Having trouble motivating yourself to wake up for that 7:00 a.m. yoga class at Hemenway or attend that 5:30 p.m. Zumba class at the MAC? Beyond laziness, part of the problem might be that we're not paying to attend our gyms as students.
Business partners Yifan Zhang '10 and Geoff L. Oberhofer '10 took this concept a step further with their newest idea, Gym-Pact, which adds a twist to regular gym membership. Instead of paying to simply work out, you are also charged a minimum of $10 if you skip a workout.
The two partners developed the program to help people keep commitments they wouldn't otherwise keep.
"It locks people in," explains Eddie Mortor, a receptionist at Planet Fitness in Porter Square where Gym-Pact has been implemented.
"In college you don't realize that you have all this time [and that the] MAC is two blocks away," Oberhofer said. For this reason, Oberhofer's and Zhang's focus is on young adults who have just left college (and the luxury of free gyms) and moved into the Boston area for work.
Gym-Pact, an idea that Zhang credits to a conversation with economics Professor Sendhil Mullainathan, has turned into a profitable enterprise.
"It's been so successful … a lot more than we expected. We started with just one gym. We [have been] able to open a lot more gyms in Boston," Zhang said.
Zhang and Oberhofer said that the idea even seems to work on themselves.
"We have been having a taste of our own medicine. We started the program like that because we wanted to have the motivation ourselves," Zhang said. "[We want to] encourage people who are looking for something a little different to check it out. We have some Harvard alumni and it's been great."
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons