Side Hustle Saturday: Making Money with Fitness Apps

I recently learned about fitness apps that not only track your activity, but reward you with money for being active. I decided to jump in and give three of them a try. Here’s my experience over the past six weeks with StepBet, Sweatcoin and Achievement.

I started my fitness research journey with the requisite “toes and scale” photo to record a starting point. It was less intimidating than the bikini/sports bra “before” type shot. So I started at 135.2 lbs, averaged 12,000 steps a day and invested a total of $40.

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StepBet – If you’ve read my “I’m squishy” post then you’ll recall I’m working on that last five to ten pounds of baby weight. This isnt totally about losing weight though, it’s about getting fit and toning up. I do a better job when I’m held accountable, so I decided to take it a step beyond my usual FitBit challenges and put some money on the line with StepBet.

It costs me $40 to join a six week challenge. I synced the app to my FitBit Charge 2 and they set my daily step goal at 15,664, so about 5,000 more steps than my usual goal. I had to also hit two “stretch” days at almost 19,000 steps and then I was allowed one “rest day.” Everyone’s money goes into the pot, and then at the end those who won split it after StepBet takes their 15% cut. You are guaranteed to get your $40 back if you succeed, and hopefully a few dollars extra for your effort.

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Did it motivate me to get up and move? Yes! I was doing good and got into the habit of doing nearly twice my usual daily steps. And then I got sick. Miserably sick with some kind of cold/flu that made me want to hide in bed and definitely NOT walk 19,000 steps in a day. But I trudged on. I had made it to five weeks and absolutely refused to give up my $40! Especially since I had been checking in daily and gleefully watching the numbers of those still in the game slowly drop. That would not be me!

In the end, I did win my game and got my $40 back plus an extra $7.08 for my efforts. I chose to take a break and not enter a new game right away. To be honest, it was a little stressful to be so obsessed with my steps every day. I’m thinking I’ll probably try it again next month, after I’ve had a little break and need some more motivation.

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Achievement – With the Achievement app, you earn points for steps, tracking heart rate and even sleeping. You can also answer health related surveys and click through offers to earn more points. Once your points reach 10,000 you can trade them in for $10, payable through PayPal.

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I answered all the surveys right away and earned 2,000 and then it was pretty uneventful. You slowly rack up points without really doing anything. There aren’t a ton of offers, but you can snag a good deal of points if you do a survey. I’ve been earning an average of 50 points a day just by having it connected to my FitBit. I currently have 4,209 points, so nearly the equivalent of $5. I’m going to just let this one ride and see how long it takes to get my $10.

Sweatcoin – I signed up for Sweatcoin but ended up deleting it after three weeks. You have to have your phone on you all the time and it only counts your steps when you are outside. On a nice walk outside, the last thing I want is my phone flopping in my pocket.

I also found it a little invasive the way it had to be running all the time and when I cleared up my apps, which I do on occasion, I got a notice on my phone saying “You killed me!” It was creepy. Sweatcoin does not like to be force quit. I finally decided it was just taking up space and deleted it since I don’t carry my phone around enough to add up points. Also it seemed the only prizes I was ever going to earn were discounts or free trials on things I didn’t want.

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After six weeks of trying out fitness apps, I was down 2 lbs and up $7. I also adjusted my regular Fitbit daily goal to 15,000 steps. Not bad! I may actually look into joining StepBet as a member before I do the next challenge. Then it allows you to do more than one game at a time and they don’t take the 15% cut.

Anyone else try a similar type app? I’d be interested to hear about it!

I had a baby and now I’m squishy

I’ve been working really hard on getting my body back to “normal” since having my son. Normal for me has always been pretty fit. I started at around 130 lbs. and went up to 180 in my last cake-obsessed month of pregnancy. At least, 180 is when I stopped looking at the scale. After I had my son, my normally size 4 self was hovering around a 12/14. Nothing fit. I wore my maternity shorts for the entire summer and raided my husband’s wardrobe for t-shirts because mine were all too tight.

It’s taken me two years but I recently got back to somewhere near my pre-baby weight. I managed to get the scale to budge after joining a gym with the glorious incentive of free child care. I also recently shot photos for Folio Weekly for their Best of Jax edition.

So imagine my horror when I see one of the raw pics, where I am leaning forward and my belly is squishing out the bottom of my corset. Because yes I still have some squish. It made me think of Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance where everyone was focused on her exposed belly pooch. So see, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you are wearing something tight on the bottom and bend a certain way, stuff squishes or pooches!

I was relieved to see the art director fixed it before publishing. He said he wasn’t sure if he should because some people are sensitive about Photoshop, but I was like, oh hell no, Photoshop me all you want! It’s not like we were shooting family photos and going for realism. I was dressed as a circus sideshow Strong Woman. I don’t feel like my character would be squishy.

Original photo on the left, published photo on the right with artfully placed text box.

As for me, I’m headed back to the gym to keep working on this squishy thing. But if it’s always there? Oh well. Every bit of squish was worth it. My belly did an amazing job of expanding to accommodate my growing son. It’s pretty amazing what the body can do! And pretty amazing the way it bounces back as well, with a little effort of course.

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