Are You Running a Serious Fitness Boot Camp… Or a Gym Class?
by Georgette Pann
There’s a big problem bubbling up in the fitness boot camp world. If this problem isn’t nipped in the bud, our industry is going to get a bad reputation and have a hard time recovering. And if you’re contributing to this problem, your business is soon going to collapse like a house of cards.
So what’s the problem? Just this: boot camp instructors seem to be running elementary school gym classes rather than fitness boot camps.
You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Every one of these boot camps is really just a big game. Sure, there are some exercises thrown in, but it’s all pretty random. There’s no programming based on the client goals. It looks like a whole lot of fun… but clients are getting little result if any.
That’s like going on a road trip without a map, without GPS, or without any clue about which direction to travel. You’ll end up sitting in the car for hours, but you won’t actually get to your destination anytime soon.
See what I’m saying?
If you’re running your boot camps like gym classes, your clients are investing a lot of hours, but they’re not getting to their destination. And that’s a huge disservice to clients who have specific weight loss or fitness goals.
Listen, I understand why some instructors run random gym classes. In some cases, they simply don’t know how to program boot camps. In other cases, the instructor is putting the focus on “fun” with the intention of improving retention rates.
But here’s the thing: focusing on fun is only part of the formula when it comes to getting those awesome retention rates.
You see, boot camps are inherently more fun than other fitness classes because of the camaraderie, variety and fast-paced classes. Plus a well-designed boot camp also helps clients’ achieves their goals. And you know what? Achieving goals + having fun is the formula for awesome retention rates and happy campers.
So let me share with you three tips for creating boot camps that are not only fun, but they’re also effective at meeting your clients’ goals…
Tip 1: Create Goal-Specific Boot Camps
The first time you think about your clients’ goals shouldn’t be on the first day of the boot camp. Instead, you need to consider them long before you ever launch the boot camp.
You see, a lot of boot camp instructors advertise “boot camps,” but they don’t use effective marketing to target a particular segment of the market. So they end up with some people who want to lose weight, some who want to build muscle, some who want to improve their cardiovascular fitness, some who just want to get more active
Well, you get the idea. When you create a general boot camp like this, you end up with a hodge podge of goals. This makes it exceedingly difficult for you to program your boot camp. When you try to meet everyone’s goals, you’ll probably fail everyone..
So here’s what you do instead…
Figure out what types of boot camps the people in your community need, and then create niche-specific camps.
For example, create a boot camp for women over 40 who want to lose weight. Create another one for men who’re training to get back in shape . Create yet another fitness boot camp for people who’re training for the armed forces.(just a few of many examples)
Once you know who you’re training and what their goals are, then you can program your boot camps with special exercises and develope a program to achieve these specific goals.
That takes care of the first key to a successful boot camp with a high retention rate, which is to meet your client’s goals.
..…even if you do have a generic boot camp with a broad group of types of people, you can at least add some customization or individualization for the clients to at least get a little of the programming effect specific to their goals.
Now the second key…
Tip 2: Add Variety to Your Boot Camps
The second part of the formula for creating a successful, high-retention rate boot camp is to ensure your clients are having fun. As mentioned before, boot camps are inherently more fun than other fitness classes. However, you can up the fun factor by introducing variety.
Now here’s the bonus: not only does variety make a boot camp fun, it also gives your clients better results since they’re not adapting to repetitive exercises week after week. So mix things up by including a variety of bodyweight exercises, circuit training, TRX exercises, kettle bell exercises, HIIT sessions and so on.
Tip 3: Track Your Client’s Results
The only way to know whether your boot camps are meeting your clients’ goals is by tracking their results. You can have your clients track their own results during the week in a fitness journal. Added bonus? Clients who keep fitness journals become more aware of their habits, which means they’re more likely to follow their nutrition and exercise program. That means they’ll get great results, which in turn leads to happy campers and high retention rates.
So, does all of this mean you shouldn’t have your campers play games during boot camps?
Of course not. There’s nothing wrong with playing the occasional game or challenge.
The problem is if your boot camp turns into a gym class with random games, no organization, and no direction.
Games have their purpose, such as breaking the ice in a new boot camp or mixing things up from time to time. Especially effective if using games as finishers!
But if you find your boot camp turning into a gym class, then it’s time for you to step back and start investing more time into programming your camps to achieve your clients’ goals. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your clients.
You can hear me discuss this article in depth on our podcast here: http://thefitnessbootcampclub.com/episode-49-real-boot-camp-workouts-vs-goofy-gym-class/
Georgette Pann: She has 25+ years experience in the Health and Fitness field with expertise in fitness bootcamps.She helped pioneer the fitness bootcamp industry. She is author and creator of the best selling “Sure Victory Fitness Bootcamp Business in a Box” and the Bootcamp Enterprise