Physical activity is an essential component of overall health and wellness. Along with keeping the body in peak condition, it reduces the risk of various diseases, boosts mental and emotional health, and improves your quality of life. In many cases, participating in physical activities also provides an opportunity to connect with others.
Fitness events offer a great way to promote the importance of physical health. They bring people together and inspire them to make healthy changes. There are many ways to do this, with a popular option being the fitness challenge. You give participants a specific goal and encourage them to achieve it. While you can host the event in person, you can make it more convenient for your participants and open it up to more people by making it virtual.
What Is a Virtual Fitness Challenge?
A virtual fitness challenge is a type of online event. It sets a fitness goal for participants to achieve within a given period of time. Some of the most popular options are 30-day virtual challenges such as:
- Plank challenge
- Couch to 5K challenge
- Yoga challenge
- Distance challenge
Virtual races are another popular challenge. With these races, participants usually run or walk a specified distance, such as 5K or 10K, in one go rather than breaking it up over 30 days. Races can take place on a set date or you can allow your participants to choose a day that works best for them.
Why Have Virtual Fitness Races Become Increasingly Prominent?
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, gyms followed in the footsteps of many other businesses and temporarily shut their doors. Unable to go to a place where they used to work toward their fitness goals, many people fell out of their routines and lost their motivation.
Virtual fitness races and other challenges exploded in popularity during this time, helping people get back on track, regain their motivation, and participate in a community despite being at home. Although things have been returning to normal, these online challenges are still attracting attendees.
COVID-19 Pandemic or Not, Virtual Events Are Here To Stay
Virtual events were already becoming popular before 2020, but they became the lifeline of the events industry during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They gave event organizers a way to hold their events safely when attendees were unable to participate or didn’t want to gather in person.
Even though many events are in-person again, that doesn’t mean virtual options are going away. A 2021 survey by Statista found that, among the more than 8,200 marketers surveyed, 40% of events will be virtual in 2022. A report from Fortune Business Insights also shows virtual events are here to stay, predicting the size of the virtual meeting software market to reach over $41.5 billion by the end of 2027.
Virtual Activities Attract Global Participants
Virtual events aren’t limited to a specific location, which means potential attendees don’t have to worry about the hassle or cost of driving or flying anywhere. That means you can open your target audience beyond the borders of a town, state, or even the country. You could potentially have participants from all over the world.
You Can Join an Exercise Community From Your Own Home
Online fitness challenges create entire communities around your event and give members a place to socialize from anywhere. People can meet like-minded individuals working towards similar goals and form new friendships. They can encourage and motivate one another, seek (and offer) advice, and share successes. What’s more, the excitement isn’t limited to a single day. It keeps going as more participants complete challenges and achieve goals.
How To Host a Virtual Fitness Challenge
Have you decided to host a virtual fitness challenge? Here’s what you need to know to organize an event your attendees are sure to remember.
1. Determine the Budget and Fitness Goal of Your Virtual Challenge
A top benefit of virtual events is that they generally cost less than in-person ones. However, you’ll still need to pay for things such as your event platform, marketing, swag, donations, and prizes. Estimate your costs, and don’t forget to include a little extra to account for unexpected expenses.
You’ll also want to determine the fitness goal of your challenge. In other words, what’s the challenge your participants will tackle? Will you be hosting a race, distance challenge, or triathlon? Plank challenges are a popular virtual fitness challenge idea. Or you might go a slightly different route with burpees, sit-ups, or push-ups. Be sure to decide on a timeframe for your event, too.
If you aren’t sure what exercise type or activity to use as a challenge, survey your audience. Scope out your competitors for ideas, too. You might even consider incorporating additional challenges within the main one, such as fastest time, total hours of activity, and longest distance.
2. Register Your Challenge on an Event Hosting Platform
Functioning as the “location” of your event, an event hosting platform is a tool that makes your virtual challenge possible. A great platform gives you a central hub to organize, market, and sell tickets to your event. It’s also where your participants can record their results, check the leaderboards or latest activity, and engage.
Events.com EveryChallenge® is a one-stop shop for organizing and running virtual challenges of all types. With features such as customizable designs, support for various challenge modes, and custom badges, you’ll have everything you need to create virtual challenges your participants are sure to love.
3. Develop a Marketing Campaign To Get the Word Out
Without marketing, few people will learn about your virtual challenge. A solid campaign is essential for spreading the word about your event, generating interest, and getting people to register.
You have several options to choose from when it comes to marketing:
- Social media. Create posts about your upcoming challenge that pique the interest of your target audience and entice them to register. As the official start date approaches, continue to generate excitement by sharing a bit of what to expect, tips to prepare, prizes, and more. Consider creating a relevant hashtag for people to share their progress during the event on their personal social pages. Post consistently, encourage engagement and respond to comments and questions.
- Email. Use email lists to create segmented marketing campaigns. For instance, you can collect email addresses before registration opens and send an email to interested individuals when it’s time to sign up.
- Content marketing. Write blog posts about your upcoming event. You can also create content with preparation tips and other related topics. Posts enhanced for search engine optimization (SEO) can help you rank higher on search results pages and boost your event’s visibility.
- Paid ads. If your budget allows, use paid ads on social media or search engines to ensure more visibility.
4. Establish an Online Community and Donation Opportunities
Establishing an online fitness community gives your participants a place to gather before, during, and even after your virtual challenge. They can connect, share successes, and motivate one another along their fitness journeys.
If your fitness challenge involves fundraising for a charity, be sure to establish charity donation opportunities, too. For instance, include a “donation contribution add-on” option on your challenge registration page. Talk about your charity of choice on your virtual challenge’s social media pages and request donations there. You might offer prizes or recognition for your top donors. Another option to consider is asking your participants to ask people they know to assist them in their fundraising efforts.
5. Incorporate Fitness Trackers Throughout the Activity
These days, most people have a smartphone or smartwatch. Android and Apple users have a range of fitness tracker apps that they can download and use to record miles moved, steps taken, calories burned, and other metrics. Some apps allow users to select the specific activity they’ll be doing, such as running or biking. Fitness-specific wearables like Fitbit and Garmin can also keep track of these (and other) metrics.
Virtual challenge event platforms like EveryPlatform®, offer native integration with all major fitness wearables, enabling the automatic upload of your participants’ daily activities. Be sure to let participants know about this feature early so they can download and set up the app of their choice if they haven’t done so already. The platform also allows for manual entry, allowing those without connected GPS devices to take part, too.
6. Prepare Awesome Prizes for Winners
Last but not least, be sure to have some incredible prizes for your challenge winners. Gather your prizes early and tease them as part of your marketing efforts so that your participants know what they could potentially earn for seeing the challenge through.
A popular prize option, especially for virtual races, is medals for participants who complete the challenge by the end. For example, Disney virtual race participants receive a unique, collectible medal at the end of the challenge, and the medals are different every year. The medals alone are often why race registrations fill up so quickly.
Virtual fitness challenge medals aren’t your only option, though. You can reward your main challenge winners, as well as winners of your mini-challenges, with prizes such as gift cards to your sponsors’ businesses, fitness apparel, and even cash. If you aren’t sure what to offer, consider polling your target audience early to get a feel for what might motivate them the most.
Arrange an Epic Virtual Fitness Challenge Using Event Software
Virtual fitness challenges are an incredible opportunity to promote health and wellness, bring people together from where ever they are and motivate them to stay active. They’re also an excellent event type to raise awareness (and money) for charity.
No matter your reason for hosting a virtual challenge or the type of fitness challenge you choose, Events.com has the software that can help you make your event epic. For more information about EveryChallenge® or to start planning your virtual fitness challenge, visit Events.com today.