Three weeks ago, you told yourself that you were going to get fit in 2012. You even joined a gym to show how serious you were about making that change. How's that working out for you?
Yeah, I'm not doing that hot, either. I've had a membership at a fitness club for over a year and the only time I break a sweat there is when I'm rushing past it on the way to my bank hoping no one will see me and mention my delinquency. Considering the state of the economy at this point, it should worry me that I'm throwing away money I could be using elsewhere, but even that isn't enough to motivate me.
Harvard grads Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer understand this issue, which is why they've developed an app that provides additional financial benefits to people who make good on their promise to hit the gym as often as they say they will.
"Working out" vis Shutterstock.
The app, called GymPact, asks users to make a pact with themselves about how often they plan to go to the gym. The users, who input their credit card information when they sign up, attach a sum to their pact -- between $5 and $50. If they miss a workout, the sum is deducted from their account. If they do go workout, they receive money from the pool created by the GymPact users who played hookie that day.
The creators of GymPact believe that adding "motivational fees" to people's fitness resolutions is the best way to get them to take their commitment more seriously. According to a piece on The Next Web:
They came up with the concept from their behavioral economics class in Harvard where they were taught that people are more motivated by immediate consequences than future possibilities.
True enough, after thinking about it, it's more difficult for anyone to have to dish out cash while missing a gym session rather that say, gaining a couple of pounds, a bigger waistline, or other health consequences that may or may not even happen in the future. This might not be a crazy idea after all.
The pool for those who have kept up their end of the bargain at the gym is small right now -- ABC reports that users are earning between 50 cents to one dollar for every workout they commit to and complete. Zhang, who uses the app herself and has made a pact to go to the gym at least four times a week makes a little under $20 a month. Not too shabby for doing what you told yourself you'd do, is it?
Right now, GymPact has a database of 40,000 gyms but you can add your own gym if you don't find it on the map. In order for your visit to count, you must be at the gym for at least 30 minutes.
Yes, you can do group challenges. Alas, the app is not available for Android users. Yet. Better start building those good gym habits now.
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