Not many of you know this but I am actually a MASSIVE geek.
I mean hello I run an online business.
For most of my adult life every Friday night I would take my bag of dice and my character sheet to my friend’s house and for that evening I would become Roger Rift – a wily ninja saving the town of Cauldron with a band of heroes.
If you’re not familiar with D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) it’s a role playing game where each person controls a fictional character. You keep track of your characters stats on a written piece of paper.
Then you work together with the other players to go on quests which help you gain experience and improve your stats. One person takes the role of the DM (Dungeon Master) who controls the world around you and the people and monsters you interact with.
There is no computer screens or software, just old school pen and paper and imagination.
Each character has six key stats that are decided at the start of the game. These are:
- Strength – how strong and powerful you are
- Dexterity – how agile and accurate you are
- Constitution – your healthiness and fortitude
- Wisdom – how well you make decisions
- Intelligence – how well you understand complicated things
- Charisma – how other people react and are influenced by you
How to use this when bootcamp planning
The six D&D character attributes are actually an awesome criteria for planning your workouts. You can use them as a checklist when planning your workout to make sure you are keeping them well rounde and effective.
Strength is often overlooked or mistakenly used when planning group fitness workouts.
Getting a client to do 50 consecutive push ups will help them build endurance, but not so much strength. On the other hand, getting them to do 5 controlled dive bomber push ups will help build more raw strength.
If you are training average Joe’s who are just wanting to keep fit, I would recommend planning 20% of your workouts as all out strength sessions. I define a strength session as one with minimal running, lots of rest and physically challenging exercises.
More reading: More on this topic in an article from Pat Carr coming next week.
Humans are multi-planar animals. That means we are designed to move in all directions, to rotate, to jump, to pull up, to balance.
However, these days we spend a lot of our time only moving in one direction, forwards. In fact we spend a lot of our days with all of our attention going forwards into a screen of some type.
Let’s get our clients moving like they were meant to. In your workout programming try to move in lots of directions.
Here are just a few ideas you can try:
- lateral lunges
- jumping to the side or in a 180
- bear crawl… sideways
- push ups with the hands or feet stepping in between reps
- running backwards
- exercises with bands… only the bands are coming from different angles than usual
- hopping – forwards, backwards, lateral, medial
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Try to use your creativity and come up with some of your own movements.
More reading: Check out Functional Patterns for some great multi-planar movements.
Our constitution is generally how healthy we are and how easily we stay healthy.
There are a lot of things that our clients do that are out of our control like their feelings about their job, what they eat and how much sleep they are getting. But we can control the time that they spend with us.
We can help their heart health by doing aerobic and interval style training and we can help their joint health with stretches and mobility movements.
Always include a thorough warm up before training. 10 minutes minimum. Not 5 minutes, not 9.5 minutes. 10 minutes.
Learn some more warm ups if you need help.
For aerobic work, include some workouts with a fair amount of running (or an alternative). 20% of your workouts can be aerobic focused.
Finally, anaerobic work like HIIT or HISS also challenge the heart in different ways. This is probably the category that most of your workout fall into, so these can make up the other 60% of your workouts.
More reading: Check out the HIT category on Bootcamp Ideas.
Bring some wisdom to your workout planning. Don’t just do random exercises and workouts. Put some time into it.
Even in the CrossFit world, which is built around the concept of doing seemingly random workouts, the best and most sought out CrossFit coaches use a lot of planning and smart programming in their workouts.
Use your Wisdom to try and anticipate problems that your clients are going to have. If you have a wide range of fitness levels, plan your workout for different fitness levels. If you are travelling to a new area of your park, highlight potential hazards to your clients. If winter is coming, think of some way to entice your clients to keep coming during the colder months.
Of course Wisdom comes with experience, so keep training and get better over time.
More reading: Check out this article I wrote on confidence. It also applies to gaining wisdom.
We can bring intelligence to our business in being smart with how we plan out our workouts.
Having a system for planning out your workouts each month will save you time and help reduce anxiety later. You can always change the workouts later on if you want to, but having something planned out in advance takes the pressure off.
For example: If you were to use the percentages I’ve given you already you could create a quick planning system out of that.
Let’s say your run your bootcamp in 4 week blocks with 3 different sessions a week. That would be:
- 2 strength workouts a block (20%)
- 2 running workouts a block (20%)
- 8 high intensity workouts a block (60%)
And let’s add another level of criteria to that and say that 3 of the high intensity workouts will be boxing workouts and that 3 of the workouts (any of them) have to be fun and involve some sort of game.
With that info you can now write out 12 different workout ideas and then go from there.
Let’s clear up something first, you don’t need to be really outgoing to have charisma.
Charisma is that thing that attracts people to you. Sure at times this can come in the form of your looks, a quick wit or how charming you are, but often we are attracted to people who just completely own who they are.
So own who you are and bring yourself to your workouts.
It sounds obvious, I know, but I mean really bring you and who you are.
When I first started as a trainer I tried to be the over-the-top fitness persona and it just wasn’t me. When I calmed down and was just myself, my bootcamp following got bigger and stronger.
Spend time working out who you are and what you really want out of life. The more work you do on getting to know yourself, the more you will find people are naturally attracted to you.
More reading: Check out this article I wrote on bringing your Game Face.
You don’t have to be a D&D fan to get some use out of this. If the whole D&D thing did turn you off though, here is the short verson:
- Include strength training with your clients.
- Improve your client’s dexterity with multi-planar exercises.
- Look after their heart and joint constitution with mobility and heart raising drills.
- Use your wisdom to preempt the problems your clients might face during the workout.
- Save yourself time by being intelligent in your approach to training.
- Finally bring charisma to your sessions by showing up in that unique way that only you can show up as.
One last thing before I finish this article.
Typically one or two attributes will be really strong, while others will be weak. In the same way while reading this you have probably identified with doing some points really well while others you don’t do so well.
If you want to improve your group fitness sessions here’s two things you can try:
- Spend a little more time on your weak attributes. Do the minimum for them at least.
- Continue to excel at the points you do well and structure your business and sessions to make the most of them.
Now it’s your turn.
What attribute are you already really good at? What attribute do you think you could improve on?
Do you think this article was completely bonkers?
Let me know in the comments below.
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.