Q and A: Small Group Training in the Fitness Industry
by January 2016
A lot of new members are filtering into health clubs this month, and that presents an opportunity for club operators to offer a variety of small group training classes.
Personal Trainer Regulation on Agenda in D.C.
by September 2015
The Board of Physical Therapy for the Department of Health in the District of Columbia will hold a public meeting Tuesday on a set of regulations for personal trainers in Washington, D.C.
NASM Acquires AFAA
by August 2015
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has acquired the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) in a deal involving two of the leading personal trainer certification companies in the fitness industry.
How to Select a Prepackaged Group Fitness Program
by December 2014
Prepackaged group fitness programs might be right for your club, but only if you do them correctly.
5 Mistakes Gyms Make With Their Boot Camp Programs
by Georgette Pann November 2014
If you own a gym, it makes sense to offer a boot camp. Boot camps provide a more personalized approach to fitness than the typical gym membership, and a different type of workout than aerobics, yoga, Pilates and other types of group fitness programs.
But running a boot camp has a unique variety of challenges. Let’s look at five common mistakes that gym owners make when launching a boot camp and how to avoid them . . .
Mistake #1: Not Charging Additional Fees
The most common mistake made by gym owners who start running a boot camp is not charging anything for participation, or not making it clear that boot camp requires additional fees separate from gym membership dues.
You should never include boot camps as part of your regular gym membership. A properly run boot camp requires more effort on your part than most other classes and gym programs. Your boot camp may also make use of additional equipment, or pay fees for using parks or public spaces. Plus, boot camps should be an additional stream of revenue for you.
Besides, including it as part of the gym memberships gives members the impression that they can show up and participate whenever they want. Lack of commitment to your boot camp renders the program ineffective. You’ve designed your boot camp to get maximum results over a particular time period with a particular number of sessions in that time period. If a gym member misses half the sessions, they aren’t going to get the results you promised—boot campers have to be committed.
The other side of this coin is not making it clear to members that boot camp requires fees in addition to their gym membership dues, and why that is so. This is taken care of simply by saying something on all your advertisements as simple as, “Regular cost is $150, Gym members pay only $100.” Just make sure the amount gym members pay isn’t the same as their membership dues so they can’t mistakenly think boot camp is part of the membership.
Some members may not understand why they have to pay extra for boot camp. To avoid this, make sure all your advertisements and flyers highlight the benefits of boot camp that don’t come with a standard gym membership—the personalized nutrition plans, the personal trainer-quality programming, guaranteed results, etc.
Mistake #2: Not Separating Boot Camp From Other Gym Activities
The more your boot camp feels or looks like just another class or gym activity, the more members will expect it to be included as part of their membership. If your boot campers are using gym space or gym machines during the same hours that regular members are allowed to use them, then boot camp looks like a regular gym function. The same is true if boot campers are allowed to come and go whenever they want during a session.
Here are some basic guidelines for drawing a clear line between your boot camp and regular gym functions:
Whenever possible, hold boot camp in a location separate from the main floor of your gym and rooms that other classes take place in.
If you must hold your boot camp in the same room as other classes, close the door and hang a sign on it that says something like, “Boot Camp In Session. Do Not Enter.”
If you need to hold boot camp on your main gym floor, cordon off the area being used by boot campers with yellow “Warning” tape found at home improvement stores or with colored rope.
As an alternate to cordoning off part of the gym, hold boot camp at times when regular members don’t have access to the gym.
Do not let boot campers come and go as they please. Schedule a water and bathroom break if you need to, during which all boot campers break together. Not only does this help separate boot camp from the rest of the gym, but it also fosters a sense of unity among your boot campers.
Require that boot campers where boot camp T-shirts during boot camp sessions. If necessary, collect them at the end of each session and wash them yourself to make sure they are ready for next session and that no one forgets their T-shirts. Or have a couple extras on hand in case someone forgets their T-shirt. Account for cost of T-shirts and laundry in the cost of your boot camp.
Mistake #3: Not Enough Variety in Boot Camp Workouts to Keep Boot Campers Interested
The temptation with indoor boot camps is to rely too heavily on the standard bodyweight exercises that don’t take up much space, such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc. These exercises allow you to keep everyone in a fairly tight group so you can use a smaller space than you would outdoors. Another temptation is to rely too much on the machines and equipment on your gym floor. Both scenarios can lead to a lack of variety in your boot camp program. Lack of variety reduces effectiveness of your program and bores your boot campers to tears.
Here are some ways to add variety to your indoor boot camp:
Variety Strategy 1: Stock up on stability balls, medicine balls, balance boards, body bars, resistance bands and similar small pieces of equipment with great versatility. You can focus on bodyweight exercises one session, stability ball exercise the next session, and so on to add lots of variety. Some indoor boot camps also use equipment like Lebert Equalizers and TRX Suspension Trainers.
Variety Strategy 2: Use partner exercises to mix up the normal routine once in a while. One partner does the exercise while the other provides resistance. Hundreds of combinations of partner exercises exist. Medicine ball passing drills also make good partner exercises
Variety Strategy 3: Use everything around you, including walls, tables, chairs and gym equipment (provided this doesn’t lead to Mistake #2 above) to create unique exercises or add resistance to your typical exercise.
Variety Strategy 4: Use relay and team exercises to add some extra fun and variety. Line ‘em up for leap frog around the room or medicine ball passes. Or split them into teams for wheelbarrow races and sprints. Not only are these great fun, but they are a great workout and employ muscles that the usual bodyweight exercises often don’t use.
Variety Strategy 5: Employ circuit training to add more variety with less equipment. Divide them into groups and assign each group an exercise station. Allow 2-3 minutes at each station; then rotate the groups.
Keep things fresh, and your boot campers will keep coming back for more.
Mistake #4: Not Creating Targeted Boot Camps
A lot of boot camp instructors make the mistake of having an “everyone welcome” boot camp. There are two problems with this. First, an “everyone welcome” boot camp doesn’t help you separate your camp from the rest of the activities at your gym. Secondly, not focusing on a specific group means lower attendance for you, and poorer results for your campers.
Develop multiple boot camps aimed at different niche groups. For example, you may have the football training boot camp to get young men ready for the football season. Or you may have the “over 40 boot camp” for the older folks in your area. Or perhaps you set up a weight-loss boot camp just for women.
Some instructors think that setting up a specialized boot camp results in lower participation numbers, but just the opposite is true. That’s because a targeted boot camp attracts your target market. Plus the specialized exercises give them great results.
Mistake #5: Not Utilizing the Gym’s Nutritional Resources
Most gyms sell nutritional products, such as energy bars, drinks, supplements, snacks or even meals. You should be sure to cross sell these items in your boot camp’s nutritional guidelines to encourage your campers to buy directly from the gym.
Promoting these items directly to your campers adds to your bottom line, if you are the gym owner. You can even offer special discount coupons to your campers that are good for their first purchase.
But even if you don’t own the gym, this is a good tactic because it creates goodwill between you and the gym owner. When you outwardly support the gym owner like this, you can bet he or she will be happy to show you some favor when it comes to scheduling and other gym issues.
A lot of boot camp instructors make the mistake of not differentiating their boot camps from the other gym activities. The problem with this is that campers get confused. Some get angry. And many of them don’t see why they should pay more for your boot camp since they are already gym members.
Using the techniques you just learned above will make your boot camp stronger and help differentiate it from the usual gym activities, so you can successfully charge a fee that will be profitable for you. Plus these techniques also deliver great results for your campers, so this is a win-win strategy.
Georgette Pann is co-owner of NutriFitness LLC. She has 28+ years experience in the Health and Fitness field with expertise in fitness bootcamps. She is author and creator of the best selling "Sure Victory Fitness Bootcamp Business in a Box" and "Sure Results: The Ultimate Book of Bootcamp Workouts".
What in the World Does it Take to Motivate Prospects?
by October 2014
After no one bites on a free membership, musings on what in the world it takes to motivate prospects.
The Trouble with Selling Health Club Memberships to Seniors
by October 2014
The Boomers are coming! The American population is aging, and most have never been members of a health club! This represents a huge opportunity for your business!
How Hard Should We Push the Clients?
by Thomas Plummer October 2014
Don showed up to the club everyday, six days a week and had been doing so for 11 years. He became a member the third month the club opened and he considered himself one of the original members. The only day he missed was Sunday, and that was only because his wife said she would divorce him if he didn’t go to church with her.
15 Unwritten Rules of Training
by Thomas Plummer October 2014
Everyone who owns a gym or is a working fitness professional knows the published rules that govern the behavior of trainers in a working environment. For example, who doesn’t know that if you have a client with a medical issue that is outside your scope of practice, you need to refer this client to the right professional prior to starting any type of workout?
But there are those trainers that are so pathetic in their knowledge, and work, that we need to publish the previously unwritten rules of professionalism for those that haven’t risen to the upper levels of their profession, and in reality shouldn’t even be recognized as a trainer and aren’t even competent enough to run a Curve’s circuit, and at best might become future Flirtygirl online one-hour instructors. Sadly, those trainers won’t ever read these rules because most don’t even spend any time actually trying to read and learn anything new, but here we go anyway.
11 Ways to Tell If You Are a Dinosaur On the Brink of Extinction
by Thomas Plummer September 2014
The dinosaurs never saw it coming. There was no planning, no stocking of food, no gathering of the team to plan their survival. There was just the often asked dinosaur question, "Hey, has anyone seen Bill, he was just here a minute ago?”