Business GrowthFundamentals and Best Practices 10 Exercise Challenge Ideas To Kickstart The New Year

Exercise challenges are a great way to motivate your clients to kickstart healthy fitness habits. And, with the holidays around the corner, now’s the perfect time to start planning your upcoming exercise challenges for the new year. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the benefits of running an exercise challenge, why they work, ten challenge ideas to get you started, and tips for running a successful challenge. Let’s dive in!

What is an exercise challenge?

An exercise challenge is different than a long-term fitness goal. An exercise challenge typically lasts for a specific period of time and involves fulfilling a certain goal or challenge daily. Additionally, an exercise challenge is often used to motivate people to jump back into their fitness routines or to help them move closer to their long-term fitness goals. Finally, an exercise challenge can be anything you choose, from a step challenge to a plank challenge, a running challenge and more.

What are the benefits of an exercise challenge?

An exercise challenge offers many benefits to your clients. For example, not only does it build strength in whatever area the challenge addresses, but it contributes to healthy exercise habit-building too.

Another benefit of exercise challenges is that they offer clients a window of time during which they must commit. For example, 30 days is a typical length of an exercise challenge, and for many clients, a set start and finish time feels more manageable than committing to six months, a year etc.

Finally, another benefit of a fitness challenge is that it brings an element of healthy competition to your gym or personal training community. Challenges are a great way to build community and push people to work harder.

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10 exercise challenge ideas

The possibilities for exercise challenges are endless. Here are 10 of our favorites to get you started.

1. Step challenge

A step challenge is a great way to motivate your PT clients to increase their daily fitness post-holidays. You can set a step challenge to 10,000 steps a day and have clients interact and post it in your social community when they’ve achieved it.

Or another fun twist on a step challenge is to increase the number of steps throughout your challenge. For example, you can challenge clients to take 5000 steps a day in week one, 6500 steps a day in week two, 8000 steps a day in week three, and 10,000 steps a day in week four. Increasing the number of daily steps throughout your challenge helps keep people’s engagement and motivation high.

2. Plank challenge

As you know, planks are one of the best ways to help clients develop a strong core. But, for many clients, planks take a lot of work to hold.

A plank challenge is a great way to help clients develop confidence in their ability to hold a plank (while also building strength in their core at the same time). Plank challenges are also the perfect way to ignite a little friendly competition. So, be sure to have members “plank-off” together if you have a gym space or encourage clients to post their plank-holding ways on social.

3. Ab Challenge

Like a plank challenge, an ab challenge helps strengthen your clients’ core muscles and abs. The difference is that rather than focusing on planks alone, clients complete different ab exercises throughout your challenge. Also, since your personal training clients’ ab strength varies, having a set of modifications can help attract clients of all levels of experience to participate in your challenge. And, as a bonus, one of the best things about an ab challenge is that no equipment is required.

4. Squat challenge

The benefits of squats are endless, from strengthening bones and muscles to increasing hormone production and boosting moods. Therefore, a squat challenge is an easy way for clients to feel the positive effects of exercise immediately. However, when designing your squat challenge, keep in mind that when done incorrectly, they have the potential to cause injury. Therefore, we highly recommend making proper technique a big part of this challenge.

5. Upper body and arm

The variations and possibilities for this challenge are endless, from pull-ups to arm presses and anything in between. Because the goal of this challenge is to build arm strength, whether you structure this challenge by reps, weight, or even the number of push-ups, you can’t go wrong.

6. Burpee challenge

Have you ever run a fitness class and heard a unanimous groan at the mention of burpees? They’re a challenge for many but also incredibly beneficial in promoting fat loss and improving heart health. To help clients benefit from a high-intensity workout, challenge them to complete as many burpees as they can in a minute. Then, throughout a 30-day challenge, they’ll definitely see an improvement.

7. Cardio challenge

For a cardio-boosting challenge, set your personal training clients up for a running, rowing or cycling challenge- or a combination of all three. A cardio challenge can be as simple as doing 20 minutes of walking each day. The goal is to get your clients moving and their heartbeats up!

8. Mindfulness challenge

Help people see health as a full mind and body experience by hosting a mindfulness challenge. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or affirmations, a  mindfulness challenge is a great way to combat stress and anxiety—both important factors in living a healthy lifestyle.

9. Healthy eating challenge

Healthy food and exercise go hand in hand. Encourage clients to develop healthy nutrition habits through a 30-day nutrition challenge. Whether you post new recipes or have your members do the same, this is a great way to get back to healthy habits around food, especially post-holiday season when people tend to indulge in treats, heavy meals and more alcohol.

10. 30 minute exercise challenge

A 30-minute exercise challenge is a great way to help people get back to developing and incorporating fitness into their daily routines. This challenge asks members to exercise for 30 minutes a day. How they choose to do that is totally up to them.

So members can get started immediately, whether it’s high-intensity training, walking or running. And, as a bonus, a 30-minute-a-day exercise challenge for 30 days is often the perfect launching point to creating a habit of daily exercise long term.

5  pro tips for running a successful exercise challenge

1. Be Specific

Your challenge should have specific criteria, including a start and an end time, to make it worthwhile for members. It should also be specific regarding how it will help clients achieve their long-term fitness goals. So when designing a fitness challenge for your clients, be sure to take the specific needs of your target audience into account.

2. Make it measurable

A well-run challenge allows clients to track and measure progress easily. So, it should be easy to quantify whether you’re measuring timing for an exercise like the plank challenge or asking members to workout for 30 minutes a day.

3. Make it challenging

Part of the goal of any challenge is to push your clients outside of their comfort zone, which is why it’s important to challenge people’s current skills and abilities. When hosting an exercise challenge, be sure to consider all levels of ability and skill and provide modifications for those who are more advanced.

4. Set realistic goals

Keep in mind that as much as you want to challenge your clients, you don’t want to make your challenge so challenging that it’s unrealistic to achieve. For example, setting a 5-minute plank challenge would be too much. So again, be sure to consider people’s skill levels and set realistic goals that motivate people to carry on.

5. Make it time- defined

Another key to a good challenge is to make it time-defined. 30-day challenges are common, but you can do anything you want, from a week challenge to a 30-day challenge, you name it. Just be sure that it has a bedding, middle and end, and you’re good to go.

Finally, another pro tip is to incentivize your clients. Whether you have a draw for a prize after the challenge is complete or offer badges along the way. Being recognized and encouraged helps keep engagement in your challenge high.

Trainerize offers a seamless way for you to manage your exercise challenges and a way for clients to track their progress and success. Download your free 30-day trial and get started planning your next exercise challenge today.

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