Ina Fried

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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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work