Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GoTrybe

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With the increase of "screen time" the health and fitness of our nation is definitely suffering. Using the power of technology, GoTrybe is an online fitness program that encourages kids in grades K-12 to get more active through the use of online workouts and educational videos.

Joining the Trybe
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Users are assigned a "trybe" depending on their age. Zoodoos is for grades K-5, Trybe180 is for grades 6-8 and Nextrybe is for grades 9-12. Workouts and videos are tailored for each particular age group. The only equipment you need to use the program is a computer with internet access.

When you begin, users customize their girl or boy avatar. Here's an example of a boy avatar:

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Users earn points when they do workouts and watch educational videos. These points can be used to buy outfits and accessories for their avatar (my daughter found that aspect pretty fun but I'm not sure how much it would interest boys). Users also earn badges as they progress through the program.

Users are encouraged to participate in activities each day. There are four categories: fitness, nutrition, motivation and wellness. Users earn points for every daily activity they do. You can do as many fitness workouts that you want to do and you'll get points for all of them. All the other daily activities can only be done once per day. The nutrition, movitation and wellness activities include watching a video or reading a daily educational segment and answering questions about the content. Correct answers earn users additional points.

Workouts
Users can do ready-made Trybe workouts for a full-length workout based on a theme (could be Hip Hop or sports related depending on each Trybe). Users can also choose to build their own workout with warm up, cardio, strength and flexibility elements. User clicks on "warm up" and is shown the warm up choices, clicks cardio and they can see and select their cardio elements and so on for strength and flexibility. Their custom workout can then be saved. Here's what the screen looks like for customizing a workout:

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An example of a sports workout video is shown below (warm-up, cardio, strength and flexibility portions are abbreviated with W, C, S, and F respectively on the left of the video). Time spent on the workout is also shown:

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Our Experience
My daughter, a 5th grader, was part of the Zoodoo group. She thought the workouts in the Zoodoo group were a little too kiddish and she said that most of the videos were not that inspiring. Many were interviews with Trybe instructors but she didn't feel like she learned all that much from them. One thing she really liked, however, was a series of interviews done with athletes from a baseball team. They shared tips on how they stayed fit when they were little and how they stay fit as adults.

Users can go to other users pages and friend people. While users are cautioned not to share personal information, there doesn't appear to be anything that actually prevents such sharing. We have generally stayed away from online chatting groups for our kids and I much prefer kid sites that limit communication by providing pre-selected dialogue to choose from. I would really appreciate having a parental control to shut off the "friending" aspect of the site.

Positive Elements
  • Users can try the program for a day to see if it's a good choice for their family
  • Encourages daily participation in fitness plus wellness education
  • Workouts tailored to young people
  • Great variety of workouts, preventing exercise boredom
  • Parents and siblings can participate in workouts encouraging family fitness
  • Ability to customize and bookmark workouts
  • Entire workout library without having to store videos and DVDs
  • Portability, take your workouts with you on vacation wherever you have internet access
Areas for Improvement
  • Regulate communication between users to prevent personal information or inappropriate information from being shared
  • Expand option for spending points (other than just new clothes); perhaps use points to buy sports equipment or points to unlock more workout choices
  • Allow some flexibility in joining a trybe so that kids in the upper age range can opt for an older group with more difficult fitness options
  • Have more videos interviewing or featuring professional athletes
  • Include a log for kids to record minutes spent each day doing outdoor rec and fitness activities
  • Search feature to locate workouts of interest
  • Set goals for workout times and outdoor (real world) fitness activities
  • Have a way for parents to turn off the friending option
  • Have more avatar options--something between the little kids with big heads and the older "swanky" ones (shown below)


Overall I think the concept is a great one with many merits. In the midwest when temps are pretty cold, it's difficult to get outside to exercise so a program like GoTrybe is a great option for places where weather conditions (too hot, too cold, raining, etc.) makes outdoor fitness difficult. This program definitely provides a way to be active all year long. My only concern is that this program not be the ONLY form of activity a child uses. Nothing beats real work and exercise in the great outdoors. I think that having an online diary/log where users can track outside activities would help encourage them to set goals in that area as well.

This can be a great way for families to get more active together. Having workouts geared for kids (rather than trying to adapt an adult workout) is also a great benefit. Pairing a child's natural interest in computers with fitness is a great idea.

If you'd like to read what other families thought of their trial membership, you can read their reviews at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

Ready to try it for yourself? You can test drive GoTrybe free for a day. After the free trial, a membership to GoTrybe is normally $19.95/year but check the GoTrybe Blog for their current special offer of 99 cents/month.


Contact Information
Website: www.gotrybe.com
Address: GoTrybe, LLC, PO Box 1853, Johnson City, TN 37604-1853
Phone Number: (423) 926-1583


Disclaimer: We received a free trial membership to GoTrybe for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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