How it rolled. The 666 Challenge required entrants to do 6km on each of the gym’s indoor rower, treadmill and bike as fast as they could. The legs could be done in any order, transition times were included in total time, there were prizes for doing it the fastest solo or in a team, and for dressing in theme, as devils, ghosts and witches etc. The owners of the gym let non-members come in and do the Challenge at no charge. People had a whole week in which to  attempt the Challenge and they could attempt it as many times as they liked, the proviso: every entrant had to have one of us gym instructors or personal trainers with them to verify their efforts.

Did it work? It sure did.  It was a great success on a bunch of levels including that it provided a quality way to introduce new people to the gym in that they were supported and interacted with the whole time, while also providing us staff with a comfortable avenue to build rapport with those newbies (gain new clients) and show off our expertise by doing what we loved and were good at like guiding people through the exercises, cheering them on,  explaining cool down and warm-up protocol etc.  It also provided existing members with a focus for their cardio sessions which was especially helpful to long term members who had plateaued or had lost their mojo.

From my point of view the indoor triathlon also meant being able to avoid much of the work and risks of an outside triathlon event, it also wasn’t weather dependent, would be far more accessible by more people and would be heaps cheaper to run!  However,  I quickly came to realise that it did require lead in time and the more the better. Apart from putting together the entry forms, promotional material and pulling together prizes, more time meant more opportunity to knock on the doors of local businesses,  meet their people and invite them in to give it a go.  Even if only a small percentage did take up the offer, having that fun, non-sales related opportunity to get in the door of those places was gold.

Bonus Halloween ideas

Set up a category just for the staff at the gym.    Like with most Challenges I think there are loads of benefits when it comes to building workplace culture by running a staff version of any Challenge, with its own prizes, alongside the member’s/clients/customer’s Challenge.  From memory the boss usually won ours too which likely earned him bucket loads of respect from members and staff alike,  but the rest of us gave it a good shot and it was the only time I would use the rower.

The 222 Challenge.  Throughout the year we ran a few ‘222 Challenges’.  Exactly the same as the 666 but only 2 km on each piece of equipment.  They made for good training for the 666 and as standalone Challenges for those who’d never be up for doing the 666 km Challenge.

Naming your Challenges. Thankfully where I worked were fantastically supportive of these indoor Challenges and to put their name to them, cover all the costs and make the leaflets nice for us trainers.  The Challenges were called the ‘Olympus Health & Fitness 666 Challenge’ and ‘Heritage Health Club 666 Challenge’ or something similar.If you’re a personal trainer starting out, being able to use a name that already has a stack of credibility, that people are familiar with, alongside your Challenge names,  goes a long way on the promotional front.  In more good news you don’t need to be working for a gym to do this, there are heaps of other ways to link your Challenges in with big names.  Sign up if you’d like to know more and head to the ‘sponsorship’ article in the member’s only area.

Music: If you are looking for Halloween themed music then head to POWER MUSIC where there are several albums/playlists available like this Best of Halloween Mix

Lingo: Need some ghoulish lingo? Check out this list of wicked words.

Decorations: Make your sessions more positively memorable by incorporating pumpkins, brooms and pitchforks and set up a photo station filled with wicked paraphernalia at the front of the gym of if you’re in lockdown, reward people’s at home decoration efforts.

$$$ and prizes: Have an entry fee to your Halloween Challenges and put a % to prizes and % to a local charity or good cause suggested by one of your clients or members.

Advertising: Included here are the bare bones of some ideas.  I’d normally add in dates, prizes etc., but I’ve left them free of deets in case you want to use these pics as is.

For some people the only exercise option may be for 1 hour outside, within 5 km of  home, so these are designed a little with that in mind.

Download high res versions of the digi posters below by clicking here.

Getting started and some…

Put together your Halloween Challenge and when you announce it, also announce a bunch of others that you intend running over the next 12 months. That way, if your Halloween one doesn’t gel for someone, or fit in timewise,  they’ll have others to choose from, thereby keeping them in the loop with you: a ’10 km Barefoot Boxing Day Challenge’,  ‘Winter’s Better Sleep Challenge’, and ‘Valentines Day Healthy Chocolate Challenge’.  Get creative with the focus, duration and intensity of the Challenge while still oozing all that you are about.  Provide a brief description and a way for people to easily register their interest and make it enticing to do that by an early enough cut off date so as to give you plenty of time to put them together if enough people put their hands up.  That’s it. You don’t have to plan all the details at the outset.

Planning your health/fitness/wellbeing Challenges 6 – 12 months ahead, and announcing them early provides a bunch of benefits, including:

  1. An insight to the public about how professional, organised and authentic you are; that you are not just dishing out Challenges last minute when membership numbers are low or lockdown is ripping your business apart.
  2. Focus, direction and more reasons for you to get excited for the year ahead.
  3. Time to put together ‘quality’ content for your Challenges i.e. the motivational layers.
  4. Time to make effective posters, brochures and social media posts.
  5. More opportunity to do a greater variety of promotions generally, but mainly more of the low $ cost quality ones that rely on word of mouth and knocking on doors.
  6. More ways to showcase what you do and keep potential customers in the loop (see below example).
  7. Leeway to attract sponsors, join forces with charities, recruit helpers and gather prizes
  8. Your clients with more reasons to talk about you more often, for them to prepare, train, and to rope in their buddies to join in
  9. An opportunity for people to pay their entry fee well in advance, or in part payments, thereby helping them to commit and enable you to better plan for the event and to also set up your ultimate Challenges with packages that sell for $1000s.

The thing is regardless of when you read this article,  it’s never too early to announce your Halloween Challenge, or your Christmas one, or one that link in with Movember, Frocktober, Easter, winter, summer or the unlimited other possibilities that make for super dates to time your Challenges in with.

What next?

Challenges tap into new and different markets, whilst also giving existing clients focus, direction and motivation, but as you all probably know by now,  tossing out Challenges without with features that make them engaging and empowering, is a bit like giving people a pair of sneakers and expecting them to run every day,  it’s only one piece in the jigsaw, and worse when they are tossed out last minute, they are not even that.  Get going early and set you, your community and your business up for success.

Look at the book

An awesome choice for readers who are keen to create great Challenges.  A resource book to come back to time and time again to fill in gaps for small Challenges to huge ones.  Perfect for health and fitness centre managers who want help grow the business and support staff and members at the same time.

Let’s make challenges together

Great for those who are never going to get around to reading the above post, let alone the book.  A fun way to push through getting a bunch of Challenges done and dusted, ready for you to roll.  Live with others to play with. Perfect for groups of people who will be joining forces to roll out their Challenges.