Mother’s Day Challenges

Mother’s Day

I’m not one to enter competitions but here I was, taking photos with my brother at a Caravan and Camping show in 38 degrees heat and posting them to social media to put us in to win $1000 of camping gear.  It reminded me of the Mother’s Day competition we used to run, where winners received a free entry to our fitness Challenge.  It was a super effective competition not just because it helped the winning mums, but because it served to entice others to enter our Challenges, including plenty of people that weren’t mums. So, I thought I’d share what we did.

First up though, some ideas for Mother’s Day themed ‘events’.

Ideas for Group Fitness Classes

  • ‘Mum’s the Word’

At a few random times during your class blow a whistle and yell out a word, like ‘kids’, ‘mother’, ‘superhero’, ‘mum’. Class participants then race to join up with others to spell out the word, using their bodies to form the letters on the ground.  First to complete it wins.

  • ‘Ages and Ages’

Participants get in groups of three, add up the ages of all their children and do that many repetitions of an exercise. Variations include adding on the ages of any mums in the group and if any group does not have a mum in it, then using the age of that person’s own mother.

  • ‘Grape-vining Mums’

For anyone taking traditional aerobic classes then it’s time to spell out ‘Mum’ with your side-stepping, v-steps and grapevine moves. Team up with your favourite mum themed music track, maybe Abba’s ‘Mumma Mia’, The Shirelles ‘Mama Said’ and ‘Dear Mama’ by 2Pac for the cooldown.

Ideas for Personal Trainers

  • M.U.M

Use exercises beginning with each letter like M for Mountain climbers, Maze runs, Mammoth jumps, U for Under and overs, Upright rows, Underhand pullups, etc.  Have your client do the number of repetitions to match the age of their children or own mother.

  • Baby Weights

Challenge clients to carry around their own birthweight for a whole week, everywhere, in the shower, to work, swimming, on walks, everywhere.  Give prizes for sharing pics and for the ‘best’ baby weight used.

Gym Challenges

  • The Mum and I Challenge

Challenge entrants to complete an activity with their children or their mother.  Maybe something like: – 5 personal training sessions, or 5 visits to your gym, to walk 200km, cycle 500km, swim 50 km or chop one tonne of wood. Give entrants between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to complete your Challenge.

  • New Mum’s Category – Health and Fitness Challenge

If you already have a Challenge starting soon, say an ‘8 Week Winter Fitness Challenge’ then add a ‘New Mum’s’ category to it, for anyone who has had a baby in the last 12 months? Make relevant tweaks for that group (advice, resources, exercises etc.,) and offer up a separate award for the mums.

Regardless of what Challenge, activity, or event you decide on, equally important is to run those pre-event competitions I mentioned at the start, in the lead up to your event, to get maximum sign ups. And to consider mum friendly prizes  and what good causes or charities your event could support.

Part 2

The essential pre-event competition

Once you’ve chosen your activity (a Mother’s Day themed class or PT sessions, Challenge, event etc.,) you can now run a pre-event competition, to promote it.

You could simply do a social media post and say ‘Pop your name down to be in to win a free entry’ but if you want a bigger reach and to make more of an impact, add some more depth.

For example, ask people to nominate the most deserving mum they know to win an entry into your ‘Mother’s Day Challenge’/ Classes / Personal Training Package etc.  But then set it up so that….

  • If someone has already paid for your event, they will get their money back if they win the competition.
  • That both the nominator and the nominated person win an entry.
  • Allow the nominating person to be able to transfer their entry if they win. So, for example, let’s say Anne nominates her mum and they win, allow Anne the opportunity to transfer her entry if she wants to. It may be that her mum’s best friend is keener than Anne and would be the perfect person to gift it to ensuring her mum follows through on this great opportunity.

This type of call out may get more engagement than the simpler example because …

  1. It’s drawing on the ‘Mother Theresa’ in us all, to be able to do something nice for someone else.
  2. By allowing refunds for those who had already entered and for nominators to transfer entries, a wider pool of people are likely to enter including people who may not be keen on utilizing the prize themselves
  3. All of this effort shows we care about the winning entrant having a successful experience on your Challenge and about catering for mums. It helps build a great brand.

Announce the winner of your pre-event competition early

Make the draw of the winner well before your event/Challenge ( a week or more if possible) because you then want to offer everyone that didn’t win a discounted entry to your event. It doesn’t have to be a huge discount, or be valid for very long but this rewards the behaviour of entering your competitions, and we definitely want more of that. Plus, a few of those people will likely take the offer up, since they have already shown an interest in the event, plus it gives you good reasons to make more announcements.

How to tell the world

Tell the world about your pre-event competition via social media but also at your physical premises, on your website, via emails, on locations at affiliated businesses, via letterbox drops, radio etc.

Include some enticing information and pictures in your promotion and which match the theme like:-

  • Pictures of existing clients with their mums, or you with yours, or with you with your kids.
  • Choose memorable dates, for example, have it start Mother’s Day and runs until Father’s Day.
  • Add in unique content and goodies. Maybe that’s workshops and training specific to ‘mums’, free childcare, VIP parking, a branded training shirt and towel – washed and ready to use at each session or a post workout mum smoothie?
  • Prizes could be a free entry to your Father’s Day Challenge, two hours of paid for house-cleaning or ironing, a voucher for a home delivery dinner service, a pamper pack with the local beautician or a shirt saying you are the ‘fittest mum eva’.
  • Include the prize value whether its $10, $100, $1000 or priceless, and …
  • Include on it if your event supports a great cause. My vote here, if you are keen on this idea, is to ask your clients or members if they know of a deserving local mum/cause/group that this event could support via a percentage of entry fees or everyone chipping in some time, effort, gifts etc.

As a side note, consider allowing people to make their nominations via a few different mediums– like under your social media post but also via email or in a text to you, just so we don’t lose those who don’t do social media.

Why run Mother’s Day Challenges and events at all?  Don’t we have enough to do already?

  • Apart from just being a way to help more mums, and more people with mums, and more people who know mums (so everyone), to stay more motivated, we do it because some people love an extra Challenge and Mother’s Day offers a good excuse to throw a few around.
  • Themed events provide an opportunity to tell the world that you exist, what you do and reveal a little bit of who you are in a way that stands out from the noise of all that ho hum, price focused marketing.
  • And themed Challenge get people talking about you. It’s the ultimate form of WOM, because it’s CIWOM, or Client-Initiated Word Of Mouth – meaning people start talking about you without being asked questions like what gym do you go to or trainer do you use.

The wins

So back to that photo of me and my bro.  None of my friends were going to ask me about the Caravan and Camping show but there I was telling them all about it with a photo and stories.

The reason I was doing that was partly because the actual taking of the photos added some fun to the day out and because those deck chairs were so ridiculously big, but mostly because I wanted my brother’s family to win that prize.

Weaving in the chance for people to do something nice or helpful for someone else, which ideally is also a little fun, can push people into action and end up benefiting everyone.  All stuff to keep in mind when thinking of using marketing like ‘Join the gym for 50% off if you join with your mother’ like yeah. Nah. Fill it out more and add in a Challenge or an event.

Okay so if you’re still stuck with what to do get in touch, or jump in on my Challenge course starting end of May. And yes, we won the prize which was $1000 of totally cool camping kit from @wildtrak thanks to Perth @caravanandcampingshow.  YAY.

Tri July – Monthly Challenges

Tri July

This is one of my favourite challenges. It was introduced to me by Laura*. Feel free to use or tweak.  And if by the time you read this July has been and gone, there are 170 Ironman events in a year.  Just re-name it 🙂
  • 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. Aqua jogging, freestyle, dog paddle, etc., all count but they can’t move forward when their feet are on the ground. Flotation devices like kickboards, life vests and flippers, are all allowed.
  • If there is no pool within 20km, people can instead do a 5km kayak, or 5km on an indoor rower.

*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.

Become a member for more challenge ideas!

The bigger take-away here really is how do we support the Laura’s of our challenges?  How do we give entrants the avenue and encouragement to be creative? How can we better support those entrants who will inspire and motivate others into action if given a voice?  These people exist in every challenge and they are not necessarily the loudest or most obvious players.  You can read more about the different entrant types and the 9 Core Drives that allow them to flourish in my book.

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 🙂

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?

Fitness App Challenges

Fitness App Challenges

This article was written for workplaces but health and exercise professionals may find excerpts helpful to share with clients. 

For those who struggle to follow through on their exercise routines, using an app could well help them along the way.

First up:  30-day bodyweight challenge apps

30-day bodyweight app and online Challenges often come with names like ‘6 pack in 30 days’ and ’30 days to a better butt’.

They encourage users to do exercises with just their own bodyweight like 25 pushups a day, or an ever-increasing number of squats each day, or a different ab exercise each for 30 day.

The social media ‘click bait’ version often appears as a picture as a picture of a calendar month with an exercise written on to every page.

Similar things exist on the nutritional front and those from that area will like relate just as well to these points.

App 30 day to beach body


  1. Pros:
    1. Often free or cheap.
    2. Tasks can be done anywhere with no or little equipment required.
    3. Users don’t have to think about what to do in the way of a workout routine for a whole month.
    4. Users know what they need to do, and they know if they’ve succeeded. They don’t need to check in with someone else for instruction or clarity.
    5. The time frame looks to be a stretch but not so much to be impossible.
    6. Virtual rewards, like badges and points, serve to pat people on the back and make for a visual, shareable sign of achievement.
    7. Sometimes there are online social/group structures to mingle in.
    8. Some come with music, voices, pictures, making them more engaging.
    9. Users get to feel good at the end of every day providing momentum to keep going.


  1. If the user misses a day, they are more likely to stop completely.
  2. It’s easy to cheat.
  3. Rewards and leaderboards, praise and statistics, become meaningless when entrants realise no robust accountability.
  4. They are often designed by app developers and graphic designers, not exercise professionals. Exercises are often wrong, outdated, and dangerous. A classic example for the last few years are the 30-day ab Challenges which require 100 sit-ups a day, for a strong core no less! Yep, exercise professionals give that out all the time…. not ever.
  5. Not great for beginners. For reasons just described at 3.
  6. Not individualized. They may say they are for ‘beginners’ or ‘pear-shaped’ people, but it doesn’t mean they are. They also won’t be individualized for an individual’s posture, form, injuries or health afflictions.  One day.  But not yet.
PT showing how they are better than a fitness app

6. Lack of feedback. Informational feedback adds to safety and effectiveness of any exercise programme and is a key piece to motivation. An app can’t look at a bridge (an exercise common in apps) and say “your left side is holding strong, but the right side is dropping, can you lift your right side up an inch? That’s it.  Feel the difference? That adjustment will save your shoulder from injury. Your form is getting better and better. Great work.” Yeah. Nah. Apps can’t do that yet.

7. Free or very cheap. This means the app is easier for the user to give up on.  It also means the app’s income is likely coming from advertising, pushing the user into a paid-for version, selling user data, or carrying viruses to hack the user’s phone.

8. No equipment, you can do anywhere and by yourself. It all sounds incredibly positive, but unless we’re in lockdown or highly self-motivated these features probably won’t work in someone’s favour.

Who are these apps best for?

Not the beginners they are marketed to.  They are more suited to:-

  • Self-motivated people who like not thinking about what their exercise routine is going to be, and
  • People who have a good grounding in exercise and know the difference between being uncomfortable and over-exertion, DOMs and an injury etc., and know how to adjust the exercises for their body, health status and goals.

What to look for in 30-day challenge apps.

If you’re dead-set on rolling out apps in your workplace.

  1. Look for apps that have been developed in conjunction with a registered, exercise professional or exercise physiologist.  Don’t be fooled by endorsements by celebrities or by stock images of fit people.
  2. Choose apps that are updated regularly (in last month). This helps ensure it is ‘bug’ free and won’t hack people’s phone.
  3. Choose apps with lots of downloads (30,000+) and lots of positive reviews. Neither are full proof evidence of being good and both could be fake, but it puts the odds in the user’s favour.
  4. Look for apps that offer lots of different ways to succeed, for example: ‘Gold’ for doing 30/30 days of activities, ‘Silver’ for doing 25-29 days, ‘Bronze’ for nailing out 15 -24 days. That way if users miss a day or three, they won’t be as likely to stop altogether.
  5. If people have never had any personal fitness coaching/training around exercises, then have a live, local, face to face session with a personal trainer/exercise professional/gym instructor to look over the app programme and adjust the exercises and programme for each user. It may add to the cost in the short term but think of it as a great investment which will put you/them in good stead for all future exercise programmes.
  6. Generally, most professionals would advise against doing the same strength training/resistance exercises every day for 30 days. Shoot for workouts where the activity is different each day (i.e. uses different muscles) and includes rest days, (important physiologically and psychologically) and/or is interspersed with cardiovascular routines in between bodyweight training days.
  7. To ensure everyone sees the Challenge to the end, look for layers in the app (or add them in yourself) that keep users accountable. An app requiring users to post a video doing the exercise or to do it with other app users, or at a certain time every day; would all be examples of layers.
  8. If you’ve picked up a free version with loads of adverts or missing all the cool premium features,  then step up and get the paid version.
  9. If you are going to go for these 30-day simple apps and Challenges, use cardio-based ones (think: walk, cycle, swim) as they will likely be safer for more people and/or have a registered exercise professional provide some additional guidance and motivation.
  10. Finally, if you stop using these types of apps and/or don’ get the results you want, don’t blame yourself.  Much like the infomercial Ab King Pro type stuff, these things are not built with the ingredients they need in them to be a success.  Take it as a sign not to give up on getting fit but to move on to something different.

The future

In the future, there is likely to be more accessible/cheap ways to record your bodyweight training efforts just like how Strava, Apple etc., can record how far and fast we run and cycle.  They may have robust accountability like Apple’s feature with exercise minutes and be able to provide feedback about form and adjusting to suit our energy levels, health etc.,

Advice to personal trainers

Should you recommend apps like this to your clients and share those 30-day Challenge images on social media? Sure, providing you are up for providing individual guidance around the exercises in them. If you don’t layer them with your expertise, I don’t think your clients will:-

  1. be safe,
  2. achieve their goals, and
  3. appreciate how you are different to an app/picture with 30 days of exercises on it and indeed, why you are so much better than both.

And in case you’ve forgotten how awesome what you do is, take a look at these pics and ask yourself if an app could do that.

PTs being personal way better than a fitness app
Fit girl saying yeah nah to apps
Male PT being personal better than App