If everyone had constant fitness motivation, we could all show off those ripped abs that we dream about. Alas, this is often not the case, as motivation wavers and real life intervenes with our best weight loss intentions.
But why is weight loss so hard to achieve? In part, it is frequently befuddled with negative self-talk, restriction and punishment, which more often than not leads to failure.
Another reason is lack of support from friends and family, or working in an environment full of temptations.
So, what can you do as a gym owner to help your members lose weight?
- By introducing fun and realistic challenges, the difficulty of reaching a weight loss goal can be turned into a positive, reward-reaping journey for your clients.
- Challenges are great because they hold people accountable for their weight loss goals.
- Realising a goal can be difficult, but it can be achieved with the positive impact of having associated incentives and a drive from taking part in challenges.
Before you start, consider your own goal as a gym owner.
For example, do you want to increase membership retention, build a community or encourage new gym sign-ups? This decision will ultimately influence what type of challenges you want and how you will promote them.
Here are 5 fun weight loss challenge ideas to implement at your gym:
Weight loss is often synonymous with calorie restriction (read: starvation). We advise steering clear of this potentially damaging mindset for your clients.
What is less commonly addressed (and arguably more important) is water intake. We all know that water is vital for health, but also imperative in losing weight.
- Drinking water helps prevent water retention, which results in less pounds on the scale.
- Good water intake keeps joints lubricated and staves off cramps, meaning you can work out longer and more efficiently.
- A US study showed that replacing high-calorie drinks with water resulted in average weight loss of 2-2.5% of body weight.
In practise, people find it hard to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, and so creating a hydration challenge will help your gym members reach this target whilst working towards their weight loss goal.
You can support your members by educating them about the health benefits of water, why soda shouldn't count as one of their "eight a day", or even gift members with a free sports water bottle.
Track Your Distance Challenge
Tracking progress is something we all love to do, but why is this? Apparently, this process works in a deeper part of your brain and actually fires good brain chemicals as you complete tasks.
- By setting goals, whether that is running a certain mileage or clocking a target number of steps, there is always something to celebrate after each session, and that causes your brain to respond with feel-good chemicals.
- Tracking also keeps your mind focused and pushes you to achieve a goal.
- Fitness trackers work: if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day and you wear a step counter, you are more likely to keep going until you reach your target than if you walked without tracking.
Setting up a distance challenge is simple - gym members can set the cardio machines to reach a desired mileage, or track their progress on their own fitness gadget.
Clocking up the miles, steps or even vertical meters (think your climber machines in your gym) is a great way to boost weight loss achievements through low-impact cardio sessions.
Healthy Eating Challenge
How many times have we heard that we should eat "five portions of fruit a day"?
Despite the recommendations about eating fruit and vegetables, many of us do not consume enough of these vitamin-rich foods each day.
Developing a healthy eating challenge for gym members will not only encourage weight loss, but also increase life-long healthy habits.
Your healthy eating habit challenges could involve:
- Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Swapping fizzy drinks for water (see point 2.)
- Alternatively, why not create a "healthy eating checklist" which your members can work through and tick off each time they visit your gym?
Remember to focus on encouraging long-term healthy habits, not deprivation or disordered eating.
A Different Class Challenge
Variety is the spice of life, and that is no different when it comes to exercise. Following the same routine week-in week-out can very quickly become stale and boring, leading to a lack of enthusiasm and a weight loss plateau.
- Encourage your gym members to try a new class every week or two, to change up their routine and boost their weight loss goal.
- If gym classes are not your client's thing, why not encourage them to try a new move and add it into their workout routine?
Adding new exercises to a workout routine will help build metabolism and catalyse weight loss.
Weigh in for Charity
There have been several studies which show that raising money for charity helps people to lose weight, thanks to the incentivisation to help others, and a goal to raise a certain amount of money.
You could encourage a charity fundraising group at your gym with a weight loss incentive. For example:
- A weight loss group could set a goal of losing as many pounds as possible within 8 weeks.
- Donators guess the total weight loss of the group.
- The nearest guess win a prize, such as a free month's membership at your gym.
Alternatively, participants could train for a distance charity run, such as Cancer Research's 5k, 10k and marathon organised events, and raise money for their dedicated cause.
Not only will a charity challenge raise money, it will also create a sense of community and bravado between members, which ultimately results in an enjoyable gym experience and high retention rate for your business.
And the Winner Is...
The idea of implementing these weight loss challenges for your gym is to increase membership retention, build a community or whatever goal you decided on.
Creating weight loss challenges will not only benefit your clients but also your business as a gym owner. If your members associate their progress and achievements with your gym, then your reputation, retention and new sign-ups will boom.
The winning formula is to make your competitions inclusive, fun but also safe and healthy for your clients to participate in.
Empower your clients and they will find fulfilment in your challenges as they reach their weight loss goals.
Credits - Charlotte Osborn