Something for Nothing: Win-Win

Give up some of your time and expertise in exchange for some publicity and opportunity to help someone who can’t do it on their own.

Run a Challenge Contest that’s legitimate.

You’ve heard and maybe been tempted to or did the Challenge that is short in duration, multiple days a week of hard exercise, recommends a strict diet, and that results in participants injured, or going “off” and gaining the weight back or “getting back to their regular routine.”

That’s definitely a Challenge. But is it the one you want to be associated with? Isn’t that a little like piercing your ear or getting a tattoo because everyone else is doing it? That’s not enough to make you want to give up integrity is it? Yes- the money looks good – yes, you’ll be going against the stream if you do it in a different way, but when the dust settles and the six and eight and nine week challenges that are giving physical therapists job security begin to lose their participants because it will get repetitive, where will you be?

In the same boat?  Or already established as the resource that changes lifestyles  not six weeks of life for someone? Here’s an example of the application for a 12 week challenge advertised in the local newspaper. Twelve weeks- yes, not for the faint of heart. They have to go public. We’re not asking them to go public only after we’ve chosen the successful ones, but every one of the six has to blog and be in the public eye during the challenge. Their trainers have to willingly put themselves in the public as well.

Consider whether you can give up time to do this. We’ve offered to do this through the local newspaper and paid for the ad space and the special print tabloids that will go out, and the web space to get the word out. You might want to participate in a challenge among other trainers at other facilities and pay a smaller fee. We believe it will be worth it.

We know how sexy change in six weeks or eight sounds as opposed to behavior change over 12. We’re an infomercial, quick fix, want-it-now society. But fitness is worth the wait, and the weight will follow. We would rather that than injury follow.

We can’t negatively come out and dish the short term wonder programs and smell like a rose. We just sound like sour grapes; they’re making money, taking clients, have a successful idea we didn’t have, and that’s how the public would see it.

On the other hand, what we want to do is support the idea that getting started in any way is a good idea. People are proving to themselves they can do it if they set their minds to it. They just have been misled by leaders of these programs to believe that they don’t need progression- that they can go from doing nothing to doing something five or six days a week without injury. Not likely for most people. Especially true if you’re overweight or have poor shoes or some issues with body mechanics, which is true of most of us!

Behavior change involves making a change in how you eat, you think about food, and your choices daily if not hourly! A program that puts you on a limited calorie intake, tells you specifically what to eat when, is not a real behavior change. Too many people can’t wait to get off of it, and get back to real life.. even instructors are heard to say that.

That’s just a yo-yo diet. Few can sustain such a program unless they’ve lived with rigid diet standards their entire lives. Proponents of it are often women who have had issues with dysfunctional eating for years. They believe it’s healthy eating.

There is room for improvement. Just be sure that when you promote your program you do it positively reinforcing the pluses of yours, not the negatives of another program. You come out stinking not the competition if you do that.

Get some facts. Write some good copy that engages the wanna-be participant.

Tried everything before? Tempted to try the quick six week to size six program? Or the nine-week wonder? Think about what you’ve tried before, why it hasn’t worked and whether what you’re about to try is similar or different… get the idea, make it your words, reach your market!


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