Hackfit Adds Exercise, Healthy Diet to Weekend Hackathons

Think of computer programmers and coders, and long hours in front of dimly lit screens surrounded by empty energy drink cans and fast food wrappers might be the image that first comes to mind, but technology and fitness startup Hackfit are hoping that image may soon be on the way out.

Since Hackfit’s first event in Boston this past September, the health-based startup event has been bucking the traditional concept of hackathons — a weekend spent coding, with no time to sleep or eat anything but junk food — and instead is adding a new twist to an otherwise sedentary weekend: group exercise and a healthy diet.

While a Hackfit weekend still contains many of the traditional aspects of a hackathon, such as product pitches, forming teams and prototype presentations on the final day, exercise opportunities are interspersed throughout each day’s schedule to help keep attendees in top coding — and physical — shape.

“I came up with the idea of Hackfit because I’m a runner and an athlete,” Hackfit founder Justin Mendelson told Boston Magazine last July. “I’ve participated in a lot of other startup weekends … and I learned that the best teammates were often the ones who were runners themselves.

“However, I felt like any time I attended one of those startup events, I’d aged a year when the event was over.”

Some of the typical Hackfit workouts include yoga, rock climbing, running, martial arts, and even Tai Chi.

As word begins to spread about Hackfit, interest has boomed and new events have already been scheduled for San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Boston in 2014.

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