From being a hurdles champion at Little Athletics, to smashing the hurdles of the pandemic, Lauren Brennen of New Heights Fitness in Melbourne, Australia chats to Kyle in this very first episode of Everything Bootcamp about how she has successfully grown her bootcamp business over the last 24 months – all while living through the world’s longest lockdowns.
Lauren is no stranger to exercise, sport and movement. As a child, she was at home on just about any sport court or field you could imagine. Lauren took that love of physical activity to university, studying to work in exercise rehabilitation – however, after a few interview knockbacks in the industry led her to become a personal trainer, something she was only encouraged to do for a year to gain experience, Lauren is still thriving at it 18 years later and has run her own business for the last 10 years of that.
Despite becoming qualified as an aerobics instructor during university, Lauren soon realised that she was more comfortable being able to move around the room with her clients, rather than being up the front the whole time. She moved towards bootcamp instruction after being involved with Fernwood’s rollout of bootcamps. Lauren soon realised she had a knack for writing good bootcamp sessions after she made a few tweaks to the pre-written sessions that she had been asked to instruct at the gym.
And this is when she decided to open New Heights Fitness. A business that she built up to a 120 strong client base over 8 sessions per week, catering to a diverse range of clients – very loyal clients none-the-less. Loyal to Lauren and loyal to each other.
This is what Lauren attributes to the success of her move to virtual sessions during the pandemic. Her clients still wanted to see her, in whatever capacity that could be.
Despite being unsure of how to conduct virtual sessions, and unsure of her own abilities to be on camera, Lauren quickly realised that the lockdowns weren’t lifting any time soon and she wanted to provide something for her clients. So, she gathered a few close friends, family members and clients to ‘give it a crack’ over a two week practice period. Lauren soon found her feet and decided to open her sessions up – to a very successful initial sign-up of 30 clients.
Lauren made a few structural changes to her programming to suit a virtual world – she reduced the duration of her sessions from 60 minutes to 30 minutes (and all her clients still felt like they were getting a great workout!); she changed her membership structure to allow three sessions per week, which was an increase for most of her clients; and she changed from a wide variety of equipment options to bodyweight only.
All very big changes in an already unstable world – but all changes were positively embraced by her clients!
So much so that she has kept her online offering while also returning to face to face sessions.
Lauren attributes the continued high attendance rates of her online sessions to keeping everything different (the structure of her programming and exercise selection), using household items (chairs, backpacks, towels, cans of food, etc), and encouraging interaction with her clients.
Her final three bits of advice to help her business thrive during these times?
- Connections with clients – actually care about them. Follow up life events, follow up missed sessions, and talk with your clients just as you would your friends.
- Research – to keep things fresh and interesting. If you clients feel like they could write the sessions because they are so predictable, they will soon lose interest. Show your clients that you care enough to spend time researching new ideas for them.
- Spend the time – looking up resources, on your clients, writing the sessions
In fact, Lauren has put so much work into her virtual sessions, that she has put 24 of her best sessions into an ebook for trainers. Check it out here!
And one final piece of advice – ‘Wear Your Brand.’ You are your brand, so wear your merchandice with pride – it gets people talking to you! This is something Lauren picked up at FILEX.
- Instagram: @new_heights_fitness
- Instagram: @kylewood_bci
- Facebook: New Heights Fitness
- Facebook: Bootcamp Ideas
- Website: Fernwood Fitness
- Website: FILEX
Kyle Wood: Hello, and welcome to Everything Bootcamp. Uh, today my guest is Lauren Brennan, and now I’m going to kick things off pretty quickly, uh, over to Lauren to find out a little bit about, um, more about who she is, especially as we have an international audience of trainers listening to this, I thought it would be really interesting.
Where exactly in the world you are.
Lauren Brennen: Hi. Thanks Kyle. Thanks for having me. Um, I am from Melbourne Victoria in Australia and in Ferntree, gully, small specifically to those that know the area. And yeah, I’ve been doing my bootcamps here for 10 years now in my own business and, um, had my own, I’ve been a personal trainer for just over 18 years.
Kyle Wood: that’s crazy. That’s. Yeah. That’s uh, uh, so did you get qualified? I mean, not to like start asking you, Hey, for, do you qualify pretty quickly out of school then?
Lauren Brennen: Um, no. I actually went to uni and I did a, um, undergraduate and human movement. And then I did a post-grad in exercise rehabilitation. So then I tried to go get jobs once I was out of uni to in exercise rehab and all that kind of stuff.
And I just, I, no one would take me no. Straight out of uni. You haven’t got the experience. I’m like, well, that’s what I’ve got to start somewhere. And then yeah, one, one of the employers actually said to me, I need you. I like your attitude. And I really, you know, like, we’d love to have you here, but I need you to go away and be a personal trainer for a year and then come back to me.
And he was in the city. Probably 40 minutes from me here. And yeah, so I did that. I went away and I became a pistol trainer and I just fell in love with it and I never went back. So I’m a very overqualified personal trainer.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. I didn’t realize it, that, that background. And that’s always tricky. Like you’re coming out of a uni course and yeah.
They want to experience, but it’s like, that’s why I’m here.
It’s not even business goodbye to get experience, I guess, and for tree galley. So I always think of the, and I think everyone does this, the Kokoda Memorial trial, the thousand steps really used to feel like, cause I grew up 15 minutes from there and I used to feel like going out to the country for a tree gully, but it’s not that way anymore at all.
Lauren Brennen: All our friends say we’re out in the sticks of the sticks and what we, not that far.
Kyle Wood: It’s the Melbourne’s filled in so much that, um, yeah, I’m in the, now that I live outside of Melbourne, it’s like, I go to the century gallery, I’m in the big smoke with the complete
Lauren Brennen: opposite. I’ve been quite grateful during, um, lockdown for actually being out in the sticks.
They say, um, just for having all the trails around and yeah, we haven’t got, we can’t get to the beach. We’re not close enough to that, but yeah, at least we’ve got the Hills and the mountains and so that, yeah, that’s definitely helped by the time.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. So were you always pretty like sporty and like active, um, through like attains and like, and is that why human rights.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah, I was, I was, I, I kind of did every sport. I went, we actually moved to the country as a family. Um, when I was just at the end of grade six and that then I was doing athletics and tennis and netball and basketball, most of them in the same season. And, you know, we moved to a small country town called Cobra in Victoria and, um, yeah.
That’s all is there’s nothing else to do, but play sport. So yeah, we played, uh, I did all that. And then we came back to Melbourne, um, just for my parents, um, employment and yeah, I got right into nipple and I ended up playing state league netball. Um, and just, yeah, it was right into that. And then just always enjoyed sport, watching sport, you know, all that kind of thing.
And. Yeah. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I finished school. I thought I wanted to be a PE teacher. And then I kind of went off that and human movement was just that kind of course that you could do and venture off any way you wanted to. So there was a lot of ways you could go, you know, teaching physio, all that kind of thing.
Um, and by the end, yeah, I’ve worked out. I, I really liked the exercise science side of things. Um, but kind of, yeah. Went through the winter, the rehab way. Yeah. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but you know, as soon as I got introduced to personal training and, um, did that at a big gym then? Yeah. I just fell in love with it and the people and, you know, helping them out and yeah, it was that’s where I’ve landed.
Kyle Wood: Uh, athletics. Activity.
Lauren Brennen: I was a hurdler. Yeah. So I actually went to state for hurdles and ShotPut, which are two complete different things. Um, but I’ve always had the upper body strength. I, I rocked up our member and. Did most of the girls were twice my size because they are very beefy and that school, um, but I still come to light, so I did.
Okay. But, um, yeah, that was a bit random, those two, but I enjoyed sprinting. I wasn’t into the long distance. Like I am now I’m a bit more of a runner now, but, um, yeah, I liked the short stuff, the short and fast. So.
Kyle Wood: Yeah, same, same. And the hurdles. I think I just had the advantage of being tall. I dunno if my technique was actually that good, but I had the growth spurt, you know, cause it’s all age range.
I hated the other kids could sort of get over the, um, so now maybe a little bit more into like fit the fitness space. Is this a podcast about group fitness? Do you remember the first class like fitness class? You attended this of.
Lauren Brennen: Um, Yeah, let me think. Yeah, I’ll look, I do. I w I was going to a gym. I used to like step class.
Um, but I am quite coordinated, but I’m not in step class for some reason. Um, maybe I’m just ball hit. What does it all. I had balls, whatever coordination. Um, but yeah, it’s, I did a step class and I kept going back to step class. Um, and I actually did become qualified as an aerobics instructor at university.
Um, but I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t like that style, um, of being out in front of everyone, even though a bootcamp, I guess we’re at, in front of everyone, we kind of more amongst people rather than just everyone staring at you the whole time. Um, but yeah, that’s, that was my first experience. And I didn’t really go to gyms, um, regularly before I worked at a gym, to be honest.
So I just did enough outside, I think, with all my sports and started running and all that kind of thing.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a different style of coaching that sort of in front of the class style class way. That’s more about you like doing it and motivating people through. Uh, role modeling it, I guess isn’t it compared to like, you know, like a bootcamp class where I think it’s more like getting in there a bit more and correcting technique and show people what to do, but then, then it’s more about, um, it’s a little bit more personal, which some people like some people don’t, some people want to be the person in the back of the class or the train that doesn’t look at them the whole time and something like that.
Um, they want a bit more interaction. Yeah. And, uh, yeah. So that was your first experience, obviously. That’s interesting that crew fitness didn’t necessarily. Gel with you back then, but then later when you started your business, so about 10 years ago, did you know from the start you wanted it to be group fitness or you’re thinking, oh, it would just be personal training to
Lauren Brennen: start with.
I guess it all started back when I was working at the gym. So I was working at a Fernwood gym, which is a all female gym in Australia. And, um, Yeah. I, they, all of a sudden decided to do a bootcamp, which they’d never done before. So, um, I was a personal training coordinator then, so I had to organize it all and I was kind of like, oh, hang on.
I want to do that. Like, I’m not going to give it to anyone else. So, you know, we got to go outside the gym and it was something different and yeah, they kind of, they kept sending session plans and we had to do these exact session plans. I thought they were a little bit of rubbish and I was like, these are boring.
Like surely there’s gotta be, you know, you can do something more. So I started tweaking them a little bit. Um, and yeah, we were just having really good feedback from the members. Um, a couple of other trainers were doing them as well. And. Yeah. I ended up with a lot in my class. Um, and then all of a sudden I was like, hang on a minute.
I reckon I could do this by myself. Like, I’m pretty much doing it myself anyway. I’ve turned their stuff into what I want to do and what is working. Um, so yeah, I ended up leaving that gym, knowing that I was pregnant with my first daughter and, um, went to a smaller gym just in the meantime, um, just to keep working while I started working on thinking about getting my own business going and I had.
Probably 50 to 60 clients from that, from what I was, I was full-time, they’re really busy with clients. So, um, I had a lot of people to leave behind, which I didn’t like the thought of. So I stayed probably there for a lot longer than what I probably should have. I probably could’ve left that. I was just so worried about leaving people behind or people not following me.
And yeah, so. And then yeah, over, I went to another small gym and in the meantime, um, had my daughter and then yeah, six months later I started a new heart’s fitness. So. Cool.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Cool. Yeah. As you were telling that story about Fernwood running the gym, uh, the bootcamp, I was. Uh, I think I’ve got to get from woods bootcamp credit for me starting a bigger campus because my, my mom did it.
My mom was part of the city Fernwood and she did, and I remember them and I, and I can’t remember when it was new and they were like, we’re running this new, like boot camp thing. And, um, and I was kinda like, ah, yeah. And then, yeah, I remember I’m doing that and really enjoying it. Compared to like being in the gym, it’s really like the instructor and stuff like that.
And yeah. So I’d say that as like a business model was more, I guess, at the forefront of my mind, once I got qualified to and started to train people. Yeah.
Lauren Brennen: And these, I mean, I loved the one-on-one. I haven’t done one-on-one since I’ve been doing my business. So that was your other question. I think we were getting to, so, um, I went straight into just doing boot camps, um, and it started probably just with a few close friends and clients, but some of them, you know, a lot of them go to a female gym to be in that environment.
I originally did start with girls in my bootcamp, but didn’t make it an all girls thing. It just kind of worked that way. There was just no guys that were joining or anything. Um, and then my husband and my dad got involved and then it turned into a well, okay. We’ve got guys now, like we’re doing it. And.
Yeah. It just, you know, obviously the, the clients that wanted to come over definitely came over and, um, some stayed at the gym. Some just came to me and others I’ve just kept in touch with, because you know, I’d been training them for so long there. So, um, Yeah, I’ve done it where I was going with that.
Kyle Wood: No, that’s good.
And I like the, this, the story of, of getting started and yeah, sometimes we have an idea of the type of client we want to try it and then that all changes. Uh, and so yes, it’s changed. It’s actually a good segue because I want to spend some time talking about the last 18 months. Being in the fitness industry, uh, protonated telling you when it’s listening to this, how badly we’ve been hit, um, because so much of what we do relies on being face-to-face with.
So you started your business and you grew it quite well. And I remember cause you came to a workshop of mine and you would, you would sort of send me these updates periodically and you’re like, oh, I got a, a hundred people signed up, I’ve got 150 people and I was just talk about, and it just, you just seem to go from strength to strength.
So where were you actually at like paint a picture of your business at the start of 2020. So. Yeah, January, 2020.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah. So I pretty much had around a hundred, 120 coming to my bootcamps face to face-to-face. Um, I was doing four days a week. I’m the only trainer. Um, there, I don’t have anyone that works for me, so I do all the sessions and yeah, I think it was maybe.
At eight sessions awake. I was running. Um, but yeah, it was just, you know, full flight, loving wife at the time. Yeah. Um, and just enjoyed it. Like I enjoyed it. I’ve got a really good group of people. I’ve got some that are still with me from the start so 10 years and, you know, they’re just those loyal clients that will always be there and I’ll do anything.
I come up with some silly idea and let’s go on a road trip and go, we have a bootcamp here and they’re the first ones to put their hands off. And yeah, it’s, I’m really, really proud of honestly, the community. That we’ve created there because the people just, and they’ve all become friends. That’s what I’m seeing.
And even through COVID there, like I’m seeing friendships formed and you know, like they’re doing stuff with each other outside of bootcamp, which means it is a really nice environment obviously to be in, because if they’re all. Getting along and enjoying it. And they were all looking out for each other.
They look, oh, I haven’t seen whoever for so long or, you know, oh, I called the other P you know, them to see where they were and I’m like, oh, good luck. It’s not just me handing them.
Kyle Wood: So yeah. What do you, what do you think has created that, that culture?
Lauren Brennen: Um, oh, I don’t know. I. I don’t know. I kind of say it is as a trainer.
I think you will attract the people that are similar to you. I think like I’m pretty laid back. I can have a joke, but I can also lay down the law and, you know, get them to be quiet and not talk and get them to move, but still give them that time. Like, so, you know, I’m not a drill master, but I’m not a like airy fairy, like go grab a drink and come back when you’re ready.
It’s like, no, go grab a drink now, come back now. Like, you know, it’s just little, you know, and I guess. You know, I guess I’ve had people come and not have them go light and yeah. But I think that those that have stayed a very old there they’re all quite similar, but all from different backgrounds. And like I said, I’ve got men and women and all different ages.
Um, but yeah, I don’t know, I guess, and they just find they’re clicking the group. You know, I’m always trying to pair people differently as well. I find, um, you know, you will always get friends that want to go together. And definitely when people start together, that’s something that I allow for a long time, just so that person’s comfortable.
But, um, yeah, if you can then start mixing it around a little bit, so people are meeting other people and yeah. They just, if they find their own way, I guess.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Okay. So yeah. Okay. Mixing people around. Yeah. And I guess. The way you show up to class, what were you doing? A lot of like active marketing back then
Lauren Brennen: No, since that’s something I’ve never been great at.
Um, look it a really, a lot of word of mouth. Once my eldest actually went to primary school, I found that that did help a little bit because all of a sudden I hit this new community and, um, a couple of people as I was walking through with my, you know, tops on of new Heights, fitness, Definitely something that you need to be doing.
And that’s something that I learned from, um, I think it was a file ex convention way back. It was like where your brand, you are your brand where it every way. And I need a deep beforehand. I don’t think I ever had tops beforehand. So, um, and it’s not something, I mean, I live in active wear, so it’s just easier for me.
I don’t put it on meaning to do it now. Yeah. I had a few, you know, you’d have some people go, oh, you laws from new hearts, fitness, and everyone kind of like would just be, I’m like, oh yeah, a lot. What is, what are people saying? And they like, no, no, it’s all good. And then, you know, you you’d slowly get them and then they would come and then their three friends want to come because they’re going.
And it just, yeah, that, that really did help. I found, um, when you’ve got those groups of friends coming, cause then, you know, and if they’re enjoying it, they get to tell people lot. That’s that’s the main thing. Yes. I’ve definitely done Facebook ads. Um, And it’s, uh, I think everyone would find like some ads go really well and some really Boehm and Mon and mostly the same.
So I don’t know how that fits in the Facebook world, but they have helped sometimes and other times it seems like I’ve paid money and nothing’s happened. So, yeah. Yeah. Definitely rely on that word of mouth
Kyle Wood: and I guess, yeah, you need to have a really good product then too, which is something I think, you know, you put a lot of thought into.
Planning the classes. And even how you said before that thinking about, I want to make sure that different people in the group interact with, you know, not with just the usual crowd they like to interact with it. Little, little things like that. I think, do we make a big difference? Because people aren’t going to recommend a bootcamp.
That’s not any good either. So yeah, that’s
Lauren Brennen: it. Yeah. I think once you recommend something, like I’ll even recommend a physio or something that I’m going to, when you’re worried, you’re kind of like, oh, I hope they like, and so I’m only going to say it if I really liked. Yeah. Yeah. But I’ve found with, um, my clients I’ve found, I’ve kind of had those few little, you know, advocates that I’ll, I’ll post something about an event coming up and they’ll just automatically share it.
But when they share it, they’ll write a little thing up at the top saying, oh, this is laws. Like you’ve got to come to a boot camp. This is where I train. And then you’d actually see comments going, oh, is this where you’re going? And stuff like that. And you obviously, you know, the talks getting around. So that’s yeah, it’s good.
Kyle Wood: So going back to last year, so you built this big came up, you got this great community going. First locked down, hits in Melbourne. When did you make the decision to try out going virtual? Did you straight away start running virtual swim classes or did you hold off a bit?
Lauren Brennen: Yeah, I held off. I didn’t really hold off.
I, you know, probably what most people did, went in a bit of a slump for a couple of days and went, oh my God, what, like, what do I do now? This is my business. This is all I do. And I’m not allowed to do it. Kind of didn’t want to believe it on. Um, the positive one, that’ll always like, oh, it’ll be right. Like next week we’ll be back on
Kyle Wood: a thing like a month, then we’ll be back to normal.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, yeah, I’ll see it. I was hoping that, um, but no, I have, yeah, a few more days later, I just thought, what am I doing here? And obviously I had a bit of, you know, I got down, but then I just started thinking about my clients and it was more just, oh my God. Like. They were obviously losing their jobs as well, but then they’re losing their gym and their bootcamp as well.
Like, you know, I was thinking more how they would be feeling, losing more, um, more that way. So I was like, I think I’m going to have to do something and then saw people doing virtual channels. Like, oh no, that’s not me the camera on their way. And there was no other, there was no other option, really. So I got my sister and my best friend and another friend.
Together. And I ran one from my, um, I think it was on my iPad to start with from my garage. And it was horrible. That was at the start, just getting everything connected and had no idea what I was doing, but that’s what, you know, I said to them, can I kind of play with you guys? I need someone on the other end so I can practice and yeah, it ended up being two.
Um, and I probably did three sessions or three days, um, both of those weeks. And by the second week, I’d actually kind of got onto about six of my clients that had been with me for a long time saying, look, this is what I’m looking at doing. Can you come to a session? Do you want to come to a session? And like, I’m just kind of, you know, getting everything sorted.
I don’t know if it’s gonna run smoothly and all that. And they were more than happy to help. So yeah, once we did that, Um, advertising it and thought, oh God, is anyone actually even going to want to do it? And yeah, got a really good response. Like probably not as much as I thought to start with. Um, but I think everyone just like me and I totally understood was a bit like, Ooh, virtual training.
Now I can jump on. I can jump on YouTube and get whatever, you know, you can get whatever you want from a celebrity trainer and follow them for free. And why would people come to me? And, um, Yeah. So in the end, yeah, I did my first sign-up can’t even remember how many or to have, might have had 30 or so start with me, firstly, so that was pretty cool.
And then, yeah, obviously just then for Grest my way and my knowledge with the tech side of things, um, ended up on. And now, yeah, I use my phone on a tripod, my, um, computer, and then I connect it to a big screen TV that I can actually see everyone on quite easily.
Kyle Wood: Okay. So you use that to see people and then what the phone is.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah. So that’s what they see. So they see me through the phone, on the tripod and then off to the side. Yeah, I’ve got a big gun, a big screen TV. That’s pretty much nearly behind the camera. Um, and then I can see them and yeah, they’re probably all pretty much iPad size when they come on, unless I’ve got quite a big class, they get a bit smaller, but yeah, it’s very easy to see them then and see their, see their faces and what they’re doing and yeah.
Be able to talk to them. Awesome.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Cause you cha so how long were your sessions before. Uh, did you run 45 minutes or
Lauren Brennen: an hour? Um, I w yeah, I was, I finished off with an hour and then, yeah, I just realized I was like, there was no way anyone’s going to want to do an hour session. You know, at home, in front of a screen kind of thing.
So I, I toyed with the fact of doing a 45, but then I just thought, oh, I think let’s start with 30 and see if that’s enough. Then I just found that with the programming, it’s more just really. Keeping their breasts short, um, and just controlling everything I’ve found by a timer. So there’s, you know, it’s like, if you’ve got a break, then it’s timed and then you’re going to have a beep and then we’re going to go again.
And if you’re not ready, that’s fine, but I’ll be going. And, you know, everyone will be joining in kind of thing. Um, and I just found the 30 minutes worked. It was enough. I was getting really good feedback about it. Like, because they’d all come for an hour going, oh my God, look, I still feel like I’m getting just a good workout because it was more.
At a time. So obviously, you know, with an hour you can kind of give them a little bit more rest time and have a little giggle and chat in between here and there. But when you do it in half an hour, it’s not bang, this is what we’ve got to do and let’s get it done. So,
Kyle Wood: yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. And so, and yeah, and obviously your clients, because I think that I can imagine that being something trainers being like, ah, but I’m offering, you know, a shorter time, but you know, it is seeing it like, I guess you observed.
No one wants to spend an hour with their laptop in front of them in their living room. Like they want to get in.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah, and I did reduce the price for them, but the good thing at the time is I went, um, from, I just had bootcamps two times a week, um, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I was having the mum’s groups that extra days.
So they had more days to choose from, um, So, yeah, I found that then when I was offering them three times a week at 30 minutes and reduce the price as well, um, that they really did kind of, they were like, oh, this is cool. We get to train three times a week now. Like, so it was kind of like a plus for them as well.
Um, but yeah, I’ve, I’ve never had anyone say to me, I wish it was longer. So which means they’re obviously working hard enough and yeah. And there was a lot of sore bodies and a lot of people were saying, I didn’t realize how hard I could work. Um, you know, with, without weights and stuff like that. So I’ve got a lot of different equipment and we do take a lot to classes, just so you know, it, it looks fun when they walk in and they think, wow, look at all this stuff that we’re going to use and everything.
And to go from that to nothing was scary for me as well, because there is. So many body weight exercises out there are found, but there is a hell of a lot of variations and combos that you can do to make them totally different. I’ve found as well. So, and that’s what I’ve had to keep evolving over 18 months as I’ve continued to do it.
Um, just to keep things fresh, like my bootcamps, like, you know, I’m a bit cans. I can usually buy extra equipment that you can’t really for this. So it’s just finding different ways to keep it interesting.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Yeah, I like that. And, um, I did notice that with some of your workouts that you use these exercise combos, where you’re pair to exercise together and sort of one exercise, I, so you mentioned, you know, we, haven’t obviously Melbourne, we haven’t been in lockdown the whole past 18 months, um, all the large chunks, but there has been times where you’ve been able to go back face to face.
But you haven’t stopped your virtual sessions?
Lauren Brennen: No. So yeah, when we got to go back a couple of weeks, whenever they made the announcement, um, forget what locked out of lockdown is life actually, but I’m sure we were at a lockdown at one point. Um, yeah, we. Oh, I made the announcement that we could go back to bootcamps.
Um, what I’d done is because I was training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I can’t afford ahead. And that’s why I did my virtuals on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Cause I thought if we ever do go back and I need to cross over a little bit, nothing’s going to be affected. Like everything will just be. As it was. So that’s what happened.
So we went, I, I brought my bootcamps back Tuesday, Thursday, but I had a lot of messages from people going, oh, does that mean you’re going to stop virtual? Like, oh, I don’t, I don’t, you know, I’m still working from home and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make boot camps and stuff like that. And I, in my head.
I think I was going to stop, but I didn’t, I didn’t really have a plan to be honest. I think I was just like, yeah, let’s get back. Probably everyone wants to get off virtual and yeah, I ended up putting it out there. I’ve got a private page for the virtual. I call them my virtual training tribe. Um, and I kind of pop a post on there to saying like, is anyone keen to still continue?
As you know, we’re still gonna go face to face. Yeah, I’ve got a really good review from it. And I kept it. I have, yeah, at least when we went back to face-to-face, I’ve still had at least probably 30 people doing virtual. Yeah. Probably half of them being maybe a bit more being both of them and actually doing the face-to-face and doing those extra days of virtual.
So, you know, pretty much paying me for four to five days a week of training. So yeah. So for me, it was a bonus for my business. Obviously, a lot of work, a lot more work than I was doing, especially when it’s so physical with the, because I do everything with the virtuals, with them. I know there’s some trainers that just talk and sit there and tell them what to do.
But I actually, um, demonstrate and do the whole workout with them stopping little bits and obviously looking at the screens and correcting form and stuff. Um, But yeah, I definitely have kept it going the right way through. I haven’t stopped it at all and yeah, I’ve had it. I’ve had a good number the whole way through like same thing as bootcamps.
You’ll get people dropping off and losing a little bit of motivation and kind of send them a message. Like, how are you going? And, you know, pretty much straight away. It’s like, oh yeah, I know I need to come back. All right, I’m coming back. So you don’t even need to twist their arm.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Yeah. So just following up, because I was going to ask you that next, like hacky kept the numbers up, cheering that time.
Cause people got like screens to take and chatting to other trainers that be. And maybe it’s that you kept it going to cause Chad and other trainers, I know they’ve like did virtual. Then they went fully back to face-to-face and they went back to virtual and this time they only had half as many clients.
So maybe it was the consistency. That’s played a big part. What’s your feeling on.
Lauren Brennen: Yeah, I think, I think so. I think definitely having that consistency and keep going, but I think it’s really about keeping your sessions different. Like if they’re going to, you know, log on and think, oh, we kind of know what we’re going to do.
You know, we’ve done it last week and the week before and you know, it’s not interesting for them. So yeah. I’ve I spent a lot of time on YouTube looking up. I’ve got certain people I follow in Instagram, all that kind of thing. Just trying to find. Something new. I try and find something new for each session.
Like always one new little exercise or one different combo or something. That’s kind of my aim. Um, just to, yeah. Keep it different. But then, um, yeah, I also introduced using household products. Um,
yes. Yeah. So, you know, stuff like a chair, a tell a backpack, dumbbells. My crew loved boxing, no matter whether we’re at boot camp or now virtual and they beg for those sessions. So, um, if you know, and I love them so much that a lot of them have gone out and bought dumbbells now, but at the start, people were holding.
Cans of food were having drink bottles that they were holding. Some guy was holding a, um, like batteries. I could ever know what he had. It was quite amazing. Um, but yeah, so a lot of them have gone out and bought that they don’t have to, you know, you can use anything around your house for any of those kinds of things.
Um, but it’s, yeah, it’s just been fun. And then, you know, the interactive stuff where you, you know, you can share, which I actually got from my kid’s school. Um, they were doing this wheel, um, As on there meets with their teachers. And I was like, oh, I can, I could use that for bootcamp. So I got on there and started playing with it and realize I am come up with the wheel of fitness.
So, um, so that’s a bit of fun. Um, and I always joke around that. Obviously that’s not my fault. It’s whatever the wheel spins up. And, but you can also share dice. You can share heads and tails. So it’s nothing like you don’t have to do it. They can see it on the screen. It’s just a little bit more interactive.
Um, and yeah, I think it’s just offering what I do it all of them in one week. Like, I’ll probably do one of those in one week and swap which one I’m kind of using. So it does keep it different. And then you just have those hard sessions where it’s just cardio, where you’re doing just strength or, you know, you do have that combo.
So yeah, it is planning out the week, but they’re going to come back because I don’t know what to expect and they know they’re getting a good workout. Yeah.
Kyle Wood: Cool. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for summing that up because I was curious and another trainers will be curious too. All right. Are you ready for the rapid fire round of questions?
Uh, so, so I already had your answers here, so if you could get anything, I can prompt you. Um, so what are the top three things you do each week that you found to help your business?
Lauren Brennen: Um, so definitely connections, connections with clients. Um, like I spoke about with the word of mouth thing that is that’s I think priority.
Like, if you’re getting along with your clients, if you’re listening to them and you’re asking them next time you see them, oh, how did your moving house go? Or how did your daughter’s graduation go and stuff like that? I think people really relate to that. Part from the fact of saying that I care. So I don’t, I don’t just do that as a trainer.
I do that because I do care about the people that train with me. Um, yeah.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Awesome.
Lauren Brennen: Oh, well there was three things, wasn’t it? Um, yes. What else have I researched? Yes, definitely. So, yeah, like I was just talking about, it’s all about keeping things fresh, um, and looking up different things, not letting them know.
That’s going to happen. Yes. You can use templates and God, I don’t come up with totally different things for the hundreds of sessions that I’ve done, but, you know, using the same kind of template as in workout intervals and stuff like that, to just putting different exercises, which just makes it a totally different workout.
And, you know, they, they can’t see that it’s, uh, you know, there’s the same workout. Um, and yeah. Just trying to find out as much things as you can try and try and find out some facts that you can tell them all in a session or, you know, just something, um, it’s something to keep them interested really lot, and they want to come.
They want to come and see you. And then, you know, you also acknowledging that when they’re not there. I don’t hand people. I don’t chase them, but if they’ll miss two sessions in a row, then I’ll definitely just checking on them. Like everyone can have that one way. And most of my clients will message to be off let’s look, Dean will be sold that.
Um, but yeah, most of all it’s yeah, just definitely, um, Keeping track of, you know, knowing where they’re at as well. Yeah.
Kyle Wood: And the last one, third one you wrote was spend the time,
Lauren Brennen: spend the time. Yeah. So yeah, I guess they all come in to each other. Right. I really do. Yeah. That’s that’s spending the time spending the time, obviously, you know, looking up resources, spending the time on your clients and you know, small messages here and there.
If you know, someone’s about to go do a fun run or they’re training for an event, you know, check in with them, see how they going. Is there anything I can help you with? Um, And yeah. Obviously spending the time, looking for resources as well and spending the time I find writing the session. I do take a while to write a session.
I’ll take a good day. I want to write a 30 minute session. Um, because I’m thinking a lot, like I’m thinking how I’m going to do it, how I’m going to make it different to the last time I did it, if we did the similar thing, um, or sometimes it’s sitting there and totally. Just thinking something brand new.
And a lot of the times you look up things and obviously using, um, the BCI, uh, resource helps, you know, a million times over, all you’ve got to do is open up a couple of sessions and you could not even have to copy them. You can just create your own from the few different elements that each of them use.
Um, which is what I find. I do a lot of stuff. Yeah.
Kyle Wood: Awesome. Yeah. And I guess you talk about spending a lot of time and your workouts, but for you, from what you’ve told me this, during this interview, it it’s really like your mom, your biggest marketing thing. So a hundred percent makes sense. You would spend so much time planning each workout because.
That’s yeah, why not? You know, and probably the time better spent than, you know, spending an hour, make making a Instagram post or something like that. Cause it’s, it’s your product. You’re improving a product.
Lauren Brennen: Definitely.
Kyle Wood: Uh, all right, next question. Uh, what is your favorite song or band to work out? Yeah, this
Lauren Brennen: is a tough one.
This could be anything for me. I’ll even run to podcasts about running the tail boring. Um, but I do like my music as well, but at the moment I’m, I’m into kind of the RNB all at the RMV Fridays and, um, just yeah, a bit old school really, but yeah, I really am. I’ll I’ll uh, like anything, anything that’s fast when I’m running?
Um, I do a lot of running, um, Yeah, definitely. If I’ve got to choose one kind of genre.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. And I actually meant to look up and I forgot before this episode, like some of the old R and B that we would have grown up with. I couldn’t remember any of it, but I was like, oh, so like in the, yeah, like it was all like, yeah.
All right. Last question. Thank you for being daggy. So, where would you like to head next in with your business or, you know, in your fitness career in general?
Lauren Brennen: Yeah, this one’s a tough one because I feel like I’m, I’m feel like I’m kind of in it at the moment. Like there’s a lot going on. Um, you know, like once we get back to the bootcamps, I can’t wait to get back to the bootcamps.
Um, and obviously keep the virtual and I’ve always said, I’ll, I’ll keep the virtual why there’s demand for it because what’s the use of stopping it when people want it. 30 minutes, you know, in my own house as well, like it is for them or like, so it is, you know, it’s, I can fit that around my family life and around my work life.
Um, but yeah. W where was I going with that? Um, Yeah, where I want to be. Sorry. So yeah, I enjoy both of those. I can’t see getting rid of either of those. I’ve actually just entered into a corporate fitness gig at a local, um, large company in the area. Um, so I’ve, I’ve been there. Kind of right on the cusp of COVID coming.
So I haven’t had a good run with them yet, but, um, I, I did help them design their new D deem. Um, they moved their old gym from the old factory to the new gym. And I did, I have written all of their staff that wanted to use the gym program. So they made it kind of like, if you want to use the gym, then you must see Lauren.
Uh, program to be you, which was nice too, because it was a good one-on-one way for me to meet everyone as well. Um, but then the, you know, the future ideas for that is then we are looking at doing programs, wellness programs within that. So we’re going to be doing, you know, getting a body scan machine and we’ll do a full kind of challenge with them where we, um, You know, meal plans and I give them exercise.
We’ll do some group. They actually, they want to start the group fitness. I haven’t got any way to do indoor. So we did have to wait for the weather to become nice anyway, to do some outdoors, um, bootcamps. Um, and then yeah, a little bit of one on one stuff as well. Like, um, so yeah, that that’s one that one’s definitely gonna progress too.
So at the moment, I think, yeah, I can, I can’t see anything past all that because that that’s, that’s my thing.
Kyle Wood: And then you, um, recently an e-book for trainers to, that was shared. So you compiled of a 24 of your favorite virtual 30 minute virtual workouts with, when you think about it, like if you spend an hour planning each of those sessions, like that’s, that’s a lot, that’s a very valuable resource.
So, so that’s something you may be dabbling as well. Cause you do have a lot to share with.
Lauren Brennen: I think I found a kind of set there. Well, not one day, a lot of days in a row where I was like, God, I’ve got a lot of sessions and I I’m very old school. I write all my sessions on paper always have I just, I don’t think I can change it.
I tried to, but I can’t. Um, but I just like having them there to go through all the time. More convenient for me. Um, but I just thought God, I’ve got all of these sessions to share. And I was seeing a lot of comments on different forums of people, kind of struggling with what to do for virtual and how to keep it different.
I do try and comment on as many as I can just to help out. Um, but then I just started thinking, God, I really, you know, maybe I could do a resource like. They like you and produce something like that. Um, and then yeah, I came to you and kind of with the crazy idea and thought, well, I’ve put it out. I’m one of those people that if I put it out there, I’m going to do it.
So, um, yeah, many, many hours later come up with, um, yeah, the virtual training session guide. So which a few have purchased already, which is a bit exciting.
Kyle Wood: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, um, I’ll, I’ll include something at the end of where people can find out more about. Uh, yeah. Well, thank you Lauren so much for coming on the show.
And I know it’s like, wait, wait, you know, you’re a trainer, you were training. Being interviewed on podcasts. Isn’t saying that happens every day. So I really appreciate you
out of your comfort zone and again, sharing with us and with the community, uh, everything you have. I feel like we could have talked for probably at least another half an hour, uh, in your brain about stuff.
So they will have to have you back for like,
Lauren Brennen: We’ll see, we’ll see now. Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it. And yeah, hopefully it does help some people, obviously on any of the forums, I’m happy to help. So if you’ve got any questions where you just find me, that’s fine. Like, um, yeah, I’m always happy to help, so.
Kyle Wood: Awesome. Thank you so much, Lauren.
Theresa Prior has a mission to bring Mums and women together in a safe and supportive environment that just so happens to have fun fitness sessions at it’s core. She has been running her own personal training business since 2013. Theresa helps her clients understand that all aspects of their health are equally important.