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"bootcamp" or "session class"?

"BootCamp" OR "Session Class"

Spending quite a bit of time on the business side of fitness (nationally/internationally) and having the ability to watch as my wife implements various programs or marketing tactics within our local operations, gives me an interesting perspective. I see much of what is being offered as business education & programs to the fitness professional and I have the opportunity to create and test our own.

It’s pretty simple to see that within the fitness industry a lot of attention has been paid to the personal trainers while the group fitness instructors seem to be going the opposite direction.

Programs like Mega Marketing, BootCamp Blue Print, or Fitness Business Revolution each are targeted to the Personal Trainer and the list goes on.

These programs can all be made applicable to the group fitness and yoga professionals if you are willing to look at your fitness specialty as more than just a part-time job working for a club. Personal trainers are figuring it out and it might just be time you do as well.

Tell me, which certification is geared toward group training?  I’ll give you the answer; The one that has the word “group” in the title. That being the case, why is it that small group training and “bootcamps” are dominated by the personal trainers?

Trainers are using these formats to generate incomes of well over $100 per hour. They are taking advantage of internet marketing and building lists of participants that they can continue to market to into the future. They are also diversifying their business and offering related fitness products, supplements, information, etc.

Group Session Classes of any Format

Group Session Classes of any Format

I do not see the Group Fitness and Yoga Instruction professionals doing the same thing at all. They seem to be content to work only for the facility and are missing out on many opportunities that are available to them.

You are trained to create group programs, monitor participants of various levels, and to safely provide modifications for all to actively participate.  Because of the focus of these training on groups, YOU are the best qualified to be leading the “bootcamp” (actually, just session classes) styled programs.

There are several reasons personal trainers are utilizing group training tactics outside of the standard gym setting only and you should too:

  1. 85% of the population does not belong to a fitness facility.
  2. 60+% of the population is overweight or obese.
  3. The diet industry is huge. The fitness equipment industry is huge. The anti-aging movement is huge and growing. – bottom line is that people are spending lots of money on things you can actually provide.
  4. Group trainings lowers the per person cost to participants. You will make more dollars per session/class while charging individuals less.

You are leaving money on the table, allowing your brothers & sisters from the personal training side of fitness to eat into what should be primarily your client base.

These programs are not rocket science and will help you reach more people and make a greater amount of income. We are working on a program specifically for group instructors to help you get started as well as others to catch you up to speed on bringing your expertise outside of the group fitness studio.

Your thoughts and feedback are greatly encouraged as these programs are finalized. You know the questions and concerns you have with branching out and I’d like best to ensure they are addressed. Post your thoughts here or send them to me at

While I encourage personal trainers to get training to work with larger groups and add these types of programs to their offerings list, you the group fitness instructor have a few advantages right off the bat and I’d love to see you take advantage of them.

  • You are trained specifically to work with groups of various fitness levels.
  • Group fitness instructors generally have the ability to offer multiple formats of classes. BootCamp is only one style that can be performed in a gym, field, or apparently a combat zone. Just because this is the primary format that personal trainers have attached themselves to doesn’t mean you can’t take your other formats outside the standard gym setting or offering structure.
  • I believe it is generally easier for a person who has picked up the principles and abilities important to group fitness to get further training and diversify themselves as personal trainers rather than the other way around. What you do is not the same, but it is similar. A small amount of related training will make you very proficient and capable to run these programs.

I hope you consider what you may have been passing up. You have skills that can be provided in many different locations, can reach many fitness needy lives, and these skills can be utilized to generate a great deal of income for you and your family with minimal extra work.

If you want to learn more about how to start these programs as a group instructor, let me know your interest.

As I’ve said in the past, I/We have beaten our heads against the wall in developing many of the programs and partner offerings that are now available on the Fit Pro Biz web site.  One of those areas we are developing a program for now has to do with the operation of “BootCamps”.

I believe these programs have been miss labeled with bootcamp truly being one format option in running what are truly ‘session classes’, which is the business model. Now, I know I need to come up with a more hip name than session class to get this idea to stick, but the principle is legit.

Fitness professionals have been limiting themselves in the way they offer these programs. The current trainings out there would most often suggest that bootcamps are only for personal trainers and require the wearing of camo. I am looking forward to introducing this model to not only trainers, but also showing group fitness instructors, coaches, and yoga professionals how to incorporate this business model into their offerings… If you want to be notified when that program is ready, let me know and I’ll keep you in the loop.

We just today started our most recent bootcamp program. It is geared around the Centennial Trail in Snohomish. We are trying something new this time around and I believe it will be a great asset you may consider yourself.  We’ve created a specific blog just for the camp to further the healthy learning of the campers as well as encourage communication, allow them to tell others about their workouts, and over all develop further enthusiasm for the camp. You can find that at Follow along and let me know your thoughts or opinions on the ‘bootcamp’.

In Health – Tom

OK – the many pro travel website adjustments are beginning. I’m really exited for this next week when everybody starts to learn about some of the things we’ve been working on. I’m even more excited to hear about your opinions on what you’d like to see added there.

In the mean time, I read an article recently…

Two fixes for the group fitness room to increase member participation and success.

  1. Put the instructor on a stage
  2. Take out the mirrors

I can see the reasoning for each of the above (for the most part) but, the article finished by suggesting “To truly maximize the potential of group fitness in your club, you need to have a controlled system of branded group fitness to ensure the highest quality, consistent experience.”

Are “branded” solutions the future of group fitness? Do instructors no longer walk through their class to ensure and correct form?  Don’t most professional instructors primarily utilize quality cuing rather than the watch me and repeat technique? Do you not provide modifications and adjust your programming to some extent based on the make up of your participants? Does the choreography or program sequence never change throughout the month? Isn’t there some amount of thinking involved?

Group fitness instructors must be careful when jumping on these pre-choreographed programs with their large budget marketing dollar. Club facilities are being “sold” on their “value” all the time. As an individual group fitness instructor, your skills are key to an effective and safe class. Your ability to adjust and modify programs for your group or situation are what give you high value. When we lower our own creativity to “perform” anothers choreographed program we also lower our skills and eventually our value.

Group fitness instructors are part of the Fitness Professional family. I encourage you to remain a fit pro and keep your skills diversified, your own creativity and ability to adjust of the highest importance, and fight any urge to jump on the bandwagon of the well marketed “branded” group fitness programs

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