There are 168 hours in a week. If we’re lucky we might see a personal training client for 3 hours a week (but let’s be real, it’s usually 1-2 hours). Even with three great workouts a week – there are 165 hours left! It’s important to encourage a healthy lifestyle in all those other hours too. This includes sleep, nutrition, stress management, and physical activity. Let’s take a moment and think about that physical activity aspect…

Fitness guru Dr. Kelly Starrett defines being sedentary as sitting for more than 6 hours a day. It doesn’t matter if you did the hardest workout of your life in the morning, or if you ran a 10k when you woke up – if you still sit for 6+ hours, you’re sedentary! So how can we get our clients up off their butts?  One way we can make our clients less sedentary is by giving them a fitness challenge to complete each week.

Three great reasons why giving your clients weekly fitness challenges works:

1) It gives them something specific to accomplish.

2) It teaches them new habits.

3) It helps them realize how easy it can be to add more movement into their day.

How can you put this idea into action?

Easy! At the beginning of each week, send out an email or newsletter presenting the challenge for the week – then hold your clients accountable! Check in with them at each workout: “Have you done your 5k yet this week?”  “Have you made plans to workout with a friend?” This gives them that extra punch of accountability.

I mix it up and sometimes have a weekly challenge (e.g. Do yoga once this week), and sometimes a daily challenge (e.g. Do a 2 minute plank every day). Plus, about once a quarter I’ll do a team challenge, where I tell my clients that they’ll be working together to achieve a certain goal. For example, last week as a group the challenge was to bike the distance from Mountain View, CA to San Diego CA. If each of my 43 clients biked 11 miles – we’d get there! I then sent out a doc where everyone could anonymously log his or her miles and congratulated them when we, together, reached all 471 miles! This adds a whole new level of dependability and teamwork.

successful couple of young athletes raising arms


My Favorite Challenges:

  • Work at a standing desk at least three hours each day
  • Hold a wall sit or do squats while brushing your teeth this week
  • Do one part of an olympic distance triathlon on your own this week (run, bike or swim!)
  • Do a workout with a friend or significant other
  • “Hike Mount Everest” (aka do a 5.5 mile hike, because that’s how tall Everest is)
  • Take a walking meeting once a day at work this week
  • Do 30 lunges every day

The Best News?

It works! I’ll often have clients that adopt a new habit after one week of doing a certain fitness challenge. People tell me they now always stand at their desk, or now they have a habit of running once a week. Best one yet? “Now my husband and our kids all do wall sits while brushing our teeth!” How cool is that!? Weekly challenges are just another tool to add to your tool belt to help your clients be the best that they can be.

Amanda Watson

Amanda has her BS in Kinesiology, a minor in Sports Nutrition, and is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & EXOS Performance Specialist. She grew up an athlete and in college found her passion helping others improve their health and fitness. Amanda is entrepreneurial at heart and started HappilyForeverFit – a women’s health and fitness program in California’s Bay Area. She’s also a personal trainer at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. Amanda’s mantra is “Be happy, be healthy, be fit!”

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