We have made it ladies & gents! Izabela’s 50 Class Cycle SMART Challenge is over. It lasted 121 days this year (leap year gave us one extra) with the overall goal of completing 50 classes. This week I will be collecting the progress charts from my participants to see how they benefited from the challenge.
Today I got my first one accompanied by a lovely card and a box of chocolates 🙂
This post is about the organising side of a fitness challenge for you as an instructor. Is it easy? What does it entail? Is it worth the trouble?
WHAT CHALLENGE CAN I ORGANISE?
There are many ideas you can find on the internet or instructor forums. I have found this one on a FB forum two years ago. I loved the idea of the logo the instructor had created and I contacted them asking if I could use it and then adapt the challenge to suit my participants. The original logo design by Megan Ingraham.
I found 30 days challenge ideas but as I only teach at gyms, people do various classes or just 1-2 a week so I decided to use the fact that we were approaching the dreadful winter months and created 120 days challenge. Starting 1 Nov and finishing 28th Feb: 4 months to complete 50 classes. That made 3 a week on average.
120 days sounds like a long time but the idea is to get people to form a habit, change their lifestyle and get them interested in doing more classes. It isn’t about a quick fix or a mad rush to a finish line.
HOW TO INVOLVE MORE PEOPLE?
- Ask your gym/studio coordinator if they would be willing to promote the challenge.
- Ask other instructors too. Even if they don’t want to get involved, you can walk into their classes right before they start and say a few words to promote it, give your contact details etc.
- Use your professional FB page or open a FB group dedicated to the challenge.
- To generate interest from people who don’t want to do as much as 3 spins a week I gave two options: you could do 50 spin classes or 25 spin and 25 any other classes on the timetable (including yoga & Pilates). It is a great argument to get the management involved: you are not only promoting your own classes! People who signed up didn’t have to do my classes at all – any instructor, any time!
HOW TO RUN THE CHALLENGE?
- from experience I know that promoting it too early doesn’t work: two weeks or less before the start date is the best time
- create T&Cs, sign up rules and give/send them out, leave some at gym reception, post them on the FB page
- collect e-mail addresses and if you want phone numbers to for text updates
- wristbands are a great idea – when signing up you collect a wristband which is a great excuse to chat to people at the gym if you spot them wearing one
- keep in touch with regular updates on FB page and a weekly e-mails, maybe a weekly text message; nothing too heavy just keeping in touch and letting people know you are there for them.
- try to give an additional 30 day challenge each month: press ups or planking, green smoothie challenge etc.
HOW TO COLLECT THE RESULTS?
A very simple progress chart will do: goals set up at the top, then a table of 50 spaces and GOALS ACHIEVED line at the bottom. The simpler the better. I encouraged before and after pictures as well.
The finished charts can be collected by e-mail, FB message or handed in.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WINNER?
Let people choose various goals: beating their FTP results, doing as many press ups as possible in 60 sec, lose body fat %, lose weight etc.
I am prepared to have winners in various categories. But then I reward all people who help me with their enthusiasm, promoting the challenge at the gym and just embrace it.
WHAT PRIZES TO GIVE?
- If you are lucky to get a sponsorship from your local health store, massage place, bike shop etc that would be great.
- Mugs with the logo of the challenge (for the regulars who kept in touch throughout I had their pictures from the class printed on the mugs as well 🙂 )
- The people who completed their charts and really got impressive results got beautiful hoodies, others got T-shirts with the logos, calendars etc
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR THE INSTRUCTOR?
Yes, this year it wasn’t plane sailing. Simply because I teach twice as many classes as last year and it has been a really tough time at my full time job too. Therefore I must admit I have not been promoting it to the extent I did first time round. Still I have had people taking it up for the second year running.
You have to be organised, send regular updates and show people that you care. You didn’t just put it out there in November to mention it again on the closing date.
If people don’t get very excited about it just keep going. They will. I had many people sign up about a month into the challenge. It was open throughout 120 days so you could sign up any time.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE INSTRUCTOR?
Loads of extra work 🙂 It does involve sending regular e-mails to keeping the interest high.
You could ask for a fee I suppose but I didn’t. It wasn’t about that for me. But I did get a good promotion of my classes and people signing up to my FB page, checking my blog so it is a promotional tool in itself.
All the prizes, wristbands cost money, yes, but it is all allowable as your business expense so it’s an investment.
It is a great experience too, a learning curve if you like.
But mainly reading the e-mails and progress charts showing all those goals achieved. People saying they hated spinning and now they do 2 classes every week, those who decided to do the split 25/25 option and tried yoga for the first time and now can do a head stand. And all of them saying that now doing 3 classes a week is a norm, they don’t even think about it, makes it all worthwhile.
To sum up this is always a challenge for both sides. Will I do it again? I sure will!