Love Your Fitbit? This Company Rewards You for Meeting Your Step Goal

(Update: Fitstudio just announced it’s shutting down on Feb. 10, 2016, so you’ll no longer be able to earn points this way.)

Do you feel a bit naked without your trusty Fitbit? You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to get caught up in the quest to meet your step goal or battle your friends for the top spot. Even celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Christina Applegate are tracking their workouts.

But what if all of your step-counting and workout-tracking earned you financial bonuses? Meet FitStudio, which rewards you for keeping up with healthy activities.

What is It?

FitStudio is a website that syncs your Fitbit (and a variety of other fitness devices and apps like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal) to the Shop Your Way rewards program. You get points just by walking around with your Fitbit, but you can also amplify your earnings by using FitStudio’s workout plans or setting and meeting goals for yourself.

What’s the Reward?

You won’t be handed cash, but it’s close. Points earned through FitStudio can be used to shop at Kmart, Sears and Lands End online and in retail stores. The FitStudio #Fitin14 program makes it easy to remember: for every week in which you walk 14 miles, you earn 5,000 points, the equivalent of $5. If you’re regularly hitting a Fitbit goal of 8,000 steps (about three miles) per day, achieving 14 miles per week should happen like clockwork.

Even the most casual of exercisers — those who prefer long walks rather than CrossFit or running — can enjoy seeing dollars add up. Leah Ingram of Suddenly Frugal pointed to a Mayo Clinic study when she reviewed money-saving New Year’s resolutions. The study revealed that people who were offered a financial incentive were more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss. Think of store credit as your financial incentive in this case. A few dollars off here or there can add up to big savings for you and your family.

Are There Other Ways to Earn?

Covering the miles isn’t the only way to earn points to use through Shop Your Way. When you register, you’ll be instantly rewarded with 2,000 points. Log in to the site at least every seven days, and you can earn an extra 275 points per week. You’ll also receive points for completing simple tasks like updating your profile, adding your fitness device and noting your goals. Remember, those small steps add up.

What about those workouts? You can earn 1000 points for completing one of the workout plans offered by FitStudio, along with 100 points for each individual workout you complete. Workout programs last from a few days to as many as eight weeks, so if you’re training for your first 5k, you’ll have a little help from FitStudio.

Tackle 100 calories? That’s 50 more points for you. Spend 20 minutes working out for 100 more points. You can stack these points throughout the week as you work toward your #Fitin14 distance goal for the big prize of 5,000 points.

Your FitStudio progress will automatically sync with your Shop Your Way account, which you’ll be signing up for if you’re not already a member. Using Shop Your Way is as easy as providing your phone number at the cash register or shopping online via the Shop Your Way website. You won’t need to add another membership card to your wallet.

What’s the catch?

Sadly, there is a significant drawback: Most of the points you’ll earn through FitStudio expire in just seven days. As quickly as you earn points, you’ll be losing those you don’t have a chance to redeem.

For instance, if you open your account but take a few days to poke around the site before setting goals or finishing your profile, you could lose all the bonus points you earned for signing up.

Is it worth it?

FitStudio is worth signing up for if you keep a few notes in mind.

First, the points can be helpful if you live near one of the supported retailers. Most beneficial may be Kmart, which features many everyday products you probably need for your home at reasonable prices. Five dollars off a container of detergent? That’s a win. Five dollars off some holiday decorations you’ve been eyeing? Oh, yes. If you’re a regular Kmart shopper, you’re missing out by not signing up. Hey, you can even earn points while you walk around the store!

What if you’re not a regular shopper of Kmart, Sears or Lands End? If there’s a store in your area and you’re planning to visit periodically — say, four times per year instead of weekly — set your FitStudio account and forget about it. Then, before those dedicated trips, check your FitStudio account for progress. If you’ve got points to use, be sure to take advantage of them.

If you’re a clearance hunter, use your reward where it will go the furthest: on those deeply discounted items you’ve been coveting. Don’t forget to check your Shop Your Way homepage for coupons, too. Kmart in particular has great coupons for kitchen and bath items. Just click on the item or offer to have it saved to your account. Then get stepping — to the store!

Your Turn: Have you tried FitStudio? How did you make the most of your points and rewards?