Making getting fit a different type of challenge

Alex Dowlin and his wife Heather were just two parents stuck in a rut.

Alex Dowlin (above, right), a Ballantyne resident, recently created a mobile app to help keep families like his own - (from left) his wife, Heather, and children Kinley and Reese - healthy and fit.

Alex Dowlin (above, right), a Ballantyne resident, recently created a mobile app to help keep families like his own – (from left) his wife, Heather, and children Kinley and Reese – healthy and fit.

Both born athletes, Alex played basketball in college and Heather played field hockey. So being active is in their blood.

But now with two young daughters, Reese and Kinley, and busy schedules, finding motivation to stay active in their Ballantyne community was tough. Something had to change – they needed more incentive.

Out to dinner one evening, the Dowlins heard the same cries about physical fitness from friends, so they decided to act. The Dowlins challenged their      buddies to a friendly competition to see who could be the most active.

“The problem was none of us really do the same thing, so we had to create a scoring platform,” Alex Dowlin said. “We decided to do it for two weeks. During that challenge, I worked out more than I had in the past six months.”

The challenge worked – the Dowlins found accountability in their physical fitness. That’s why Alex Dowlin decided to make the same accountability available for anyone looking for that extra push to get off the couch, he said. His new free mobile app, called FitYou, launched for iPhones on Jan. 1.

Dowlin currently is the vice president of health-care sales operations at Technekes, a sales and marketing company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It’s his background in marketing and past experience with technology that gave him the drive to pursue his plan for a healthier community.

Dowlin launched the app after researching and finding most fitness apps don’t have the ability to compete or collaborate with friends unless comparing weight loss or workouts like running, biking or strength-training with pull-ups or push-ups. With FitYou, users can compete with friends and family at home or across the country with any type of activity.

Users of FitYou can participate in several different challenges, including one versus one, one versus group and team versus team.

“Whether they are workout mates or a sister across the country, you can challenge them,” Dowlin said. “It allows people to socially work out together without being in the same area. It allows people to compete head to head and motivate each other.”

And the app allows users to compete no matter what activities they do – whether it’s yoga, Zumba, mountain biking, running, working out in the gym or playing basketball with friends, FitYou is designed to keep score based on the time spent being active and the intensity of the activity.

“It’s based off of the calories and the activities, like yoga is one point for 20 minutes,” Dowlin said. “We’ve created a point system for different activities, and it helps keep it simple to understand.”

Dowlin said downloads for the app are already in the thousands and about seven out of 10 people who install the program have made at least one challenge so far. For every four challenges, one of those is with a friend, he added.

Dowlin hopes to take the concept to local businesses and create healthy competitions and wellness tools for employees as the app’s success grows. He hopes to start soliciting businesses by March.

“The end goal is to really just help make people healthier and really improve their fitness,” Dowlin said. “Where I would really be satisfied would be a company that could help employers and keep them engaged and healthy, and get the employees to engage their families. Is it a viable company, and am I making people healthy? That’s my overall
goal.”

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