For Creators: The New Year's Fitness Challenge Playbook

For Creators: The New Year's Fitness Challenge Playbook

*Containing everything we’ve learned from 100+ fitness challenge launches

There are so many different ways for creators to monetize their content— programs, subscriptions, apps, e-books, guides — but one type of offering seems to captivate & inspire an audience unlike any other: challenges.

If you follow a lot of fitness creators, you’ve probably seen them before — from Tik Tok to Instagram to YouTube. And as a creator, you may have even run one (or many) yourself.

It took us years to learn that there’s a specific way to run these challenges that generates more sign-ups in less time.

If run properly, challenges can be one of the easiest ways to reach more people, create a cool community experience, and ultimately — earn more money.

In this post, we’ve tried to compile everything (okay not quite everything — but the most important insights) we’ve learned from 100+ fitness challenge launches with creators:

1. Why fans love challenges

2. Why challenges can help you make more money

3. Transformation photos

4. Promotion tips & tricks from 100+ challenge launches

5. How to keep earning after your challenge is over

6. The 3 best times of year to run a challenge

Now you may be asking yourself — what is a fitness challenge? In the context of this post, a fitness challenge is a training program offered by a creator that everybody begins on the same date. There is a goal for the challenge (e.g., lose weight, build muscle, transform your body), and there are often winners. Winners are usually chosen based on their before & after transformation photos — but other factors such as community engagement may be evaluated as well.

Nebby Fusco 8-Week Body-Shaping Challenge on Solin (@woah.nebbz on Instagram)

Psychologically, challenges are fun and different. There are many reasons fans love challenges, with two key reasons being:

1. They force you to commit to a goal

2. You have a community of people all working towards that same goal

In our research, we couldn’t find average completion rates for fitness programs, but we did find data on program completion for online courses in general. This blog post from Thinkific states that only 5% — 15% of students complete online courses they start. This data broadly maps to our data for general fitness programs (without a specific start/end date & community like challenges).

On the other hand, some of the top challenges on Solin have 95%+ completion rates. Bree Mitchell (@bod_by_bree on Instagram) consistently ranks at the top of Solin’s list for challenge completion percentage. She engages her Solin community consistently, participates in the challenges herself, and holds her people accountable. This has allowed her to build an incredible relationship with her audience — her community loves her, and she sees great retention from challenge to challenge (her fans consistently purchases new challenges she puts out).

Great creators like Bree use the challenge structure to engage their community & motivate their audience. The community elements are a crucial added bonus to keep everybody involved & excited.

Below is a screenshot of Kali Burns’ private community & a member’s profile on Solin — she’s active in the group and encourages the rest of her community to update their profiles similarly. This kind of engagement helps people build deeper relationships & forms a private social network that they can all be a part of.

Kali Burns’ 4-Wk ‘Train Like Me’ Challenge on Solin (@kaliburns on Instagram)

In today’s world, people crave social interaction. When you (the creator) are at the center of that interaction, your audience falls in love.

Takeaway: fans love challenges because they have a clear start & end date, a shared goal, and a community where people can engage. Prizes for winners are an added bonus.

2. Why challenges can help you make more money

While not always the case, challenges are often one of the best ways for creators to make money on content. If you are just starting out and have a smaller audience, it may be difficult to generate enough demand from day 1 for a challenge.

But if you do have a large & engaged audience where you can get people excited about an experience with you, challenges are a great way to monetize.

Below are 5 key reasons:

1. Start & end date: challenges have a specific start & end date, which creates FOMO, or a Fear Of Missing Out. If you have loyal fans that love what you’re doing, a challenge is a great way to get them excited about a deeper level of access to your & your content

2. One-time purchase: many consumers in today’s world will simply not subscribe to recurring monthly fees. We’ve all looked at our credit card bills and seen subscriptions that we either don’t recognize or utilize. Subscription revenue is great, but it is often tough to get people to commit to recurring purchases.

In one case study on Solin, we had a creator selling a $20 / month subscription — over a few months, she was able to get 20 subscribers (generating $400 / month). After a few months, she decided to try the challenge model. In one of her first 14-day challenges, she was able to get ~700 people to purchase a $20 challenge (generating $14k). She ultimately expanded her challenge community to ~1,400 people (~$28k) over time. She ran ~4 challenges per year, and found it to be much more successful than her recurring membership

3. Community-driven: during a challenge, everybody is working towards the same goal, so it’s crucial to have a place people can hang out & engage (like with @kaliburns challenge above). When you have this community area, you can then screenshot interactions and post them on your Instagram stories + other social media to generate more hype to promote your challenge

4. Easy to promote: because there is a start & end date, challenges are easy to promote. There is a clear, defined period where you can generate a ton of excitement. Further, challenges are interactive and a way for your fans to get a deeper level of access to you, so you can confidently promote knowing you are providing true value

5. Prizes: prizes can be another great way to motivate. They are not necessary, but they can help add excitement and build hype for your challenge. A few ideas for prizes include:

a. 1:1 Zoom meet & greet

b. Free access to your next challenge / program

c. Gift cards / products from your sponsors (supplements, merch, etc.)

d. Fly out & train WITH you at your gym

e. Cash prizes

Key takeaway: challenges are the best way to make money because they have a start date, are a one-time purchase for fans, & are interactive + community driven

3. Transformation photos

Solin creator Isabella Mira (@isabellamira on Instagram)

Before & after transformation photos are crucial for a couple reasons:

1. They help your fans feel a sense of accomplishment

2. They give you social proof and help you sell better

Challenges are great because they are an easy way to accumulate tons of transformation photos from your fans. Once you have these photos, you can use them on your social media to promote future programs & challenges.

No matter what kind of value you are offering in your challenges, transformations are proof that your methods work. It may be your programming, your education, your motivation/inspiration, simply providing structure, or something completely different.

Maybe your programming is super simple, but the motivation you provide by running your challenge gets that fan out of bed to tackle their day. Maybe you are simply their inspiration or their body goals. Maybe your content is entertaining & funny. Maybe you offer live Q&As & a deeper level of access. Maybe you provide structure through simple daily workouts & fitness tips. Or maybe you provide education through form tips + a definition of macros.

Think about your challenge as being able to do any of these things. And remember — you don’t have to do them all — just pick the ones you like and structure your challenge (+ your promotion) accordingly.

Key takeaway: transformation photos are crucial — they are visual, prove that your methods work, & help you sell

4. Promotion tips & tricks from 100+ challenge launches

There are a ton of promotion ideas & strategies for promoting challenges. For creators on Solin, we actually provide a 22-page PDF handbook on challenge promotion based on 100+ launches as well as a separate 5-page Gen-Z appendix for younger creators.

Below are 5 key promotion ideas / tips that apply to most creators:

1. YouTube workout: pick a day from your challenge and film yourself doing the workout. Provide extra education on that workout (form tips, etc.) and talk about why you’re so excited about the challenge (it could be the community, the prizes, the camaraderie, live sessions/Q&As, etc.)

2. Instagram/Tik Tok bio: Add your challenge to your link in bio & change the last line of your bio to specifically mention your challenge (“My 6-Week Transformation Challenge Starts January 6th ⬇️”)

3. Registration timing: we recommend teasing your challenge on social media for several days before opening registration so that people can get ready for it. Then open registration 10–14 days in advance

4. Go hard the last 48 hours: we see most purchases the last 7 days before the challenge starts, and in particular the last 48–72 hours before the challenge starts. We often see 50%+ of challenge purchases the last 48 hours before the challenge starts, so take advantage of the last few days! You can always keep selling a few days after the challenge starts (“it’s not too late to join”). This can boost sales significantly — your fans have FOMO and don’t want to miss out

5. Transformations: if you have transformations from past clients or challenges, hype them up. If you have transformations of yourself, use them. Transformations sell!

Key takeaway: be consistent with your promotion and be authentic. A couple promotion flyers / highly designed images are okay, but don’t overdo it. Get in front of the camera, talk about your challenge authentically, be consistent so people know you’re serious, and use transformations!

5. How to keep earning after your challenge is over

One great thing about challenges is that they have a start & and end date. But this can also be a problem! What happens if somebody misses your challenge but still wants to purchase?

After your challenge has started, you can keep making money and providing value by repurposing your challenge as a program. You’ve created all this great content and built a great community — why not continue to leverage that work and add value to your fans?

Here is an example from Calum Von Moger from a challenge that started back in March, he continues to offer it as a one-off program today. You can simply change the language on your sales page to let people know that it’s the same content & community as the challenge and to hop in if you missed it but still want to do it.

Calum Von Moger’s 6 Week Mass Transformation Challenge on Solin (@calumvonmoger on Instagram)

Key takeaway: your content from your challenge should be good to use after the challenge. Take the work you put in for the challenge, change the landing page language, and continue to offer your challenge as a program going forward. You can either offer the program forever or until your next challenge starts.

6. The 3 best times of year to run a challenge

Based on data we’ve collected from hundreds of creators and 650+ programs/challenges, there are 3 good periods to run challenges:

  1. After summer, but before the holidays (“Back to School Grind”) — September/October/November timeframe
  2. New Year (“New Year, New Me”) — January/February timeframe
  3. Spring leading into summer (“get those summer bodies”) — April/May/June timeframe

The middle of summer and right around the holidays tend to be the two toughest times to run a challenge as people are traveling a lot and often have their minds on things other than a strict fitness regimen.

That said, creators with great challenge communities tend to be able to be successful at any time of year, so take these recommendations with a grain of salt and do what works for you!


Challenges are a great way to add a ton of value to your audience, build a deeper relationship with them, and increase your earnings as a creator.

In order to run a challenge the right way, you want to make sure you’re promoting properly, creating a community, & capturing transformation photos.

There are tons of ways to add value with your challenge — whether that’s through a simple structured program, through cultivating your community, through live sessions / Q&As, or by using your challenge as a way to motivate & inspire your biggest fans to get fit.

If this sounds interesting and you want a team / platform to help professionalize your challenges & make your life easier, details are below for how to get in touch!

How to Get in Touch

If you’d be interested in working with our challenge strategy team or using our challenge software to deliver your next challenge, please feel free to apply on our site: using referral code: CHALLENGE

As always, if you have any questions or would like to get in touch more generally — feel free to reach us at We’d love to hear from you!

Solin Website


Explore Popular Challenges: