An unofficial guide to Fitocracy :)

How to: join a challenge

One of the best things about groups is that they have challenges where group members can compete against each other for bragging rights and the glory of seeing their name in the group sidebar.

When one of your groups creates a challenge, you’ll get a message in your feed.

Challenge notification

Click on the link where it says “Click here to join the challenge.” This will take you to the group page where you can see the details of the challenge in the left sidebar.

challenge join

Under the challenge title, you can see the dates, a description of the challenge activity, a message from the group admin, and how many days until the challenge starts. If it looks like fun, click the Join Challenge button! :)

When you join the challenge, you’ll automatically be directed to the group’s challenge tab and your name will be highlighted in the list. Once the challenge starts, the leaderboard will be here and you can check on your place in the competition.

challenge group tab

You can leave a challenge any time before it starts by clicking the Leave Challenge button.

(If you need to see a bigger version of any of these screenshots, right click on it and open the image. :)

How to: find and join a group

A big part of what makes Fitocracy fun (and so addictive :) is that you can play with—and against—other people.

Groups are hangouts where you can talk about your sport or hobby with other people that share your interest, and have their own challenges that members can compete against each other. There are groups for just about everything, so the first step is to find one you think you might be interested in.

Click the Groups button on the menu bar. It will take you to the main Groups page where you’ll see a search box and a list of the groups you already belong to in the left column and a combined feed from all your groups on the right.

groups page

In the search box, type in something you’re interested in. (An activity, the city or country where you live, a TV show or hobby are all good.) Let’s find a group for the zombie apocalypse.

groups search

You can choose to search only the group name, or the group description too. (If you don’t get results searching a name, include the description.) Just hit enter on your keyboard to search and the results will be on the right.

Click the name of a group to go to its page.

groups join

From the group page, you can see a little more information about the group, like how many members it has, and browse the recent activity. If it looks like a good group, click the Join Group button.

Now you’ve joined a group! Yay!

(If you need to see a bigger version of any of these screenshots, right click on it and open the image. :)

How to: find an exercise when you don’t know what it’s called

It’s easy to find an exercise when you know exactly what it’s called on Fitocracy. But sometimes you type an activity in the search box and come up with a blank. Or what if you don’t know what it’s called to begin with?

If you have a general idea what you’re looking for, you might be able to find it from the track page.

Search tips

  • Try only part of the name, like “press” and then scroll through the results.
  • Sometimes a more specific term will help; vinyasa and hatha, two of the most common forms of yoga, don’t appear in the results for “yoga” because it’s not included in the exercise name; you have to search for “hatha” or “vinyasa” to find them.¹
  • Try an alternate name for the activity; “cycling” instead of “biking”, for example.²

Browsing

You can also use the form on the track page to help figure out the name of the activity you want to log. Let’s say I used a machine at the gym and when I go to log it, I don’t know what it was called. (This happens to me a lot because the labels on the machines are in Swedish and I don’t know what the translation is in English. :)

The machine I used was for strength training so I scroll down to the Strength section and in the Equipment column I check the machine option button.

Browsing for an activity

Then I expand the search results box. (It slides under the left column when it’s not being used. Click the > on its top corner to bring it back out.)

I know the machine had a bar I pulled down, so “Lat Pulldown” looks likely. Hover over the name of the machine to see a more complete description.³ If it matches what you did, problem solved. Click on the exercise name to add it to your workout.

In this case, there’s no description of my machine! What’s a girl to do?!

Google, of course. :)

You’ll usually find a brief description in first couple search results, and often some videos. (If you’re looking for a machine, an image search is usually the fastest way to see if it’s the right equipment.)

Another good place to look for exercise pictures and descriptions is Exrx.net.

I still don’t know what it’s called… now what?

If you still have no idea how to log your exercise or what it’s called, visit the Fitocracy Forum and post in either the Beginner forum, or the right Training Forum for your activity and ask for help. People are real friendly, don’t be shy.

(If you haven’t been there before, there’s a button on the menu bar at the top of the page.)

It’s just not there.

The list of trackable activities is growing, but it doesn’t cover everything (and probably never will. :) Sometimes you’re going to want to log something and it just won’t be in the list under any name.

When that happens, you have a couple options.

You can pick something similar (kayaking instead of canoing, for example) and log that activity with a note about what you really did. This way you earn points similar to what the activity should give. The down side is that if you also do the other activity, it might mess up your historical data and personal records.

The alternate thing you can do is log the activity as “other.”

Other search

Select the type of other activity from the list in the search box. The tracking is pretty basic for each type, just duration and intensity for “other cardio” and weight and reps for “other weightlifting.”

Logging an activity as “other” will, most likely, not be worth as many points, but it also won’t complicate your historical data, if those metrics are important to you. :)

If you come across an activity that isn’t in the tracker and you think it should be included, there’s a stickied thread especially for those ideas in the Site Suggestions forum.

¹ Remember Fitocracy is still under development; aliases for exercises are already a requested feature. :)

² If you can’t think of an alternate name, try Googling the one you know. If there are other common names, you can usually pick them up from a quick skim through the search results.

³ Descriptions for activities and exercises are still being added, along with more activities.

How to: log your workout

This is the basic tracking page where you log your exercises. Just click the Track button on the menu at the top of the screen.

Blank Fitocracy tracking page

First, you need to find an exercise to add. The easiest way to do this is by using the Search box on the left. Let’s pretend I did a set of barbell bench presses. (I could totally do a set of barbell bench presses, just so you know. :)

Find your activity

Just start typing the name of the activity in the search box. A pop out will dynamically adjust the results as you keep typing. Hover your mouse over the name of an exercise to see the description.

When you find the right exercise, click on it to add it to your workout.

(And if you accidentally click on the wrong activity, there’s a Delete this activity button in the top right corner for each exercise. :)

After you’ve logged a few workouts in Fitocracy, you’ll have a list of Frequent Activities in the left column. Just click on the activity to add it to today’s workout.

Fill in your workout

Once you’ve found your activities, you need to fill in some information. The kind of information depends on the activity. For weight lifting, you’ll need to enter weight and reps. Cardio activities like cycling or running usually track time and/or distance.

If you do multiple sets of an exercise or multiple sessions of an activity with breaks in between, use the Add Set button under the name of the exercise. If your sets are all identical, you can use Copy Set and Fitocracy will create a new set of the exercise and pre-fill it with the data from the last set you entered for that activity.

Some exercises have Advanced Options. You don’t need to enter this information, but sometimes it adjusts the amount of points you get for an activity. Like the same time and distance cycling in hills is worth more points than on a flat, paved road.

After you’ve filled out your workout, there’s one last bit of information to update: at the bottom of the page, make sure your weight is correct. (Within a couple kilos is fine, no need to be obsessive. :)

Fitocracy uses your current weight to calculate achievements and quests based on lifting a percentage of your bodyweight. If it needs an update, just click the edit link and adjust it.

You’re done! Now click Save Workout.

Yay! Points!

Fitocracy will reload your workout if you return to the track page, so you can edit and update throughout the day. (Useful if you split up activities, like running in the morning and going to the gym in the evening, or cycling to and from work. :)

What IS this Fitocracy thing all the kids are talking about?

Fitocracy is a social fitness game.

It has most of the social features we’ve come to know and love: feeds, friends and followers, profiles, status posting. It has exercise tracking features: sets, weight, reps, time, distance, etc. It integrates with Twitter and Facebook and Runkeeper.

You earn points for the exercises you do. A leisurely stroll around the block might net you something in the neighborhood of 30 points. A long, high intensity hike with a heavy backpack could earn over a thousand. When you get enough points, you level up.

There are quests.

Do a quest, earn some bonus points. Some of them are silly, like “Do 50 jumping jacks and dance for 30 minutes.” Some of them are serious (and hard!) like “Do a 20 rep set of barbell squats at 1x your bodyweight.” (If that’s gibberish, don’t worry. By the time you can do it, you’ll know what it means. :) Some of them are progressive; when you clear one, a more advanced quest becomes available, and you have to run faster, lift more, or cycle longer distances.

There are achievements.

When you accomplish something, like cycling or running a certain distance or bench pressing a certain amount of weight, you earn a little badge for your profile.

There are challenges.

Join (or create) groups and compete with friends and strangers to see who can do the heaviest widowmaker, or run the most miles in a week, or earn the most points over the weekend. (And, eventually, PvP! :)

Still not sure what it is? Maybe this illustration from xkcd will help:

(Make sure to hover your mouse over the picture.)

Tagged: fitocracy, .