Turn fitness into friendly competition with Superproof iPhone app

May 25, 2011
Health

Lots of people hire personal trainers to stay motivated to hit the gym and keep in shape, but your iDevice can be just as useful. There are many fitness trainers available in the App Store, but Superproof, for iPhone and iPod Touch, is the first I’ve seen that pits user against friend in a mobile […]

Lots of people hire personal trainers to stay motivated to hit the gym and keep in shape, but your iDevice can be just as useful. There are many fitness trainers available in the App Store, but Superproof, for iPhone and iPod Touch, is the first I’ve seen that pits user against friend in a mobile fitness game.

Within Superproof, users can track activities such as running, walking and skating, which use your GPS for tracking. Once you start an activity, the app will track your time, distance, speed, paces and caloric burn, as well as track your route on a map. If you’re active in the gym or at home, swipe the screen right to access a database of nearby locations to manually track your movement.

Part of the fun of Superproof is in its challenge section. The app can generate a random challenge or you can have a friend create a specific task, and vice versa. I had the app generate a few random challenges for me — to get to each, I would have to walk to a set of provided coordinates. Once at the location (think geochaching), you can access the task. But because of urban GPS congestion, I wasn’t able to reach my location to retrieve my task. I was able to get within 13 feet of the imaginary item. I’m pretty sure part of the issue is that the pin was directing me into the middle of a busy intersection; the other issue was that the GPS was unable to maintain a consistent read, changing distance often. The challenges are a neat twist on promoting activity, but I think developers should consider an acceptable distance range for urban dwellers, maybe 15 feet or so, to retrieve the clue, rather than being directly on top of it.

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Superproof will log your activities and earned trophies, or you can set goals for how active you want to be to be each month (say, three days a week). Users can also add vices to further personalize the app’s output. Enter an item and it’s calorie count and the app will calculate how many of that item you burned during your activity, so you can see how hard you’ll have to run to get rid of that candy bar. The app can use only your vices or rely on Superproof’s database.

Superproof has a few glitches: After adjusting my active date, the icons on the bottom tool bar were cut in half, and the app always showed one more challenge than was in my inbox. I also wish there was a stop or back button when asking the app for a new task. If your GPS signal is weak, the app gets stuck finding your location, and you’ll be required to force quit.

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