The Fitness Challenge Handbook

Designing The Challenge

Challenge Mode Selection

The challenge mode you select should reflect the composition and culture of your organization. If you are based in an area with high obesity, a weight loss challenge might be a great idea. Then again, if obesity is less of a problem than lifestyle choices, a more general physical activity challenge or daily checklist challenge would be more appropriate. On the same note, some corporate cultures might favor the Laissez-faire nature of the weight loss challenge with periodic weigh-ins over the daily recording necessary in other challenges.
Another alternative which can be effective is to use multiple modes in one challenge. This does not mean that you are running separate concurrent challenges with different participants. A multi-mode challenge combines two or more modes in a single challenge with the same participants such as running a weight-loss challenge in conjunction with a walking / pedometer challenge. The set-up is essentially the same but you have the added step of assigning points for each mode. For example, suppose you award 10 points for each pound lost and 1 point for every 2000 steps walked. As long as a good balance is achieved, a motivated dieter with restricted mobility could compete with a runner in great shape and a daily walker who could lose a few pounds.
The trick to creating multi-mode challenges is to determine the point ratios that will even the playing field for your participants. As one can imagine, this will take some thought as well as trial and error. For instance, the ratio above with 10 points for each pound lost and 1 point for every 2000 steps walked did not come out of thin air. By restricting 500 calories from a daily diet, an average person can lose 1 pound per week. Similarly, an aggressive goal is to walk/run 10,000 steps per day which is roughly 5 miles. By awarding 10 points for each pound lost and 1 point for every mile, you are equating 1 pound to ten miles walked. Both are very achievable goals.
An additional challenge type to consider including in your multi-mode fitness competition is a “catch all” miscellaneous challenge. In this challenge type, the administrator awards points to participants who complete various one-off activities such as: completing a health risk assessment, receiving a flu vaccination, attending a health-related lunch and learn, etc. Adding a catch-all challenge is a great way to diversify your competition and it evens the playing field for participants of all fitness levels. Just make sure you provide a full description of all activities and the points awarded for each in your Challenge Definition Document.
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