With the start of a new year, many people resolve to shed their holiday paunch by hitting the gym more frequently. It’s easy to stay motivated for a few weeks, but then other things seem to take precedence — late nights at work, happy hour or the couch. So, what if it cost you $5 every time you missed the gym? Do you think you’d be more likely to go?
iOS: If you just signed up for a gym membership, completely convinced that you’ll go every day this year, keep in mind you’re essentially throwing money away when you don’t go. If you need a little more motivation to make the trip and work out, Gym-Pact (http://www.gym-pact.com/) is a new iOS app and webapp that lets you put your money where your mouth is. Go to the gym and check in with your phone and you’ll be rewarded with cash payouts. Skip your workouts, and the service penalizes you and your bank account.
From the “habit building by redistribution of wealth” department, Gym-Pact asks you to set the stakes when you sign up and tell the service how much money you’re willing to lose if you miss your workouts, and how frequently you want to go to the gym. The service then uses your phone’s GPS to make sure you’re actually at the gym and not on your couch at home. If you miss too many days, the service penalizes you by charging you the amount you put on the line to make sure you go. The money it collects from people who don’t go to the gym is then distributed every week among the people who did go, meaning you’re rewarded with cash if you actually work out.
Gym-Pact supports over 40,000 gyms and fitness centers around the country, and even lets you add more-as long as it’s an actual fitness center. No home gyms or office gyms allowed, likely because they worry that would make it too easy to game the system. Signing up may be a bit masochistic, but if you really need motivation to hit the gym, this service will definitely give it to you.