A 30-day cardio challenge is a strategic way to re-engage with current clients or encourage prospective clients to see what you’re all about. Mike Siemens, Corporate Exercise Physiology Director at Canyon Ranch tells NBC News that a 30-day is a great strategy for fitness professionals for two reasons. 

Not only does a specific set of days offer a finite goal for people to achieve but four weeks also gives them enough time to feel good and see results. Siemens says: 

“It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for people to start feeling really good while exercising so if you can get over that first 3-week hump of physical adaptation things get a lot more fun and pleasant, which increases the likelihood of sticking with it.”

If you want to boost your revenue, attract new clients, or simply offer something to your community for free to attract new followers, create your first cardio challenge with these five key steps. 

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1. Determine Your Audience

Before creating a challenge, you need to decide who it’s for. While this doesn’t need to be as focused as being just for men or just for women, you need to be clear on the general group of people you want to invite in. For example, do you want to:

  • Use it as a paid or free add-on for current clients?
  • Offer it as a one-time paid challenge for new clients?
  • Provide it to your community for free?

Knowing this will determine all the rest, including where you host it,  the programming, how you market it, and what revenue you plan to get out of it, if any.


2. Pick a Venue

The venue you choose will depend upon many factors, starting with your audience. If you’re focusing only on current clients, you may be able to host the challenge both in-person and virtually. If you hope to attract a large audience of new potential clients, virtual might be the only option—especially with COVID still making it hard to gather in large groups in most places. 

When choosing your venue, consider the many options available to you:

  • Zoom
  • In-person
  • Blend of the two
  • IG or Facebook community

If offering it virtually, you’ll also need to decide whether the videos will be hosted or live or on-demand, both of which have become popular since the start of COVID. In fact, in 2019, only 7 percent of consumers used live-streamed workouts and this increased to more than 80 percent of consumers during COVID, according to MindBody Business

What’s more, 40 percent of consumers are paying for virtual workouts from businesses they’ve never been to before, which means there’s an opportunity for you to attract more people with virtual.

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3. Choose the Focus or Theme

The fun thing about hosting a cardio challenge is that you can take it in many different directions. If you love Zumba, you can offer a Zumba-themed cardio challenge. If HIIT is your specialty, you can design a challenge around the principles of HIIT. 

When choosing your focus, go back to your audience. If you’re marketing to current clients, it may be wise to focus on a type of cardio training you know they like most. If trying to reach new clients, you can reach more clients by focusing on a general theme with multiple modalities built-in. For example, a 30-Day Summer Prep Cardio Challenge might include some HIIT, some Zumba, and some functional fitness.

When choosing the theme or focus, don’t forget to consider whether participants will need equipment to complete the workouts. If offering it virtually, you’ll limit who can join if many of the workouts require a lot of equipment versus something simple like a set of workout bands or a jump rope. 


4. Create a Space to Connect

In addition to choosing a venue for hosting your cardio challenge, some participants may want a space to connect outside of the workouts as well. Offering this may also make the participants more successful because studies suggest that social support is key to any weight loss program. 

While your program may not be focused on weight loss, providing support through a community can help clients stay on track, engaged, and connected from start to finish. This group can be used as a way for participants to support one another and for you to support them in other ways as well. Use the group to share:

  • Motivating messages
  • Nutrition tips
  • Recipe ideas
  • Modifications for workouts and exercises
  • Live Q&A opportunities

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5. Market Your Program

No matter how great your cardio challenge is—without marketing, you’ll struggle to see success. To start marketing, go back to your audience. For example, if your challenge will be a paid add-on for current clients, you’ll likely be reaching out to them personally to invite them. If you’re offering it free to your community, your marketing will need to be broader and likely include social media marketing, email marketing, and even some direct outreach. 

Use the following tips to recruit participants and make your cardio challenge stand-out:


Share your story

Don’t just promote this as another cardio challenge. Share about why it’s important to you or how cardio played a role in your fitness journey. Set yourself apart by leaning on the most unique part about you: your personal story.


Use the right hashtags

If you’re promoting your challenge on Instagram, the right hashtags will help you reach more people. Leave out hashtags like #MondayMotivation that have millions of posts—you’ll just get lost in the noise. Instead, use with the ones that have 500k or fewer posts, like these fitness hashtags.


Start early

Give yourself time to reach a lot of people, offer early bird pricing, and tease the last few days of being able to join. Leveraging urgency is one of your best marketing tools and with a proper amount of time, you can do that multiple times throughout the marketing period.


Create and Market an Awesome 30-Day Cardio Challenge

A 30-day challenge can help you re-engage current clients, bring on new clients, or even build a larger social media audience. The key is setting it up correctly so you know who you’re targeting, what marketing you need, and how you’ll keep participants excited and seeing progress. Use the steps and strategies to set up a cardio challenge that’s as successful for you as it is for your participants.