Friendly Competition: Hosting Successful Fitness Challenges
The best way to ensure members stay engaged at your club is to help them form a community. And fewer things create a stronger sense of belonging than the friendly competition of a fitness challenge. After all, who doesn’t like winning prizes and making friends?
“Prizes are a great motivator to get members excited and working toward their goals, but in my opinion, the best results come when the environment draws them in to regularly engage with other members and our coaches,” said Jessica Johnson, the vice president of operations at YouFit. “It’s all about creating a community.”
Similarly, MÜV Brands has witnessed how members benefit from participating in fitness challenges. “The most impactful thing we observe is the physical change for members,” said Joel Tallman, the president and CEO of MÜV. “As equally meaningful are the stories of how lives have been changed through the benefits of exercise, and how people experience being part of a community and create friendships within the club.”
Both clubs have successfully and consistently been changing lives through fitness challenges across multiple locations. Among the many keys to their success have been widespread marketing, smart onboarding and staff engagement.
MÜV It & Lose It
With such a huge “cultural focus on member results,” as Tallman puts it, the MÜV It & Lose It challenge is an essential thread of the brand’s fabric. So much so, the challenges are a year-round affair.
Good onboarding practices have been major contributors to the success of the challenges. Current or new, any member who wants to join the MÜV It & Lose It challenge will experience a painless onboarding process.
“Members sign up for challenges by purchasing a challenge package, which includes four personal training sessions and nutritional counseling,” explained Tallman. “The member is assigned to a trainer, becomes part of that trainer’s team, and then has a picture taken at the beginning and end of the challenge.”
Strong support is given to participants throughout the duration of the challenge as well, with resources for healthy living and regular weigh-ins available.
“We host seminars throughout the challenge that are available to all, with a focus on educating members on areas of exercise and nutrition,” said Tallman. “And throughout the challenge, there are weigh-ins that monitor your progress.”
Each MÜV It & Lose It challenge concludes with a celebration, in which the winners are announced and given prizes. Along with more traditional methods, these awards and prizes serve as a good marketing tactic for the challenges.
“Social media platforms and internal marketing are excellent ways to communicate the challenge,” said Tallman. “We also use videos, posters and announcements to promote each event.”
And in these promotional videos, you might see Group X classes with members decked out in 80s gear or cycling in their Halloween costumes. The common thread is the energy of the staff, helping to push challenge participants to reach their goals through a variety of workouts.
“At the end of the day, the success of fitness challenges come from the efforts of our staff,” shared Tallman. “Trainers, coaches, group fitness teachers and fitness counselors drive the challenge. Our staff motivates members and provides the energy for the challenge through their messaging with every member.”
YouFit’s 60-Day Challenge is for everyone. “We have found the challenges are a great way to engage members, old and new,” said Johnson. “During challenges, we want to create an environment that is attractive to all of our members. Members who are actively engaged and using the club regularly may need help to spice up their workouts, but we also have to stay approachable enough to ones who are just getting started.”
Since it began hosting the 60-Day Challenge, YouFit has found staff engagement and buy-in to be one of the best ingredients for a successful challenge.
“The single most important thing you can do to prepare is have a committed team and clear message that can be conveyed to each person coming in,” said Johnson.
And while it’s up to the trainers and instructors to keep members motivated during workouts, the marketing team develops the strategies to get those members through the doors.
“Partnering with our marketing team is always crucial,” shared Johnson. “Using their expertise in reaching people outside the clubs or those who may not be coming in regularly through various avenues has proven to complement our in-club efforts and bring in additional participants. Our marketing team gets to be fun and fresh with their efforts, especially with challenges, so we always love seeing what they create for us.”
Like MÜV, YouFit aims to make its onboarding process easy. “We begin promoting our event in-club and online a few weeks before the challenge starts,” said Johnson. “We register participants for the event during that entire time. Lastly, we host a kickoff event nationwide for weigh-ins on the same day, to ensure fairness to all participants.”
A successful 60-Day Challenge requires a concerted effort from the entire YouFit staff, since members will draw energy and inspiration from any engaged staff member.
“The best results for members start with our own team,” said Johnson. “By making sure all of our staff are involved and hyped up about the change we are about to help our members achieve, we elevate the energy in the club.”