Apr 17, 2012

The Gamification of Fitness, on the iPhone

Since this is Practical iStuff, I don't really talk about games much. However, the concept of gamification, applying gaming techniques for real-world uses, is an interesting one. Using gaming motivators like accumulating points, earning achievements, and "leveling up" are greatly practical when applied to things like fitness. If you are like me, a person for whom exercise can be a tedious, er..."exercise", any additional motivation is good.

I was looking for a workout tracker for my iPhone that worked well for weight-lifting and tried several before discovering Fitocracy, an app that advertises itself as a "fitness social network. I have yet to tap into it's social potential, mostly because no one I know is on it yet, but I have been using it's game-like aspects as a motivator. Scoring points, leveling up, and completing quests help me want to do more. If nothing else, it encourages me to take the time to track my exercises.

Exercising gets you points and points enable you to level up. In addition, there are achievements and quests. Achievements are like badges. Quests are similar to achievements but earn you points. The quests and achievements are interesting, though I don't have all the equipment at home to complete some of them.

The exercises in Fitocracy are pretty exhaustive and you can save them in routines. For example, I just completed my Shoulder & Bicep routine tonight. The only thing I had to enter for my saved routine were changes from the last routine, making entry quicker than any other app that I've tried.

Fitocracy is a free app and has a web component that allows you to enter workouts online, which sync with the app. (This is very useful, by the way.) If you need a little extra motivation to work out, try it out and let me know what you think.

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