Foursquare as fitness motivation

18 weeks at the gym

Thanks, Foursquare!

On Tuesday, Foursquare said I’d worked out 18 weeks in a row. This was exciting news.

Most people who know me would say that I’m a bit of a Foursquare obsessive. I check in constantly and am always gleeful to unlock specials– with good reason, I say, since I’ve gotten Amex statement credits, free cocktails, and clothing discounts from Foursquare. I once got into a multi-week, back-and-forth battle for the Mayorship of my office with some coworker I’ve never met. (I eventually gave up because she started checking in on weekends. *cough*CHEATER*cough*.) Foursquare helps me keep track of where I’ve been, gives me suggestions for places I might want to check out, and lets me see what my friends and former coworkers, who make up some 80% of my friends list, are up to.

Foursquare Gym Rat badge

The coveted ‘Gym Rat’ badge: absurdly easy to get if you’re actually athletic; a major victory if you’re me.

When I started working out more regularly in January of this year I was jazzed to unlock the Gym Rat badge fairly quickly (10 gym check-ins within 30 days). I also noticed about a month ago that the app was giving me props for going to the gym every week, keeping track of how many weeks in a row I’d worked out. This little counter’s serving as a surprising form of extrinsic motivation: I’m now fixated on keeping that number growing.

My current goal is to get this number up to 26 weeks, which would be exactly half a year… and to keep it going after that for as long as I can sustain it. Even if I only work out 1-2 times in a week, that’s still great compared to my extreme couch potato-ness of 2011. I realize it’s the same old “You set a new record!” message as when I go to bars/parks/the theatre for X weeks in a row, but I don’t really care. I also know that this wouldn’t work if I were an outdoor runner or cyclist, but since I do most of my workouts at dance, yoga, barre, and Pilates studios it works for me.

Obviously, the motivation to work out has to come mostly from within. I work out because it makes me feel strong and clears my head. But this is just a little extra boost for my motivation. I also have no idea of which day the “week” counter resets, so I’m extra motivated to not let one rest day turn into four.

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