When it comes to getting fit, it’s remarkable what sort of inner dialogue creeps into my mind. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “one day doesn’t make a difference,” or “I’m fine just as I am.” That last one is particularly insidious and hints at a sedentary life – yet it is surprisingly liberating. Still, any philosophical epiphany aside, none of these thoughts help me turn off the Apple TV and get up off the couch.
I’ve found something that does get me off the couch, though: Fitocracy. Its game-like process to getting fit gets me thinking “if I just do a quick 10 minute series of squats, lunges and push-ups, I’ll get that new quest reward and 50 bonus points!” It works, I tell you.
Fitocracy is a fitness social network that rewards users with points for logging the gritty details of their entire workouts. It’s an excellent way to track your progress and keep a small circle of friends updated about your progress (or lack of progress). The service has a staggering breadth of logged exercises to choose from – search for “push up” and you’ll find a whole variety of push-ups to choose from. In the past, the site suffered from a few UX missteps that kept it a bit difficult to navigate – specifically it was difficult for beginners to get used to posting their daily workout and finding how to get back to the “track” section where you complete this action.
Fortunately, the site has undergone a major redesign, and the site has emphasized the right parts of the experience. The new feed page is well spaced and allows users to embed images and videos directly into the feed, similarly to Facebook. For a fitness site, this is crucial. If you sign up for this with a few friends, the feed is now a really great way to keep each other updated on specific cosmetic enhancements to your biceps or grab a video of you rocking a personal record set.
The other two key areas they’ve improved are the profile page and the tracking page. The profile now resembles a Facebook page, with a lot of white space and a focus on a user’s photo and key stats. The profile page used to be just a quick update on their last activities, but the site is now realizing that users are developing their ‘fitness’ personas on Fitocracy, and have allowed users to further decorate this persona.
The tracking page has made improvements, and for a user like me, they’ve made it a lot simpler to register my workouts and also register workouts from the past week which I may not have yet submitted. Also note the big robot – their new mascot. I can’t say that the confused robot seems like the best buddy for a site about becoming as strong as I possibly can, but hey, it’s cute.