Gym Challenges are notoriously variable in their construction yet share the same trait as this simple formula Exercise X Time / Athlete < that is it.
The Exercise can be variable in its duration, repetition, weight, distance or function. But once it’s been created only the Athlete is there to determine its finality of time.
In this we see the evidence of just how your training is going in a gym environment.
Yet the modern gym seems to function in a different entity and for some reason will not not adapt to a challenge that is based on performance.
An example of Gym Challenges in gyms today
A recent gym challenge for members was to see how many classes they can attend in a month. Different classes, biking classes, pilates, HIIT etc , do as many classes as you can within a month, and by the amount you attend , will determine the winner , with various prizes offered by the gym for the winner.
Another type of challenge is to see how many kilometres you can cycle with a 14 day period.
Performance vs Routine Challenges
I struggle constantly to be amazed at just how lacking the ingenuity of creating performance based challenges for gym members is, and how gyms refuse to implicate them.
But then again do gyms have a point ?
Is the member of a gym ready for gym challenges that are performance based? And the answer is no.
Sport Relief 2018
Last year during Sport Relief 2018, I tried to initiate some simple gym challenges at the gym I trained at with about a weeks notification to members and here we find the perfect combination of a heavily publicised media related Day (Sport Relief) a common cause and some good short sharp challenges over two days.
The gym management and all personal trainers at the gym were too busy to get involved and where their objectives rely on revenue for their salary and profit , then its easy to understand why they didn’t.
Yet the ability to encourage participation was where the fault expanded from.
The risk of taking risks
If you ask a member of a gym to take part in a performance related challenge in a gym, this it seems goes totally against their understanding of physical fitness and you are almost challenging their own beliefs into their own level of fitness and they do not have the confidence to perform as they are unsure of just how fit they are , and they feel they will be either intimidated by others or embarrassed by their result.
You see, this is why gyms do not allow for the performance factor based on results. Why try to maybe intimidate a member by asking them perform on something they cannot do because they do not have the mindset to attempt it in the first place. So I get it . I understand the logic in not setting gym challenges which are performance based , its too much hassle , too much time, and the gym member will hardly ever commit to the level of training required to perform. And thats not to mention , the disruption caused during its set up and the need to recruit other members in the set up of recording results , judging or running with admin duties.
Do a gym challenge based on Performance not routine and see how it affects those who take part.
But … And there is always a but. On more then one occasion I have witnessed just what happened when these barriers are taken on and a successful gym challenge happens and the members who take part just experience (many for the first time) a real sense of achieving great results based on the the training they are currently doing. And the overriding reaction has always been , when is the next one?
For clarification – This post does not refer to any Performance Based Gym Sport, such as CrossFit®.