Motivation is one of the biggest reasons people join gyms. Your members’ goals may be completely different but they share the need for motivation. This is a huge opportunity for you. Provide membership value and create an unforgettable member experience through a gym challenge.
Gym challenges are not only a break from the gym life norm, they’re intentionally designed to inspire and reward. If done right, there are a ton of benefits to running a challenge. Connect community, inspire success stories, build your brand, create friendly competition, etc.
Key Elements Of A Successful Gym Challenge
When designing a gym challenge, include these five key elements:
- Clearly define the goal(s). Setting goals is the first step to achieving them. Ultimately, you’re trying to help your members get fitter and healthier. Keep that in mind when creating the challenge. Sure, it’s fun to get creative. But remember that referring friends and buying supplements won’t actually get someone fit. Supporting pieces of the challenge can be fun, but get people moving.
- Spell out the steps. Outlining the steps - or milestones - of the challenge shows people how they’re going to get there. Think of your gym challenge as a marathon with many miles to be covered. Lay out the “mile markers,” so members can see where they are and where they’re going.
- Define the duration. Set a timeframe that fits with people’s busy lives. People tend to commit only when they feel the challenge is achievable. Quick challenges (1-2 weeks) will generally get a higher participation rate. Longer durations (6-8 weeks) might have lower participation but will allow more time for members to achieve goals.
- Specify the rules. There always has to be that one person. Create rules around your gym challenge to make it fair and objective. For example, if your challenge requires hours logged at the gym, set a limit. You don’t want to encourage members to wreck themselves trying to win your challenge. Or camp out at your gym waiting for the doors to open.
- Offer motivating rewards. Besides motivation, the most important element of a gym challenge is the reward. Do some prep work before your challenge to find out what really motivates your members. People probably love your brand so this is another way to rock your retail. From free swag to the prestige of gym recognition, there are plenty of fun reward options.
Need some ideas? We got you.
Here are some fun and motivating ideas to challenge your gym members:
Total Reps Challenge
This is one of the most popular gym challenge formats. It’s simple for you and motivating for your members. Choose a set time for your members to complete as many “repetitions” of a certain movement in that time frame. For example, you could do a one-month rowing challenge, requiring members to log as many meters on the rower as possible during that time.
Other options could include: Running miles, kettlebell swings, push-ups completed, etc. You can also do this with the total number of classes attended throughout the challenge duration.
Pro Tip: Remember with this type of challenge to create a safety rule. If accomplishing a certain number is going to potentially hurt someone, prevent that by setting a cap.
Nutrition is a huge component of a healthy lifestyle and members often need extra motivation here.
This can be as simple as a hydration challenge (tracking water intake) or as complex as a longer-term macros challenge. Be sure to follow your state’s guidelines in terms of nutrition guidance. Since most of the “work” will be done outside of the gym, create some fun ways to track or check-in. Use your gym management software’s social feed or create a group text.
30 Days of Fitness
Variety can be a great motivator. Challenge your members with 30 Days of Fitness, where each day of the month includes a different activity to check off the list. Don’t have 30 ideas? This can also be done as a bingo-card style challenge with 20 activities (four rows of five).
A 30-days challenge is a great opportunity to get creative and involve various aspects of your gym. A majority of the tasks should obviously be physical but you can include things like inviting a friend, purchasing apparel or posting on social media.
For your more advanced athletes, introduce Hell Week. This is often done as a series of benchmark workouts that can be repeated once or twice each year to gage progress. No matter how it’s set up, the name indicates the difficulty: Hell Week won’t be a walk in the park. Once again, a safety rule or cap is recommended for this type of gym challenge.
PR (Personal Record) Challenge
Your members’ goals will vary greatly, from weight loss to muscle gain to endurance. Running a PR challenge is a fun way to unite them with the common goal of setting PRs. Kick it off with a goal-setting party and have members declare their PR goals: Improving fitness levels, setting weight targets, etc. This “declaration party” holds members accountable in the long run. It also lets other members know how to cheer on their community.
Pro tip: Use this type of challenge to sell skills coaching. Your members are clearly outlining what they want to work on. Increase revenue by helping them in one-on-one sessions.
Daily Wellness Challenge
This is a great add-on to your members’ everyday fitness routine. Target the most stressful times of year (the holidays, back-to-school, etc.) to run a wellness challenge. Members can track progress on a calendar or bingo-style card, or use technology to level it up. Challenge your members to do one “self care” task each day. A few ideas include yoga, stretching or mobility, extra sleep or stress management.
One other variation of this challenge is related to the workplace. Plenty of your members probably sit too long at their desks or face piles of donuts in the break room. Create a workplace wellness challenge with tasks related to fitness, wellness mobility and nutrition.
In Summary: Max Motivation With A Mega Gym Challenge
Your gym community relies on you for motivation. This is a huge opportunity to provide value and create an incredible member experience. A gym challenge can come in many forms but the focus should always be on improving fitness or wellness. Once you’ve chosen the challenge style, define the goals, steps, duration and rules. Incentivize members with some fun rewards watch their motivation soar.