iPhone app charges for missing workouts

A new app aims to help people keep their New Year’s resolution to get fit by bribing them to go to the gym.

GymPact for the iPhone, which started as a project for a Harvard University behavioural economics class, will pay you to keep up with your workout schedule and charge you when you skip out.

“GymPact’s concept centres around time-inconsistent preferences, a situation in which something you want in the future (having gone to the gym) conflicts with something you want right now (staying home to watch TV),” wrote the creators on the company’s site.

“We realized that if people had a way to commit to exercise with real stakes and easy, fool-proof check-ins at gyms, they could actually push themselves to make the most of their gym memberships.”

When you sign up, you fill out your parameters, telling the app how often you want to go to the gym and how much money you’re willing to lose when you don’t. There’s a minimum of once-per-week gym sessions and $5 per day missed.

The money docked from the slackers will be used to reimburse those who meet their fitness obligations.

And you can’t cheat, because the app requires you to sign in at the gym and uses GPS to verify your location. There are 40,000 gyms and fitness centres in GymPact’s database, but users can add new ones.

“We’ll approve any valid fitness centre, other than a home or office gym,” the company says on its website.

— Sun Media News Services