New App Makes You Pay Cash for Skipping the Gym

Gympact offers financial motivation to help you stick to your workout schedule.

The days when you have to drag yourself to the gym, practically kicking and screaming, are the absolute worst, right? I mean, it’s always better once you get there, but sometimes my motivation to wake up, put on gym clothes and get moving first thing in the morning is, well, less than zero.

Enter: Gympact. The free smartphone app, which launched yesterday to coincide with all those “I’m going to go to the gym this year!” resolutions, uses cold hard cash to lure you to workouts. It works like this: At the beginning of the week, you log how often you plan to hit the gym over the next seven days and the amount of money you’re willing to pay for not meeting that goal. If you achieve it (good for you!), you get a portion of the cash Gympact collects from everyone who missed their goals. And I suppose it goes without saying that it you don’t meet your goal, you’re in the red.

The app uses a Foursquare-like check-in system to verify that you’re actually at the gym. And to weed out all you system-riggers, the check-in only counts if you stick around for 30 minutes.

Right now, outdoor exercise can’t be counted, but the developers—who concocted the idea for the app at Harvard, of course—are working on leveraging other apps, like RunKeeper, according to Mashable, to get outdoor sweat sessions in on the action.

So what do you think: Would a weekly payout (or threat of losing money) be enough to get you to the gym?