A Case Against Fitness "Challenges"
Let me start by saying there is nothing inherently wrong with fitness challenges or transformation contests. Within reason, they are a good tool to use when a short term solution is needed for an upcoming event and they are good marketing tools for gyms to use. Challenges are a great and easy way to bring new and potential members into your gym and are easily set up/repeatable during the year.
Now lets talk about the downsides to the majority of fitness challenges and transformation contests that gyms hold. One of the positives for challenges is also a downside, it's an easy way to bring new/potential members into your gym. What many gyms fail to do with challenges is set up the clients for long term and sustained success in their fitness journey. 21 Day Challenges are perhaps the most notorious violators. They place strict dietary requirements on clients during the 21 days, no caffeine, little to no carbs, no dairy and mandatory workouts to name a few things. While not completely crazy requests, they don't offer a solution for long term sustainability once the challenge is over. Another downside is that once the challenge is coming to an end, most gyms only focus on converting the challenger to a membership and lose sight of the actual person they are trying to convert. They are seen as only a number, one more member to add to the roster and not as an individual who will need to be guided on how to carry on after the challenge ends.
Gyms that run challenges need to remember that this is a client driven industry and retaining clients means setting them up for long term success. If you are going to run a challenge here are some suggestions for it to not only be successful, but to also ensure the clients build long term habits as well.
Make sure community building is part of the challenge. The more welcome new/prospective members feel, the more likely they are to stay around.
Have a plan in place for after the challenge ends. Helping clients smartly add those challenge restricted things back into their lives, educating them on what to expect when adding things like carbs back into their diet.
Ask for feedback on the challenge
In closing, Fitness Challenges and Transformation Contests can be good tools to use both for gyms and clients. If you are a potential client thinking of signing up for a challenge, as the gym about the above mentioned things. You are more than a number and to have a successful fitness journey, you need to be surrounded by coaches and a community who will help lift you up and want to help you along the way.