Stay in shape, prep for military fitness tests with FitText

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Stay in shape, prep for military fitness tests with FitText

by: Katie Lange, DoD News | .
Defense Media Activity | .
published: May 08, 2015

Summer is around the corner – a time when everyone wants to be in shape, as well as when many service members are also thinking about their physical fitness tests.

A text-messaging initiative called FitText was recently launched by the Army National Guard that’s meant to help anyone maximize their physical training, including service members readying themselves for their fitness assessments and family members looking to stay healthy.

FitText was launched ahead of this summer’s Army National Guard physical fitness tests so soldiers could show up for them prepared.

“I could cram the night before [an academic] test and do fine,” said Col. Eric Morgan, the Army National Guard’s chief surgeon. “Physical fitness is not something you can cram for the night before.”

Those who sign up for the free service will get three to four text messages a week that offer fitness training program plans, healthy eating resources, motivational messages for training and other tips.

Morgan said military members often face tough issues when it comes to balancing their duties, their families and their health.  That’s especially true for National Guard soldiers, who can be called up for duty at a moment’s notice.

“There clearly is a need for our Guard soldiers to be medically ready and fit to mobilize for a national emergency,” Morgan said. “The Guard’s soldiers — they need to balance their guard and civilian jobs.  Family commitments can also weigh heavily, so all these factors actually affect your health and fitness.”

Examples of some of the texts include discussions over whether carb loading is a myth, how to master a 2-mile run with the right techniques and how to stay on track with training using a workout planner. There are also tips about things like how to stay hydrated before, during and after physical fitness tests.

Most of the texts have links back to GuardYourHealth.com, the website for a larger health initiative aimed at Army National Guard soldiers.

While the program was developed for the guard, Morgan said all branches of the military and civilians are welcome to use it.

The colonel said the program also helps build mental resilience on top of the physical aspect.

“There’s a lot more to fitness than just passing your physical fitness test. It really does go down sometimes to the basics, like how much sleep you’re getting and what types of foods you are eating,” Morgan said.

The developers of FitText wanted to reach a core part of their audience comprised of 18- to 24-year-olds whose primary mode of information collection is on their smartphones.

Morgan said within two weeks of the April 15 launch, FitText already had 988 subscribers.

The Guard Your Health website, which was launched in August 2013, has seen a 281 percent increase in pageviews in the past year. Morgan said the ability to link to GuardYourHealth.com through phone messages will continue to help spread the site’s message.

“There are so many tremendous resources there,” he said.

And if you subscribe to FitText and don’t like it? You can easily opt out of the program.

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