Pact app pays you to exercise and eat right

Formerly GymPact, this smartphone app encourages you to put your money where your pie hole is.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Pact (formerly GymPact) challenges you to not only work out, but also log your foods and eat your veggies.
Pact (formerly GymPact) challenges you to not only work out, but also log your foods and eat your veggies. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Need a little extra incentive to stick to your New Year's resolution? You know, the one about eating less and exercising more?

Perhaps you've heard of GymPact, an app that rewards you for hitting the gym on a regular basis and charges you a fee if you don't. Just in time for the new year, GymPact is now Pact, and it now applies its payment/penalty system to dietary goals as well.

The app (Android|iOS) offers three different kinds of "pacts": food, gym, and veggie. The food pact requires you to log your daily intake using the excellent MyFitnessPal, which now syncs directly with Pact.

With a veggie pact, you set a goal to eat a certain amount of fruits and vegetables per week. To verify each serving, you snap a photo with your phone before eating. (To help prevent cheating, photos are verified using a variety of criteria.)

Finally, the gym pact works much like always, giving you credit for trips to the gym, bike rides of at least 30 minutes, a daily step count of at least 10,000, and so on. (Pact can sync with apps like RunKeeper and fitness trackers like the Jawbone Up to assist with automated logging.)

So what kind of money are we talking about? You don't pay anything up front. Instead, if you pledge to eat, say, 10 servings of veggies per week, and manage to do so, you'll earn about $2. But if you miss your goal, you'll be charged a minimum of $5 per veggie. (You can set any penalty amount in $5 increments.)

And that's ultimately how Pact works: the reward money comes from people who fail to honor their pacts. Interestingly, even though there's not a ton of money at stake here, research has shown that when cash is on the line, people are more likely to stick to diet and exercise goals. But obviously some won't make it, hence the pool of payout cash.

Although I do typically exercise three or four times per week, I could definitely stand to increase my fruit and veggie intake. Plus, I've had good luck with monetary motivators like DietBet, so I'll definitely be giving Pact a try. Your thoughts?