6-Week fitness Challenges have been the flagship marketing play of gyms, fitness studios and bootcamps for the past decade.
You’ve probably even seen them advertised on Facebook as your scroll through your newsfeed each day.
“Lose THIS MUCH in 6-Weeks for FREE”
“6-Week Spartan Body Challenge”
“6-Week Bikini Body Project”
Etc, etc, etc
I’ve even used (and continue to use) one as the main avenue for joining my gym GTT, we call it ‘The 8in6 Challenge’.
The promise is that if you do the program and lose 8kg, or reduce your body fat percentage by 8%, we’ll give you another 6-Weeks for FREE.
The promise many other gyms make will be a bit like mine, or something else similar…..
‘Click the link, commit to this program and all your troubles will be solved’.
But there’s a deeper truth beyond the marketing hype.
One that I like to be 100% transparent on with anyone who joins my program.
But before I get to that deeper truth, it’s worth talking a little bit about human psychology and what us fitness types are working against.
HERE’S A FACT: People don’t often like the cold hard truth!
When we’re talking the cold hard truth about fitness and body transformations, the reality is that it takes time, consistency, giving up things you love/enjoy and hard work to make big changes.
The human body is a slave to long term averages and if you’ve been living a life of relative self neglect for 20-50 years, it takes some time of doing the right things’ for those averages to start to play out in your favour (in the form of a better rig).
But people don’t want to hear that.
They want six pack abs and a heap less body fat YESTERDAY. They want rippling muscles and unbounded energy the moment they start working out.
Furthermore, if you’re a gym owner and you start your marketing message to potential customers with something like;
“Get up early, drink less alcohol, watch what you eat, train hard daily and cut out many other enjoyable things and you just might look better in 12 moths”.....
Then you’ll be out of business before you can say ‘INSTANT GRATIFICATION’
Go out of business and you can’t help anyone or deliver a service anymore, regardless of how good at it you might be.
So, the solution is;
‘Give them a bit of what they want, and a bit of what they need’.
As a gym owner applying this principle well in your marketing and product fulfillment is what makes the 6-Week Challenge such a powerful tool for both the business offering it and the client doing it (otherwise known as a win/win).
Because whilst doing the ‘fitness thing’ for 6-Weeks and then stopping definitely won’t help you achieve lifelong strength, fitness and performance improvements, if you don’t start somewhere, nothing will.
And whilst some clients are happy to get ‘married’ to a long term gym commitment off the bat, most will want to ‘date’ for a little bit first to see if they can stick at it (turns out 6-Weeks is a good timeframe for this).
So for the savvy fitness business operator, we see the 6-Week Challenge as a way of;
Giving people a ‘low commitment’, bite sized, ‘see the finish line’ kind of scenario to get started.
A less intimidating context than a ‘commit to a lifetime of discipline or perish’ kind of narrative.
Enough time to see a good initial result, hopefully motivating you towards further commitment.
Because whilst all of us fitness types want you to get married to a life of health and fitness so you can reap the benefits, it’s probably unrealistic for you to do so without a little courtship first.
This point is even lost on many Personal Trainers, Gym Owners and Fitness Professionals.
In fact, I see so many of them talking smack online about gyms that run the 6-Week Challenge.
It’s not that they’re 100% wrong either as the main criticism seems to go something like this (said in the voice of a cynical meathead with an IQ of 93).....
”‘6-Weeks is not enough to give you ongoing fitness benefits, we as an industry need to be preaching long term focus, discipline, and appetite for hard work coz that’s the only thing that works out”
Now whilst the theme of this is right and we do want to encourage long term commitment, sometimes we need to use a shorter term focus to help instill the belief in a would be customer that yes, you can in fact do this!
I believe that our job as a fitness professional is to inspire people towards taking action. If a short term offer helps them do that, to take the first step and to get started, then good, I’ve done one part of my job.
Many people who consider joining a gym or fitness program have a lot of emotional baggage around the topic too.
Body confidence issues
Fear of failure
Fear of judgement
The emotional scars of past failed past attempts
So delivering them a short term focus with the chance to have a whole heap of ‘micro wins’ along the way will help them build confidence, shed the baggage and feel more comfortable about committing to this stuff as an indefinite lifestyle change.
Now for that deeper truth that i promised to tell you earlier……
Here’s the thing I tell everyone who signs up to the 8in6 Challenge at GTT
“If you do this for 6-Weeks and then stop then it’s really worth nothing and, full disclosure, my aim this next 6-Weeks is to get you great results and to get you hooked. So hooked on how good being fit feels that you keep working with me beyond this initial 6-Weeks”.
So there it is. My evil agenda.
Sign you up for 6-Weeks, help you get great results, then convince you to keep working with me so you can continue to improve your health, fitness and quality of life.
Makes sense for both parties right?
Does everyone do well?
Does everyone get hooked?
But this is the reality of behavioural change, regardless of if you sign up to a gym via a 6-Week Challenge, a 12 Month membership, a Personal Training package or any other kind of promotion.
Some people are able to make it stick, some take a few start/stop cycles before they make it stick and some NEVER make it stick.
The reasons for this are varied and would probably constitute a whole separate blog.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying it out though and if you are going to try it out, 6-Weeks is a great time frame.
It’s long enough that you can start to see some results, but short enough that you’re not stuck in a marriage that ain’t for you.
Show up, do the work, follow the plan and have a real crack and you’ll get great results.
Don’t and you won’t. It’s as simple as that.
Keen to start dating?
Book in a time HERE to come in and talk more about what that might look like.
About The AutHOR
Daniel Lowry is the founder and owner of GTT Performance Centre. He has nearly 20 years industry experience and has helped more than 2000 people achieve significant improvements for their health and fitness. Dan believes in a well rounded and balanced approach to fitness so that you can have a daily movement practice that is fast, safe and effective giving you more energy for life!