Gloria Mak, Howl Staff
Summer is right around the corner, which means lots of opportunities to show off that beach body… unless you don’t have one. As a student, it’s not easy to maintain your fitness with a busy schedule to boggle and those readings that you’ve neglected to do. Plus, all that effort put into schoolwork also sucks out most of your motivation to hit the gym! An ingenious and extremely helpful online community that I have found to keep my exercise schedule regular is Fitocracy.
Fitocracy is an online game and social network created by Richard and Brian Wang, attracting experienced gym rats to beginner fitness toe-dippers that want to get in shape and stick with it. It uses game mechanics to help users improve their fitness.
The way it works is different types of exercises are assigned a number of points – higher points for more intense and calorie-burning exercises. Users enter the number of reps and sets or minutes of activity they have completed and they earn these points. By accumulating points, users will eventually “level up.” By doing certain exercises or activities, users can also earn badges. For example, doing at least 3 pull ups in a single set will earn you the “Top of the Bar” badge. In addition, users can be challenged by other users to do certain work outs in a given time period. There are also “quests” that can be completed that motivate users to go out and try a fitness activity that may be outside of their comfort level.
The social network component of Fitocracy is equally attractive. Users can follow other users and be followed. They can also join groups of their interest or start their own groups. What I find so amazing about the community is its relentless positivity. People are constantly encouraged and motivated by each other, and users are quick to answer questions about nutrition. In addition, there is a forum if one requires additional assistance or more in-depth opinions.
The main reason I’m writing this article is to remind the stressed-out students of the University of Toronto to take some time out of their day and break a sweat for a change. Not only does exercise keep you healthy, it is also a great stress reliever! Taking a break will help refresh your perspective.