The Super-Special Quarterly Events Calendar for Maximum Retention

A bright yellow pin on a calendar marks the date of a special fitness competition.

In this series, I’ve been telling you about the value of running special events. I’ve told you what to run and how to make money, and I’ve shared some examples of great events on our podcast and YouTube.

Here, I’m going to give you a sample annual calendar with four events. Substitute any parts as you see fit—the template is just to give you an example.

Two-Brain clients: Click here to get step-by-step instructions, promotional materials, programming and everything you need to run any of these events (and many more!).

February: The Intramural Open

If you’re a CrossFit gym, you can do the CrossFit Open and add the Intramural Open on top. Thousands of CrossFit gyms have been doing this since we released the first guide back in 2013.

If you’re not a CrossFit gym, just run the Intramural Open: five fun, novel workouts for in-house teams.

Regardless of the path you select, start an Open prep group six weeks beforehand, and focus on skills instead of capacity.

Get our full Intramural Open guide by requesting it here (if you aren’t a member of the Facebook group Gym Owners United, join first and then request the guide).

May: Local 5- or 10-km Race

Partner with a local 5- or 10-km race. We use The Mountain Maple, a local event with incredible scenery.

Run a Couch to 5K group beginning in early April.

Something like this is usually great for new exercisers. You could also set up a novel event yourself, like a Midnight 5K or a Pump ‘n’ Run, as I shared in the previous post.

September: DEKA Obstacle Course Race or Local Spartan Race

DEKA events are held in your gym; Spartan Races are held outside. If there’s a Spartan Race nearby, your job is done: Just sign up your gym. Two-Brain gyms receive a ton of extra bonuses (including money) when they sign up their gyms.

Set up a 12-week obstacle-course-race prep course beginning in June or July to keep people training hard through the summer months, when attendance can dip.

You could also host a DEKA event and let people race through an in-gym obstacle course. DEKA provides scoring, leaderboards and awards, as well as some promotional tips. Two-Brain gyms get more, including referral commissions and rev-share plans.

Two-Brain clients: Click here for the full Spartan and DEKA plans.

December: Powerlifting, Weightlifting or other Strength Event

We do a Supermeet every year. Lifters have two hours to hit a max in the snatch, clean and jerk, bench press, deadlift, back squat and weighted pull-up. Their combined best lifts are their SuperTotal.

You can find a local meet, too. Especially in powerlifting, it’s pretty easy to become a national champion in one powerlifting federation because there are so many (and they frequently change). You can easily run your own event, or bring in a local powerlifter to be an objective judge.

Set up your specialty group at least eight weeks out. I like using a 5/3/1 program for these, but make sure you cover movement variations you don’t normally program in group classes. For example, teach the sumo deadlift, show people how to do weighted good mornings or teach people how to shorten the stroke on the bench press.

Keep It Simple

These are just four examples for a sample calendar.

I’m sure you can find other local events, or you can host simple events tailored to your crew.

Just remember: The more complex the event, the more time and energy it will take—and the lower your profitability.

Most people don’t need guest DJs or lights or even a remote location to get nervous or excited. Do just enough to make the event feel special and honor the participants. Make it fun, and prepare them to win just by participating!

Other Media in This Series

“Six Simple Steps to Generate Revenue Using a Local Fitness Event”
“Special Events and Retention: 8 Simple Steps to Success”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.