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Happy New Year! We are back with our annual Web 2.0 Fat-Off. The Fat-Off is where we provide a list of tools to help you lose weight, maintain your weight or just keep your arse in check. Today is a great day to start a new lifestyle. Most of the tools we’ve listed below offer communities to provide a good support base. What I’ve found is that support from others is critical to the success of any program.
Here are 10 tools to get you started (in random order) and please leave your fat-off suggestions in the comments.
MyFoodDiary offers a food diary, exercise log, charts and a discussion forum. The site costs $9/month. The site is the longest running of the apps tested. Other features include: over 35,000 foods listed in the diary, color-coded food analysis helps to see what you are doing wrong, a strong community forum, and mobile access. Still no free trial, $9/month.
Fitbit demo’ed their product this past September to huge applause. This is the only gadget in the Fat-Off this year. The idea behind Fitbit is a small, paperclip looking device that you wear as you go about your day. It monitors a variety of stats and the company says it answers the following questions, "Did I get enough exercise today? How many calories did I burn? Am I getting good quality sleep? How many steps and miles did I walk today?" The Fitbit blog is interesting as the team discusses how the Fitbit is made and the decisions they had to take along the route to create the finished device. The Fitbit will be available this quarter and is $99.
Skinnyr just went through a major upgrade that we covered last month. The easiest way to describe Skinnyr is to say it’s an online scale that you can share. Founder James Thomas says they are adding between 20 and 50 new users each day. Skinnyr is an interesting service as it’s clearly not as robust as other online fitness sites but it does one thing very well. I could see a company like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig either acquiring or white-labeling the Skinnyr service for their members. Skinnyr offers free and premium versions.
NYC Representatives – DietTV, beYOU.tv and PumpOne
I like to highlight NYC startups where possible. DietTV helps you to build a personalized diet program and then use their tools and your friends to reach your goals. They have 90 diet programs listed in their database and a strong community. beYOU.tv describes their service as, "beYOU.tv is a fitness and wellness video community that lets You take control of your well-being, body, mind and soul." beYOU.tv offers a large library of videos which you can watch online or take with you to the gym and watch as you are doing the exercises. They also provide a trainer database so you can find the exact trainer to match your needs. PumpOne provides a set of workout videos which you can take on-the-go on your iPod or iPhone. The videos are around $10 or less in pre-packaged sets.
Traineo is still my favorite overall weight management application. It looks the best and has the best overall feature set. Last month they rolled out a new platform which includes: better graphing, speed increases when accessing the application, design enhancements and improved navigation. I really like the Traineo motivators program – you select 4 people to help encourage you to keep going.
Gimme20 has risen from the ashes with a new site and tons more content. The site is much stronger in content and community than in the previous version. Gimme20 appears to focus more on content than apps which could be a good complement to some of the other apps listed here.
SparkPeople is the most Web 1.0 of the list of reviewed apps but is also the most popular. They claim over 5 Billion calories burned and over 6 million pounds lost by their members to-date. The site is a bit much for me, but in my travels I’ve heard from many people who use SparkPeople daily. They have a sister site called SparkRecipes which focuses on healthy recipes.
Fitlink says they are "social fitness" by combining workout tracking and the ability to find others to work out with. I know that I’d love a workout partner – and not a virtual one. Having someone to motivate you as they too work on their fitness is great. Fitlink allows their members to create very rich profiles including a journal/blog, photo uploads, workout notes, and the ability to join Fitlink groups. There are event listings from all around the country as well.
MyFitTribe is a site for people in shape who want to stay in shape. Lots of hard bodies and good looking people from what I see. Relatively active site including forums, blogs, and video workouts. Seems similar to Gimme20 except for people already in shape.
WeightCircles is a weight-control support group. Not sure why they use that as the tagline as there is more to the site. They have blogs, circles (i.e. groups), and conversations. I like the idea of conversations – it’s not exactly a forum but more like a question and answer type discussion. There’s a certain relaxed, welcoming feeling I have as I browse and interact with WeightCircles.
Now pick one of these apps, setup the account, and get your butt off the computer and get in shape!
Update December 25: If there are two days when you need these sites, it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. So we are bringing it back to the front to help you work off all that Christmas candy and eggnog :)
After last year’s Web 2.0 Fat-Off, we are bringing it back this year! This is where we take a look at many of the weight loss Web sites that rely on new technology and capabilities and are outside the normal Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutraSlim. It appears that most of last year’s entrants haven’t made any visible changes to their applications. Considering how far the social networking platforms have come in the last year, this is a bit disappointing to see. Of course, just because there were no updates, this does not mean any of the apps below aren’t worth a look. You should try each and pick your own favorite!
I am also a bit shocked that none of them have picked up on techonology such as Twitter/Pownce/Jaiku – how great would it be to send in quick updates as each day progresses and get immediate feedback from anywhere using a mobile? This could be the ultimate upgrade to an existing weight site or a new one could be born just out of this messaging technology.
Let’s begin by taking a quick update at last year’s entrants:
I don’t see any changes since last year’s entry. RunFatBoy is a tool created by Jim Jones to help newbies lose weight. RunFatBoy provides customized workouts based on your weight and then you can customize the workouts from there. Check here for the full review.
Again, no visible updates since last year’s entry. iTrainHarder is an online nutrition and fitness tracking and planning system that allows you to see your results as well as plan for new ones. Our software will allow you to track your progress using the most advanced web tools available for personal fitness.
Skinnyr has made great progress over the year. They have added a Facebook application, offer desktop Widgets with Yahoo, a new charting app and a new design. Skinnyr is the most basic of all of the weight applications I have reviewed — in that all it does is record your weight. It’s an online scale that you can share. It does this function very well. I’d like to see tie into mobile somehow so that when you record your weight at the doctor or at the gym, it can be sms’ed into Skinnyr. And what about a way to tie into Twitter and Jaiku for easy update posting?
Traineo is still my favorite overall weight management application. It looks the best and has the best overall feature set. Since last year, they have added groups including sponsored groups which allows them to monetize Traineo. They created a fun contest using the Nintendo Wii as well. They also partnered with Meebo and Dogster to add more functionality to Traineo user profiles.
SparkPeople is the most Web 1.0 of the list of reviewed apps but is also the most popular. It appears they have added many new pieces of functionality along with a full redesign since last year. They claim over 2.8 Billion calories burned by their members to-date. They have also created a sister site called SparkRecipes which focuses on healthy recipes.
And here are 2007′s new entrants into the Web 2.0 Fat-Off:
Fitlink says they are “social fitness” by combining workout tracking and the ability to find others to work out with. I know that I’d love a workout partner – and not a virtual one. Having someone to motivate you as they too work on their fitness is great. Fitlink allows their members to create very rich profiles including a journal/blog, photo uploads, workout notes, and the ability to join Fitlink groups. There are event listings from all around the country as well. I can’t seem to figure out how they monetize this site?
- Very Robust – and a strong community
- Huge variety of exercises (300+) and a large resource database
Areas for Improvement:
- Not the most inviting design
- Would like to see more locations – perhaps they can pull in feeds from other local gyms and fitness locations
I am very impressed with Fitlink and it could give Traineo a run for my favorite — if they could just make the design more 2008!
Screenshots – click to enlarge
MyFitTribe is a site for people in shape who want to stay in shape. Lots of hard bodies and good looking people from what I see. Relatively active site including forums, blogs, and video workouts.
- Built in Drupal – rock on!
- Engaging, fun design
Areas for Improvement:
- Requires registration to comment
- I was unable to start the video workouts
If you are in shape and trying to remain there, then MyFitTribe might be a good site to try. Especially if you like to be interupted by very hot women.
Screenshots – click to enlarge
WeightCircles is a weight-control support group. Not sure why they use that as the tagline as there is more to the site. They have blogs, circles (i.e. groups), and conversations. I like the idea of conversations – it’s not exactly a forum but more like a question and answer type discussion. Looks like they have some affiliate marketing for monetization.
- The conversations is a good feature
- Very engaging
- Takes into account mental state which is such a big part of weight management
Areas for Improvement:
- Would be nice to see a demo of the inside of the site before registering
- I’d like to see tie-ins to products that help with weight control – not pills or powders but books, and other resources
It’s nice to see a site that takes into account that so much of managing weight is about mental state.
Screenshots – click to enlarge
There are more sites and services than ever to help you lose weight! Leave your thoughts in the comments below – do you use any of the services above? Are there others that should be included? How do you use the Internet to help you manage your weight?
I have written about traineo a few times on CenterNetworks, most recently I named it my favorite of all of the current fitness applications. It is a rock solid application using lots of Web 2.0 features and a great design that works for both men and women. They just launched traineo Groups which has already become quite popular. So I put on my Richard Simmons tape, my headband to catch the sweat, a pair of trainers and gave traineo CEO Alasdair McLean-Foreman a call to discuss the site and future plans and more importantly what he believes is important to be successful when starting your business.
Highlights of our discussion include:
- Alasdair, can we start with a brief bio?
- What’s traineo all about and where did you come up with the idea?
- What makes traineo different than the other weight loss applications available?
- Can you share some information about your users?
- Who are your main competitors?
- How are you marketing traineo?
- How are you monetizing traineo?
- What are the top 1-2 things you have learned since starting traineo?
- What do you think is the biggest mistake you have made since you started traineo?
- What do you think a startup needs to do to be successful?
- What’s coming up next for traineo?
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Skinnyr provides a way to chart your weight, share the charts on sites like MySpace, Facebook, your blog, etc., and get your BMI (Body Mass Index) rating.
The updates today to Skinny include:
- Updated logo — I added a slight reflection to the logo and changed the little logo guy to purple, as it states on the foil-burst.
- Language support! — It will have Spanish in there very soon, but yes multiple language support is there. I’m still looking for translators for russian, chinese and japanese.
- Obfuscatr no more — The name has been changed to Weight Blurr. In addition, you can specify your own start weight in case you joined skinnyr mid-diet.
- Record paging — If you have a lot of records you now can page through them to access the old ones.
- Record My Weight form — Instead of just the JS link, there is now a form to add your weight… including the ability to select the date you want to use. Past records are now a possibility.
- Unit selection — You can now select “lbs and inches” or “kg and cm” for your weight and height. The BMI formulas adjust accordingly.
What I like about Skinnyr is that they were/are open to my (and everyone’s) suggestions to make the application better.
Go get Skinnyr!
traineo announced today that they have launched “traineo groups.” The basic idea is that you can build a group to help give you motivation, tips, help, insipiration for helping you get to your desired weight. This is a big part of SparkPeople’s success is the group concept and I think if traineo can make it pretty, it will work even better for them.
I think traineo is the best weight application currently available, I gave it top honors in the Web Apps Fat-Off Challenge.
From the release:
Users are able to create traineo Groups using a fast and simple sign-up tool that even
allows members to personalize their groups with unique color schemes and logos.
Members of the traineo community are able to browse, join and view group details via a
global group directory or directly via each group’s unique URL. Privacy options allow
groups to be hidden or invite only, making traineo Groups the ideal starting place to
organize a private family fitness team, inter-office ‘biggest loser’ challenge; or a hub for
like-minded individuals to work together towards a common health and fitness goal.
So now that the tryptophan has settled, and the holiday eating season is upon us, I want to give you some suggestions on sites that can help you battle the bulge. I call it the Web Apps Fat-Off. These are apps that really hit upon many of the new Web 2.0 ideas and really are some great ways to help you lose the weight. Everyone I talk to asks me to pick my favorite.
If I was to pick just one, which is very hard since they are all a bit different, I would pick traineo. It really is very robust and the programming behind it is also very strong. But that aside, give them all a try and make up your own mind! Let’s hit those treadmills, pump some iron and really do the Fat-Off proud! I know that I need to lose weight and will be using these apps to help me get there.
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RunFatBoy is a tool created by Jim Jones to help newbies lose weight. RunFatBoy provides customized workouts based on your weight and then you can customize the workouts from there.
- $5 per month
- Very customizable to create the workout that will work for you
- Lots of Web 2.0 goodness
- Offers both Metric and Standard
- Easy to use, functionality works well
Areas for improvement
- Ability to go back in history – appears you can only look at the current week
- Algorithm for initial workout – not sure where the weights come from but they seem heavy for an obese man (I would assume just as bad for a woman)
- Some information on where the pre-defined workout comes from – this is an issue I have with every tool I have looked at.
- Needs graphs of workouts and weights
I think RunFatBoy is for someone who wants a little bit more than Skinnyr, but less than Traineo. If you want a way to track your workouts in an easy to use manner with a diary, then RunFatBoy is for you. If you are the type that needs a community for motivation, then look elsewhere. For me, the suggestions above would need to be implemented for it to be worth the $5/month charge.
Screenshots – click to enlarge
iTrainHarder is a pretty robust site in the areas of nutrition/fitness tracking and planning. The site iTrainHarder defines themselves as:
iTrainHarder is an online nutrition and fitness tracking and planning system that allows you to see your results as well as plan for new ones. Our software will allow you to track your progress using the most advanced web tools available for personal fitness.
- Very well built application, smooth and robust technology
- Site has 5 major components: nutrition, training, measurements, blog and trainer.
- No matter what food I tried, I could not find one that is not in their database
- Each feature has a tutorial video
- Usability is high
Areas for Improvement
- Design is very geeky, not easy enough on the eyes
- Appears to be set for men, not women in its appearance
- No community – could be a positive or a negative
- Explain the pricing – “as low as” – what does the pricing look like?
- Make the design more relaxed with colors that make people feel more relaxed
- Add some line height to the text – there is tons of (good) text on the site but it is a little hard to read with the lines being so tight
I think iTrainHarder really is an excellent comprehensive tool. I think it is worth the $3.75/month. Especially if you have a fitness trainer because it really rounds out what they do with you. If they could work on some of my suggestions above, then I think they could have a very powerful market leader with iTrainHarder. As with most of the other sites, having some backing from a doctor, nutritionist and fitness trainer will help add credibility and “certification” to iTrainHarder. iTrainHarder offers a free week trial. I suggest you give it a try when you are ready to manage your weight and fitness routine.
Screenshots – click to enlarge
Skinnyr is the most basic of the tools tested (it is still very useful!). The idea with Skinnyr is that you can create a graph with your current weight. You can put the graph on any site you are associated with like MySpace or your blog. Here is a test graph I just made to demonstrate: