Carry on (Boot) Camping
Trends come and go within our industry. But there is one in particular that can break a man at the mere mention of its name. How could two little words cause so much pain and misery yet be so popular? The ultimate ‘marmite’ training session – you either LOVE it, or HATE it.
The term ‘Boot Camp’ portrays images of leather faced drill sergeants looming over you as you are close to tears because they keep goading you to do ‘just one more’ repetition, pushing you to the point of complete exhaustion.
I have run Boot Camps for years and what keeps my members coming back is how much fun they have. Clearly there is an element of skill on behalf of the instructor to keep everyone happy…but outdoor Boot Camp sessions really can be fun – no matter how many horror stories you have heard.
With the growing popularity of group training and outdoor training, a successful Boot Camp can be a great money earner as well as a brilliant service to your local community. Within a stones throw of Jordan Fitness HQ we have the world famous ‘No. 1 Boot Camp’ with a constant flow of celebrity endorsements, as well as at least 10 smaller Boot Camps run by PTs, all within a small radius of the sparsely populated North Norfolk coast.
No matter how much competition there is you can still make it a success. Here is my approach.
Priority number 1 – make the sessions fun. The more fun people have the more likely they are to come back regularly. Once they are attending regularly they are going to start seeing results. Then they start telling their friends/colleagues about you. My members have often turned up alone but have made life-long friendships over a muddy tyre or two.
Priority number 2 – try to get stronger. I am not a huge fan of cardio, and the location of my sessions is not ideal to have people running off all over the place, so the main emphasis is strength, strength, strength. You can still work the cardiovascular system without having to run everywhere, but if you make someone stronger then they will really notice massive differences in a short space of time. As a strength coach I know I can make anyone a bit stronger, but a deconditioned person off the street is so easy to see quick improvements with…the sooner they improve, the sooner they refer people to join!
Priority number 3 – make them show commitment. If somebody asks how much it is for one session then they are probably never going to turn up when it’s raining or when Eastenders is on. I have turned away at least 50 people over the last 12 months who have wanted to ‘pay-as-you-go’. The vast majority of my members pay for three months at a time, or they can pay monthly and pay slightly more. PAYG just doesn’t work (in my experience) because people will easily find an excuse not to come. Make them commit to pay over a longer period and it’s amazing how many people will come and train in any weather.
Priority number 4 – imaginative sessions. Human beings get bored very easily. Within a few weeks you will have exhausted all the traditional exercises so get good at thinking outside of the box. Use equipment that is easily transportable and versatile as much as possible – sandbags, kettlebells, suspension systems, bodyweight, matts, medicine balls etc. Bear in mind that you also need progressions and regressions for everything because there will be such a mix of abilities. Allow everyone to work at their own pace and you have the foundations of a successful Boot Camp business.
Move Better. Feel Better. Look Better. Be Better.
Written by @marklaws2011