40 Transformational Challenge Ideas
This game is for coming up with win-win ideas for your health and fitness challenges. I’ve done it with 100s of people, and the awesomeness of the results always blows me away. But first up, a story about Halloween and why you want to plan your health and fitness challenges 6 – 12 months ahead of time.
Halloween is fast approaching as I write this.
I used to run a ‘222 Challenge’ at the gym I worked at. Members had a whole week to do 2km on the rower, treadmill and bike, back to back but in any order. At Halloween, it became the ‘666 Challenge’ with extra prizes up for grabs if you competed dressed in theme. Loads of members did it, often dressed as devils and ghosts. The owners let non-members come into the club to do the challenge, for free. All in all, it was a whopping success on a bunch of levels, inclusive of providing me with new clients
The thing about that challenge is it took a bit of prep. Not a lot, but enough for it to have benefited from being thought about a few months beforehand. We did up a promotional leaflet with the rules which included boxes which people filled out with their times on and had signed off by staff. Gym members knowing about the event months beforehand meant they could train for it, take the promo leaflets back to their workplace and rope in their buddies and obviously, organise their costumes. As a result, the wins for everyone were far greater than if we have sprung it on everyone a week before.
Benefits to planning your challenges in 6 – 12 months in advance
- More lead in time means: 1) more time for more promotions and the ability to have early-bird rates and other enticing deals, 2) extra time to design posters, brochures and social media posts, 3) enough time to gain sponsors, helpers and prizes, and 4) time to unite with any charities/good causes that the challenges are helping raise dosh for.
- Your list of challenges will provide your existing clients with more reasons to get excited and more time to get prepared, which includes more time to rope in their buddies (your potential new clients) to join them.
- People will pay to enter your challenges months in advance, which can help provide security of income and business.
- They will show how organised you are because you are not just dishing out challenges last minute, which leads to frustration for everyone. People get pissed they didn’t hear about it until too late, or without enough time to prepare for it, which means you get low numbers. And it shows that you don’t just roll them out when memberships are getting low! Small things but big things that help to create a great culture; oozing your long term approach of looking after your current staff and customers.
- Saying all that, challenges are a great part to your campaigns to increase memberships. Newbies can find challenges an appealing way to test the waters with health and fitness professionals/gyms/programmes, etc. That’s because challenges are for a manageable time period and have a natural escape route. Their end date is perfect for if it turns out they don’t like the programme, the gym, etc., which of course they will. They just don’t know that yet. These people may never otherwise enter your world.
- A choice of challenges can better fill out the picture of what our business is on about and keep potential new clients in the loop with what you are up to. If the only thing someone new to your business hears about is your’10 km a day running challenge’, and they are not keen on that idea, you’ve lost them. Having alongside of it your ‘2 km a day challenge’ , Better Sleep Challenge’, and ‘Healthy Chocolate Challenge’ they are more likely to spot something that entices them to sign up for an experience with you.
Things to remember along the way.
New ideas pass through three periods
1) It can’t be done.
2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing.
3) I knew it was a good idea all along!
Arthur C. Clarke
Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas.
If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.
This game is helping you to come with 40 + challenge ideas and have a recipe to use forever to come up with loads more. If you would prefer to be given challenges that were pretty much done and dusted, without playing this game, that’s cool too. Read through the article for a few fleshed out challenge ideas, especially Part 2, then sign up to my monthly emails and you’ll receive regular challenges like my A K A Day, the 4 X 4 and the Love NZ Challenge. If you need your pre-built challenges to be more specific to your aims and business, and uniquely built for you, you can join my course or feel free to get in touch.
Rules of the game
Rule 1: Everyone who plays wears a metaphorical ‘yellow hat’. While wearing the yellow hat crazy ideas are welcome; indeed, they should be openly encouraged, with nods and lots of ‘yes, yes, yes’, ‘that’s brilliant’ type comments. No answer is wrong or thrown out at this stage. This is not the time to think about why these ideas wouldn’t work. That’s another game altogether and a different coloured hat, obviously.
In the words of Kevin Kelly
Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invest, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creative mind must be unleashed from judgement.
Rule 2: If possible, play in groups of up to five people. As a result, the process will generate loads more ideas than you ever could come up with alone.
The crucial three pre-requisites here are that the people who join you are:
- At least as enthusiastic about health and fitness stuff as you are
- 100% up for donning the yellow hat, and
- Also up for sharing ideas
Rule 3: Use just two parameters to get the ball rolling (examples below). As limiting as these initially seem, they will serve to make us more creative. Think of those TV shows like ‘Who’s line is it anyway?’. Players get given the word, or object and take turns adding in a few lines and some action which progressively comes together to build a humorous story. Without those parameters, the real gems would never emerge. This is same same but different.
Step 1 – Coming up with ideas
Below you will find two lists. These are your parameters. Here are two ways to use them Choose whichever sounds better.
a) Each person in the group comes up with a challenge idea that incorporates both the occasion on the left and the corresponding foodie word directly to the right of it. Go around the group, taking turns, working down the list.
b) Choose one occasion for each person in the group, and then come up with one challenge each for each of those occasions, using the word to the right of it.
For example, let’s say there was a group of four dietitians, and they chose option b). Each person then chose a different occasion, giving them four occasions to work with. Mark chose MOvember (an event encouraging men to grow moustaches in November to bring awareness to men’s health issues), so each person then came up with a challenge for MOvember, using the foodie word ‘Italian’ as you will see below. We would then do the same with the other three people’s occasions. Those four challenges were:-
- Moustache Shaped Italian Cookie Challenge (Mark)
- Pizza, Pasta and Prostrate (Sam)
- Grow Mo’s and Tomatoes (Lou)
- A Mediterranean Movember (Joe)
Replace the lists
Replace either or both lists to suit whatever part of the health and fitness industry you are in. If you choose to write your own lists, do it without consideration of what word from the other list will end up next to it.
Other lists I have used include ones with durations, occupations, sports, numbers, colours, reps, target markets, and activities. Below is one of those activity lists.
Everyone needs a few joker cards. These allow players to use Google if they get stuck, but only the ‘Image’ search results. For instance, Mark Googled ‘Italian sweet treats’ and found a picture of Pignoli cookies which he then based his Challenge on. Dish out several joker cards to everyone if you’re okay with the use of phones and screens during the game.
Step 2 – Fleshing out the ideas
While still wearing your yellow hats, flesh out up to five of the ideas. Take turns to fill in the content a little without getting too bogged down in the details. This is where you can toss in ideas about how the challenges will roll, how they may promote your product and services, what would be a good price, what type of prizes would be given out and why. This phase is still very much about getting ideas on the table as opposed to saying ‘but nah, that would never work’.
Step 3 – BIG ideas
This step requires your group to pick one of the challenges from Step 2 and go huge with it. You most definitely all need your yellow hat on for this stage. This is when we ask questions like; what changes would you make if the entry fee was $200 or $2000 instead of your first thought of it being $20? How could you attract in, and cater for, 100, 1000 or 10,000 entrants? How could you triple the prize pool? If there was a TV advert for this challenge, what would it look like? If you were asked to run this as a yearly event, nationwide, how would you do it? They don’t have to be those exact questions, just any use any that get your group thinking ‘big’. It should be a super fun stage, the benefits of which will trickle down into whatever size challenge you do and end up running with.
Part 2 – Loads more ideas!
- Would you like to find how those MOvember challenges played out? Join the four dietitians as they work through Step 2 and 3 and come up with a national Italian MOvember Challenge!
- Want to know what to do after the yellow hat stage?
- And how does this all become relevant to the challenges you are currently running?