Virtual Reality: 5 Online Fitness Challenges That Work For You

Liz Merritt
September 19, 2017

The power of group accountability is undeniable when it comes to health and fitness goals. But where do you turn when no one in your circle shares the same objectives? Online fitness challenges.

The growth of virtual fitness challenges is proof positive that all it takes is a little help from friends you didn’t even know you had to keep your body in motion. Clicking off every mile in a walking or running challenge or beating your virtual buddies on your favorite cycling route – it all leads to a sense of accomplishment.

5 Online Fitness Challenges

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Motivate your health and fitness journey with these five online fitness tools and challenges. They are virtually (pun intended) free or very low cost and make it easy for even a time-crunched person to find a tribe of accountability partners.


online fitness challenges

Motivate your health and fitness journey with an online fitness challenge.

The makers of FitBit make it extraordinarily easy to score step goals daily, weekly and monthly, in addition to connecting with friends and family members all over the world.

Using a FitBit tracker is handy, but that’s not even a requirement to participate in FitBit’s online challenges. All you have to do is enable mobile tracking on your phone so you can see your GPS progress and earn credit during the challenges.

Monitor your progress throughout the challenge and earn trophies for finishing first. The best part is, you stay motivated and excited to finish the challenge because you can also see other members’ progress. I took it a little over the top once when I was invited to join a FitBit step challenge. I won, but it was only because I was running and walking circles around my block at midnight. It sure as heck kept me motivated!

Under Armour You vs. The Year

Under Armour’s You vs. The Year Challenges are extremely popular among runners and walkers. The goal is to cover 2,017 kilometers throughout 2017 and map your progress via MapMyRun. In 2018, the goal will be 2,018 kilometers. Participants also can find training tips, stories of inspiring athletes and a huge community of supporters.

Compete to win more than just bragging rights, but also some pretty cool gear and gift cards. Overall winners are crowned, in addition to winners by gender and age group. Runs and walks can be recorded on any MapMyFitness app.

Under Armour is fairly genius at coming up with Challenges to get folks motivated – from the Military 2.4 Challenge to the Freedom Challenge, anyone can enter and log miles or workouts and qualify to win a prize or a gift card.


online fitness challenges

Many online fitness challenges offer team challenges where two or more participants can join together to complete the goal.

Yes.Fit is another company that jumped on the virtual challenge bandwagon. Pick from a ton of active virtual races around the world that track with movie of fairytale themes.

Yes.Fit challenges connect with virtually all of the popular fitness tracker apps. All along the way to your destination, you track your progress and earn achievement badges. Just share the progress with your friends. You even get a very cool race medal when you complete the challenge. Entry fees for Yes.Fit races range from $15-$40, and some are even free if you opt out of the swag.

Run the Year

Hosted by Run the Edge , a Boulder, Colorado-based company, Run the Year challenges are a great one for runners, walkers, hikers, basically any one who enjoys covering miles on their feet. What’s unique here is two-time Olympian Kara Goucher leads participants through 12 monthly challenges throughout the year with different themes and goals.

Another great feature is you can do this one solo or in teams of 4 people. Boom! Instant accountability partners to help you get up and go on even cold winter mornings. Like all other virtual challenges, there are private communities where participants gather to shoot the breeze and offer support and encouragement.

online fitness challenges

Win your own virtual medal, or invest in race swag, to make your online fitness challenge complete.

If you want all the swag, registration for the yearlong challenge is $58, but can be done for as little as $30.

If you’re a swimmer or cyclist, then the Amerithon Challenge is your go-to place. Here, miles can be covered individually or in teams of 8. Basic registration is $25. For the whole prize enchilada, plan to shell out $75.


Tried and true, Strava continues to offer free virtual competitions through your phone’s GPS app. This one is especially geared to runners, cyclists and swimmers.

I remember when Strava first launched, sitting among a pack of cyclists post-ride comparing Strava data. It was fun and motivating to see how we did – not only within the group, but also individually. Those virtual badges meant something and motivated us to go out there a do it all over again and agin.

With leaderboards for segments of each route, Strava shows who’s in the lead, when you achieve a personal record (PR), and even if you break a course record. Heck, the former record holder will be notified that you just broke the record, which makes for some highly competitive fun.

Virtual fitness is most definitely here to stay, and with challenges and races available literally around the world, there is nothing stopping us from finding that accountability to help new habits take shape and collect a medal and bragging rights.

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