Every day we wake up and are bombarded with images and messages of physical perfection. At some point, it can start to seem like we’re the only person who isn't perfectly fit and healthy. But the rise of new motivational healthy eating, workout and lifestyle websites and apps suggests otherwise. The truth is, if you struggle to fit in exercise, make daily healthy eating choices, get enough rest, and live the healthy lifestyle of your dreams, you’re in very good company! In fact, the reason these new sites and apps are successful is because sometimes what it takes is finding the right motivation before we are able to make the lifestyle changes we desire.

Here at KCL, we are readily motivated by the promise of earning cash—if this describes you, these apps and sites might be just what the health and fitness doctor ordered!

1. Pact

Pact is perhaps best known as "Gym Pact," but the app actually offers three different ways to earn simply for striving to meet your health and fitness goals. The Pact app itself is free, and once inside, you can choose to use just one, two, or all three of the tools. Pact users report a 92% success rate meeting their goals through using Pact as a motivator. The app wraps in the combined might of positive peer pressure and payment to help users stay on track.

How the cash rewards systems works

Each user sets their own penalty per goal ("pact") not met—with the minimum per unmet pact being $5. Users who don’t meet their goals and are charged are contributing to the community-wide pool of funds distributed as a reward/incentive to those users who do meet their pacts. Rewards are distributed weekly and can range from $0.30 to $5 and up. Once you accrue $10 in your account, you can withdraw your earnings via Paypal.

3 Ways to use Pact

  1. Food Log Pact: The Food Log Pact sub-app syncs with MyFitnessPal.com to help you keep accurate food logs on a daily basis as you work towards your weight management goals.
  2. Veggie Pact: Make a pact stating how many fruits and veggies you’ll add to your diet weekly. Take photos of your fruits and veggies and get verified by other Pact users.
  3. Gym Pact: Gym Pact, which has received the most attention to date from app reviewers, is the third tool to help you get paid for getting healthy. A run, gym workout, 10,000 step walk, or 30+ minute bike ride are just some examples of ways to meet your daily workout pact goals. Gym Pact can sync with other workout apps (such as Runkeeper) as well.

2. DietBet

There’s a reason DietBet has been profiled favorably in every major news vehicle from ABC and CBS News to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. 96% of DietBet users say the app is helpful in motivating them to meet weight management goals. You can use either the online community or the app (or both, but if you want to use the app you must register online first) to participate in the DietBet community.

How the cash rewards systems works

You can choose to join in either of the existing games (lose 4% of your starting weight in four weeks or 10% of your starting weight in six months) or start your own game. Each game has a minimum entry bet (usually set at $25-$30). The community is in charge of verifying users' weight loss (done via submitted photos and logs) and at the end of the initial game period, all users who have met the criteria split the pot. You can request a payout of your winnings via Paypal at any time (if you need a paper check, there is a $5 fee). Or you can roll your winnings into a new game if you prefer.

3. Healthy Wage

Healthy Wage offers two ways to participate—as an individual who is joining the Healthy Wage community, or as part of a company using Healthy Wage as a motivator to employees to meet the company's own preset goals. The website has been profiled favorably on Yahoo Finance, CNN, NPR, Fox News, Time magazine, The Washington Post and others. As of 2012, Yahoo Finance reported that the site had paid out $500,000+ in winnings to site users.

About "betting"

While the site uses the word "bet" to describe how winnings are distributed, legally it isn’t considered to be true gambling.

How the cash rewards systems works

There are several existing programs ($10,000 challenge, Team challenge, BMI Challenge), or you can make an individual "bet" tied to a certain weight loss goal you have set. You must have your weight verified at the beginning and end of the period (this can be done by making a video or having a medical doctor, Weight Watchers group, or health club verify). When you place your bet, the online calculator helps you calculate how much your potential winnings could be (the top prize awarded is $10,000). You get paid one month after your challenge period has ended. You can get paid via Paypal or check.

4. StickK

For something a little different (and broader), you might want to check out StickK. StickK operates on the premise that losing cash or something else precious is just as motivating as winning cash or prizes—and not just for weight loss or working out. With StickK you can set all kinds of intentions (called "commitment contracts"), from making better grades to being on time for work to doing more volunteer work (and, of course, working out and losing weight if you wish). You can also set any stakes you like—and they don't have to involve cash. And you can designate a "referee" (basically a friend, colleague, or family member who acts as your accountability partner) to increase the effectiveness of the program.

How the "stick" system works

It’s no secret how StickK got its name—the "carrot" is the intention, and the "stick" is the stakes. If you do set a cash stake, you can choose three options if you don't meet your intention—pay a friend, pay a charity, or pay an anti-charity (an organization you dislike).