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Work out with new friends via these apps

With the Motivatormob app, users create workout and activity groups that other people can find easily and join in.
With the Motivatormob app, users create workout and activity groups that other people can find easily and join in.PHOTO: MOTIVATORMOB

Motivatormob, Kaki Buddy aim to make it easier for like-minded people to limber up together

Fitness apps abound that let users plan workouts or compare their progress with others', but organising a time and place for the workouts is still largely done in traditional channels such as forum groups or chat services.

Taking a cue from the popularity of dating apps where strangers from the Internet meet in real life, two new locally developed social fitness apps - Motivatormob and Kaki Buddy - aim not just to organise workouts between friends, but to also bring like-minded strangers to exercise together.

Motivatormob, which launched just last week, is the first of such apps. Users create workout and activity groups that they want others to join in, listing down a time and location so that other users can find them easily.

These can be any sort of physical activity - running, yoga, soccer, high-intensity training or dragon boating, to name a few.

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The first thing a user sees upon logging into the app is a list of all available activities created by other users, with the option to switch to a map view to see which ones are in their immediate vicinity.

"When you work out together and have someone else to motivate you, working out becomes so much easier," said its co-founder, Mr Thomas Bennett, 40, who is a quality assurance manager.

There are currently about 250 users on the app, and Mr Bennett said Motivatormob's priority is to establish a larger user base so that more sessions can be created and be easier to find.

MOTIVATED TO WORK OUT

When you work out together and have someone else to motivate you, working out becomes so much easier.

MR THOMAS BENNETT, co-founder of Motivatormob.

The app also takes away the hassle of scheduling a workout session through, for example, a WhatsApp group chat or a Facebook group, if users are already part of one.

"If you are a member of a running club in the app, for example, you will receive an alert whenever a new session is created, and you can join from there," said Mr Bennett.

A study published in the journal Nature Communications two months ago showed that the sense of competition created when working out with others leads to either longer or more intense workouts.

Fitness apps have long recognised the benefit of integrating a social aspect to their apps to help their users stick to their fitness goals.

The Fitbit and Fitocracy apps, for example, have features whereby users can compare their workout progress with that of other online users.

However, apps such as Motivatormob and Kaki Buddy focus on bringing people together to boost motivation rather than compare statistics online.

Kaki's founder Wang Zhikai, 27, said the app was conceived when he and his friends wanted to find more people to play basketball with, but had difficulty getting people of the same skill level.

He plans to launch the app on Sunday. On top of organising workouts and finding others nearby to work out with, Kaki will also have an element of competition.

"Kaki allows you to challenge other groups easily, which is not possible with other apps," said Mr Wang. "If you want to organise an 11 vs 11 soccer match, you can search for another group located nearby and match with them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Work out with new friends via these apps'. Print Edition | Subscribe