Friday, February 1, 2013
- Discuss Comment
When was the last time you were rewarded for waking up early to go on a morning jog? Do your friends and coworkers applaud when you swim 10 laps at the local pool? Do you get free stuff when you mow the lawn or take out the trash? Yeah, that never really happens, right?
For all of those that feel fitness is a drudge, these two Chattanooga based companies are teaching the world that being healthy and active can actually be fun. The whole idea is to lead a positive lifestyle — something that was never meant to be accomplished alone. “For us, a positive lifestyle is really waking up every day, trying to make a change and trying to achieve your goals,” says LifeKraze Chief Technology Officer Michael Brooks. “There’s no one way to do it. Running marathons, taking trash out — even the small accomplishments, whether you have six-pack abs or are going for your first jog ever.”
The idea for LifeKraze was introduced to the world by then-Covenant student, now-company CEO Ben Wagner along with classmate David Nielson as a senior project in 2010. After graduation, Wagner chose to take the venture further, teaming up with Brooks to design the social media site into existence. “The idea was pretty basic in the beginning,” says Brooks. “It was just an idea on paper … but it got some legs and they started running with it.”
And run, swim, hike, bike and post they did — along with the rest of their Kraze community, which just crossed the 40,000 user mark, stretching across the entire United States and into 100 other countries as well.
Brooks and Wagner, as well as two of the Nudge founders, Mac Gambill and Phil Beene, are deeply rooted in team sports, having played soccer either in college or professionally in the past. Brooks, who played varsity soccer at Clemson University for four years, says that he and Wagner missed that supportive atmosphere after graduation. “I played team sports my entire life. That support group is most of the reason you can accomplish most things. They are there for you when you are down and when you are up,” says Brooks. “We want to be that online team and support in helping you achieve your goals by always being there and always being in season.”
Every day, members of the LifeKraze community post their personal goals online via computer or smartphone, earning points from their peers for achievements, big or small. And users get more than just virtual high-fives — LifeKraze partners with brands to offer the online community discounts and other rewards as well, from Hydros Filtering Water Bottles to gift cards to outdoor clothing stores and grocery stores.
Post your accomplishments
Create 160-character posts with the things you achieve throughout the day — big or small.
Turn in Points for Rewards
Spend what you’ve earned to get discounts and products from great brands, or to make a donation to non-profits that make the world a better place.
Give Points, Get Points
Each day, you have 300 points to distribute. Give them to the best accomplishments... as chosen by you!
Cheer On. Cheer Up.
Use High Fives & comments to motivate others. This is an encouraging community.
On a similar playing field, Nudge is a web-based application that promotes healthy living, but on the corporate level. The Chattanooga Football Club brought Nudge co-founders Gambill and Beene together in the Scenic City. Displeased with the declining health in the workplace, the semi-professional soccer players decided to come up with a solution, something that would “nudge” people into action. “People were becoming a walking time bomb for their companies,” says Gambill. “We thought there’s got to be a better way to do this. The level to which sports brings a community or school together — I think it’s powerful. It’s something I think can definitely transfer over to the working world.”
The two teamed up with software developer Chris Garson, who quickly jumped on board with the budding company’s vision, and began to tackle the problem. At the heart of the Nudge team is the desire to provide a way for anybody to stay active and healthy. “We are the platform for the average Joe. Just bringing simple health awareness, just making one simple change — it can have such a huge impact on your lifestyle,” says Gambill. “It’s a very sensible way to get people healthier, to be the middle ground and voice of reason.”
Nudge currently serves many different levels of companies, from offices with five employees to more than 100 employees. The idea is to break employees up into teams (with team names like the Ted Nudgents and the Cellary Stalkers — some of the Nudge officials’ favorites) as they work to meet their fitness goals. Each team member logs their activity, which could include anything from running to yard work to house cleaning to yoga. “Anything that’s not sedentary,” says Nudge Director of Marketing Aaron Hoffman.
The teams also face challenges as a whole, such as drinking a certain amount of water or logging a certain amount of activity as a group. In the end, Nudge encourages some friendly competition and weaves a new level of camaraderie into the office setting. “It’s basically game-ifying your wellness and healthy decisions,” Hoffman says. “The cool thing about it is that we are targeting people in the workplace that work around each other 8-10 hours a day. Every time they go to the water cooler they say ‘You’d better Nudge that water because you’re on my team.”
The official “nudgers” created the application to require a minimum of organization and work for human resource departments and management, and the tool is not meant to be a social media site so as to not take away from hours in the work day. “The goal was to create something as automated as possible … that can be easily implemented and managed in the workplace,” says Hoffman.
So, the next time you reach out to hit snooze on the alarm when you’re supposed to be going for your morning jog, grab your smartphone or laptop. Be encouraged to go the distance — the world is cheering you on.