Okay – jokes might not be our specialty, but zombies mixed with health entertainment? That is our specialty. A specialty that we continue to improve upon year after year, and this year was no different. We brought you everything from a new and improved webstore to a slicker, more comprehensive Outbreak app.
With 2021 right around the corner, we’d thought we’d use this blog post to share one particular product we’ve been hard at work on – a zombie-themed virtual race.
Say hello to The Outbreak: Escape!
The Outbreak: Escape virtual race is a new type of Outbreak mission, similar to any traditional running event, including races like 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons and full marathons. What makes a virtual run different, however, is that you register online and complete the race on your own time, in your own way – all while dodging zombies, of course.
Unlike the Outbreak challenges you know and love, which are time-based (lasting 2-6 weeks), The Outbreak: Escape is a distance based race. Whether you play solo or on teams, you’ll have 31 days to cover 60 miles.
New to The Outbreak, debuting with The Outbreak: Escape, is that sweet, sweet swag you’ve been begging us for for years. Players who finish the virtual race will earn a physical medal, and even those who don’t finish will have the option to add on an Escape t-shirt, which you can choose to wear (or not) during your virtual run.
Once you’re done running, you can share your race results online to a Facebook community of fellow Outbreakers. Here, you can find inspiration, support, and friends with common interests. Head HERE to add our community on Facebook!
On top of all this, a portion of your registration fee for Escape will be donated to Doctors without Borders, an organization that cares for those affected by conflict and endemic disease impact in various parts of the world. Pretty cool, right?
We can’t give too much away this year, but be on the lookout for more features and updates next year. In the meantime, head to https://store.astepaheadchallenge.com/ to set-up a challenge before the year ends! Use the code HOLIDAYSHUFFLE2021 at checkout to receive 21% off of the total purchase of any challenge! This offer is valid until Midnight on December 31, so go ahead and get the jump on 2021 – what are you waiting for?
Thanksgiving is typically a time for fun, family, and food – arguably, a sporting event. Why have one pie when you can have seven? Why have a turkey when you can stuff a chicken inside a duck, and the duck inside a turkey? Why have one family over when you can invite the whole neighborhood?
This year though, it’s time to trim your guest list and pack up your holiday pants – you know the ones, the ones with the conveniently missing top button. Amidst the worst pandemic in a century, holiday gatherings in 2020 will have to cater to smaller guest lists and emphasize practicality, intimacy, simplicity, and gratitude. Honestly, a small sacrifice if it means protecting your loved one.
No one wants Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings to turn into superspreader events, so start with this simple advice: think small.
Sticking with this mindset – keep reading to check out a brief activity risk assessment, provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that will help keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season.
Low-risk activity options include:
Dining only with people living in your home.
Hosting a virtual meal for extended family and friends.
Preparing traditional dishes to deliver safely to family and neighbors.
Shopping Black Friday sales online instead of at the mall.
Catching football games and parades at home.
Activities with moderate risk, according to the CDC, include:
Dining with a few people living outside of your home. *Lower the risk further by feasting outdoors like a cookout or plating people’s food to avoid multiple hands in serving bowls.
Attending sports events even with safety precautions in place.
Avoid high-risk activities like these:
Shopping in crowded stores.
Traveling through crowded airports or roadside rest stops.
Attending crowded sporting event or parades.
Going to large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household.
Listen- social isolation stinks. There’s no doubt about it. But, stay safe during Thanksgiving 2020 and we can guarantee that your family will be even more grateful for your traditions in the years to come.
After a lot of planning, designing, building, and polishing, we’re finally ready to release an improved version of The Outbreak.
These past couple of months, we’ve been hard at work to bring our Outbreak users a slicker, more comprehensive UX. Everything from in-app typeface to the end of challenge reporting has received their much needed facelift, but that’s just the beginning!
Onwards to more tidbits about what’s changes with this release:
New Additions: – We’ve made connecting and managing your fitness tracker easier with an all-new setup wizard and settings panel. – We’ve developed an all-new end-of-challenge interface with challenge summary, final leaderboard and stats that show your individual performance so you can revisit all the memories after your challenge ends. – Remembering when steps and power have last synced got a bit tedious so now, when you tap your Step or Power bank you’ll get a little popup that tells you exactly the last time your health tracker synced with The Outbreak – Times are strange to say the least, but to make things a bit easier – at least in The Outbreak – we’ve added “Chapter Info.” This handy feature tells users the Chapter and Day of the challenge that you’re in. – We’ve added new shortcut buttons that will appear at the left or right of the screen to quick-snap you to The Horde and/or your team as you scroll around the game board. – We’ve also added in-game app rating requests because we’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: we do better when we know better! Feedback from our users has fueled our changes, so we want to make sure we get a chance to hear from each and every one of you!
Fixes: – The survivor interface has been tweaked and tightened, with a new (but familiar) look and loads of usability improvements. – We’ve improved the action buttons for spending steps, battling obstacles and healing users. – We’re all about team-building over at FIX Health, so of course we had to revamp The Outbreak chat. Now, new messages appear at the bottom… like they do in literally every other chat/messaging app on the planet.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, we’re here to help!
Atlanta, GA— FIX Health, the leader in health entertainment, announced its induction into the Wellness Council of American’s (WELCOA) 2020 Premier Provider Network to expand its presence within the employee health and wellness sphere.
Through this strategic partnership, FIX Health and WELCOA will work together to help businesses and health professionals improve employee well-being and create healthier organizational cultures. WELCOA’s platform serves as a hub for high-quality, comprehensive resources that aid in building high-performing, healthy workplaces.
“We’re excited to partner with WELCOA — especially during a time when listening, understanding and anticipating employee needs are even more critical than ever” said Mike Tinney, CEO of FIX Health. “It’s clear that HR practitioners are looking for new and creative health-based solutions to not only engage employees, but to retain that engagement — especially since many companies are still working from home. We believe that the best way to reach and help more companies and their clients is via the WELCOA Premier Provider Network and we couldn’t be more honored to be part of this robust network of providers.”
About FIX Health FIX Health is dedicated to defining the frontier of health entertainment. FIX revolutionized corporate wellness with the introduction of their zombie-themed walking challenge, “The Outbreak,” in 2017. Today, FIX leads the industry in health-based solutions for the corporate and consumer market. Their behavior first approach has awarded them a proven track record in delivering higher participation and customer satisfaction than traditional wellness programs.
For more information on FIX Health, please contact Kim Kerlegan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at http://fix-health.com/
About WELCOA WELCOA (The Wellness Council of America) is the nation’s most-respected resources for building high-performing, healthy workplaces. Throughout its 30+ year history, WELCOA has perfected its patented Well Workplace protocol which is the key to developing, delivering, and sustaining a healthy corporate culture. Today, thousands of workplace wellness practitioners, human resources professionals, business leaders and consultants rely on WELCOA for tools, training and its Premier Provider Network (PPN) partners to move their wellness programs forward. Visit WELCOA online at www.welcoa.org
Atlanta, GA | May 28, 2020 — The team at FIX Health is pleased to announced the 2020 “#TrainingforanOutbreak” social media contest — the competition is working in tandem with Global Running Day, which falls on Wednesday, June 3 this year. The social media competition, a first for FIX Health, is a way for the company to celebrate the joys of running and to encourage others to get moving. The winner of the contest will win a $50 Amazon gift card and an exclusive FIX Health water bottle.
Interested participants should take a photo or screenshot of their run on Wednesday, June 3 — date and distance must be visible. To qualify as an entry, the photo must be coupled with a caption that includes both “#TrainingforanOutbreak” and #globalrunningday,” and the photo must be posted on either Instagram or Facebook. Entrants must also follow FIX’s Instagram account: @fixhealth, as well as our Facebook account: @FitnessInteractiveExperience and our Twitter account: @FIX_Health_. The winner will be selected randomly from the submitted entries and will be announced at 1pm EST on Thursday, June 4.
The inaugural Global Running Day, formerly known as National Running Day, was held on June, 1, 2016. On this day, more than 2.5 million people from 177 countries pledged to run more than 9.2 million miles. The worldwide celebration reminds us of the mental and physical benefits of running and the power of the running community.
For more information on FIX Health, please contact Kim Kerlegan at email@example.com or visit their website at http://fix-health.com/.
FIX Health is dedicated to defining the frontier of health entertainment. FIX revolutionized corporate wellness with the introduction of their zombie-themed walking challenge, “The Outbreak,” in 2017. Today, FIX leads the industry in health-based solutions for the corporate and consumer market. Their behavior first approach has awarded them a proven track record in delivering higher participation and customer satisfaction than traditional wellness programs.
Employee Wellness Company FIX Health Announces its Groundbreaking Employee Health Challenge, The Outbreak, has Increased User Retention to 93.9%
ATLANTA, GA. August 22, 2019
FIX Health, makers of The Outbreak, the employee health challenge that is part game, part six-week fitness journey, announce that their continued attention to behavioral triggers, in-app affirmation moments, and application features have resulted in a 1.5% increase in user retention for their groundbreaking six-week program. The result is an increase in retention from 92.4% to 93.9%.
“You might not think of a 1.5% increase as a big number, but let me tell you, when you’re already in the 90th percentile, improvement is a game of inches,” said Mike Tinney, CEO and Founder of FIX Health. He goes on to add, “These are the goalposts. You don’t see a lot of companies talking about this key metric because most struggle to consistently engage and retain more than 60% of their users.”
FIX Health uses a core behavior method, where its programs focus on daily movement and an incremental increase in active minutes over time. Participants are chased by digital zombies in an app that features a storyline along with daily and weekly goals that require teamwork to complete.
“Our challenge participants use real world steps and activities,” adds Ali Thomason, FIX Health’s Chief Client Officer. “Their trackers (cell phones, or wearables) pick up their activities, our app validates the steps as having actually occurred, and then they spend those steps in the app to achieve milestones inside of the game.”
Global winemaker, Treasury Wine Estates, held a Spring Outbreak challenge as part of their wellness program. “We were blown away by the employee interest and participation,” said Jessica Lantieri, Senior Vice President, People & Capability. “It was fantastic to see our employees excited about working together to change their daily habits. Our completion rate ended up at 94%!”
FIX Health is a service mark of Fitness interactive Experience, Inc. A Georgia company. All Rights Reserved.
The first rule of cheating is simple: don’t get caught.
No one wants to play a game with a cheater. No one trusts a cheater. So if you’re going to cheat… better not get caught.
My name is Mike Tinney and my company FIX Health runs corporate walking challenges. Our flagship challenge, The Outbreak, is a simulated zombie apocalypse where participants must use their real-world steps to outrun the zombie horde, racing against other teams to reach each weekly safehouse. It inspires players to do a little better today than they did yesterday. In inspires teams to come together to face obstacles together and compete with their colleagues. And for a small minority of players, it inspires… cheating.
We deal with cheaters every day. Some cheaters are fairly clever, others mmmm… not so much. They open up their iPhone Health App and manually enter the number 50,000 as their step count for the day. Some do this at 10 AM. There’s roughly 2000 steps to a mile.
Sure, Roger, you walked 25 miles in the first 4 hours of your day.
Others are fairly clever. They “nudge” their counts up. 4,596 additional steps here, 1,102 more there, bringing their total above whatever they legitimately walked to something plausible, like 11,509. Much more believable, and until now, relatively difficult for a group health challenge like ours to detect.
Since most employers award prizes, benefits, perks, or recognition in association with one of these health programs, it’s important to minimize cheating as much as possible. Until now, that was easier said than done. And once one person starts cheating in one of these challenges, many follow. It’s like watching a dam break, and once it does it can really affect participants’ morale. But you don’t have to take my word for it. We send out a poll at the end of each challenge to get feedback. One of the questions is, “What could we do better?”
The answers usually fall into two categories: 1) “I don’t want this to end. Keep it going year ’round!” and 2)… well, I’ll paste some #2s below:
“I was on a very competitive team. We got up at 4 in the morning on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to get in 5+ miles of steps. We encouraged each other throughout the day to keep moving and get the steps in. Some of us even engaged in 2-a-day run schedules plus boot camp workouts to make things happen, but when another team has multiple players with 63,000+ steps each, it gets very frustrating for those of us busting our tails to do it the right way! Those of us who know that 63K steps is approximately 31.5 miles at a 20 mile an hour pace and that if you are moving faster your strides are longer and you take fewer steps. Some of our team members wanted to cheat to keep up with the teams that were taking impossible numbers of steps. Other teammates wanted to give up!”
“There should be no option to manually enter steps. There was too much cheating (i.e. someone putting in 50k steps per day for 5 straight weeks), which was pretty demotivating to a lot of teams.”
“It seemed like a lot of the leading teams cheated – how on earth does an actual human person earn 70,000 steps by 7am in one day?!? I don’t know how you could do it, but the cheating needs to be stopped. I love a good competition if it’s fair. There is no way an honest group of people can beat a team that cheats constantly. It’s disheartening.”
While the vast majority of feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive, we’ve been getting notes like these for years, and it’s not just us. Every walking challenge struggles with this same issue. I can’t tell you how many times it’s come up in sales calls. “We’ve used challenge XYZ in the past, but there was so much cheating.” It’s a real pain point for everyone involved: the buyer, the participants, and us.
So we did something about it.
Last week we fixed this. We have a guy on staff who’s a genius. I’m not kidding. You ever read about one of those kids who was in college when his peers were in high school? We have one of those kids (now grown up, for the most part) leading our engineering. He’s gotten deep into the code of Apple Health and Google Fit (our two primary trackers) and he’s figured out how to differentiate the steps inputs in a way that is (so far) cheat proof.
TruStep™ intelligently separates step inputs into two categories: verified steps that are synced directly from a user’s fitness tracker, and manual user entries.
With TruStep™, we can now run 100% validated step challenges. We can verify when, and how rapidly the steps were taken, and limit (or rule out entirely) manually entered/typed-in steps. From now on, every Outbreak challenge can validate and count only steps that actually occurred, making the credibility of the program second to none.
Cheaters beware! The Outbreak has your number… and it’s not 50,000 before 10 a.m.
Over the past 6 months we’ve been tightening the screws on The Outbreak, ironing out the few remaining rough edges and tweaking user experience. We’ve had great feedback (employees always praise our program). We’ve had great retention (>90% for the past 5 months). We’ve had a couple of learning opportunities along the way as well (we’ve enabled new anti-cheating mechanisms, in particular).
Before any new feature or challenge goes live, we test it ourselves. Our standard challenge ran for 6 weeks, so every time we wanted to test a feature, we had a 6-week program ahead of us in order to fully vet the product and changes. Find a bug? 6 weeks of testing. New feature needs a revision? 6 weeks of testing.
We tried an accelerated program (one hour = a day, and so forth) but the timing was not a great simulation of the actual experience. So in some cases, we missed important player experience changes when we blew through the challenge on the 1-day-is-an-hour pace. And yet, we couldn’t always test quickly and frequently enough with the six week challenge. Something had to be done…
What we came up with was a half-length challenge. Three weeks. Three weeks let us test twice as fast, but still had the same day length; the chapters just changed on Thursday and Sunday, instead of Sundays only. So Chapter 1 was Monday – Wednesday, Chapter 2 was Thursday – Sunday, Chapter 3 Monday – Wednesday, etc… The pace worked. We got a simulation that was pretty close to what the customer was already experiencing, but we could test out new content and settings in less than 1 month – which was important.
It was my idea to truncate like this, so I edited the game down from 6 weeks to 3. But the chapters were still there and intact, meaning, where Chapter 1 is typically set to last for 7 days, here it was set to 3. I decided to surprise my coworkers with a little something “extra.” The system calculates steps based on a daily prescription, but it calculates exercise/power based on a weekly (per chapter) prescription. So while I edited down the steps to a 3 and 4 day chapter, respectively, I kept the exercise requirements to the original 7-day amount… meaning you had to get 100 active minutes into 4 days, not 7.
“The result? A wonderfully difficult challenge. Still achievable, but 3 pretty tough weeks. I lost 4 lbs during our first run through.”
The result? A wonderfully difficult challenge. Still achievable, but 3 pretty tough weeks. I lost 4 lbs during our first run through. We liked it so much, we did it again almost right away. We realized we might be onto something… a shorter, harder challenge. Something that served as a system shock for the users. Something to help a guy or gal “dial it in” for beach season. And so The Blitz was born. We suddenly had a 3-week Outbreak challenge, but we ended up with so much more.
We also ended up with our hardest challenge. We get asked to “bring the pain” from time to time, and The Blitz does just that. It’s probably the closest real simulation to 3 weeks of survival in a zombie apocalypse that we’ve made to date. Not being content with just a harder challenge, we wrote up a storyline (you’re rescuing a trapped family in a nearby town). It also gave us, or, in this case, our customers, an added benefit: a cheaper challenge. We priced The Blitz at ½ of our regular pricing. Groups can take a 3-week challenge for just $9.95 per person. Take that, Planet Fitness!
We unveiled The Blitz very quietly last month. Groups are only now just starting to discover it on our self serve portal (the only place you can buy it). We don’t have enough data yet to be able to tell what the average survival rating is yet for the challenge… but we’ll gather that over time and share it in a future blog when it’s ready.
Here at FIX, we have created the most engaging activity challenge in the market. We didn’t stumble upon this, we’ve been working on it for years.
We had a pretty solid true North: make health habits part of an entertainment experience. The devil was in the details, though, and we had to work hard over years to refine the experience so that it was truly entertaining and compelling.
While we don’t think we’re done with that journey, we have a number of points of evidence that support our claim that The Outbreak is the best retaining Health Challenge in the market today.
EXHIBIT A: We continue see engagement north of 90%.
For every 100 employees who begin one of our challenges, 90+ complete them. It’s happened 5 out of 5 months so far this year (in April, we had an eye-popping 96.5% engagement rate), and for the prior two years, we’ve been above 80%. We’re so confident in our app and service process that we now guarantee this completion rate to our customers. We’re the only company in the space that gives a 100% cost guarantee for up to 80% completion.
EXHIBIT B: Brokers rave.
We work with a lot of brokers (all wellness companies do). Brokers are gatekeepers and reps for most clients. Their job is to help their client navigate the many benefits options out there and match make between trusted providers and their clients. Because of this nexus role brokers and consultants play, they are in a unique position to see many different programs in “live, client-facing environments.” We’re told, time and time again, that no other programs excite and engage employees as effectively as ours.
EXHIBIT C: Insider Strife.
This is going to sound funny, maybe. We offer free pilots to insurance companies, brokerage groups and channels that would represent us to their clients. We’ve very recently started experiencing a new phenomenon with these pilots: strife. On more than one occasion, competition got so heated between teams that it was difficult to debrief and discuss market strategies. We’ve had to suggest “cool down” periods before debriefing. We’ve also found ourselves altering our pilots from a full 6 weeks to 1 to 2 week trials to cut down on competitive friction. Just last week we spent 30 minutes explaining a design decision on a game balancing rule, because someone got outmaneuvered by a coworker in the game and was mad that they lost. As they say, actions speak 1,000 words.
We went ahead and doubled down on that one week pilot choice, and now offer free 1 week trials to everyone.
If you’re reading this, you’re part of everyone, so the offer includes you. You can get started HERE on our portal. Gather 20 of your closest friends. Or fiercest competitors. Or both… and find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.