How To Start a Fitness Boot Camp Business

5 Ways to Up Your Fitness Boot Camp Marketing Game

Posted by on April 21, 2014 at 9:29 am

If you’re constantly on the hunt for new clients to bring into your boot camp, then chances are… your marketing may need some work. As a personal trainer and a boot camp owner, you’re probably stretched pretty thin with not only leading and teaching each session, but with operating ins and outs of your business.

So, how are you supposed to find the time to focus on marketing? Fortunately, we’ve laid out 5 different ways for you to up your fitness boot camp marketing game without making you spend a ton of time and money.

1. Raise Your EnergyJacksonvillebootcamppic

This quick tip is simple and easy to implement. Just amp up the energy during your workouts or teach your trainers to amp their energy up when they’re leading a boot camp session.

Making sure that your clients are having a good time while working out helps your marketing game because you’re creating an environment that your boot campers can really brag about. They’re having fun AND getting fit.

Most people don’t really like exercising, even though they know they have to in order to stay in shape and feel great, so if you create a fitness program that’s fun and high energy then you can’t go wrong. Look, no one likes working out with a boring trainer who doesn’t seem interested in helping them achieve results.

Clients want to workout in a fun and encouraging environment. They want to know that you care, and you can do that by showing them how excited you are that they’re there and willing to get sweaty with you.

2. Spoil Them Rotten

Spoil your clients rotten and they’ll never leave. Think about it: fitness is something that you’ll work on for the rest of your life. As soon as you get the results you want, you have to maintain them, right? Your body doesn’t just magically stay in shape- you’ve got to train to keep it there! So why would a client leave if they know they need to workout on a consistent basis to keep the results they just earned? They’re not getting spoiled enough!

Show your clients you care about them by spoiling them whenever you get the chance to. Spoil by getting to know them and what they’re all about. Send them small gifts like Starbucks gift cards, movie tickets, reusable water bottles, or bracelets, or anything of that nature. Mail them a birthday card for their birthday with a special hand written note. Your clients will remember and appreciate it, and who knows- they’ll probably want to return the favor!

3. Offer Free Sessions

One great way to get people interested in joining your boot camp is to offer free sessions or a free week of unlimited limited boot camp. Giving prospects an option to come in and try out your boot camp helps to get them used to you, your style of training and your facility. (more…)

Marketing a Personal Training Business With a Limited Budget

Posted by on April 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

Most personal trainers starting out don’t have a lot of resources to market their business with and that can cause a huge problem down the road. When you’re looking to grow your business and get new clients- marketing is your best friend, and without it you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

Marketing a personal training business with a limited budget means getting creative and trading your “time for dollars” so that you can eventually end up trading your “dollars for time”. One goal you should try to accomplish with your gym or boot camp early on is to be able to afford to pay someone to do the day-to-day work for you, if you don’t already have a staff on hand so you

But don’t think that you have to go out and hire a giant marketing firm because when it comes to fitness marketing, there are tons of ways to get the word out without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a marketing plan from these big wigs. You really can do this on your own- and when you’re a business owner, a lot of the time you’re a marker first, and a business owner second.

You should really try to make marketing a part of your daily operations because you’ll only benefit that much more from it. So with that being said, here are the best low-budget marketing strategies that you should start implementing today:

Speak Upmegaphone

Building authority is important when you’re a business owner. You want people to know you, like you, and trust you and building authority will help make that process easier.

Speak at local health and fitness events and if there aren’t any in your area, then look a couple of towns over or maybe think about hosting your own seminar on health, fitness, and nutrition and invite other health professionals in your area to speak as well.

Write for local newspapers too. Get in touch with the top newspapers and their editors around town and ask how you can contribute. Same with radio, if you know anyone in radio- ask how you can offer fitness tips and other health related content for a morning show or what have you.

Don’t forget to start blogging. Blogging about health and fitness will easily build up your authority, especially over social media. Starting a blog and updating it consistently with useful content will help you gain attention from those in your area, and that will make them more likely to seek you out when they’re ready to get into shape.

If you’re not confident in your speaking or writing skills, then brush up on it and start practicing. As a fitness business owner- you should aim to be the “go-to” expert in your area because it will help you pull in those customers who have probably tried everything in the past and couldn’t get results.

Get Seen

In addition to contributing to newspapers and starting your blog, you should also start posting Youtube videos of yourself demonstrating different exercises and workouts or sharing a favorite healthy recipe of yours. Those who know you will more than likely share your videos, especially if they’re any good.

What makes a good video? Anything that is helpful, valuable, and compelling to your clients and prospects. This is where “knowing your niche” really comes into play. What does your ideal client do for a living? What keeps them awake at night? How old are they? What gender are they? All of these questions will help you to create amazing videos tailored specifically for your target audience. (more…)

Starting a Fitness Business with Success in Mind

Posted by on April 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Starting a business is never an easy thing, no matter what kind of business it is. But when you’re a one-on-one personal trainer running around town to meet your clients or work in a big box gym with barely any benefits then you know how exhausting that can be. It’s hard to sustain that lifestyle so that’s why a lot of personal trainers decide to take the plunge into starting a fitness business of their own.

So how do you go about starting one? Here, we lay out the steps you need to take to successfully set up your business so that you can start profiting ASAP.

Decide Your Demographicsidealclient

The first step in starting your personal training business off on the right foot is to decide who your ideal client will be. This is probably the most important step as it will help you determine what kind of fitness studio you’re trying to create.

Are you looking to run a boot camp? Who would benefit most from that style of training? Are you more of a one-on-one trainer? What kind of client would benefit most from one-on-one? Could they afford it?

Not only will knowing your demographic/target market help you narrow down on what type of fitness business you want to run, it will help you to create an effective marketing message. And having an effective marketing message will help you get clients because they’ll feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Choose who you are going to serve and learn their language so you can demonstrate the value and benefits that your services will bring them.

Marketing is Vital

You can’t just build a fitness studio and expect people to just flock to it. You’ve got to market, market, and market some more- that’s why it’s so important to know WHO you are marketing to.

Now if you don’t have much of a marketing background or budget, don’t get discouraged. There are tons of ways you can get the word out about your brand new gym without having to know or spend a whole lot. You just have to keep in mind that the #1 thing you need for effective marketing is a demographic or a niche. That alone will help focus in on your marketing campaigns.

Here are some low and no cost marketing strategies to get you on your feet: free Saturday boot camps (works best if you’re a group personal trainer), email marketing, social media marketing, contests and fitness challenges (must give away awesome prizes), Human Billboard method (train 20 people at a discount in exchange for referrals), giving out “bring a friend” certificate when someone joins your gym or signs on as a member, starting a referral rewards program for clients who bring in their friends and family, teaming up with local businesses to create a strategic partnership, become the “go-to” fitness expert in your area… just to name a few. (more…)

What NOT to Do When Starting a Fitness Boot Camp

Posted by on March 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Learning all the ins and outs of starting a fitness boot camp can be a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the strongest business sense, because there is just so much to know and so much to do to get your boot camp off the ground. It can almost make your head spin!

But if you are truly passionate about helping people set and accomplish fitness goals, watching them become healthier and reaching their true potential- then opening up a fitness boot camp is definitely for you. It’s the best way to reach a lot of people in your area and inspire them to become healthier, more active individuals.

Making the switch from personal trainer to fitness business owner may be tough, but it’s well worth it. And if you’re in the middle of making this switch, then you’ve probably done tons of research on how to get started, what things you should look out for, and the best ways to get things done, which means you’re on the right track to a successful fitness business.

You may even feel like you’re ready to get it going, but if you’re not sure of the “don’ts” of opening a boot camp- then you might end up being guilty of one or more things on this list.

Some of these “gym sins” are pretty awful, but they definitely need to be stated so that new boot camp owners never get caught doing what these business owners and trainers have been caught doing…

Socialize, don’t fraternizeScreen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.53.09 PM

This is a pretty big one and a lot of personal trainers are seriously guilty of this. The difference between socializing and fraternizing is that with socializing you’re essentially conversing with and relating to your clients on a human level. Fraternizing has the potential to add romance to the mix- and that’s not just a bad thing. It’s an unprofessional thing.

It’s true that being a boot camp owner means that you have to be social, but your being social should be kept to a professional level and not personal. Now that’s not to say that you can’t be friends with your clients, of course you can, but you should always keep in mind that they are your paying clients and being TOO friendly with them can end up as a bad thing and ruin your reputation as an owner.

Instead, try to get your boot campers together with other boot campers. Host some type of client appreciation party and invite everyone in your boot camp to get together and have a good time. Participate in local 5Ks and get boot campers together for a cause. Things like this are highly encouraged because it creates a tribe- and that’s exactly what you should be aiming for.

Don’t be “that” trainer

Look, we all have times where we fall off the wagon. It’s just a part of life. We can’t be perfect all the time- and everyone knows that. But if you’re out-of-shape and you’re starting a fitness boot camp… well, why would anyone want to buy from you?

You’ve got to look the part and practice what you preach if you’re looking to be successful. That’s the long and short of it. You wouldn’t go to a hair stylist who doesn’t know how to fix herself up or visit a dentist with bad teeth, because if they’re not able to take care of themselves- how in the hell are they going to take care of you?

The same rule applies with personal training. You’ve got to be fit and trim and show others you can do what you say you can. You are your own billboard, and if that billboard is sloppy… then you and your new boot camp won’t stand a chance against those in your area that do look the part.

If fitness truly is your passion, then show your community and the world that it is by taking care of yourself in the best way you know how.

Focus on putting your best foot forward by not only training and keeping fit, but by presenting yourself as a professional. Comb your hair, have neat clothes, brush your teeth, and don’t be sloppy. If you’re wanting to charge top dollar for your boot camp, YOU have to be a top dollar trainer yourself. (more…)

How to Sell Personal Training Programs Without Compromising on Price

Posted by on March 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Being an independent personal trainer who’s not tied down to the hard knock life of working in a big box gym, you probably know firsthand just how hard it is to charge what you’re actually worth. Why is this? You own your own business and have clients that have made amazing transformations, and yet you still struggle with the notion that your services aren’t worth a whole lot more than a gym membership. Learning how to sell personal training programs without comprising price or what you’re worth has more to do with how you run your business versus your selling and closing skills.

Now, don’t get me wrong- knowing how to sell and close clients is extremely important, but you should also keep in mind that how you run your fitness business makes a huge difference. What’s the environment like? Is it friendly? Encouraging? Would a first timer be comfortable coming to your boot camp or private studio? These things play a valuable role in getting clients to say yes instead of no.

What about you or your trainers? Are you (or they) as friendly and outgoing with your new clients as possible? People have to know, like, and trust you and your trainers in order to feel comfortable shelling out the big bucks to be a part of your facility.

AtmosphereScreen Shot 2014-03-19 at 3.49.15 PM

Having a nice and friendly atmosphere goes a long way in the eyes of someone who is looking for a new gym or boot camp to join. Same goes for cleanliness as well as the feel of your facility. It’s important to keep these things in mind when you’re looking to get new clients because these things do matter a lot. It also matters to the clients that you plan on keeping for the long haul because they’re expecting a nice, clean studio too.

How you keep your facility says a lot about who you are as a trainer and a business owner. So does how you keep yourself. Are you a fit trainer? You have to be or it’s a lot like going to a hair stylist with a rat’s nest on their head, or going to a dentist with bad teeth. You can’t expect your clients to pay several hundred dollars a month to train with someone who doesn’t look the part.

But don’t go completely overboard and spend money that you don’t have fixing your gym or boot camp up. Use what you have and improve on it as your business grows.

Show Them The Love

Show your clients the love and you’ll keep them much longer. You won’t ever feel like you’re overcharging them if you spoil them rotten. Remember their birthdays and other significant things about them so you can surprise them with a little something here and there. It’s so important to build real relationships with your clients because that is what makes you different than your average gym and gives you the permission you need to charge them what you want.

Send them things like a care package when they first sign up with you along with a handwritten thank you note that encourages them to stick it out. Exercising is really tough for some people so you’ve got to make an effort to encourage them rather than neglecting them because they can’t do something just yet. (more…)

Training Mature Adults: A Value Perspective

Posted by on March 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Guest Post by Cody Sipe, PhD

Training mature adults effectively is about more than just meeting their physical needs. If you want to grow your business with this gigantic market then it is critical that you understand who they are. What makes them tick. What appeals to them. What repels them. What they respond to. What characteristics they look for in a facility or in a trainer.

Getting them to train with you involves more than just having a personal training certification, creating a slick flyer, having a great name or tagline, or giving a big discount. Like with any other target market you’ve got to be inside their heads. Most importantly it is vital that you understand, appreciate and then appeal to their core values. If you want their business you need to earn their business.

Here are some key values that you can use to appeal to potential mature clients:



Mature adults love their family. They want to be able to spend lots of quality time with them. They worship together, eat together and play together. The Boomers are often called the “sandwich generation” because they end up caring for their aging parents and supporting their adult kids and/or grandkids at the same time.

In fact, a large percentage of them financially support their adult children. Those that are grandparents are especially fond of their grandchildren. Grandkids are the apple of their eye. They would do almost anything for them. And they would do almost anything to be able to spend time with them.

You want to appeal to mature adults then appeal to their sense of family. Tell them how your program will help them to play with their grandchildren, explore Disneyworld with them and climb the bleachers at their sports competitions. Show images of families and grandchildren spending time together. Talk to your current clients about their families and grandchildren. Give them an opportunity to brag a little. Have times or events where they can bring their families to the facility so they can see where “grandma” and “grandpa” work out.


This might seem obvious but it is important to both recognize and utilize this fact. We use small group personal training because it provides a great avenue for socialization. Clients that exercise together in groups of 4-6 develop great relationships. The group provides great support to one another and helps them to stay accountable for exercise. It can be challenging, at times, to corral the conversation and keep everyone exercising but they have a great time and the session flies by quickly.

Highlight the relationships that exist between members in your facility. When they come to check out your facility introduce them to some of the other clients. Highlight your clients in your blog emphasizing your relationship with them. Communicate how your program can help them stay socially connected.

Spirituality and Faith

As people get older and travel through mid-life their spiritual and religious beliefs typically deepen and become more meaningful. Faith becomes even more important than in their younger years. Whether or not you have a deep faith or not doesn’t matter. A large majority of mature adults do. Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do. (more…)

3 Ways to Improve Your Fitness Boot Camp Marketing Plan

Posted by on February 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Improving your fitness boot camp marketing methods should be a top priority if you’re looking to grow your business. Plain and simple. If you’ve owned your boot camp for a while now, then you probably have a few tricks up your sleeve for gaining a few new clients here and there, but if you haven’t taken the time to create a solid marketing plan then you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Money that will allow you to hire the staff you need to give you the freedom you want as a business owner. Money that will go to your competitors if you don’t up your fitness marketing game. So let’s get to it!

Have a Planmplan

Okay, so the best way to improve your fitness boot camp marketing plan is to actually have one. Why is having a marketing plan in place so important? Well, for one- it lays out your budget and ensures that the money you’re spending on marketing is done wisely and appropriately.

A good fitness marketing plan should include things like knowing your target market and ways to reach that market (strategies) and goals that you’d like to achieve within a given timeframe. Another benefit to having a marketing plan is the fact that you can track what’s working and what isn’t, which is something that all boot camp owners really need to pay attention to. It’s all too easy to lose focus when you don’t have a plan so crafting one will ultimately keep you on the right track. And keep a steady stream of clients coming through your doors.

Stop with Traditional Marketing

One of the best ways to save money on marketing is to go ahead and call it quits with newspaper ads, print ads, and direct mail marketing. Unless you’ve got the budget and don’t have to think twice about it (because “traditional” type of marketing is pretty expensive), then you should switch your focus onto other methods that will give you a better return on your investment like email marketing and marketing through social media.

Both extremely cost effective, email marketing and marketing your boot camp through social media is definitely the way to go in today’s fast paced world. Don’t have a Facebook Fan Page set up for your boot camp yet? That’s your very first step. Promote it to all of your clients to build a little buzz. People love showing off so start taking pictures of sessions and post them to your page to show what a fun experience working out at your boot camp really is. (Get your client’s permission first, of course.) Share inspirational quotes and any tips or tricks you may have for losing weight and watch your Fan Page grow like wild fire. (more…)

Why Now’s the Time for Starting a Fitness Boot Camp Business

Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

The fitness industry is a pretty amazing industry to be in. It’s never stale or boring, it’s constantly changing and evolving and the more it does, the more us personal trainers can benefit from it. The biggest change to the fitness industry in recent years is the popularity of group personal training, and if you haven’t caught on yet… now’s the time.

Starting a fitness boot camp business is a whole different, but much easier, ballgame. For starters, the startup costs for one-on-one personal training centers are usually a lot higher than boot camps due to more equipment being needed and more square footage being needed to house all of it.

They’re typically a lot harder to market too because most people still see one-on-one personal training as something only affluent people or celebrities can afford. And they’re kind of right. With a one-on-one personal training business, you do end up charging a lot more- and you should. Your time as a business owner and a personal trainer is precious and you absolutely deserve to charge what you’re worth, however, if your target market isn’t the affluent or celebrities then it’s a tough business model to grow.

You have a lot to consider when thinking about opening any kind of business, so why choose something that’ll be a headache to get off the ground?

Boot camps are phenomenal at leveraging your time, your money, and your resources. That’s part of the reason they’re popping up in every major city across the US and beyond. Fitness classes are nothing new, but there’s something about a boot camp that really catches the attention of people from all walks of life. They’re fun and exciting and boot camps beat the hell out of going to a gym and running on a treadmill.

The Human ConnectionScreen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.13.15 PM

Recent studies have shown that group personal training methods are excellent at getting lasting results. Most people struggle with losing weight because they don’t have a big enough support system behind them encouraging them to continue their healthy habits. What’s great about starting a fitness boot camp is the fact that your clients will get to know and like each other, eventually becoming each other’s network of support.

They’ll look forward to coming to boot camp because they’ll get to see the friends they’ve made. Boot camps are so much more engaging, and if you can show your clients how fun exercising in a group is, they’ll keep coming back for more and refer you to their friends and family in the process- giving you even more business.

Creating an environment where your clients can connect and socialize with one another will ultimately grow your bottom line and your tribe of dedicated clients.

Better Marketing

Like I mentioned before, who can really afford their own one-on-one personal trainer without being rich or famous? Even if personal training is more affordable now than it’s ever been, it still seems like a major luxury for people- and that makes it hard to market.

With boot camps, you have all sorts of free and low cost resources to market your boot camp with. Lots of them are available here on this site. You can roll out the Free Saturday boot camp method or the Human Billboard method for starters. Partner up with local business and offer them free boot camp in exchange for them promoting your business.

You Earn MoreScreen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.19.44 PM

Besides getting an opportunity to help more people, the biggest reason you should consider opening a fitness boot camp business is the fact that you can earn more. Way more. We recently took a poll of over 100,000 fitness professionals in the industry and the results were astonishing. The personal trainers who concentrated on group personal training in 2013, made at least TWICE and a half as much as those who only ran one-on-one personal training businesses.

Think about it like this, when you lose a client in a one-on-one personal training business- that’s a good chunk of money. It hurts your pockets and now you have to go out a find someone to replace them. But when you have a booming fitness boot camp business up and running, it won’t matter as much because you’re having lots of people paying a little versus few people paying a lot.

Personal Trainer Certification – Why Muscle Power Matters

Posted by on February 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Guest Post by Cody Sipe, PhD

Muscle power is an essential element of physical function and a component that declines very rapidly with advancing age. In fact, although many of us are obsessed with muscle strength, studies show that muscle power declines earlier than muscle strength in mature adults and that it declines at a faster rate. Many activities of daily living, such as stair climbing, walking uphill and quick acceleration, rely on adequate power making it a critical component to address in a functional exercise program.

Most of the focus should be on improving lower body power (which is explained in greater detail in the Functional Aging Specialist Certification- a personal trainer certification that focuses on functional training strategies) but upper body power is also important. Even a task as seemingly mundane as opening a heavy door requires sufficient upper body power along with core and lower body stability.


Unfortunately, the traditional “way” of training upper body strength isn’t the best for improving power. Consider the typical seated row on a selectorized machine. For one, since the weight stack moves against gravity performing high-velocity movements are a little tricky and can be somewhat dangerous. When a high speed movement against resistance is initiated a lot of force is generated in order to get the weight stack moving. After the weight stack gets moving then momentum takes over and very little force is needed during the latter half of the movement.

So really high force at the beginning and very little force at the end.

Secondly, there is basically no core requirement because the chest pad on the seated row stabilizes the trunk artificially which does not mimic daily activities. There is no external trunk stabilizer when a person opens a heavy door or starts a lawn mower. Trunk stability must be accomplished through co-activation of the core musculature.

Thirdly, the traditional row is performed bilaterally (using both arms simultaneously). Again, this doesn’t really mimic daily activities which are typically performed unilaterally (one arm). And even if it were performed unilaterally the chest pad would stabilize the trunk anyway eliminating most of the core demands.

In addition, what we typically consider “power lifting” (moves such as snatches, cleans and jerks) is not typically appropriate for the older client. Now I will be the first to admit (and I teach people) that the older clientele is very diverse and there may be some that could do these traditional movements. However, there are very, very few that could. So when we talk about training for muscle power we do not mean traditional power lifting.

If we really want to perform upper body power rowing movements to prepare for activities of daily living then they need to be performed:

· Unilaterally (to create sagittal and transverse plane forces)
· In a stable stance position (to create ground reaction forces)
· With no external trunk stabilizers (to activate core musculature)
· With equipment that minimizes or eliminates momentum

An exercise that I use often with clients and we teach in the Functional Aging Specialist Certification is the 1-arm standing row in a semi-lunge position. Our preference is to use the Keiser Performance Trainer, the Keiser Functional Trainer or resistance tubing. Not everyone is going to have access to Keiser equipment but it is ideal for performing power movements because it uses pneumatic (compressed air) resistance. (more…)