20 weight loss challenge ideas that are fun, healthy and motivating

Losing weight can be tough, especially when you’re just starting out. Weight loss challenge ideas, like the ones listed below, are an effective way to jump-start your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Not only do they force you to get off your rump and make a change, they also motivate, inspire and hold you accountable for your actions.

Do them with friends, coworkers, total strangers or by yourself. After a week or two you will find your new routine is almost second nature and by the end of the challenge, it becomes part of normal, everyday life. Stick with the program, and you’ll see the results.

Some challenges motivate with money:

1. HealthyWage

HealthyWage designs and organizes online weight loss challenges and contests in which participants can win money for losing weight. Choose among three fun challenges: 1) 10% Challenge: Pay a $100 fee to participate. If you lose 10% of your body weight over six months, you win $200. 2) BMI Challenge: This challenge pays up to $1,000 to users who move from an obese BMI (greater than 30) to a normal BMI (less than 25) over a year’s time. 3) The Matchup: Teams of five lose weight and try to win the $10,000 first prize.

2. DietBet

Bet on yourself to lose 4% of your starting weight within four weeks with the DietBet 4 challenge or lose 10% of your starting weight within six months with the DietBet 10 challenge. Everyone who wins splits the pot equally so you don’t have to worry about losing the most weight first. You can even create your own game (choose to keep it private for just your friends if you’d like).

3. Pact

Get the extra motivation to achieve your exercise goals with the GymPact app. Any gym workout, run, bike ride over 30 minutes, or 10,000 steps in a day counts toward your Pact. The kicker, you can earn cash for living healthy, paid by members who don’t.

4. Earndit

Earndit’s Challenges feature allows people to create private fitness challenges among a group. Once the challenge ends, the winner is emailed a Tango Card in the amount of the sum of the entry fees (minus Earndit’s 10% service fee). There are also brand-sponsored challenges like this one, which give away gift cards to winners.

There are weight loss challenges that have a specific timeline, whether it’s one year, 100, 60 or 30 days long.

5. Give it 100

The very-popular Give It 100 challenges ask you to take a 10-second video of yourself practicing/training for something every day for 100 days. It’s a great way to spark motivation and offer accountability — mainly because people are watching!

6. 30 Day Fitness Challenges

30dayfitnesschallenges.com specifically offers fitness challenges that are 30 days long. They include the little black dress challenge, abs challenge, plank challenge and arm challenge, just to name a few. The website shows you how to do proper exercises and offers recipes and forums to connect with like-minded challenge members.

7. Yoga Journal’s 21 day yoga challenge

Choose between a beginner or intermediate in Yoga Journal’s 21 day yoga challenge. Each track includes a daily video, weekly meditations, and daily newsletters with practice tips and recipes.

8. Seven-day power yoga challenge

Build up your strength and learn how to practice arm balances safely with this beginner level challenge by Ekhartyoga.com. The classes build up gradually, leading to a full-length class on the seventh day. Includes videos of each class for a fee.

Round up your friends, family and coworkers and join a group challenge. The more, the healthier, right? Besides, a little competition could be fun!

9. ChallengeLoop

People who host challenges on the iPhone app and website ChallengeLoop include health bloggers, fitness celebrities and personal trainers. They all rally around users to encourage and motivate. Choose from a wide variety of challenges, including the widdle your middle challenge or #JustRunJuly challenge and win cool prizes!

10. Meltdown Challenge

In addition to groups, Meltdown Challenges has challenges for children and the corporate crowd. Join an existing one or start your own invite-only challenge.

11. Skinnyo

Find nearby challenges or specific weight loss categories, such as home/gym workouts or outdoor exercise.

12. SparkPeople Challenges

Join an official SparkPeople challenge — such as the 28-day bootcamp workout challenge or healthy family makeover challenge — or one that was started by members, such as the motivation & positive attitude team or workout after work challenge.

These are challenges are a little off the wall, catering more to the geeky crowd who want to get fit:

13. The Walk to Rivendell challenge

Yup, this challenge is based on the Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth events. Simply join a discussion group or set out on your own adventure. Whether you walk it, run it, bike it or swim it, keep a log of your activities that equal up to either 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell or the ultimate 1,625 miles, which is the road home with the hobbits from Minas Tirith to Hobbiton or somewhere in between.

14. Nerd Fitness six-week challenge

This fun challenge by Nerd Fitness allows you to create your own character and quest to move your story (and fitness!) forward.

Dance challenges may be the most fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to bust a move every day?

15. Dance every day for a month

Yes, that’s right. Dance every day for one month. Sounds easy enough.

16. Dance with your child/children

Get your kids involved in your weight loss goals. What better way to do that than to have fun — without them knowing it’s good for them!

17. Hula Hoop for a minute

Hula hooping is super fun and a great way to get fit. Try keeping it up around your hips for one minute straight. It’s not as easy as it sounds!

The following three challenges incorporate diet and nutrition, since weight loss and food go hand in hand:

18. Blogilates 90-day challenge

Cassie Ho, creator of POP Pilates, provides a meal plan and workout calendar in this 90-day challenge.

19. Shape 7-day clean eating challenge

Follow these five simple rules and to take part in Shape‘s clean eating meal plan. Perfect for when you overindulged at a family gathering.

20. Eating Well’s 28-Day weight-loss challenge

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