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MynaTime: When Mac's 'Alex' becomes my trainer

Vaura announces the release of its text-to-speech personal workout assistant software for Mac OS X versions 10.5 and later.

Say you're into yoga, but you have neither the time nor the money to make it to actual yoga sessions regularly. Or you're a cyclist who'd like motivation beyond music in your ears. Or you're trying to do weight training without having to glance at the text on your phone every minute to see what's next.

You might consider MynaTime, the personal workout assistant software announced Monday that gives users the ability to type in specific workouts.

The application--now available on for $24.95 for those with Mac OS X versions 10.5 (Leopard) or later--speaks instructions in real time during workouts with Apple's text-to-speech voice Alex.

Creator and engineer Joe Klingler says he came up with the idea because he wanted more flexibility in his own yoga practice, for weight training, and for pre-ski season workouts: "Imagine having a voice pace you through every step of your workout so you can forget about time, counting reps, how many pounds to use--and focus on exercise. You are in complete control of your workout--any workout--not just those prefabricated for you by the sports industry."

This of course comes with inherent risks, such as using workouts that may not actually be good for your body or ensure proper technique. Klingler's company Vaura does encourage consulting with your doctor first.

And there's also the issue of our dear friend Alex, whose voice takes a little getting used to. While it may work fine for such activities as reps, it's an odd juxtaposition during, say, a meditative yoga session with the sound of waves gently kissing some distant shore.

Still, MynaTime has a lot going for it, from integrating the music of your choice on your Mac (including adjusting the volume of iTunes to keep Alex intelligible) and filming yourself working out (if you're into that kind of thing) to easy tracking of your sessions through iCal.

Whether its ease of use will help motivate people to get off the couch remains to be seen, but for those who stay on the couch, they can at least program Alex to continuously update them on how long they've been there.