Do you want your fitness business to shower you with people and profits? Would you like your brand to be synonymous with fun and adventure? Then take your clients into the great outdoors. Discover how to implement a specialty program to keep your current clients active and engaged, and to attract new clients who will see your business in action and will be clamoring to join the tribe.

Woodall Training in Middleton, Wisconsin, got a jumpstart on obstacle training 4 years ago when Tough Mudder® first hit the scene in the United States. If you have not ventured into this area, here is owner Kari Woodall’s plan of action:

Overview. To ignite buzz and make one event last for 8 months, in January Woodall invited clients to commit to an August race. In a business of about 150 total clients, she had 40 people enroll in the training. This number included 20 committed clients, 15 clients who got reengaged and five new clients who were friends or family of current clients. She created small teams of eight within the large team of 40 to promote camaraderie throughout the training and on race day.

The program required participants to invest in a package costing $125 per month, which included access to eight workouts. This drove clients from $16 drop-in workouts to monthly packages. There was no additional program fee.

Times and activities. Training started during the winter months. Videos posted on a Facebook group gave home-based fitness challenges, based on the actual obstacles. For example, people were asked to crawl on their forearms around the outside of their homes twice (in the snow!) and then run their deck stairs.

Spring training included twice-a-month weekend workouts, including hill runs with each team carrying a log. The team that completed the challenge first was given recognition, praise and often a prize, such as a gift card for local laser tag. The goal of these Sunday afternoon trainings was to help participants learn to problem-solve, develop a deep connection with fellow team members and physically condition themselves for race day.

Day of the event. The event finished on race day, when the group supported each other from start to finish, captured a lot of pictures, and made some lifelong memories.

Outcomes. Woodall’s only costs were the time she spent planning and delivering the workouts. Race day T-shirts were paid for by local sponsors, a running shoe store, and a law firm of one of her clients.

The program was a big boost to her monthly revenue, considering that only half of the participants were currently on a package. The new packages added $2,500 a month. The program created a strong sense of community within the business, and it drove a lot of positive word of mouth. One racer, Shaun E., changed his body and his life. He lost 30 pounds over the course of training, became a better leader and went on to organize his own teams in subsequent years.

To read more about this topic, please see “Hot Training for Outdoor Enthusiasts” in the online IDEA Library or in the March 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

Trina Gray

"Trina Gray is recognized worldwide as a passionate leader in the fitness industry. She is a successful health club owner, business mentor and IDEA presenter. Trina has owned Bay Athletic Club, a medical-based health club, and Bay Urban Fitness, a large group training studio, for more than a decade. She also founded Team Rockstar Fit, an online coaching team of thousands of fitness professionals who partner with Beachbody®. She is the recipient of the first-ever IDEA Fitness Leader of the Year award, the Top 10 Small Business of the Year award in Michigan, the CEO Award from Beachbody and the Outstanding Community Service Award from IHRSA. She is a savvy entrepreneur who loves sharing business and life lessons with fitness professionals."

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