Fitocracy Review – What’s it all about?
Around a year ago, I started to hear more and more about an online fitness community called Fitocracy. I briefly looked at the site, saw it was a social network and fitness game where workouts scored points and members levelled up.
I gave it 30 seconds of my attention and thought I didn’t have time for it.
Fast forward a year and I was asked by Jeff Johnson of GameNTrain did I want to do a Fitocracy review? I thought “yeah, why not?” So I signed up…
First Impressions of Fitocracy
The website is huge, yet the team who have designed Fitocracy have done a great job. The site instantly feels familiar, having a similar ‘feed’ layout to many other social sites we all frequent. As expected, you can update your status, add images etc. Essentially the site is a social media platform for fitness enthusiasts.
Cynically, my early thoughts were “do I really need another social network?” but I missed the point. You don’t have to use it for that means. In fact, you may even get more from it if you don’t. Let me explain…
With an exercise database that is more encyclopaedic than any other I have seen online, you can add creativity to your workouts – I am a personal trainer and found myself being inspired by a few of the exercises I had forgotten about yet found on the database!
Additionally, you can keep track of your workouts on the site – maybe the days of the notepad in the gym are over. That is the main reason I will continue to use it beyond my review – I have a way to keep my workout data online in a perfect format – I can see my records, my performance and my exercise selection, which is a great plus point.
If you are struggling with ideas, or you need a challenge to get your motivation up, Fitocracy has the answer (and then some). With challenges galore you can find yourself with a quest no matter what kind of exercise you are in to.
I was amazed when I saw the sheer amount of quests and challenges, but then I suppose the site is maturing and has a pretty huge user base that will generate ideas and content on an hourly basis.
By using it as a means to keep a workout diary and a source of inspiration for future workouts, you don’t have to get involved with the time-suck that is social media. My Fitocracy use is simple – I dip in, look for occasional exercise ideas and dip out, only to return when I upload my workout. I tend not to wade through the blog posts and the group chat unless something really piques my interest.
If you spent too long in the groups you wouldn’t get any training done – there are hundreds of them!
What makes Fitocracy an interesting concept is the gaming angle and the inclusion of levels. The mission (taken directly from the Fitocracy website) states…
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.
And you know what? It works! I am pretty self-motivated, so I don’t rely on increasing levels to keep me going to the gym, but after every workout I find myself heading to Fitocracy to add my workout to the site! To newbies or those struggling with motivation, I bet the levelling up is a real motivator!
Personally, I liked the fact that so many top fitness professionals are on the site meaning you can see their workouts and compare yourself! Interesting to see how the others do things!
I searched online for details as to how Fitocracy calculates the points scored for a workout, but it seems to be a pretty closely guarded secret – that’s fine by me. I don’t want to know – my motivation to train hard isn’t have myself rewarded by a website. I’m actually glad the formula is secret – there are people who would be tempted to cheat the system to simply achieve higher levels, rather than actually do some hard work and achieve a better level.
To be honest, there isn’t much I dislike about the site, so these criticisms are small but perhaps more annoying to others who would use Fitocracy differently to me.
Socially, the site isn’t great – I have tried to follow friends of mine who use the site, typing in their actual user name but it couldn’t find them.
There is the props feature, where you can congratulate other users on their workout. Nice feature, but perhaps not necessary.
There is encouragement to add pics to your page. Personally I find it irritating when people in the gym spend more time playing with their phone than working out and maybe this will encourage this kind of thing – I don’t know, I’m just considering all outcomes.
I would reserve most of my criticism in the Fitocracy review for the app, which I found pretty awful.
I tried to use the app on my iPhone, but it was too clunky. The app seems to require scores of button pushes and instructions to use, whereas the site is far more intuitive and responsive. It also relies on a scrolling system for the adding of a workout. Whilst this is probably as good as it could be with current technology, I found it frustrating to use so don’t bother – I add all of my workout data to the site on my laptop and save myself the irritation of the app.
I have to confess, my first thoughts were wrong. I really like Fitocracy and have found a use for it that fits my requirements. I don’t need another social network and I don’t need external motivation or levels to keep me active. I do need a place to track my workouts and my performance and I do need the occasional creativity boost – Fitocracy provides me with these things.
If you are looking for a Facebook for fitness, go ahead, but I don’t think Fitocracy is the answer. It is so much more than just telling people that you just ‘smashed’ the gym – it is a legitimate training resource, and that is the best compliment I could give it.
By the way, you can follow me on Fitocracy here…..Steve’s Fitocracy Profile
P.S. Since this Fitocracy review was written, my use of the site has tailed off. There are two reasons for this…
1. I want to upload my workouts instantly, rather than wait to get home (I work very long days). As a result I usually end up forgetting some of the details of my session or forget to do it altogether so don’t bother uploading. If the app was better then I would still be using the site.
2. My workouts have been difficult to upload as the exercises aren’t always in the library. If I can only upload elements of my workout rather than the whole thing, it’s pretty pointless.
I still like the idea of Fitocracy, but these two elements have limited/stopped my usage of it.