One family’s getfit math: 1+1+1+1=fitness

MIT Alum Leah Gordon thinks she’s calculated the secret behind the success of MIT’s annual getfit fitness challenge — nothing boosts fitness levels like accountability. And when family members are the ones holding you to those goals, the numbers just go up and up.

Six smiling people in rock climbing gear standing in the snow with hills visible in the background
The ‘getfit’ Gordon family in Iceland last summer, after climbing a glacier. L to R: Ben Gordon, Leah Gordon, Alison Root Gordon, Akiva Gordon, Ezra Gordon, Gedalya Gordon.

When Gordon (’93, SM ’94, Course 1-E) first joined the three-month fitness challenge, which is run by MIT Medical and open to the entire community, she already had a daily routine that included a light 25-minute workout. But, she explains, joining getfit “brought my minutes up, because I had to meet the getfit numbers for my team. And I stayed higher, maybe 40 minutes, five times per week.”

The next year, Gordon encouraged her oldest son to join, and he did. An undergrad at another university, he wanted to work off some extra pounds. “Both of us upped our game significantly,” she says, “and got in much better shape.” By the end of that year, she was logging an average of around 250 minutes per week on the getfit website.

Next up was her husband Ben, an MIT alumnus and employee (’94, Course 5; works in Course 20). Their oldest son Akiva was a graduate student at MIT by then (Course 10), and the three of them consistently met the weekly exercise goals for that year’s challenge, with Gordon averaging more than 300 minutes per week for the entire year.

Finally, in 2020, their second son Ezra started his undergraduate studies at MIT (’24, Course 10), and all four became “getfit athletes,” as Gordon puts it, mixing in activities that include aerobics, exercise bikes, running, elliptical, yoga, Ultimate Frisbee and weights. She estimates that she now averages 600 exercise minutes per week.

“So, overall,” says Gordon, “we went from one, to two, to three, to four MIT-affiliated family members doing getfit, with a concomitant improvement in health, fitness, and even time together doing it.”

Registration for the 2022 challenge begins January 10. The 12-week, team-oriented fitness challenge is open to the entire MIT community, including students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and family members.

How it works:

  • Create or join a team of five to eight members during registration (starting Jan. 10, 2022).
  • Work to meet team and individual exercise goals by logging minutes each week on the getfit website. Meet goals to be eligible for weekly team and individual prize drawings, as well as end-of-challenge awards.
  • Motivate each other by using communication tools on the getfit website and the getfit Facebook and Slack groups. Or, if you’ve got teammates like Leah Gordon, share encouragement with your team members over the family dinner table!

Key dates:

  • Monday, January 10, 2022: Registration starts. Form a team with people you know — including family members — or visit the “find a team” forum, where you can connect with teams looking for members or individuals looking for teams.
  • Sunday, January 23: Last day to create a team or change a team name.
  • Sunday, January 30: Last day to invite people to join your team or accept an invitation to join a team.
  • Monday, January 31: The 12-week challenge begins.

getfit is presented by MIT Medical and Community Wellness at MIT Medical, with major sponsorship from the MIT Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation and the MIT Federal Credit Union.

This news story has not been updated since the date shown. Information contained in this story may be outdated. For current information about MIT Medical’s services, please see relevant areas of the MIT Medical website.