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“What the heck is Fitocracy?” you ask. On the surface, it is a web site and app that turn fitness into a game of sorts. From the website:
Fitocracy’s mission is to make fitness a more fun, more addictive experience. Play Fitocracy to beat challenges, push your boundaries, and show your friends who’s boss. Get addicted to your fitness.
I find many more benefits beyond the “game” aspects–we’ll get to them shortly. But first, I love video games. At one point in my life I was addicted to World Of Warcraft (WOW), which is an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, where you start a character and, along with thousands of other players on the internet, explore an on-line fantasy world, participate in quests, and earn achievements. I spent hours upon hours playing this game, promising myself I would quit and go to bed after just one more quest or as soon as my character achieved the next level.
After 10 years or so, I had to stop playing the game because I needed to spend my leisure time doing more productive things and my addiction to this game helped prevent that. So when I heard of this web site called Fitocracy that combined fitness with aspects similar to WOW, I had to check it out.
Sure enough, like WOW, Fitocracy let’s you log your workouts, either on the web site or via the app (iOS/Android) and you are rewarded with points. As you accumulate points you achieve levels. This is where it gets fun because, like WOW, the early levels are easily achievable, but they becomeincreasingly harder as you progress–it’s addictive! To give you an idea, in the first 15 days of using the site I went from Level 1 to Level 11. I am now at Level 43 and it took me 170 days to get from Level 42 to Level 43! The same addition I had when leveling up my video game character is now being used to motivate me in the gym! “How many pull ups will it take for me to get enough points to hit the next level today?”
There are also quests, achievements and duels. Quests motivate you to do a variety of different fitness activities by awarding you extra points when you accomplish certain tasks. For example, there is quest called “The Squat Isn’t So Scary!” which simply requires you to perform a single barbell squat and will earn you an extra 10 points. There are simple ones like that and some more difficult, like “Monkeying Around” which will earn you 300 points if, in a single day’s workout, you can do 10 pull ups, 5 wide-grip pull ups, 1o chin ups, and 10 parallel-grip pull ups.
Achievements are also awarded for social activity on the site as well as exercise milestones. For example, if you receive 100 props (props are similar to a Facebook “Like”), you will receive the “Feeling The Love” achievement. Similarly, if and when you are able to do a bench press for at least .9 times your body weight then you will earn the “Push It (Barbell)” achievement. Achievements are cool and motivating for me!
There are also duels, where you can challenge another Fito (what we call ourselves) to contest of sorts, like who can log the most push ups in a 30 day period.
For me the points and other “game” aspects of Fitocracy are cool and motivating, but another, and maybe even more important benefit, is being part of a positive community of like-minded people interested in health and fitness. There are groups you can join where people with specific interests (not all directly related to fitness) can connect, like “The Fit Bookworms” group, the “StrongLifts 5×5” group, and the “Paleo” group, to name a few I’ve joined.
The site is really a very targeted social media platform that I find incredibly supportive and motivational. Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t trolls lurking around that try to spoil things, but I find the folks at Fitocracy do a pretty good job of policing the site and keeping it positive and (mostly) troll-free. This is a diverse community as well, with folks that are just beginning their fitness journey, to highly accomplished athletes, personal trainers and everyone in between, including men and women of all ages and races across the planet.
Another great benefit I find from the site/app is it easily allows me to log my workouts. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, tracking my progress against goals is a key for me to stay consistent with my workouts. The app allows me to see my history and personal best for any exercise I have logged in the past. I love having that data on my phone and at my fingertips! If you’re not getting stronger, you’re getting weaker! 😀
I have no affiliation with Fitocracy whatsoever (in fact I have chosen to support the site monetarily because of the value it brings me). So why am I telling you this? Fitness can be a lonely journey. It helps me to have a like-minded community supporting me and motivating me. In my life, workout partners come and go–rarely do they last more than a few months–but Fitocracy has been there for me since I joined nearly three years ago. Part of the purpose of this blog is to relate how I stay lean, athletic, and young, and Fitocracy is an important tool!
If you use Fitocracy, I’d love to connect–I’m “danthebucsfan”. Please leave feedback in the comments and I’d love to learn tools you use in your journey. As always…
Be smart in the kitchen and beast in the gym!