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Welcome to New Fit City

Welcome to New Fit City

Fitocracy: the NYC Fitness App That Helped Miss America Ace the Bikini Competition

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Politicos like Chuck Schumer and Marty Markowitz have been quick to claim Mallory Hagan’s new pageant title a victory for “the borough of Kings,” nevermind that the Alabama native and former Miss New York is a relatively recent transplant. But as it turns out, one New York City tech startup might also be able to bask in the bling of the Miss America crown.

“In case you haven’t yet heard, the new Miss America is a @fitocracy community member + trainee of @DickTalens,” LoyalCX founder Sarah Judd Welch tweeted this weekend. Mr. Talens–a former fat kid turned body builder–is one of the cofounders of Fitocracy, an addictive fitness app that motivates users by treating workouts like you’re leveling up in Everquest or World of Warcraft.  Read More

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Greatist, the Smartly Sourced Health Hub for Normals, Zooms Past One Million Monthly Uniques

Absperimentin' (Photo by Ian Spanier via DerekFlanzraich.com)

Derek Flanzraich, the 25-year-old Harvard grad founder and CEO of Greatist, has had a pretty productive summer. Greatist, the online health and wellness hub he launched a little over a year ago just skipped past one million monthly uniques. And Mr. Flanzraich, whose PR rep pointed out that he “looks like an Abercrombie model,” (duly noted) procured himself a set of six-pack abs, albeit temporarily.

“It took me six weeks to get a six-pack and one-and-a-half weeks to lose it,” Mr. Flanzraich told Betabeat last week of the “#Absperiment,” he documented on the site. Read More

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Hey WebMD Addicts: What if You Could Email a Picture of Your Symptoms to a Doc?

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Last August, Betabeat profiled Jay Parkinson, the Williamsburg doctor who first won over New York techies in the late aughts by reinventing annoying doctors visits. The hipster doc hacked together his own system–trading insurance premiums and wait times for a Google Calendar, Skype, and PayPal. He eventually formalized the system under a startup called Hello, Health until he parted ways with the company in 2009.

Now, Mr. Parkison is back at it with a similar venture called Sherpaa, a concierge health service he was just developing when we spoke. Sherpaa works with directly with employers to give company staffers 24/7 phone and email access to Sherpaa’s physicians, which the startup refers to as “guides.” (Get it??) Read More

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Naveen Selvadurai’s Next Project Explores the Quantified Self

Not pictured: Fitbit and Withings scale. (via @Naveen)

Don’t call it a startup–at least not yet–but Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai dropped some hints about an upcoming personal project at an event at Union Square Monday evening, as Erick Schonfeld revealed on Twitter.

The de-Crunched tech blogger was at the VC firm for an event about “Networked Health,” and Mr. Selvadurai’s proposition, taken straight from the Quantified Self rule book, sounded like it fit right in: Read More

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Fitbit’s New Aria Smart Scale: For When Tweeting Your Weight Just Isn’t Enough

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At some point in 2003, we walked into a Best Buy and walked out with a scale that measures our body fat percentage. But for the self-quantifiers among us, that kind of static measurement is woefully inadequate.

If you’re the kind of human that likes to correlate your BMI to calories burned and access that intel from a dynamic graph on your smartphone for realtime self-flagellation, then have we got the scale for you!

Yesterday, venture-backed Fitbit started shipping Aria, its long-awaited new Wifi-enabled smart scale that synchs up with the Fitbit Ultra, its wireless pedometer and stair tracker.

The whole thing practically screams:  I am ready for the Singularity, Ray Kurzweil!   Read More

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New Union Square Incubator From the TechStars Network Is Taking Applications From Health Startups

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Betabeat has been trying to warn you that the healthcare revolution was coming to tech industry. But Blueprint Health might finally be able to get you out from behind your standing desks and pay attention. Xconomy reports that Blueprint, a member of the TechStars Network, is opening an incubator in January and already taking applications for health-related ventures.

The TechStars connection comes in because members of the network  share best practices across accelerators. In keeping with that model, startups get $20,000 in seed funding and Blueprint takes 6 percent equity. Partner Brad Weinberg, who started his first company, Shape Up, in 2006, says Blueprint, which expects to get 300 applications for 10 spots in the inaugural class, has raised $400,000 and is setting up “a really cool space”  in Union Square. But like TechStars, the big draw seems to be the mentors. Read More

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Founder Fifteen? Fuggedaboutit. Here’s How to Get Fit While Working 80-Hour Weeks On Your Startup

Mr. Talens.
 

This is a guest post by Dick Talens, an amateur competitive bodybuilder and the co-founder and CTO of Fitocracy.  He once looked like the kid from Up (except much rounder) until he traded in his video game time for gym time.  Over the last eight years, he’s spent 1000+ hours reading about nutrition and training so that others don’t have to.  He tweets about startups and fitness @DickTalens, or you can find him on Fitocracy with that same handle.

Over the last decade I’ve gone from comically fat (note the homeless guy laughing at me) to amateur competitive bodybuilder.  At the same time, I’ve whittled down the hours I spend working out every week from 20+ to less than three, and improved my results.

Because I co-founded a startup, I obsess over the ROI of my time on fitness for myself and my trainees. There’s nothing more painful than seeing people spend hours every week on the treadmill without seeing any change.  So how do you remain fit* while working 80+ hours/week at a startup?  Here’s what you should know. Read More

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Gadgets Move You Closer to the Self-Quantified Life

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Wow, bikini season really has a way of synchronizing brain waves. Farhad Manjoo has an article in The New York Times today about the futuristic gadgets on the market that help you self-quantify your way to better health. Betabeat touched on the same thing in our feature about New York’s 4 Hour Body craze. Mr. Manjoo tested out some of the devices we mentioned, including Fitbit and the Withings Wi-Fi scale, as well as MyTrek, Withings blood pressure cuff, a blood pressure monitor by iHealth, and the Exergen TemporalScanner, which he uses to measure his kid’s temperature.

User experience designer Whitney Hess, one of the 4HB-ers we interviewed for the article, also mentioned a new tracking bracelet by Jawbone to us. That device, called “Up”, measures Up” tracks your movement, eating habits, and sleeping patterns and then transmits the data back to a smartphone app.

Mr. Manjoo gets to the heart of why these self-quantifying with gadgets actually makes an impact on your health. Basically, it’s the shame factor. Read More

Welcome to New Fit City

I Hack the Body Electric

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NEW YORK  CITY’S START-UP SCENESTERS were nowhere near the isle of Manhattan when the 4 Hour Body fad hit its tipping point among the local tech set. In fact, according to Rick Webb, co-founder of the Tribeca-based digital agency the Barbarian Group, the digerati diet craze currently upending start-up snack supplies and clogging Twitter feeds with the hashtag #4HB reached comic proportions during the city’s annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, back in March.

Mr. Webb traced the outbreak back to the carbo-loading marathon that is South by Southwest. Or “beer and taco week,” as Mr. Webb described it. He and several other techies had recently become disciples of The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, a life-hacking manual written by Tim Ferriss that distills a decade of experiments into chapters about slow carbs, self-tracking and, yes, how to make a woman orgasm in 15 minutes. Read More