Dear Internet Fitness Community,
Fitocracy has a really good shot at winning a TechCrunch award for being the startup with the Biggest Social Impact. For those of you not familiar with TechCrunch, it is the premiere tech blog, and winning this would bring a lot of eyeballs to the currently-broken fitness space. I want to tell you about what we’re trying to do, why we need your help, and what this will mean for the industry.
For those of you who don’t know my co-founder Brian and myself, we are former out-of-shape geeks (read about it here and here) who have a huge passion for setting the industry on the right path.
Occupy The Gym: The 99% vs The 1%
In the offline world, people struggle to get fit. They do all the wrong things — lots of ab work, eat like shit, purchase plenty of “magic pills” — then wonder why they never reach their goals. Who can blame them? Everywhere you go, you see misinformation laced with crunches and shake weights. Almost every fitness product tries to shake people down for a quick buck in exchange for promises that they will never fulfill. These products exist because they are extremely profitable. When their customers fail, they get the impression that getting fit is extremely difficult and that enthusiasts like you or I are crazy. This is 99% of the world — mainstream fitness. If you are reading this, you can safely assume you’re not in the 99%, or at the very least, moving away from this group.
Yet, the realm of online fitness is a completely different world. Step foot into Tumblr, Reddit, Something Awful, /fit/, and bodybuilding.com and you’ll find people who find fitness relatively easy. These communities have incredibly high success rates in reaching their goals, rates that the 99% would not believe. The best part is that these people, more often than not, come from the worst physical backgrounds imaginable. They easily reach their goals because they are surrounded by community and knowledge. Members quickly dispel myths by citing experts like Alan Aragon or Martin Berkhan, then setting others on the right path. It’s great seeing guys like “The Spartan Warrior” make these transformations, then give back to the community by paying it forward and getting massive fan bases. Unfortunately to your average person, this world is a niche to most, hidden in the caverns of the internet (try asking any of your offline friends who are trying to get fit what Fittit or Fitblr are).
These two groups of people rarely meet en mass, until now… and they’re doing it on Fitocracy.
For the first time ever, you’re seeing a massive intersection of:
- Normal people (drawn in by the our “game”)… out-of-shape moms, dads, geeks, and non-technical folk
- Knowledgeable fitness enthusiasts
- Experts like Alan Aragon, Martin Berkhan, JC Deen, Roger Law, Andy Morgan, Mark Young, Nia Shanks, and Jon Goodman
We think that we have the ability to change the fitness landscape by taking the 99%, then surrounding them with people like you.
We first saw this phenomenon when Fitocracy was on XKCD in August. We were used to getting users who were already immersed in fitness, but this was the first massive wave of newbie signups. They joined Fitocracy for the gaming experience, and luckily the point system guided them to do the right things (*cough* squats). As weeks went on, their progress started to plateau, and members had questions about nutrition — something not currently addressed on Fitocracy.
A funny thing happened. You see, lots of members of the Leangains group, relatively advanced people in fitness, also happen to be
huge geeks XKCD fans. As new XKCD members started asking questions about cardio, protein, and whatnot, seasoned Leangains practitioners began to shower these newbies with knowledge. The once helpless-but-enthusiastic fitness folk were slowly engulfed by the Fitocracy community and on their way to becoming the 1%.
We see this story every day. A buddy of mine on Fitocracy, Datadroid, told me that he joined Fitocracy shortly after he found out he had low testosterone. After being embraced by the /fit/ community, he tested his levels a few month later and they were 5x the former amount. We want to repeat this story hundreds of thousands of times over.
What you can do
Voting ends on the 13th (Tuesday), so we would greatly appreciate it you could nominate us here. Even more important than that, a re-tweet or re-blog of this post would help spread awareness of the broken fitness space and our mission. The industry is currently broken, but it doesn’t have to be. Fixing everything will be hard, but with the power of community, you and I can stop being only the 1%.