and ACSM-certified in group exercise. I am shell-shocked by the group fitness programming here in San Diego. I teach at three clubs and was hired to teach at a fourth, but all of the group fitness managers were fired at that club before I could be brought on.

The shell shock stems from many different factors, beginning with compensation. We teach because we love it; we love seeing the changes in participants. San Diego group ex instructor wages are definitely below the national average. Most recently, in “Small Town USA,” I was paid $30 per 1-hour class. In 2000, when I taught in Boston, I was paid $40 per hour. Here in San Diego, my pay ranges from $23 to $25 per hour.

However, my actual shock came when I was told that if I brought my children to the facility’s childcare, I would have to pay for them while I taught. Hmmm, let’s see: $23 per class; minimum 2 hours of class-planning time; and 3 hours to get to class, set up, teach and get home. Not to mention $12 for childcare. I’m totally baffled.

I do not want to present problems without solutions. I believe IDEA and ACE can be advocates here in San Diego. Let’s start locally and educate facilities on the importance of taking care of instructors. Focus on your immediate circle of influence.

Julie Werts
Group Fitness Instructor
San Diego

Class Take-Out Needs More

I compliment IDEA on much of what you do in IDEA Fitness Journal; however, I do have a problem with the Class Take-Out column. If the idea is to spread information and to spark teachers to add new things to their class, why not give them all the information? For example, in the February issue the author suggests adding yoga/Pilates to a boot camp class. She lists a possible class setup, using names of exercises that are not standard, and the explanations are not enough to understand what she is talking about. What is a “zombie walk”? I did manage to find one video, but I’m not certain this is what the author meant. Am I abducting my arms in the frontal plane on the “angel wing”? It seems so, as it would seem pointless to do it in the sagittal. Why not include a link to a video, so all questions are answered?

Not all people define things the same way, and exercise names are not standardized enough in this industry for good communication. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is a thousand pictures.

Laurel Ebert
Personal Trainer, Springville Health and Fitness
Springville, New York

The Editor Responds: Thank you so much for your feedback on the Class Take-Out column and also for your detailed suggestions, which are all fantastic. You make many excellent points, including the one about exercise nomenclature. The format of this column is restricted to a 1-page front and back layout so that the reader can literally “take it out” and use it. The word count is restricted by this format; each article can be only 1,000–1,200 words. It is a bit of a challenge to explore an entire class with this limitation, but we have done it for 10 years with a measure of success.

We ask authors to submit ideas that can be easily condensed into an outline style. This does present several issues, and you mentioned most of them. It’s almost impossible to get across the nuances of each exercise/move in a truncated version. Still, this is one of our readers’ favorite columns, and the main goal is to stimulate creativity in class design.

We do include videos from time to time, but it’s not something we do on a regular basis. It’s a great idea, and we’ll continue to include Web Extras as we move forward, in order to better serve all our readers.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your constructive feedback; it is very much appreciated!

More Extreme Fitness

Editor’s Note: In our February issue, we ran an example image and message as part of the feature “Extreme Fitness: How Intense Is Too Intense?” We asked readers for feedback on whether using such messaging on social media was motivational or potentially damaging to participants. One member shared this response:

Being a fitness trainer and someone who has always been into fitness, I like this message. I get tired of the average Joe making me feel obsessed (guilty) about wanting to take care of myself and teach others to do the same. People who joke about wanting to sit on the couch and eat Twinkies with a “We all have to die of something” mentality are just lazy, and it’s just an excuse to take the easy road in life. I’d rather feel good, look good and live a quality life. That does take dedication.

Laurel Sweigart
Personal Trainer, Fit2You Brandon
Oregon

Erratum

In our April issue, Sally Paulson, PhD, and Joohee Sanders, PhD, were the authors of the Senior Fitness column, “Peripheral Arterial Disease and Exercise for Older Adults.” The Table of Contents incorrectly attributed the article to Amanda Vogel. We regret the error and particularly apologize to the authors.

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