The Best Fitness Motivation Secret? Find Your Virtual Tribe

We all know a faithful workout buddy provides accountability and motivation. But what if the idea of meeting new people at the gym or joining a group fitness class makes you want to run and hide (introverts unite!)? You're in luck. Science says you can still get your motivation on by tapping into a virtual fitness tribe. 

Fitness Trackers, Social Media, and Community: All the Workout Motivation You Need

Few people are unaffected by the gamification cycle that fitness trackers and apps bring to the table. Take me for example. I recently caved and bought a Fitbit Alta HR. I workout regularly but have a dreaded desk job. That means those four hours of intense, weekly sweat sessions aren't enough to offset the health risks associated with sitting all day. Buying a tracker was the perfect way to figure out just how much I was (or wasn't) moving throughout the workweek. What I didn't expect was the contagiousness that came from a virtual workout tribe. 

Turns out I'm not the only one. A study from the journal Nature Communications, took five years of data from over 1 million runners. Participants used an app or tracker with social sharing abilities so community members could stalk their results (let's be honest, we all do it). Researchers found the social snooping is excellent motivation. The results? If runner 1 ran an extra .75 miles, runner 2 cranked up their distance. If runner 1 ran 5 minutes longer, runner 2 would follow suit.

The lesson? You don't need to workout with friends IRL to stay motivated and push yourself a little harder. Virtual tribes, communities, and social media may be all you need to keep your motivation running strong.

Find Your Tribe, Find Your Fitness Motivation

Clearly, having friends (virtual or IRL) who share your health fitness goals provides motivation. Christian Koshaba, founder, CEO, and lead trainer at Three60Fit highlights the importance of surrounding yourself with those who will challenge you to be better: “You don’t have to be physically there together—it can be calling each other, sharing your Fitbit data, really anything that’ll push you like, ‘Oh there’s that number? Now I’m going to do better than that.’” 

Of course, in order to be a team player you need to share your personal results, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Self awareness plays a defining role in new gains. Let the bad days motivate you for a better tomorrow. True fitness is a journey, not a destination. 

Have you found fitness trackers and tribes to be motivating? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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