If you run a gym or health blog, then coming up with fun fitness challenge ideas is a great way to engage clients. Challenges help to motivate and inspire people, as well as increasing retention and creating a sense of community. 

In the online world, they can increase followers, email subscribers, and the overall size of your audience. They’re also the perfect basis for competitions and contests. But what kind of challenges work best?

In this article – we share 10 challenge ideas for gyms and fitness bloggers.

We’re a specialist fitness marketing agency with 15+ years of industry experience, so we know first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!). We’ve helped gyms, fitness studios, and personal trainers to successfully promote their businesses, so our marketing strategies are tried and tested.

Fitness Challenge Ideas for Gyms & Bloggers

The best fitness challenges will tap into a need that your audience has. They’ll provide them with a solution or quick win and still leave them wanting more. Here are 10 practical fitness challenge ideas that you can try out for yourself…

  1. Squat challenge
  2. Pull-up challenge
  3. Core strength challenge
  4. Holiday challenge
  5. Active aging challenge
  6. Flexibility challenge
  7. Landmark challenge
  8. Checklist challenge
  9. Hydration challenge
  10. Social accountability challenge

1 – Squat Challenge

Running a squat challenge will appeal to a wide range of participants and deliver quick results too. You can teach a different type of squat each day and build lower body strength along the way.

Start by teaching a basic squat technique, then expand to sumo squats, one-legged pistol squats, or add hand weights to increase resistance. Because squats target the thighs and glutes, this challenge will prove popular with people wanting to tone up these areas.

2 – Pull-Up Challenge

Many people want to master the classic pull-up so running a challenge is a perfect way to cater to them. Break the movement down into its component parts or the key teaching points. Then create a challenge that focuses on one aspect per day.

To create a pull-up challenge, educate participants on the muscles that they’ll need to strengthen, why it’s beneficial to be able to do this exercise, how to perform the lowering movement, and then tips for mastering the ‘up’ part. To take participants from zero to a full pull-up may take a few weeks so plan your challenge accordingly.

3 – Core Strength Challenge

You can also expand your challenge by coaching different exercises that target a specific area. A core strength challenge is a great example since you can teach sit-ups, crunchies, plank variations and back strengthening exercises too.

People love the idea of having perfect abs so this challenge can appeal to this element. It’s also ideal for those who are prone to back pain.

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25 fitness marketing ideas for your gym, studio, or online business. Attract new members, get more PT clients & boost your fitness blog.

4 – Holiday Challenge

Organising holiday-themed fitness challenges can be an excellent way to generate buzz during traditionally quiet periods.

August and December are renowned as being quiet months so running challenges during these times can boost visits (both in-club and online). Theme them around timely topics such as Christmas party prep.

5 – Active Aging Challenge

Create a challenge that’s aimed specifically towards older adults. Tailor the movements and programming towards their needs and then offer an appealing prize. Create a level playing field by judging winners based on improvement rather than speed or strength.

You might also like… Fun Weight Loss Challenges That Clients & Members Will Love

6 – Flexibility Challenge

For a challenge that appeals to older and middle-aged audiences, focus on flexibility instead. Give participants a list of flex exercises to perform daily.

Measure their flexibility at the beginning and end so they can see how they’ve progressed. Be sure to emphasise the health benefits of flexibility in your marketing such as the reduced risk of injury or less lower back pain.

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7 – Landmark Challenge

Challenge your participants to cover a fixed distance that correlates to a famous landmark. This can be something local to your area or known internationally.

Make it hard enough to be challenging but still achievable for the majority of people. Cycling the distance equivalent to Lands End and John o’ Groats is a popular one in the UK. You can also challenge people to climb the height of a landmark (such as the Eiffel Tower or Sky Needle) on a stepper or elliptical.

8 – Checklist Challenge

Many people struggle with sticking to fitness commitments so running a challenge around this will have broad appeal. Create a simple checklist so that people can tick off their activities on a daily basis and see that they’re sticking to what they planned.

Exactly what those activities are will differ based on the products or services that you offer. Send daily emails that help to keep them on track and build a relationship. This one is ideal for generating personal training leads since the people who sign up will value accountability.

9 – Hydration Challenge

Adequate hydration is fundamental to health and wellness, yet research shows that the majority of people aren’t drinking enough. Running a hydration challenge is the perfect way to help people build healthy habits and feel better in the process.

Participants usually report increased energy and clearer skin within a couple of days. Provide guidelines and tips on increasing water intake plus some hydration-related prizes like fruit diffuser waterbottles.

10 – Social Accountability Challenge

Get participants to post their daily workouts to social media for 7 days straight. Give them set movements to complete each day and ask them to post gym selfies during or after. By tagging your gym or blog in their posts, you’ll benefit from increased exposure and word of mouth.

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Types of Fitness Challenges

When deciding between different challenge ideas, you need to be clear on your objective. Are you trying to promote a new product or service? Increase social media followers? Develop social bonds and loyalty? This will influence the type of challenge you create.

You can use challenges to…

  • Generate new leads
  • Motivate people
  • Encourage referrals
  • Drive sales
  • Educate participants
  • Maximise loyalty

Challenges That Generate New Leads

Running fitness challenges is a fantastic way to generate new leads. They offer the perfect opportunity for collecting contact info (email addresses, social handles, postal info) that you can use for future marketing efforts.

If you choose a challenge theme that aligns with your offering, then you’ll also know that they’re likely to be interested further down the line.

Fitness Challenges That Motivate People

You can also use health and fitness challenges to motivate people. Because they take place over a fixed time period, they’re easier to commit to than a long-term lifestyle change.

But they also provide the foundation for making these changes on a consistent basis so are an ideal gateway. People are much more willing to try a 7-day fitness challenge than overhaul their entire activity regime. So use this to motivate your existing and potential clients!

You might also like… 30 Motivational Quotes from Personal Trainers [Ideal for Social Media Posts].

Challenges That Encourage Referrals

Coming up with fitness challenge ideas for friends is a brilliant way to encourage referrals. Some people can be hesitant to take part on their own but love to workout with a mate or family member. It can also provide extra accountability that makes them more likely to succeed.

By introducing them to your fitness business, they’re doing your marketing for free. This helps you to build a larger member base or grow your online audience.

Fitness Challenges That Drive Sales

If your goal is to sell something, then you can use a fitness challenge to subtly educate people about why they need your services. When done correctly, you’ll solve a small problem and encourage them to purchase something higher value in the end.

You can also use challenges as an opportunity to promote products. Incorporate their usage into the challenge so that people are encouraged to give them a try. This is especially effective for nutritional supplements, fitness accessories, or affiliate products since there isn’t a high cost barrier.

Challenges can also be used to improve sales conversions by addressing common objections (like lack of time or ability to be consistent).

Health Challenges That Educate Participants

People love to learn a new technique or perfect a move that they’re struggling with. If you can show them how to do it, then you’ll immediately demonstrate your credibility.

This is especially the case if it relates to a movement that beginners struggle with such as a pull-up. Think about an exercise or training technique that you’re particularly good at and then teach it to others.

Challenges That Promote Loyalty

Coming up with fitness challenge ideas for groups can increase loyalty among your target audience. Whether those are gym members or blog readers, challenges can encourage group interaction and build a sense of community. Both of these elements are crucial to promoting loyalty and increasing retention.

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Top Tips For Running Successful Fitness Challenges

Here are some of our top tips for making your challenges a success…

  • Align your challenge topic with your business goal and target audience.
  • Promote the exclusivity aspect by positioning the challenge as an exclusive perk of being part of your crew – this helps people see it as a valued benefit.
  • Use catchy fitness challenge names like ‘HIIT & Run’ or ‘7-Day Strength Summit’
  • Send the daily activities by email so that participants need to sign up to your list and you can market to them afterward.

Running challenges can help your business to generate new leads, encourage referrals, and drive sales. When done in the right way, they motivate and educate people as well as maximize loyalty. Using these fitness challenge ideas is a proven method for boosting results for both your business and your clients.

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Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.