Play to stay fit with Fitocracy fitness app
Stairmaster for 10 minutes, treadmill for 30 minutes, three sets of 10 repetitions including barbells, dumbbells, weight machines, and then repeat them all.
Although I’m no stranger to the gym, it’s challenging to stay fit and to keep track of my workouts. Luckily, there are a slew of fitness apps and tech tools to help.
So much so, that the mobile health app marketplace has an estimated 97,000 apps for iOS and Android that want to help you lose weight, track your fitness, manage chronic diseases and address other health issues, according to Research2guidance research specialists.
Fitocracy is one promising workout tracker and fitness social networking app that takes a different approach by motivating users to reach their fitness goals through video-game like features and social integration.
“By optimizing user behavior and rewarding them with points, we are giving users those same dopamine hits you get at the gym,” said 26-year-old Chief Executive Brian Wang, who realized that his addiction to video games is the same addiction that drives his fitness efforts. Both Wang and his University of Pennsylvania college friend and Fitocracy cofounder, Dick Talens, 27, call themselves fitness buffs and have even competed in a bodybuilding competition or two.
The New York City based start-up launched its free iOS app last year and a free Android app in January. The apps turn exercise into a game where you can earn points, level up and earn badges as you monitor workouts. The apps now have more than 1 million users.
Other apps and gadgets such as the popular Nike FuelBand and RunKeeper focus more on tracking the number of days you can work out in a row, which could cause some users to grow discouraged if they were unable to maintain steady progress.
Wang said Fitocracy, on the other hand, focuses on progress and pushes users to do a little more. “We help you celebrate those small victories and make you feel motivated, for example, to run a faster mile time or lift heavier weights.”
That positive reinforcement keeps people going, and is another reason Wang and Talens said they have added a social aspect to Fitocracy. Users can create a Fitocracy profile, connect with people to add friends, join groups, chat, comment, follow, scan news feeds and compare results with others.
One nice thing to point out is that Fitocracy lets you keep measurements, such as your weight, hidden from the public.
Users earn points every time they log a workout, and can even participate in “quests,” sets of gym challenges that will “shock” your body into working on a different muscle group. For example, “boot camp,” which includes running at least 2 miles in one session, along with at least 40 push-ups and at least 100 abdominal crunches gets you 300 points. There are even quests endorsed by Mr. Universe himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
For $5 a month, Wang said, users can upgrade their membership to “Become a Hero,” and get special account perks such as performance reports, private messaging and more.