MiCoachee for the body and mind

  • Screenshot of MiCoachee

  • Jaime Reloj and Tom Mann show their app MiCoachee to Dawn Dorsey, health and wellness director at the Greenfield Area YMCA.  STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The phone interface of an app called MiCoachee, designed to help people develop good health habits. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jaime Reloj and Tom Mann have developed an app called MiCoachee to help people with their health habits. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jaime Reloj and Tom Mann have developed an app called MiCoachee to help people with their health habits. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/7/2019 8:10:25 PM

Jaime Reloj and Tom Mann had some rewarding experiences during their years in the corporate world, but getting hugs from clients and customers is relatively new.

“They tell you how well they’re doing. It’s, like, the best feeling,” Reloj said. “That is the coolest thing. Because, you made a difference.”

“I’ve felt like a rock star, too,” Mann chimed in. “I had somebody come up (to me) at the YMCA and say, ‘You’re one of those guys? Thank you so much. You’ve changed my life.’”

Reloj and Mann are the developers of MiCoachee (pronounced MyCoachee), a technology-driven diet and exercise program that nourishes one’s body and mind with the purpose of retraining the brain to develop key behaviors, conquering doubt and self-sabotaging thoughts, and using feedback to craft a personalized coaching plan. There is an app and a website. Reloj thought up MiCoachee after seeing many people fruitlessly use apps and wearable fitness trackers to get in better shape.

This digital support platform uses data science and client interaction to serve as a helpful tool for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. Reloj said MiCoachee can be a wellness coach that fits in your pocket. The download is free, though subscriptions to the 43 different sessions and techniques offered on www.micoachee.com range in cost from $29.95 to $49.95 a month. Mann said MiCoachee has about 150 subscribers and about 350 downloads.

Reloj and Mann demonstrated how MiCoachee can function by describing one female client’s focus on exercise. Everything from sodium intake to daily steps taken can be tracked.

“And thanks to the precise design and the technology of this system, this is based upon ... how she learns, her personality — (it’s) very individualized to her,” Mann said. “So, we’re mapping those specific programs to what we think, based upon the technology, is going to work for her and … we can retool or change those programs as necessary.”

The sessions range from hypnotherapy to meditation to yoga.

Mann grew up in Washington, D.C., and moved to Bernardston about 10 years ago after meeting his partner, who is from Brattleboro, Vt. He has worked in corporate sales management for most of his life. Reloj’s background is in technology, and he spent 22 years in California’s Silicon Valley. He now lives in Deerfield.

The developers said they understand a person’s psyche is tied to their physical well-being. Reloj said many of the sessions aim to “shift your thoughts and your feelings on certain subjects so you can overcome things. So, if you can find the right combination, people make great, great breakthroughs.”

Reloj said some of MiCoachee’s co-founders are behavioral experts with private practices.

“We digitize some of their techniques they give to clients,” he said.

Dawn Dorsey, the health and wellness director at the Greenfield YMCA, said Reloj and Mann approached her about MiCoachee a year ago. She said the technology was wildly popular during three studies conducted to assess the product and its efficacy.

“We literally asked people to try it for a month for free and then give us feedback on it,” she said. “The feedback has been incredible. … This is for people who want to change their behavior, but have struggled to stay engaged with a new behavior. This actually is a relaxing application that you do at home, and it just very gently helps your brain — this is neuroplasticity — rewire itself so it actually self-selects the preferred behavior that you would rather be engaging in.”

Dorsey also said the app greatly helps people make healthy food choices “because they simply feel like that’s what they would rather have.”

“People love it,” she said, taking a moment away from the hailstorm that New Year’s resolutions often bring to organizations like the Y. “People who have struggled with attendance now find themselves attending regularly.”

Mann said MiCoachee is also utilized at the Northampton Athletic Club, the Hampshire Athletic Club in Amherst and the Outer Limits Health Club in Brattleboro, Vt. He and Reloj said they are now making a huge national push and started working with Snap Fitness, a national chain.

“They’re one of the larger ones in the country,” Reloj said.

He and Mann said MiCoachee is a for-profit endeavor, but money is not their chief objective. They chose Amherst as their headquarters because of the town’s proximity to the talent in artificial intelligence and natural language processing found at the University of Massachusetts.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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