10 Steps to Organizing a Fitness Competition Event at Your Gym: Part 1
Functional fitness competitions are all the rage these days. The concept is quite simple; a local gym organizes a set of exercises and then invites local athletes to compete for prizes, acknowledgement, bragging rights, you name it. Fitness competitions are a great way for athletes to show off their abilities, but they’re also an amazing marketing and membership-increasing tool for gyms, spinning studios, crossfit boxes, you name it!
Have you and your gym managers or co-owners been thinking about holding a fitness and lifting competition at your facility? If so, great! You’re already on the track to getting some great publicity for your business. Here are just a few of the benefits of having a functional fitness competition at your facility:
Benefit 1: Publicity for your fitness facility. If you promote your competition, you might even get news camera there.
Benefit 2: Increased SEO ranking for your gym. (See Step 9 to see how to boost your gym’s SEO rank)
Benefit 3: Building community among your current members.
Benefit 4: Gain valuable marketing and business skills to business in future business endeavors.
Benefit 5: Sense of accomplishment from planning and executing a large-scale competition
Now that you know just a few of the benefits of having a fitness competition at your gym, you need to actually make it happen.
Organizing a weightlifting competition isn’t as easy as it sounds there. There are going to be legal loops to jump through, as well as marketing, and organizational hoops. It’s not just as easy as telling your friends that you’re having a contest. The last thing you want is to have your event be a complete failure. If only a few people show up to compete and spectate, your gym will be the laughing stock of your local fitness community. So, that said, here are the first 4 steps to starting a fitness lifting competition at your gym. Check out parts 2 and 3 for the rest of this post.
1. Have an ‘Event Expectations’ Meeting with Gym Owners
Congrats! You’ve decided to organzise a fitness competition at your gym, now the real work begins. The most important planning step is to hold an all-hand-on-deck meeting with your business partners and managers and set some expectation for your competition. The only way to judge the success of an event is to have some metrics with which you can compare. How many people do you want do attend your competition (both competitors and spectators)? When should you expect to hold the event? A month from today? Two months from today? List as many expectations as possible and you’ll have the metrics you need to analyze the success of your event.
2. Elicit Corporate Sponsorship to Cover Event Expenses
Beware! Holding a fitness competition at your gym isn’t going to be free. There will be expenses that you didn’t think about like t-shirts for your volunteers to wear during the event, parking attendants to help direct traffic if you get a large turnout, onsite medical staff for unforeseen injuries during the event, etc. The best way to mitigate these costs is to bring on corporate sponsors. There are tons of fitness companies that might be willing to sponsor your event, in exchange for a logo on your marketing materials, a vinyl banner on your wall during the event, etc. Reach out to companies like BoxLife, MetRX, CytoGainer, MindBody and Wodify and see if they are willing to sponsor your event. Most large fitness companies have a marketing budget and supporting a local fitness lifting competition is a perfect use for their marketing dollars.
Before you start contacting sponsors, make sure you know what you’re going to offer them. Businesses are busy and they don’t want someone reaching out and asking about sponsorship and then not having a list of benefits ready to go. Will you offer wall-space for a banner, a spot for their logo on your marketing materials and t-shirts, a link on your website? Figure out what you’ll offer your sponsors and THEN contact them.
3. Decide If Your Gym will Work Solo or Partner with Another Gym
One of the most important decisions you will have to make early in the planning phase of organizing your fitness competition is deciding if you want to be the sole producer of the event, or if you want to have a jointly-produced event with a partner gym. There are strengths and weaknesses to each option. Solo event producing will generate the most publicity for your gym. You guarantee that the event is at YOUR facility, meaning that you’ll have a great chance to increase membership from people coming to watching the competition and then getting excited about your gym and signing up. Think about putting your FitnessTexter marketing signs up in your gym so that spectators that are interested and get your text message coupon while they’re watching the competition.
Having a dual-produced event will take some of the responsibility off yourself. Less decision to make and less work. Your marketing reach will also be larger because you’ll have both gyms dual promoting the event. More marketing means more competitors which means more spectators which equals more success and publicity. Lastly, you’ll build a good relationship with a fellow gym owner. After months of meetings and phone calls, you’ll surely become better friends.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these first 3 steps for starting a fitness lifting competition at your gym. Make sure to check out part 2 and part 3 for the rest of the steps needed to hold a lifting competition at your gym.