I read about GymPact in TechCrunch and was immediately intrigued. GymPact provides users with an incentive to workout by allowing them to set the financial stakes for a missed workout and providing an opportunity to earn money for each workout to which you committed and finished.
Here's how it works... at the beginning of each week, you set the number of times you are going to the gym that week and place a value on each workout. If you meet your goal, you don't owe anything and are not charged at all. In fact, you will receive a payment from those who don't complete their workout goal! However, if you miss a workout you are charged the amount you attributed to each workout. You must agree to workout 1 day/week and the minimum stake for a workout is $5 per day missed. The amount you earn in a week is based only on you meeting your goal and you won't earn more for setting and achieving a goal with more workouts.
The idea is that losing a set amount of money is the best incentive to get yourself to the gym - isn't 30 minutes at the gym worth not losing $5? You know you'll feel better afterward and you won't lose money. The company has received press from the likes of Freakonomics, the New York Times, and NPR.
This is my second week using GymPact. Because I often run outside (you have to be at a gym recognized by GymPact for the workout to count), I set my goal at 3 visits with $5/visit stakes. There is something incredibly satisfying about meeting the goal and I made a whopping $1.65 last week! I don't think the incentive is the money you make but instead the money you don't lose.
GymPact is currently available only for the iPhone, but development for other smartphones is underway. Below are two screenshots of what it looks like to "check in" and "check out" using the app. It couldn't be easier!