- 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.
*Laura was an entrant of the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge and trained by PT Amanda (Armitage) Baird.
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 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.
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.
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.
Your very own magazines!
Due to COVID-19 I released this offer is for REPs registered professionals.
It’s valid until the end of the year.
Hit me up if you want in.
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.
How to get involved
To get published, email me the following:
- Up to three healthy, fitness snippets
- Your full name
- Your fame name or nickname (optional)
- A headshot of you smiling (optional but cool)
- Your website address
- Your location – either broadly (country) or specifically (town/suburb)
- Which industry body you are registered with, i.e. AusREPs, REPsNZ or ESSA
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: 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 – email@example.com and I’ll answer quickly and come back and fill any gaps here as need be.
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.
- Short and snappy testimonials
- Ways to collect testimonials
- Where to put them
- 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.
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.
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!
In this scenario, it might be handy to give people some prompts like these questions.
- Describe yourself before you started using my service?
- What was the obstacle or hesitation you had about using the services of someone like me/this club?
- What happened as a result of using my service?
Other options could be:-
- What did you like most about my service?
- Would you recommend my service? If so, why?
And always ask at the end:-
- 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.
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!
- Collect half a dozen snappy short testimonials. Pop them on your website, business card and social media pages.
- 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!
- Ask for feedback about your services regularly and include the option in it for people to provide testimonials for you to share publicly.
- 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 🙂
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Longevity. Since workshops can be recorded, they provide a resource that keeps giving and giving.
- 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.
- If you would like more workshop and transformation challenge ideas delivered directly to your inbox sign up here.
- Watch a quickie video about running face to face workshops.
- Feedback, ideas or comments? Send them on in here.
The Best Fitness Apps for 2020
For those who struggle to follow through on their exercise routines, using an app could well help them along the way.
In this series of articles, we take a deeper dive into the different types of apps there are in the hope users come out on top.
First up: 30-day bodyweight challenge apps
These apps encourage users to do a certain amount of exercises like pushups, squats, sit-ups, or something similar using primarily their own bodyweight, for 30 days.
They may have names like ‘6 pack in 30 days’ and ’30 days to a better butt’. Example activities within them may require users to do 25 pushups a day, an ever-increasing number of squats a day, or a different ab exercise each day.
The non-app version of these challenges often appears on Facebook as a picture of a calendar month with an exercise written on to every page.
- Often free or very cheap.
- No or very little equipment required.
- Tasks can generally be done anywhere.
- Don’t have to think about what your workout routine is each day for a whole month.
- These apps are usually super easy to understand and use. Users know what they need to do, and they know if they’ve succeeded.
- Before starting the programme, the exercises and time frame look to be enough of a stretch to be challenging but not so much of a stretch to be impossible.
- Virtual rewards like badges and points provide an external, visual, shareable sign of achievement.
- Sometimes there are online social structures encouraging accountability, like leaderboards, Facebook pages. These can help people to feel part of a group and to stick with the challenge.
- Some come with music, voices, pictures to help it be more engaging.
- Users who do the required exercise everyday feel good and gain momentum to keep going.
- Missing a day means failure. These apps usually require the user to do a daily task. If the user misses a day, they may stop completely on the basis that there is no longer any chance of ‘success’.
- It’s easy to cheat. Example: On a busy day, a user ticks off that they have completed their 25 pushups when they haven’t. While fully intending on making up for it the next day, that doesn’t happen. Next week they find themselves doing it again. This means two things. They won’t feel deserving of any reward for completing the challenge, inclusive of self-praise. And knowing they can cheat now means they know others can too. Virtual rewards and leaderboards now become meaningless and the pieces in the jigsaw helping to keep them on track are now gone!
- Often designed by app developers, not exercise professionals. This means exercises are more likely to be wrong, outdated and dangerous. A classic example would be the 30-day ab challenges dishing out 100 situps a day for a strong core! Yep, exercise professionals give that out all the time….not ever. Worse, developers can use stock images and videos of people with 6 pack abs, making the whole thing seem more believable.
- Not great for beginners. For reasons just described, these simple apps are unlikely to be suitable for beginners.
- Not individualized. Even if an app is designed by exercise professionals and/or asks for a user’s goals and health markers (which many now do), these types of apps aren’t yet able to incorporate that info into their programmes effectively. They also can’t take into account a user’s technique, crucial to the dishing out of most exercises. Over time assessments and pre-screens will get better, especially in the more pricey apps, and that may trickle down into these free/cheap apps… maybe. At the moment saying they take personal goals/data into account likely only gives users a false sense of an app being appropriate for them when it isn’t.
- Lack of feedback: Informational feedback not only adds to safety and effectiveness, it is what motivates us. These types of apps are currently devoid of those. Can an app 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. In the future, more apps will be able to give you personalized tips on form, but that’s only likely if exercise professionals are at the other end of it or have been involved in the design. At the moment, exercise professionals use programmes like Coaches Eye to do this. Very clever, but very manual.
- Free or very cheap. This also means the app is easy to ignore. If you’ve paid for something, you may be more likely to use it. If it’s free it also means the app’s income is likely coming from advertising. Alternatively, it will be funnelling you into a paid-for version, selling your data, or carrying viruses with it to hack into your phone. Are some of those things illegal? Yes. But some also happen because the owner of an app is neither a developer or a fitness professional. They have purchased it to ‘re-skin’ and make dosh and won’t have the knowledge to keep it bug-free.
- No equipment, you can do anywhere and by yourself. It all sounds very positive, but unless we’re in lockdown or highly self-motivated these features probably won’t work in your favour. For many, that high level of flexibility means it’s easier to put your workout off for another time, another day, another year.
Who are these apps ideal for
While the apps are marketed primarily at beginners to exercise they are probably best for people at the other end of the spectrum:-
- People who are self-motivated but love not thinking about what their exercise routine is for the day/month, and
- People who have a good grounding in exercise and know the difference between being uncomfortable and over-exertion, DOMs and an injury etc., as well as how to do the exercises correctly and effectively for their body, health status and goals.
What to look for in the 30-day bodyweight challenge apps.
Know people who are keen to use these 30-day apps even if they are not an ideal candidate? Want to roll them out at your workplace as this month’s ‘Healthy Challenge’?
Here’s a list of what to look for and how to incorporate them to help their users come out a winner.
- 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.
- Choose apps that are updated regularly (in last month). This helps ensure it is ‘bug’ free and won’t hack your phone.
- 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 your favour.
- Look for apps that offer degrees of success 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To ensure everyone sees the challenge through, 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.
- If you’ve picked up a free version and the adverts in it are so annoying you don’t use it, or it denies you so many important features of their premium version that you don’t use it, then step up and get the paid version.
- Workplaces specifically: 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.
Finally, if you stop using these types of apps and/or don’ get the results you want, don’t blame yourself. Saying “if only I used it”, “if only I were more motivated”, does not make not using it your fault. I know that sounds crazy, but like much of the infomercial Ab King Pro type stuff, these things are not built with with the ingredients they need to be a success. It may well not have even been a priority for them. Take it as a sign not to give up on getting fit but to move on to something different.
In the future, there is likely to be more accessible/cheap ways to record your bodyweight training efforts (like how Strava, Apple etc., can record how far and fast we run and cycle). They exist now with the likes of Circuband, are incorporated into gym equipment and to some extent in other types of apps and programmes. This extra layer can go along way to keep us accountable, giving feedback about form, adjusting to suit our energy levels, health etc., and reward the efforts of the users in a way where everyone can be assured no one is cheating and is, therefore, more motivational.
Advice to personal trainers
Should you recommend apps like this to your clients and share those 30-day challenge images on social media?
In my opinion, no, not unless you intend to give people individual guidance around the exercises in them. If you don’t layer them with your expertise, I don’t think your clients will:- a) be safe, b) achieve their goals, and c) 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.
Saying all that, there are definitely positives to take away from these apps. Features which make them attractive to many personality types (see DISC profiling as an example) and which could be incorporated into your own challenges. For instance, the clarity they offer, the set time period and simple instructions, may work well for busy ‘Ds’ . This is providing of course they also get the results the challenge promised. For an ‘I’ you may want to layer in options to be more social and have a choice of different exercises each day. I could go on, but if DISC is your thing, you’ll get the picture.
So while I wouldn’t be thinking these apps are the best fitness apps for 2020 or recommending them to clients, I would certainly work with them. I think they serve to open a door for us to reveal our expertise. With that in mind, it may even be valuable as a post the details of one on your Facebook page and comment on how you would adjust each exercise, the reps, etc., for your tribe.
Apps are however getting cleverer, and there are certainly already some better ones out there that this genre I’ve mentioned. It’s an area well worth keeping an eye on as they start to more and more help us to get greater success with our clients.
Fast track series
- exercise/gym newbies who want to know how to exercise effectively and safely, i.e. reach their goals fast, and
- for anyone training hard or consistently but not getting the results they are chasing.
• WORKSHOP 1: WARM-UPS
• WORKSHOP 2: DIETARY RECALLS
Learn why a dietary recall is important for your health and success. For improving energy, race time, muscle mass, dropping bodyfat or sleeping better. Find out the pros and cons of Apps like FitnessPal. Set yourself up with the best recall to suit your personality and goals.
• WORKSHOP 3: HEART RATE TRAINING
• WORKSHOP 4: ASSESSMENTS
The idea with these workshops is that they are held at your fitness club. As an example, you put up posters about the series at the club, invite your own clients and invite them to invite others. You also put a poster up in the park’s clubhouse, where a lot of local soccer teams train.
When: Each Saturday in August. From 10.15 am – 11.45 am
Above is an example of a poster made using Canva. It’s designed for use inside your gym club and in social media. It’s the bare-bone basics aimed at raising curiosity and pushing people to a page on your website. That web page will have all the details, as well as a booking system, payment gateway and will be easily shareable with others.
This type of poster is fine for an environment like a club, which already has narrowed your market to those interested in being fit. It is also likely fine with people who know you – your tribe. For promoting your workshop outside of the club environment, you’d likely need something different.
Let’s say you want to promote the same workshop at the local park clubhouse where soccer teams train. You would likely then add other details in:- when, where, price and what to bring, who the presenter is/are, their credentials and an easy way for anyone interested in booking.
You would likely change the picture to a soccer player, change the description of who it’s for and add in what soccer players will get out of it.
Did you read through those workshop ideas and say to yourself:
- “I could totally do that!”
- “I know a topic that would be heaps better than all of those.”
- “Flip, I’d charge more than that.”
YAY if yes, in all those cases. Or maybe you thought “yeah I’d love to do this, but I don’t know enough, and I don’t have enough confidence talking in groups, and I’m not at a club, and I don’t do one to one stuff”.
Finally, if you found any of the ideas here useful, please share this post and use the info. No copyright applies to this page’s content or the ideas, other than the picture. You can ‘use’ the pics, but due to their licensing laws, you’ll need to make your own in Canva.