Marg, if it was important to you, you’d do what it takes.

Introducing Marg

I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. Douglas Adams

Every few months gym member Marg, would set herself a goal and a date to achieve it. By all accounts her goals were achievable and realistic, but the date would come and go, and she wouldn’t be any closer to it. She would then reset the same goal with a new date, and it too would come and go.  This went on for years.

If it was important to you, you’d do what it takes. P.Eople Muttering

I don’t think Marg’s goals were unimportant to her.  I think it was the fact that the deadline was moveable that was a big part of the problem in her not reaching them.  The goal mattered, but the deadline didn’t and that’s something that as health and fitness professionals we can, and do, help people with all the time.

Bets on you’ve already come up with plenty of great ideas that have helped the Marg’s of the world, but if not, or you’re looking for some more, then this short article, contains three ideas on how we can help make people’s deadlines matter more, so more people knock more goals out of the park.

3 Ways to Make Deadlines Matter

1. For starters, we can encase people’s goals into group Challenges, where once they are signed up for the Challenge, the deadline is what it is. Changing the end date is outside of their control.  It works in the same way that those school exams pushed us into studying for them.

2. Next up, we FOMOarise it. FOMO is the fear of missing out – in this case,  missing out on all that’s on offer in our Challenge packages. That means our Challenge needs to include things in it that we don’t normally offer. So, it could be that we add in some sort of unique adventure or outing, prizes, award ceremonies, workshops, guest presentations, types of training, the chance to try out various smart devices, apparel, running packs, fitness equipment or cooking appliances, sessions with affiliate professionals, certain types of health and fitness testing, etc.

If our Challenge only includes a collection of our existing services, (even if it’s more of them, at a discount),  or easy to come by goodies, then it and its deadline and all those goodies in it, won’t have the pulling power we expect because our members can tap into those things any time.

The caveat here is that whatever else we add in still needs to help our Challenge entrants reach their goal, and they need to know that – that those services and goodies are hand selected because they will help them succeed and consist of things that they may never otherwise do or have access to.   So for example, a talk by a podiatrist to your running group may be a better excuse to get together than a sausage sizzle.

3. More FOMOarising. Then, after we’ve FOMOarised the content we can FOMOarise elements around how often this Challenge rolls out, to whom and for how much.  For example,

    • If a Challenge is only run once a year, FOMO.
    • If only 30 people can sign up, FOMO.
    • If it only goes ahead if 300 people sign up, more FOMO.
    • If it’s going to retail for $5000 but the first time you roll it out it’s only $2500, FOMO.

It’s good practice to FOMOarise the content first because on their own these scarcity tactics risk our Challenge looking more like a marketing ploy than something that has been put together for the attainment of specific goals by the specific people signing up, even if that’s far from our true intentions.  They may work  first time around or with newbies, but their pulling power can quickly wear off, which then leads Challenge organisers to think Challenges don’t work, but on closer look, this may be the reason – lack of FOMOarised content and an overly heavy reliance on these surrounding scarcity tactics.

Making deadlines matter is a whole chapter in my book on Challenges for health and exercise professionals, due out early 2022.  Stay in the loop with it’s release date and pick up more Challenge tips by becoming a member.

Other articles that may interest you

Lessons gained from running Halloween Challenges, plus lots of spooky ideas.

Simple ways to take Challenges from good to flipping amazing.

The quickest tip ever when it comes to promoting our services.

Giving Clients Bananas

Should we give gifts to clients after sessions - like bananas

Giving Clients Bananas

Strange-ish question but have you ever thought about how intangible our service is? From your client’s perspective?  That our clients spend $50- $350 at a hairdresser or clothing store and walk out with a new haircut or outfit to show for it, but they spend the same amount with us and walk out with nothing?

Well not nothing, but you know what I mean, that’s how some clients view it.

As we know lots of people feel great after sessions with us and feeling great is certainly ‘something’, but lots of time they won’t (think DOMS, fatigue, hot, sweaty, exhausted and all the other stuff we love, but our clients don’t, as well as them having to sacrifice time away from family, friends, work to be with us, working out)  and sometimes their great feelings are very dependent on getting results in a more visual and tangible way, say weight loss, or being able to complete a marathon,  which may be a long way off?

So, is there any benefit to having our clients walk out with something more tangible, after their sessions with us and if yes, what the heck could it be?

I reckon there are benefits to having people walk out with a physical goodies.

Physical objects can serve as an ‘anchor’ or reminder of their efforts and the journey they are on; as a pat on the back for putting in the hard yards; as a thank you for using us in that process; and as something to talk about with others.  That’s all stuff that goes into making up the jigsaw of our client’s success because it’s all part of what makes an environment motivational.  Yes, we could verbally praise, congratulate and remind people and we should, but giving something tangible to them is not to the exclusion of verbal praise, it’s adding in those extra benefits from being able to touch and hold something, show and share. Benefits I’m not sure they are always even consciously aware of.

What could those goodies be?

In terms of what those tangible goodies could be, I don’t think they need to be big or costly to reap these benefits but they should  be useful and relevant to the experience someone has just had with us or the health and fitness journey they are on.  These are not things from the $2 shop that are going to be thrown away.

After a PT session it might be something as small as a piece of fruit, or a recipe. After your monthly workshop it could be a helpful handout, or a drink bottle, or a pen.  Maybe after every 30 sessions or classes it’s something a little ‘bigger’. A branded t-shirt or hat.

Should we give gifts to clients after sessions - like bananas

Tangible gift goodies can even include ‘share’ items, which we give to clients and have them bring back after a week or a month, whether that’s a book, a magazine or a piece of fitness equipment.

It could even be as simple as a recommendation of an app or a documentary, scribbled down by you on the back of an inspirational picture, or even a temporary tattoo on their arm (yes, I’ve been known to do that to clients).

The general theme here is it’s something they can touch and which you need to be okay with them losing, breaking or never returning and my vote is that it doesn’t carry an extra responsibility with it like ‘homework’.  Homework is fine, but the focus here is that it’s a gift.

And that it happens every session. Or at least a lot of sessions.  I know, you’re suddenly thinking that’s impossible and too much work but it’s not. Sit down for half an hour, write a list then put together your basket of stuff, with goodies ready to go and that’s it.  You’re done and dusted.

The bonus with all this gift giving, apart from being motivational,  is it also gives us and excuse to get useful stuff into the hands of our clients and gets us thinking more about what those useful things could be.

Write a gift list of 10 or more things that you use, or will use, that I can share with the world before August 30, 2021 and I’ll send you a link to a free Kindle copy of my Workshop Guide – Part 3.  Email me

Hell Yeah

Taking Challenges from a ‘Na’ to a ‘Hell Yeah’

A. Nutrition Challenge

Let’s say we want to roll out a ‘28 Day Nutrition Challenge’ to help people lose weight, have more energy, and improve their hydration levels. Here are three ways that could roll.

1. Give the same meal plan and advice to all entrants.   This works a treat for Challenges delivered in apps and magazines because there is no, or very minimal, maintenance required and so no limit to how many people can do it. It’s a bit of a “Na” option for health and fit pros working at the coalface because for starters, if we roll it out then those apps and mags become our competition and since their forte is slick looking promotions, focused on sign ups and initial engagement, we’ll lose out to them.

They won’t be as concerned about entrant success rates as we are.  If the app ‘fails’ it can be quickly reskinned and marketed under another name. The magazine can serve up another Challenge next month. On the other hand, your business success does depend on the success of your clients and how well you look after them.

2. Slightly individualize it. This is more of a “Yeah” option. For example, you could offer vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian meal plan options. While these variations can still be rolled out by apps and magazines it’s not as common, at least currently.   A slight tweak from you, by catering for those who want to eat less meat, or in some other way that meets the diversity of those we deal with, reveals our ability to understand and better cater for individuals, which also gives entrants a better shot at being successful.

3. Lots individualize it.  This is an example of a“Hell Yeah” option. Meal plans based on an entrant’s dietary recall, health assessment, personal preferences to meet tastes, culture, religion, beliefs, goals and finances. Apps and programmes for the masses are yet to go this far in their individualization but plenty of health pros do, which is why what they do, is awesome.  If you do this, either one-to-one or in group workshops, online or in person,  then shout it to the world.

With a few tweaks, that example could apply equally to exercise focused Challenges and indeed, most everything else we  build Challenges around.

In case it’s not already obvious, a ‘Hell Yeah’ Challenge doesn’t just put us on a different playing field to those apps and magazine Challenges, ours will be technically more effective, more motivational, and easier for entrants to adhere to.

Here are some more areas and ideas on how to Hell Yeahify your Challenges.

B. Health and Fitness Testing

For a 6 Week Body Blitz, transformation type Challenge.

“Na” – BMI. Entrants weigh themselves on their own bathroom scales and calculate BMI.

“Yeah” – WHR, pics and data. Includes entrant’s weight, waist measurement, selfie pics, health app data and their answers to a questionnaire.

“Hell Yeah” –  Comprehensive. Strength, cardio, flexibility, and balance tests done in live group session with you.  1-1 assessments of visceral and subcutaneous bodyfat levels, hydration, muscle mass, posture, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol. Collection of health app data like HRV, HR, stride length, sleep. Plus, self- evaluation questionnaire around relevant areas not otherwise covered.

C.  Helping the good information to sink in

Here are some of the common options around how we can transfer Challenge content to entrants.

“Na” – One-way only – Downloadable e-book, audio, video.
Biscuit example: A book of healthy biscuit recipes.
Warmup example: A video of how-to warmup.

“Yeah” – Two-way – Webinar, online, live sessions with you.
Biscuit: Live webinar, how to make healthy biscuits.
: Class, how and why to do a good warm up.

“Hell Yeah” – Entrant creation – Includes a bunch of those previous mediums plus interactive workshops and opportunities for entrants to be creative.
Biscuit: After your workshop on healthy biscuit making entrants are challenged to make their own at home, from a list of 15 ingredients, and bring their biscuits to a group session for others to taste. All entrant recipes go in the ‘Biscuit Book’ which you provide them all with a copy of at the end of the Challenge.
Warmup: After watching your video on warm up principles entrants are challenged to come up with their own ‘warm up’ exercise for people to do in pairs and deliver it at your next group session.  Entrants vote on ‘best’ one, ‘most fun’ and ‘most unique’.


D. Increasing the Rave Factor

What apps and magazine don’t have are the squillions of opportunities to do novel stuff with their entrants. For example, here’s a few options on the content of an 8 Week Winter Challenge.

“Na” – Online. At home generic exercise and nutrition programmes, as well as an e-book; fitness testing – weight and selfie done by entrant at home; cash prizes for most weight lost.

“Yeah” – In person. Pre-screen, 1 x week one-to-one with you, unlimited attendance at your classes,  a 5 point health fitness test start and end, private online group, e-book, cash prizes.

“Hell Yeah” – Rave about.

  • Pre-screen on registering
  • 1 x week session with you
  • Entrant’s choice of either a) home hire cardio equipment, b) unlimited gym classes or c) heart rate monitor, for the duration of Challenge
  • 20 point health and fitness testing, as well as before and after pics, start and end of Challenge
  • Private online group with other entrants
  • Weekly emailed tips
  • Prizes from local businesses including the major prize of dinner for four at a hatted restaurant or two vouchers for the Zip Line & Luge Adventure Park.
  • Challenge kicks off with a workshop from a local behavioural modification expert and a nutrition expert.
  • Price includes optional Saturday morning 30 minutes beginners/social circuits of badminton, volleyball and Petanque (or other ‘social’ healthy easy stuff entrants may not normally get a chance to do) at the local park.
  • Challenge ends with a celebratory bring the family along for a BBQ and Awards event on the last Saturday of the Challenge.
  • Prizes for most improved, most committed, and most entertaining.

None of my Hell Yeahifying rave factors may appeal to you but hopefully that makes sense in that the idea is to simply weave in unique stuff that will have entrants talking about your Challenge, bonding with each other, achieving their goals and strengthening your community.

Oh Hell Yeah to that.

Snappy Snippets 2

Short & Snappy Snippets 2

Quickie Marketing Tips

4 more tips from 40+ that you’ll find in my new book and Challenge course, where we ditch the yawn yawn same old generic marketing advice, for specific stuff that works at the coalface of Challenges.

4. FOMOafying our Challenges

What is a safe and effective exercise for one-to-one training sessions with clients won’t always be suitable for group sessions. Examples include eccentric training with free weights, and heavy bench presses or squats to fatigue.

There’s another bunch of stuff that only really works in larger group classes like interactive games, team stuff and mini competitions between members.

The fringe benefit of this division of content is that group class members can never think they are doing the same stuff that the one-to-one clients are doing, simply paying less for it.  Similarly, the one-to-one clients will know they are missing out on all that stuff that only happens in the group sessions.

While the divvy up is often done out of necessity it also means each of our services helps grow the other. Running with this idea, what else could our transformation Challenges include, that would help differentiate them from everything else we offer?

Instead of just bundling up what we already have, for example ‘1 PT session a week, unlimited group fitness classes, access to a private Facebook group and a diet plan’  add some FOMO flavour?

FOMO flavoured things could include: – workshops, photoshoots, a new style of class, gorgeous end of Challenge reports, eligibility to attend a special event or adventure, sessions with an affiliate professional, home use of a treadmill, rower or bike, the use of heart rate monitors, massage balls, Shakti mats, blenders, glucose testing kits, home delivered meals?

5. Spice things up

List a variety of Challenges on your website and in your brochures/social media etc., 6 to 12 months ahead of time for people to book into or register their interest in.

This variety will help keep more people that hit your website, find a Challenge they are interested in.  It also gives people a better picture of what your business is about. By listing them so far in advance you’re also more likely to capture more people, plus it reveals that you’re a plan-ahead type of a person. That’s a good thing in this game and shows you are not just firing out Challenges when you need more clients.

6. Register your interest

Including an option for people to book in and pay for our Challenges on our website is key but it’s also handy to have a ‘register your interest’ option. This is especially the case if the details of our Challenges are scanty in which case the ‘Buy’ button becomes too ‘pushy’ too fast.   We may not realise how scanty the information is in some people’s minds so maybe wack up a ‘register your interest’ button just in case.   Better that people will push that and stay in the loop with your business than push away from your site altogether.

7.  Reassure them

Now’s your chance!  The moment someone registers their interest or hits buy, send them something that wows them and

a) reveals your expertise,

b) gets them started on the journey,

c) tells them what’s next, and

d) asks them to get in touch if they have any questions.

It could be a pre-screen, goal sheet, dietary recall, personality profile quiz but make it something that requires their input (as opposed to something they just read or watch) and tells us, the Challenge creator, a little more about them and which will be relevant to their journey.  We don’t want the interactive element to be so onerous that it’s overwhelming, but it should help them feel reassured about their decision and get them a little bit excited about, and invested in, their up-and-coming journey with us.

What’s your reach

What’s your reach?

You play a key role in making your community stronger, and that’s not just because a bunch of lucky people get to train with you, receive your advice and then rocket their way to good health; it’s because of the flow on effect of your clients and class members on other people.

At the end of your next Challenge throw down this question on your final feedback form to entrants and learn more about your ‘reach’.

‘Has your participation in our Challenge resulted in other people taking up a better health and fitness regime?’

Here were the responses from about 200 entrants to a similar question at the end of a Challenge we ran.

  • 32% said yes, 1 person had
  • 46% said yes, between 2 and 5 people
  • 6% said yes, between 6-15 people
  • 1% said yes, more than 16
  • 15% said no-one else had

That means 500-ish + other people benefited from the efforts of our 200 entrants. Or we could say, for every 10 entrants, another 25 benefited, and that’s before taking into account how many people that next tier impacted.

How flipping very awesome is that?

Something to shout to the world, me thinks.

If you are keen to increase the reach of your health and fitness Challenges, or know what other questions are brill to ask at the the start and end of your Challenges, then sign up to my monthly newsletter or join me on our Challenge Course. Yeah.

It’s so easy to lose weight and get fit

It’s so easy

I have just been looking at some posters from a health club in Aussie one of which said something like  ‘There are 3 simple steps to success – get enough sleep, move daily and eat well’.  Another one said something like  ‘Losing weight and staying fit is easy. It’s just a matter of eating less and moving more.’

I know the club means well, and the equation is simple and easy but kind of in the same way that saying building a house is simple and easy, just build some walls and stick a roof on top.

Lots of people find it hard to move regularly, eat less and get enough sleep. Likely the same people that need us most and I don’t know if they feel understood in their battle, when they are told that something they are struggling so hard with, and still ‘failing’ at, is easy and simple.

To connect with them, maybe it’s better we say something like “what you are trying to do, I get it, it sounds simple, it looks easy, but it’s actually really hard, but I can help”.  Which we can.


No one arrives in our world looking for help and gets told ‘to just eat less and move more’ and are sent way. We know there is way more to it and maybe need to say that?  Our industry exists because it is far more complex issue than that. It’s why our services aren’t free and why our Challenges are so successful.

Snappy Snippets 1

Short & Snappy Snippets 1

Quickie Marketing Tips

A little unique maybe but hopefully a lot helpful. 

3 short tips from a list of 40 that you’ll find in my new book and Challenge course, both due out later this year where we ditch the yawn yawn same old generic marketing stuff, for specific stuff that works at the coalface of Challenges.

1.Sponsor others

Sponsoring other people’s events with prizes of Challenge entries and gifting entries to worthwhile causes to help others raise money for a good cause; it’s a neat thing to be able to do regardless, but it also means we get mentioned at those events and put into other people’s advertising material (aka, it’s cheap advertising from appreciative others). Plus, it gives some lucky bean the chance to experience us within the highly motivational structure of our Challenges.

Having various Challenge packages makes gift gifting easy to do.  For example, if you’re worried about all these freebies you give away, bleeding into the limited available time you have ,then gift packages that don’t include your 1-1 services, but do include say group sessions, workshops and access to a forum i.e., low cost,  low maintenance stuff where numbers going up or down a tad, doesn’t really matter, that way you will feel more comfortable saying yes to anyone who’s raising dosh for a good cause and looking for goodies to auction off, or chasing a prize for the local triathlon etc.

Have some flash looking cards with ‘congratulations’ printed on them, with details how to redeem the entry and ready to send off to event organisers.

It proved to be such a winning idea, that I put an invite on my website for anyone wanting sponsorship or support for their worthy event, to hit me up.

2. Make selling easy

When I started out, I was stupidly conscious of sounding desperate for business or that I was big wigging myself whenever I was talking to potential clients.  As a result, it was far easier to get enthusiastic about how my Challenges could help people than how I could.

If that makes no sense at all to you – awesome.  It shouldn’t be a problem any of us have, but if that’s something you’re experiencing, know there are great tools out there to help rid you of those crazy thoughts, but in the meantime, if ‘selling’ something that feels separate to you feels easier, then do that.

3. Do stunning reports

Do reports detailing the progress and achievements of entrants.  Whether 1 page or 20, make them look good. Layout the pictures and details as if your client is showing it to their friend, (because they probably will) and who may also be the decision maker of a huge company that needs you!

Print the reports out, with your branding on them, and physically hand them to your entrants, as well as giving them a digital copy.

Ask them if you can put a copy of the report in a ‘success’ folder in your waiting area for potential clients to look through.