Ways To Make Fitness Fun For Adults
by Scott York
A lady called me this week to inquire about joining my fitness boot camp.
I asked her a couple of health and fitness related questions and then I sat back and just listened.
I listened to her “pain”.
I hear it all the time. And I bet you do too.
“I don’t enjoy exercise.”
“It seems like it just gets harder and harder as I get older.”
“Not only is it painful, but due to my increased responsibilities, I just can’t find the time.”
I asked her if she had kids.
She said, “Yes, I have 2”.
To which I said, “Have you ever noticed how children can exercise all day, and don’t seem to ever get tired?
Think back to your own childhood and you can probably recall how you fell off of your bike (or skateboard or rollerblades) or played tackle the man with the ball (football) or played hide and seek or climbed tall trees…all of this in one day…and still never seemed to get tired!
We were children and we didn’t realize that we were exercising.
Our parents didn’t tell us to “Go outside and exercise!”
They said “Go outside and PLAY!”
That sounds pretty good to a kid.
And, I’ve found that it sounds pretty good to an adult, too.
With the right framework, it’s easy to play and, at the same time, practice good fitness habits – all while having a great time.
That’s the answer that I think many adults are looking for.
If fitness were fun, many more people would exercise and they would do it more often.
Because everyone likes to have fun, right?
Here’s an “ah ha” question to ask that potential boot camper who’s not sure if your boot camp program is right for them.
“At what point in your life were you in your best shape?”
Most people will pause and then say in their teens or early 20’s.
Let them talk – telling you about how much activity they did.
Don’t interrupt – they’re on a roll.
Soon, the light bulb will come on in their heads and they will understand why you asked them that question.
But if they don’t get it, tell them that maybe they were in their best shape in their teens and/or early 20’s because in your teens you had P.E. class, basket ball, volley ball, foot ball, cheer leading, impromptu fitness games with your friends on the weekend, etc.
In my 20’s we used to head out to the park on Saturdays and play tackle football for a few hours.
We looked forward to it all week – trash talking, inviting our friends and planning the refreshments.
It was fun.
It was a party.
Here are some great ways to create a “fun factor” in your boot camp or group training:
1. Play A Warm Up Game Consistently in Your Fitness Boot Camp.
I’ve found that if I don’t play some sort of game for a few days, my boot campers start requesting them. They wonder why we haven’t played something recently.
It’s also a great way to engage people, get them laughing, wake them up (if it’s early) and set the stage for the rest of the class.
2. End The Main Workout With a Game.
We work out hard. But we also play hard. In fact, a lot of times, I will divide the group into teams, we’ll do the main workout and then we end it with a team game like “Cone Collection” or “Trash”. They know that if they have to keep up during the main workout because the main workout leads into a game like “Trash” they’re going to push a little harder than they might normally. They don’t want to be on the losing side.
3. Create Fitness Challenges
Want to have some serious fun and really encourage your group to lose weight and improve their fitness levels?
Every 8 weeks create a new “Fitness Challenge”.
The advantages are numerous. This is one of the reasons my own boot camp continues to sell out.
Every 8 weeks, we have a new Fitness Challenge.
Our current challenge is to: Run 1/3 mile and then do: 5 Double Unders, 5 Clapping Push Ups, 5 Burpees and 5 Squat Jumps.
This is a timed challenge and it takes them anywhere from 3 – 5 minutes to complete. We do it once a week as a group. I time them and they shout out “Done” when they are finished.
I call out the time and they write down their time on a piece of paper which I take with me.
Once a week, I email every one the updated spreadsheet showing their current results.
I offer encouragement and support.
I throw in some inspirational quotes.
I offer nutritional tips.
The actual spreadsheet is public in which they can all see their own as well as each other’s time.
Their goal is get the best time that they can in 8 weeks.
This is what separates boot camps from gym’s like Golds, 24 Hour Fitness, etc.
There’s a goal. There’s community. There are these weekly emails just to my enrolled boot campers – not to my email list.
Everyone can see what everyone else is doing on that spreadsheet.
Yes, I’ve lost some boot campers because of this BUT I’VE REPLACED THEM WITH MORE MOTIVATED ENTHUSIASTIC PEOPLE!
Who then bring in more enthusiastic people.
And because it’s an 8 week fitness challenge, most people will stick it out for 8 weeks and by doing so they will get amazing results – physically and mentally!
And they will come back for the next 8 week challenge.
These are just some of the ways that can make fitness fun again. With our boot camps and group training programs, we are in a perfect position to do so.
I’m sure if you think back to when you were a child, you can come up with several more ways!
– Scott York, NASM-CPT
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