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Great Eat-spectations is my outlet for sharing recent news that sparks my interest (and hopefully yours), tasty recipes that I have tried, fun food facts, and fascinating articles for you to enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Dietary Guidelines are here!

As a Registered Dietitian, I am excited to announce that the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines were released today. Check them out here!

You're Gonna Pay For That!

If you are anything like me, and the majority of Massachusetts, every year you make a vow to yourself on December 31st that beginning the next day, you will start working out. You may show up at the gym sporadically throughout the month of January, but by February 1st, you’re right back on the couch watching CSI reruns with a bag of potato chips (or your show/snack of choice, of course). I assume, much like myself, the list of excuses you begin to compile grows longer as your motivation dwindles. What would make you get up off of the couch and go to the gym? How about losing money if you didn't?

In October of 2010, a pilot project developed by two Harvard University graduates launched in a Boston Bally Total Fitness using behavioral economics to keep members on track with their goals through an interesting form of motivation. No, they don’t send you inspiring text messages to make you feel all warm and cuddly. Instead, they charge you money when you miss a workout.

When I first read about this program, I was baffled by the concept. Who in their right mind would join this and allow themselves to pay for missing a workout? The truth of the matter is that most people respond best to fear. What could be scarier than immediately losing money when you begin slacking off on your workouts?

The program is still in its infancy and is only available at two Planet Fitness locations: Porter Square in Cambridge and Government Center in Boston. The current deal only costs $10 to join (definitely a steal!) as long as you commit to a Gym-Pact contract.

The contract includes:

  • Pledging a motivational fee amount ranging from $10 per missed workout to $100. Members can change their pledge at the beginning of each week if they are over or under setting their pledge amount.
  • Choosing a commitment time frame. Two options are available: 1-month contract or 6-month contract. The 6-month contract offers one week off (any week you choose) for a vacation or just to rest.
  • Setting up a workout frequency and length. Members can set their workout goals from 1-7 days per week and 30-90 minutes per workout.

How do they keep track of you? Digital passwords, that change every 60 seconds, are given to you at the front desk when you arrive and leave to document your workout via text message.

I'm curious to see how successful the program becomes from both a results standpoint and the prosperity of the business itself. Like most good health programs, a great idea, and in this case behavioral economics model, serves as the foundation.

For more information, click here.

On an ending note, many of us share the same outlook towards fitness as Joan Rivers, who once said: “I don't exercise. If God wanted me to bend over, he'd have put diamonds on the floor.”
 Well, Joan Rivers, if you join Gym-Pact with that attitude, you'd be broke before you knew it.