More milestones

by Gilbert Keith

I have reached 100K points on fitocracy today. The number itself doesn’t mean anything… but it has the aura of a milestone. Let’s take a moment to reflect.

Fitocracy was a great find. I don’t know how I first came about it. I want to say it was because of some article I’d read on the gamification of health. Whatever it was, I’m glad I read it and joined Fitocracy. It is basically an app that lets you track workouts. Being able to track what I’ve been doing has been a blessing. I tried it before using various apps before, but almost always I was unsuccessful.

Fitocracy is a fantastic product. Where it has others beat is that it has a sense of community to it. People are not just logging workouts, but they are also asking for running advice; offering/soliciting form checks; engaging in challenges with several other people (whom they’ve probably never met in person!) or dueling against someone else (in the form of points, of course; and again, probably with someone they’ve never met in person!); and most importantly, fitocrats are able to find a community that ‘gets’ them… their desire to run tens of miles every week, their desire to squat 2x the bodyweight, or whatever the goal is, the people on Fitocracy are fairly supportive.

100K points mean that I’m a level 27 Fitocrat now. If the Fitocracy accounts are representative of the world (or, say, the US), I am #19403 of ~590000, i.e. about 97th percentile. If I’m interpreting Fitocracy numbers correctly, this is where I stand among the active users:

  • People who’ve logged workouts in the last 7 days: # 5613 of 140000. About 96th percentile.
  • People who’ve logged workouts in the last 30 days: #6859 of 166500. Also about 96th percentile.
  • People who’ve logged workouts in the last 90 days: #10849 of 195000. About 94th percentile.

So, I’m pretty happy with where I am.

Interestingly enough, even though I’ve talked about the virtues of the Fitocracy community above, I don’t engage with the community as much. I’ll prop somebody every once in a while… or offer advice/suggestions more rarely. I can’t say I’ve built a community on Fitocracy. Most of my friends/followers on Fitocracy who I know are people who I have known outside of Fitocracy. There are some really active users who’ve built a great community. The really active users are propping others, posting on the more social groups as well as workout groups, etc. all the time… Some have even gone so far as online dating! I frankly don’t understand how people have all the time, but good for them that they are able to do it.

What has Fitocracy meant for me?

  • Meaningful Workouts
    I have tried being truthful about keeping a track of workouts. Initially, I kept a track of every little thing, eg. the walk I took from the work parking lot to my office (to be honest, though the walk to and back was well over a mile sometimes;) the number of floors for which I took the stairs as opposed to taking the elevator, etc. Now, I only consider the more meaningful workouts (the kind that make you sore the next morning) to be Fitocracy worthy.
  • Motivation
    It’s great to have something besides yourself motivate you to do things. And fitocracy has that built in. There are tens of ‘quests’ and ‘achievements’ that you can aspire to conquer, and performing those feats unlocks a badge for you which you display on your profile. In that sense, it’s kind of like the ‘Mayor of coffeeshop’ badges that foursquare allowed you to unlock, except 3x more meaningful. Furthermore, performing some of them gives you additional points for the effort you expend. It’s a nice little reward (although ultimately the points don’t mean anything.)
  • Accuracy
    Last October, if you’d asked me how much I ran, I’d have said ‘Probably about 50 miles a month.’ There is no way I ever ran 50 miles a month until this year. Logging workouts on Fitocracy forced me to start mapping the routes I ran to find out how much exactly I was running. It turns out that in the month of Sept. ’13 I ran about 76 miles. This comes out to an average of 19 miles per week. There was no way I was running more than half that in Sept ’12.
  • Progress
    With accurate metrics comes better forecasting ability. There was a time in June where I realized that perhaps I could run 100 miles within a span of 4 weeks. I accomplished that in a span of 3. To be honest, it was a bit of a struggle, but the struggle was well worth it, as I realized that while the goal was within reach, I had to be smarter about the journey.
    The same goes for squats. There was a time when I would squat 85 pounds and feel proud of it. Then I saw some folks on Fitocracy squatting 5 times that. I had a vague goal of being able to squat my bodyweight (and perhaps a little more) sometime. This is how I fared; not bad, eh?

Fitocracy has seen a bunch of growth, which is great for them. I hope they continue to be able to build good products and offer to fill in the whole fitness thing. I’m sure that in the coming days, integration with products like FitBit or the Nike band are in the making, as other some other ways to make the experience more seamless. I haven’t hesitated to pay for the Fitocracy “Hero” premium service. $45 for a year was a reasonable price to pay for this fantastic product.