Smartphone app pays you to make healthy decisions - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Smartphone app pays you to make healthy decisions

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Smartphone app pays you to make healthy decisions (WFSB) Smartphone app pays you to make healthy decisions (WFSB)

Taking a gamble on your health could make it easier to get in shape.

There is a new cellphone app that pays its users if they make the right decision.

It is difficult to make the turn into a gym parking lot when there is a tempting fast food establishment right next door.

Making healthy choices isn't always easy when it seems like temptations lurk around every corner, but with a new app cash could possibly nudge people in the right direction.

Michael McKillop of Ellington was working on losing weight when he heard about the app called “Pact.”

The app will pay the user for going to the gym, eating vegetables and logging what they ate.

“I'm doing it anyway, why not just get paid,” McKillop said.

While it sounds easy, there is a catch.

“If I don't make it, I will have to pay,” McKillop said.

There are three different Pact programs that users can choose from: they can commit to exercising, logging their food, or eating more vegetables, or all three.

The user sets the stakes by deciding how much they will have to pay if they skip a day, and the app will calculate what they can earn at the end of the week.

The app makes sure users are being honest too.

When they get to the gym, they “check in” and the GPS verifies that they're there and logs how long they stay.

The other option is to sync an activity tracker, like a Fitbit, to the app.

“They require you to do 10,000 steps,” McKillop said.

To prove that the user is chowing down on their veggies, they upload a photo of their meal.

McKillop said the app helped keep the motivation brewing.

“I've made it a pact with myself, I'm not going to pay them,” McKillop said.

Users won't necessarily get rich off the app, but every little bit helps.

“If I do this for a year, I could make about 100 dollars which would probably go toward my gym membership,” McKillop said.

Once the user is ready to cash in, the money goes to a PayPal account.

Patrick Precourt, of The Cage Fitness Center in Rocky Hill, said the app can help jumpstart a fitness routine too.

“It's a great way to get a program started. Because it gives them something to focus on, it gives them a target,” Precourt said.

However, they also warned money motivation can fall short.

“If we want true, lasting results we can't rely on external sources of motivation to get us to do what we know we have to do. We have to reach internally,” Precourt said.

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