|I'll admit it. I fell off the wagon.|
As a former cross country runner, newly minted vegequarian (pescatarian) and health 2.0 type, I used to live a pretty healthy life, full of 1.5 hour workouts.
Ahh, those beautiful runs along the Embarcadero, those 3.5 hour, 7 mile hikes around Flag Pond in Southern Maryland. Gone, all gone, as soon as I got semi-serious about starting Contagion Health.
When you're founding a health software company, ironically fitness is the last thing on your mind.
About 3 weeks ago I pulled on a pair of jeans and realized something was amiss. Largely amiss. And I decided to do something about it.
But with healthcare conference season in full swing, a gig helping the kick-ass team at Dealmaker Media for a bit, a fellowship with the Health Strategy Innovation Cell at Massey College, UToronto, it was ridiculously hard to block off 1.5 hours to work out.
To fix this big and increasingly burgeoning Battle of the Bulge, I'd need to start small. REALLY small.
5 minutes of jogging here, dancing to a song while making morning coffee there, walking instead of taking the BART for 15 minutes to get to Safeway.
"Losing weight" wasn't the answer; it was committing myself to the idea that small acts of fitness, healthier microchoices made minute by minute - the way I live the rest of this crazy startup life - might actually have the power to add up and help me get back into my favorite pair of jeans.
So I started asking friends to help motivate me.
Turns out, lack of motivation is one of the biggest problems we all have. It's contagious. And it helped me realize why obesity may be epidemic.
Talking with @alexdmoore and @garrytan about starting companies, I realized we're all wailing about the same problems - a lack of motivation and a lack of time.
We're talking about people who don't sleep here, who take our laptops into the bathroom with us.
Unfortunately, these symptoms aren't limited to startup founders.
Many of you who have been active and healthy at various times in your lives probably *used* to exercise a lot more.
I have an uncle who *used* to run marathons. And several others are military vets and talk semi-longingly about PT.
But we all agree - in today's crazy world it's hard to get a workout in edgewise.
So at SuperHappyDevHouse (hosted by Palantir Technologies - @palantirtech), I started thinking big about getting healthy by starting small.
If I just needed to move more during my daily routine (or lack thereof) when I could fit in acts of microfitness - a few jumping jacks here, a few crunches there - and I just needed someone I know to help me get up off my a&^ and get moving, I'd use...
Yep. If the people I know who use Twitter would just challenge me a bit, just ask me to get up and move, I'd feel beholden to answer their call.
I'd feel obligated to #getupandmove more.
I feel a responsibility and tie to my community there, especially since I've met (and worked with, and laughed with) many of you IRL.
So I roped a super-smart developer I know into working with me to motivate healthier microchoices, a few minutes of movement at a time.
It's microfitness for microblogging.
We're trying not to assume too much about what motivates people.
We don't know which person or what time period or what challenge will motivate you to move, but your FRIENDS and family using Twitter and Facebook *will.*
The Get Up and Move web app lets you challenge people to small acts of microfitness - but with a spin - challenges are issued via Twitter and they're private by default, sent through Direct Message. If you want to up the ante, you can RT the challenges publicly.
And, you have to barter your own movement to issue a challenge.
You have to shake it too in order to get someone else to move.
As my co-creator Andrey Petrov (@shazow) says "Sometimes an excuse is all you need...Happy to be that vessel for people."
It's the first app Andrey and I built together, and he coded it in like .002 seconds (ok, so really it was like a week).
There will be many future feature goodies and changes coming up as we iterate rapidly.
As you challenge us and we challenge you we learn more about what feels good, and what doesn't.
And by the way, please feel free to challenge Andrey (@shazow) and I (@jensmccabe) personally to get up and move. You can bet I'll be doing the same for you.
It's amazing what the ability to check off a completed challenge and say I've done my part can do.
Tonight after cleaning up the remnants of a great Thanksgiving meal, @oldbailey and I checked out my Get Up and Move challenges and then went for a long walk/jog along Route 243 in St. Mary's County.
It was a beautiful night with stars visible and fog hugging the fields low and tight. I sung a few Christmas carols and we both talked about startup life.
For the first time, working out didn't feel like a burden - it felt like doing a favor for a friend who asked.
So, I invite you to get up and move with us. Let us know what you want, what you think, what works, what doesn't.
Getting started is simple:
1. Follow @contagionhealth on Twitter.
2. Visit www.getupandmove.me and issue your first challenge.
3. Be prepared to move it!
Tomorrow is Black Friday, and while you're spending hard earned bucks to buy gifts, consider challenging someone to walk for 15 minutes.
Best Buy will be crowded, but you'll be motivating someone else to get healthy, a few minutes at a time.
Now excuse me, I've got to go dance to 2 songs for @jeffreybrick.
Happy, healthy holidays to all!