First of all, why fitness contests? That’s an easy one to answer. They’re fun! But, there’s actually more to it than that. The right contests provide motivation and a clear goal to reach in a limited amount of time.

Also, the old cliché “your only competition is yourself” no longer applies. Participants are challenged by their trainer, themselves…and each other. Another thing: people like to win prizes, so set up a situation that lets them become eligible to win one!

Your imagination is the limit when it comes to fitness contests, but let’s go over a few popular ones that will make it easy for you to explain, facilitate, judge, and ultimately crown your winner(s).

The Biggest Loser

That’s right. You probably guessed that the inspiration for this contest comes from the reality television show that challenged participants to outdo each other on the scale. Maybe you loved the show, maybe you hated it, but there can be no denying that it caused a stir in gyms, fitness centers, and even work places everywhere.

Gym clients love a Biggest Loser contest because it’s in line with goals they are already pursuing. Plus, it adds a layer of fun to what is, no doubt, hard work. They get to work out with a sense of connection and community. Then, of course there is the prize for coming out on top…or, rather the bottom.



The Fitbit (or Strava) Challenge

This contest can work with several interactive devices or apps. Just change the name accordingly. You can, for instance, put together a steps challenge, as in seeing who completes the most steps in a time period, or take a steps average over a time period.

Try this: incorporate your challenge into your favorite social media platform, and let participants weigh-in (pardon the pun) on their progress and encourage each other.

But remember, if it’s not recorded on the device or app, it didn’t happen.

Project Zero

This is the perfect time of year to start gearing up for this contest, since the goal is for contestants to gain zero, zilch, nada weight over the eating-est holidays of the year (yes, I just invented a word). Those would be, of course, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s itself. Ahh. Those last big meals before the resolutions kick in, right?

Not this time. The contest is an incentive to stay on track, and it benefits the participant and you. After all, you want a clientele that’s striving to be their best.

With Project Zero, it’s possible to have multiple winners, so be sure to select a prize that you can afford to give away to several people.

Recruitment Challenge

This contest is simple: who can recruit the most new clients in a given timeframe?

Alright, so this one is a bit self-serving, but the participant still gets something valuable from digging deep and winning. The reward is up to you. How about five (or choose your number) free sessions, or another fitness-related award?

Of course, if the contest is a huge success, and you get tons of new business flooding in, you might consider crowning second and third-place winners and prizes.

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Tanisha Rule

Tanisha Rule has a BA in English and is a former Mad Dogg-certified Spinning instructor. She taught indoor cycle and boot camp and has now combined her passions as a full-time writer for the health and fitness industries, check out her site at If she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found happily training for an endurance event, likely after having said, “This is my last one for a while,” because there is no finish line; there is only progress.