To Pay a Gym Membership Fee, or…?

I am a cheap Pole.

Which is why when I was looking to join a gym, the cost was an important factor in that decision. I can’t afford to pay much in the way of a monthly gym membership fee, nor would I be likely to pony up that much more for the access to a rooftop deck pool and the opportunity to sweat next to Oprah of an East Bank Club, even if I could. (For the record, I chose X Sport.)

The cost also was an important factor in my decision to join a gym in the first place. Not wanting to waste money on a gym membership I never used would motivate me, I figured. And do the math: That $20 gym membership becomes $1 per visit if I go five times a week, as opposed to $5 per visit if I go once. I can get more bang for my buck by going to the gym more, so I WILL GO TO THE GYM.

But what about a gym that charges you for NOT EXERCISING?

It’s called Gym-Pact, and this post at brought it to my attention:

That’s the main idea behind Gym-Pact, a new company in Boston that partners with local vendors to offer discounts to consumers in exchange for weekly workout commitments. If you fulfill your commitment and attend the gym as promised, you get to skate along at reduced rates. But, if you choose to loaf and skip your agreed upon workouts, you’re penalized at least $10 per day.

It’s all behavioral economics, according to the two Harvard grads who founded Gym-Pact and this Boston Globe article: “People are more motivated by immediate consequences than by future possibilities.” Think about that. Because that’s not just turning the gym business model on its head. That’s a commentary on the way we think about food and exercise. And that needs to be turned on its head, too. When you think of the immediate consequence of overindulging in food (It tastes so good right now!), turn that on its head. Think of the future possibilities of eating well. And when you think of the immediate consequence of neglecting exercise (I’d so much rather sleep in or read this book or pretty much do anything that isn’t exercise right now!), think of the future possibilities of regular exercise.

And if that isn’t motivation, well… just think of the value you’re getting for all those workouts and the money you’re saving on foods that don’t do anything to nourish your body, if you’re a cheap Pole like me.

Now, if only I could find a gym that paid me!

If you are cheap like mcemilywrites, check out our listings of free classes and events in NYC, Chicago, and DC.


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