Boot Camp Basics24 April 2013
Boot camp training is taking the fitness industry by storm – and it’s not surprising why. Top trends in the industry currently put high-intensity interval training (HIT), small group training, outdoor workouts, bodyweight only training and military-style training at the top of the list.
All of these training formats can be embedded into a well-run boot camp programme, thereby attracting a wide audience. In addition, many people are drawn to the social aspects of group training, thriving on both the group motivation and friendly competition.
In fact, many industry experts and exercise enthusiasts would agree that the social benefits of group training are strong motivators for longer term exercise adherence.
Boot camp training is typically intense, utilising HIT techniques within a circuit based workout, and is often performed outdoors several times a week. Having a full portfolio of boot camp class offerings can also benefit the trainer, by allowing a direct debit option. This not only gives clients a flexible payment option, it also provides financial stability for the trainer, especially if sessions are blocked-booked and paid in advance.
There is an expectation by many that boot camps are very extreme training sessions. While this is not strictly true, it is useful at the outset to decide on the type of boot camp you are going to offer. Are you looking to run sessions based around some of the more intense training formats, such as CrossFit or British Military Fitness? Or are you looking to brand your boot camps specifically at other markets, such as new parents (Buggy Boot Camp), or ladies only (Fit for a Princess)?
Who is your target audience?
Who and how many do you want to attend your boot camp? What mentality of exercise do you wish to promote? Do you want to attract general members of the public or would you like to take your boot camp to a sports team or corporate business? Sports clubs often have more than enough space, equipment and facilities to provide for your service, and may have a substantial database of potential clients.
What are your specialist skills?
Make sure you maximise on your personal skills and reputation in the industry, as well as finding a specific USP for your boot camps. Will you be offering weight management classes alongside your workouts? Perhaps lectures and seminars or affiliate membership to a sports/fitness company where all of your participants get discounts on events, products, and equipment? Are you able to provide testimonials of successful completion and results?
It is also worth looking at how your boot camp can align with other fitness offerings in your local area – having a strong network around you and your class will give it more depth and strength of cause.
Stay tuned for part two where I’ll be discussing boot camp location, equipment and progressions. If you have any thoughts and experiences you’d like to share with us on boot camp preparation, feel free to post your comments below. See you next time!
Where do you want to deliver your boot camp?
When deciding on where to deliver your boot camps, ensure you assess the suitability thoroughly. As well as the usual questions regarding space, think of the extra needs your clients may have. Is there parking nearby and how much does it cost?
Can you transport all of your equipment needs with minimal struggle before and after the class? If you are planning on using the location several times per week, then you may need a storage site for larger equipment. Are there toilets within walking distance of the workout site, and perhaps even showers or change facilities? Can onlookers (potential clients) see your class clearly and perhaps observe without having to book a time with you? And obviously, is there a cost to rent the site, and if so, is it worth the outlay?
Are you suitably equipped?
Do you need much equipment? Bodyweight training is currently popular, which may help to answer this question. However, the use of ‘underground’ equipment, such as ropes, sandbags, kettlebells, ViPRs and tornado balls is also another very popular approach – and is often perceived as being on the cutting edge of fitness. However, equipment-driven sessions will require more preparation but may attract more participants due to the excitement of learning new training skills.
Evolution and progression – fashion vs. effect
Boot camps should utilise a periodic approach to programme design, ensuring that exercises are progressed in difficulty and skill over time yet still catering for newcomers. With this in mind, it’s important to consider whether you want to offer a non-linear approach (a general class that focuses on variety); or a developmental/linear approach (a class format that runs over, say 6-12 weeks, working towards a specific set of objectives).
It’s worth noting that boot camps that have a progressive approach with the same audience each week will allow you to build a fitness community, as well as bring in new ideas/services gradually. They also lend themselves well to monthly ‘master classes’ or even quarterly boot camp ‘retreats’ where clients can exercise in locations further afield.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into boot camp basics. If you have any thoughts or experiences on boot camps you’d like to share with us, feel free to post your comments below.