Fitness apps and wearable devices provide a lot of useful functions for everyone from the couch potato trying to get more active to serious amateur athletes and trainers. Just about anyone can get something out of them.
But if you are limiting your device and app use to your own individual fitness goals, you’re missing out a great function: using apps and trackers to make fitness social, competitive, and fun.
Most of us are naturally competitive to some degree. This sense of competing, with ourselves and with others, drives ambition and motivation. A little healthy competition between friends, co-workers, or trainers and clients is a great way to push fitness goals further. Here’s how to do it.
First of all, it’s fun. But of course, there are many other reasons to consider setting up these kinds of competitions. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, a competition with friends or fellow gym enthusiasts is a great way to motivate, inspire, and hold each other accountable.
Some of us live for a workout, but for many people exercise is kind of a drag. You can make it more fun by making it a game. Everyone likes a game, and that’s just what a competition is. Whether you win or lose, you improve your fitness and health, and that’s always a win.
One of the most difficult parts of getting fit and healthy is sticking with the plan, avoiding sliding back into old, bad habits. Working out with friends will keep you motivated. You don’t want to let them down and not show up at the gym, right? And you can also hold each other accountable. With a competition, you will be checking in and making sure each person is getting involved and doing their best.
Struggling to keep clients motivated? Check out this helpful post on the ISSA blog for some tips.
A competition is a great way to bring out the best in participants. And that can inspire everyone. Seeing one of your friends hit a goal they’ve been trying to get to for months feels great. It inspires you to keep chipping away at your own goals and to work even harder.
Activity tracker and app competitions aren’t just for groups of friends. If you’re a trainer, a competition among your clients can be a great tool. Here are some ways to use it:
Did your weight loss client really get their cardio in with a run over the weekend? You can know for sure if you use trackers, apps, and friendly competitions. Accountability is a tough part of training. It can be difficult to get your clients to do what they know they should. These games and apps can really improve results with increased accountability.
Competitions in your client groups can also be a great way to track progress. If everyone is on the same app, you can keep things like the number of workouts, weigh-ins, and even heartrates organized and in one place. Monitoring progress is important for seeing results and getting your clients to track it with an app or game will make it easier for you as the trainer.
Ultimately your job as a trainer is to help your clients meet their goals. With friendly competitions, you have a fun way to set clear goals for all your clients. And, with a push from you through the app or with the chance to win the competition, they are more likely to meet them sooner.
If you want to use wearable devices and step and fitness trackers in your competitions, there are some things to consider. When everyone in a challenge group has the same or compatible devices, you can sync up and see each other’s results. For example, with Apple Watch, you can use the iPhone’s activity function to set up seven-day competitions:
Share activities and notifications with friends by opening the Activity app, clicking sharing, and adding in friends from your contact list.
To start a competition, open the Activity app on your watch, swipe left, and select friends.
Tap on compete, then invite.
Once your friends accept the invitation, you can get started.
You earn a point for each percent you earn in the Activity rings per day.
At the end of the week, whoever has the most points wins.
The Apple Watch setup is a simple way to motivate a group of people to be more active, regardless of what the activity is. The downside is that this can only be used between Apple users. It won’t sync with Fitbit or other devices.
Fitbit is a common device, so if most of the people you want to set up a competition with have it, you may be able to make it work. Those with another kind of device can still download the Fitbit app and track basic metrics, including number of steps, calories burned, and total distance. You can set up some more basic challenge groups this way.
To connect different types of devices, you need a linking app. Check out Count.it, which was designed to help work teams compete in fitness challenges. Basic functions, which include connecting devices, a leaderboard, and notifications, are free. The app also allows for different types of activities within the same challenge.
Read this post on the ISSA blog about the best fitness trackers to help choose your next device or make recommendations for your clients.
Another option is to use apps on smartphones to connect with challenge members. Each individual’s devices may not sync up or connect directly, but the right app will connect each user’s device to the app on their phone. From there you can all keep track of each other and your competition status. Here are some apps to consider:
Stridekick. Stridekick is free for up to ten people per challenge group. It connects to any tracking device and allows you to join existing challenges or to create your own. The free version includes four different challenge modes. The streak counts the days it takes to hit a fitness goal; leaderboard shows challenge members, ranked; journey is a virtual travel challenge; and target tracks your pace in hitting step goals. Also, you get data to analyze, which is great for trainers.
Motivade. Motivade provides more detail in setting up challenge groups, so this is a good one for trainers and clients. When creating a challenge, you can set parameters that include the kind of exercise, the metric you’ll use to measure progress and wins, and the duration. You can even set prizes or awards for more motivation.
Challenge Hound. This is a great challenge app for trainers who love data and metrics. It provides some of the best and most detailed analysis of fitness information. No matter what tracker each person is using, the information gets uploaded automatically and updates graphs and charts.
Charity Miles. For anyone motivated by helping others, or if your group just wants to be a little less self-involved, try Charity Miles. This free app simply tracks miles moved, regardless of the type of exercise. For each mile you get in, the app’s corporate sponsorship pool contributes money to a charity of your group’s choice. Choose your charity as a group and set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise. What could be more inspiring?
Strava. For your running enthusiasts, it’s hard to beat Strava. This social app allows you to connect with friends and share your activities but also to set up private challenges and join public challenges. Track number of miles, time spent running, elevation, pace improvement, or set specific distance goals to hit. Use more metrics, like heart rate, with the paid, premium edition.
The sky is the limit when it comes to creating and using fitness challenges and activity tracker competitions with friends and clients. This is a great way to make working out more fun and to provide motivation, which we all need to some degree.
Are you inspired to change your career? To help people get fit? To make fitness your life? Check out the ISSA’s comprehensive certification course in Personal Training.