Today sees the launch of FitOrbit, a service that aims to remove the disadvantages associated with working with real life personal trainers for one-on-one fitness and meal plans. FitOrbit, which comes with both a web and iPhone application, boasts the support of a number of big names in both the financing and health industry.
The newly formed startup behind FitOrbit, dubbed Global Fitness Media, is backed by people like angel investor Ron Conway, John Brown (President of Time Inc’s Health franchise), Dr. Jeffrey Weisz (Medical Director of Southern California Permanente Medical Group), Kathy Kaehler (‘trainer to the stars’) and Jake Steinfeld (Founder, Body by Jake, Exercise TV and Chairman of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports). Private investment company Polar Capital Group is also participating.
When you register for a FitOrbit account, the first thing you want to do is take a short quiz to determine which real life personal trainer you would want to connect with based on your profile and current lifestyle. You can also opt to pick your own trainer, but it makes more sense to indicate what type of fitness plan you’re most interested in and why, what your gender is, whether you’re living alone or with a big family, and so on.
I signed up and picked Rachel C as my personal trainer, and she said: “I will create a customized, personalized, fitness and meal plan for you. I’ll be on hand to give you feedback, edit your plan, and give you timely motivation and encouragement.” That’s exactly what you’d expect from a real life personal trainer, so I was interested to learn how she aimed to do that over the Internet.
But this comes with a price tag that you’re only going to be able to live with if you’re really serious about your plans to achieve better fitness: prices range from $9.99 per week for a 6-month package to $29.99 per week for just one week. In return, you get an instant channel to your personal trainer (who also gets the majority of the fees that you pay), who besides providing you with adequate training and nutrition plans also helps you stay motivated. Here are some funny but helpful actions that can be part of the feedback loop (see this video for more clarity on that one):
What is a Cheat?
A cheat is an opportunity for you to tell your trainer when you stray from your fitness plan. Examples of cheats would be going to town on a bag of greasy potato chips, or, staying in bed all day with a tub of ice cream.
What is a Panic?
A panic is an opportunity for you to tell your trainer, and support group when need motivation to do something, you are frustrated, and you don’t know what else to do. Your trainer and support group will get your panic and send you messages of encouragement to get up and get with the plan.
What is a Nudge?
A nudge is a friendly hello, and a reminder that you’ve got supporters.
What are Alerts?
Alerts are status updates for you, your trainer, and your supporters
If you’re a trainer looking to sign up for FitOrbit, be prepared to do some homework yourself: apart from submitting identification and other documents, signing an NDA and a contract, trainers who want to be accepted must quality for the program by attending a special webinar and pass a ‘Trainer Test Week’, among other things. And even then, anyone who chose you as their personal trainer has the right to disagree with you on meal or workout plans and even file a concern that he or she doesn’t ‘like you’.
All in all, I think the FitOrbit model makes sense in a modern world where people are increasingly growing accustomed to getting what they would usually have to leave the house for and pay a premium for real life interaction over the wire. For those interested in contracting a real life personal trainer, it’s definitely worth comparing the costs and effectiveness of FitOrbit to the real deal.
If you do, let us know how it went and how both stacked up.