If you are a frequent user of Twitter or Facebook and follow romance readers, bloggers, and authors, you may have seen the hashtag “romancefit” being used and wondered what is it, who’s doing it, and how you can get in on the action!

In the summer of 2015, a small group of like-minded romance enthusiasts led by author Jenny Holiday started a Google group to encourage each other in fitness pursuits – specifically running.  The idea was to comment in the group with a commitment to a monthly goal and then log your workouts. Winners were announced each month, and the other members contributed prizes to the winners.  The hashtag #RomanceC25K was used on Twitter, referring to a ‘couch to 5K’ running program for extra motivation.  Like all good things, it eventually came to an end and was put on the shelf.

In the summer of 2016, I decided to do a little Twitter ‘check-in’ to see how some of the other members of our original group were doing with their fitness goals. I thought it would be nice to start something up again rather informally just using twitter, a chance to check in periodically and encourage each other. A roundtable discussion with a few group members and interested bystanders ensued.  We thought it was important to not limit it to running.  Author Emma Barry suggested #Romancefit which seemed like an excellent way to encompass the idea of romance novel enthusiasts participating in workouts of all kinds.

The concept took off from there and has been in full swing on Twitter since the summer of 2016. The idea is simple. You do a workout, anything that for you personally is something that requires extra effort. It could be going for a walk after supper, or achieving a daily step count goal.  It could be a barre workout, yoga, spin class, running, weight lifting etc. Whatever you consider a workout counts. Then you tweet about it, using the hashtag #Romancefit.  This enables anyone interested the ability to search the hashtag and ‘like’ your tweet, make positive comments, etc. Personally, I try to review (favorite and/or comment) all the tweets with the embedded hashtag every few days.

As an added incentive, I keep track of all the users of the hashtag and every month, everyone who has tweeted a workout is entered into a monthly draw for a small prize, usually an Amazon gift card (the easiest thing to do internationally since this is coming from me personally) or an ebook of the winner’s choice.  Sometimes authors have also come forward to me privately to offer prizes of their own (which I gladly accept!) and I’ve facilitated drawing winners for those too. It’s a win- win situation for everyone. You get a workout, a chance to win a prize, and I get company on my own fitness journey.

At the moment my involvement is with the Twitter based project, but there are some spin offs to it, such as a private Facebook group run by author Santino Hassell and a few friends that focuses on body positivity. You might also see the hashtag used on Instagram and Tumblr. I’m delighted to see people using the hashtag and encouraging others to be fit and healthy!

People have asked what my plans are, how long I plan to continue this project on twitter and I’ll be honest – that will totally depend on you! As long as I have people who want to participate, who are interested in tweeting their workouts and engaging with me in fitness pursuits, I’ll be happy to keep things going. I love welcoming new people who want to start working out or need some motivation to keep up with fitness goals. And my thanks to all who’ve made this a success so far – it wouldn’t happen without you! I look forward to many more days of working out together.