Six-Week Challenges: What New Gym Owners Need to Know

A gym owner greets a person who has arrived for a free consultation.

“Do 30-day fitness challenges actually work?”

That was the headline of a recent Livescience.com article, which came complete with analysis and opinion from a kinesiology professor.

Author Jamie Kahn is likely trying to help consumers avoid getting tricked into thinking 30 days of work will solve all their health and fitness problems. And that’s great.

For new gym owners, the article highlights an enduring attitude they need to understand: Some people actually think that a one-and-done 30-day “fitness challenge” is enough to make dramatic changes.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

That fact can be used for evil: think of fly-by-night gyms that actually just want the front-end revenue from a challenge participant. They’ll say anything to get that cash, and the challenger will get no end of empty promises designed to encourage them to sign up. Once they sign up, they’re given some pasty, ineffective program that keeps them semi-occupied for four weeks.

Then they hit Day 30, realize they’ve accomplished nothing and start looking for the next quick fix. The gym continues fishing for more short-term clients who will drop a few dollars and then vanish. The cycle is bad for the consumer and the fitness industry as a whole.

On the other hand, the “challenge mentality” can be used for good: Great gym owners use well-crafted ads to start conversations and relationships. Instead of promising the moon and delivering little, these entrepreneurs use a challenge as a lever to move a client toward a long-term fitness plan that’s actually going to provide the desired results.

Listen: “Is the Six-Week Challenge Dead?”

So yes, sometimes great gym owners will promote challenges, “six-week transformations” and similar programs to a market full of people who will bolt from ad copy that pushes “a comprehensive, detailed, two-year fitness, nutrition and lifestyle plan that requires hard work but provides monumental results.” You’ll lose most readers very early in that pitch.

But that longer program is actually what you’re selling as a reputable gym owner, and it’s actually what consumers need to change their lives. Our full coaching packages provide huge value and help people accomplish their goals. Getting them to realize that is the key, and you need to connect with them to make it happen.

So if you’re a newer gym owner who’s conflicted or confused when it comes to challenges and “transformations,” know this: When used properly, these programs can provide a way to connect with modern consumers to find out what they really want and need. They can be combined with the prescriptive model and outstanding onboarding and retention practices to create long-term clients—which should be the goal of every gym owner.

Just as a challenge isn’t the cure-all for every fitness problem, it isn’t the one and only answer to a gym owner’s growth problems. But it might be used tactically as a small part of a much larger strategy to create a strong business.  

So should you run a challenge? The answer depends on many factors: your staffing levels, your sales systems, your onboarding and retention systems, your marketing plan and budget, and so on. An experienced mentor can help you evaluate your business and make a decision.

Two-Brain mentors have an exact plan to help gym owners grow their businesses and help more clients find success. They can tell you how to attract members through sound marketing practices and retain them for years. If you’re a new gym owner and you’ve got questions on challenges or anything else, Two-Brain has answers.

To find out more about working with a mentor, book a free call.

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