I like discovering “tools” that help bring me into greater wholeness spiritually, physically and emotionally. And then I like passing my discoveries on to you. That’s the purpose of this post: to share a tool that puts your money where your fitness is!
Actually, I have written about this tool before, but I have used it a little longer now, and I have also come up with a complementing idea to make it even more incentivizing, so I write again.
First Build the Habit
GymPact is an app which you use to make a pact/promise to yourself to work out X number of times per week and then get paid if you keep your pact and pay if you don’t. The number of workouts per week is totally up to you. The only stipulation is that you must work out at least 30 minutes and/or move a minimum of 1/2 mile. The difference depends on the kind of workout you are doing. If you are working out at a gym, you have to spend at least 30 minutes there. If you are working out by running, walking, biking or the likes, you have to put in the same amount of time and move at least 1/2 mile in the process (these outdoor moving workouts are done in concert with Runkeeper, which tracks your mileage).
Here’s the link to GymPact. Click on the “How It Works” button on the linked page to see a quick video that summarizes the program. Here’s the link to the GymPact Support Center (aka, Frequently Asked Questions). This will answer your questions—how do I get paid, how do I pay, how often do I have to exercise, how do they know if I have exercised or not, etc., but briefly stated, you provide your credit card info and the amount you wish to wager when you sign up (the minimum amount you can wager is $5). For instance, I have wagered $5 that I will complete at least 3 workouts a week. If I fail to keep my pact during a particular week, my wager ($5) is charged to my credit card. As long as I keep my pact, I am not charged, but instead, a small amount is credited to my account (visit the links to learn how the specific amounts are arrived at). You can change your pact from week to week if you want to, and you can cancel it altogether, too. You have to accumulate $10 before you can receive a payment, and you get paid via PayPal (so you will need to set up a PayPal account if you don’t already have one).
As of this writing, the app is only available on the iPhone, but it is being developed for Android (you can actually sign up at this page to get early access as soon as the Android app is available).
As I said, I have written about GymPact before. So why the repeat? Well, I’ve been using it a little while now (I’ve racked up 28 workouts since I started). I’ve earned a whopping $12.15 in that time (I believe you can make more per week by making a pact for more days per week, but it will only be a small increase in earnings). The incentive is not so much in the money you make as it is in the money you don’t spend by keeping your pact.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re just beginning a workout habit. You wager $5/week for 3 workouts like I have. You start out gung ho at the first of the week, a little less motivated by the middle of the week, and by the weekend, you’re losing steam (GymPact pacts run Monday through Sunday; to count towards your weekly pact, all workouts must be completed before midnight on Sunday). You sleep in Saturday morning, and then get caught up in family activities the rest of the day. You go to church on Sunday, eat a big meal afterwards and then feel too sluggish to do a workout. Late that evening, you remember the $5 your card will be charged if a third workout does not get recorded before midnight. Begrudgingly, you haul yourself to the gym or go out for a 30-minute walk or run. Before you know it, your “begrudging” attitude has shifted (thanks to the endorphins!), you’re glad you worked out, a nice little message gets recorded in your brain—”workouts are fun!”—and you’re on your way to a good habit.
Then Add the Reward
Now, here’s the idea that complements the use of GymPact. Every sports activity requires specific accessories and clothes. I find myself frequenting sports stores fairly regularly to pick up special socks, water bottles, specialized energy food, etc. Invariably, I wander over to the clothing section, too, to covet the colorful matching running clothes. I’m particularly drawn to one specific brand which is far more expensive than all the others (probably because the clothes fit better and they are prettier), but I refuse to shell out the $$; I just look at them. I’m far too practical to actually buy something that expensive just to sweat in. Recently, I was in my favorite sports store, and once again, I meandered over to the clothes to check the price tag of a black and purple outfit that I’ve been eyeing for months (I’m a real sucker for purple). The price had not changed.
I made a deal with myself then and there that when I reach a certain fitness goal that I am working on, I will reward myself by buying that outfit. Then I had a brainstorm! Wouldn’t a goal like that work well paired up with the GymPact money? As noted, it takes a while to build up any kind of earnings with GymPact (28 workouts only makes $12.15). While some might consider that a bad thing, the way I look at it is it helps you build a very solid habit. If you got rewarded too soon (say, in a month), you could take your money and run—right back to couch-potato status. But since it would take several months to earn enough money to buy an outfit (or whatever your particular purchase goal might be), you’re also further reinforce your exercise habit by adding in the element of time and perseverance. I love it when you can accomplish two things with one tool (build the habit with GymPact + save money towards new workout clothes).
Here’s a little bonus incentive for you. I got an email from GymPact earlier this week. It said, “When your friends sign up for GymPact with your referral code, you guys will both get an extra $5 in rewards after their first workout.” So if you are up for it, my referral code is “trapsDiane” (without the quotation marks).
Do you already use GymPact? If so, does it help you stay regular with your exercising? How do you feel about the idea of using the GymPact app in concert with saving up for a piece of exercise clothing or an accessory? Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this idea.