Can you really get Paid for Exercising? GymPact Says Yes!

I think, at some point of time or the other, most of us have made a This year I’m definitely gonna work out and get that kickass body New Year resolution. Then what happens -- number of daily chords and life-factors such as work, meetings, travel, spending time with family start coming in-between us and the gym. We often lose the drive to follow through with that workout regime. GymPact, a San Francisco based startup, seeks to provide an additional incentive by paying you with real money (rather than gifts, prizes, points etc) for working out. How cool is that? I think very cool.

Does the company pay this money from its pocket? No, it comes from people who don't keep up with their pacts...Hallelujah!

GymPact was Co-Founded by Yifan Zhang (CEO) and Geoff Oberhofer (COO) in November 2010. In 2012, the company had received a funding of $968K through investors Techstars, Mike Hirshland, TEEC Angel Fund, Mike Dornbrook, Alex Rigopulos, Bob Mason. GymPact, now rebranded simply as ‘Pact’, received a further funding of $1.55 Mn through Khosla Ventures and Max Levchin in December 2013.

This video gives you an overview of GymPact:

GymPact is essentially a check in app that offers its users cash prizes for hitting the gym. It enables users to create a ‘Pact’ over how many times they will go to the gym for a workout that week, and the amount of cash they are willing to dish out if they cannot complete that goal. The latest version of their app includes 2 new features that are focused on eating healthy.

How does it work?

  • Users can choose to make a ‘Pact’ to exercise, log their meals on or eat vegetables for a certain number of days.
  • When they sign up for a pact, an amount bracket of $5 or $10 needs to be selected. This is deducted from the user’s credit card or PayPal account for each day he misses his task.
  • The user obtains a reward between 30c - $5 every week if he completes his goal. The payout comes out of the pool of money from people that did not fulfill their ‘Pact’.
  • The users pact is a weekly commitment that runs from Monday to Sunday. They can sign up for and change their pact until Sunday night at midnight in their timezone. All pacts start on Monday and run until the next Sunday at midnight.
  • The company then sends out attendance emails by mid-week with the user’s attendance and payments/rewards. Thereafter, the users pact week begins again.
  • Pact utilizes GPS, photos and other services to ensure the honesty of its users. All actions must be verified by users in order to count towards their Pact.

The app tries to make it difficult enough to cheat that the average smartphone user won’t find it worthwhile, says CEO Yifan Zhang. Also, since the Veggie Pact community has it’s own pool for rewards, members are incentivized to vote down on photos that should not count or look like veggies you are not eating. Selfies are encouraged!

But how Flexible is their platform? We believe that taking occasional breaks is important for a healthy life. You can schedule a break before a new Pact begins, says their website. If you ever run into medical issues, just use our members-only contact form. You’ll be exempt from your Pact until you are better. We may ask for contact information from your doctor or employer to confirm that you are ill, it adds.

After using GymPact for 2 years and 390 workouts later, I’ve earned $147.17 ($83.09 in 2012, $64.08 in 2013), and I’d still highly recommend it to anybody that is serious about getting in shape, says Physician David Ahn on his website. Although the monetary gain may not be all that high, it definitely provides an added incentive for the user to complete his workout schedule.

Users need an iPhone or Android phone. If they have wifi facility, an iPad, Android tablet or iPod Touch can also work for check-ins. The app can be downloaded for free from Google Play store or the App Store. GymPact works in over 75 countries internationally.