I recently checked out Mobile Net Workout a service that challenges you to get up and move by sending you exercise prompts via SMS or email at schedule times throughout the week. Each prompt comes with a 1-minute exercise challenge (with video on how to perform the exercise). Your job: do the exercise, asap. Then, check it off as done! Simple as that! The idea is: everyone has 1 minute in their day to move – so get up and move it!
The service is $2.99/month and is pre-loaded with 8 different workout programs, each varying from 13 to 38 different one-minute exercises. The programs range from beginner to advance, and they consist of exercises that mostly challenge your muscular strength and flexibility. Once you select a program based on your fitness level and goals, then you can schedule how many ‘challenges’ (i.e. 1-minute exercises) you want to receive throughout the day/week.
I chose the “Total Body Moderate” program because it was recommended as the first workout people go into. I planned my schedule so I could get 3 challenges (or exercises) during my lunch time, and 1 challenge in the mornings over the weekend (I know, I’m lazy, aren’t I? LOL). And then waited for my challenges to come… Bring it on, MNW! Woot… Woot!
My prompts arrived in my inbox like clockwork. The first few times I enjoyed the random exercise challenges – pushups, plank holds, plies on toes. Then, I started forgetting to do them (mostly because I was in the middle of a project or a conference call). I kept saying I’d get to it in a minute (oh, the irony) but then never ended up going back. (Can you blame me, I’m human!) I eventually changed my settings to receive my 3 challenges throughout the day, instead of all at once. That made things less overwhelming, but I still missed a few here and there. (Ssh… don’t tell)
My thoughts: I think MNW is on the right track in terms of mobile-related fitness services. A minute here, a minute there… every bit of activity counts! This service is especially great for those who have procrastinated starting an exercise plan. You probably won’t turn into a body-builder by doing a few lunch-time lunges, but MNW will help keep fitness on your mind in small doses (even if you don’t complete the exercise challenges). I know I found myself reminded to be more active every time MNW sent me a prompt.
PROS: This is a great tool for people who do not have any fitness equipment or belong to a gym. Most of the exercises can be done quickly by using your body’s resistance. The videos are articulate and the exercise challenges are fun (and doable). The concept is very unique and definitely aligns with current trends of integrating fitness with technology at an affordable price.
CONS: Because the programs are pre-created, it does not account for any specific injury or exercise preference. What if you simply don’t like pushups? What if your knee is bothering you that day? At the very least, a user should have control whether or not an exercise should be removed from the rotation. Site navigation is a bit clunky and confusing – it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what a user is supposed to do once they’ve sign up.
Mobile Net Workout also has a social networking component so you can be ‘friends’ and interact with other users on the site. While I understand the motivational concept behind having friends complete challenges with you, I didn’t really feel compelled to connect with anyone on the site. Most profiles were incomplete. Plus, I couldn’t search for ‘friends’ according to which program they were on or by their location – doesn’t give me much of a starting point for a conversation. Perhaps this site is still too new to tell if this feature will be effective. However, sites like DailyBurn and DailyMile have nailed the “social networking in fitness” concept much better. And without a Facebook or Twitter integration, I have no interest trying to get my friends to log into *ANOTHER* site with me.
Mobile Net Workout is certainly one of many new ventures leading the way in how fitness professionals should be thinking as they move their products and programs into the next decade of fitness services! I look forward to seeing how they evolve over the next year.