American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

There are a plethora of fitness apps and gadgets out there to help you track distance, heartbeat or total time. Now, there's an app that makes you pay cash every time you miss a visit to the gym. Ouch!

Developed by two 2010 Harvard graduates, GymPact is an iPhone app that offers cash incentives. You lose $5 (you can choose to pay more) if you miss a scheduled gym visit and make money if you stick to the pact you set at the beginning of each week.

If you're the competitive type, feel better knowing that the money you make is an equal portion of a pool collected from your lazier peers who sat on the couch.

Why cash incentives?

“Behavioral economics show that if you tie cash incentives to things that are concrete and easy to achieve like getting to the gym, it’s very effective,” co-founder Yifan Zhang told the NYTimes. “People don’t like losing money and it’s one of the strongest motivators, much more than winning money.”

Users have to commit to at least one 30-minute workout per week and the app knows if you're really at the gym because it will confirm your location whenever you check in for a workout. And yes, you really do have to pay $5 because it deducts the fine from your credit card on file.

Zhang also told the NYTimes that 1,500 early users stuck to 90 percent of their scheduled workouts.

Do you think this app would help you stick to your weekly gym schedule, too? Is cash really a strong motivator?

[via NYTimes]

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