UT RecSports, Nike team up to create fitness leaderboard

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Corporate communications senior Lauren Long, middle, and public relations senior Abby Haywood, right, talk to mathematics senior Laura Elizondo, left, at the Nike+ Leader Bar.
Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

Thanks to a new fitness point system, students will not run out of ways to have some friendly competition, UT RecSports officials said.

The recreational sports group recently teamed up with Nike to create UT Campus Leaderboards, a system that tracks students’ fitness through a point system. More than 900 students, faculty, staff and RecSports members have signed up for the program, and the number has been growing daily since its start in August, according to Cecilia Lopez Cardenas, program coordinator at the Division of Recreational Sports.

The program, which started at the beginning of the school year, allows students to track their exercises using Nike+ apps, Nike FuelBand or any of the exercise classes offered at UT. Cardenas said UT Campus Leaderboards is the first program of its kind on a college campus. Students can link their UT EID to a Nike+ account to see other students’ points and compete with them for prizes, such as awards or digital trophies, Cardenas said.

“If you go to our group fitness classes, our group cycling classes [or] our climbing wall, when you participate in those activities, our system automatically pulls that you have participated, once you’ve linked up those two accounts,” Cardenas said. “Then we award NikeFuel, which is basically a set of points for your participation. What that means for students and members of the UT community is that you are able to earn rewards when you reach the milestones in your fitness journey.”

Through Nike+ accessories and mobile apps, users can track their exercises and accumulate NikeFuel points from anywhere they are, on or off campus, according to radio-television-film sophomore Victoria Garabedian, who works at the Nike+ Leader Bar in Gregory Gym.

“NikeFuel points is Nike’s way of measuring how active you are,” Garabedian said. “You can see where you are compared to everyone else, so it’s really cool, and people are really getting competitive about really trying to beat out each other, which is awesome.”

Tina Vuong, psychology senior and former Nike Training Club trainer, said she heard about the program because she regularly attends TeXercise classes. She is currently ranked No. 1 on the campus-wide leaderboard.

“A lot of the classes link the NikeFuel points to the TeXercise classes, so I’ll go and support my friends and try out different formats for classes — I think that’s honestly how you can rack up a lot of points,” Vuong said. “Also, the Nike FuelBand, I check that all the time — constantly — to make sure I reach my goal daily. Nike Bars has (sic) resonated with a lot of our participants … and it’s becoming something that they seek out when they come to RecSports, so the leaderboard is kind of like an extension to that.”

Cardenas said she is excited to see how students will utilize the UT Campus Leaderboard to their benefit.

“You don’t have to love to run to participate in this initiative,” Cardenas said. “Our long-term goal is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle amongst students and to continuing to get students involved, no matter the activity they love doing.”