Time to Plan Ahead


How it rolled. The 666 Challenge required entrants to do 6km on each of the gym’s indoor rower, treadmill and bike as fast as they could. The legs could be done in any order, transition times were included in total time, there were prizes for doing it the fastest solo or in a team, and for dressing in theme, as devils, ghosts and witches etc. The owners of the gym let non-members come in and do the Challenge at no charge. People had a whole week in which to  attempt the Challenge and they could attempt it as many times as they liked, the proviso: every entrant had to have one of us gym instructors or personal trainers with them to verify their efforts.

Did it work? It sure did.  It was a great success on a bunch of levels including that it provided a quality way to introduce new people to the gym in that they were supported and interacted with the whole time, while also providing us staff with a comfortable avenue to build rapport with those newbies (gain new clients) and show off our expertise by doing what we loved and were good at like guiding people through the exercises, cheering them on,  explaining cool down and warm-up protocol etc.  It also provided existing members with a focus for their cardio sessions which was especially helpful to long term members who had plateaued or had lost their mojo.

From my point of view the indoor triathlon also meant being able to avoid much of the work and risks of an outside triathlon event, it also wasn’t weather dependent, would be far more accessible by more people and would be heaps cheaper to run!  However,  I quickly came to realise that it did require lead in time and the more the better. Apart from putting together the entry forms, promotional material and pulling together prizes, more time meant more opportunity to knock on the doors of local businesses,  meet their people and invite them in to give it a go.  Even if only a small percentage did take up the offer, having that fun, non-sales related opportunity to get in the door of those places was gold.

Bonus Halloween ideas

Set up a category just for the staff at the gym.    Like with most Challenges I think there are loads of benefits when it comes to building workplace culture by running a staff version of any Challenge, with its own prizes, alongside the member’s/clients/customer’s Challenge.  From memory the boss usually won ours too which likely earned him bucket loads of respect from members and staff alike,  but the rest of us gave it a good shot and it was the only time I would use the rower.

The 222 Challenge.  Throughout the year we ran a few ‘222 Challenges’.  Exactly the same as the 666 but only 2 km on each piece of equipment.  They made for good training for the 666 and as standalone Challenges for those who’d never be up for doing the 666 km Challenge.

Naming your Challenges. Thankfully where I worked were fantastically supportive of these indoor Challenges and to put their name to them, cover all the costs and make the leaflets nice for us trainers.  The Challenges were called the ‘Olympus Health & Fitness 666 Challenge’ and ‘Heritage Health Club 666 Challenge’ or something similar.If you’re a personal trainer starting out, being able to use a name that already has a stack of credibility, that people are familiar with, alongside your Challenge names,  goes a long way on the promotional front.  In more good news you don’t need to be working for a gym to do this, there are heaps of other ways to link your Challenges in with big names.  Sign up if you’d like to know more and head to the ‘sponsorship’ article in the member’s only area.

Music: If you are looking for Halloween themed music then head to POWER MUSIC where there are several albums/playlists available like this Best of Halloween Mix

Lingo: Need some ghoulish lingo? Check out this list of wicked words.

Decorations: Make your sessions more positively memorable by incorporating pumpkins, brooms and pitchforks and set up a photo station filled with wicked paraphernalia at the front of the gym of if you’re in lockdown, reward people’s at home decoration efforts.

$$$ and prizes: Have an entry fee to your Halloween Challenges and put a % to prizes and % to a local charity or good cause suggested by one of your clients or members.

Advertising: Included here are the bare bones of some ideas.  I’d normally add in dates, prizes etc., but I’ve left them free of deets in case you want to use these pics as is.

For some people the only exercise option may be for 1 hour outside, within 5 km of  home, so these are designed a little with that in mind.

Download high res versions of the digi posters below by clicking here.

Getting started and some…

Put together your Halloween Challenge and when you announce it, also announce a bunch of others that you intend running over the next 12 months. That way, if your Halloween one doesn’t gel for someone, or fit in timewise,  they’ll have others to choose from, thereby keeping them in the loop with you: a ’10 km Barefoot Boxing Day Challenge’,  ‘Winter’s Better Sleep Challenge’, and ‘Valentines Day Healthy Chocolate Challenge’.  Get creative with the focus, duration and intensity of the Challenge while still oozing all that you are about.  Provide a brief description and a way for people to easily register their interest and make it enticing to do that by an early enough cut off date so as to give you plenty of time to put them together if enough people put their hands up.  That’s it. You don’t have to plan all the details at the outset.

Planning your health/fitness/wellbeing Challenges 6 – 12 months ahead, and announcing them early provides a bunch of benefits, including:

  1. An insight to the public about how professional, organised and authentic you are; that you are not just dishing out Challenges last minute when membership numbers are low or lockdown is ripping your business apart.
  2. Focus, direction and more reasons for you to get excited for the year ahead.
  3. Time to put together ‘quality’ content for your Challenges i.e. the motivational layers.
  4. Time to make effective posters, brochures and social media posts.
  5. More opportunity to do a greater variety of promotions generally, but mainly more of the low $ cost quality ones that rely on word of mouth and knocking on doors.
  6. More ways to showcase what you do and keep potential customers in the loop (see below example).
  7. Leeway to attract sponsors, join forces with charities, recruit helpers and gather prizes
  8. Your clients with more reasons to talk about you more often, for them to prepare, train, and to rope in their buddies to join in
  9. An opportunity for people to pay their entry fee well in advance, or in part payments, thereby helping them to commit and enable you to better plan for the event and to also set up your ultimate Challenges with packages that sell for $1000s.

The thing is regardless of when you read this article,  it’s never too early to announce your Halloween Challenge, or your Christmas one, or one that link in with Movember, Frocktober, Easter, winter, summer or the unlimited other possibilities that make for super dates to time your Challenges in with.

What next?

Challenges tap into new and different markets, whilst also giving existing clients focus, direction and motivation, but as you all probably know by now,  tossing out Challenges without with features that make them engaging and empowering, is a bit like giving people a pair of sneakers and expecting them to run every day,  it’s only one piece in the jigsaw, and worse when they are tossed out last minute, they are not even that.  Get going early and set you, your community and your business up for success.

Look at the book

An awesome choice for readers who are keen to create great Challenges.  A resource book to come back to time and time again to fill in gaps for small Challenges to huge ones.  Perfect for health and fitness centre managers who want help grow the business and support staff and members at the same time.

Let’s make challenges together

Great for those who are never going to get around to reading the above post, let alone the book.  A fun way to push through getting a bunch of Challenges done and dusted, ready for you to roll.  Live with others to play with. Perfect for groups of people who will be joining forces to roll out their Challenges.

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 – catchfitness@gmail.com

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 – catchfitness@gmail.com and I’ll answer quickly and come back and fill any gaps here as need be.

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

Fast Track Workshops

Fast track series

Here’s a series of workshops that personal trainers, club owners and gym instructors could deliver to current members or offer up to local sports teams.

Four workshops

Pitched at gym-goers, in particular:-
    • 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.
Fast track workshop ideas series


An effective warm-up can increase your performance by a whopping 40%. Warm-up well and you’ll feel more motivated, run faster, lift more and be less likely to suffer injuries. It all adds up to you achieving your goals faster, whether that’s to lose weight, be stronger or win races. Learn why spending five minutes on a stationary bike, skipping rope, running and a whole bunch of other activities, aren’t your best option and learn what is. It’s the knowledge you’ll have forever and use every workout!


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.


How to get the most out of your exercise routines.  Learn why knowing your heart rate matters, before, after and during exercise and how it is directly linked to all your fitness goals.  Whether you want to lose weight, win races, stay energized, or stack on muscle, this is the workshop to attend.


30 different health and fitness assessments that your doctor won’t be doing but which are key to having an active life and maintaining motivation. Many you can do yourself, others we can do on the day. Two  local physios on hand to help out. Lots of giveaways in this final workshop of the series.


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

Cost: Club members: $25 per workshop or VIP pass to all four for $80 before July 1. Non-members: $30 per workshop
Limited: Each session limited to 20 people.
Bookings: Essential. Pay online beforehand to secure place.
Where: ‘Your Great Club’, in the aerobics studio, straight after the 9 am weights class.
Refunds:  Not after July 1st, but you can transfer your ticket and send someone else along in your place 🙂
Bring: Each workshop requires you to get a little bit physical, other than the dietary recall workshop, . Please wear comfy gym gear and closed in gym shoes.
Poster for inside club, workshop ideas

Poster ideas

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”.

If you’d like to know why to run workshops like these, how to promote them and get your confidence up then pick up my books on Amazon.

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.

Workshop book cover
Cover for part 2 Workshop Guide