Sometimes itâ€™s just plain hard to motivate yourself to get to the gym. There are so many reasons to stay away: sleep, work, friends, weather, traffic â€¦ did we mention sleep? And the incentive for working out is long-term, while the reasons for avoiding the treadmill are very tangible.
But what if missing a workout hit you where it really hurts â€“ in the wallet?
Gym-Pact is similar to a site like Groupon in that it offers customers (currently in the Boston area only) deals and discounts on yoga studios and fitness centers. Thatâ€™s nothing new. But if the customer misses a workout, he or she pays a fine (referred to as a â€śmotivational feeâ€ť). The system uses a text-message-based password system, so that the customer has to check in via text in order to get credit for going.
When signing up, you make a commitment to attend one of Gym-Pactâ€™s fitness centers for a certain number of days per week (with a minimum of one day a week). You agree on a weekly schedule, and if you miss a sessionâ€¦you pay $10. Ouch. So basically, one of two things can happen: 1) You can fulfill your commitment, take pleasure in the discounted membership, and bask in the glory of attaining your fitness goals; or 2) Youâ€™re pretty much made to feel like a complete and utter slacker. And a slacker with a lighter wallet, at that.
If you think Gym-Pact is draconian and mean-spirited, just look across the pond to the system itâ€™s modeled after. A gym chain in Denmark offers free membership, so long as you show up at least once a week. Fail to show and you are charged full price for that month. Yikes.
But is financial motivation an effective-enough way to get people off the couch and into the gym? Sure seems like it. Because if thereâ€™s one thing thatâ€™s more unattractive than a soft body, itâ€™s an empty bank account.
-- Follow Erica Orange on Twitter at @ErOrange