Lazy Jar's app makes you pay for not exercising enough

Sarah Perez

Want to exercise more, but lack motivation? An app called Lazy Jar, aimed at Fitbit owners, may be able to help. The app actually penalizes you a monetary amount if you fail to meet the fitness goals you've set for yourself, in terms of metrics like steps per week, miles walked, or calories burned, for example.

The idea that some people may need a little bit of an extra push to start exercising isn't a unique concept. Other apps have offered this sort of cash penalty system before, like GymPact. However, GymPact takes a different approach - it rewards active members with cash paid by members who don't hit their health goals.

Lazy Jar won't reward you with cash payouts, it will simply slap your wrist when you screw up.

Explains founder Justin Anyanwu, "we want people to focus on a healthier more active lifestyle as its own reward."

That's fair. You shouldn't be working out for cash anyway - you should be doing it for you.

Plus, he says, programs with rewards incentivize cheating.

Justin believes most people want to get in shape, but there's a shortage of discipline and patience, especially when getting started. It's a pain point he experienced himself, which led him to make Lazy Jar.

"I built Lazy Jar because I was getting frustrated with my own lack of discipline. I've joined countless exciting gyms, and I leave after a couple of months," says Justin. "Even though I was making progress, I merely found myself making excuses to stop going. I was getting fed up with falling off the wagon too often."

"I also needed something that could guarantee that I was physically active every day. Something that helped me see fitness as part of my lifestyle and not just a chore I had to do," he adds.

Lazy Jar's approach to making people more consistent about their exercise routines is by punishing users with very real consequence when they don't meet their goals.

In Lazy Jar, you commit to a six-month program where you push themselves to meet your weekly Fitbit goals. You set what your goals should be using Lazy Jar's in-app controls, as well as the weekly penalty amount for any week where you fall short.

As an extra motivation, Lazy Jar takes a refundable $30 security deposit to guarantee its users are committed to the program. Even if you never meet your goals, you'll still get this money back at the end of the program. But if you cancel your account or quit during the six months, you'll lose the money for good.

Justin says Lazy Jar only keeps 20 percent of the money it makes from penalties, and donates the rest to charity. (This may not be a sustainable business model for the long-term, but at least for now you know your money is doing some good.)

Currently, the money is going to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, but more charities will be added in time.

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Since launching earlier this year, some Apple Watch owners have asked for a version that works with their wearable, too. Justin says this is now in the works, and will arrive at some point early next year.

Lazy Jar is live on iOS and Android, as a free download.