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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!
NY-based Fitlink is relaunching their fitness site today with more social features. We included Fitlink in our Web 2.0 fat off last year. FitLink has a variety of social-style features including a forum, a Google Maps mashup to find a local gym or fitness center (great for traveling), friends option, workout buddies and a news-style feed of workouts users have completed.
Using a fitness and/or weight loss site is similar to selecting a social networking service. It’s an investment and it’s important that the service offers the tools and resources you need to be effective and remain with the service. There are very high switching costs with fitness sites.
One of the features I haven’t seen before is a route guide. You can select what type of route you are looking for (e.g. running, cycling, etc.) and the desired location and FitLink will show you the best routes matching your selections.
In my initial commentary about FitLink, I wasn’t sure how they planned to monetize the site. Looks like there is now advertising on the site mostly coming from Google AdSense. I guess if the site grows they could add on paid featured listings on the locator map.
What would be interesting is to see if FitLink can send data to Facebook and other social tools. Getting feedback from friends is so critical for weight loss motivation.
There’s a lot of juicy, keyword-rich content which should index well in the search engines. This should give FitLink a boost of new visitors. At that point it’s FitLink’s job to convert those initial site visitors into trial users and then to loyal users.
My favorite site in the weight loss category continues to be Traineo. Their feature set and simple but slick layout is just easy-to-use and friendly and inviting.
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?