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As teens, Brian Wang and Richard Talens played a lot of video games. The activity had a detrimental effect on their health, however. Wang became “a skinny nerd who didn’t get outside very much,” while Talens gained weight and topped 220 pounds. Both made the decision to give their lifestyles an overhaul. Today, the University of Pennsylvania graduates are self-described “fitness geeks.”

Having succeeded in getting fit and healthy, Talens and Wang were eager to help their friends improve their own fitness. Their buddies didn’t have the same drive as they did, though, and eventually gave up for different reasons, including not seeing progress quickly enough and not having a workout buddy to help keep them motivated.

In 2010, a light bulb went on in Talens’ head. What if they turned working out into a game? As avid gamers, he and Wang knew how addictive it was to aim for the next level, complete the next quest, and beat the next boss. The two realized that their addiction to RPGs and addiction to fitness weren’t so different after all.

A few months later, Wang and Talens launched Fitocracy. The website gamifies the process of getting into shape, thereby making fitness more fun and addictive. You can level up and earn points and badges by logging your workouts, carrying out quests, and interacting with other Fitocrats, which are now about 400,000 strong. The community also lets you meet like-minded people, see what others are doing, get feedback on your form, receive workout tips and advice, and compare yourself to the leaders of the board. One Fitocrat reports that he dropped a waist size and gained muscle mass within only three months of using the site.

Fitocracy is available on desktop, mobile web, and iPhone. The team plans to add more social features soon, such as a buddy system for newbies.

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