How to Instill Fun in Your Boot Camp -Bootcamp Game Day
by Dexter Tenison
Across the nation, and now worldwide, people are getting up at 5:30 or 6 AM and going to their boot camp class.
At those classes you usually hear, “Push-ups! Ready? Go! Now sit-ups. Go!”
While those two examples will be seen at almost every boot camp, how long do you think it will be before people get bored with the concept of just doing push-ups because some person happens to be telling them to do them?
I have been to several boot camps to check on the competition, and while visiting at conferences, etc. I have seen a reoccurring trend: the boot camps that are lifeless and boring have trouble keeping clients. The boot camps that not only have a energy, but also an element of fun have the most success at keeping numbers high, which allows them to keep their doors open.
Study after study in sports psychology shows that people stick to exercise routines that they consider to be fun and doable. Now, I agree that the definition of “fun” can be interpreted several different ways. However, more potential clients than not need a little fun added to their workouts, such as friendly competition, workouts that make them forget they are working out, and an element of uniqueness that they have never experienced before.
People are attracted to unique individuals, and it just so happens that most trainers usually have some kind of uniqueness about them. Some trainers may be a genetically gifted Adonis, some may have a great backstory, and some are good at teaching, while others just may have the gift of having an attractive personality. However, after the initial honeymoon phase is over, I don’t care how awesome you are, how great your backstory is, or how great your personality is, if your workouts are plain vanilla it is only a matter of time before a client will be gone. So what is a solution to keep your clients engaged and excited about coming to boot camp? We use game days.
Game days are themed workouts that have a competitive nature to them. Of course, we encourage friendly competition, and no one is to be left behind. However, these workouts break up the monotony of “push-ups, go!” Instead, clients participate in hands on, team and goal-oriented workouts that encourage fun interaction. An example could be that if a person does 75 push-ups, they earn their team 3 points. Instead of the boot camp trainer yelling “squats, go”, there is a station where the client must do 50 body weight squats in order to progress to the next station. The workout itself is the fun element so the trainer does not have the be the only part of the class that makes clients want to come back. As an added bonus you can give prizes to the top placing teams or individuals, giving them something to brag about to their friends!
If you are a boot camp owner, this can be a good thing when hiring staff! You don’t want the entire success of your company to depend on finding trainers that have an electric personality in every single class, do you? Employees are great, but they are subject to having bad days, not putting in as much effort as you would, and not creating as good of workouts as YOU would provide to your clients. Adding boot camp games into your system is a way to inject fun and excitement based more on the workout itself than just the trainer.
Let me give you an easy example of a game day that you could implement immediately into your workout rotation (and by the way, after you try it, give me your thoughts about it by posting a comment below!):
Coin Flip Workout
Materials needed: Index cards and pennies.
Have a couple of small prizes available to give to winning clients/teams.
Before class, prepare 20 or more index cards (depending on time and class size). Write heads on one side of the card, and tails on the other side. For the “heads” cards also write a different upper body exercise for a certain number of reps on each; for the “tails” cards write a lower body exercise for a certain number of reps.
Example: Heads, 25X push-ups and Tails, 25X squat jumps. Make sure to have some “cardio” cards as well so that they get some cardio, such as mountain climbers and jump rope for example.
If the class if bigger, I like to team people up. Put the cards on the floor in a large circle that allows the campers to workout around the cards. Have the campers begin at whatever card they wish, but try to not have too many at one station. At each station they flip a coin and complete the exercise listed to match (heads or tails side). The goal is for the camper or team to get back to their first card before the end of the workout.
Also, I like to throw a monkey wrench in. I ask that more experienced campers team up with less experienced campers. If one person finishes faster than their partner, I have them jump back in and complete the rest of the reps with their partner before moving on. So, the advanced camper may do 35 or 40 push-ups before the other camper finishes. This ensures both levels get a challenging workout, because the less experienced camper can go a little slower, and the more experienced camper does more reps! All is fair! Ha!
As I said, have some small prizes like a $5 gift card to somewhere to give away. If more than 1 group finishes, do a heads or tails face off to see who wins.
Can you see were this style of workout implemented into your boot camp systems could be a nice change of pace for your boot campers? How do you feel about fun and laughter while doing exercise?? Do you think you can feed the competitive people in your group a workout they can complete while having fun as well? Don’t you think the pairing of experienced and inexperienced people is going to create a welcoming and inviting culture and experience? It’s a win-win-win scenario!
So do me a favor and try this workout and let me know how it turned out in your session. I bet they will be talking about this workout on Facebook and to their friends and family much more than the standard “push-ups, go” schtick!
Dexter Tenison is a master trainer and has a master’s degree in sports science from the United States Sports Academy. He has mentored under Juan Carlos Santana and Fred Hatfield for exercise science and Phil Kaplan, Pat Rigsby, Steve Hochman, Sam Bakhtiar and others for fitness business. He owns a successful boot camp, Memphis Adventure Boot Camp, and is a “behind-the-scenes” consultant for other boot camp owners and personal trainers, elevating their businesses to new heights.
Dexter has am unusual way of incorporating fun and bootcamp Game Day in your bootcamps Here’s an exclusive deal and sneak peak into BOOTCAMP GAME DAY! http://georgettepann.com/bcgameday