Fitness Experiences That Get Attendees’ Hearts Pumping

As many event marketers can attest to, a work-life balance in today’s world isn’t always so balanced. And by the time a hectic workday and lengthy commute have been endured, even social engagements can seem like a chore. Unfortunately, this fast-paced culture doesn’t just deprive us of sleep; it often causes us to neglect our personal health. Luckily, a number of brands are helping to combat the issue by creating dynamic community fitness events that consumers can’t resist. Here’s a look at the latest and greatest fitness experiences to get consumers hearts—and minds—pumping.

For mega brand Virgin, a single event wasn’t enough, so the company built an entire fitness festival. The inaugural Virgin Sport Festival of Fitness kicked off in April in Hackney, a suburb of London, and will make its way to the U.S. in October. Among its offerings: a signature long-distance footrace for fitness buffs, a shorter race for less experienced attendees and a “sweat” component featuring yoga, spin and bootcamp-style classes. When attendees are done working up a sweat, they can enjoy local food and beverage offerings, performances by artists and musicians and a variety of sponsor activations.

Ever been to an “immersive fitness extravaganza?” That’s what women’s magazine SELF offers for two days each year at its UpNOut Studio in New York City. The publication recruits more than 20 of the hottest fitness trainers to host trendy workout classes like Pure Barre, PlyoJam and CityRow, to name a few. The workouts are killer, but the event is also about general health and well being. To that end, post-workout beauty bars, healthy snacks, foam-rolling workshops and other wellness offerings are all part of the experience. To boot, attendees receive tote bags brimming with swag, sponsor samples, a subscription to the magazine and access to the UpNOut Lounge, which features a braid bar, healthy bites, mini massages and meditation sessions.

Michelob ULTRA
Booze and fitness? Believe it. Light beer brand Michelob ULTRA, which champions living an active and balanced lifestyle, began activating fitness experiences last summer with the Michelob ULTRA Summer Series. This year, the brand offered dedicated runners a chance to compete in the TCS New York City Marathon by earning one of 95 entry spots on “Team ULTRA.” To earn a place on the team, consumers were directed to a microsite where they were asked to share stories of how they’ve gone the “extra mile” (“brewed for those who go the extra mile” is one of the brand’s taglines) and why they deserved a shot at running one of the world’s most elite races. To amplify the campaign and encourage consumers to join Team ULTRA, Michelob ULTRA released an original video highlighting some of the inspiring stories of runners who already snagged a spot on the team.

Water brand Propel gave it’s Let’s Get Ugly campaign about stepping up workouts and forgetting about looking photo-ready at the gym a boost this year with its Co:Labs fitness event series. The program launched with an event hosted by brand spokesperson and singer-songwriter Jessie J and showcased forthcoming Propel products, offered “Yoga for Bad People” and Prevail boxing sessions, and wrapped with celebratory cocktails.

Subsequent Co:Labs events popped up around the country, offering classes taught by influential instructors at each city’s trendiest fitness studios. Workouts included tone-building and high-intensity cardio, among others, and were paired with a live local DJ. The program culminated with a two-day fitness festival in Los Angeles, which featured live music and fitness instructors from across the country.

Inspired by the launch of its new women’s running shoe, adidas opened pop-up workout space “The X” in London’s Victoria Park over the winter, where it hosted free running and workout sessions specifically geared towards women for 10 days. Sessions included daily running clubs, sunrise yoga sessions, boot camps and beyond. The experience also included fitness influencers, nutrition classes, a training session meet-up and evening supper clubs curated by Jackson & Levine. As an added bonus, Victoria Park was opened to the public after dark for the first time during that period, and illuminated by power generated from inside the pop-up’s massive “X” installation.

Of course, modern fitness experiences aren’t confined to group workouts. Brands of all stripes are finding clever ways to engage consumers through a variety of fitness-related events. Like Hilton, which this year unveiled Five Feet to Fitness, an in-room wellness concept that offers guests 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options right inside their hotel room. Or fitness organization David Lloyd Clubs, which opened a pop-up café in London that accepted exercise as payment. Dubbed Run for Your Bun, the café required customers to complete six minutes of high-intensity interval training in order to claim their complimentary lunch.

Optimum Nutrition
Optimum Nutrition is a brand with a distinct point of view and attitude when it comes to fitness. It’s a brand that represents and connects with fitness enthusiast who are attentive approachable, nonjudgemental, knowledgeable, and helpful.

In order to reach more consumers, Optimum Nutrition decided to take their fitness experiences on the road. With Sparks’ help, they had a pimped out 27’ truck and trailer mobile activation space called the Gold Standard Zone that communicates the true strength of Optimum Nutrition.

The mobile activation speaks to fitness enthusiast at every stage of their personal journey. Upon arrival, attendees get to “Define Your Golden Goals” and opt in to the Optimum Nutrition experience. There are also multiple stations designed to “Find Your Zone.”

At the fuel station, attendees set caloric goals and “make” their own breakfast using personal devices to scan QR codes. The Fitness station teaches visitors about form, function and targeting. Participants practice specific exercises in front of a “smart mirror,” which uses artificial intelligence to evaluate form and provide real-time movement recommendations and performance advice. The Supplementation station features Optimum Nutrition’s best-selling products along with how each product can help attendees reach their personal goals. Finally, through the “Lift Yourself Lift Others” station, visitors can donate to their charity of choice by doing pull-ups. Every social share earns rewards and support participants charities through Amazon Smile.

Whatever the strategy, if fitness experiences are in the works for your company, remember that it’s about more than burning calories. It’s about driving home brand messaging through a fun, memorable experience that makes consumers’ heart race in more ways than one.

Check out cool brand activations and sponsorship experiences designed and produced by Sparks.