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

Time to Plan Ahead


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.

Tri July – Monthly Challenges

Tri July

An entrant of the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge, Laura, came up with this Challenge and near on 180 other entrants signed up to the first year it rolled it out, in the middle of winter, in New Zealand! Fantastic pics and stories rolled in, and we ran with it every year thereafter.  Click on the pic to download the full PDF with all the details, which you can share with your tribe, or make your own version.

The other take-away here  is how do we support the Laura’s of our Challenges?

Being able to contribute is one of our 9 universal core drives which I talk about in my new book due out July on Amazon – 12 Workplace Wellbeing Challenges – Adventures for a Happier Brains &, Healthier Bodies.  It reminds us of how and why a Challenge can go from good to great by supporting its participants to contribute to it.

The 12 Challenges are perfect for health and fitness pro’s to use with workplaces and includes posters and certificates and layers to add your end, to make them more ‘yours’ and more successful.

Tips From My Guests

My Guests

Join my guests for quick tips about running your own 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.

Jase Gunn

Think your listeners aren’t listening?

In New Zealand Jason is a little bit of a huge legend in the land of TV and radio.  Thankfully he has a growing pool of videos  filled with great tips for anyone who wants to present publicly. So, instead of asking him to do one specifically for us, I chose one of my recent favourites, spotted on LinkedIn, to share here.   Turns out LinkedIn doesn’t let me share vids outside of it’s platform, so I emailed him, and his team reposted it to Facebook, and yay, here it is for y’all!

Jase offers online coaching via his Easily Said site.

Mike Catton

Why run workshops

Mike has has delivered some of the best workshops that I’ve attended in the areas of leadership and presenting skills.  He’s also run a highly successful fitness business and delivered many workshops to his own fitness clients, staff and other fitness professionals.

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

Quick tips for nailing your workshops

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

A must see short vid for anyone keen on running workshops for their clients.

Kate Lugtigheid

Tips on running challenges

Not sure if you should run health and fitness challenges? Wondering how you’d go about it? Then tune into Kate who’s run her 100 day challenge 16 times!  She also had 52 clients take out a winning position on the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge and 200 of them make finalist!

Kate was crowned the 2015 PT of the Year and 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 Canada.  Yep, she’s an absolute legend.

Thanks Kate for sharing. You can read more about Kate here

Ish Cheyne

Surviving COVID and beyond

Ish is the Head of Fitness at Les Mills, known for his fast-paced, entertaining style and his content rich, useful advice.

I’ve just binge listened to the first three of his new podcasts presented alongside Sacha Coburn, but for here and now I’m linking you to his COVID talk with the Exercise Association of NZ, available on Soundcloud and by clicking here, because as he points out, that’s unlikely to be a standalone event, so we best be prepared!

Let me send you my monthly email with ideas for your fitness business.  It’s brief and rich.

Get Published. Go On!

Get Published

Government offers a helping post-COVID-19 hand to the fitness industry!

The Government just announced they would fund a competition supporting the tourism and fitness industries called ‘I’m a Fit Tourist’.  In more good news, it’s set to help people get healthier and fitter and improve mental health!

The way it rolls

For every 5 x face-face visits, of 20 minutes or more, that someone has with a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor,  between now and December 20th,  that person will receive one entry into the ‘I’m A Fit Tourist’ draw.  And the prize? An all expenses paid, 14 day road trip to all the local hot spots within 3000 km of your home town.  Additional draw prizes include a 1 year memberships at the winner’s local gym or a 50 fully paid for sessions with their trainer!

That’s not true.

I wish it were.

Maybe the Tourism board or Fitness Australia or some other can-make-it-happen-entity will read this and make it true.

This is definitely the time when we need more ideas promoting those in this industry and as well as helping others to embark on the road to being healthy and fit.  So over the past few months, I’ve tossed out a few ideas, as I know many others have, to help this happen and here is another one.

This one is designed to help promote Personal Trainers and Group Fitness instructors in Australia and New Zealand.  There’s no charge for anyone who wants to get involved and I’ll do the leg work. No promises it will fly, but I have done weirder things that have.

The grand plan

  • I am going to approach workplaces and publications with lists of healthy, fitness snippets/tips for them to use in their own publications, on their website and emails etc.
  • It will be free for them to download/access those snippets.
  • They can use any snippet on the proviso they also mention at the very least; the full name of the exercise professional that provided it and that they are registered.

For some of those workplaces and publications, I really hope having a healthy tip will become a regular new feature of the material they forward to their staff, customers and clients, regardless of what industry they are in. For others, I hope it replaces their use of clickbait ‘health’  articles and online workouts from dubious sources.

Example snippets. Rochelle is not real of if she is she did not write these. I did.

How to get involved

To get published, email me the following:

  1. Up to three healthy, fitness snippets
  2. Your full name
  3. Your fame name or nickname (optional)
  4. A headshot of you smiling (optional but cool)
  5. Your website address
  6. Your location – either broadly (country) or specifically (town/suburb)
  7. Which industry body you are registered with, i.e. AusREPs, REPsNZ or ESSA

Sill interested?

What to include:

  • Your healthy, fitness ‘snippets’ should be no more than 200 words, but as few as 20 words is also fine.  Some end users may only have room, or like, very short tips. Others will be sweet with longer efforts.
  • You can come at it any way you like, for example; a quote, a funny story, an amazing statistic, a useful tip.  More examples further below.
  • If you specialize in an area, for example pelvic floor, seniors, chronic conditions, new mums, Yoga, Crossfit, Zumba, etc.,  feel encouraged to focus on that area.
  • No pictures will be included with the snippets, so no need to hunt any down for inclusion.

Things to steer clear of:

  • Steer clear of giving specific technique cues on exercises.  The idea is that for technique guidance, people see fit pros, face-to-face. This will also avoid what could be multiple conflicting versions that different pros may come out with.
  • Steer clear of nutritional tips beyond what is mainstream acceptable.  Stay within scope.
  • Other than a link to your website, no links.  Just provide the full name of the book, the show, the article, etc., of anything you are referencing.


Your ‘Get Published’ ideas don’t have to be in a format like these below. Ooze youness.  Know also that a great tip can be flavoured in endless ways.  Lots of you may recommend staying hydrated, and I may include all of them, because each of you will say it differently, using different examples, stats etc.

1. Not sleeping too flash? Feeling a bit down? Maybe you need some rays.

Studies have shown lack of sun exposure significantly impacts our sleep and mood.  To combat this, take off your sunglasses and get out for a walk in the sun each day. In summer this may be for just 10 minutes a day but in winter, particularly if you are further south or have darker skin, aim for 30 minutes a day with the sun able to hit 30% of your skin. An outdoor exercise class would be perfect! Those with severe insomnia may well benefit from up to 2 hours of exposure. If that’s you, talk to your doctor about the use of bright light exposure.  Apenisa Smith (Smithy). Outdoor Group Fitness Instructor.  REPs registered.

2. A good laugh can lighten our burdens, connect us with others and provide us with profound health benefits.

In the book, ‘A Better Brain at Any Age’ author Sondra Kornblatt explains that laughter relieves pain by helping the pituitary gland to release its own pain-suppressing opiates.

Even if we’re not in pain, laughter strengthens our immunity system and helps us to sleep better, concentrate as well as lose weight. Giggle away for just 15 minutes a day, and you could burn off two kilograms over the next year!

Greek physicians were so sure of the benefits of laughter that they sent patients to the hall of comedians to be entertained as part of the healing process.

In the 7 minutes Ted Talk by Ron Gutman on smiling and happiness, we find out that those with a beaming smile live almost 5 years longer than those who slightly smile! Minjarra Smith. (Smiley) Accredited Exercise Physiologist

3. I also don’t mind if you quote someone else.  For example, you could send something like this to me.

One of my favourite quotes is “If you think lifting is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.” Bret Contreras said that. He’s a sports scientist.  As registered exercise professionals, we stay up-skilled with the work of exercise scientists like Bret and we know what it takes to train safely to be strong”  Arani Smith (Rocky). REPs Personal Trainer.

My promise to you

I promise to give this ‘Get Published’ idea a good shot.  That’s pretty much it.  There’s no promise I’ll use what you send in (but I’ll try to) and there’s no guarantee that if I do include it, that it will get used by any of the workplaces or publications, or that you will get any more business because of it.

But at the very least I hope it shines a light on more of us, puts more faces to facts and encourages all business to share regular healthy tips to people in their world and maybe someone might call you and ask you to do regular stuff for them.

In good news, I have an okay track record of getting things published, of my own and other trainers, and I do have a workplace wellness website which I’ll be promoting them on. If your snippets are included, I’ll send you a copy so you can forward it to anyone you want to as well and regardless, I’ll update you with how it all rolls.


Q: I do online training only now.  Can I be part of this?
A: Yes, totally but you must currently live in Australia or New Zealand

Q: What countries will you be promoting these lists in?
A: Australia and New Zealand.

Q: Will you use the same lists for all states in Australia?
A: At this stage, yes.  I will use the same lists for both Australia and NZ

Q: Is there a form I use?
A: Nope.  Just email me –

Q: Can I send in more than one?
A: Sure. Awesome.  Maybe limit yourself to sending a max of three at this stage.

Q: I don’t have a website
A: I can’t use yours until you do, but in good news, it’ll only take you an hour to throw one together thanks to WIX.


Bet I’ve missed out some other crucial info from this Get Published idea haven’t I?  Flick me an email if yes Broni – and I’ll answer quickly and come back and fill any gaps here as need be.

Powerful 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.


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 🙂