Sherry Winslow believes in continually challenging her clients. “Challenges provide a way to get people out of their routines,” she explains. “When you are going for greatness, you cannot achieve it by doing the same things day in and day out.” To keep track of the challenges she sets her clients, Winslow uses the free Client Challenges tool that is accessible through IDEA FitnessConnect, the largest directory of fitness professionals, connecting more than 16 million consumers to more than 250,000 fitness professionals online at

Below she shares her thoughts on challenges.

1. What is your current position? “I am the owner of Sherry Winslow Fitness & Nutrition, in Carlsbad, California,” she says. “I provide personalized online fitness and nutrition programs, hands-on personal training, corporate wellness and group fitness.”

2. Why do you set up challenges? “When I issue a challenge, I align it with the client’s goals,” she says. “I use challenges because they provide long-term intrinsic motivation for clients. A challenge may be as simple as an extra track workout, or it could be something out of their norm, such as a 5K or a mountain hike.”

3. Why does the IDEA Client Challenges tool benefit your clients? “It helps with short- and long-term goals because it provides another layer of accountability,” she explains. “Plus, it is an effective motivation and communication channel for me and my clients.”

4. What kinds of challenges do you issue via the IDEA Client Challenges tool? “With nutrition being such an important factor in wellness, I often set nutrition challenges,” she notes. “For example, I recently challenged a group to eat at least four different fruits and veggies in one day. A ‘no soda’ or ‘no alcohol’ challenge is always a good challenge as well.”

5. Should fitness pros offer clients “rewards” for completing challenges? “Rewards are good but are not always necessary,” she says. “As trainers, we want our clients to get to a point where they want to exercise, eat right and make good choices because they recognize the many mental and physical benefits, not because someone is breathing down their neck.”

6. How does using the Client Challenges tool benefit you? “It provides an easy way for me to connect with my clients to offer them incentives or reminders,” she explains. “For example, if I know that Mike is going to be on vacation, and eating right might be a real challenge for him, I can remind him with the challenge tool to eat his veggies today! The tool is a fun way to stay connected.”

Note: You can find the Client Challenges tool by going to the “Quick Links” section of your IDEA FitnessConnect profile. The tool is powered by ChallengeLoop, an iPhone app and website where you can motivate yourself or your clients to achieve a goal. You can also access ChallengeLoop by going to or the Apple® App Store.

April Durrett

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