As a thoughtful, butt-kicking trainer the most important thing you can do in growing your fitness classes is to run killer session after session.
By killer, I don’t mean ‘kill them’ by making the workout overly difficult. I mean killer as in workouts that get your clients enjoying the sessions, getting results and talking to others about how much they love them (or love to hate them).
So for the next 8 minutes let’s forget about the latest marketing fad and lets just focus on how we can make our sessions awesome by doing these 2 things.
Thing #1 – Great Planning
The first thing you need to be doing to run killer bootcamp workouts is plan your workout.
Without planning it’s too easy to fall back on using the same drills and same movements. These will lead to you and your clients being bored, and them not getting the results they want.
To plan your sessions, set yourself up a template like this one:
Warm Up – 10 minutes
Game – 10 minutes
Main Part – 20 minutes
Finisher – 10 minutes
Cooldown – 10 minutes
Then all you need to do is fill in the different sections of the workouts. It’s a bit less daunting than having a blank screen or piece of paper and starting from scratch.
Once you’ve planned out what drills you’re using you’re not done yet.
To plan your sessions properly you need to add variations to your exercises for different fitness levels and abilities. If you’ve got a client (or clients) that you know are not going to be able to do something you’ve planned, make a note of what they can do instead.
It looks so much more professional and personal if you turn up to your sessions with this stuff already thought out instead of trying to come up with it on the fly.
Download my personal planning template (Google Sheets link, no email required).
Thing #2 – Phenomenal Coaching
We’ve covered preparing for your sessions, the second thing you need for killer workouts happens during the session.
This comes down to your ability to be able to engage your clients, make sure they’re training safely at a level that’s appropriate to them and keep the session running at the same time.
Another word for this is: Coaching.
A good coach works kind of like the zoom on a DSLR camera.
They are able to zoom in and focus on just one client, maybe tweak their technique (or change the exercise entirely) or do a few reps with them to help motivate them, then they can zoom out again so the whole group is in focus again. Now they motivate the whole group with a few yells of encouragement, check the timer quickly, then scan for the next client to zoom in again.
And this is what they keep doing for 45 minutes or an hour or however long their session is. Zoom in: correct, motivate, increase the pace. Zoom out: scan, encourage, check the session is running to schedule.
Lastly, for anyone they didn’t get around to or that they knew would take more than 20 seconds to help they make a mental note and chat with them after the session is over.
Learning how to do this takes time and practice so if you’re new to running group fitness sessions, don’t freak out if that all seems utterly overwhelming at the moment.
Watching other great trainers and coaches is a great way to learn so finding a trainer who is happy for you to shadow them for a bit will go a long way.
Then of course, running dozens then hundreds of your own sessions will help you really nail it.
At first you’ll spend too much time with one client and forget about the group. Or too much time with the group and not enough time to correct bad technique. That’s OK, the main thing is to not get complacent with the way you coach. Keep trying and you’ll get better and faster.
One area I see trainers get stuck on (including myself at the beginning too) is spending too much time trying to correct technique of just one client. You’ll go to quickly help someone, then 10 corrections later they’re still doing it wrong at the rest of the group is standing around waiting for what’s next.
This comes down to being able to quickly identify what is causing that person to not be able to the exercise properly and then knowing what the best cue is to correct it. Again, this will come with experience.
What helped me a lot with this was training one on one clients. With one on one’s I was able to take the time to put into practice what I was learning about body mechanics and see how it actually worked.
For example: No two clients I had squatted the same way. So I was able to learn how to help someone squat in a way that was best for their body and what was holding them back. From watching someone squat I can get a pretty good idea if they’ve got tight ankles, weak arches, tight hips, weak hips, weirdly long shin bones, etc. And then I can give them the best cue to help them specifically.
That doesn’t mean I get it right the first time every time, but usually I can get it on the first couple of cues which cuts down how long I have to spend with each client.
But this just takes practice. Practice, practice, practice and learning! Learn from other coaches, take courses off and online, watch videos. Practice on your clients.
The two things for killer sessions
If you’re really good at one of these things you will probably do OK. You can grow a decent list of clients but you might find it tricky to hold on to them long term.
Plan your sessions and work towards becoming a phenomenal coach and you’ll be running the type of sessions your clients will rave about. Clients who will stick with you loyally for years.
Everything else like: what equipment you use, your marketing techniques, what you charge, whether you train indoors or outdoors doesn’t matter as much as getting these two things right. After all, the main service you’re providing is giving people a great workout.
The other stuff will also come with time from reading sites like Bootcamp Ideas (and listening to The Trainers Tribe, duh!).
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.