About a year ago, I heard rumblings about an app for iPhones that would pay you to work out.
Yes, seriously. But as amazing as that sounded, I didn’t join. Why? Well, at the time, I was not a regular gym-goer and didn’t think I would be anytime soon. My
reasons excuses were limited time and lack of motivation. And, I’m not alone: these reasons show up in many, many articles as two of the top reasons why 70% of Americans do not exercise regularly (see here, here, here and here).
However, because of my crazy resolution for 2013, running has become a part of my almost-daily life. Solving the limited time issue has involved waking up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am and getting to the gym by 5:00 am. I’m exercised and back home around the time I’d usually wake up – so I have no chance to make excuses why I can’t go to the gym later in the day.
Now, the motivation issue…that’s the tough one for me. While the half-marathon has surely given me motivation to run now, I do think about what will happen after the race is over. In an effort to mitigate that risk before it rears its ugly head, I signed up for the above-mentioned app, called GymPact.
In a nutshell, GymPact is an app for iPhones and Androids that rewards users for exercising – and does quite the opposite when a workout is missed.
What are the rewards and punishments? Cold, hard cash.
That’s right: you can earn money for working out.
Here’s how it works: first, download the GymPact app and sign up. The app will ask you three questions when you create an account:
1. How many times a week will you commit to working out? A workout must be done either at a gym, or through the Runkeeper app, and must last at least 30 minutes. The more you commit, the more you can earn. Since I’m just getting into the rhythm of the gym, I committed to three workouts per week, which pays on average $2.10 per week. Four workouts typically pay $2.80 per week, while five can pay about $3.50 per week. It’s not enough that I’ll be able to quit my job (wouldn’t that be grand??), but it’s something. And if you stay with this for a year, that’s over $100 you’ve earned for getting exercise. The money is deposited into a Paypal account, so you’ll need to sign up for one if you don’t have one yet. Once you hit $10, you can withdraw the funds from your Paypal account.
2. How much would you like to “wager” for a missed workout? Here is where you set what your monetary punishment will be if you miss a workout (or two or three). You can wager up to $100 per workout, but I went for the lowest amount, $5 (I may be motivated but I’m not crazy). This is a per missed-workout penalty, so if you committed to three workouts and miss two of them, at $5 a workout, you’re looking at a $10 charge to your credit card (see next step). You have until Sunday at midnight to log a workout.
3. This is the scary step – you have to enter a credit card. The deposits in Step 1 are made to a Paypal account, however, the withdrawls from Step 2 are made to a credit card. Before signing up for GymPact, I read some posts by bloggers who were hesitant about this app, because of this step. However, GymPact has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, the Boston Globe, CNN, abc News and many more. This provided me comfort that it’s a legit app and that there would be a resolution if anything were to happen.
What I think so far…
I’ve used GymPact for two full weeks now, and I’ve hit my commitment of at least 3 workouts per week for both weeks. At $0.87, the first week’s reward was smaller than I thought, but I figure it’s because a lot of folks are still keeping New Year’s resolutions. Last week’s was slightly better: I pulled in $0.96. Still not huge, but honestly, the rewards haven’t been my motivator. I thought for sure that earning money for working out would be my main motivation for going to the gym, but surprisingly, the thought of LOSING money has kept me on schedule much more than getting a dollar or two. That’s money I work hard for – there’s no way I’m letting it go that easy.
If you need some motivation to get to the gym, or if you already regularly go to the gym and just want to make a little money, I think GymPact is worth checking out. It’s really helped me plan my workouts for the week – and kept honest and motivated about going to the gym.
Has anyone else tried this app? I’d love to hear about your experiences! And if anyone wants to sign up – I’m here to answer any questions that I can!