Jordan and Alicia rise to the challenge with UP Duels

Jordan Estreito and Alicia Carney

UP3 Silver Cross

When you have someone who is challenging you to a step challenge like Duels, it helps you stay motivated.

“I didn’t have a lot of health issues growing up,” confesses Jordan Estreito, a 30-year-old product manager, bassist and UP3™ wearer, who sits next to his friend Alicia Carney. “I ran track and cross country. Recently, I tried to get back into running, but I felt terrible. I just could not do it.”

“Meanwhile, I actually have an Excel spreadsheet of my health issues because it’s hard to keep track of them,” replies Alicia with a hint of playfulness in her voice. She takes a deep breath and continues, “The most notable one is when I was 15; I was diagnosed with Lupus. Out of the blue I went from a basketball star to—well, I couldn’t move.”

Over the next five years, Alicia consulted with her medical team on treatments and daily management of her condition, hoping to get her life back. “My doctors told me I would be on medicine for the rest of my life, but I didn't want to accept that quality of life, having to take pills every day.”

Inspired by the desire to remain independent of medication, Alicia began to wonder if there was anything else she could do to take charge of her health. “I’m a vegetarian, so I was asking ‘Should I eat meat? What can I do to help this?’ The doctors encouraged me to continue taking the pills, but said I could taper down medications for stability and pain, based on my comfort level.

“When I went to college, I decided to research how cutting out inflammatory foods and activities can help conditions like mine. I cut out processed food and decided to try a new routine. I started going to the gym every day. I would just walk at first for 30 minutes, and watch ‘Jeopardy.’ Next, I tried running for 30 minutes. Eventually, I was running for a full hour. As I ran, I tapered off my medicine. I felt better, I felt lighter, I had less pain. One day, I completely forgot to take my medicine and I felt fine. After a month of being off medicine, I checked in with my doctor. He was happy with my progress, and I ran my first marathon fully off medicine in 2011. Movement really saved my life. It was really simple. I didn’t do CrossFit or anything—I just had to get moving.”

In 2013, Jordan and Alicia met while working at Tallie, an expense management software company in San Francisco. They made fast friends, and soon found that their friendship motivated them to reach their fitness goals as well. “San Francisco is one of the best cities to walk around, explore and see things.” Jordan explains, “I was doing this thing where I’d walk to and from work every day,” when Alicia interjects excitedly, “and I got jealous! I drive to work every day from the northern part of the East Bay and he had a full hour to walk to work, instead.”

Envious of Jordan’s new routine, Alicia purchased an UP2™ band to help integrate even more steps and activity into her day. “When I first got my Jawbone band, I saw the step battle feature but I didn’t have anyone to Duel. Since Jordan was walking all the time, he decided to get a Jawbone band too. Thus began the most epic duel competition in the history of the world,” she turns to Jordan spiritedly. “Why don’t you tell them how it goes? Every single time.” With a sidelong glance at Alicia, Jordan laughs cautiously. “I usually win. Yeah.”

“It sucks! One time I got very angry at him because I woke up at 6AM on a Sunday, and I was behind by 6,000 steps,” Alicia exclaims. “I go running out into the foggy, cold San Francisco Bay and was ahead about 2,000 steps. I thought, ‘I got this. He’s at home playing Super Smash Brothers right now. I’m totally good.’ When I get home, the Duel is up. It’s time to sync my band. I’m already reveling in my victory, and all of a sudden the UP App says to me, ‘Sorry, you lost by 36 steps.’”

Jordan rallies, quickly hurrying to explain his side of the story. “While she was out running, I was in my bed, super sore from the gym the night before. I went to bed thinking there was no way she would catch up, but here I am in bed, watching her slowly gaining. When I got that message from the UP App, ‘You’ve been passed,’ I thought, ‘Screw this!’ I went outside and ran around the block a couple of times, then I synced later. That’s when Alicia sent me a text that said ‘I’m angry in real life. This is not fake angry.’”

“That might be the only time I got legitimately mad at you,” laughs Alicia. “I think we needed to take a break from Duels for a little while after that, but the overall result from Duels is actually really positive. I’m doing laps around the office, I’m parking further away. These little things add up, and make my dark and scary health history manageable.”

When asked if they have any advice for others thinking about making a change, Alicia and Jordan both agree that involving friends in your fitness plan is a smart move. Says Alicia, “Find a friend. It makes staying active so much more fun. When you can share health with someone, it takes it to a whole new level. Duels are a constant reminder for us to keep moving.” Jordan nods in wholehearted agreement, turning to Alicia. “Sure, Duels are a competition, but what’s really awesome is to feel like I’m supporting you,” he adds.

Aside from Duels, which is their favorite UP App feature, Alicia and Jordan also have a mutual appreciation for Smart Coach. “What I like about Smart Coach is that it analyzes the data from your band and surfaces it in a way that’s really helpful in the UP App,” explains Alicia. “It will say, ‘You were behind on your sleep goal last week. Go to sleep a few minutes early today to help improve your sleep this week.’ These baby steps work great for people like me, and I’ve improved my average sleep by over an hour with these incremental changes.” Jordan agrees, adding, “and the hydration thing. Drinking water for me has absolutely changed. Smart Coach has been helping me to drink more water and not just coffee or alcohol.”

Their habits aren’t the only things that are changing. A few weeks after this interview, Alicia will be moving to London to live and work full-time. Jordan will remain in San Francisco. Alicia explains, “We plan to keep using Duels when I move. I recently mapped out my route from my flat to work and back again, and how many steps it would be. The best part is, Duels are a new channel for Jordan and me to stay healthy and connected,” Alicia says with a big grin. “Totally” Jordan quickly agrees, “and trash talking—that’s fun too.”