Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

New Exercise App Turns Wherever You Are Into an Obstacle Course

It’s almost New Year’s Eve and, for many people, it’s resolution time.



It’s the time of the year when a lot of workout gear and gym memberships get sold (and, I suspect, a fair number of Fitbits and other gadgets, as well.)

Even if you are not quite motivated to go to the gym, or don’t have an exercise bike or even a TV, you can still get a workout.

There are plenty of fitness apps geared for smartphones and tablets. One of the newest entrants is Obstacle XRT — a $4.99 iPhone app that talks people through a simulated obstacle course using steps, virtual quicksand and other challenges to provide a decent workout.

Brian Atz, co-founder of Barracuda Partners, the app’s creator, said the app was developed in about a month in conjunction with some Chicago-area fitness trainers.

Obstacle Quicksand Lifts

“As someone who travels frequently, I don’t have a lot of time to go to the gym, so I needed to find a way to work out efficiently,” Atz said in an email interview. “The problem with the apps and programs I tried was that they were simply too routine and boring — there came a point where I was no longer looking forward to my workouts, so I stopped doing them.”

With the advent of things like the Kinect, Barracuda decided there was a growing market for using technology to make workouts less of a chore.

“I thought that if there was a way to make exercise more fun — like you were imaging obstacles on the hotel room floor — it would make the exercise more enjoyable, and more likely for me to continue with it,” Atz said.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik