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Fighting fit for an alien invasion

This app gives new meaning to "running for your life."

The Apocalypse Survival Training audio fitness app by Adele Kirby. (Image Credit: Adele Kirby) The Apocalypse Survival Training audio fitness app by Adele Kirby. (Image Credit: Adele Kirby)

Not getting enough out of your workout app? Here's something that's out-of-this-world. The Apocalypse Survival Training app simulates an alien invasion in the streets of London and gives the runner a mission to save the city by sprinting, ducking and jumping. London-based fitness instructor and app developer Adele Kirby explains why it’s important to be “mentally and physically 'apocalypse-ready’.”

Where on Earth did you get the idea for an alien invasion apocalypse fitness app?
I love to exercise and dabble in some fantasy and sci-fi writing, so I wanted to combine those two passions to make fitness more fun. This idea first came to a head two years ago when, at a Discworld fan event, some friends and I were talking about how brilliant working out would be if it were set in the Discworld city of Anhk-Morpork. I couldn't shake off the idea, so I started creating stories where exercise could be convincingly, entertainingly and dramatically set in the real world.

What is the main point of your app?
To take familiar, beloved aspects of popular entertainment and use them to make exercise more enjoyable. By placing a workout inside an action story, we can give it purpose, drama, emotion and an urgency often lacking in traditional exercise methods. The story also allows us to create a hero's journey for the user, challenging them mentally as well as physically.

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How does it technically work?
Download the app, watch the intro video, select the first episode, plug in your headphones and go! Apocalypse Survival Training is like a radio play where every episode is a workout, so you run through the episodes in chronological order. The workouts are structured to build up your fitness when played regularly, and the story and character arcs unfold throughout the series.

It's kind of like World of Warcraft-meets-Wii Fit… What kind of quests does your app provide?
The user is dropped in with a group of survivors of an alien invasion of London. Made up mostly of strangers, this initially dysfunctional 'team' are given a mission to save the city. The goal of the fitness program is to become mentally and physically 'apocalypse-ready’. The story meanwhile unfolds relationships between the characters and the machinations behind the alien invasion.

What’s the difference between this fitness app and, say, a simple jog in the park?
It is a full body workout: it cycles between strength circuit, holistic and running episodes The running segments are based on interval and agility training, so you won't just be jogging but also, sprinting, ducking, jumping and evading. In 30 minutes we can pack in a more athletic workout, integrating more muscle groups and responses than a 45-minute steady state jog.

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