I completely understand that 8-week challenges are now a major component of our industry, and they are not going anywhere in a hurry. I can understand their appeal, jeez we have done a few in our time and I am not against running one here and there. The purpose of an 8-week challenge (6-week, 12 week whatever the timeframe) is that it is a little kick in the butt motivator and adds some accountability. It gets your cohort interested in putting their health first and grabbing a community of likeminded people all participating in it, to motivate, push and congratulate each other toward a common goal.
Not forgetting for the business, it is a great money earner as it boosts members in the long term and gets a bit more money out of existing members in the short term. Now I am not against that either, the business must make some money as there is usually a lot of work that goes into these behind the scenes.
So far so good when it comes to 8-week challenges right? Makes your clients fitter and healthier and the gym makes a bit more money, BOOM BOOM! Win, Win right?
Yes and No. Something I have noticed in Townsville more then most areas is that a lot of facilities up here do almost back-to-back 8 week challenges or equivalent. When does back to back challenges just become well….umm ‘training.’ If your facility is running back-to-back challenges, in my opinion they could not give a rat’s arse about your needs and are looking for a cash grab. This may seem harsh but, as much as an 8-week challenge can increase motivation for a period, there is something to say to be able as a facility, provide an environment where your members are in it for the grind. I mean just turning up to classes consistently week in week out without the need of a carrot each 8 weeks. This is done by providing intensity in sessions, technical correction when needed, educating where you can and having detailed planning for there training outcomes. Oh, and don’t forget a bit of fun in there as well.
For me at our facility I believe running 2 or 3 challenges or clinic-based events a year. This way you can plan them around times of the year where you clientele needs a boost, be it wintertime, straight after Chrissy or just before summer whatever the time. We are proud people and usually we all want to look better at certain times of the year.
However, before your sign up to a challenge look for the following:
- How long since the facilities’ last challenge is back-to-back or has it been a little while since the last one. If not, is it just a run the mill type of challenge to get you in!
- Is the nutrition a one size fits all meal plans or is it based on individual differences. If it is a meal plan for everyone, then remember there will not be any adherence post challenge you are going to back to what you have always done prior to undertaking the challenge.
- Is there a resistance program involved or just bulk cardio classes, to be successful for fat loss a structured resistance program must be involved.
- In the challenge are they hitting all the energy systems and has it been planned. By this I mean have they given you weekly outlook on what you need to achieve. Involved in that have they prescribed aerobic work, anaerobic work and metabolic work not just one of those repetitively.
- Is it based on adherence post challenge by this establishing long lasting training outcomes that aren’t overtraining for a concentrated time but rather a training plan that can be sustained well after the challenge finishes.
These are all vital questions you must ask when doing these things otherwise I feel we are just handing good money to shit quality.