Marc Saltzman: App Dad


Not Motivated While Exercising? Try This Free App!

Fitocracy Fuses Workouts With Social Networking And Gaming Elements

Fitness-related apps aren't too uncommon these days, including those that list exercises to try, video tutorials on maximizing your workout, or letting you log your progress using the touchscreen.

Now, the folks behind the Fitocracy online fitness communityalready with more than a quarter of a million membershave launched an official iOS app that also folds in workout routines, social support, and video game-like mechanics, as a dangling carrot to keep you incented.

Free to download, sign up, and use, Fitocracy is designed to help you stay focused and motivated when it comes to your fitness goals.

After you sign in, you tap to select an exercise or routine from the long list of options. You can search (e.g. sit-ups or golf), browse by type (abs, back, legs, arms, full body, chest, etc.), or scroll up and down through the alphabetical listfrom Ab crunch machine to Zumba. Now you can select how long you're doing it for, number of reps, and, in some cases, intensity (light, moderate, high, etc.).

When you're done the workout, you will be rewarded with some points, such as 345 points for an hour-long aerobics class at moderate intensity.

Not only are all your workouts now logged for easy reference, but you can use those points to "level up," like a role-playing game (RPG), earn achievements and badges, and take on new quests. These achievements can be something like: "perform at least 5 pull-ups in a single set," or "perform a dumbbell bench press for at least a third of your bodyweight." Quests will earn you points, such as getting 300 points for "Bootcamp," which includes running at least 2 kilometres in one session, along with at least 40 push-ups, and at least 100 crunches.

Just like other social networking sites, Fitocracy allows you to add friends, join groups (to work collectively on points and challenges), chat, comment, follow and be followed, scan your news feed, and compare your results with others. All of this is handled within a clean and intuitive interface on the iPad. The app was designed for iPhone and iPod touch, however, so you'll want to tap the 2x button to expand the app to full screen on an iPad.

Another potential issue is that you don't really need to perform the exercises to gain the points and perform challenges. You can fake it by tapping "End Workout," without even starting it. But, it would defeat the purpose of this app as a motivational tool. Also, it would be a great idea if the app showed you how to perform new exercises, as well, via photos, videos, and text instructions.

Fitocracy is an idealand freeapp for those who might need some extra incentive to workout, or for fitness types who'd enjoy the interactive and game-like elements.