Gympact: Encouraging Health Or Just Another Gimmick?

When I first read about Gympact I thought it was a joke. Pledging money if you fail to check-in at your gym for at least a half hour? Really? When I realized it wasn’t, it got me thinking: would I sign up for this? If I wasn’t already physically active, would this have led me to working out more?

The answer to both is no, but for different reasons. As of now, I don’t belong to a gym. We had a membership but cancelled it after realizing I only run outside, and Sarah prefers to hike and walk the dog in place of the gym. So we don’t get to benefit from Gympact, even though we’re both extremely active. It’s too bad, especially since even a half hour of walking can be healthy, and Gympact could have added in a ¬†GPS component or some other way to verify physical activity outside. I am a big proponent of enjoying the outdoors in all seasons, especially since it offers health benefits beyond the workout itself. There’s more to do than just plodding along on a treadmill; go out for a hike, wander your neighborhood on foot, go play basketball, go ski, enjoy the world a bit! But Gympact narrows its focus just on moving from inside your office or house to inside your gym. It’s better than not working out, but the lure of a few dollars isn’t enough to trap me inside a stuffy, sweaty building running like a hamster on a wheel.

So clearly I’m not the target audience right now. But in the past, before I started running, I’d always say I was going to get in shape, lose weight, etc. I was a member of gyms that cost $40, $50, $19, and even $90 per month. No amount of money or lengthy contracts lured me to using my membership. You know what made me change? I realized I needed to lose weight and get in shape, and I forced myself to face how out of shape and overweight I was. It wasn’t about how much money I was spending per month, it was about how horrified I was by the numbers on the scale. My point is that to make a lasting change, I needed more than a monetary incentive. If that was all it took, I would have been in amazing shape after the first time I signed a gym contract! Instead I let it ebb and flow, and needed to find the motivation inside myself to push for changes. So if I were my old self from a few years ago, I still wouldn’t take advantage of Gympact (or, more likely, I’d sign up and then suspend it indefinitely when I stopped going to the gym.)

But that’s just my take on Gympact. Obviously, my experiences aren’t going to be yours, and I’m genuinely curious-would you sign up and commit $5.00 per workout to stick with a routine? I am all for anything that gets people moving, and if Gympact works that’s great. Anything to get people in better shape! At the same time, the entire premise hinges on “you go to the gym while others don’t”, and you’re pledging at a minimum $5.00 if you fail or sit on the couch. But, again, you only see a benefit if others fail while you succeed, which is a bit dog-eat-dog. Runkeeper, Endomondo, Fitocracy and many other sites all offer social elements without having to outdo your neighbors, plus they won’t charge you for an extra rest day!

What’s your take? Are you using it, or did you roll your eyes at the premise? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: Gear Bits

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