What To Know About An Online Fitness Challenge
An online fitness challenge mutually helps a personal trainer, client, and prospective client. Especially for owners of an online personal training business, it’s a must. Online fitness challenges promote general exercise or healthy behaviors. They have a start date and end date with a goal and map for the client’s fitness journey. They work well for people because they increase motivation, accountability, and education- the three pillars in getting results. They also have additional benefits other than working out independently such as social support, more engagement, and positive reinforcement.
Here, we’ll address common questions to running an online fitness challenge such as:
- How do online these challenges work?
- Why is it effective?
- How do you run a successful online challenge?
- What are some good challenge ideas?
If you’re new to online personal training, it’s a great alternative to traditional personal training. Clients feel more engaged and get excellent guidance. And fitness coaches can scale their business and reach more people. It’s a win-win.
How Do Online Fitness Challenges Work?
Challenges can range from being very structured to completely unstructured. Likewise, they can be long or short, difficult or easy, free or expensive, and so much more. This is good news because it means there’s a healthy challenge out there for everyone. Each challenge is usually based on time, like one, four, or eight weeks. Since the most common is a 30-day fitness challenge, we’ll use those types of examples. A 30-day challenge is popular because it’s enough time to see real results, especially in weight loss. And, it’s realistic to commit for 30 days to a healthier nutrition plan or workout program. Bottom line, 30-day challenges are long enough to hit fitness goals, but not too long to scare newbies off.
However, what you’re working on during that time will vary. Participants in online challenges hear about it because:
- They’re a current client of the fitness professional running the challenge.
- Know someone who recommends the challenge to them (usually a training client).
- Marketing and advertising from the host of the challenge reach them.
- They self-select and do a general search to be in a challenge.
When someone chooses to enroll, they either do a free registration or pay a fee. Fees for a 30-day fitness challenge commonly range from $10 to $50. The variance in price depends on how much support the virtual coach gives the group.
Challenges will fall into a category with a clear healthy lifestyle or exercise goal. These categories can include:
- Completing a daily task, such as a squat challenge of 10 per day.
- Increasing physical activity like using an activity tracker to get to a specific number of steps during the challenge. A total step goal of 300k is a good example.
- Weight loss or body composition change such as losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks.
After registration, the participant will learn the rules of the challenge and what the overall or daily goal is. They’ll also get access to supporting content like a closed social media group, eBook, meal plan, or YouTube videos.
You know it’s a good challenge if you stick with it the entire time. This usually happens if the fitness coach does outreach on a regular basis. Or, if the supporting content is helpful enough that you know what to do. Remember, fitness coaches don’t want people to fail. Therefore, they should be doing everything in their power to help the members win. If members are successful, it will help grow the personal training business.
Why Is A 30 Day Fitness Challenge Effective?
You know by now that these challenges work because 30 days is realistic and long enough to be effective. However, there is more going on that makes a workout challenge works well for people. Here are some reasons why:
- Accountability. The simple act of registering yourself for a challenge will help hold you accountable to finishing it. Then, with others who are on the same journey, you’ll tend to feel accountable to the group.
- Motivation. Everyone wants something to work towards. Too often, clients don’t even know what their goals should be. Moreover, some fitness challenges offer a reward at the end for those who are successful. For example, they may win a personal training package, nutrition coaching, or even monetary reward. All of this helps with motivation.
- Education. If the fitness coach is good at running a challenge, the exerciser will learn along the way. The supporting content should help them know how to get to the end result.
- Convenience. Unlike gym members, online members get the freedom of convenience. They don’t have to go to the gym to participate. Nor do they have to attend specific group workouts. Often, the challenge goal can be done with a simple home workout plan.
- Social Support. We’re social creatures. Therefore, adding in an element of social support with exercise helps us continue when the fitness journey gets tough. It’s a reason why group fitness and group training will always be around. People like to work with other people.
- Engagement. Even if the person is a current client, they’ll be getting more engagement than they usually do. This type of interaction will come from others, like on Facebook or other social media platforms. And, it will also come from the coach, too. They will work in strategies to keep engaging people in the competition.
- Positive Reinforcement. It doesn’t have to come in the form of an incentive, other forms of positive reinforcement help in fitness. Completing the challenge can offer recognition in the social media group. Or, the fitness coach might highlight them with a special digital badge. Just completing the goal itself helps people feel confident and capable.
How Do You Run A Successful Challenge?
If you want to run a good challenge for clients, or even just friends in your network, follow these steps.
Step 1: Decide What You Want
What do you want to get out of running an online fitness challenge? If it’s just to motivate your family and friends to be healthier, that works. Know in advance what will make you feel like it was worth your time.
If you’re an online personal trainer, this is an important first step. You might be trying to find new online fitness clients. If this is the case, how you structure the challenge and market it will be one way. However, if you’re trying to achieve more revenue next month and this is one way, things will be different. Take the time to know what success will look like to you and your business before taking the next step.
Step 2: Clarify What Participants Want
Now, you have to look at what the people in the group want. If it’s family and friends, something that may just improve their fitness or general wellness could be enough. The win here could be just getting them to stick with it.
As a fitness coach, however, think about the problems they want solutions to. For example, if your niche is with transformation clients, maybe a body composition change coming into summer is good. They might want an extra push to get beach-ready.
Step 3: Make Sure The Challenge Gives A Solution
Here, you’re deciding what the actual challenge will be. Will it be to increase 1RM strength? Or, will it be to improve cardio capacity through a running challenge? Either way, come up with a challenge that solves their problem. This, in turn, will get you what you want.
Step 4: Develop Supporting Content And Engagement Plan
Now it’s time to use your fitness brain and do some heavy lifting. You need to have content to support the challenge. You should also be planning the content release schedule. For example, will they hear from you every day? Through what mediums will they hear from you? Conversely, how will you engage them to know if they’re on track? Create a content plan that outlines an experience that’s worth it. Some content ideas for 30-day challenges include:
- At home exercises with form descriptions
- Specific weight loss workout programs to follow
- eBooks like how to do meal prep and follow a nutrition plan
- Educational webinars
- Daily check-ins or motivational quotes
- Group updates on individual progress
- Automated emails and texts
Step 5: Determine The Price
Always come up with a challenging pricing structure after you do the first steps. If your goal for the challenge is to make $500 more, then you can forecast participation and know what the price should be. Similarly, depending on your content plan, you might be giving away hours and hours of prep work. Therefore the challenge prices might be higher. When you come up with how much a challenge will cost, it should reflect how much time you put in and what you want out of it.
Step 6: Create A Marketing Plan
You know who should participate, what the benefit is, and the price of your challenge. It’s time to get people to opt-in. If you are only marketing to existing customers, this will be easier. However, if you’re reaching out to potential new clients, you need a more robust personal training marketing strategy and referral plan. Put together a basic marketing checklist that outlines:
- Content marketing (podcasts, blog, lead magnets)
- Social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- Email marketing (old clients, current clients, and leads)
- Paid advertising (Facebook ads, NextDoor, Instagram, etc.)
- Referral plan
Step 7: Host The Challenge
This part should be easy if you follow the steps. It is just a question of following through. As you run the online fitness challenge, make sure you monitor its performance along the way. If participants start dropping out, you may need to alter your engagement plan. Keep tabs on it, stay positive, and get the goals you set out for.
Step 8: Do An After Action Review
As you finish any challenge or personal training promotion, you should always do an after-action review. You can get feedback from the group or use data points. Either way, make it a habit to document this important step. Each online fitness challenge should get better and better. Step 8 ensures you continue to progress. Ask yourself these questions, looking for what worked well and what didn’t:
- What did I expect to happen?
- What actually happened?
- Why were there differences?
- What should I do differently next time?
Congratulations! You now know what goes into running a GREAT fitness challenge. If this is new to your offerings, there’s no better time than now to include these on a rotational basis. And, if you aren’t an online coach but love fitness, you should look into what it takes to become a personal trainer. Helping others lead a healthier lifestyle and improve their wellness is a fulfilling career, especially if you realize how much fitness trainers make. It’s the best of both worlds. And, by following the EMAC Online Coaching Business Course, you can get your first paying clients in just one month.