My Digital Fitness Quest: Week 1

Rachel’s New Apple Watch

I have been doing user research and strategizing for products that require the user to work. For some products, like a degree program from a university, you have to overhaul a lot of your current habits, adopt new habits, and stick with them for quite some time to make that product and yourself successful. A natural analog to this is a health fitness program. So I decided to document that process by personally committing to a fitness program. And since my design brain is not able to just leave it to a “fitness program,” I am naming it. I am embarking on a Digital Fitness Quest. Now in full disclosure, this is not my first fitness quest. I have been on several. I mean a lot of them. I have had nutritionists, physical trainers, and joined numerous programs over the years. But this is my first digital fitness quest, and since it is a design experiment as well. I know I will do this. So my quest is solving the following problem:

Could technology help me turn a fit life into a permanent way of life?

My underlying motivation is feeling confident every day. Since I work with so many people on a regular basis, I am doing this to feel energized and just fabulous every day.

I tell companies all of the time, that now things are different. Your great ideas can be successful because the market and technology is now different and better. But could this be the case with such an intimate thing like life-long fitness? The parameters are the same. There is technology available today that has never been available before… wearables, social, mobile, intelligence. The question is designing the right mix that works for me. My underlying motivation is an emotional one that goes beyond the set of products in this program. But can they address that anyway?

Similar to a product launch, I am giving myself three months starting this week, Monday October 23, 2017 ( By the way, it feels wicked odd starting randomly in a month, but I am committed, so I started right away.) Then I will review this initiative again on January 22, 2018.

I identified the following user needs:

  • Flexible. It has to work within my ever changing schedule
  • With me at all times. I get wrapped up in so many projects, out of sight is truly out of mind
  • Supportive. Did I mention that I have fallen off the fitness wagon many times? I need support and reminders
  • Rewarding. I have to see results or I will struggle

So, now that I have identified the overall problems to be solved, and the key user needs, I designed a program. It will use the following:

  1. Apple Watch to monitor and track actual activity
  2. A Nutrition App: “Lose It” to track my food and calories
  3. Two Exercise Apps: “Nike Run” and “Sworkit”

Success Criteria:

  1. Being able to shop for new clothes and feeling good about the experience
  2. Working out 5 Times a week every week, Logging in Food Every Day
  3. Feeling more energetic and sleeping 7 hours a night
  4. Losing 20 lbs

I am a huge advocate for having success criteria defined up front. We have to know what winning really means.

Wish me luck folks! I will check in again next week. In the meantime, have you ever done anything similar?