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Shape magazine uses mobile apps to motivate fitness enthusiasts

Shape magazine and athletic footwear brand ASICS are inspiring readers to get into shape by using mobile applications for setting goals, tracking progress and sharing results with friends and family.

Shape worked with MapMyFitness to incorporate the company?s fitness-oriented Web sites and mobile applications into the 2012 Shape Fitness Challenge. The mobile apps use the built-in GPS technology found in many phones to enable users to record and chart their daily fitness activities right on their devices.

?Mobile is a huge element of the challenge,? said Leslie Ellwood, director of audience development at Shape magazine, Grand Haven, MI. ?Based on user patterns, we know that Shape readers are using smartphones to access Shape content.

?For this challenge, participants can track their miles run, walked or biked using MapMyFtiness? award-winning mobile application in addition to the online presence on,? she said. ?After tracking results, people can use their smartphones to share their results through social media.

?That way their friends can cheer them on, which provides excellent support and encouragement. People can also use their smartphones to access new routes in their neighborhood or while traveling.?

Customizable workouts
The program kicked off on December 28 and consists of an eight-week initiative during which Shape readers will be able to commit to run, walk or bike their way to their fitness goals through one of MapMyFitness?s programs. Shape editors will create useful and empowering tips to help readers meet their goals.

Shape developed four different workout challenges that are customizable to meet the fitness needs of each individual, with specific challenges for riders, walkers, runners and fitness enthusiasts. As participants reach different milestones, they are entered to win prizes from Asics such as fitness shoes, socks and a fitness bag.

Mobile plays a big role for MapMyFitness, with 50 ? 60 percent of daily activities coming from mobile devices.

For the Shape fitness challenge, the company expects to see many people participating via mobile as the MapMyFitness apps make it much easier to track their progress compared with the standard practice, which is to manually enter the information into a spreadsheet or journal.

?Mobile is reducing the friction for someone to get a workout directly into the cloud and share that with other people, said Robin Thurston, cofounder, of MapMyFitness, Austin, TX.

?This is a nice tie-in with content and activating people and getting them to come back, read more and find more information,? he said.

?If you are giving readers something from a real activity perspective and there is a circular loop they are more likely to come back and read more content.?

Asics is the sole sponsor of the fitness challenge, which is being promoted in the pages of Shape magazine and on the publication?s Web site. 

Shape magazine is owned and operated by American Media Inc., whose other titles include Star, OK! And Muscle & Fitness.

MapMyFitness operates a suite of fitness-oriented Web sites as well as mobile and tablet applications, including,, and more.

The company?s technology includes a geo-mapping application that permits users to track and store their daily routes in an online database, a searchable database of routes across the globe, community-based fitness content, fitness calculators, event listings and a social network of active individuals.

?Readers can bring their smartphones with them to track their accomplishments?running, walking and biking,? Shape?s Ms. Ellwood said.

?Once the results are in, they can share them with friends through social media,? she said.  ?Friends can encourage and support them during the challenge.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York