In the 5 years I’ve interacted with trainers on Bootcamp Ideas, I haven’t met a serious trainer yet who doesn’t want to run awesome session after session for their clients.
If you’ve been following the site for a while then you know that group fitness doesn’t have to involve an instructor at the front of the class yelling orders. You’ve also seen that while circuits are great for planning sessions, you need to mix things up to keep your clients engaged (and yourself too!). For example you can take your bootcamp to new levels with team challenge workouts which add a whole new dimension to what group fitness can be.
I, myself, learned this first hand.
When I started making a concerted effort to improve my workouts and embrace how different a bootcamp can be from other group fitness options, I went from struggling to maintain 30-40 members to having a thriving, consistent 80 member bootcamp.
It is possible. But the biggest problem I faced when I began was that I didn’t even know a bootcamp session could look like anything more than a circuit and a few bear crawls.
Five years ago, when I searched online for ‘bootcamp ideas’ a got a bunch of spammy websites that had clearly been written to sell hastily put together ebooks.
They didn’t help me plan for the range of fitness levels I had in my group or the size of the group either. In fact they didn’t teach me how to plan my own workouts at all.
I spent a lot of time trying different ways to plan out and improve my sessions to grow my bootcamp. I want to share 3 of the mistakes I made with you now because I see and hear from a lot of other trainers making the same mistakes.
1. The “I don’t need to plan” Mistake
It can be easy to think that the best way to reduce the amount of time you spend planning workouts is simply to not plan your workouts at all.
In my experience this actually does work well for a time. It’s nice, not having to worry about planning anything and it turns out that you actually can ‘wing it’ OK.
Soon after that though, the quality of the workouts start dropping off. We fall into patterns and end up using the same workouts over and over. Clients start plateauing or getting bored of doing the same thing each session and then they start making excuses about why they can’t come anymore.
They won’t actually tell you that being bored of the workouts is why they are leaving. They’ll say something about work being busy or some activity they can’t do or that they need the money to save for something else.
If your clients are loving your sessions, they will make excuses for the rest of they life so that they can make it your group fitness workouts.
2. The “Planning the night before” Mistake
For a while I slipped into a habit of planning my workouts the night before training.
Sometimes I would even have made it all the way into bed before realising ‘Crap! I haven’t planned tomorrow’s workout.’ Then I would have to get up out of bed and plan it which meant I would go back to bed half an hour later wired, or wake up extra early the next morning and try and plan it while still half asleep.
This isn’t exactly the least stressful way to go to sleep. I had to make some changes to stop myself repeating this annoying pattern. I’ll share more on that later.
3. The “Spending too much time on the wrong things” Mistake
When I started my first bootcamp I pretty much just ran circuits. It’s all I knew how to do! After a few months the bootcamp fizzled out. The few clients I had got dropped off an eventually no one was turning up to my sessions and I had to stop running them.
12 month’s later I had a new bootcamp with 60+ clients coming several times a week. 24 months later it was 80 regular clients.
To explain what happened let me tell you about a cafe.
One of my favourite places to eat and get coffee is a local cafe called 15 Pounds. Every day of the week this place is busy. If not with people eating in, then with people getting take away coffees.
Unlike other cafe’s, they don’t have WiFi because they actually don’t want people hanging around to long. They need the tables for their sheer volume of customers.
They have never once paid for advertising. The reason they are busy is because of word of mouth and repeat business. People come back because the food is good, the coffee is awesome, the staff remember your name and you are always greeted warmly.
When I started focusing on improving my workouts and going the extra step for my clients, they kept coming back for more without any pushy sales tactics. Investing the time in making my bootcamp sessions the best in the area was the best investment I made.
Most trainers believe that they have to find some magic marketing technique in order to get more reliable, consistent clients.
The problem is, that having more clients doesn’t matter if you aren’t keeping the one’s you have coming back for more. Creating high quality, awesome bootcamp sessions is the foundation you must build first to create a fitness business with reliable, consistent clients.
Our new service, BootCraft, helps busy trainers access dozens of fresh workout ideas by category, time and group size so that they can save hours each week when planning new sessions.
I’ll share with you more about this later in the week.
This article is part of 21 Days of Bootcamp Ideas. In week 1 I’m going to share with you 3 tips for easily planning your group fitness sessions along with 3 workout drills I’ve tested and love that you can take and use with your bootcamp right away.
You can get the full 3 weeks here for free just for being an email subscriber.
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.