4 SparkTeam Challenges That Will Help You Reach Your Goals

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Most of us have worked as part of a group focused on a common goal at some point in our lives, whether on a class project, a team sport, a work task or a family vacation. In these situations, you know how important support from the group can be. When it comes to losing weight and adopting healthy behaviors into our lives, this kind of support becomes even more crucial. Research shows that accountability to others and social support are key factors in weight loss and weight maintenance success.

The support of the SparkPeople Community is unlike any other. I’ve been working with our members for the past 11 years and continue to be amazed by the positive interactions between people from all different walks of life and different parts of the world. Members celebrate one another, whether it’s the first pound lost or the hundredth. Members lift each other up when times get tough and motivation is low. Members hold each other accountable to keep tracking and focusing on their goals. No matter what kind of support is needed, it can be found in our community. 

One of the unique features of the SparkPeople Community are member-lead challenges, which are run through SparkTeams . Some challenges run for a specific time period, but others are ongoing. What started as a simple idea by a few members to motivate themselves and others has turned into an integral part of the SparkPeople program for thousands of people.

Secrets of Successful SparkTeams

To learn more, we asked leaders from some of our most popular challenges to tell us how their challenges got started, how they are run and what kind of member response they've received.

1. Starting Over: Weekly Mini-Challenge Team

Leader: LABRYANT (Lynn)

How it began: Lynn joined SparkPeople in 2006 and became involved with a 90-day challenge. As the challenge was coming to an end, a few members asked her to form and lead a group to keep the momentum going. During her own journey, Lynn realized that she does better with shorter goals she can see an "end" to, and can feel the accomplishment sooner when a goal is met. The Weekly Challenge Team was created to allow members to complete reasonable goals in a short amount of time and log their progress. What started as a handful of members in 2007 has grown to more than 10,000. Although some of the members come and go, a few of the original members are still with the group and stay active every week.

How it works: There are three types of weekly mini-challenges: intake, exercise and self-esteem. Each month consists of two intake challenges, one exercise challenge and one self-esteem challenge. The goal is not to stress anyone out, but instead repeat behaviors with the goal of creating new habits. All members are asked to log their thoughts about the challenge and their progress throughout the week. 

How team members have responded: Lynn says the support among team members is amazing. "Recently, I had my own setback and gained back most of the weight I had lost," says Lynn. "I was devastated and felt that, having failed on a grand scale, I should not be the team leader anymore. I sent a SparkMail to the team, asking if anyone wanted to take over. I was ashamed and didn't feel much like leader material. I was humbled and strengthened by the response that I received. Members who had not been active in a while wrote to me saying they were coming back, members that have been with me for all seven years responded with support and some members who were following the challenges but admitted they'd never posted, wrote to me. I was astonished (though I probably shouldn't have been) at the amount of support I received, almost all of them saying that because of my perceived "failure," I was the perfect person to continue leading the team."

2. 5% Challenge Team


How it began: Lynn wanted to be part of a very active, high energy team that had friendly competitions. Initially the focus was on weigh-ins and exercise minutes, but she expanded the focus to overall health and wellness. In 2010 she started 5% challenges, making them into what they are now. This fall is her 29th challenge. It started with 250 members and now the challenges average about 550-600 members, sometimes as many as 750.The current 5% Challenge Community Leadership Team has been in place for several years. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to manage the record keeping, team formation, training, motivation and more for 550 to 600 members and their leaders.

How it works: There is the 5% Challenge Community (an umbrella team) with four overall challenge leaders and about 550-600 members. Members are then placed into 12 challenge teams, each with five leaders and 45 to 50 members. The challenge runs four times a year. All challenge participants are expected to be active by posting points to the weekly challenges, posting exercise minutes and doing weekly weigh-ins. Each week is a friendly competition between the 12 teams to see which team "lands first at an exciting virtual destination" with exercise minutes adding up to reach each location. At the end of the week, leaders tally up the exercise minutes, points and weigh-ins. 

How team members have responded:  "There is always so much excitement when we are starting new challenges," says Lynn. "Right now we are doing sign ups and members are choosing their teams. We have loyal returning members and leaders who have continued to do the challenges, staying active on SparkPeople for years. There are many amazing friendships that have formed, virtually and in real life. I have met many SparkFriends in person. They are all very dear friends." 

MARYANNSQUEST has been a member of the 5% Challenge for years and helps with team leadership. "We each give encouragement and also have fun traveling around the world. This year has been very special. My team leaders are awesome--we SparkMail, call and some of us live close enough to meet together. There are three members of my team that go to Zumba class together and have a blast."

3. Biggest Loser Team

Leaders: LOSINGLINNDY (Linn), BE-THE-CHANGE (Debbie), -WRKNG2ABTTRME- (Nancy), AMY_1217

How it began: Biggest Loser was started in the spring of 2008 and took its name from the TV show. The competition is set up between challenge teams identified by color names rather than between individuals. The concept is to help members develop healthy exercise and nutrition habits and lose weight with the support of like-minded members.

How it works: There are currently 10 teams and each team has a minimum of 24 members. Challenges are run seasonally with ten weeks per challenge. There are a few weeks off between challenges, though most teams continue on and do between-challenge activities. A week or two before the official start, they begin pre-challenges, both within the individual teams as well as one on the all-teams page where members compete as one big team. This gives everyone a chance to get to know members from the other teams and expand their support groups. Each week the team works together on the inter-team challenges and exercise (cardio and strength training) minutes. They also weigh in weekly. All teams tally their weekly member totals and report them to the all-teams thread, where the leader produces a weekly ranking of each team and how they did in comparison to other teams. It becomes a challenge for each team to try to be number one in weight loss or cardio minutes or to win the inter-team challenge that week with the most participants. 

How team members have responded: Each team is different. Some are there for emotional support and encouragement, while others are very competitive with exercise minutes and challenges. Members can move from one team to another between challenges and leaders help people find a safe "home" team that works for them. Linn says the results of each challenge are inspiring. "In this summer's challenge, our teams collectively logged 642,899 cardio minutes, 156,015 strength training minutes and lost a total of 1,112 pounds!"

DIFROMWYOMING has been participating in the Biggest Loser challenge for the past seven years. "Our teams and their leaders have become family that we depend on for encouragement and support. I wouldn't have remained as active on SparkPeople all these years if it were not for this challenge and the relationships I've formed here. Some of us have even gone out of our way to meet in person, so we've taken our online friendships into our lives."

4. 1 Day Challenge Team


How it began: The team was started in 2006, and Kellie took over in 2013. It was the first SparkTeam she had ever joined and it inspired her to fully utilize SparkPeople to reach her goals.

How it works: Kellie creates the challenges every day except on Fridays. She calls that day "Free Form Friday" where team members make their own challenge or can repeat a previous day's challenge. Kellie creates a variety of cardio, strength and nutrition challenges using links to SparkPeople articles and demonstrations that the team can quickly click on. She tries to keep in mind the varied health and fitness levels of the members by posting alternate challenges most days. Wednesdays are "Wednesday Wellness" challenges where she will emphasize stretching, taking a "me" day or boosting self-esteem. She likes to look up wacky holidays and come up with a challenge incorporating that unique holiday. 

How team members have responded: Kellie has received on-going and specific time-period challenges available to join. Click on a SparkTeam, read the description and click "Join This Team" at the top of the team page to get started. If you're unsure, contact the team leader for more information. Leaders are more than happy to explain how the team works so you can decide if it's a good fit. Finding a group of people working toward your common goals will help ensure success as you adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Have you tried any member-lead SparkTeam challenges? If so, how did it help you work toward your goals?

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CECELW 12/12/2019
i do challenges rather frequently Report
I've belonged to the 5% Challenge first as an ML (Motivational Leader) on the Spirited Under Dawg and now as the CL (Challenge Leader) on the Awesome A team!! I LOVE the 5% Challenge!! I've lost 120 PLUS pounds thanks to the healthier habits developed on the 5% AND also on the Biggest Loser Challenge (Indigo team). These challenges are AWESOME TO THE MAX!!

SO MUCH support! Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 11/17/2019
Thanks for sharing. Report
RO2BENT 10/24/2019
Can provide excellent motivation Report
CHERYLHURT 10/2/2019
Great Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
great Report
Where do I go to find the challenges? Thanks!

thanks. Report
belong to the Star fish and indigoes Report
Lose 2 Win has an ongoing fitness streak which has been very motivating for me. Every day that I do at least 20 minutes of non-yoga exercise, I post. We Have a friendly competition going now to complete 100 days. Report
I'm glad to say that I participate to two of them:
5% Challenge Team (Determined Daisies) and
Biggest Loser Team (Fit, Fab & Fearless Fuchsia's) Report
This is my first time with the BL Challenge group - what a wonderful group of people! I am excited and encouraged to be a part of this amazing and super fun challenge! Report
I lost weight each WEEK with the 5% Challenges than just working out by myself on SP. It helps to have these challenges and the Living the Good Life Habits as they are called ~ whatever they may be : monitoring our water intake, eating more freggies ,getting more sleep, tracking our food,etc.
Now as a result of being on the past two challenges, I GREW A HABIT of having 8 glasses of water a day {it has become a streak !} and I will be within reach of a NORMAL BMI on this , my THIRD challenge! It was "challenging" for me when I first started the challenges ,learning all the things to do,but it was WORTH IT!! If you are unsure whether to do a challenge or not, I ask you what have you got to lose ,except a few pounds or MORE??? Plus I always make new friends and THAT is FUN!!! Report
I am a huge fan of the 5% Challenge. Took a small break, but I am back. The challenges help keep me accountable. Report
There's also another Biggest Loser Challenge Spark Team challenge out there. We just began our 32nd round! Our BLC wouldn't be around this long if it wasn't a great tool for working on a healthier you and striving to reach your goals!

I've been a part of this one for a number of years. I have reached my goal while in this BLC challenge. A couple years ago, I became a co-captain of one of the teams. I love supporting my teammates and being a part of this great community of people. There are a lot of teams and each offers a different avenue to focus on your health. Visit us at www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_
to learn more and join the mailing list team so you can have the opportunity to participate in our next round! Feel free to sparkmail me or visit my sparkpage/blogs to learn more or ask questions. Report
These challenges are fantastic!!! I did once the BLC and was great! Now, I'm a fan and follower of the 5% Challenges. Totally love them.
Thank you, Coach Jen, for this marvelous article!!! Report
I love the 5% Challenge team!! I think any of these would help people toward their goals! THANK YOU to all the leaders!! Report
I was wondering if you had to be named Lynn to even be part of these challenges (hahaha) then I saw Kellie's team! I've been part of the 5% challenge since the Winter 2010 season. I've been a member on and off since and am signed up for the Fall 2016 5%! I've always enjoyed the challenges and the friendships I have formed during them! I've generally stayed with the Firecrackers, but have been a Starfish too. I am always excited to participate in each weekly challenge and form new habits along the way. I have not been involved in any of the others mentioned, but am doing the BLC32 challenge which is also named for, but has nothing to do with the TV show. Here too I am part of a wonderful support network and great people who inspire me! We also compete. The healthy habits and losing weight are of focus, but we always say "participation, not perfection" and do our best. I've made many more fabulous Spark friends here as well! I love team created challenges as well as the challenges SP puts together for us. Looking forward to more of those (hint, hint)!! Report
I was on the 5% challenge this summer, part of the "Determined Daisies" team and found it very helpful, positive, fun, friendly and I even learned more about each of our virtual "destinations". It was a new way to work on my weight goal and I highly recommend it. Report
Awesome article! I just recently signed up for the Biggest Loser Challenge/ Emeralds Leaves of Change 2016 Fall Challenge. So far so good and I am encouraged knowing that everyone on our team is striving to reach his or her weight loss goals just like me. We are in it to win it! Thanks SPARK PEOPLE...You are really changing lives! Report
I am on and a co-leader of THE BLACKPANTHERS. My life changed when a person recruited me to become a Black Panther on the BIGGEST LOSER TEAMS. There are so many wonderful reasons to become a member of our group and team. Some of which are: COMRADERY, COMPASSION, MOTIVATION, ACCEPTANCE, SUPPORT, COMMISSERATION, INSTRUCTION, EDUCATION, COMPETITION, BONDING AND LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN! As a new member of The Biggest Loser Black Panther Team back in 2015 I was amazed at the incredible Team Leaders who organize and maintain these individual teams. Their dedication, creativity and all around support are something to experience. Because of my Team Leader (Linn) I not only became an active member, but a co-leader as well. One of the best aspects of our entire Biggest Loser group is that we are loyal to our individual teams yet we interact with our “competitor” teams for a fun, friendly, interesting and competitive challenge weekly. The Black Panther group is our family and that family is part of the Biggest Loser Teams extended family. Our mascots are interactive and make this competition one of fun with both statistical and visual body and health transformations. GO BLACK PANTHERS – Panther Lean, Panther Strong! Report
I just completed my first 5% challenge and was amazed at how motivating it was. Most importantly, I didn't want to let my team down - so I worked a lot harder than I had been up until June 25th. I also lost more weight in that 8 week period than I had in the last 3 months! I am ready to start the Fall challenge! And on another note - our leaders are absolutely fabulous. They provide information, answer questions, and keep us all going. A big thank you to all those who are leading a team! Report
I am on the biggest loser black panther team and would have no motivation to stay active if I did not do the challenges. They change it up season to season, keeping my attention and the support is amazzzzing ! I have other teams equally as supportive but they do not always have challenges that keep me focused on my health. The in between challenges help me to prevent a big gain between active challenges. Our team rocks in active minutes ! Go Panthers... ROAR !!! Report
Honorary Invincible Indigo team member here, participating in the Biggest Loser Challenge. I love the idea of working collectively as a community and couldn't wait to join this challenge. Go Indigos! Report
I'm getting ready to take off on my third 5% challenge. I find it is great to keep me motivated, to stay on track and to sometimes try different things. I've met many new Spark friends who are great support and chat threads are often kept active in between the official challenge periods so that we can stay in touch. Report
I have been a successful maintainer for 6+ years now and I owe it to The At Goal & Maintaining Plus Transition to Maintenance team with the +/- 3 % challenges that last 9 weeks. Without these challenges I am not sure how I would manage my maintenance. They keep me on my toes! Report
5% Community is awesome.

co-leader of CHAMPIONS IN THE KITCHEN Report
The At Goal & Maintaining Plus Transition to Maintenance team has wonderful maintenance 9 week challenges. I've done more than 10 of them and doubt I'd be maintaining my 80 pound loss without them. Thanks to Jeanknee and BAPEARMAN who took over the challenge when the original leaders were no longer available! Report
I am on the Determined Daisy Team of the 2016 5% Fall Challenge. We are looking for more members! If you are interested in joining any team on the 5% Fall Challenge, please click on the following site! I love the inspiration and motivation I get from my SparkFriends!!

Great Blog Coach Jen! Thank you for sharing this awesome synopsis of teams!!


I am on the Biggest Loser Challenge (different than the Biggest Loser Challenge mentioned in the article). My teams signup page is at www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_
. I love that it is smaller very interactive teams so you get to know people and everyone supports each other. There is also a lot of different flavors to the teams so while all are good you can find one that is a great fit for You. They provide challenges, often a mixture of fun and serious work, and also information to motivate you to work on weight loss. I have been on a few other teams including the 5% team that was not as good a fit for me. However, I like the small group of people interacting all the time that I get in this BLC challenge. In fact so much that I became a leader and created a team with what I wanted it to do - another flavor choice for members. :) Report
I am on the 5% Challenge and the Biggest Loser Challenge. They are both great! The challenges keep me inspired to continue to work towards my goal of better health, and the support is fantastic.

I'm going to look into the other two teams mentioned. Report
I have been a member of SP for at least five years and have never joined a challenge but the people who are organizing the Biggest Loser Challenge are so enthusiastic and encouraging I decided to give a challenge a try- really out of my comfort zone here but feel supported! Report
I am a member of the BL, Black Panther team and the support is absolutely amazing!!!!!! I left the group a few years back and had a big set back in my weight loss/healthy goals. I came back and now I am doing the best I ever have and I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates who help keep the motivation and accountability going. Great friendships on and away from SP are being built. We are the Black Panthers! Hear us ROAR! :) Report
This is the second round of BL challenge for me (Go Phoenix!) and I can honestly say it has helped me stick with Spark and recognize that I have to keep plugging away at a better me. Great article, will have to check out the other groups. Thanks to all that give up their time to put these together. Report
I am a very proud member and co-leader of the Scarlet Dragons Biggest Loser challenge. I never had belonged to any teams before so i thought I'd give it a try. I absolutely love it. The summer chsllenge was my first challenge. I have never been able to keep going with the dieting and exercising longer than about 3 months..... thanks to the Dragon's it's going to be 6 months on the 14th of September. We have an awesome very supportive and motivational team. I think it's one of the best decisions I have made. I felt very honoured when I was asked to be one of the leaders, I took a chance and said yes. Dragons rule.... Report
I've been on Spark for several years now - and noticed people doing these challenges. It's great to have this summary of how they function - thank you! I now want to join all the challenges! However, I'm focusing on the 5% Fall Challenge for now! Thanks for a great article. :) Report
I have a LOT of success on the 5% Challenge !! I've been with them since the ! Winter of 2010 , as a leader since the Spring 5% Challenge 2011 as the Motivational Leader (ML) on the Spirited Under Dog team. I just LOVE this team and how close we are. We are a competitive team who thrive to our best, while being very supportive of each other and encouraging. If you see this and would love to come join us, please write to me, or anyone else comments you see how's on the 5% Challenge !! Because of the tremendous support I've received this year on the Dawggie (Spirited Under Dogs) I've LOST 44 lbs so far ! This of course meant I need to track daily, and I exercise 60 to 90 mins a day. I DO have a variety of health issues, but as my Mom taught me "Where there's a WILL there's a WAY." Right now I am using a knee walker and try to get 30 to 60 mins using that. I also do "sit down" yoga (found on youtube under beginners,,, .

"Biggest Loser" is awesome!...team spirit, friendships, encouragement by team members and "other team" members such as a certain BLACK PANTHER, with reasonable challenges and reachable goals in weight-loss, nutrition, fitness! I could go on and on! I am a GOLDEN PHOENIX! Rah-Rah! In Greek mythology, a Phoenix is a beautiful bird of Light, who is thought killed, crashes into the fire, and overcomes! She is reborn out of the ashes into one "Mighty, Everlasting Warrior Bird of Fire", who soars towards the heavens, and I, as one "WARRIOR OF LIGHT AND FIRE", take as many as I can, upwards, with me!!! No woman or man left behind! Report
I joined the Groovy Geckos on the BLC in the summer round. I'm back for BLC32 and greatly appreciate the encouragement & support from my team. This is one of two teams I belong to that I feel like a member of a family and know I can share my discouragements and "failures" w/o fearing reproach. I get reminded that the goal is "Participation, not Perfection" - a great concept for a perfectionist!! GO GROOVY GECKOS! Report
I'm one of the Overall Co-Leaders for the 5% Challenges and a proud Challenge Leader for one of the teams, the FIRECRACKER TEAM. I found that the Challenges give me motivation and also push me to do better (so that I don't let my team down). I really LOVE SP and all of the information contained on this site and I especially love the SparkFriends that I have made during my involvement with the Challenges. It is an all around win-win! Report
I'm new to the Biggest Loser Fall Challenge but I am LOVING it!! The team members are supportive and helpful. It has given me motivation to get back on track once again. I hope others give it a try!
I, too, am a member of the Beautiful Amethyst Butterflies and this is my first challenge. We all need inspiration at times and this is a great way to get on track or stay on track!!!! Report
I am a new member of the Beautiful Amethyst Butterflies BL team and look forward to the challenges and friendly competition between members of my team and the other teams in the Biggest Loser Group.

Being accountable to my team and the entire BL group of teams is what works for me. Report
I do both the 5% (Spirited Underdawgs) and BL (Fuchsia's). Both teams together help keep me focused and motivated. All my Leaders are fabulous as are my teammates. If you are not on a team, maybe it is time to take a leap and join! Report
I belong to 3 of these 4 teams and they are all great. I have been with Kellie on the 1 day Challenge for awhile now, have completed three 5% Challenges (as a Courageous Cloverleaf) and am getting ready for the 4th, and am starting my 2nd BL Challenge as a Scarlet Dragon. I have lost almost 70 pounds on SP and account much of it to the teams. Being accountable to other members is what keeps me going strong & the positive support and friendship is awesome. I recommend to anyone struggling with meeting your goals to join one or more of the teams. Report
I am very new to Spark People, and received an invitation to join a BLC team. What a nice welcome to the community! I am looking forward to dedicating myself to the challenge!

Proud and pleased to be a newly hatched Scarlet Dragon! Report
I started with the Biggest loser challenge during this past summer. It is very motivating to have a great team, fitness challenges as well as nutrition challenges. I belong to the "Scarlet Dragon" team for the Fall 2016 challenge. The leaders and the team members are great, encouraging and a fun way to stay motivated and succeed in this weight loss / life style journey. Having challenges/teams and interactions is one of the best things about Spark People! Scarlet Dragons rule!! Report
In addition to creating new habits, Lynn's challenges in the Starting Over: Weekly Mini-Challenge Team makes us aware of new aspects of our healthful lifestyle or opens our eyes to how far we've been deviating from it. And she does it creatively and encouragingly.she often gives us links to help. Report