15 Fitness Challenge Ideas

15 Fitness Challenge Ideas | EMAC Certifications

15 Fitness Challenge Ideas

If you’re looking for fitness challenge ideas, start by knowing a good fitness challenge is one that has a clear starting and ending point with reliable tracking methods. It also needs to motivate the participants, so the challenge should be relevant, engaging, and general enough to get the maximum number of people to opt-in. Some of the best challenges are 30-day challenges that focus on weight loss, basic exercises (squat, pushup, plank), or regular activity (running or walking). Setting up these challenges is basic as long as you have a list of fun fitness ideas to make the event successful. 

Over 31% of the U.S. population is obese and only 23% meet the activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening set by the Center for Disease Control. At the most basic level, the goal of a fitness challenge is to improve overall health and wellness. It’s no wonder why people are on the hunt for more fitness challenge ideas.

Here, you’ll get a list of the different types of competitions to choose from no matter what the goal is. But first, let’s look at the benefits of fitness challenges and the different types. 

Who Should Host A Wellness Challenge?

Three primary groups that should include a wellness challenge include:

  • Online personal trainers
  • Gyms or fitness facilities
  • Employers or workplace wellness programs

Online Personal Trainer Challenge

The world of online personal training is similar to what you see at the gym. However, virtual trainers need to create a more cohesive fitness journey for clients. This maximizes the value and keeps the client on track. Additionally, these business owners can’t rely on marketing efforts from the gym, therefore it’s necessary for them to find more fitness clients. This is why an online fitness challenge is a must. It will:

  • Drive new leads as a free giveaway
  • Increase revenue to existing member packages
  • Deliver better client results
  • Result in more marketing collateral 
  • Provide member cohesion in a virtual world
  • Keep things fun and engaging
  • Offer more service with minimal cost or work
  • Improve personal brand reputation

Gym Challenge

The only way gyms can be successful is through memberships and personal training. Therefore, if a challenge can acquire and retain a gym member or client, it’s a success. Challenges work in the gym setting and help with sales and marketing for a number of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Increase commitment. If members are actively participating in a gym program, they’ll be less likely to cancel their membership.
  • Maximize member loyalty. Keeping members is just as important as finding new ones. Rather than be in a pricing war with competitors, it’s better to offer more value for the membership.
  • Drive new personal training revenue. When a challenge pops up, people get competitive and want to win. One of the best ways gyms can get more PT revenue is by launching regular competitions.

Workplace Fitness Challenge 

Whether it’s just an office fitness challenge or a company-wide wellness campaign, challenges are beneficial. There are years of published research showing that fitness and wellness programs can:

  • Reduce certain health risks and health care costs
  • Improve workplace morale and productivity
  • Promote healthy habits and behaviors

Not to mention, challenges are fun. It gives employees something to look forward to when they come to work and drives positive interactions. 

Fitness Challenge Ideas

Regardless of why you want to launch a wellness initiative through challenges, use these challenge ideas to hit your goals. 

Walking Challenge

This is one of the most popular challenges because of its broad appeal. It increases physical activity and supports weight loss. With the popularity of activity trackers, most people will be able to easily measure their success. This works best as a 30-day challenge or a streak competition. Measure the total number of steps over the course of a month. Or, see how many days in a row the winner can achieve a 10k step count.

Healthy Recipe

Promote better nutrition by encouraging creative and healthy meals. Employees and online training clients can upload pictures of a healthy meal they made for others to vote on. Or, it can be a streak challenge where they have to make one nutritious meal every day for a month. This one is a great office fitness challenge.

Pushup Challenge

There are different ways to set up a pushup challenge. You can create a daily pushup sequence participants have to complete for a time period. Or, it can be how many pushups they can do in 60 seconds. Of course, give them time to ramp up for the 60-second one and be sure to teach them proper pushup form.

Burpee Challenge

Just like the pushup challenge, you can run a burpee challenge the same way. Other things to include are burpee varieties or total daily burpees. It’s a difficult exercise for some, so it doesn’t have a broader appeal. But, the movement is simple and one almost everyone knows it.

Squat Challenge

Depending on your audience, you can do a set daily goal for your squat challenge. Or, if you have a group with a higher fitness level, it can be about the percentage they’re able to increase their personal best. You can also have different squat variations with instructions to do the exercise.

Get Your Plank On

Everyone loves a good plank challenge. Just like the others, you can do a forearm plank as a daily exercise. Or you can register members into the challenge and then host a live results event where the last person plank-ing wins.

Food Logging

This Is a great challenge if your audience is aiming for weight loss. In one food logging study, the research determined that people who log food lose twice as much weight. Everyone will have to use a food logging app to track each meal and every calorie. Then, the challenge can be to log every meal for 30 days. Or it can be a streak challenge.

Running Challenge

Take the concept of a walking challenge up a fitness level with a running challenge. This can be about beating a personal best time by a certain amount. Or it can be a challenge to work up to a goal distance like five or ten miles.

Cycle Challenge

There are a few variations to choose from with a cycle challenge. This can be about riding a book somewhere (work, store, lunch, etc.) every day. Or, it can be the total number of cycle miles. And, in a gym setting, you can attach it to indoor cycling classes.

Walking Meeting

This is good as a workplace fitness challenge. Encourage the teams to have at least one meeting each day that’s a walking meeting. You can also divide the company into teams to track the number of walking meetings they finish over the course of a month.

Weight Loss Challenge

It’s popular in all settings to host a weight loss challenge. This one works best over the course of 30 or 90 days. A good weight loss challenge will also provide everyone with as much supporting content and info as possible. For example, you can give info from this weight loss workout program guide to help the challenge. Since losing weight isn’t just about exercise, you’ll want to make sure they know about healthy eating in addition to a good fitness routine. For best results, instead of tracking total pounds lost, track the percentage of body weight loss. This opens up the competition to more people. And, if you want everyone to be a winner, ditch the competition mindset and stick to simple challenges. Something like eight pounds in eight weeks is a great way to go.

Body Composition

If you have a method to test body fat, this works for gym members or clients who have less weight to lose. However, they might have a more aggressive fitness goal that requires increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.

Sleep Challenge

Okay, so this is more of a wellness initiative than fitness. However, research shows sleep is important for weight loss. So this is a good one for everyone. People will need a wearable divide that tracks sleep, so it can rule out some members. However, it’s a good one- especially if you want to promote recovery.


Speaking of recovery, most people could use more flexibility in their lives. A flexibility challenge can include daily yoga sessions. Or, maybe it’s achieving a difficult yoga pose. For the more traditional client, try having a flexibility routine as part of their daily workout for a month. 


Another overall wellness challenge is meditation. You can do a daily meditation goal. Or, have participants track their meditation minutes. Some activity trackers will measure this. Or, other meditation apps can track it too. It’s a good way to mix things up and make a challenge accessible for all.

Jump Rope Challenge

Most people forget about using a jump rope as part of their cardio workout. It’s a good calorie burner and something people can do at home. Therefore it’s convenient. The challenge can be about total minutes jumping rope or a daily goal. 

Group Training Sessions

For fitness facilities, this is a good one to get members to start using their gym and exploring what the group fitness department has to offer. It’s easy to track. Or, an online personal trainer can host virtual group training sessions and track attendance. This is useful as a free challenge to showcase your fitness skills to prospects. 

Exercise Minutes

Whether it’s a daily or monthly exercise minute goal, clients can track this in a wearable device. This challenge should promote all forms of exercise so way more people can participate. Further, there are so many good at-home exercises to choose from, 

Regardless of the challenge you choose, make it fun for everyone. Remember the ultimate goal is to boost health and wellness. Keep variety as part of your overall strategy. And, find ways to engage people throughout the duration of the program.

Fitness challenges are great for an online personal training business because they attract new clients, increase revenue, and help clients get to their goals. Keep it fun and creative. And, for more on how to be an EMAC Certified Personal Trainer, check out our programs.

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