inside shape up the nation: looking back on week one

February 15, 2011

in reviews: products, services, books

this is the first in a series of reports on my experience with a client’s 10-week shape up the nation team challenge. shape up the nation is an online, social employee wellness solution.  i don’t consult with my client on this strategy or provide any communications support, so it’s strictly unbiased, experience-based reporting.

how it works

shape up the nation’s activity challenge is a 10-week team-based challenge divided into three divisions: pedometer steps, exercise and weight loss. employees can participate in one, two or all three divisions. winning teams are based on the average percentage of weight loss, average minutes of total exercise per person and average pedometer steps per person. the winning team in each category gets a $200 award for a local celebration.

all last month teams were forming across my client’s u.s. operations. there are currently 469 teams, with the potential of a few laggards entering before the final february 18 registration deadline.

once you register with a team, which is done online, you receive a starter kit. the kit consists of a pedometer, a paper competition logbook and a wristband (think: livestrong) to remind me to meet my goals.

let the competition begin!

shape up the nation sent me a personalized email on monday, february 7. the email outlined the challenge basics and invited me to get started. employees can participate in one, two or all three divisions. i logged in and joined the exercise and pedometer divisions. (i don’t own a scale and don’t track my weight, so i’m bypassing the weight division.) employees can also set and track additional personal health goals.

next, i set my goals. the 10-week challenge is split into five two-week rounds. you can set your goals by round or by day. i set mine by round. i decided to exercise 600 minutes and walk 140,000 steps. sounds impressive, right? it’s equal to 300 minutes of exercise and 70,000 steps per week (43 and 10,000 per day, respectively). that’s a bit of a stretch for me; we’ll see how it goes.

i used the logbook to track my information, and, actually, i found it more useful than i expected. it sits on my desk and is a visual reminder to do what i said i would. my plan is to log my data at the end of each week. my client’s team captains often log their teammates’ information, which removes any computer-related barrier.

shape up the nation tracking

i challenge you

participants can use shape up the nation’s online system to issue individual and team-based challenges. you can select from a library of challenges or create your own, and these can be set by day and time. our team manager issued a challenge on day one, inviting us to eat a healthy lunch, and i issued an individual challenge as well. neither got much traction, only two of the four invited joined the healthy lunch challenge, and my individual challenge fell flat—only an email saying that i must be kidding, asking her to do push-ups on a monday. 😉

weekly goal: how’d i do?

i exercised 130 minutes and took 59,693 steps, missing my exercise target by more than half and coming up just shy of my steps target for this week. i’m questioning my round-one goals, but i’m sticking with them.


no app? i own a smartphone, so i was looking for an app to track my progress. no app exists though one is in the making, according to shawn lavana, vice president of marketing, who responded to my emailed question. “we’re planning to launch a mobile version of our website within the next two months. the next phase will be to launch a mobile application later this year for iphone/blackberry/android.”

i feel the social responsibility. i think about my commitment to the team every day. i know i need to get up and move about or log some exercise. i’m not onsite, so i miss any water cooler or lunchroom discussions and peer pressure. that means the social tool and the messages from our team captain are even more critical.

i need more nudges. i’ve received no nudges to complete the challenge i accepted or made and no nudges to track my data, which i still haven’t done. i would definitely benefit from this pestering. [update: around 10 this morning i received an email reminding me to report my results.]

that’s it for week one. i’ll write more about tracking next week. look for a video, too. [update: shape up the nation has asked me not to post videos, which i have agreed to.]


Leave a Comment

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tamara February 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Thanks, Fran. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback over the next 9 weeks. And yes, some may see your goal as lofty but I’m sure you’ll reach it!


fran February 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

thanks for the encouragement! luckily, i can downgrade my goals if i need to. i really liked that about philips directlife. you start by collecting a baseline. that helps you set realistic goals.



Elias November 14, 2015 at 7:57 am

Kudos to you! I hadn’t thohgut of that!


Previous post:

Next post: