Fitness Challenge Blog

It’s March! Is Your Office Ready for the Tournament?

Tornament Brackets

How to create a peer-to-peer employee fitness tournament

March 3, 2020 by Joseph

March has come again and that means the tournament is here at last. Not the one involving basketball of course; I’m talking about an office fitness tournament! OK, so the annual walking challenge has lost some of its appeal and participation is stagnant. Spice it up by changing the rules!

Challenge Vs. Tournament

In a typical walking challenge, all the participants compete by logging the most steps over a period of time and the one with the most steps wins. While I love the simplicity, it leaves a little to be desired in the imagination department and, after the first week or two, everyone knows who is going to win which in turn reduces enthusiasm and participation.

As an alternative, I would like to suggest using a fitness tournament. The basic rules are the same, walk as much as possible, but the layout is completely different. Instead of a big leaderboard with the winners on top and everyone being shamed below them, participants (or teams) compete head-to-head with the winners advancing and the losers being eliminated.

Starting an Employee Tournament

The setup looks like this: the admin selects a timespan of maybe one or two weeks for each round of the tournament starting with a seeding round. The top 64 participants or teams from the seeding round make it into the actual tournament where the highest performer (seed) is paired against the lowest seed, the second highest seed is paired against the second lowest seed and so forth until all participants are paired.

Participants then compete head-to-head against their opponent until the end of the round at which time the winner is paired against a new opponent for the next round while the loser is eliminated. This cycle continues until only two participants remain and an overall winner declared. Sound like fun? It is, and it makes your boring walking challenge a lot more interesting.

So, how do you manage something like this? Easy, the ChallengeRunner platform does it all for you:

  1. Log into your admin account at
  2. Click the Create a New Challenge button
  3. Select the Generate a walking tournament option and click Next
  4. Give your tournament a name and click Next
  5. Make changes to the default description and click Next
    Note: the description and other details can be changed later by clicking the Edit Challenge button
  6. Set the start and end date for your seed round and click Finish
    Note: this is not the start and end date of your tournament; just the seed round. The system will automatically create the rest of the rounds for the tournament once the seeding round is over.
  7. Click the Add Participants button to invite participants to your tournament

Finishing Touches

There you have it. Instead of just an office pool betting on the basketball tournament, have one of your own. One thing I failed to mention above is that, just like all challenges else in ChallengeRunner, you can create a tournament using any activity or activities. The default option using the Generate a walking tournament option above will use a steps walked activity, but you can easily add additional activities like hydration, weight-loss, or vegetables consumed or replace walking with active minutes to make the challenge more inclusive.

Lastly, for those who are eliminated early, I would recommend running an alternative challenge that is a little less competitive and promotes a healthy lifestyle over direct competition. You can use any activities you like, but set a milestone that is achievable by most with a modest prize at the end for those who reach the milestone. For this alternative challenge, I would recommend using a standard leaderboard where all participants see how each other are doing, or an individual leaderboard where the participant only sees how they are doing in relation to the goal. The admin guide can provide more information about Creating and running a tournament-style employee challenge.

Good luck with your team in the tournament!

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