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How to Run an Online Fitness Challenge


Fitness challenges are a great way to engage members and provide expert guidance. Just because your members are working out from home doesn’t mean you can’t keep them motivated and excited to exercise. An online fitness challenge presents the perfect opportunity to connect with people in their homes and keep them moving. 

Whether it’s a 30-day plank challenge or a more elaborate fitness challenge with daily video content and one on one digital assistance, is down to you. Create an online challenge with a private support group to mentor members through. Although we can’t physically be together, you can still add value and support your clients. In this article, we will talk you through the steps you need to take to create an online fitness challenge. Skip ahead to:

3 Benefits of a Fitness Challenge 

Fitness challenges are great for both your members and your business. Taking part in one is fun and the sense of community motivates people to stay on track. Here are the three key benefits of a fitness challenge. 

Motivates and Engages Members 

The obvious benefit of a fitness challenge is it helps to motivate members. When you have a group that’s all working toward the same goal and supporting one another, you’re much more likely to keep going. It’s much easier to give up when you’re alone and don’t feel supported. Engaging your members is essential to keeping them motivated. It’s important to continue having meaningful interactions with your members while you’re unable to see them in person.  

Provides Structure and Guidance  

A fitness challenge provides structure and guidance to your members. This is crucial for home workouts as it gives members details and what they will be doing each day. By having a structure to their workout routine and a goal in mind, they just have to show up, give it their all, and get it done. 

Encourages Fitness Tracking 

Generally, a fitness challenge has a goal and an end date, for example, a weight loss challenge or healthy eating challenge. A challenge encourages members to track their progress, which is an excellent way to hold them accountable. When you can see progress and look how far you’ve come, it keeps you on track. Holding members accountable is an essential part of running a gym – when they can see results, they are much more likely to stick with you. 

4 Online Fitness Challenges to Inspire You 

From quick challenges on YouTube to full daily workout plans, fitness challenges come in all different shapes and sizes. Here are four online fitness challenges to inspire you to get your members moving. 

The 90 Day Plan from The Body Coach 

Joe Wicks’ 90-day plan includes 15 real-time workouts, over 100 recipes, and online support. Each month, you get a new workout plan that you can carry out at home. With unlimited access to support, you can connect with other members of the program to share tips and advice. Each plan is based on the individual and is tailored toward different abilities. 

30 Days of Yoga With Adrienne 

Every January, Yoga With Adrienne creates a 30-day yoga journey. With millions of followers, the 30-day at-home yoga practice is free for all and allows users to connect with another. Although this online yoga challenge is free, you have the option to sign up for the Find What Feels Good membership, which provides more videos and content. 

5 Day Dance and Sculpt Challenge by Corio 

CORIO Dance is a dance cardio class that burns fat. It uses HIIT-style moves to get your heart pumping. The free five-day dance challenge provides short and effective workouts to kickstart fitness in just a few days. You don’t need any equipment at all. Each day offers a new workout that you follow along with at home. 

30 Day Fitness Challenge App 

There are a ton of apps available that provide simple 30-day challenges. The 30-day Fitness Challenge – Workout at Home app offers 30-day training plans and coach tips. You can choose different fitness goals, including six-pack and lose belly fat. 

9 Steps to Create and Run an Online Fitness Challenge 

Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of fitness challenges and some great examples to inspire you, the next part section is all about planning a challenge. Below, we’ll walk you through each step of the process. 

Think About Your Goal

Before delving into your online fitness challenge, think about your goal. Why are you running an online fitness challenge? Are you looking to build up your email list? Boost member engagement? Perhaps you want to increase your membership sales. Whatever you want to achieve – it’s important to lay this out from the start so you can structure your challenge right and achieve it.

With gym members at home during the lockdown, and practicing social distancing, keeping members motivated at home is essential. Maybe your challenge will focus on building an online community and increasing engagement. Or, if you have a prominent offering in the pipeline, a challenge is an excellent way to get your audience excited for an announcement. By keeping your brand fresh in the mind of your audience, you can increase trust and brand awareness. 

Know What Your Members Want 

Once you’ve identified your goals and the reasons you’re creating a fitness challenge, it’s time to think about what your members want. You need to identify your members’ pain points and find a solution. Are your members struggling to stay committed to fitness at home? Maybe they don’t know what exercises to do and don’t have enough motivation to keep on top of their fitness. 

Most people tend to sign up for a fitness challenge with a particular goal in mind. They are seeking the tools and advice to solve their problems. Think about what your challenge participants hope to achieve and how you will plan to help them achieve their goals. 

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Paid or Free?

There’s no one perfect answer here. It’s up to you to determine what works for the challenge and your business. Will you charge people to take part, or will it be free to sign up? Maybe you will ask for donations just to support the time taken to create content and support members. 

There are benefits to both paid and free challenges. With free challenges, you will likely get more signs up quickly and have the potential to reach a much larger audience. You will also get to help a broader audience meet their goals. Free challenges like a 30-day squat challenge can make use of social media sharing and require little additional content creation. 

Paid challenges also offer a ton of benefits. People tend to see less value in free things, and the same applies to challenges. With paid challenges, think about adding more value with material like video content, guides, live workout sessions, and personal training. Generally, free challenges are a great way to build up your email list and reach more people. Paid fitness challenges are good for your existing members and email list who are already aware of your services.  

Plan Your Fitness Challenge Content 

Now that you know why you’re creating the challenge, and you have identified your audiences’ pain points, you can start planning the content. You have different options when it comes to content. You know what your members like and how they like to be contacted, so the best content will depend on your business and members. 

Here are some types of fitness challenge content to consider:

  • Live workouts
  • Q&A sessions 
  • Workout calendar
  • Printable workout guide 
  • Meal plans 
  • Exclusive content such as videos and blogs 
  • Exercises
  • Tutorials 
  • Pre-recorded workout sessions 
  • Webinars
  • Infographics 
  • Podcasts 
  • Shopping lists 

Delivery and Format 

It’s entirely down to you to set up your fitness challenge. Depending on the tools you have available, some options may be more accessible for you. If you’re unable to record video content, you can easily set up a private Facebook group and post daily to keep members engaged. You can use tools like Facebook Live and Instagram TV to stream live content. 

You don’t have to use just one method to deliver your fitness challenge. But, try not to overcomplicate it. You can build on the content you have as you go along if you feel your members would benefit. For example, you might deliver your daily workouts in an email but offer a Facebook Live Q&A session to find out if members need additional support. You can then make a decision based on the answers you receive. There are various ways to deliver your challenge, such as:

  • Email-only 
  • Social media streaming 
  • Facebook posts 
  • YouTube 
  • Membership-only 

Motivate Members 

The next step is to think about how you will support your members during the challenge and keep them motivated? It’s much easier to show up on day one than it is day 20. If members don’t make it to the end of the challenge, they won’t benefit from the results and might choose another brand for their home workout fitness challenges. 

To motivate members, you could create a private Facebook group and post regularly to support them. Maybe you will send daily emails or WhatsApp messages to help members stay on track. Plan how you will keep your community engaged for the entire duration of the challenge, whether it’s email, texts, social media, or a combination of everything – checking in with members shows that you’re invested in them and keeps them accountable. 

For more inspiration on motivating members online, check out this episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast with Brittany Welk. Brittany took her studio, LadyStrong Fitness, online with a 100% retention rate. A huge part of this comes down to her dedication to her members.

Create a Marketing Plan

Now it’s time to create a marketing plan. How will you encourage people to take up your challenge? You have developed a plan to help people meet their goals and increase fitness. You will support and keep them motivated. But, how will you spread the word about your new fitness challenge?  

Here are some ideas to market your new fitness challenge:

  • Paid ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram 
  • Share on social media 
  • Send invites to your existing email list 
  • Host Facebook Live 
  • Use Instagram Stories 
  • Include a link on your landing page 

Encourage Social Sharing 

Make use of the content an online fitness challenge creates. Members will be taking before and after photos as well as posting images on their journey. Encourage social media sharing from start to finish. Create a hashtag for the challenge and provide instructions in your content on where to post. As content is shared on social media, make sure to comment, react, and show your support. 

Fill Up Your Challenge

Once you have your marketing plan in place, you’re ready to fill up your fitness challenge with participants. Use Facebook Live to share the news and get your audience excited about your event. Set a start date and end date. Create a landing page for the challenge and send out invites. The aim of attracting your audience is to find people who will proactively participate in your challenge. Make sure your landing page includes all the information members need to sign up and a simple sign up form. 

In the run-up to your challenge, make sure you include sign-up links in all your content. Whether it’s a new video workout or blog post, always mention your upcoming fitness challenge. Once you have all your sign-ups, you can launch your fitness challenge. 

In Summary 

An online fitness challenge is a great way to build your email list, get new clients, and keep your members motivated to workout at home. With proper planning, you can create and develop a fitness challenge that will provide the support needed for your participants to hit their goals. Remember to keep it simple and make it fun.  

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