Some of my friends love working out. They enjoy going to the gym, or running, or lifting weights. While I enjoy doing activities like playing Racquetball or Baseball, I find in order to go to the gym, I need some motivation- I need something that will help keep me to whatever fitness goal I happen to have. Skinnyo is a social network that aims to do just that.
What is Skinnyo?
Skinnyo is a social network that let’s you make a competition out of losing weight/getting healthy by allowing you to join various challenges and compare progress with friends. From their website:
Skinnyo lets you start or join challenges that make it a little easier to stay healthy. Compete with your friends and colleagues to lose weight in custom health challenges.
Signing up for Skinnyo is very easy (and free!). Just click on the “Join for free” button and fill out the form (shown below).
I imagine they ask for your gender to calculate, among other things, BMI. Skinnyo keeps track of this, as we’ll see later.
Once you’re in, you’re taken to your dashboard.
On your dashboard, you’ll see any ‘recent happenings’ like progress updates, badges you’ve achieved, and status updates from you and the people you follow. You’ll also see how much weight you’ve lost since signing up and any challenges you’re a part of, as well as people you follow and those following you.
You’ll notice that in the top right corner, you’ll see a “check-in weight” tab. Here is where you add your current weight for Skinnyo to keep track of. The other information (profile info, your goal weight, and height) is added in the Settings area, which you can access by mousing over the “me” tab. Below is the “My Health” screen.
Skinnyo will use the information above to keep track of your BMI, and how well you’re doing on the road to your goal. You can see all of this information in a nifty graph on the My Diary page.
The My Diary page has some really nice stats and a line graph tracking your BMI and weight. It also includes your weight goal line so you can see how close you are getting to it. Under the graph, you’ll see your timeline, which is a list of your updates and comments from other users.
On the right hand side, you’ll see some nice stats, like how much you’ve lost, the change in your BMI, and again, how close you are to your goal. You also have the ability to download your Diary as a CSV.
On top of tracking progress, SKinnyo includes some functionality to motivate you!
First on the list is challenges. Challenges are the competition and motivation aspects of the site. You can join and number or start your own for others to join. The Challenge’s page will track people and their progress as far as weight loss goes. You can also post comments on the Challenge’s page.
While it looks like all of the site’s challenges show up, there are some you cannot join. I’m not quite sure if it’s because they are private (in that case, they shouldn’t show up at all), or because they are full. Either way, if they are going to show up, you should be able to see right from the listings page that you cannot join that particular challenge.
You can also create your own if you don’t fine one you like. Creating a public challenge is free, but surprisingly creating a private challenge costs $10.
Once you join a challenge, you’re taken to its page, which looks a lot like the Diary page with a graph of progress, a list of the members, and any messages challenge members post.
Some challenges aren’t directly related to weight loss, but there is no other metric for progress on the site. I would suggest a simple checkbox daily to mark that you’ve completed the challenge that day. For example, I’ve started a challenge to not drink soda through the end of the year. Instead of tracking weight loss, or in addition to it, I think there should be a checkbox on the page I can check off to show I’ve complete it for that day. I think this would engage the users a bit more and motivate them to stick more closely to the challenges that focus more on a daily goal, like not drinking soda or going to the gym.
Badges, like on most social sites, are trophies you get for achievements. Some of them are basic, like updating your profile, but some are related to achieving yours goals and completing challenges. Clicking on a badge will show everyone who’s earned it.
Though I don’t know the 2 secret ones, I feel the badges focus more on using the site than on working towards a goal. I would love to see more for things like milestones in weight loss (halfway to goal, 25% more to go, etc.), and badges for complete specific challenges.
This wouldn’t be much of a social network if you couldn’t add people to follow. Adding a person will add them to your timeline so you can see their updates and progress, as well as what challenges they’ve joined. Likewise, when people add you, they will be able to see yours.
I feel this functionality is best put to use when you and several of your friends are on the site, as you can all use it as a motivational tool for each other but posting feedback when they join (or leave) a challenge, or when they move closer (or further) from their goals. While the challenges and badges are great, I think adding people you know really adds the extra social pressure to move towards your goal.
Skinnyo is an interesting idea that can really work if (like most social networks) you can get your friends to do it with you. While I would like to see some improvements to the challenges and some additions to the badges, and I think $10 is a bit pricy to create a private goal on a social network, Skinnyo is a beautifully designed site that’s easy to use and worth checking out.