Lose weight, make money with fitness apps – Times Union

There are a variety of mobile apps meant to reward those who accomplish their fitness goals with cash, gift cards, coupons and more.
Forty-five percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions rank losing weight or improving finances top priorities, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute. With the help of technology — and sometimes a wee bit of risk — it’s possible to tackle these two goals in tandem and make money by losing weight.
Last week, I covered ways you can trim down without chipping away at your finances. But, it’s also possible to earn while you burn with smartphone fitness apps that offer tools to lose weight and pay you when you reach your fitness goals. When it comes to weight loss, money can be a strong motivator. Researchers at the NYU Langone Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that people are more incentivized by money to lose weight or complete weight-reducing activities than free standalone tools like diet books, weight loss programs and fitness trackers. 
There are legitimate apps that will reward achievements with points that can be converted to gift cards, coupons and more. Evidation (formerly AchieveMint) is one of several free apps that connects to your fitness tracker and helps you earn points for healthy actions you’re already taking. You can redeem your points for cash. The data you contribute can be used by researchers, however.
There are also weight loss wagering apps that use cash-based challenges to inspire you to succeed. HealthyWage and DietBet are among the most popular. You enter how much weight you intend to lose, in what time frame and how much you’re willing to wager each month to achieve your goal. The app calculates how much cash you stand to win based on your bet. If you’re a 200 pound female committed to losing 25 pounds in 10 months and willing to wager $20 a month, you could win $418, a profit of $218. If you don’t reach your goal, you’re out $200, even more incentive to stay on track. HealthyWage claims to have paid out more than $9 million over the last 12 months.
Apps like HealthyWage and DietBet also offer you the opportunity to compete against others to drive results. Right now HealthyWage is hosting a $5,5000 challenge. Every individual who reaches or exceeds a 6 percent weight loss goal in their verified weigh-out at the end of their challenge wins an equal share of the prize funded by HealthyWage  so there’s no fee to enter. 
To help you on your money-making, pound-reducing journey, here’s a roundup of a few of the best-reviewed fitness apps available on both iOS and Android. 
HealthyWage: Pick how much you want to lose (it has to be at least 10 percent of your body weight) and the number of months you’ll need to achieve your goal. The more money you put down and the more weight you lose can mean a bigger payout. Your total wager must be at least $100. If you drop a substantial amount, your winnings could top out in the thousands. However, if you don’t meet your goals, you’ll forfeit the money you’ve wagered. You can use the Instant Prize Calculator to determine your prize range before you begin. HealthyWage also offers group and corporate challenges. The app has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
DietBet: Compete against others and bet cash that you’ll drop pounds. You’ll have to join a “game,” a weight loss challenge group, or start your own with friends. To begin, you’ll put money in the DietBet pot and aim to lose 4 percent of your body weight in four weeks or 10 percent in six months. Whoever reaches the goal will split the pot.  
Evidation: Sync the app to your fitness tracker, social accounts and other health apps to earn points. There’s no need to check in and record your points. The app accumulates the data automatically from your linked accounts, like FitBit or Apple Health. You can also earn points by taking surveys and redeem your points for cash or donate them to charity. Ten thousand points is equivalent to $10.
StepBet: This fitness game’s goal is to get you more active. Players connect their fitness tracker and “bet” on themselves to meet their personalized step goals each week of the game. If you reach your target each week, you’ll split the pot with other winners at the end of the competition. Most games last for at least six weeks. The amount wagered can vary from game to game, but most bets are $40. To date, the company claims that nearly 1.3 million have participated over the years and $145 million has been paid out to winners. 
SweatCoin: The free, UK-based app awards you for walking with SweatCoins, the app’s digital currency, that you can use to purchase goods and service’s from the company’s marketplace, including Amazon gift cards, Apple Watches and more. If you’re feeling generous, you can donate your SweatCoins to charity. 
Shannon Fromma is a life-long Capital Region resident currently residing in Wilton with her husband and two rapidly-growing children. She received her degree in Communications and Journalism from the University at Albany in 1999. Before she had a chance to mount her diploma, she accepted a part-time gig writing obituaries for the Times Union. Her role has transformed over the years. Fromma currently pens Shopportunist, a frugal-living column and award-winning blog. As Coordinator for Engagement she also helps conceive and host live journalism programs at the Hearst Media Center. Contact her at sfromma@timesunion.com or 518-454-5340.

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