5 Biggest Bootcamp Workout Blunders
by Georgette Pann
The following was originally a guest post on Nick Tumminello’s blog
If you’re a trainer with a boot camp or group training program – or looking to start one, you’ll want to make sure you’re not making any of these 5 Biggest Boot Camp Blunders. If you happen to be an individual looking for a boot camp to join, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these blunders so you can avoid less effective and disappointing training programs.
1. Mistaking variety for quality programming.
People like variety. The proof of that is in the success of boot camps and group fitness programs all across the country that offer a diverse range of exercises and a wide choice of formats. Variations of exercises and occasional changes to the workout format will help keep things interesting and keep clients happy. However, variety is often not the most important part of any physical training program – not even for a boot camp. Whether it’s focused on an individual, a small group or a large group of people, a training program needs to be designed to achieve the goals of the individuals in the program.
To achieve those goals, a program must have some level of consistency so participants can measure their progress and improvement over time. If a program includes so much variety that participants go weeks or months before repeating an exercise, there is no way to tell whether they are progressing in their physical capabilities.
Consistency of movements, combined with planned progressive overload, is how trainers help clients improve their physical capability. Too much variation and variety undermine these foundational principles of exercise. Besides, if you’re constantly trying to provide more variety, eventually you run out of ideas or variations. This is why variety should not be the main focus of your boot camp or group training program.
In short, although people enjoy variety they also enjoy seeing improvement. And, its difficult to demonstrate improvement in strength and functional capacity without doing somethings consistently.
2. Not including ANY variety.
The flip side of the variety coin(see #1) is repeating the same workouts and exercises over and over. This leads to stale workouts and bored bootcampers. It can also result in stagnation in an individual’s progression.
At this point you might be thinking, “But wait a minute, Georgette, you just said variety was bad. Now you say it’s good?”
What I said in the previous section was that endless variety does not equal quality, and can make it harder to reach clients’ goals from the standpoint of showing progress in their physical capability. However, some programs use the same workout rotation week after week. It’s a lazy approach that doesn’t consider progression, changing needs or potential stagnation. And it’s boring.
As I mentioned above people do want variety and proof is in the popularity of group workout chains that are popping up everywhere that create endless variety! Just to clarify, when I speak about variety I mean random workouts as opposed to changing or modifying an exercise.
That said, the question becomes how can you provide both progressive overload via consistency and variety into your group training workout? Here are some ways to add variety to your programming without impeding results – pick one at a time. For items 2 through 5, return to your base workout or exercises before switching things up again.
- Change your warm-up session.
- Change your finisher routine – incorporate different protocols, such as AMRAP, EMOM, HIIT, Tabata, etc.
- Have an occasional theme day,game day,or challenge day – once a week at most
- Use fitness games and challenges at the end of sessions.
3. Copying workouts and random exercises from the Internet.
Trusting clients hand over their hard-earned cash week after week because they were promised a high-quality, results-producing program and the trainer gets the workout plans from where? The Internet? C’mon!
Put simply, if you can get your workouts online via Facebook or YouTube, everyone else can too. So we can eliminate the middleman. Also, as a trainer, you are not differentiating or separating yourself by doing this. Not t mention, as a client, there’s no need to pay for a a higher-priced Bootcamp when you can take a free group class at your gym or copy workouts online yourself.
Clients depend on the trainer’s expertise to help them achieve what they are unable to achieve on their own. Trainers are certified to train clients, not to copy random online workouts for them.
Copying workouts from the Internet won’t result in a program that meets clients’ needs and achieves their needs because they aren’t designed as a cohesive program. Planning workouts this way, cheats clients of the very value trainers promised them.
4. Not having a plan, a framework.
In case you haven’t got the message yet, running an effective fitness boot camp or group training program means having a plan, a workout framework that your workouts are built on. Showing up to session and shouting out exercises on the fly doesn’t cut it because there’s no progression or consistency. Bootcampers might as well stay home and pull up their favorite fitness youtuber on their smart phone. Only slightly better is sitting down an hour before session to jot down random exercises for today’s workout .
Lack of planning often results in heavy reliance on a handful of exercises repeated over and over. Trainers without a plan will usually resort to extended running/jogging periods or repeated rounds of burpees and other calisthenics while they think up other exercises for participants.
Programming and planning should be a regular part of a trainer’s schedule. Each training program should have an advanced plan before the program even begins and advertising is distributed. A complete periodization program isn’t necessary. But a strong framework outlining a progression strategy and planned exercises is critical. These details will make it easier to plan each workout and maintain the consistency and progression necessary while still permitting an interesting level of variety.
Each week, regular time should be carved out to tweak the program and upcoming workouts based on current needs and feedback. Lastly, trainers should take time after each session to make notes on group and individual performances to incorporate into upcoming workouts.
5. Failing to Distinguish Between Training and Exercise
What do you actually want to accomplish in the workout? A training program must have goals in order to set (reasonable) expectations. Otherwise, what are you “training” for, and how will you know if you’re moving in the right direction?
Without goals and an established plan to reach them, it’s all just random exercises. But maybe that’s what you’re aiming for. Some people just need to get up and move more. And that’s OK too. If that’s the case, the group leader and the participants need to be clear on this from the beginning. If a group workout is advertised to achieve more specific strength and performance goals, then participants will expect – and deserve – a well thought out and properly planned fitness program.
It’s a Fitness PROGRAM: Participants Get Out of it What the Trainer Puts Into It
You’ve heard the old adage about computer programming: garbage in, garbage out. It means, if you don’t put good programming into the computer, the computer won’t give you the desired results. The same is true of fitness programs. You must input good planning and preparation in order to maximize training time and effectiveness.
The just “knock ‘em down and drag ‘em out” every session mindset is a recipe for creating uniformed, over-trained and a higher potential of injured bootcampers.
The bottom line is that people want results, and they rely on the trainer to achieve those results. You’ll live up to their expectations if you:
- Keep workouts consistent enough to achieve progressive improvement.
- Include enough variety to keep it interesting and avoid developmental stagnation.
- Hand pick exercises appropriate for the goals of each workout and the overall program.
- Formulate an overall workout plan spanning the duration of your boot camp or group training period (I.e. monthly, six weeks, eight weeks, etc.).
- Be clear about the objectives of your program and know what you must do to fulfill the expectations your clients.
Now you know how to avoid the biggest blunders of running a boot camp or group training program. Get out there and build a solid program you can be proud of and your clients will love you for it!
Georgette Pannis the owner of NutriFitness LLC/Fitness Bootcamp Pros. She has 25+ years experience in the Health and Fitness field with expertise in fitness bootcamps. She is author and creator of the best selling Sure Victory Fitness Bootcamp Business in a Box and publisher of Done-for-You products and programs for Fit Pros SmartFitProWorkouts.