Harnessing the power of fitness challenges

Danielle Easton
6 min read
Looking for ways to shake up your facility, boost motivation among staff and members, and potentially grow your client base? A fitness challenge could be just what you need!

Looking for ways to shake up your facility, boost motivation among staff and members, and potentially grow your client base? A fitness challenge could be just what you need!

Ever heard of a fitness challenge? Would you like to learn why should you implement one and how to market it successfully?

In today's post, fitness business expert Staci Alden, founder of Alden Fitness Solutions, dissects fitness challenges and explains how they can boost motivation among your members while helping your facility stand out from the crowd.

Motivate your members with a fitness challenge that fosters community

Staci also prepared a free masterclass on the topic! It's packed with advice and strategies to set up fitness challenges and tailor them to your customers to help boost their success at your facility. Take a look at the recording here.

Keep reading for Staci's article!

The power of fitness challenges

When clients continue paying their membership or leave on auto-renew but aren’t visiting or keeping in touch with our facilities, they become something terrifying… they become zombies. These ‘undead’ clients will eventually find their final resting place when they recognize they aren’t utilizing what they are paying for and cancel all services. 

Offering a challenge can serve as a lifeline for these clients. Challenges are an opportunity for your facility to recognize seasons when clients need that extra edge of motivation and accountability to maintain health or achieve a new goal. Let’s define the three challenge types, key decisions to make before launch, and how to market and grow a challenge over time.

 challenges 6

 

What is a challenge?

A challenge is an organized timeline to accomplish a health-related goal or habit supported by a facility for its clients. There is a clear start and end date, measurable milestones, and prizes to reward clients for their performance or participation in the challenge. 

Types of challenges

When contemplating which challenge might be the right fit for your facility, here are three types of challenges to consider: 

Results-oriented challenge:
Clients seek to accomplish a specific goal that gets them positive results toward maintaining or improving health. Some examples of this challenge include maintaining weight over the holiday months, increased muscle percentage, and improved strength, endurance, or speed performance.

Lifestyle and behavior change challenge: Instead of focusing on a result, this challenge concerns the process and developing habits to cultivate healthy behavior change. Examples of this challenge include tracking sleep, nutrition, water intake, mental health scores, and consistent self-care sessions.

Milestone-driven challenge: This challenge is specific to your facility's services, technology, and equipment. Examples of this challenge include tracking MyZone MEPs (Effort Points), facility check-ins and private sessions, or classes attended. Other milestones can include mileage or altitude tracked on machines like a treadmill, versa climber, bike etc.


A possible fitness challenge is measuring mileage on a treadmill

Key decisions

When contemplating what type of challenge is right for your team and clients, there are some important questions to ask before launch:

  • What is the target audience for this challenge?
  • What is the goal?
  • When will clients be able to sign up/register for the challenge?
  • When are the start/end dates?
  • How will it be tracked/monitored?
  • Who will be responsible for marketing, tracking, and announcing winners?

I highly recommend working with your team on ideas for challenges. Getting them involved not only helps you come up with more ideas but also increases their interest and engagement in the challenge as well.

Create excitement toencourage staff and members to get involved

Market and grow

The success of a challenge is not only measured in the participation, but the awareness of the challenge. I recommend running a challenge 2-3 times before determining if it’s a success or not because potential participants will catch on after the challenge has started and be eager to participate in the next opportunity. 

The strategic timing of a challenge can largely determine its success. Identify some key opportunities during the year when your clients may need a motivation boost. Some ideal times may include the summer months when travel and shifts in schedule affect consistency or during the holiday season when food and drink are plentiful and the darker, colder weather challenges motivation.

Once you have identified the timing of your challenge, begin mapping out the window of time you want to provide for interested clients to sign up, then use the 1-week window before the start of the registration to define the challenge and build hype. Use your facility’s internal signage, website, newsletter, social media, and team to get the word and excitement out about the challenge.

Take social media marketing challenges to the next level with a campaign. This campaign can be easily created by filming short videos of clients and providers excited to participate in the challenge and slowly revealed during the hype and registration time before the challenge begins. Allow and encourage your providers and other employees to participate in challenges, as their participation will influence others to join in on the fun.

When the challenge is over, it’s important to announce and celebrate the winners or those who completed it. Their recognition validates that the winners did indeed take home their deserved prizes and represents the end of the challenge on a positive note.

Make sure to celebrate wins to make members feel validated and proud

Evaluate and improve

As with anything, the only way to improve is to evaluate. When planning the start and end of a challenge, include a predetermined time for you and your team to take a moment to assess the success by evaluating each component. Points to consider include:

  • Were your key decisions on point?
  • Was the timing of the challenge appropriate?
  • What common questions were asked about the challenge that can be answered and included in future marketing?
  • Was the difficulty appropriate for the target audience?
  • How can the prizes be improved for the next challenge?

Offering challenges may seem like a challenge on its own, yet another thing to organize, in this already overwhelming role as a fitness owner and manager. I encourage you to consider how a well-executed challenge can be enough to “wake the dead” by breathing life into the motivation of your team and clients, setting up ongoing attendance, and consistency for success during periods that might normally be quiet.

Download your free fitness challenge guide

Enjoyed reading about fitness challenges? Download our handy guide and start running fitness challenges at your own facility!


Staci is committed to helping fitness managers and club operators elevate their programs, instructors, and leadership. As an experienced consultant and strategic planner for digital and in-person offerings, her clients range from large luxury health clubs and international companies to small studios. She has designed world-class studios on a tight budget, launched signature formats, and built turnkey solutions for enhancing systems, leaders, and talent. Staci is also a master instructor and established presenter, podcaster, writer, and YouTube influencer, regularly interviewing and collaborating with industry thought leaders.

Click here for more information on working with Staci, or email her at contact@stacialden.com for more information.

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