Gympact, a new mobile phone app, promises to pay you each time you go to the gym. But fail to attend and it will cost you...
It happens every year. Enthusiastic newbies join the gym in January with grand declarations about how often they’ll attend, but by February the same people have more often than not ditched press-ups for the pub.
But cold, hard cash can be a good motivator.
This is where Gympact comes in. It’s a smartphone app that rewards you when you complete a workout and fines you when you miss one.
Let's take a look at how Gympact works.
Make a pact
To get going on your new journey to physical perfection, you need to download the free Gympact app to your iPhone or Android smartphone.
Once you’ve registered your details you make a “pact” about how many days a week you want to exercise. When you go to the gym you’ll need to “check in” using your smartphone and stay for 30 minutes. The app has a database of verified gyms, but you can ask for yours to be added if it’s not there.
You can also sync the app with Runkeeper which records runs, walks and cycling. As long as you keep going for more than 30 minutes then your non-gym workout will be counted.
If you stick to your pact you’ll be rewarded in cash. Miss a workout and you’ll be fined. In effect the skivers pay for those who stick to their gym schedule.
How much money is involved?
That’s up to you – stakes are for motivational purposes. When you set up your account you agree the stake you will forfeit per missed visit. This site works in US dollars and you can forfeit up to $50 (about £30) for each missed visit – although $5 (£3) or $10 (£6) might be a better bet if you don’t want your slovenly ways to bankrupt you. Payments are made via PayPal.
A big downside of Gympact is that the financial risks outweigh the rewards: the forfeit money is pooled and some of it paid out in rewards to those members who stick to their pact. The rest goes to Gympact as a fee.
Don’t expect to give up your day job simply by sticking to your exercise plan as rewards for attendance are much less than the forfeits for not going. Despite the high stakes, rewards are generally between $0.30 and $5 per week depending on how many workouts you commit and stick to.
According to Gympact, around 85% of workouts are completed – so the limited cash in the pool each week doesn’t go far. If everyone sticks to their pact and no one is charged in a week then there are no rewards paid out either.
Should you make a pact?
If you get carried away when you set up your pact, there’s potential to lose big money. Someone committing to five workouts a week at $50 would lose $250 (£152) if their new-found enthusiasm didn’t last.
It’s also worth checking that your phone picks up a signal in your gym – if it doesn’t, there’s a risk your visits won’t be recorded.
If you’re not a gym or exercise fan there are two other pacts you can make using the same app: eating your veggies and logging the food you eat (a proven way to lose weight apparently).
All in all, I think Gympact is a clever idea but I reckon there are plenty of other ways to get motivated to get fit. Those new to exercise should consider entering a 5k or 10k race later in the year, or a sponsored bike ride, and use that as a motivator.
Me? I’m going for the big one and if all goes to plan I’ll make it to the top of Kilimanjaro next month. Believe me, the fact I’ve spent a hefty sum on the trek, flights and kit will be one of the biggest motivators when the going gets tough.
Would Gympact make you more likely to go to the gym? Have you stuck to your New Year's resolutions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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