Inspiration

Chronic stress has been identified as one of the leading factors contributing to fatalities from heart disease, cancer and strokes. Although stress may be attributed to situations beyond our control, if we are able to stay in good mental and physical shape, we can better manage our response. Lower stress will result in better quality of life, less susceptibility to disease and increased longevity.

Alexa devices are available in growing number of homes. The medium of voice is perfect for coaches to reach out to students. Voice instructions are natural and do not require the user to hold a device in their hand and stare at a screen for extended periods of time. This makes the Alexa platform particularly useful when doing exercises, yoga poses or workouts. Alexa devices that have screens can display images and videos guiding people further in their workouts. The Alexa platform is also suitable for guided meditation as one can simply relax and follow instructions without having their eyes open.

Our co-founder, Rajat, is a certified & experienced Yoga Nidra instructor. He is also an avid yoga practitioner. During his practice he realised the usefulness of the Alexa platform and decided to enhance this platform with Fit Pro.

What it does

Fit Pro provides the following unique features:

  • A timer skill that you can use for setting a workout duration. This skill will alert you of the elapsed time via beeps at regular intervals.
  • A unique ID that your existing fitness instructor can use on Fit Pro to create custom activities for you. You may access these from the comfort of your home or even when traveling. Activities include audio workouts, yoga sessions, yoga nidra, guided meditation and video workouts.
  • Enhanced web interface that let's you create your own workout routines in-depth and share them with others. If you are a fitness instructor you can also use this to provide premium content to your existing set of clients.
  • The web interface also provides session history so that you can track your progress.

How we built it

AWS Lambda & DynamoDB for serving as the Alexa interface. PHP, Javascript for the website. AWS RDS serves as the database.

Challenges & Accomplishments that we're proud of

We never thought we could complete the following two features in a user friendly manner:

  • Linking an Alexa device to a web service account.
  • Building a flexible timer feature that reminds the user at intervals.

What we learned

One of our key learnings was that it's easier to build a fitness software than stick to a fitness routine! Jokes apart this project has been one of many learnings. Chief among them are:

  • Understanding and catering to the key differences in user behaviour when click turns into conversation.
  • How to detect the Alexa device of the user and format content accordingly.
  • In-depth analysis of the Alexa platform and using a server-less architecture such as Lambda, DynamoDB and other AWS services to provide fast response time.
  • Hosting media files on CloudFront and using edge locations to improve responsiveness.

What's next for Fit Pro

Our team has a clear roadmap for this project. Here's how we intend to take this forward:

Short Term

  • Make the skill available in all English locales on Amazon Alexa.
  • Improve the ability to host video content.
  • Add in-app payment facility so that users can access premium shared content and it can serve as revenue generation tool for fitness instructors.
  • Polish the website UI and make the user experience easier.

Long Term

  • Multilingual interface to support French and German.
  • Improve coach facilities where Alexa can give some feedback to the user about how they have performed exercises in the current session in comparison to earlier sessions.
  • Raise financing and build a standalone device that uses Amazon Voice Service. This device will be dedicated to voice activated fitness services.
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