The Power of Challenges to Reinvigorate Your Club

The power of challenges to reinvigorate your club


Looking to rev up your club’s recovery and get back to full fitness? Nothing builds a buzz around your club like a killer challenge to drive member engagement and attract new joiners. But what makes a great challenge? And how should you execute? Here are our challenge top tips to ensure your club always comes out on top.

As clubs edge cautiously out of COVID restrictions and get ready to relaunch, driving member engagement will be key to a sustained and roaring recovery. As opportunities abound to exercise outside the health club environment, it’s now harder to keep members loyal.


With 85% of all gym members now also doing workouts at home, clubs are confronted with a new form of challenge. Where once those wanting to get fit would choose between going to the gym or going for a run, now there’s a whole array of options available to them, from celeb-led online workouts, to app-based training programs with elements of gamification to build excitement and engagement.


And when people do come to the gym, their expectations are higher than ever. Innovations not only in the area of fitness, but in almost every walk of life – from retail to hotels to at-home technology – are driving an expectation that businesses, whatever their product, will have somehow transcended that product. To be successful in today’s consumer-led market, businesses must create and sell Experiences with a capital E – something their customers will want to be a part of, share and talk about.


The role of the challenge


So how can clubs do this? If members – or potential members – are seeking new and exciting ways to exercise, how can we inject this excitement into the gym environment so we become the fitness destination of choice? How do we turn a gym visit into a true Experience?


There are many ways to approach this, but one that’s been repeatedly shown to have the desired impact is the fitness challenge. Done well, these are a great way of building community and shared purpose among your members – there’s always a real buzz around a great challenge. This in itself drives member engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.


But a challenge also drives loyalty simply by harnessing human nature: the desire to better ourselves, to prove our worth against others… to win. And to keep trying – that is, to keep coming back to the gym – until we do.

Key considerations


Whether your proposed challenge is a complex, multi-discipline, month-long one or a simple ‘how many press-ups can you do?’ event, there are a few key points to bear in mind:


  • Give your challenge immediacy and relevance: Are there any big events going on – World Cups, Olympics, or even just well-known local events – that you can piggyback on as a theme? This will immediately give you more cut-through and get members intrigued.
  • Think about your current members: Make sure you set up a challenge that’s going to appeal to a reasonable proportion of your members. Don’t create super-tough challenges that will only appeal to the fittest one percent: they will likely be loyal to your club anyway. Make sure your challenge caters for all levels, so everyone feels confident about taking part – you can even have different categories with their own winners and prizes.
  • Think about your future members: As well as your current membership, think about the type of members you’d like to entice into your club. As they now make up 80% of the fitness consumer market, you’ll certainly want to target Millennials and Gen Z to futureproof your membership and tap into this growing demographic. In this case, you could run an introductory offer centered around high-octane HIIT classes, with a strong focus on Experience and a social media-friendly gamification element to ensure the offer catches the eyeballs of your target market.
  • Recognize everyone: You can have winners, but don’t have losers. Recognize everyone who completes the challenge. This is key to making challenges seem accessible even to your less fit members – and if they regularly take part, soon they’ll be a lot more fit!
  • Make it easy to take part: Ensure the sign-up process is simple, so you maximize the number of members taking part. The more members doing the challenge, the more of a buzz you’ll create, and the more successful it will be. Also, consider making the first step of the challenge a comparatively easy one to complete: this will give everyone an early sense of achievement and encourage them to keep going.
  • Make sure your staff are onboard: To run a successful challenge, you need your team members to be enthusiastically involved. Get their input from the outset, brainstorming ideas for challenges, and consider setting up a leaderboard for your staff – who can sign up the most members for the challenge? Participating members could even be split into teams, with a staff member leading each team and motivating them along the way.
  • Don’t over-complicate things: Your members might be used to clever apps that track all their data digitally, but creating this sort of tech just for one challenge can be an expensive process. And in any case, the fun of the challenge lies in taking part. As long as you have a way to measure and track the results, even if it’s pretty low-tech, that’s fine.
  • Cast the net wide: Don’t think of your challenges as being only for your members. By sharing leaderboards and details of the winners on your social media channels, you’ll not only make sure all your members are talking about the challenge – you’ll also show your club off as the fun place to work out in town, potentially gaining you new members.
  • Simple works well: So, what challenge will you create for your members? Remember, they don’t have to be complex affairs. What makes or breaks a challenge is the buy-in of your staff – their ability to get members engaged and make it fun.

Les Mills is a global leader in group fitness, with 20 programs currently available in participating gyms and fitness facilities worldwide. Les Mills programs include the world’s first group exercise resistance training workout BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ (martial arts), RPM™ (indoor cycling), LES MILLS GRIT™ (30-minute high-intensity interval training) and the revolutionary immersive cycle experience, THE TRIP™. Each workout is refreshed and updated with new choreography and music every three months.


Founded in New Zealand in 1968 by four-time Olympian Les Mills, the company has grown over the past 52 years to become a world-leader group fitness. Les Mills workouts are delivered by 140,000 certified instructors in 20,000 clubs across 100 countries and are available as live, virtual and immersive classes, as well as via the LES MILLS™ On Demand streaming platform.


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