No Gym Today? Think Again!

No Gym Today? Think Again!

GymPact App
GymPact App

Often, many people gear their New Year’s resolution to have something to do with fitness, or eating healthy. The most common resolution is to go to the gym to lose some added weight from the holidays. Usually, people don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolution and keep saying maybe I’ll go to the gym tomorrow. But the problem with that? The average person usually keeps repeating that phrase over and over again.

GymPact, incentivize your exercise, has found a new way to get people to stick to their New Year’s resolution – by having you pay $5 every time you skip the gym. Created by two recent Harvard graduates, Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer, is a free app for the iPhone called GymPact, which uses money as a motivator to get people off of their couch and into the gym.

The idea came to mind to Yifan Zhang, who take a behavioral economics class while at Harvard. After running a few different pilots, Zhang decided to charge users on the app a minimum of $5 for each time they missed going to the gym. She then created a pool for those who failed to meet the Gym Pact, and then split up the money among those who actually did keep the pact and went to the gym. Oberhofer, a friend of Zhang’s become intrigued by the idea, therefore hopped on board to help Zhang work through different iterations of the program.

Zhang had the idea to partner with different fitness centers in the Boston area. First, the Gym Pact started with a physical sign-up sheet that members had to sign upon entering the gym. The second idea was for people to text codes that would prove their attendance. But as popularity grew Zhang and Oberhofer knew that they needed a better working system to keep track of all the users.

As users continued to join, Zhang and Oberhofer partnered with 40,000 gyms to put into the GymPact database so that users can check in whenever they arrive, except, they don’t have to do so manually now, but now on an app. The app is free of charge. All that is required of users is to commit to at least going to the gym one day a week for only 30 minutes, but with a minimum of a $5 penalty if you don’t go. Some users try to leave early, but with a new pop-up warning on the app, users are warned that if they decide to leave before the 30 minutes is up then their workout will be canceled, and the credit card they have on file will be automatically charged $5 via PayPal.

The GymPact app is extremely convenient and easy for users to use. Customers can change their pacts as often as they want, and can freeze their account if they know they will be away on a vacation, or have become ill. Stakes can also be raised on their pact in $10 increments up to $50.

Zhang and Oberhofer have not only helped individuals keep their New Year’s resolution, but they have also helped the fitness centers regarding member retention and engagement. “The average GymPact user commits to hitting the gym three times per week”. Zhang has stated that they have already had 15,000 people sign up with this program.

Looking to keep your New Year’s resolution, or join GymPact? Check out some gyms close to these spaces in Boston!

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