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Get Paid to Go to the Gym? Count me in!

I recently upgraded my phone, and I was eager to put my new mini computer to good use. I kinda went app crazy. In my search for apps, I came across one with a very interesting concept. Gym Pact would pay me for workouts that other people missed (as long as I didn’t miss any myself). I was intrigued by the idea so I decided to check it out. I already go to the gym, so might as well make some money for it!

Here’s how it works: when I registered, Gym Pact asked me to commit to a certain number of days per week and a dollar amount for each day I missed. I started with the minimum: 3 days at $5 per missed workout. So, if I missed all three days, Gym Pact would charge me $15. Similar to Foursquare or checking in on Facebook, the app uses GPS to verify locations of gyms. I show up, check in on the app, and check out when my workout is finished. Unfortunately, home gyms are not permitted, but you can sync Runkeeper, which is another app that uses GPS to track runs and bike rides, so these activities can also apply to your pact.

Come Sunday at midnight, everything resets. Gym Pact takes a couple of days to tally the results and splits the money paid out by the people who missed workouts among those who stuck to their pacts.

My first payout was a measly $1.11 (it was also the first week of January, so I bet a lot of resolutionists jumped in on the bandwagon and completed their pacts. We’ll see if they stick to it for more than a week or two). After this first week however, I saw the app less as a money making tool and more of a motivator. The motivation to not lose money was incentive enough to get my butt to the gym. It was easy for me to stick to the 3-day-a-week pact since I already go to the gym frequently, so I decided each week to add one more day to my pact. I’m up to 5 days for this week, which will still be a relatively easy goal for me. Once I get up to 6 or 7 days though, I think things will start to get challenging. Some users recommend setting your pact one day more than your usual routine to push yourself to get one more workout in a week. This is how I intend to use it from now on.

There are a few other things I like about Gym Pact. One of my mantras for the new year was to focus on positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement. Seeing a log of all the minutes I spend at the gym is definitely encouraging in the right way! I already know I spend a lot of time at the gym, but it’s nice to have a little validation. Also, all workouts must be at least 30 minutes to count towards your pact. When I participated in the 30-day challenge in December, I would push myself to do 25-minute workouts on days I really didn’t feel like it. Gym Pact will push me to do a little bit more, which is always good. Since running also counts, if I can’t make it to the gym and I haven’t yet met my pact, I can always run a few miles.

I know that checking into an app isn’t for everyone. I find it a fun and creative way to keep me committed. If you have any questions about the app, let me know in the comments!

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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com

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