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11 Virtual Fitness Challenges That Will Supercharge Retention

Jenny20Weller
Jenny Weller
28 October 20
11 min read
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the world, city-wide lockdowns are on the rise. In the case of local lockdowns, you must continue to encourage exercise and healthy movement. 

Finding a way to keep members motivated, fit, and healthy from afar is key to supporting them during this difficult time. This article talks about the benefits of virtual fitness challenges and 11 ideas to keep member motivation high during a lockdown. 

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How to Keep Member Motivation High During Lockdown 

It can be hard enough to keep members motivated and accountable in the best of times. So, it comes as little surprise that it may require more effort than usual to encourage members to work out regularly at home. With lockdowns occurring again worldwide, there is no better time to challenge your members to move, hit targets, and maintain high motivation. 

A virtual fitness challenge usually involves a fitness goal and a restricted time window. It could include things like running, cycling, or walking a certain distance in a set time. The idea is that it taps into a sense of community and creates healthy competition that motivates members to hit a new target. The best part is that virtual challenges can be done from anywhere. This means they are ideal for home fitness or if your local gym has to close its doors temporarily. 

5 Benefits of Virtual Fitness Challenges 

It may be a while before you can take part in marathons and other types of group fitness challenges and events en masse. Virtual fitness challenges are the next best thing. Countless people can get involved in the same challenge and keep track of progress, all while sticking to social distancing guidelines. If you’re on the fence as to whether you should start a virtual fitness challenge, here are five benefits your members can experience. 

Go at Your Own Pace 

A major benefit of a virtual challenge is that members can go at their own pace. This opens up fitness events to multiple abilities as you can adapt the challenge for different people. For example, for a miles traveled challenge, participants could run, jog, or walk depending on their fitness level and still get fully involved. 

Location Doesn’t Matter 

The inherent nature of virtual challenges means that location doesn’t matter at all. Members and non-members alike can join from all over the world. If you have members from different cities where the local lockdown guidelines are becoming more restrictive, they can still join and enjoy the challenge from wherever they are. 

Complete Convenience 

One of the reasons digital fitness is so popular is due to the complete convenience it offers. The same applies to a virtual fitness challenge. If you want to work out late at night or early in the morning, that’s entirely up to you. You can chip away at the challenge and integrate it into the time of day that suits you perfectly. 

Encourage Movement and Exercise 

A healthy weight and regular movement are key to optimum physical and mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for movement in everyday life. A virtual challenge encourages members to move more and exercise throughout their day. This can help people to maintain a healthy weight and feel part of a community during a time where social distancing has become the norm. 

Maintain Motivation at Home 

Maintaining fitness motivation at home is tough. Sometimes you wake up and you’re not in the mood to exercise and all of a sudden you haven’t worked out for two months. Well, a fitness challenge sets out a timeline of exercise and gives members a reason to exercise. It helps to create fun ways to maintain a high level of member motivation irrelevant of location. 

11 Virtual Fitness Challenges to Motivate Members at Home 

Creating events in the virtual realm could be just what your members need to up their motivation at home. When it comes to virtual races and challenges, you have a ton of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quick one-week boost for members or a complete 90-day lifestyle overhaul, design a challenge that your members will love. Remember to encourage members to share their progress on social media and use the right hashtag where possible. Here are 11 virtual fitness events for your members to try. 

1. Run Around the World: Camaraderie Challenge 

Take inspiration from the Run Around the World Camaraderie Challenge. Merrell, Nathan Sports, and Trail Sisters teamed up to launch the challenge to help the fitness community stay connected. Launched in April 2020, the aim was to collectively contribute 24,901 miles around the world. Participants could run, walk, or climb stairs to rack up miles. The collective fitness journey around the world really pulled together the fitness community. You could easily submit miles via GPS watch, Strava, and Map My Run. 

2. 30-Day Yoga Challenge 

A 30-day home yoga challenge is ideal for developing positive, healthy habits. As members are encouraged to do yoga each day for one month, it’s easier to see the progression and get into the habit of daily movement. A great example of a yoga challenge is Yoga With Adriene’s 30-day yoga challenge that launches every New Year on the first day of January. A yoga challenge is perfect for a reset and integrates both physical and mental elements into the program. It’s a good idea to pre-record 30 days of classes that members can access as well as supporting emails to keep motivation high. 

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3. ReNEW You Challenge 

The ReNew You Challenge is an eight-week program that is designed to transform your lifestyle. Participants are provided with content and encouragement throughout the challenge. At the end of the challenge, you submit your progress photos and thoughts to be in for a chance to win cash prizes. The challenge focuses on all areas of health including fitness, nutrition, mobility, and healthy habits. The idea behind this is that by creating a challenge that lasts for eight weeks, it gives participants the chance to develop habits that will last long-term. 

4. Couch to 5K Challenge 

A couch to 5K virtual challenge is a great idea for members of any fitness level. Sometimes, just getting started is tough. What’s good about this challenge is that it has an end goal. You can provide participants with tasks for each week to slowly build up their stamina and hit the target. With this sort of challenge, you have the option to repeat weeks for participants who need more time to progress. You can deliver workout schedules as printables, through an app, via email, or through a digital portal for challenge participants. 

5. Mindfulness and Meditation Challenge 

A mindfulness and meditation challenge can take multiple forms depending on your members and the kind of challenge you want to deliver. One option is to host a 30-day gratitude challenge where members write in a journal every day and share with your community. You also have the option to create a three-week meditation challenge where you deliver daily guided meditation videos for participants to follow.

6. 30-Day Plank Challenge 

You can apply various movements to this challenge. For example, push-ups, squats, and crunches all work in this format. The idea is that you do the same movement each day for 30-days with various rest days integrated into the timeline. These types of challenges start off easier and get harder as the challenge goes on. The idea is that by the time the challenge is over, members are stronger, fitter, and in better shape. 

7. Fitbit Adventures and Challenges 

For Fitbit users, Adventures is a virtual experience that takes you through exciting destinations all over the world. By completing step goals in the app, you have the opportunity to discover new locations. You also have the option to follow virtual trails like the Valley Loop in Yosemite. On top of Fitbit Adventures, you can continue to complete Fitbit Challenges, competing against friends and family in events like Workweek Hustle and Weekend Warrior.  

8. Charity Miles 

Make the most out of your virtual miles by creating a charity miles challenge. For this, you would encourage members to rack up miles with the promise of a charity donation on completion. The Charity Miles app is a great place to start that allows members to put their miles to good use and support their chosen charity. You also have the option to create your own charity-focused challenge. Make fundraising more fun by asking members which charity they would love for you to support and create a challenge based around that. 

9. 60-Day Healthy Eating Challenge 

Fitness challenges can be about more than physical movement. A healthy eating challenge can help members to make healthier eating choices and hit their fitness and weight goals faster. For a healthy eating challenge, you would need to supply the resources participants need to succeed. This means plenty of recipe ideas, encouragement, healthy shopping lists, and top locations and tips for finding the freshest food. Consider supplying recipes for different diets so that it’s fully inclusive. A healthy eating challenge is also a great opportunity to get on Facebook or Instagram Live and have members join you in your kitchen for a quick how-to video.

10. The Conqueror Virtual Challenges 

The Conqueror Virtual Challenges include a ton of different challenges you can do from anywhere. Track any distance-based exercise like walking, running, and cycling and make every mile count. Each challenge can be completed in teams or individuals, in a timeframe that suits you. The challenge is easy to track as you can connect The Conqueror app via other fitness apps, smartwatches and fitness trackers, or enter distance manually. The fitness challenge series includes virtual events like The English Channel, Inca Trail, and Alps to Ocean. 

11. Run The Edge: Run the Year 

Run the Edge was created by Olympian Adam Goucher and educator Tim Catalano. The pair wrote the bestselling book Running the Edge and now speak to audiences from all over. Run the Edge regularly produces challenges to motivate readers and help others find success and fulfillment. The most recent challenge is Run the Year 2021. You can enter the challenge as a team or individually. The aim is to run or walk 2,021 miles in 2021. Participants can sign up using different packages starting at $25. The challenge package includes things like a private Facebook group, a mobile-friendly mile tracker, and Run the Year 2021 merchandise. 

The Future of Fitness Podcast has an interesting episode on virtual fitness and strategies for gyms. The episode talks about strategies to engage members for fitness programming through mobile and ideas for new services and packages. If you’re looking to create your own virtual challenge, you need to think about the delivery that your members will find the most beneficial. 

In Summary 

From mindfulness and healthy eating to yoga and trail running, you can find a virtual fitness challenge for your members to try. Whether you create your own or tap into one that’s already live is entirely up to you. By encouraging daily movement and nurturing your fitness community, you can make sure your members continue to exercise, even in the event of a national lockdown. No doubt, the concept of virtual fitness will continue to develop and grow as more businesses find creative ways to keep people fit and healthy from a distance. As coronavirus cases rise, the chances of entering a second lockdown increases. Although no one can predict the future, by implementing ways to keep members’ motivation high now, you’ll be ready to handle what comes next. 

Whether it’s a 30-day gratitude journey or working towards your first 5K, virtual fitness challenges can help keep your members motivated. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the world, city-wide lockdowns are on the rise. In the case of local lockdowns, you must continue to encourage exercise and healthy movement. 

Finding a way to keep members motivated, fit, and healthy from afar is key to supporting them during this difficult time. This article talks about the benefits of virtual fitness challenges and 11 ideas to keep member motivation high during the lockdown. 

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