You’re probably familiar with Fitbits. They’re a device that you can clip on your shirt or wear on your wrist in order to count the number of steps you take during the day.

You may also be familiar with “Fitbit Challenges.” More and more workplaces are organizing these competitions to see which of their employees can log the most steps during a certain period of time. Fitbit Challenges are designed to motivate employees to get more exercise and improve their health.

But competitions can sometimes bring out the dark side in some people. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on various ways that employees have cheated their Fitbits, including these ingenious ideas:

  • An employee attached the Fitbit to a hamster wheel and let the hamster do all the work.
  • An employee attached the Fitbit to a running ceiling fan.
  • An employee attached the Fitbit to a running power drill.
  • An employee attached the Fitbit to his shoe, and then tapped his foot all day.
  • An employee attached the Fitbit to her dog’s collar. (Dogs take about 13,000 to 30,000 steps a day.)

I must admit that I kind of admire these people for coming up with these devious, innovative ideas. But still, they didn’t deserve to win their competitions, and they lost out on doing actual exercise.

So if you’re planning to participate in one of these challenges, remember that walking is beneficial and winning isn’t everything! And if you’re thinking of organizing a Fitbit Challenge at your office and you’d like to encourage people to forgo these types of shenanigans, try the following:

  • Reward people for reaching their personal step goals rather than having the highest number of steps.
  • Ask people to self-report the distance they walked rather than relying on Fitbit data. They’ll be more likely to be honest about what they accomplished.


Bachman, R. (2016, June 9). Want to cheat your Fitbit? Try a puppy or a power drill. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from