All-in-one fitness club software to boost business growth and streamline operations

Get a quote

Fitness challenge ideas: how to give your body a fitness boost

Corey Loehr
January 17, 2023
fitness challenge ideas

When your clients are working out, it's important to keep things interesting and engaging to avoid slumps. One way to do this is by incorporating fitness challenge ideas that can challenge long-term fitness enthusiasts and motivate beginners.

As a gym owner, it is your responsibility to take your gym members out of their slump. This can be done using a fitness challenge. A fitness challenge is a program that can help bring your gym members closer to their fitness goals. Unlike the average fitness routine, challenges last for a specific number of days – usually 7, 14, or 30 days.

Fitness challenges are important because they set one’s workout up a notch. They motivate your gym members and increase their likelihood of sticking to a routine – therefore improving your retention. Plus, if the challenge is done right, it can make a workout much more enjoyable. Here is our guide on how to create the ultimate healthy lifestyle challenge for your gym members, keeping them engaged.

Understanding your fitness level for fitness challenge ideas

Before you create a fitness routine for your gym members in the form of a challenge, you must understand their fitness level. You need to know where they are so that you can determine where they want to go. Without a good plan that matches their level, they will likely give up on the challenge before it even starts.

Importance of setting fitness goals

When taking on fitness challenge ideas, there is one thing that you must be particularly careful about – and that is helping your gym members set a goal. When they have a goal, they hold themselves accountable with more ease. They take a good look at their capabilities, allowing them to push through difficult times.

If you help your clients set a fitness goal, it becomes much easier for them to stick to the routine. For instance, let’s say that you create a 30-day at-home workout challenge. In that case, they may have the goal of losing 2 kg by the end of the month. When they have that goal in sight, it will be easier for them to keep their eyes on the prize.

How to assess your fitness level

There are several ways to assess one’s fitness level, most of which will require a set of gym tools such as a fitness tracker. As a coach, you may want to help provide access to the tools that they need. There are several tests that you can take to assess their fitness level.

You will first need to take a resting heart rate test. If they don’t work out, chances are that the resting heart rate will be in the 70s. As ironic as it may seem, when you reach a high fitness level, your resting heart rate goes down. This is because the heart rate goes down as it no longer needs to pump as much blood – it did enough as you worked out. This is why, if the gym goers are advanced fitness junkies, their heart rate will be somewhere in the 50s.

Before you put together any fitness challenge ideas, you should also consider putting your members through a mileage test. For example, see how much it takes them to finish a 1-5 mile run. Someone in their 20s should finish that run in 11-13 minutes, whereas someone in their 50s should complete it in 13-16. Lower times suggest they have a very good fitness level, whereas higher times suggest they have some improvements to make.

Endurance tests work on the same principle. If they want to do a pushup challenge, check how many pushups a fit person should be able to do in one session. If they complete fewer pushups (e.g., 28 for a man in his 20s), then this suggests they have a lower fitness level.

Importance of monitoring your progress

Just like determining their fitness level is important, you also need to monitor their progress. The fitness levels of your members will change constantly, especially if they follow a regular fitness program at your gym. Therefore, you always need to know where they are.

By monitoring their fitness progress, you will make sure they stay efficient with their workouts and time. You will know what needs to be improved, making it much easier for you to help them surpass a goal. It also allows them to stay committed to a plan, as it increases their motivation and your gym retention.

Without fitness monitoring, you won’t know when your gym members surpassed a certain goal. Therefore, they will be performing exercises that are beneath their level.  A good way to monitor your progress is to have them use a fitness journal, where they mark all of your milestones.

Types of fitness challenges

Here are some fitness challenge ideas that you can take on:

Endurance challenges

Endurance challenges are efficient for improving the body’s ability to last longer through a workout. For example, if your gym members feel like they tire too easily walking or running from one corner of your neighborhood to the other, an endurance challenge should be able to help them out. The good part is that endurance exercises also include cardio, which will help them lose weight.

You could try creating a 30-day outdoor fitness challenge for a summer body to improve your members’ endurance. This could include running or jogging, biking, or even dancing. You can make the program available through an app they can follow at home or put together a group fitness challenge they can join at your gym.

Strength challenges

As the name suggests, a strength training challenge aims to strengthen one’s muscles. Depending on the type of exercise that you include, you can use it to help them lose fat while bulking up muscle.

The main purpose of this exercise is to increase the body’s capability of resisting and generating force. For example, with a 30-day strength training and cardio challenge, your gym members will become better at lifting weights or doing strength exercises that use their own body weight.

Strength challenges are the kind of exercises that people take on when they want a stronger body. They’re actually perfect when they want the ability to carry all the grocery bags in one trip from the car to their house.

Flexibility challenges

With a flexibility or yoga challenge, the fitness goals would include the improvement of your members’ flexibility. Keep in mind that everyone has different flexibility levels, so what works for one person might not work for someone else. It’s always a good idea to determine their fitness level so that you may potentially arrange different classes.For example, you may create a 30-day yoga and nutrition challenge for a healthier lifestyle, and put some beginner moves on the first day. As the days go by, you can add intermediate moves, and then finish with advanced moves as the month goes by. Remember, a fitness challenge should have progressive moves, so set up realistic goals based on their flexibility.

Cardiovascular challenges

Cardiovascular challenges are exercises that are meant to kick up your heart rate and help you burn calories. Not only is a cardio fitness challenge good for strengthening the heart, but it can also help gym members burn more calories.

Cardio exercises get the larger muscle groups going, making them a great option for those who want to lose weight fast. They also improve core strength, boosting endurance.

Popular fitness challenge ideas

There are many fitness challenges out there that you may put together based on the needs of your clients. Some have them going outdoors alone while some have them embarking on a friend fitness challenge. Some target the glutes while others target the arms or abs. No matter what the goals are, here are some fitness challenge ideas that will keep your members going:

30-Day squat challenge

Squats are a great move to help strengthen the legs and glutes. During this 30-day challenge, your clients will do a certain number of squats and variations every day. Have them start with a small number of squats on the first day, after which you slowly increase the number.

Plank challenge

As simple as they can seem, planks can help tone every muscle in one’s body. Just holding the plank for 30 seconds can send all of the muscles going. Plank challenges often contain different variations of planks such as the forearm plank, side planks, or plank jacks. You can arrange for the gym members to do sets of these on the first day of the challenge. Set a smaller time to hold the plank on the first day and gradually increase that number.

Pushup challenge

If you are looking for fitness challenge ideas to strengthen one’s arms and upper body, then you may want to try implementing a push-up challenge. The best part of this exercise is that it can be done everywhere. Therefore, whether you set up a virtual fitness challenge or a gym challenge, time will not be a problem. You can even select a hybrid challenge, where they can come to your gym when they don’t want to work out from home. Start with a few push-ups on the first day, increasing that number by 5-10 every month.

Running challenge

If you are looking for fitness challenge ideas to burn fat fast, you may want to consider running. It can also be a great outdoor fitness challenge that soothes one’s mind and soul. As a gym owner, you can set up this challenge by mileage or by time. For example, you may have your members run a certain number of miles per day, gradually increasing the mileage as the challenge goes on. Set a running time of 30 minutes on the first day, increasing the time as the challenge progresses.

Creating your fitness challenge

When you are looking for fitness challenge ideas as a gym owner, you need to be very careful how you put them together. You will need to respect the levels and goals of the members concerned. After all, a challenge that worked for one person may not work just as well for someone else. If you want to put together a body transformation challenge, here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind:

Setting realistic goals

When you are putting together a weight loss challenge or any other kind of fitness challenge, you must set a realistic goal. Otherwise, you will only be setting your gym members up for disappointment.

For example, let’s say that they have a wedding to attend next month, and they want to drop a couple of pounds. You decide to have them take on a 30-day weight loss and healthy lifestyle challenge to drop 4-5 kg. While some people may lose that weight fast, it’s not sustainable and not always possible. You should aim for a more realistic goal of 2-3 kg per month or even less.

Creating a workout plan

The next step in putting together fitness challenge ideas is to create a workout plan. Decide what you want the challenge to target. Do you want to start a New Year fitness challenge for fabulous abs, to shed off that extra weight from the holidays? Or maybe you are looking for a nutrition challenge, to help them become healthier from within.

Regardless, choose what type of exercises or steps should go in the challenge. Remember, the purpose of the challenge is to start small, increasing the difficulty as the days pass. If you are creating a squat challenge, start with 10 squats per day, and add 5 extra squats every one or two days. Each day, your gym members will become stronger than the day before.

Incorporating variety into your challenge

When you’re creating a challenge, make sure to also incorporate variety in it. This will prevent your gym members from getting bored during the workout and losing their motivation. You can add exercises that are rather dull but effective, mixing them up with some exercises that are fun to do.

Doing the same exercise over and over again can also cause people to become too accustomed to the exercise. When the body enters a routine, it “settles” into it and the challenge can no longer be as effective. This is why, if you create a personal fitness challenge for nice glutes, for example, you may not see significant progress in your members.

Instead, try incorporating different variations of the exercise. If you are focusing on squats, include everything from standard squats to sumo squats and single-leg squats. If you are focused on planks, include side planks, knee planks, and more. A HIIT exercise in between may also be a good “return point” to get their heart rate going. Variety can help them enjoy the challenge more. 

Adding accountability to your challenge

When you create a challenge, you need to find a way to keep the members accountable. Keeping track of their progress will not only help them reach their goal faster but will also prevent them from slacking off. You can try creating a 30-day virtual fitness challenge with a fitness tracker, which will show you their improvement throughout the challenge.

Overcoming common challenges

No matter how good the fitness challenge ideas may be, your gym members may find it difficult to see them through. They may feel like the challenge is boring or they are simply too lazy to get themselves moving. With a little bit of work, you can help your gym members find their motivation. Here are the most common challenges and how you can help people overcome them.

Staying motivated

Finding your fitness motivation can be rather difficult to do, which is why many of your gym members may quit halfway. The idea of going on a jog or gym round every morning seems like too much trouble, especially if they think they have better things to do. You may also be unmotivated simply because you think the exercises are too hard for you to keep up.

A good way to help them stay motivated is to make sure your exercise and health challenge has realistic goals, with just-as-realistic expectations. When the goals are set too high, they might not feel motivated enough to try their best. Even if you set up an online fitness challenge or one that may be followed at your gym, make sure that it fits their level.

You may also try encouraging them to work on their habits rather than going against them. For example, plan the workouts for when your gym members have the most energy. If they work remotely, you may try creating an at-home fitness challenge for them, so they can exercise during their work break. It doesn’t have to be a long one – just enough to keep you going.

Dealing with injuries

Injuries can set us back a lot, and the worst part is that we can do nothing about them. What’s important is that the gym members do not continue the exercises that got them injured in the first place, as it can make things worse. Instead, acknowledge their injury and come up with new fitness challenge ideas.

Your exercise challenge might still work with a couple of tweaks. Try to target other muscle groups. For instance, if they injured their arm, you may want to try switching to exercises that target the legs. This will help them remain active and engaged.

Finding time for your challenge

Many people quit halfway through a 30-day fitness challenge simply because they do not have time – or so they say. They get up, they go to work, they get off work, and then either do chores or socialize a bit. So, when would they have time for exercising?

Effective fitness challenge ideas can take even less than 30 minutes. With enough motivation, you could easily have them squeeze some time in every day. Make them understand that it’s not mandatory to do the whole workout, as long as they do something.

To help them see the challenge through, you may have them use a fitness planner. It can help them organize their time more efficiently. Each time they finish a task you set up for them, they can check it in their planner at every moment. They can also make the schedule for the day so that it serves their purpose.

Making your challenge fun

Very often, your gym members may feel like quitting a challenge simply because they think it’s boring. That being said, with just a bit of creativity, your fitness challenge ideas can take a fun turn, increasing retention. The secret is to alternate the exercises so that they do not have the chance to get bored. What often bores people is the repetition – but when they do different exercises, it can make the challenge seem more interesting.

Try incorporating exercises that are more popular at your gym – that you noticed your people actually enjoy doing. They will look forward to them as the challenge progresses. You may also try putting together a team fitness challenge, where you have groups of people do joint exercises together. A 30-day group fitness challenge with friends will ensure that they stay entertained, as they have their company with them.

The benefits of participating in a fitness challenge

If you’ve decided to implement some fitness challenge ideas, you probably already know the benefits. Now, you can bring them to your gym members. Here is what such a challenge can do:

Improved physical health

Exercises performed in a fitness challenge can have several benefits for health. They can lower cholesterol levels, improve the cardiovascular system, and even balance hormones. By taking on fitness challenge ideas, people can improve not only their looks but also their general well-being.

Increased self-esteem and confidence

When you begin looking good, you will also feel good about yourself. You want this for your gym members too. Many people are self-conscious about the way they look, causing them to have low self-esteem. A summer body challenge can help bring their physique exactly where they want it to be, improving their self-esteem.

Better sleep and stress management

Exercise can increase the time that you spend in a deep sleep state, reducing restless nights and allowing you to sleep soundly. Your gym members will also enjoy this. Moreover, exercising can also pump endorphins in the body, which can reduce stress levels. For instance, by joining a corporate fitness challenge, your gym members will feel more rested – therefore, increasing their performance at your gym.

Building new healthy habits

When they try fitness challenge ideas, people automatically build their way toward new healthy habits. Even if the challenge is technically in the short term, their body will become accustomed to it. Once they start doing any kind of challenge, they’ll probably want to do it for the rest of their life. This is good for their body in the long term, and it’s also beneficial for your gym.

Concluding remarks

Some well-implemented fitness challenge ideas can be very good for one’s physique. As a gym owner, you need to challenge your members – to keep them motivated. A good challenge can help strengthen their core, improving their muscle mass and endurance.

Not only will your challenge help people reach their goals, but it will also improve your gym retention. Remember that variation is key if you want to keep them interested. Implement fitness challenges on a regular basis at your gym, and you will begin to see improvement in the progress of your members.