Are you a born competitor? Early in life, it might show up as sibling rivalry, excelling in academic and athletic competitions, and making just about everything you do in life into a competition. This approach can get you in trouble when it comes time to work with instead of against others, but the competitive bug can be very beneficial to helping you achieve health and fitness goals at the fitness center.
You don’t have to look far to find signs that many of us are motivated to exercise by our obsession with data, the chance to beat our own records, and the excitement of competing with others. One of those signs is the rising popularity of fitness tracking devices and mobile apps. Are you the competitor when it comes to exercise, and life in general? Use it to increase your fitness and that of others you draw into a friendly competition! Here are a few apps to try.
1. Fitocracy. This workout app’s main advantage is that it turns working out into a game. When you complete workouts, reach levels, and achieve challenges, you’ll be rewarded with points and special banners. The best part is the social network of users and friends that comes with it.
2. Yog. Yog is similar to running apps that rely on GPS to track runs and bicycle rides, but the difference is that you can “run with” others around the world, in real time. Runs aren’t dependent on location, just start time and duration, so you can even log them at the fitness gym. During your run, you’ll get updates on where you’re at in the ‘race’ with other ‘yoggers.’
3. Strava. Strava makes running and bicycling, which are often solo activites, into social events with others in your community. Your activity is logged and uploaded like usual, but you can also compare your performance with others who have completed same routes or compete together in various challenges.
4. Fit Friendzy. This workout app offers workout challenges from easy to hard and allows you to join with other users and also invite friends to participate. Rather than competing against others, you’ll cheer each other on as you each compete against your own abilities.
5. EveryMove. This app tracks all your daily activity (even pulled from other devices), and your goal is to earn points towards physical rewards offered by brands or even your participating employer or insurance provider.
There are certainly many more options for utilizing the motivating power of competition: sharing your workout results on social media, starting an informal Facebook group, and posting workout stats and videos on Instagram where you friends will see them, just to name a few. Research has shown that when we know our performance is being evaluated (by either ourselves or others), it makes us work harder. Not everyone is a born competitor, but most of us can take advantage of even small amounts of this trait to ramp up our fitness center workouts and see the results we’ve been working for.