Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer are working to create a new system of gym memberships. Gym-Pact is a membership program that charges members higher fees if they don’t workout regularly. Zhang and Oberhofer are testing the theory that people are more motivated by short-term consequences than long-term rewards. It also creates a sense of accountability.
Gym-Pact has negotiated pilot programs with gyms in Boston. Their first partnership was for first-time customers at Bally Total Fitness, and now they’ve negotiated a group rate at Planet Fitness. Instead of a high up-front cost, the members of the Gym-Pact deal at Planet Fitness get a free membership if they workout four times per week. If not, they must pay $25.00.
“We don’t want to profit off of people’s failures,’’ said Oberhofer. Instead, Gym-Pact hopes to make money by creating affiliate programs with gyms and from referral fees.
One member of Gym-Pact, Amada Deutsch, says the program is working for her. She joined in January because she “thought it’d be a good way to get myself to go to the gym a bit more often.’’