Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dailymile - My Personal Online Workout Coach

My attendance at the gym isn't as frequent as it once was. It used to be easy. But as my workouts became more of a burden, I found that my financial commitment (monthly gym dues) motivated me. When that failed, it was my personal trainer's threats to stop canceling sessions. Sure, marriage, late-nights-at-work and business travel are to blame for this decline. But not "making the time" to exercise is all my fault.

Enter Dailymile. I log each workout, which includes specifics around my workout type, length of time, how I felt (on a smile-o-meter) and tag accordingly. I can now track my progress day over day, week over week. Dailymile users are encouraged to "motivate friends" to achieve fitness goals. And emails remind me to get my butt to the gym. And posts are synced with my Twitter account, so my pursuit to achieve Herculean strength is shared with my entire social network.

The site caters to runners and cyclists, which I personally do only when chased or for leisure. But it serves its purpose for me to track my general training workouts. There's also a feature that allows users to find other Dailymile athletes in my neighborhood (not very useful: other than my wife, I'm a loner at the gym - just me and my iPod).

Over the past few weeks I've been a beta user. As of today, the big news is that they've gone public. Looking ahead, Kelly at Dailymile says they'll be adding some new features. This should include:
  1. Routes — calculates distance ran or cycled and shares a map of the route with others;
  2. Workout Import — imports workouts from Nike and Garmin devices;
  3. Challenges — create exercise/workout challenges and invite friends to participate.
What would make Dailymile even more useful? Here's my wishlist to Kelly:
  1. iPhone app — I'd like to easily log my workout while walking home from the gym;
  2. Exercise Tips/Ideas — I'm always looking for new exercises to try out;
  3. Diet Advice — currently, forums have a lot of content, but how about a dedicated section?