It’s been a long time since I reviewed a workout book on here, but today I’ve got something new for you.
The last 18 months has meant a lot of group fitness trainers have had to embrace something new:
Then Lauren Brennen, a long-time reader of Bootcamp Ideas, emailed me a copy of a book she’d written breaking down what she’d learned from running virtual workouts the past 18 months. It was chock full of great tips and workout ideas. I knew I wanted to review it for you as I knew there would be a lot of trainers who would find the book really helpful.
Virtual Training Has Been A Whole New Ball Game
Coaching through a screen lacks some of what makes a group fitness session really special: physically exercising together.
Add to that tech issues, awkward pauses and no one showing up and things seemed very bleak for our industry.
But with restriction often comes a chance to be creative and to make something new.
I’ve seen this at workshops when I’ve challenged trainers to come up with a drill using just 3 cones and a tennis ball. The ideas they came up with always blew me away and where often different to my own solution.
From talking to Lauren, she’s approached her virtual sessions the same way. They’re shorter than her face to face sessions and she relies on several techniques to make sure they’re effective.
And it’s working for her. Even when she’s resumed face-to-face sessions her clients have also requested she continue her online sessions.
She’s found a way to create an entirely new service for her clients and wider community.
In this review I’ll try to pull apart the book and give you a good feel of what’s included and what’s not.
Note: I know Lauren personally as she’s attended one of my face-to-face workshops and we’ve kept in touch, but I’ll try to keep this review as impartial as possible. She’s also kindly set me up as an affiliate for this book, which means if you choose to buy her book, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission. I only operate as an affiliate for products I whole-heartedly believe in.
What Is The NHF Virtual Training Session Guide?
In a nutshell, this is an ebook with a collection of advice and 30 minute workout ideas around the topic of live virtual group fitness training using a platform like Zoom.
Lauren has taken her favourite 24 workouts from the past 18 months to share with you. All of the workouts take just 30 minutes. No adding lots more screen time to your client’s days here, the workouts are short and intense.
In this review I’ll take you for a look inside the book and what you can expect.
A Look Inside
Table of Contents
The book begins with a section explaining how Lauren structures her workouts and details sharing how she’s worked out how to keep her virtual sessions engaging and fun. The next section includes the actual workouts themselves. They’re divided into 3 types:
- Regular: your normal Strength, HIIT or Cardio workouts
- Household Items: workouts designed around using something everyone has around their house
- Interactive: these take a little more work but are more fun and interactive for your clients
Here’s a snap of the table of contents:
Each workout is conveniently laid out on one A4 page which is handy if you’re reading on a tablet or if you’re old school and prefer to print things off.
A key element to Lauren’s workouts are the timing. Every workout is planned down to the minute and the timing is shared with you so you can stay on track. By using an interval timer she can keep rests to a minimum which is crucial in a 30 minute workout.
To make things easy, Lauren has included the timings you’ll need to add to your interval timer in a little box on each page.
Here’s what each workout page looks like:
Quality of the Drills
The workouts are awesome, especially if you’re a fan of interval style training.
Lauren is fastidious when it come to planning. Every detail has been thought of leaving the reader with a great selection of workouts and drills.
I would expect nothing less from Lauren as I’m quite familiar with her work. For the past 2 years she’s also been a monthly contributor to Bootcamp Ideas’ workout tool, BootCraft.
The drills are shared in the form of done-for-you workouts. Each has a Warm Up, a Main Drill (or 2 or 3) and in some cases a Finisher.
Warm ups are included with each workout and the timing is shared down the second making it super easy to follow along.
The exercises are familiar enough that you won’t be spending all session demonstrating new exercises, but there are still enough new one’s thrown in there to keep things fresh.
Oh, and of course, these sessions don’t need to be run virtually. They’d make great in person workouts too if you’d like to run a 30 minute ‘express’ workout.
To keep things balanced I like to include a section in my reviews where I mention any ‘cons’ with the product.
There are only 2 cons I can find:
- I’d love for there to be video demonstrations of the exercises. There are written descriptions of exercises at the end of the book and if you’ve been training for a while you’ll know (or be able to work out) most of them. Also this is Lauren’s first book and I know an incredible amount of work has gone into getting it here. My first book didn’t have video demo’s either.
- The writing is a little small. But thanks to pinch and zoom you can just zoom in. This is also so that each workout fits on a page which I prefer to bigger text.
But really, that’s just me being picky. Neither of these are issues that ‘break’ the book.
About Lauren Brennen
I’ve known Lauren since 2016 when she came to an impromptu workshop I ran in Melbourne.
I remember her because I asked trainers to each bring a few ideas to share with everyone else and while most of the attendees brought nothing, Lauren had typed up and printed hers off with copies for everyone to take home. Such a legend!
Lauren is based in Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia which is not too far from where I grew up. There she’s run New Heights Fitness for 10 years.
Lauren personifies the Australian ‘can do’ attitude and I think it’s that part of her that’s drawn people to her and has made her business so successful.
In the past 18 months Melbourne has experienced over 220 days over lockdown and many more weeks where face-to-face bootcamps were restricted or flat out banned. Like many other trainers, Lauren was able to pivot and create short, virtual sessions her clients could attend live.
These have turned into a great revenue source for New Heights Fitness and I’m stoked she’s taken the time to share what’s working with the rest of us.
Okay, if you’ve just skipped ahead to this section here’s my review in a nutshell:
- The book contains twenty-four 30 minute done-for-you virtual workouts.
- Plus, tips on how to make virtual sessions clients want to attend.
- The author, Lauren Brennen, knows her stuff having 18 years experience as a trainer and having run online sessions for the past 18 months.
- Each workout is timed, with a handy timing guide down the side to make sure you’re staying on track and keeping clients working hard.
- Lauren has had so much success with this that her clients have asked her to keep the virtual sessions going even when restrictions have allowed face-to-face sessions.
- If you run virtual sessions this book is a must and is going to make life easier for you. If you don’t run virtual sessions, you might consider grabbing it anyway because it has some awesome interval training drills inside.
So you might be wondering, how can you get the book?
Well, I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the book. It it actually doesn’t come out until Wednesday October 6th, 2021.
Lauren has kindly offered to send a sample to Bootcamp Ideas readers. Plus I believe you’ll get a discount when the book goes live too.
Just use the button below to get more info and sign up to grab a sample.
NHF Virtual Training Session Guide Review
Lauren’s book covers all bases when it comes to training clients online in a group fitness setting:
– How to keep clients engaged and turning up.
– Tips for programming your sessions.
– Plenty of workouts and drills to use.
It all comes from the first hand experience she’s had successfully running virtual sessions the past 18 months.
This is a well put together guide, I wish we’d had it 18 months ago, but I’m also glad we have it now.
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.