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For iPhone users, wading through a sea of fitness and weight-loss applications can be confusing and time-consuming — and, much like adhering to the latest diet craze, it’s often hard to stick with using the application once you download it. Los Angeles-based startup Global Fitness Media on Monday is launching FitOrbit — the iPhone app rolls out later this week — a fitness training web service that lets you select a real-life personal trainer over the web who customizes a seven-day nutrition and exercise plan just for you.
Nick Desai, CEO of Global Fitness Media (founded by celebrity trainer Jake Steinfeld and backed by Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway) walked me through the FitOrbit site to show how it works. FitOrbit reminds me of a fitness version of Facebook, which makes it easy for social network users to navigate. Users have their own profiles where they can track their weight-loss performance, send messages to their trainer, and invite friends to their support network. Comment boxes let people write their thoughts about assigned exercises and meal plans.
FitOrbit is different from other nutrition and weight-loss applications I’ve seen on iTunes because it connects users with an actual personal trainer who tracks their progress and modifies their fitness and nutrition plan as needed. Most applications act more like a food and activity log, providing little feedback. A FitOrbit membership costs $9.99 a week. That’s a small price to grow a business on, but Desai said the cost will increase in the long-term “given the value” FitOrbit provides.
There are currently 270 different trainers to choose from on FitOrbit. Users can fill out a questionnaire that pairs them with their best trainer matches. When finding a match, users select what body part they’d like to work on most, their favorite exercise activities, what type of equipment they have, and the type of person they’d like to work with. I liked that users can evaluate trainers’ personalities — I know I’m more motivated to work out when my trainer is encouraging me rather than barking orders. Desai told me trainers can only have 20 clients at a time.
FitOrbit’s nutrition program adjusts to impulsive behavior, something many calorie counting applications don’t. If you grab a burrito for lunch, the program automatically adjusts your dinner to accommodate for it, and your trainer may add more ab exercises or cardio for you to do the next day so you don’t get off-track.
I was initially skeptical about a trainer putting together a fitness program over the web, because it’s hard to try out new exercises without someone there to guide you. But with FitOrbit, you can watch videos that demonstrate how to do each exercise assigned, so you’re less prone to doing it wrong. And since the personal trainers work with whatever equipment you have, you won’t have to join a gym.
I haven’t had the chance to try out FitOrbit myself since the web service and the application aren’t out yet. If you try it this week, please share your experience in the comments section.