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Gympact iPhone app offers cash rewards to gym-goers, penalizes inattendance

Brad Molen
01.03.12
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We know, it's the new year and you just made a resolution to start going to the gym regularly... for the fifth year in a row. But you really mean it this time, don't you? There's an intriguing way to make sure you stay motivated throughout 2012 -- the almighty dollar. And we're not just talking gym memberships, either, though you'll probably need one: an iPhone app called GymPact offers cash rewards if you honor your weekly fitness commitment and makes you cough up some of our own hard-earned money if you slack off. Here's how it works: you first make a pact on how many days you'll go to the gym each week (minimum of one day per week) and how much you'll fork out if you miss, with the minimum penalty set at five bucks for each day you miss. If you have to pay, that money gets taken out of your credit card and goes straight into a community pot, which then gets divided up and doled out to everyone who honored their weekly commitment.

How does the app know when you've stayed true to your vow? It's easy enough: you have to check-in to the gym using the app and stay for at least 30 minutes in order for your visit to count. The negative motivation seems to be working so far: according to GymPact, the startup saw a success rate of 90 percent in its six-month Boston-area trial. Unfortunately, iOS is the only platform the program is currently available on, but the company says it's working on an HTML5 web app that would allow check-ins from any smartphone. Now, if only there was an app to keep us from going to the Drive-Thru immediately after we leave the gym...

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