Hoping 2013 Is The Year You Finally Get In Shape? This Start-Up Wants To Help
2:30 pm, December 28th | by Sarah Devlin
The end of November through December is typically a stretch of uninterrupted family time, holiday shopping, office parties and overindulging. We know we certainly haven’t moved much except in search of more Christmas cookies in the past few weeks. Although countless studies show that regular exercise is a powerful antidote to the stress and tension that can build up from pressure in work and life, many women find it difficult to stay active, especially if they have children or work long hours.
It’s almost the end of the year, however — a time when many of us are sheepishly deciding that 2013 is the year we finally join a gym and shape up (resolutions that are usually quickly forgotten). But this year might actually be different, with the help of a new mobile and social fitness app, Sportaneous, that is launching on January 1st, 2013.
We had the opportunity to speak with CEO and co-founder of Sportaneous Omar Haroun, who explained that the original idea was to use a mobile app to connect people who wanted to play team sports — for example, get a pick-up basketball game going or start a running club. This search engine idea was what was originally presented to investors. But while Haroun and co-founder Reuben Doetsch were developing the app, Haroun explained, “We kept getting contacted by a lot of yoga studios [and other fitness providers] who were looking to kind of get more people to find out about them.” This demand coincided with the rise of location-based mobile technology, and Sportaneous’s mission shifted accordingly.
“From personal experience, as someone who’s a really busy person and really values my time, a lot of times I may only have one hour a day where I’m free to actually work out,” Haroun said. “And it may not be the same hours that my big gym has a class that I want to take.” Most people don’t use their gym memberships, and the idea of signing up for a gym if you’re not already very active can be intimidating. With Sportaneous, there is flexibility and a community built in to the experience.
For instance, a user could decide that she has a free hour to work out, say, at 5pm. The Sportaneous app (which requires that users connect through Facebook) will show her what’s available in the area at 5pm. Moreover, the app’s algorithm also weighs the activities that her friends are participating in. The idea is to build a community of people who want to be more active, and to give them a push to get off the couch by taking the guesswork out of finding activities, as well as encouraging friends to work out together.
Sportaneous is currently only available for users in New York City, but the company has big plans to expand soon. Eventually, Haroun said, they hope to perhaps branch out into hosting their own fitness events in different cities. In the meantime, the NYC launch is set for January 1st, accompanied by a Facebook campaign, #GetFitDontQuit, to help users get in gear. The company is urging people to share their fitness goals for the new year on Sportaneous’s Facebook page, with the added opportunity to win four free classes through the site in 2013.
And if that wasn’t cool enough for you, Sportaneous is giving NYC-based Jane Dough readers our very own deal — $5 off your first class booked through Sportaneous with the code JDOUGH. Pretty cool, right?
What are your fitness and health goals for 2013? Tell us in the comments.