Gamifying my fitness

You’ve heard the term “gamification” by now, yeah?

Oh, OK … well then.

Gamification, according to Wikipedia, is the “use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.”

For instance, Foursquare allows a user to collect points for check-ins at various locations and become the mayor of frequent stops. There are no real-world prizes, although some businesses could choose to offer discounts and special deals to those who check in.

When I realized Foursquare just wasn’t taking off with businesses in Calgary, I nuked my account. I failed to see any return on investment of my time and keyboard pounding, while I gave free promotion on my Twitter feed to pubs, restaurants and shoe stores.

It was part of a trim-down effort on my social media presence. I wanted to unify and streamline, focusing my attention on Twitter and this site (yeah, yeah, my writing has been spotty lately, shuddit).

But in the quest to attract clients and show them I can incorporate tools into their online strategies, I have to explore new frontiers and try new platforms.

Oh Pinterest, you evil bitch … but we’ll get to that some other time.

Enter Fitocracy.

It’s billed as the game you play to improve your fitness.

Track your progress, compete against your friends, and get real world results. It’s time to be fitter and look better naked.


Huh … look better naked. Who the heck doesn’t want to do that?

I heard about Fitocracy through my pal James Fell, a.k.a. Body for Wife. He thought it might be a gold-mine for potential clients, fitness professionals who need some help and training in getting their websites and social media presences off the ground.

OK, I said. I’ll try it.

I tracked my workouts, gained points and levelled up quickly. I earned a badge for squatting at least 1.2 times my bodyweight and another one for cycling 100 kilometres in my lifetime. Phphpht … I do that in three days every week.

I gained followers. They gave me props. Yes, props.  Fist bumps, if you will.

I participated in discussions.

Then I noticed two factors keeping me from enjoying the platform:

1. It was a monumental pain in the ass to remember logging in and tracking my workouts. In no time at all, it became an afterthought, a last-minute thing at the end of the day that was an annoyance more than anything.

B. Advice is given out freely among the discussions … by people who don’t have the slightest clue what they’re talking about. It’s a wasteland of bad advice, including stories about how AWESOME the hip abduction/adduction machine is. Quite simply, it isn’t.

Look, I get it.

Some people want the “props.” Some people need to track their workouts and gain points. Fitness comes easier to them when they have a source of motivation, a community to turn to for encouragement and advice.

I’m lucky like that. My motivation comes from fatiguing my muscles, sometimes to the point where I can’t walk. It comes from the adrenalin rush of pushing big weight on the squat rack, from the natural endorphin high of riding my bike for 40 clicks, from the way my body starts to look when I care enough to stop eating ice cream and pounding back a few Grasshoppers on the weekend.

And I’m fortunate enough to know several people like James, to whom I can turn for fitness advice when I need it.

So if it’s all right with Fitocracy, I’m out.

It just isn’t my bag.

I just wished they’d answer my Twitter question on how to delete my account.

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