Web App Provides Virtual Fitness Support

traneo_logo.gifI put myself through graduate school teaching yoga and Spinning so health and fitness is a topic I know a little about. From what I’ve seen, this industry is one of the slower ones to adopt new technology, which is why I was so pleased to find Traineo.

Now, I know that TechCrunch readers may not be the group that gets excited about personal fitness software but before you scream, “Why is this on TechCrunch?” in the comments section, consider that Traineo has been landing some impressive sponsorship deals lately with companies like Biotherm and L’Oreal. There is money to be made in online social support groups so please hear me out on this one.

Traineo is a health and fitness support site where users report their weight, diet, and exercise daily to a group of friends who help monitor and support one another. I hesitate to call Traineo a social network because, unlike MySpace, the goal is not to have as many friends as possible. The goal is to have a select group who you trust to help you through the drudgery of staying in shape.

I’ve tried quite a few of these online programs before with my friends. SELF Magazine had one earlier this year aimed to get us all in shape “just in time for bathing suit season” but the software was pitiful and the social networking aspect was even worse. I’ve also tried MyFoodDiary, which is subscription-based, and PEERTrainer, which I thought required too much work from it’s users. Traineo is free and so darn easy.

Instead of inputting how many ounces of cheese you ate in your burrito, and how much cream you put in your coffee, Traineo allows you to just give an estimation of how you think you ate each day. Based on your age, weight, and goal, it tells you how many calories you should aim for and, at the end of the day, you tell the program if you ate poor, average, fair, or great.

“We’ve really dumbed things down,” said Alasdair McLean-Foreman, one of the founders of Traineo, via IM. “People find it hard enough to stick to a diet/workout routine so the software should be the easiest part otherwise people drop off and lose interest.”

The workout logs are also quite simple. You select from the types of workouts available, tell it how long you did it for, and how intense you felt it was. I told Traineo that I wanted to lose four pounds and the weigh-in lets me give regular updates to track my progress.

Users that are a bit less shy about their progress can join larger support groups, either the sponsored ones, or ones that revolve around different demographics like mothers or tech enthusiasts. Actually, I didn’t find a tech enthusiast group but I started one called TechCrunch. Feel free to join.

Traineo was written by some pretty fit software developers. A number of athletes work for the company, including McLean-Foreman who has represented Great Britain in track and was the Harvard track captain in 2004.

Others are liking Traineo, too. In a roundup of new fitness web services, CenterNetworks called it “an excellent all around application.”