Motivation is key to any successful fitness routine. It's what drags you out of bed on a cold winter morning to hit the gym before work. And it's what convinces you to skip that second slice of cake at the office birthday party. But motivation can be hard to maintain.
That's where competition comes in. Some of the top wearables for fitness have built-in systems for challenging and competing against friends (and strangers) to reach fitness goals.
Nike designed the most elaborate competition scheme, not surprising for a brand so closely tied to sports. While most fitness trackers collect raw data like the number of steps taken each day, or the number of miles you run or bike, the Nike+ FuelBand isn't so concerned with specifics. Instead, it gives all physical movement equal credit and calls it "NikeFuel."
You earn NikeFuel by walking, dancing, playing tennis or wrestling with your kids – anything that gets you moving and your heart pumping. The system awards points based on the "energy required to do an activity" [source: Nike].
In a gamification twist, once you sign up with NikeFuel, your results are compared to others in the community, including social media friends. During the summer of 2014, Nike issued weekly challenges to the NikeFuel community – earn 28,000 NikeFuel in seven days, earn 2,000 NikeFuel between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. – and tracked winners on a leaderboard. The folks with the highest number of points won a day of sports training with experts followed by a night in Las Vegas [source: Nike]. Reportedly the company has discontinued selling the wristbands but is still committed to the NikeFuel concept through an iPhone app [source: Warren].