So you want to lose weight? Train for a marathon? Swim faster? With 9,000 health apps in Apple's iOS App Store--with such titles as RunKeeper for runners, Strava for cyclists, and Gain Fitness for weight lifters--the health app market can appear pretty bloated. And most apps are built with a specific activity in mind.
A former triathlete, Geoff Pitfield wanted to build an app that could track his varied exercise and rate his overall fitness level. That's why he created Fleetly, a health-tracking service that launched last week on iOS devices.
Built using game design elements, Fleetly is part health diary, part FourSquare. Users can earn medals for completing certain workouts. It keeps track of calories burned, body type, body mass, and workout style to help compare different workouts.
"I don't think anyone has built a common baseline like that before, so as a consequence everything has been super-fractured," Pitfield said. "For most people who like to do more than one thing, there really is nothing out there that solves that problem."
Users start by inputting their workout information. There's an option to join challenges to help obtain training goals like "Six Pack 2011" for a user who can log in the most crunches. (As far as I can tell, there's no one looking over your shoulder preventing you from cheating, though). If you're training with friends, you can see their progress too.
"As with real life fitness, if you are consistent, you get more fit. But if you slack off, your fitness drops, and so does your fitness level," Pitfield said.
My only gripe about Fleetly is that you have to log in what you're doing and report how long you worked out for. Other gadgets do that kind of thing automatically. For instance, Fitbit tracks what you're doing, what you're eating, and how much you're sleeping. It also awards you with badges for hitting milestones.
But Fleetly isn't the only startup with a way to compare different types of exercises. There's Gain Fitness, which also uses a baseline for comparison. Gain co-founder Nicholas Gammell said, "The more work units you perform per workout, the better your fitness. It's an apples-to-apples measure that can be compared across people."