But what if you could make money for shedding those unwanted pounds? Would having a dollar amount attached to your weight loss efforts incentivize you to stick with it?
Get Paid to Lose Weight in 2016
With a multitude of paid diet plans like Weight Watchers, and the exorbitant prices attached to premier gym memberships, boutique fitness studios and fancy workout clothes, losing weight might be more readily correlated with spending money than making it.
But you don’t have to spend a ton of money to incorporate fitness into your life. You can get your fitness gear on the cheap at vendors like Target and Old Navy, and opening the front door to head out for a run is always free.
Even better? We found a surprising number of ways to get paid while getting fit. Here are 10 worth trying.
Bet on Yourself
Ready to put your money where your mouth is?
No, I’m not suggesting a dollar bill diet. These apps and programs facilitate taking a small monetary risk to help you stick to your weight loss goals — and engage your competitive spirit.
Then, get rewarded at the end of your journey. It pays to achieve, in more ways than one!
Do you have a specific number of pounds you want to lose — and the confidence that you can get the scale to match? Check out HealthyWage, where you can make a (healthy) wager on your ability to stick to your plan.
Here’s how it works: you come up with a goal weight and a time frame to achieve it, and then you lay down some money that says the scale will correspond with your plans. If you achieve your goals, you’ll have two things to celebrate: your svelte new self, and a hefty prize check cut by HealthyWage.
We don’t typically tell you about betting opportunities, but this made the cut since you’re betting on yourself. Prize amounts depend on how much you have to lose, how quickly you want to do it, and, of course, how much you bet.
Want to combine monetary incentive with the power of teamwork? HealthyWage offers team challenges, too — either with your officemates or a group set up by the site if your company’s not on board.
By the way, the earning potential for the team challenges is pretty serious: you pay $25 per month, for three months, to participate, and you could win up to $10,000.
Another great option for making weight-loss wagers is DietBet, which pools participants into teams based on their goals.
Choose from the Kickstarter plan (lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days), the Transformer plan (lose 10% of your body weight in 6 months), or become a Maintainer (keep your already-shed weight off for 12 full months).
Make a bet, and either pay monthly or all up front. Then, the winners split the pot — and achieve the fitness goals of their dreams!
The best part about DietBet is it helps you get involved in a community of people with similar goals, which provides both challenge and support. And since you can keep enrolling in different plans as you progress, you stand to earn a decent chunk of change as you get stronger, healthier and happier.
Want to bet on your habits rather than the number on the scale?
Even the health nuts among us have off days where they need a little more motivation. Why not make a little bit of extra cash while you’re at it?
I’ve been using Pact for quite a while, and earn at least $50 per year just keeping up with the healthy habits I’d (hopefully) maintain anyway.
To participate, simply download the app and link your Paypal account. You’ll make a pact with yourself to hit the gym and track your food consumption a certain number of days per week, and if you don’t follow through, you’ll pay — as little as $5 or as much as $50 per incident.
But if you keep up with your healthy promises, you’ll earn a little bit each week — a few cents or a couple of bucks, depending on how many activities you track and how many Pacters didn’t keep up that week. (That’s where that $5-$50 wager goes!)
You can even make a Pact to eat a certain number of fruits and vegetables each week. Snap a quick photo of your salad or apple and receive rewards if the community agrees it should count! That’s right, your veggies have to be verified by outside parties, so you can’t get away with trying to claim that pizza’s a vegetable.
Worried because you’re active, but don’t have a gym membership? Don’t fret: Pact syncs with apps like RunKeeper so your motion matters, no matter how you get moving.
Keep Track — and Rack Up the Cash
Counting calories and tracking steps helps you hold yourself accountable for your choices — and makes it easy to see which of your habits need improvement.
If you’re planning to track your fitness through digital apps, lots of programs will help you earn a little extra money! Here are a few.
If you asked Santa for a FitBit this Christmas, you could be in the money!
FitStudio is an app that syncs up with your FitBit — and other fitness apps like MyFitnessPal — to earn you points for staying active. By the way? Those points translate to cash savings at vendors like Sears and Kmart.
Check out our full scoop on how to use FitStudio, and get syncing up to save! If you go this route, don’t procrastinate; your points can expire in as little as seven days.
The last time I was at Publix to pick up a prescription, I settled in to wait the half hour it apparently takes to put 10 pills into a small orange bottle… and noticed a blood pressure kiosk set up conveniently in the waiting area.
Curious, and with time to spare, I sat down and strapped in. 116/76 — and it told me my pulse, weight and BMI, too! I was asked to create a username so I could track my results over time, and thus, I became a user (and fan) of Higi.
If you shop at Walgreens regularly, you know their Balance Rewards points can go a long way for saving money on essentials. What if you could earn even more Balance Rewards points, just by tracking the healthy habits you’re keeping up with this year?
If you track your caloric intake with MyFitnessPal, your jogs with RunKeeper, or your steps with your FitBit, you can! Check out all their Balance Rewards healthy choices offers. They also reward other popular resolutions, like quitting smoking.
This one’s so appealing, there’s a waitlist, but go ahead and get on it now so you can start earning soon.
Sync up the fitness tracking apps you’re already using to earn real rewards like Visa gift cards. Heck, you’ll probably learn about a few new tracking apps since AchieveMint supports over 40 of them!
Cash In on the Fitness You’ve Already Earned
Even if you’re already living a healthy lifestyle, you might be missing out on steep discounts — and even earnings! Here’s how maximize the payoff on your hard-won fitness.
8. Teach Your Healthy Ways
Take advantage of the January increase in ambition, and teach a hopeful newbie the skills that won you that rockin’ bod. Bonus: if working out is your job, it’ll be easy to keep the pounds off!
9. Get a Sweaty Side Gig
Don’t have the teacher gene? Not to worry! There are still sweaty jobs out there for you.
Like to get outside? If a thirst for adventure is close to your heart, you could become a river rafting guide or trail builder (and you’ll earn a nice wage, too!).
10. Check With Your Health Insurance
When you’re at your healthiest, your insurance company has to pay for your care less often. So it’s in their best interests to keep you fit!
For example, BlueCross and BlueShield offers exclusive health-related deals to its members through Blue365, so you can save money on the goods and services that keep you healthy and active. Humana’s Vitality program rewards your smart choices with 10% savings off healthy products at Walmart.
Whoever your insurer is, give them a ring and see what they can offer you for living a healthy lifestyle.
Get Motivated and Make it Work!
The key to achieving any goal is to create new behaviors — and sustain them. You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: Weight loss requires a lifestyle change, not just a quick-fix diet.
By tying money to your new healthy habits, you’re more likely to keep them up. Fitness is a great reward in and of itself, but extra earnings are definitely a good reason to stay on the wagon!
Your Turn: Will you use any of these ideas to make money while you lose weight in 2016? Are there any ways to make money while getting fit that we missed?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hi to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.