On February 8, 2011, just after leaving Boxee, I wrote the following email to a close friend and advisor.
I want to build and lead a meaningful business (meaningful in terms of its mission and scale) and I want my next 10 years to be about creating something that matters.
My instinct right now is to build expertise in health, wellness and behaviour change. And if I cast the vision bigger, I’d like to create a workforce of ‘lifestyle coaches’ — an entirely new industry that exists to help people to do what the healthcare system doesn’t empower them to.
This is the seed from which Sessions grew.
When we started Sessions at Rock Health, I did all the coaching and Ben sat beside me watching, learning, and turning our frustrations into product features.
We started so manually — calling people, asking them questions, and listening to hundreds and hundreds of stories about people’s lives and their universal struggle to build the best version of themselves.
We learnt that we had two challenges: to build a product that actually worked and to make sure people loved it.
Through everything, we held true to that, and the time we spent with Sessions members reinforced that we’d made good progress towards our goals.
Late last year, we were introduced to MyFitnessPal. From the first call, we knew we’d found kindred spirits — MFP’s founders Mike and Al spoke about MFP members in the same language we did. We could see they cared and were listening to their users. Most of all, they had built something that tens of millions of people loved.
That’s why we’re so excited to share today that Sessions has been acquired by MyFitnessPal.
MyFitnessPal represents an opportunity for us to scale up our vision drastically.
As of this month, the Sessions team is joining MFP in their San Francisco office. Though our program is going to have to be reimagined for MyFitnessPal’s 50MM+ users, our mission and vision remain unchanged.
We’re thrilled to be their first acquisition.
For me personally, this is a big step. The feeling isn’t ‘you made it!’. Instead, it’s a feeling of satisfaction that we’ll be able to keep working on something we love into the foreseeable future.
MFP is a continuation for us, an opportunity to build the scale and reach of Sessions way beyond what we originally conceived.
Starting a company is hard. Selling a company is hard.
For long stretches Sessions has been an incredible grind. Pushing a boulder up a hill you can’t see ending is a fair description. The fear, the uncertainty, and the constant motion have required all of my will to maintain.
I am fortunate that I haven’t had to do it alone.
To Ben, you’ve been a star. Steady, never down and better every day. You should be proud of what you did. Most people’s first companies don’t turn out like this. For having faith and taking the leap when no-one around you understood, you have my eternal admiration.
Glennie, from the day Clare introduced us, you always felt like one of us. Your energy, your compassion for everyone that Sessions touches, your relentless positivity… we needed those to succeed.
To Sessions members, we learnt everything from you. For taking our calls and emails and messages while you cooked dinner for the family, snuck out at lunch-time or got ready for the weekend, thank you.
To our investors — Craig, Joshua, Robert and Niki — we could not have done this without you. Thank you for your support, counsel and friendship. You gave us the fuel we needed to get this far.
To Halle and the Rock Health team, without your kickstart, none of this would have been possible.
To my mentors John, Daniel, Jeremy and Stephanie. Thank you. You’ve known all the ups and downs of this past two years and when things threatened to come apart, I relied on your help to keep them together.
To the Elephants, we did good. There’s much more to come.
To my friends and family, for the love, advice, couches, money and care — you know who you are and how important you’ve been.
Most of all, to Jules. Thank you for trusting me, for being super-humanly patient and for never resenting how much of me Sessions has demanded. Your encouragement on the hardest days made carrying on possible. You are smart, fierce, funny, kind and more beautiful than I can comprehend. I promise you this will all pay off. I love you.
This is just a start. All the hard work is still ahead of us.
The journey is just beginning.
I’ve had a surprising number of friends tell me that their New Years resolution for 2014 is to run a half marathon.
I’ve told them all the same thing, go for it! Running your first half marathon is an amazing experience. Going through the process of training for it is even better.
Here are some of my tips/tricks/advice for (loving!) training for your first half marathon…
The finish line at my first half marathon.
I used to be a three mile run kind of gal. I’d throw on my running shoes, run as fast as I could, and then call it a day. My biggest adjustment when I started training for my first half marathon was learning to slow down. You don’t want to get in the habit of running too fast and having your runs feel completely painful/exhausting. Anytime you’re thinking “I hate this” you probably just need to run slower. Your first half marathon is all about just getting your body used to the distance, even if that means running super slow. You can always work on increasing your speed during your second half marathon…
Right before we treated ourselves to brunch at Magnolia Cafe in SF.
Give Yourself Little Rewards
After my long runs I always treat myself to a small reward like a yummy breakfast, a quick nap, or an extra long shower. Knowing that I’ll have these little rewards to look forward to helps me keep my momentum week after week.
A note on big rewards… A lot of my running buddies like to have a big reward (like a massage or new workout clothes) after they finish a race. I personally don’t find these kinds of rewards super motivating, but think they are worth mentioning.
My favorite half marathon ever in Calistoga.
You’ll want to follow a half marathon training plan (I created my first plan here). Most plans have you do activity four days a week or five days a week. Don’t make this decision impulsively. Take a long look at your routines and then choose the plan that’s going to fit into your life most seamlessly. Proceed with caution if you’re not already a morning exerciser and planning to do your runs in the morning.
Life Will Get In Your Way
At some point during your training you’re going to be swamped at work, get sick, have someone come visit, or have an awful hangover. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Figure out what is possible (if you can’t do six miles, do two miles) and shift focus towards the future. One of my favorite sayings about exercise is that it’s not always how you exercise during a good week, it’s how you recover from a bad one.
My roommates cheering me on at finish line.
Tell People About Your Race
This is so important. First, it helps you stay accountable because people will ask you how your training is going. I was also amazed by how many people came to cheer me on during my race, sent encouraging text messages, stayed in with me on a night before a long run, or joined me on some of my shorter training runs.
Do Gentle Yoga Once A Week
Find a super gentle yoga class and try to go once each week. I didn’t do this during my first half marathon and my entire body always felt like a pretzel. I’ve made it a habit for every half marathon since and it’s made a world of difference. I find that a Sunday night candlelight yoga class fits pretty seamlessly into my routine.
My dad taught me pretty much everything I know about running.
Replace Your Running Shoes Early
If you think you’ll need to replace your running shoes don’t wait until a couple of weeks before your race. Buy new shoes early in your training and make sure to do lots of runs in them. You need time to let your feet adjust to the shoes, test them out with lots of different socks, and figure out how you like them tied.
My running buddies and me after a super chilly race.
I don’t know how it happened, but the holidays are right around the corner!
Whether the people on your list have been naughty or nice, they all deserve to be healthy. Here are 13 of our favorite health and fitness products to help you with your holiday shopping.
Spoiler alert: Ben reveals a surprising fashion secret in the post. Read on…
Meditation seems to be one of the major levers you can pull to increase happiness.
Sessions’ co-founder Ben meditates every morning for 20 minutes. It’s a habit he maintains consistently and he’s shared with me the profound impact is has on his day, especially around focus, self-control and mood.
As a remote team (Ben in NY, Glennie in SF and Nick everywhere all the time), it’s crucial we extract the most energy and excitement as possible from our time together IRL.
Last year in November, we spent an amazing two weeks working together in Ojai, just outside of LA.