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Why Partner with Whole Life Challenge? Cash and the Second-Order Effect

By September 10, 2015Running a Gym
Reading Time: 4 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

At the Whole Life Challenge, we engage in revenue sharing. When our Partners sign up to lead a Team, they receive a portion of every dollar we collect from their Team Members.

This has the obvious benefit of immediately incentivizing all parties: when our Partners engage as many people as possible, it allows us to create an exceptional Challenge environment for the Players while keeping the lights on at Whole Life headquarters. Our Partners derive the first-order economic benefit of cash-in-hand (as do we), keeping the system alive and in motion.

Less obvious than this blunt “cash” incentive: the second-order economic benefits of the Whole Life Challenge. These are the follow-on effects for Partners and Players, the additional outcomes resulting from tens of thousands of people participating in an online game that improves health and fitness.

These second-order benefits are hypothetical (in that they’re hard to prove without huge longitudinal data sets), but they nonetheless follow from common sense. While we can’t claim them with 100% certainty, they are worth considering as you examine the potential benefits of leading a Challenge Team.

Benefits to the Gym Owner

  1. Member Retention: When Players from a gym environment engage in the Whole Life Challenge, they get better results. Dietary change accelerates the physical changes from exercise (as does improved focus on hydration, sleep, and well-being practices). Simply put, athletes get better, faster. When they see these accelerated results, they believe in the efficacy of the gym, incentivizing them to continue training for the long-term, improving member retention and thereby the financial health of the gym.
  2. Member Recruitment: When Players exhibit improved body composition, athleticism, and overall well-being, it’s likely that friends and family will notice (and comment favorably). This leads to discussions about the gym and the process of change, creating the possibility of entire social groups electing to join, incentivized by the prospect of seeing similar results. This is the natural “word-of-mouth” phenomenon that good businesses enjoy, accelerated by the Players themselves.

Benefits to the Employer

  1. Employee Health: When your employees are healthy, they’re likely more productive, in better spirits, less stressed, and spending less time away from work due to illness. The economic benefits to the employer are then obvious: better output per employee, improved workplace morale, and reduced costs associated with time away.
  2. Insurance Costs: The Challenge asks Players to improve all aspects of their health, including their nutrition, exercise, flexibility, hydration, and supplementation. They also engage in improved lifestyle practices such as adequate sleep, gratitude, and reflection. The follow-on effect of this holistic change in the health of the individual: fewer chronic conditions that drive up insurance premiums. Across an entire employee base, the potential savings is huge (especially when employers are self-insured).
  3. Employee Affinity: When employees engage in the Challenge and see it through to the end, they’re likely to see a dramatic improvement in their overall quality of life, driven by an employer-sponsored program. This has the potential to increase loyalty and positive feelings toward the employer, reducing employee turnover (and its huge attendant costs), conferring a direct benefit to the bottom line.
  4. Team Building: The Challenge is difficult, and overcoming difficulty often leads to bonding. Within each larger Team, leaders can build sub-teams, creating smaller groups (such as departments or functional teams) that are well-equipped to support each other throughout the Challenge. This has the potential to improve interpersonal relationships within the employee base, an effect that bleeds over into future projects, improving productivity and morale.

This list is by no means complete. Improving health and wellness of players has systemic effects (financial and otherwise) we can only begin to imagine. All of them come back to one idea: the second-order economic benefits of the Whole Life Challenge outstrip the simple cash-in-hand benefit by several degrees of magnitude, within the gym or employer, and likely within society at large.

Still, the economic and financial benefits (first- or second-order) pale in comparison to the inherent moral benefit of leading a Team to improved health. Creating healthier, more well-rounded people is its own reward. This alone is sufficient incentive for all of us to continue on, the team at the Whole Life Challenge to constantly improve the Challenge, the Gym Owner or Employer continuing to lead their Teams in the pursuit of overall well-being.

Thanks for being part of that effort, for helping to create economic growth and health simultaneously, for knowing that these aims do not have to battle each other. We’re proud that you’re with us, and proud that the Challenge is a win-win.

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Jon Gilson
Jon Gilson is a coach and writer, and the former CEO of the Whole Life Challenge.

Previously, he founded Again Faster Equipment, a functional fitness equipment company created to serve the CrossFit community. Established in 2006, Jon took the Company global in 2012, twice landing on the Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.

From 2007 to 2013, he served as a Senior Lecturer for CrossFit, Inc., training aspiring CrossFit trainers at over 100 seminars, including engagements in Iceland, Afghanistan, Moscow, Holland, the United States, and Canada. Jon also served on the CrossFit L1 Advisory Board, helping establish policy for the organization’s training efforts from 2011 to 2013.

He’s also done stints in state government, gym management, and consulting — and currently teaches classes at CrossFit City Line.

Jon graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Psychology. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Finance and Control from the Harvard Extension School, 2006, and has completed coursework in data analytics.