By Rachael Rees

The Bulletin

To help conquer obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles, Jim Miller started KardioFit — a Bend-based online wellness rewards program that pays members for healthy sleep, eating and exercise habits.

KardioFit owns and operates KrowdFit, a crowd-funded wellness incentive pool that has awarded more than $275,000 in cash to its members throughout the country, and more than $30,000 to Central Oregonians.

“We, as a society, are dealing with these issues related to obesity, chronic disease and rapidly rising health care costs. And we … have the ability to make this change to solve this problem,” said Miller, the founder and CEO. “The idea is, as we socially embrace KrowdFit and our membership begins to grow, the crowd helps to fund the rewards pool, which is essentially unlimited because the bigger the crowd, the bigger the rewards pool, the more people are getting paid to live healthy, active lifestyles.”

Miller started KardioFit in Seattle in 2009. He relocated the company to Bend in 2012 for both the quality of life and the lower costs of living and running a business.

In July, he launched the Get Fit Central Oregon Challenge in partnership with Bend Memorial Clinic to help build the KardioFit brand.

“This relationship is extremely innovative,” Miller said. “I believe we’ve pioneered a model with BMC that we will look to replicate across the country with other health care providers.”

Miller wouldn’t release how many members KrowdFit has, but said for every 5,000 members added, the company increases the rewards pool by $10,000 a month. The rewards pool currently pays out $10,000 a month, he said.

Members pay $19.99 per month, which includes access to online dieting, fitness-tracking and health-education tools tied to a biometric armband. When a member wears the armband, it measures body functions including perspiration, body temperature and movement to quantify the physical activity and calories burned.

As members perform certain activities, like uploading their biometric devices and logging their meals, he said, they can earn entries giving them chances to win cash prizes on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. They are also entered to win a $1 million fitness sweepstakes that works similarly to the lottery.

For an additional $10 a month, Miller said, a member can become part of the Kardio Krew, a new social sales force targeting health professionals ranging from doctors and physical therapists to gym owners.

Through the “krew,” he said, members can earn monthly commissions and cash bonuses for sharing KrowdFit within their social networks.

Jay Wilkins, owner of Sisters-based M20 Fitness, won $500 in September through the Get Fit Central Oregon Challenge.

Wilkins has been a KardioFit user for six months and joined the “krew” when it became available in October.

“Even though I was already getting to the gym on a fairly regular basis, this helped me pay more attention to the things I should be doing to maximize my health,” he wrote in an email.

Wilkins said he thinks the program’s incentives will also help grow his exercise coaching business. A couple of his members have become “krew members” and are sharing it with their friends in different places around the country , he said.

“Once you do it yourself, it’s kind of exciting to tell people about it,” he said.

—Reporter: 541-617-7818, rrees@bendbulletin.com

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