Tri July – Monthly Challenges

Tri July

This is one of my favourite challenges. It was introduced to by Laura*.  Thanks Laura. Here are some ideas around the rules. Feel free to use them and the image or tweak to suit for your own clients and members.  And if by the time you read this July has been and gone, there are 170 Ironman events in a year.  Why not re-name it and tie your version of this challenge in with one of your favourite locations in the up-and-coming months.
  • Take the whole month of July to complete the distances.
  • Do a little each day or week, or the whole lot at once.
  • Indoor bikes and/or treadmills can be used for some or all of the distances, providing they record distance. No guesstimates.
  • Wheelchairs can be used for the walking leg and a wheelchair hand-bike for the cycling leg.
  • ‘Swimming’  means most of a person’s body is submerged in water, they are moving under their own steam (whether aqua jogging, freestyle, dog paddle, etc) and when their feet touch the ground, they can’t move forward and include that in their official distance. However, they can use flotation devices like kickboards, life vests and flippers.
  • If there is no pool within 20km, people can do a 5km kayak or 5km  on an indoor rower instead.

Become a Challenge Chic member and pick up other great challenge ideas!

*Laura was an entrant of the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge and trained by PT Amanda (Armitage) Baird.

Laura shared the challenge with our other entrants and a from memory a whopping 180 signed up to the first year we rolled it out.  The most fantastic pics and stories of people nailing out there distances came in all month.  It was such a success I rolled out every year since.

Tips From My Guests

My Guests

Join my guests for quick tips about workshops, fitness challenges or both. A huge thanks to all these clever people for taking the time to share a few minutes of their wisdom with us all.

Mike Catton

Mike has has delivered some of the best workshops that I’ve ever attended.  He’s also run a highly successful fitness business and delivered workshops to his own fitness clients, staff and other fitness professionals.  Those workshops have covered health and fitnessey topics as well as public speaking skills and team leadership.

Mike has won international awards for his work and primarily now designs and delivers programs for government departments, industry, academia, schools and community groups.

You can read more about Mike at Peak Performance.

Richard Ellis

Winner of the 2016 NZ Exercise Industry Personal Trainer Award, Rich has 20 years business management experience, running businesses from small to multi million dollar, including franchise set up.

In addition to running his highly successful PT business, Rich also provides a mentoring and coaching service for other exercise professionals around the world at www.theptmentor.com

In this short vid, Rich reveals essential tips and tricks to nailing a great workshop. A must see for anyone wanting to walk that road.

Kate Lugtigheid

Not sure if you should run health and fitness challenges? Wondering how you’d go about it? Then you can’t go past listening to Kate, the owner of Pumped who’s run heaps of them.

Kate was the Winner of the 2015 PT of the Year and Winner of the 2016 Small Exercise Facility of the Year at the New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards. She represented New Zealand at the 2014 World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada. She also had 52 clients take out a winning position on the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge and 200 of them who made finalist! Yep, she’s an absolute legend.

Thanks Kate for sharing. You can read more about Kate here www.pumped.co.nz.

Get a monthly email chock-full of ideas for your fitness business and access to Member’s Only resources.

Powerful Testimonials

Testimonials

Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing – 89%!  Placed alongside more expensive items, testimonials have been shown to increase conversion rates by 380%!  

The reason for their success is because they allow people to build trust quickly. Indeed, 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family.

In a nutshell, testimonials are a powerful piece in the decision making process for most purchases inclusive of everything sold in the health and fitness world like joining your club, going to your class and employing you as a coach. Everything.

If you don’t have any to flash around yet odds are lots of people in your world have lots of positive things to say about your service, and it won’t be hard to pull a bunch together.  If you want to know how to get about collecting them and where to post them, this is the article for you.

  1. Short and snappy testimonials
  2. Ways to collect testimonials
  3. Where to put them
  4. Other types of testimonials worth collecting

Short and snappy

Short testimonials say a lot quickly.

They are also the easiest ones to collect and share with the world.

Who to ask for a short and snappy:-

Clients and class participants: Bit of a no-brainer, but start asking the people you are training, coaching or consulting to.

Anyone you have worked for or with:  You can always ask employers, employees, fellow staff, volunteers, etc., even  if outside of the health and fitness industry. Their words may, for instance, be about your professionalism and good character, your ability to motivate people and listen, all great qualities that cross over into every field.

Teachers, coach, mentors:  Ask your sport’s coach, your personal, trainer, teacher or mentor to vouch for your health and fitness, your knowledge, dedication to training etc.

Well known and respected people: If you’re friends with Meg Lanning or Richie Mccaw, Adam Goodes or Valerie Adams, or anyone else that we all know and respect, then hit them up for a few kind words about what a champion you are.

How to ask

Wait until clients have had a few sessions with you.  People may not have had enough of a taste of what you do to feel confident saying anything after just one session with you, and in a lot of instances, it may come across as a little desperate. Wait until they have done a few sessions with you or they are a converted client.

Provide a few examples of what you’re looking for, so they know you’re not chasing anything that requires too much time or effort, like:

“(your name) is incredibly motivational.”

“I would highly recommend (your name) group fitness classes.”

“I’ve belonged to a lot of gyms, but this one is the best.”

Check with your workplace. If you are an employee, then talk to your owner/manager about what you want to do.  They may already collect feedback you can use, or be able to do it easier than you, or need to check it off.

Conversation gems People will often be telling you verbally about the awesome session they just had with you, or how fabulous they feel, are sleeping, running, etc., since working with you.   This is your chance to say ‘Do you mind if I use what you just said? To inspire others into taking action?’  Say it back to them to clarify send them a follow-up email/text confirming the exact words and check they are still all okay with it. Then fire them off a link to where it ends up appearing (in case they want to share it) and a thank you note.

Via online feedback. When you send out your online feedback form link, asking your clients and customers about your services, tack on the option for them to provide a short and snappy testimonial about you, that you can use publicly.

Ask your testimonial giver if you can put a photo of them and their full name next to it.  If they’re not keen on that idea, what would they be comfortable with?  Their initials and age? Occupation and gender? How long they have been training with you?  All these added identifying details can add authenticity and provide another way in which people will find the testimonial relatable.

Where to put testimonials

Testimonials go everywhere that you want to make a positive impression!

  • Hard copy material. Brochures, leaflets, posters and business cards.  Try and squeeze in one or two on to everything you print out.
  • Website:  Websites using testimonials has been said to generate a 45% increase in traffic compared to those who don’t use them. Create a page on your website for them, or if your profile is on someone else’s website ask if you can add a few testimonials to it.
  • Social media: Whichever one you use, post the occasional one as it comes in, particularly if the person has had great results.   Ideally link your posts back to your website, i.e. where they can read the full story of your client, but also where they can find out about your prices, booking form, timetable, quals, articles etc.
  • Newsletters:  Include in your regular email to your tribe. If your workplace does the newsletters, ask if you can have a snappy testimonial and a pic about your clients included.
  • Your starter pack:  Include something with your testimonials on it in your starter pack or goodies bag. They may be on the back of your contract or down the side of your class timetable,  printed onto your  training diary or a drink bottle.

Aim to collect half a dozen short, snappy testimonials to get started with.   Once you’ve done that, raise the bar, widen the net and consider the other types of testimonials below.

Other types of powerful testimonials

Having an array of testimonials can be valuable so let’s take a deeper dive into what your options are.

  1. before and after pictures
  2. videos
  3. audios
  4. surveys and poll results

1.Before and after pics

These can work brilliantly as a testament to your work.  I am a huge fan of them when they are done well. I have written a guide about them which if you’ve signed up to The Challenge Chic you’ll get access to.

For now, my advice is: start taking all sort of before pics. They don’t have to be for the purposes of showing body-shape changes.  They can be to reveal improvements in people’s flexibility, posture, squatting technique and a whole bunch of other stuff that will be important to those considering using your services.

2.Videos

Video testimonials get high engagement.  Check out these stats.

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
  • Videos up to 2 minutes long get the most engagement.
  • 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
  • Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined
  • An initial email with a video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%.

The video recipe

An entrant happily agreed to do a video testimonial which you will find here. She did it in one take, off the cuff.  (She wasn’t my client by the way but was trained by one of the many great PTs involved in delivering the 20 Week Challenge). I think most of you would agree it’s an awesome video and that your clients/members could all do something similar.  The recipe is simple.

Tracey talked about her pain points first.  She then spoke about how she discovered the Challenge (substitute with you).  Next up, how much better she felt and finally, how the future now looked bright.

In a similar vein, videos can sometimes be the only way to show the types of changes people experience effectively.

To explain, one year, I had a bunch of entrants in a challenge trying to improve their balance over 20 weeks.  Many personal trainers filmed their before and after efforts to submit to the judges.  That footage of clients balancing on swiss balls, and on one leg and doing handstands etc., was gold.  I hope the trainers involved use it in their bag of testimonials.

3. Audios

I haven’t used audios but would have if I had thought of it and likely will in the future.  I love the idea that people can click on a pic and hear the voice of a real person, without all the extra layers involved in doing videos. There are less viewing glitches because of internet speeds. There’s also less work for me and the client. It’s also less daunting for clients, and yet it has more richness than a short written statement.

Go on, click on the smiley guy and hear some Aussie birds!

Gym guy

In this scenario, it might be handy to give people some prompts like these questions.

  1. Describe yourself before you started using my service?
  2. What was the obstacle or hesitation you had about using the services of someone like me/this club?
  3. What happened as a result of using my service?

Other options could be:-

  1. What did you like most about my service?
  2. Would you recommend my service? If so, why?

And always ask at the end:-

  1. Is there anything you’d like to add?  This is often where the gems are!

4. Survey and poll results

All the data for the graphs below were collected using Survey Monkey.  We asked entrants about the areas they had improved in, and this is the percentage of entrants that responded positively to each of the categories.   Survey Monkey turns the data into a graph at the push of a button.

Pics like this are even more appealing to me than before and after photos and simple statements, but everyone is different on that front.  Just know, some people, people like me, love graphs and they are easy to do.

Graph showing improvements from challenge

5. Stories 

All our testimonials tell a story.  A story that reassures a reader that we will be able to help them.  Sometimes a few short and snappy ‘stories’ are enough to do that. Other people like a story with pictures.  Sometimes a more lengthy and personal story can be helpful.

Below is an excerpt from Corey’s page  with a longer story and a combo of elements.  People’s eyes will be drawn to what matters most to them.   There are some kind words from his trainer in their too.

If you head to that website (click on Corey below), you can check out heaps of other ‘Entrant Journeys’ and see which ones impress you and mirror them.

There’s also a real mix of short and long-form written testimonials in this list of 500 achievements!  I think the concept of having people share their ‘achievements’ is great.  My effort is not pretty, and I’m not sure I’d do it that way again.  I still tear up when I read them though, and once I read one, I feel compelled to keep going, ….500 later!

Note, I don’t run the Challenge anymore or the Catch Fitness workshops so I’m not trying to persuade any of you to sign up to them and I also feel okay dissing my own efforts at not nailing how I have showcased them – especially my early efforts!

What now:

  1. Collect half a dozen snappy short testimonials. Pop them on your website, business card and social media pages.
  2. Take ‘before’ photos and videos, not just of people’s physical appearance but also of what they can do, like balancing on one foot, or touching their toes etc.  Sign up to The Challenge Chic and you’ll be in to get my guide around perfecting before and after pics!
  3. Ask for feedback about your services regularly and include the option in it for people to provide testimonials for you to share publicly.
  4. Share this article with someone else if the health and fitness industry who you know could do with some reassurances around collecting testimonials.  Maybe send them one with it to help them get started 🙂

Do it! Virtual Workshops

Virtual workshops

and other Plan B options

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown some gyms, personal trainers and group fitness instructors went virtual and online with their training sessions and classes.  I want to say most did, but the stats say most didn’t.  According to Fitness Australia, at the time of writing, just under 50% went online. Less than 10% of clients transitioned to virtual platforms or one-on-one training. 81% of exercise professionals lost their job or main source of income due to gym closures and social distancing restrictions.*

Could it get any tougher!

And doesn’t it make us all wonder what we could do differently next time?

Beyond running virtual one-one sessions and group fitness, (both of which are great, but possibly only 10% transitioned into them), was there other services that could have been offered virtually or online?  Services that would have helped our clients, members and our businesses stay healthy and fit and even been enticing for newbies to our business to pick up on?

While COVID-19 is kind of, almost in the past, outbreaks like this could well happen again, and regardless, there are plenty of other causes of businesses being forced online. It’s not an issue we should be putting on the back burner.  Indeed now is the best time to plan for it and weaving in our solutions with our face to face options, so we have a diversity of offerings that allow us to shift which we emphasize?

What could Plan B ideas include? Apart from the one-one and group fitness classes?

A) Challenges.  I’m a huge fan of good health and fitness challenges, and lockdown to me seemed like the perfect time to be rolling them out.  Thin on the ground challenges aren’t ‘good’ though. An example would be a ‘do 100 sit-up a day’ type challenges.  ‘Good’ challenge take thought to put together to ensure they physiologically hit the mark and meet the motivational needs of the people they are targeted at.  Now is the perfect time for putting together a content-rich, online one, that you can test and try and then use.  Use it whether we are in lockdown or not and keep perfecting it. And if you want to know about running your own challenges  clickety-click here.

B) Recommendations. Do you have a page on your website of affiliate services and products?  Stuff you love and would recommend whether you got a kickback or not? Of course you do, and now’s the time to get all that on your website. It could be books, heart rate monitors, podcasts to listen to, a certain brand of equipment, skincare range, a local grocer who’s roasting their own organic coffee beans, locally made hemp workout shirts with your cool brand on it and which raises dosh for Kids Cancer.  By shooting for ‘local’ stuff, you’re also supporting your community and it’s all part of differentiating yourself from the influencers and celebs who don’t have that capability.  Be different 🙂

C) A plan B website landing page. Since I am talking websites, while not an additional service as such, do you have a way to easily update your website with when and why you’re closed? What other services members and others can tap into? Out of the 40 websites I visited, only 4 had anything on their website about being closed and COVID-19, and that was 3 weeks into lockdown. Only two of them  provided information about alternate offerings.  Understandably fitness business owners may have had bigger things on their plate than updating their website. They were also were likely conversing with existing members through email. But what about all the other people looking to their local club’s website for ideas and solutions, who didn’t find any and moved on.   What an ideal place to have listed your virtual workshops!

D) Virtual workshops.  How many workshops, conferences, seminars, webinars, courses, etc., did you attend during lockdown?  Lots I bet. The FitEx Lite conference I virtually attended, had over 300 people participate online this year. That’s twice the number that turned up in person last year. Arguably numbers were up because the first year’s one was so dang good anyway, but still, who’d have thought?

As a PT club manager, I’d be thinking this would be a no-brainer way to support your personal trainers, clients and club members.  Helping PTs put together workshops which could then be packaged up into VIP kits – a series for the clients of PTs only, and another for members.   Easy to pull together they could have included other local health and fitness professionals in your community as well.

Whether the world is in lockdown, or not, virtual workshops offer a plethora of opportunities to add value to membership and PT packages, as well as providing a new way for non-members to be introduced to your team and connecting with other professionals in your community.

It’s not like you need to do one a day. It’s not like they need to go for hours.  Just doing one regular workshop a month, 30 minutes long. could open the door to whole other stream of business that you didn’t know existed.

10 benefits of virtual workshops

  1. Referrals. Your clients/members now have an easy avenue to invite new people into your world especially if the workshops don’t require people to exercise, which also means newbies don’t have to worry if they are fit enough to get through one of your workouts. You also don’t have to worry about their technique, pre-screens etc.
  2. Anonymity. It’s an option. Good for those situations when Dwayne Johnson wants to join in, and you don’t want everyone to get distracted by him being there.  It also means my boss will never find out I’m doing a workshop with you on managing my stress levels at work.
  3. Plan B work.  Virtual gives exercise professionals an offering if they get homebound due to an injury, or while your gym closes to get a reno. This alone is 100% a reason why every pro who relies on being physically active and mobile for their income needs to get started on dreaming up a few workshops.
  4. Longevity. Since workshops can be recorded, they provide a resource that keeps giving and giving.
  5. An ‘add on’ for special people. Workshops can form part or all of your ‘VIP’, ‘Travellers’, ‘Newbies’ or ‘WFH’ memberships /packages.

6. Staff support. Workshops could incorporate staff that weren’t keen or able to fly solo with other forms of online/virtual delivery.  Do the hard ‘techy’ work for them and allow them to fill a piece in the jigsaw that they feel comfy with.

7. Up-skilling. It provides PTs, GIs, and whoever else dives with a unique opportunity to work on their presenting skills and/or techy skills.

8. Stay out of the limelight and connect with other pros.  You actually don’t have to present the workshops yourself. You could ask a local Physio, Doctor, Dietitian etc., to do workshops on your fav topics and you just co-ordinate them.

9. Zero travel required. Apart from appealing to people in lockdown, virtual workshops will  be appealing to clients and members who are sick or injured and away on holidays.  How have you catered for these people in the past?  Frozen memberships?  And let’s not forget those who have heard great things about your club, maybe their grandkids or friends train with you, but they can’t get there in person, ever, like older people or people on the other side of the country.

10. Low cost.  Workshops are something you could offer at a lower price point knowing heaps more people can attend them and in that way you can better cater for people that are financially struggling without losing out on dosh yourself.

What now?