Gamification in the gym

I recently had the chance to try out a new fitness centre that has taken gamification – the application of gaming theory and practice to make exercising more engaging and interesting.

I wrote an article for the ABC titled “Turning Exercise into a Game“, looking at the work of Brad Bond, the founder of Versus.

Through a combination of exercise and well-being training, research and development with RMIT University and a belief that exercise can be better, Bond has created the first gamified exercise experience. It uses off-the-shelf and custom-made sensors to measure movement and performance.

versus

6 thoughts on “Gamification in the gym

  1. Jenneth Orantia

    Ah! I was actually just thinking this morning at the gym (Fitness First) that it was about time they started adopting some gamification. Even if it’s just an app that gives you rewards for checking in regularly and lets you compete with friends on a leaderboard. Or would that eat too much into their cash cow of people paying for gym memberships and not actually using them?

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    1. anthonycaruana Post author

      I think that, for large commercial gyms, it requires a rethink on the business model. If the gamification works too well then the place will be too packed. But rewarding regular attendance (free protein shake from the bar?) or beating a personal record or hitting the weight loss/gain target you set when you first assessed would be worthwhile.

      The kind of set up at Versus could easily be licensed and replicated by a chain. The space required is smaller than most aerobics studios and the equipment is actually not that expensive. The magic is in the sensors and software.

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