Kensington : Public School Teacher Helps More Than Youth

On any given day Steven Reich is looked upon by a classroom full of eight year-olds for guidance in math, reading or writing.

At the same time, there are 27,000 adults following Steven on Twitter for guidance on how to get in better shape.

The former is because Steven is a third grade teacher at P.H. Sheridan Elementary School in Kensington, the later is due to his huge social media following as a certified trainer. Steven dishes out fitness tips on Twitter and his own blog called Our Fitspiration, a WordPress site.

What inspired you to start your own fitness blog?Featurefinal

I think it is just a culmination of many things at once. I have always been one that likes writing, I am a big talker, I love to read, so just communicating through words in an exploratory way. It is my life. I am a teacher as well. I am obsessed with the gym and being physically healthy. I find it soothing, therapeutic and empowering. So all of those pieces together, helping other people, finding a way with words, loving fitness. It all made sense.

How long have you been going to the gym for?

I started going to the gym the moment my mom allowed me to at age 13. I would do pushups, squats and situps in my bedroom starting in fourth grade, I was all about it.

Did you ever think that you would have this many Twitter followers?

Yeah, I am at a little over 27,000. I honestly could not have foreseen that. I hit a rough patch in my life, and I started engaging in other things. I Just needed to keep myself purposely directed, hence writing the blog and helping other people with fitness and myself. And I just started to put pictures and tweets out there and something just picked up. From there I went from like 200 followers to 1,000 in like three days, and then I got to 2,000 and things started getting exciting. And thus I started researching it, like what statistically makes a more effective tweet. I started trying to integrate that to Instagram and connecting it to my blog. Concurrently I got certified as a trainer and having the tangible validation, having all of these followers, it was very encouraging.

Steve Reich action 2What came first the idea to get certified as a trainer and then the followers? Or did the followers inspire you to continue on with this?

To give you a basic timeline, I have been obsessed with fitness all of my life. Then I went through a bad breakup and all that I had was fitness. The bad breakup made me feel insecure so I got really into the gym, I stopped eating, and then I got healthy again. I looked great. So, I posted on Instagram to feel good about myself, that picked it up. Got me connected to social media. I decided because I was being validated for fitness to become certified as a trainer, something to do that was purposeful, tried to translate to Twitter and create a blog. The blog was easy because I love to write, and like I said the Twitter just picked up. I started putting content up there based on facts and my own voice. Writers have their own voice.

How engaged are your followers with you?

I will be honest, before I got my full time teaching job I was a lot more engaged with social media. It was a primary focus before, so you could say I had close to 400,000 impressions on my tweets. I get hundreds of emails per day asking for advice. Since I have cooled off, I still get constant engagement, but I would say it’s cut down to a third of that. I still get like hundreds of emails, that I honestly answer infrequently. I try my best, but it is not my top priority at the moment, I have other professional goals. TheSteve Reich action 3 more you put into it, sincerely, the more the engagement will arrive. There are systems out there like big Twitter accounts, but I guarantee you that they have limited engagement.

From that engagement, do you receive any compensation or sponsorships?

I don’t get any money from it, at all. I have a friend whose sole career is to be a trainer and he is struggling with that. So, I am thinking that I could use this to kind-of help him blossom his career, because it is all he has. From there, maybe I will get a secondary stream of income. But no, I like helping people out. I am really seeking influence in my life for that purpose, I really believe in my ability to help others and the principles I stand for. I believe that if I can get influence through social media, I have the means to really effectively help others in the way that I see fit. It sounds idealistic and phony but I am just being candid. Money is a means to an end but I want influence so that I can help others.

— Text, photos and information gathered by Aron Minkoff and Jamie Gray. 

1 Comment

  1. Inspirational and dedicated! Great article! Im sure the kids in his classroim look more forward to attending school with such a positive person to greet and teach them every day!

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