New app adds incentives to go to the gym

Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:06am EST
 
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By Natasha Baker

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - If a bulging waistline isn't enough of a motivator to go to the gym, a new iPhone app adds a financial incentive to provide that extra nudge.

The app called GymPact charges users a fee for every gym commitment they skip. The fee can range from $5 to $50 dollars.

"We decided to motivate people by having money on the line, rather than giving them money, which is a very radical departure from other motivational apps and programs," explained Yifan Zhang, GymPact's co-founder and CEO.

After providing a credit card, GymPact's users make a commitment for the number of times each week they will go to the gym, along with the financial penalty they will incur if they don't.

At the end of the week, the company charges users who did not meet their goals. The money collected is distributed to users who kept their commitments. People who committed to more days get a bigger portion of the pooled money.

"We really think of what you have on the line as the number of days you're committing. That's really the focus of the program -- how many days can we get you to go to the gym every week," Zhang said.

The company is paying out anywhere between 50 cents $1 for each workout and keeps about 30 percent of each payout.

Last week, each workout was worth 73 cents.   Continued...