Marketplace November 17, 2021

Gym Owners: Help Members Attack Their Nutrition Weaknesses With a Holiday Challenge


By EC Synkowski (OptimizeMe Nutrition)

Many gym members write off November and December for nutrition. With so many celebrations to navigate, it’s mentally easier to defer one’s nutrition responsibility until January. Unfortunately, that thinking is also why it’s the season of weight gain. And we know every added pound takes more work than expected to take off.

We often view holidays as a time of indulgence. That is fine so long as we are talking about the actual holidays (i.e., Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day). It’s when “holidays” are interpreted as the six-week November to New Year’s stretch that we have a problem. While we don’t need to calorie count on Thanksgiving Day, we do need to stay on track with good nutrition practices throughout this season.

Why not take a page out of CrossFit’s playbook and help members attack their nutrition weaknesses this time of year? Run a nutrition challenge to foster motivation and accountability at a vulnerable time. Many members will appreciate the nudge.

While December might not be the best month to start an overly restrictive diet that eliminates alcohol or treats, it can be a perfect time to maintain the obvious basics of eating enough fruits, veggies, and protein. With my #800gChallenge® and Lazy Macros™ Challenge, your members will focus on adding these underrepresented food groups to their diets without counting total macronutrients or restricting any foods. By adding healthy foods, participants usually have less room for the processed items we tend to overeat.

These nonrestrictive challenges are the types that I recommend regardless of the time of year. Challenges that focus on habits to be continued indefinitely tend to result in greater retention and less binge behavior. The challenge then becomes the “training wheels” that the individual just continues, not ends, once complete.

What’s the difference between the #800gChallenge® and the Lazy Macros™ Challenge?

woman's hand holding bowl of fruits and vegetables

The #800gChallenge® focuses on adding fruits and veggies (800 grams’ worth) to the diet, and the point structure encourages that as well as diversity in food choices. The Lazy Macros™ Challenge has the individuals do the #800gChallenge®, but it also adds a protein target and a sleep component.

Both challenges include points for workouts (where you set the rules around what “counts”) and do not require the individuals to restrict any foods.

Which one should I choose? 

The #800gChallenge® may be the best option when navigating such a tempting time of year. Members routinely report how much they love its simplicity and flexibility, which is perfect for the holiday season. If you haven’t run a challenge, I suggest you start here.

If you’ve run the #800gChallenge®, your members may be ready to step up to additional diet and lifestyle components on Lazy Macros™. Use your knowledge of your member base to make the right choice!

“It went really well! We had 33 participate. People loved the flexibility to have whatever they wanted as long as they hit their numbers. From my perspective, having the content loaded in SugarWOD was totally worth it. I can see us doing this challenge again — thanks!”

– Chris, CrossFit Kanna

What do I get with purchase? 

You get a two-week marketing plan and materials, scoring rules, and educational content delivered daily for the four-week challenge. Points are kept in SugarWOD (like logging reps in a workout each day) with a leaderboard that shows results in real time.

While you still have work to do on-site (an estimated 20-30 hours total), it’s much less than creating all the materials on your own. In addition, you can sell access to the challenge to draw revenue for your efforts (and prizes!). Join the 1,000+ gyms that have outsourced a nutrition challenge.

If you purchase a challenge before Dec. 1, you can receive 20% off with the code HOLIDAYS.

If you want sample materials or want to rerun a challenge (50% off for repeat purchases), email

“This #800gChallenge® on SugarWOD for my gym has blown my mind! It’s so professionally done. Every detail is there. The way this is all put together is brilliant.”

– Jeanette, Yorkville CrossFit