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A Quick Guide to Organising a Fitness Challenge

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Are you looking for ways to boost member engagement and satisfaction? Have you considered running a fitness challenge? This can be a great way to encourage some healthy competition, recruit new members and provide existing members with a fun and exciting task. 

Challenges are a fantastic tool to stimulate and encourage people. More importantly, they also help improve retention rates and to establish a sense of community amongst participants. In previous articles, we have looked at how fitness challenges can aid acquisition and retention and some great challenges for charity.

In these articles, we mainly looked at the benefits of putting on a fitness challenge and touched briefly on how to organize an event. And since planning is the most important part of any successful project, let’s take a look at how you organize a fitness challenge. In this article, we will recap what exactly a fitness challenge is, what you should look to achieve from a challenge and the steps to take to deliver a successful challenge.

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What Is a Fitness Challenge? 

Fitness challenges have a two-fold effect, they allow customers to take their workouts up a notch and provide some much-needed motivation. If done correctly they are also very beneficial for the gym. From proposing thirty-day unlimited packages to encouraging members to join a minimum of three classes a week, gyms and fitness studios offer all sorts of short-term challenges with the aim of boosting results. 

Fitness challenges give participants the opportunity to set physical or nutritional goals. They also provide accountability for participants which helps to maintain momentum and motivation. Rather than just aiming to ‘get fit’ your customers can now have clearer goals in mind. These can vary from running a 10k to following a Paleo diet for a month. 

What Do You Want to Achieve with a Fitness Challenge?

When coming up with challenge ideas, you need to be clear on your aim. What are your goals? Would you like to promote a new class or perhaps a new service?  Increase social media followers? Build social bonds and loyalty with your clientele? This will impact and influence the type of challenge you initiate.

A challenge can be used to:  

Generate new leads: A fitness challenge provides the perfect occasion to collect contact information that you can use for future marketing purposes. 

Encourage people: A good fitness challenge should be SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based) making them a lot easier to commit to than long-term lifestyle changes. They also offer a good foundation or healthier choices in the future.  

Promote recommendations and referrals: Host a fitness challenge for buddies. Many will be hesitant to take part in a contest alone, encourage them to bring a friend along and they are doing your marketing for you! 

Boost sales: Use a fitness challenge to delicately educate people about why they need your services. 

Educate partakers: Everyone loves to learn a new skill. Demonstrate your credibility as a coach and boost your member’s self-belief. 

Increase loyalty: Build a sense of community amongst all those who participate in the challenge

What Type of Challenge Is Best for Your Gym?

There are plenty of different challenges or contests that you can run, this will depend on what you offer and the space you have.  

Deciding on a challenge may seem like a daunting task, but the answer is in your data. This type of data can come from:

  • The most popular classes at your gym 
  • The most popular equipment in your gym 
  • You can even send round a brief questionnaire to identify your members’ main goals, this may be weight loss, strength gain, or even new friendship groups. 

Remember, gym challenges will not be particularly constructive for you or your members if there isn’t widespread approval. 

Create the demand with data, and the rest will follow. Check out these brilliant ideas for your fitness challenge. 

How to Deliver a Great Fitness Challenge 

Much like anything in life, the key to being successful lies in the preparation. This may be studying for a test, preparing for an important presentation at work, or closing a big deal. Without careful research and planning, you are unlikely to thrive. The same applies to setting out your fitness challenge. 

Set out a Plan

Picking the right challenge for your gym and your clients is imperative. You need something that will immediately grab attention and tell the client what they should expect. There are so many tools available now for us to be able to interact with customers and potential customers. Use social media to your advantage, and let your clients choose. If you can’t decide which challenge to run, put it to them! If you receive lots of likes and interest, then you will know that you are on to a winner. 

Decide on how you will reward the winner, this could be a cash prize, a free membership for a month, a personal training session or even a meal somewhere. 

Set a time frame for your challenge that will allow participants to make the most out of it. 

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Key Factors:

  1. Host a challenge that grabs people’s attention.
  2. Use social media to gauge interest.
  3. Offering a reward for the winner might help to attract more contestants.
  4. Run the challenge for as long as you need in order to get a result.
  5. Have systems in place that allow people to get started straight away.

Build Interest & Engagement

By this point, you should have a date for your challenge and a hook to grab your customers’ attention.

Now it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to market your challenge to your existing customers and hopefully to new customers too. 

In order to build interest, you need an informed audience. Social media a great tool to educate people about what you will be doing. This can be in the form of Facebook live streaming, Instagram posts, tweets or via email. Use whichever medium works best for you and inform your customers about the upcoming challenge, gauge their interest, answer their questions, ask for their opinions. If you are not comfortable making videos, opt for another medium – perhaps a podcast or even a blog could work. 

Encourage your customers to share your posts and be sure to respond to any comments. Start conversations with people through your social media channels. Ask your staff to share information on their pages too and engage a wider audience. If you have run previous challenges this is a great moment to share any testimonials you have. 

Create a hashtag for your challenge and encourage everyone to use it, this way everyone can share their posts and see others. 

Key Factors:

  1. Build an engaged audience before you start advertising your challenge.
  2. Go for the medium that you are most comfortable with.
  3. Ask staff and clients to share your posts.
  4. Message commenters and likers. Careful not to be spammy here.
  5. Share testimonials from previous clients.

Using Paid Channels 

One of the best things about social media is the analytics. We are not suggesting that you spend a fortune on paid advertising, but creating some custom audiences based on the people who saw previous posts can be very beneficial. This way you already have a slightly ‘warmer’ audience, who are more willing to look at your posts. 

You can create a simple retargeting advert to the people who already viewed your post. Create a simple ad guiding people to the landing page where they can sign up for your challenge. 

Key factors: 

  1. Get to know your audience
  2. Refine this audience with retargeting
  3. Make sure that you have a landing page with all the necessary information
  4. Interact with people, respond quickly to any comments

Converting Participants to Paying Clients

If the goal of your challenge is to win over new clients, you will need to put a strategy in place. 

Keep in touch with them, check in with them and keep them informed on how to sign up for a membership, any current deals you are offering or simply give them a call just to say thank you for joining. This doesn’t have to be a pushy sales call, just be honest and clear and be sure to create a follow-up method for once the challenge is completed. 

Key Factors: 

  1. Make sure your contact information is readily available and clear for all
  2. Check-in with new clients
  3. Keep them informed of any current offers
  4. Have a clear follow-up plan in place 

Prepare for the Next Challenge

One of the absolute best marketing tools that you can use is reviews or previous proof of the effectiveness of your challenges. Make the most out of ‘before and after’ photos and testimonials from previous challenges. Take photos of everything throughout the contest and share it. People love seeing their peers’ transformations. 

Do not be afraid to ask for written reviews of your challenge, perhaps even create a small survey for participants. However, be careful not to be pushy. 

Additionally, keep a full tally of your results, i.e. the total number of signups, those who completed the challenge, the number of new clients signed up, money spent on advertising, etc. 

In Summary 

Come up with a challenge that will motivate and inspire your members. Regardless of whether they enjoy training solo or as part of a team, a challenge will give a little competitive atmosphere and a little motivation. 

Set up a system where members can easily log their results. Ensure that it is a simple system for both your staff to track and your members to submit. 

Offer rewards for winners, or even participants, and increase the interest in joining.

Make your challenge diverse, fun and stimulating. Pique your members’ interest. 

A successful fitness challenge can help to generate new clients, encourage more referrals and boost your sales. They can serve to both motivate and educate customers in addition to creating a higher sense of loyalty. Fitness challenges can ultimately boost results for you and your members! 

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"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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