There are a number of apps and websites out there for tracking your fitness activities and work out routines but for many people, none come close to the fitocracy.com and the Fitocracy iPhone app. Once you’re beyond those exercises your physical therapist prescribed get Fitocracy! Both the website and the iPhone app are discussed in this review.
Our Fitness App Requirements
We came across Fitocracy in our search for a good work out tracker app. The requirements were:
- easily enter weight and reps of exercises performed at the gym
- monitor history and progress of exercises over time
- create workout routines
- user friendly
We tried several other apps including Fleetly, JEFit, GAIN Fitness, DailyBurn, and others. None of them were satisfying. Then we tried Fitocracy.
Fitocracy has a many very useful features. They nailed the most important one to us; easily entering and tracking exercises at the gym. Using their very polished iPhone app it’s very easy to add exercises, reps, sets, weights, routines and even your daily weigh in. Once you’ve completed your workout you can submit it to their web service. Now your workout is saved and available on the full featured website as well.
The iPhone app makes it very easy to search for exercises to add them to your workout on the fly, or choose from one of your previously created exercise routines. You can see what weight you used last time on that exercise or how many reps you did. You can easily add and remove exercise to/from your current routine. You can even add notes to any of the exercises. The interface is very slick and is head and shoulders above those of the other apps we tried.
Its very easy to create exercise routines on the website and then access them on your iPhone if you prefer to do it that way. Instructions on how to perform each exercise is provided in place both on the website an on the iPhone. Tips for the exercises and for using the app are conveniently placed throughout the apps.
Tracking Workouts on the Fitocracy iPhone app
Tracking Workouts on the Fitocracy Web Site
FITOCRACY AND FITNESS GAMIFICATION
Fitocracy turns working out into a MMORPG; exercising as competition.
Gamification Elements of Fitocracy
Based on the exercises you completed during your workout you are awarded points as well based on Fitocracy’s assessment of fitness benefit. When you get to different milestones of total accumulated points you are levelled up. The levels are awarded fairly often and early to get you motivated right away.
In addition to the levels you are also awarded achievement badges for your various activities. There are badges for achievements such as running your first 5km, lifting a certain percentage of your body weight for various weight training activities, cycling certain milestone distances, etc.
There are a huge number of achievement badges and it’s surprising how motivating they can be. On the iPhone app there are suggested ‘Next Goals’ that show you what your next achievable goal/badge is for some of the exercises you’ve performed in the past or for new exercises. It’s fun to see your collection of achievements grow. It also helps diversify your workout routines by encouraging you to try different exercises.
Quests are very similar to achievements but usually consist of multiple activities; e.g. “Try three different shoulder exercises within 7 days” or “Century Push: Perform 100 push ups in as few sets as possible.” Again, another nice way of getting you to stay motivated and try different exercises and activities.
Challenges take place between Groups, which will be discussed later in the review. They are like Duels, below, but on a larger scale.
You can also start a Duel; a competition between your and another member for a specific activity. We have yet to try the Duel feature. If you have, let us know in the comments what you think. Note that this feature is only available to Fitocracy Heros; those people who are paying members of Fitocracy.
Duels on the Fitocracy Web Site
SOCIAL ASPECTS OF FITOCRACY
Fitocracy also provides a fitness community, a specialized social network of people with a common interest; getting or keeping fit. Like many other social networks, you can ‘follow’ other users and see their progress as well as share your progress with them.
A large part of Fitocracy’s focus is on friends. There are a number of ways of finding friends within the Fitocracy system. You can find friends based on Tags or Groups and you can invite your own friends to join as well. Get 10 friends to sign up and you get awarded temporary Fitocracy Hero status.
You can add Tags to your profile. Tags can be anything really. The types of actives you do, where you live, words that describe yourself, etc. You can find new friends by clicking on a tag to see who else has this tag, and allows other users to more easily find you.
Providing a social aspect to the site and app encourages people to become more involved and find Fitocracy more valuable and useful. The belief is that giving your friends the ability to see your activities will motivate you to get off the couch and get active more often.
Fitocracy also has a Groups aspect to it as well. You can join groups to find other users you may have things in common with; again, this is meant to help motivate you. You can even create Challenges with other groups.
The main page of the Fitocracy website and first screen of the iPhone app displays your Feed. This feed display Fitocracy related activities, most recent at the top. You can filter this feed in a number of ways so that you can see only your activities, your friends activities, the activities of your groups, or everyone. You also have the ability to comment on the items in the feed and give ‘props’ to other users. There are a number of achievements around the number of props you give and receive.
A member forum is also available on the site for engaging with fellow members. The forum allows more in depth discussions than can occur in the feed. The search functionality of the forum appears to be broken at the time of this writing. There’s a wealth of information in these forums but without the search functioning it can be hard to find what you’re after.
The ‘You’ screen on the Fitocracy Web Site
Fitocracy integrates Runkeeper, the popular website and smartphone application for tracking your running, hiking, walking, cycling activities. Runkeeper will track your pace, elevation change, distance, and location via GPS. Once you’ve added your Runkeeper account to Fitocracy it will access and import any new Runkeeper activities and add them to your profile as well as award you points and achievements accordingly. Very nice.
Fitocracy is a great app and website. What makes it even greater is the fact that you can get most of these features for absolutely no cost. If you choose to, you can become a Fitocracy Hero by paying $4.99/month or $44.99 a year. Being a Fitocracy Hero gets you the following additional features:
- Duels (described above)
- Ability to “Claim a Title”; a special title that shows up whenever your name is displayed on the website. You can unlock additional titles
- Save the workouts/routines of other members to your own account
- A fancy shmancy badge, exclusive to Fitocracy Heros
- The warm fuzzy feeling of financially supporting a great app and service
- Early access to new features
- Ability to save unlimited routines (non-heros are limited to 8 routines)
Another added benefit of paying for the service is that, ponying up cash for something usually makes you more likely to use it. That means, even more motivation to get exercising!
SHORTCOMINGS OF FITOCRACY
While Fitocracy is very feature rich and polished it does have a few shortcomings. For one, we were often frustrated by problems with the discussion forum. Every time we tried using the search functionality to find answers not available on the rather spartan FAQ page, we were simply redirected to the home page of the site.
Also, while Fitocracy does allow you to enter in your weight daily there doesn’t seem to be any way to view your weight over time. The Dashboard allows you to view your changes in reps and weight per exercise over time but there is no option to view your weight loss/weight change. We find it very surprising that this feature is not implemented. Perhaps we just couldn’t find it..?
On a similar note, integration with the Withings scale would be nice for some.
A problem that we encountered was related to metric versus imperial measures. This is partially our own fault as we think in pounds for weight but in kilometers/kilometres/km for distance. Unfortunately Fitocracy is all or none in this regard.
Another big shortcoming is the lack of an Android app (See the update at the bottom of the article). This will disappoint many considering the numbers of Android users out there. They’re missing out on a huge market here but I’m sure there’s an Android app in the works. For now you may want to try the unofficial, hacked Android app or the mobile site listed below.
We were disappointed to see that for running, greater points are awarded only for greater time and/or greater distance. This means that if you run the same distance but in less time (i.e. you ran faster) you get less points than if you ran same distance but slower.
A feature that we feel would also come in handy is a calendar view of workouts. It’s useful to see the days in which fitness activities occurred and to be able to got back to any given day to view specific activities.
Integrations with more apps would also be an improvement. We love Runkeeper but there are many other similar apps that could be integrated.
The iPhone app is great for tracking workouts at the gym or on the go. As mentioned in the list of shortcomings, there’s no app yet for you Android users but there are two options:
- mobile website at http://www.fitocracy.com/m/play/
- an unofficial, hacked together Android app at http://h4kr.com/fitocracy-android-app (no longer there!)
The website (http://fitocracy.com) is great when you’re at your computer.
Fitocracy met our requirements with flying colors and offered features that we didn’t know we wanted until we experienced them. We’re just getting started with Fitocracy so if you’re a seasoned veteran of the service and know of some useful tips or items we should have mentioned, please let us know in the comments.
If you’re interested in tracking your fitness activities, and especially if some additional motivation would help you get and stay active, Fitocracy is definitely worth trying. Even if you’re not into the social aspects, this is still a great app for tracking your workouts and fitness activities. Go get started and level up!
UPDATE: Fitocracy for Android is now availble here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fitocracy.app&hl=en
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