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Mobile motivation

From cash deductions for skipping the gym to donations to charity for every kilo lost, gadgets can provide weight watchers enough reasons to stay healthy.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2013 02:13 IST
Sneha Mahale

Post a party binge through December and January, everyone’s resolution tends to focus on becoming fitter or hitting the gym with a vengeance to lose the extra kilos. In fact, it is well-known that gyms across the city report a rise in memberships in the beginning of a year. But as the month passes, the resolve wavers and, before you know it, you’ve skipped a week of exercise and are on the verge of giving up completely.

“That is when I discovered GymPact. This app actually deducts real money (not virtual cash) if you skip a single workout. The loss of hard-earned money actually motivated me to stick to my regimen of hitting the gym thrice a week and lose my flab,” says Anish Singh, a banker who used the app to shed three kilos. For people like Singh, being motivated enough to keep repeating an activity, like cycling, running or walking, is the biggest factor to exercising. That’s when apps like GymPact or Nexercise step in. While the former deducts hard cash, the latter offers gift certificates if you manage to stay on course for your goal. This carrot-and-stick approach keeps people hooked to their routine.

Also, weight loss can now be a way to give back to the community. For example, Big Loser India is a Twitter initiative that encourages fitness for charity. For each kilo that a participant loses, the sponsor will donate a minimum of Rs 10 to a charity chosen. The initiative has been on since 2011. Says Mihika Karnik, who signed up for it when it launched, “When you know that every kilo you lose is going to fund a child’s education or help in women’s empowerment, that is a big motivation to hit the gym.”

Optumize Me
For people with a competitive streak, this app is a must-try. It allows you to challenge family, friends and even strangers to “eat an apple daily for 30 days” or “have sprouts thrice a week”. You can motivate your teammates or thrash talk the opposition. Participants also offer rewards to the winner, thus making exercise and getting healthy a competitive sport.

Gym Pact
Users put a small amount of money on the line and commit to exercise. Each time you visit the gym, check in via the phone’s GPS. Skip too many days, and the app deducts cash. But should you complete the pact, you get the money back. Also, periodically, the money pooled from people who don’t go is distributed to the people who do.

This fitness social network works like a role-playing game. You sign in, select a routine from a list of options and choose the duration and intensity desired. You are awarded points on the basis of the difficulty levels involved in completing the task.

The app borrows from games like Final Fantasy, so you are rewarded through power-ups, achievements and challenges, making the exercise routine a game in itself. And, an enjoyable one.

Big Loser India
People who want to participate can tweet asking for sponsors with the hashtag #Bglsr. For each kilo that the participant loses, the sponsor donates a minimum of Rs 10 to a charity that the #BgLsr collective chooses. The donation is directly proportionate to the number of kilos lost by participants. The current season of Big Loser India will end on April 2. So, wait for the next season to sign up.