Happy New Year! Now it’s time to drag yourself out of bed, pop some aspirin and get started on that New Year’s resolution that seemed like such a good idea last night. If that resolution happens to be fitness-related, the good news is there’s a new app that can help you out.
Gympact, which launches its first iOS app today, employs tough love rather than rewards to keep its users visiting the gym.
At the beginning of each week, users set a goal for the number of times they’ll visit the gym and name a price they’re willing to pay for not meeting that goal. If they miss their goal, they pay the price. If they make it, they receive a portion of the cash collected from all the people who missed their goals. Gympact collects a 3% fee on this transaction.
If this sounds like an idea that might be cooked up in a Harvard behavioral economics class, that’s because it was.
“People are lot more motivated by the thought of loss than the thought of reward,” Gym-Pact co-founder Yifan Zhang tells Mashable. “Everyone else is giving out points or badges or cash. But nobody’s really thinking about ways we can use negative motivation to help people meet their goals.”
Zhang and her co-founder Geoff Oberhofer, both Harvard 2010 graduates, first implemented their idea for pairing negative motivation and exercise with codes users entered at the gym to verify attendance. They got a discount on their membership for signing up, and were charged a fee if they didn’t follow through. Zhang says people in the pilot went to the gym 80% to 90% of the time they pledged.
The problem with that system? To scale up to a profitable size, the company needed to partner with gyms. Otherwise, users were restricted to one space. With the app launch on Sunday, verification will be accomplished through a check-in feature instead. Users need to stay at the gym for 30 minutes before their check-in counts, so they can’t cheat by checking in on the fly.
Going mobile also opens up the possibility for integration with fitness tracking apps such as RunKeeper, including outdoor exercise activities in weekly goals.
Badges are great for motivating us to go out and enjoy ourselves, but this is the first app we’ve seen that would be able to have an impact on our gym time.
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/YFcTAW-NGNE/
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