Think you’ve found the ultimate fitness regime to attain the body of a Greek god? ZodBod, a new fitness startup that launched last month, wants to help you share your secrets to success – and possibly make some money in the process. The site invites users to write up and sell their own fitness guides, in which they can instruct visitors on diet and exercise regimes designed to whip them into shape.
Guides on the site run around $5 each, and are an average of 20-25 pages long. Plans can include images, diagrams and tables detailing the exercises and meals guidelines you should be following. To decide which plans to follow, you can read through an extended bio of the author, browse reader reviews, and download a sample excerpt from the guide.
My intitial reaction was that this seemed a little silly – after all, every guide (at least the ones that work) is going to be a variation on the old “diet and exercise” mantra. Then again, having seen the diet section at the local book store, it’s clear that people will pay for nearly anything that might somehow lead to some weight loss. And while there’s some risk of buying a wonky guide with no basis in reality, ZodBod claims that all guides are checked by a “health and fitness pro” prior to publication.
I’m sure the site will wind up seeing more than its share of worthless diet fads, but presumably the real quality guides will bubble up to the top. And when it comes down to it, I’d rather take dieting tips from a real person (hopefully with a similar body type to mine) who has actually had to eat the foods they’re recommending instead of relying on the word of some famous bodybuilder who probably uses liposuction and steroids to maintain their physique.
ZodBod is going to be fighting an uphill battle: it will be competing with countless other diet sites on the web, which include startups like WatchMEmelt and more established weight loss sites and forums, many of which are free. It’s also going to be facing off with self-publishing sites like Scribd, which just opened a new document marketplace last week.