10 July 2013

what I love wednesday: gympact

Who doesn't love getting some extra moola for something you're going to do anyway? Like, say, exercise. Or, y'know, if you need some extra incentive to do something you know you should do (like, say, exercise) then money always makes a nice motivator, right? Well, that's where GymPact comes in.


I first heard about GymPact on NPR where they were interviewing someone from the company about something completely unrelated to what the app actually does. They just happen to be a company that does whatever NPR was talking about. Regardless, I was intrigued enough to look up and download the free app that very day.

(Also, full blogger disclosure: I'm not being compensated in anyway for this post. GymPact doesn't even know I'm writing it, this is just me wanting to share and talk about a product I like and use on a regular basis. Also, I have the iPhone version. As a commenter just pointed out -- thanks, Stina! -- the Android version seems to have the most bugs.)

GymPact works like this: You set a goal (make a pact) for how much you will workout during the week. This is not how many actual workouts you will do but how many days during the week you will workout. Workouts have to last for at least 30 minutes and the pact runs Monday through Sunday. Pacts also are set the week before so if you get to the midweek point and realize there is no way you can complete your pact, sucks to be you. It would be unfair to be able to change it midweek so make sure you set a pact you feel confident about meeting.

Once your pact is set you put up monetary stakes which means at the end of the week you give GymPact permission to take a certain amount of money from you for every workout day you miss (since money is on the line, this is where that whole "it would be unfair to be able to change it midweek" part comes in though there are extenuating circumstances allowed like if you injure yourself and are physically unable to workout versus just being lazy). Stakes range from $5 - $50 a workout and it's entirely up to you to set.

If you workout for as many days as you commited to you get money (yay!). If you don't follow through you lose money (boo!). The yay! money comes from the boo! money of the people who didn't complete their pact.

For instance, my pact is I will workout four days a week. Often I will workout more than that (when I start my half-training next week I will definitely be working out more than that) but four days is a reasonably attainable goal I have managed to meet week after week. I then have $5 stakes per workout so if I happen to get super lazy and not workout a single day then GymPact is going to take $20 from me. But as I don't want them to do that I always make sure to follow through on the pact. So instead of getting that "You owe us $X" email, I get the "Woo hoo! Here's some cash!" email.

Of course, now you're probably wondering how the GymPact app knows you actually work out. Well there are several ways the information gets verified. First you virtually "check in" at a gym or fitness facility using good ol' GPS (home gyms don't count, but don't worry there is a solution to that) although since it is based on GPS, once or twice weather has effected my ability to check in. GymPact app already has a list of facilities in there (like my yoga studio) but you can easily add one in and GymPact will check to make sure it's an actual gym. I had to do this a few weeks ago at my dad's gym and it worked perfectly and hopefully that means that if I ever go back with my dad in the future it will already be in the system.

So that's the first way. Second way is with the GymPact Anywhere option. This is the solution to the "no home gym" rule as it uses the actual physical movement of your body to verify you are actually, y'know, moving for the required minimum 30 minutes. The app suggests wearing your phone in an armband or you can do what I do which is stick it in my SPIbelt and just wrap that a few times around my arm. There is a baseline of movement that has to be met for it to count so depending on what workout video I'm doing I know I have to lengthen my warm up or cool down to add a couple of minutes because certain moves don't register during the routine (like, I wear my phone on my right arm so if the left arm is being worked and the right arm stays relatively motionless the app isn't going to know what's going on).

Third way is with the RunKeeper app. This part is actually super awesome since I already use RunKeeper whenever I run or go for a walk. All you have to do is sync up the two apps and as long as you use RunKeeper for at least 30 minutes, the activity will automatically get uploaded to GymPact and count towards your pact.


Now, though, I'm sure you all want to know about the money part. 'Cause, really, that's why we want the app, yes? Most important thing to know: your return is not going to be anywhere near as high as the stakes you put in. I offer up $5 per missed workout and the most I've gotten in a single week is about $2 total. But getting $2 is better than losing $5 and as the weeks go on the money earned adds up. You have to have earned at least $10 before you can cash it out (via PayPal) but I've already done that once and as you can see I'm more than halfway to getting to do it again. (It feeds my Starbucks habit, so the fact that it's all done through PayPal is awesome as I can just load up my Starbucks gold card directly my phone through PP without having to transfer money to and from my bank account.)

From my understanding, the amount you received is based on how many days you workout. That is, the more you workout the bigger the split of the pot. And, remember, the pact you set is just the minimum. Of course you are allowed to work out more days than that but only one workout per day will be counted towards your pact. So the more days you workout the more moola you are going to get (I think, don't quote me). The amount is also going to be based on however many people didn't complete their pact: The more people who failed means more money in the pot to be split between the people who succeeded. GymPact themselves tells you it averages to 30 to 40 cents per completed workout but I've always received more.

I will also add that while I have been pretty happy with GymPact, I know other people have had issues. Specifically with the app syncing correctly with RunKeeper. Sometimes the apps sync right away other times it can take a good long while. So if you go for a run on Sunday afternoon or evening and it's taking its good ol' time, it might not sync until Monday morning at which point the previous week's pact has already ended and your run doesn't get counted and your money gets taken. While I have had my RunKeeper app take close to 24 hours to sync it, luckily, was earlier in the week and didn't impact me. That being said, GymPact is quick to respond to problems or inquiries, either through the website or app or even their Twitter account. The app also goes through frequent updates which seems to fix many of the bugs.

Have you ever heard of or used GymPact before?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

4 comments:

  1. I've had so many issues with GymPact in the last month or two that I'm pretty much at the point of kicking it to the curb. I don't know if it's the app, the phone, or my service, but I'm constantly having problems with check-in and gym verification.

    I've also had spotty customer service. Sometimes they're super responsive; other times, I get nothing. A couple weeks ago they charged me $15 for not making my pact, but I still have outstanding bug reports on all three of my workouts.

    I do think there's a split between Android and iOS users though. My friends that love it and have very few issues all seem to be iPhone users whereas my friends (and myself!) that have had a lot of issues have almost all been Android users.

    I really love the idea of Gympact (which is why I keep giving it another chance despite my frustrations.) I just wish they would get it together for Android users. :(

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    Replies
    1. That's a very important point: I have the iPhone version and that might be what makes the difference.

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    2. Hey - my name is Marissa and I work marketing / social media here at GymPact. So sorry to hear you've bumped into issues on the Android app. We just doubled our customer experience team so email responses should be much faster here on out. We created an official GymPact User Group on FB - join the group and share you're zendesk # and I'd be happy to help sort it out there. https://www.facebook.com/groups/209706552517843/209709789184186/?comment_id=209711109184054&notif_t=group_comment

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  2. I've never used it before but it sounds like a wonderful way to stay accountable :) thanks for sharing!

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