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April 25, 2023

5 Fitness Challenge Ideas for Your Gym & Studio Members (With Examples)

Get inspired by 5 fitness challenge ideas (with real-world examples) for gyms and studios to help drive more revenue and support your clients’ fitness goals

It’s no secret that fitness challenges for gym and studio members are a great way to drive new clients, increase member retention, and offset seasonal slowdowns.  
In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of running fitness challenges, tips on how to run them effectively, and share 5 fitness challenge ideas you can implement at your gym or studio.

4 reasons you should run fitness challenges at your studio

Fitness challenges help clients achieve their goals

Running fitness challenges is a great way to help your clients achieve their goals. When you provide clear goals and incentives for achieving them, it's easier for your clients to stay motivated and keep track of their progress.

You can use fitness challenges as an opportunity to monitor how well each person is doing in relation to the rest of the group, which will allow you to offer feedback on what needs improvement or what's going well so far.

Group fitness challenges are a great way to:

  1. Help motivate your clients
  1. Create a sense of accountability
  1. Help support your clients’ personal fitness goals

Simply put, your clients are more likely to stick to a fitness plan if they've committed to a challenge.

Fitness challenges create a sense of community

Running a fitness challenge is a great way to create a sense of community for two main reasons:  

By participating in challenges, clients will support and encourage each other in achieving their goals. This can create a positive and supportive atmosphere at your gym or studio.

Fitness challenges can boost revenue

As fitness studio owner or manager, you’re no stranger to seasonal slumps in your business.

Holidays. Summer vacations. Spring break. Back to school.

Throughout the year, you can expect to see peaks and valleys in your clients’ class participation.

Not only are fitness challenges a great way to retain existing clients and drive more activity during slower periods, but they are also a great way to generate new leads that you can convert into long-term clients.

Additionally, you can help drum up more revenue by using your studio’s fitness challenges to:

❓ Did you know: 95% of New Year’s resolutions are fitness related, but only 10% of people think their resolutions will last past 3 months?

A spring fitness challenge is the perfect solution to keep that momentum going from your New Year’s rush!

Fitness Challenges are a great way to inspire user-generated-content

As the name implies, user-generated-content (UGC) is content created by your clients on social media. And it’s one of the most effective ways to advertise your gym or fitness studio. Remember: people trust people!

You can encourage your fitness challenge participants to post to social media by:

  1. Sharing their commitment to the fitness challenge on social media – this will also help them stay accountable to the challenge!
  1. Providing them with a fitness challenge progress checklist that they can easily share to their social media accounts  
  1. Incentivizing social posts and completing the challenge – by creating some sort of prize or draw, you’ll increase participation in your challenge and drive more exposure to your gym or studio through  
  1. Creating a challenge-specific hashtag – this will help you track the social impact of your challenge and also can create competition when your clients see others posting about your challenge.

You can learn more about user-generated-content and contest strategies in this article featuring 7 fitness studio and gym advertisement ideas with examples.

What makes a good fitness challenge?

There’s no question. Fitness challenges are a great way to boost participation, increase revenue, gain exposure to new clientele, and help motivate your customers in achieving their fitness goals.

Like anything else, they can fail.  

Below, we’ll cover critical tips for running successful fitness challenges at your fitness studio or gym.

Your fitness challenge should be challenging, achievable, and inclusive.

A good fitness challenge should be challenging, duh. More importantly, they need to be realistic. This is especially important when it comes to clients that are just getting back into fitness.

❓ Did you know: On average, it takes 2 months for new habits to form? Make a challenge too difficult, and you’ll risk losing participation. On the flipside, if you make a challenge too easy for your more experienced clients... you’ll risk demotivating them.

When running a fitness challenge, be sure to offer a variety of difficulty levels so that all your clients and newcomers join in on the fun – regardless of their physical abilities or fitness experience.

Your fitness challenge should have clear goals.

You’ve probably heard of S.M.A.R.T goals. Your fitness challenge ideas need to be:

Missing the mark on these elements will potentially set your clients up for failure.  

A couple things to consider:

Your fitness challenge should be rewarding.

Completing a fitness challenge will naturally be a rewarding accomplishment for your clients.  

Bragging rights aside, you can make things even more rewarding by tying an incentive to your fitness challenge. As we chatted about before, contests and prizes are a great way to drive even more engagement and participation around your group fitness challenge.

One of the amazing outcomes of the challenge is bragging rights, but you should offer incentives and rewards, to keep your members motivated and reward them for their hard work.

You could incentivize your fitness challenge with things like:

  1. Branded merch
  1. Adding their picture to a wall of fame
  1. Social media recognition  
  1. Membership discounts
  1. A social party with all fitness challenge participants

5 group fitness challenge ideas you can use at your fitness studio.

30-day Fitness Challenges

💡 The idea: Complete 10+ classes within the 30-day challenge period

Why does it work? As mentioned earlier, it can take up to 2 months for the average person to form a habit.  

By encouraging them to commit to multiple classes in a 30-day period, you’re helping them form their fitness habit faster. Making them more likely to stay committed to their goals and keep coming back to your studio.

Whose it best for: Multi-modality studios, but also works well for studios that offer yoga, spin, or any other class-based program.

30-DayFitness Challenge Example 1:

P.volve runs a 30-day challenge to help its members stay accountable. They even built a guide with a mix of program styles to keep spice things up with a variety of fitness activities.


30-DayFitness Challenge Example 2:

Yloft hosts both a hybrid and virtual 30-day yoga challenge, which just wrapped up on March 2, 2023.

They share all the details, how members can join, how much each tier costs, and answers to their FAQs about the challenge.

Bootcamp Challenge


💡 The idea: Complete the most bootcamp workouts per week until the end of the challenge.


Whose it best for? Bootcamp, HIIT studios or multi-modality studios that offer HIIT classes


BootcampFitness Challenge Example:

@Sweat440- Instagram

Sweat440, a HIIT studio franchise, uses the Mariana Tek 5th Tab to run challenges, including their Hell Week in October, leading up to Halloween. Everyone who attends all 7 days can earn a treat. It’s fun, themed well, and helps member get closer to their goals.

Why we love this fitness challenge idea:

What’s not to love?

·      It’s got a catchy name

·      It's got the perfect Halloween-themed name

·      It’s super achievable because of its one-week timeline

·      The studio makes it easy for folks to track their progress in their branded app

Mindfulness & Meditation Challenge

💡 The idea: Complete one meditation session per day for the duration of the challenge.


Whose it best for? Studios that specialize in meditation and breath work

MindfulnessFitness Challenge Example:

Open Studio

Stamp Card/PassportChallenge


💡 The idea: Award stamps to each activity a member marks off within the time frame of the challenge.


Whose it best for? Any studio type but it works best for class-focused studios such as spin, barre and lagree.


Stamp CardFitness Challenge Example:

YEG Cycle

YEG Cycling hosts a Passport to Summer challenge, which is a studio-based scavenger hunt.

It has 36 unique tasks that passport holders must complete to get their stamps and win prizes.  


-       25 stamps = limited edition merch

-       30-36 stamps = they are entered to win a 6-month unlimited pass.


Why we love this challenge:

-       Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? This is adds an element of friendly competition that helps keep folks engaged.

-       What’s better than one prize? Two prizes! As we mentioned earlier, offering incentives will help drive more participation. YEG Cycling’s approach gives everyone a shot at winning a prize and gives them that extra push to get to the top tier.

Transformation Challenge


💡 The idea: Undergo a major body transformation—whether its building muscle or losing fat—in a set number ofweeks.


Whose it best for? Bootcamps and group fitness studios that track metrics

Transformation Fitness Challenge Example:

LIFT Lounge -Facebook

The LIFT Lounge hosted an 8-week transformation challenge offering an impressive $100,000in prizes for participants to win.


All they had to do to opt in istext the team, and they were invited to a national Facebook community and talkto other participants.


Why we love this challenge:

-       Remember S.M.A.R.T Goals? Transformationgoals are highly measurable, which is a key factor in helping your clientsachieve their personal goals.

-       Transformation challenges naturally lead to user-generated-content. For clients that feel comfortable doing so,

         o   Posting “before” pictures on social media is a great way to encourage commitment to their goals

         o   Progress shots will help them visualize their achievements and keep them motivated

         o   And of course, the after shot is what it’s all about.They can publicly celebrate their achievements that your fitness challenge helped make possible!

How to promote your fitness studio’s challenge 

So, how do you get started on your next great fitness challenge idea and make sure people sign up for it?

If you're planning to run a fitness challenge, it's important to develop a promotional plan.

You should start by developing an email list of people who have expressed interest in your studio or class offerings. This can be done by asking them when they sign up for classes if they would like to be added to the list and sending out periodic updates about new classes or events happening at the studio.

Next, use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to promote your challenge with posts that include photos of people participating in the challenge (and don't forget about including a link back to your website!).

Also consider reaching out directly to local influencers who might be interested in promoting your event through their own channels--for example:bloggers who write about health & wellness topics; local TV news anchors; etc.--and ask them if they would be willing help spread the word about what's happening at your studio.

Lastly, think about software you can use to make tracking your studio’s challenge as easy as possible. Remember it can be time-consuming and tedious todo it manually on paper or a spreadsheet!

Email & SMS broadcasts 

Make sure you give your members enough notice to be able to join the challenge and send out a message early! Remind them each week until it starts and keep them invested with updates throughout.

If you want to promote your challenge to new members only make sure to segment your email list to include only new leads.

To make your life easier we recommend using an automated email and marketing system that integrates with your booking platform so you can set and forget! For example, you could use Mariana Tek’s Marketing Automation to create a challenge-specific landing page and set a series of emails so you can save time and track results!

Social Media

Social media is a great way to promote your fitness studio challenge. You can use Facebook and Instagram to share photos of people participating in the challenge, as well as links back to your website. If you have any local influencers who might be interested in promoting your event, reach out directly and ask them if they would like some free product samples or discounts on classes at your studio!

To start your social push we recommend creating a static post and pinning it to the top of your account –that way it will be highly visible throughout the entire challenge. Next, create a short video explaining the challenge – video is king when it comes to content, people love to watch more then they like reading.  

Lastly, encourage your members to use a specific hashtag so that you can quickly see their content about it. You can re-share their posts about your studio to drive more awareness while providing credit to your amazing clients who are competing in your challenge.

Fitness Challenge Software

Mariana Tek is also here to help.The Customizable 5th Tab is a feature on our mobile apps that allow you to add an extra tab to your existing customized app, including custom performance metrics, a loyalty program, and yes, a fitness challenge.

We’ll make your next big fitness challenge a great one. Request your demo today see how the 5th tab can help you better manage your challenges, and what it would a custom app would look like for your studio!

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