Your Secret to Never Skipping a Workout

by Cassie Shortsleeve

Would you workout more if you had to pay up every time you skipped the gym? The creators of Gym-Pact, the new iPhone app that charges you for missed workouts, think you would—and when it comes mixing moolah and fitness, the payoff can be big.

Download Gym-Pact and you’ll put money in your account, making a pact with the service—how many times you’ll go to the gym and how long you’ll exercise. (You add your gym to the app and “check in” through a tracking GPS feature.) If you don’t show up, you pay up, and money gets deducted from your account

According to recent research, negative financial incentives work. One study found that when overweight people worked out, it was the ones who had money on the line—instead of just a chance to win cash, or no incentive at all—that lost the most weight: an average of 14 pounds.

“If being overweight hurts your bank account, it will motivate you to lose it,” says B.J. Gaddour, C.S.C.S. There’s less disposable income these days for the movies, or eating out, so every dollar counts. A financial incentive may be just what you need to make a change, he adds.

Not into the whole cash incentive thing? Gaddour suggests making a weekly bet with your significant other about the number of completed workouts each week. If you meet your quota, you win. If you fall short, your significant other wins. “The payout doesn’t have to be financial—make it a household chore or something that one of you would enjoy receiving as a gift,” he adds.

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