This is no joke. I just made about $1.50 running from Zombies - and more is on the way (both cash and zombies).
Ok, the zombies are not real, but the money is. Thanks to three simple mobile apps, every time I go for a 30 minute jog, I get chased by simulated zombies, and then earn my way toward a weekly reward. The app trifecta in question contains the following:
- RunKeeper: The Granddaddy of running apps
- GymPact: Get rewarded to excersice, and penalized when you don't
- Zombies, Run!: Immerse yourself in undead while you work out
The setup is simple, all you need is an iPhone or and Android device with GPS, and an internet connection. Then get signed up for three apps, and their accompanying web services, and start your engines.
Step 1: Get RunKeeper
First, get RunKeeper - an app that tracks your outdoor workouts using the GPS built into most smartphones. Go to Runkeeper.com and sign up for an account. It's free. Then go to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and download the RunKeeper app (also free). Open up RunKeeper on your phone and sign in to the app with the account you created online.
There are tons of options and lots of interesting features and services in RunKeeper, but I won't get into those here. For now, all that is needed is a free account.
Step 2: Create A Gym-Pact
Next, download GymPact from the App Store or Google Play. GymPact is a pretty amazing service that will penalize you for not working out. You set a goal of a certain number of workouts per week, and post a dollar amount that you are willing to risk if you do not meet that goal. Miss the goal, pay the money. Complete the goal, and split the penalty funds collected from the non-achievers with all the other winners. It works, and I've been using it off and on for a year now. Sign up for an account through the app itself or on GymPact.com.
Once the GymPact app is installed, you need to link it with your RunKeeper account. In the app, tap the Settings icon (the little gear) and scroll down to the RunKeeper menu entry under My Account. Tap the button to connect your accounts. Check the GymPact website for more information.
Don't forget to set up a pact! The minimum pact is one workout per week, with a $5 penalty per workout. I've got mine set up for 2 workouts per week, with a $10 penalty. It earns my about $1.50 (give or take $.25) per week. Increasing the number of workouts will increase the payout. Be sure to set the penalty high enough that it stings pretty hard when you miss a workout and get fined.
Step 3: Run! From Zombies!
Finally, head over to the Zombies, Run! website and register for a ZombieLink account (free). Zombies, Run! is a game for iOS and Android that you play while jogging. It's basically an interactive story that plays through your headphones while you run. Every so often, your character in the story will be chased by zombies, and you'll need to pick up the pace OR DIE!!! It's good.
Once you've logged in to ZombieLink and poked around a bit, click your user name (upper right corner) and go to Settings. Click the Sharing to other networks tab on the right, and connect your RunKeeper account. Then set Auto post new runs to RunKeeper to true and remember to hit Save (it's easy to miss this part).
Finally, go back to the App Store / Google Play and download Zombies, Run! ($3.99). There is also a 5K training version for $1.99, but I have not tested that app yet. So far, this is the only app that will cost you money up front, and if you meet your goals set in Gympact, you will earn the cost of the app back in a couple weeks.
That's it for the setup. most of these apps will ask you if they can access your location and send you notifications. It's important to say 'yes' to all of these. That way your runs/walks/jogs can be tracked properly, and you will get notified when your workouts are posted to RunKeeper, and then sync'd to GymPact.
All that's left is to put on some running shoes, start up the Zombies, Run! app and do the first mission. Remember, in order for the workout to count, it needs to last 30 minutes or more. If you finish your Zombie mission early, just keep running until the timer reaches 30:00 or later, then stop the mission. Once the mission is complete, it should automatically post the data to RunKeeper. After a few hours, it should then sync from RunKeeper to GymPact. You do not need to have the RunKeeper or GymPact apps open while using Zombies, Run!. Or, if you prefer a zombieless run, open RunKeeper and start a workout through the app and go from there. Keep it up, and watch the river of pennies fill your GymPact account, all while saving the world from flesh eating corpses.