Boot Camp Business

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…)

Top 6 Online Personal Trainer Marketing Tools and Tactics

Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

For today’s personal trainers and boot camp owners the Internet is king. It’s the thing that’s going to get you a constant surge of new clients whenever you need them and will give your business a platform to reach a bigger audience. Now, that’s not to knock offline personal trainer marketing methods because, in all honesty- you should be doing both, but if your business lacks a web presence then there is no way you can grow and take it to the next level.

Listen, most of your customers (if not ALL of them) are online just waiting for you to find them and inspire them to want to get healthy and fit. So do them, and yourself, a favor by making your business known online and in the community you live in.

A lot of these tools and tactics that we’re going to lay out for you, you may already have in place- which is awesome. But if you’re missing one or more of these tools in your business’ tool belt, then you might be missing out big time.

Here’s what you need for a powerful web presence:


We’re starting with Facebook first because it is, without a doubt, the most powerful and most important social media site that your business needs to be set up for. Period.

Did you know that over 15 million businesses use Facebook for their marketing campaigns?

That just shows you how crucial it is to have one for your business. But you can’t just set one up and forget about it, you actually have to be using it to engage your potential and current clients.

Not only can you reach more people through Facebook, you can reach your target audience and the specific people who are most likely to become your clients. And that’s what makes the biggest difference. You can actually build an audience for your business, an audience that’s excited to hear what you have going on.

So, how do you do that? By posting content that your potential clients will find useful, helpful, or inspirational. Start by introducing yourself and your business. What are you all about? Write that in your “About Me” section. Then get to posting.

Share things on your Facebook like healthy recipes, tips for a good workout, and, of course, testimonials and case studies. Post pictures of clients working out and having a great time with it. Those who are interested in joining will get to see what it’s like working out at your boot camp or personal training studio.

You also don’t want to spam your audience with promotion after promotion after promotion. Pick and choose carefully when you’re going to launch a promotion and then go all out. Don’t run multiple promotions and sales at the same time either, it makes it harder to track what works and what isn’t.


Yelp is becoming more and more important for small businesses because it’s the #1 business review site.

Yelp is necessary for two main reasons: reviews and local SEO. If you have an awesome personal training business that your clients rave about, have them rave about it online on your Yelp. It helps not only with your reputation as a business, it helps with “word-of-mouth” referrals and convincing those who are looking to join your gym

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s what makes your business searchable when someone is looking for personal training in your area. So if someone types in “personal training in Los Angeles” (or whatever city you live in) your goal is to have your businesses website or Yelp show up on the first page of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Yelp is owned by Yahoo so it’s having an account not only helps with your Google searches, it helps with your Yahoo! and Bing searches as well.

Google Places

Similar to Yelp, Google Places is a big deal and definitely something that you need to set up for your business ASAP if you haven’t already.

Having your business listed on Google place not only helps people find your business online, it helps them to see your hours of business and gives directions to your facility. People can also leave reviews here and you’re able to connect with your clients like you would on any other social media site.

It also helps with SEO and since Google Places is owned by- you guessed- Google, you’ll have a much better chance at your business showing up when someone searches for it, especially on Google because it’s the #1 search engine used. (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…)

Am I Too Young to Learn How to Be a Personal Trainer with Mature Adults?

Posted by on March 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Guest Post by Copy Sipe, PhD

While at the 2014 Fitness Business Summit, I gave a presentation on “The Perfect Storm: How to train the largest and wealthiest untapped market in fitness history!” to over 500 fitness professionals. After my presentation we were just slammed with trainers interested in the Functional Aging Specialist certification because they realized how huge the potential is for training mature clients.

Later that night, at the VIP dinner, a young female trainer stopped me to tell me a little about her facility and get some advice on how to reach more mature clients. During that conversation she asked me “This question might sound stupid but am I too young to train older adults?” This isn’t the first time I have been asked this question and it is definitely not a stupid question.


I assured her that her age was really not that big of a deal (the trainer looked like she was in her early 20’s although I didn’t ask). What really mattered were things like her level of maturity and professionalism; having good communication skills; understanding that mature adults have different values, needs and desires than her younger clients; knowing how to train them appropriately, safely and effectively; and creating an environment that they feel comfortable in.

Most mature clients (ages 50-70+) don’t really care about the age of the trainer IF they feel confident that the trainer knows what they are doing, how to meet their individual needs, has an appropriate amount of training (degrees, personal trainer certifications) and experience and conduct themselves appropriately. A HUGE turnoff to this population is trainers acting immaturely. Things like talking about their weekend exploits, talking negatively about other trainers (or the owners or other clients), showing up late to appointments, constantly texting or checking their phones, and so on.

The advantage that age has for trainers in their 30’s and up is credibility and authority. It is much more difficult to establish yourself as an authority if you are really young and don’t have much experience. Mature clients value experience and respond well to authority. So if you are a veteran trainer then you can use this to your advantage. Highlight the amount and types of experience that you have including certifications, degrees, presentations you’ve given, articles you’ve authored and notable individuals you have worked with.

Both younger and more seasoned trainers can use the authority and credibility of the Functional Aging Specialist certification to promote themselves to mature clients. The FAS is a cutting-edge program that is based on the most current research and developed by two award-winning, experienced, PhD trained professionals. By aligning yourself with our credentials and those of FAI you associate yourself with credibility, experience and authority. Since FAS is pretty new you could very well be the first and/or only trainer in your city or even state to have this credential. You should use this to your advantage by letting everyone know that you are unique… press releases, email blasts, website announcements, byline, front window decal.

You can do that locally as well. Write and present with other local authorities like physicians, chiropractors, therapists, nutritionists and even other trainers. Demonstrate publicly that you have the skills, knowledge and credentials so that you can become that local “go to” expert for training mature clients. (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…)

Tips for Arthritis that will Boost your Business

Posted by on February 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Guest Post by Cody Sipe, PhD

If you are going to grow your business and learn how to be a personal trainer with the exploding population of older adults then you need to quickly learn how to deal with osteoarthritis. It is the most prevalent chronic condition among older adults and by far the most common complaint that we get from clients. Arthritis has a major impact on functional abilities and is one of the primary causes of disability.

It is also a painful condition that takes a mental and emotional toll on those suffering from it. Just think about constantly having to take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or other pain killers because your joints hurt all the time. Pain is a downer that can suck the joy out of the things we love to do. Traveling. Playing with grandchildren. Taking a walk with a spouse or friend. Hiking. Almost anything.


Frankly, I think it is a major pain in the butt (or the knees to be exact). And I know because I already have arthritis in my knees even though I am only in my early 40’s. If I play a game of pickup basketball…watch out. I know that I probably won’t be able to get off the toilet the next day because my knees hurt so badly. For our clients just daily activities can cause major arthritic pain. The joints that are most commonly affected include the knees, hips and spine.

It is also one of the major reasons older adults are fearful of exercise. They think that since daily activities bother their affected joints then exercise will make it worse. In their minds this is confirmed when they go out and do something active and they have to “pay for it” with pain and inflammation the next day or two. In actuality regular exercise eases joint pain and increases function. But most older adults don’t understand that so they tend to avoid exercise altogether.

If you’re getting ready to take your personal trainer certificate and don’t know how to train mature clients with arthritis effectively then you won’t keep them. They will leave and your business will suffer!

Recognized recommendations for arthritis include:
· Using low or no-impact cardiovascular exercise modalities such as swimming, biking or walking
· Avoiding high-impact activities such as skiing and running
· Performing resistance exercise using higher reps and lower weight for the musculature surrounding the affected joints
· Extended warm-up to make sure joints are well-lubricated before exercise (which may include a hot shower beforehand)
· Weight loss if the individual is overweight or obese
· Use of NSAID’s to manage pain and swelling
· Avoiding exercise if joint during periods of active inflammation (joint is red, hot and swollen)

Tips for the Trainer

Appease their Fears and Concerns: The fear of pain and injury is often still present even for the ones who decide to hire a personal trainer. They may doubt their own abilities or may have had negative experiences with exercise previously. If they are scared then they are not going to give you a good effort and thus they are not going to get the results they are after. Let them know what to expect with an exercise; how it might affect their arthritic joints; and how you will modify the exercise if it bothers them too much.

For new exercisers it can be very helpful to let them know how to warm-up properly and what to do post-exercise to minimize pain and discomfort. Communicating effectively will build their trust and confidence in you as a trainer and increase your credibility as an authority while reducing their stress about the potential dangers of exercising.

Decrease Depth: I find that decreasing range of motion of exercise movements can really help clients perform them successfully while minimizing discomfort. On movements such as squats and lunges this means decreasing the depth at which they work or decreasing the height of their step. For some there is a critical range of motion beyond which their pain or discomfort increases significantly. This is true for me. I have learned that performing leg movements to about 75 degrees of knee flexion is about all I can tolerate and still work at heavier loads.

Once I go beyond that range it becomes very uncomfortable for the day or two after the exercise session. Determining an appropriate range of motion for your client is often a process of trial and error which includes diligence on the trainer’s part to ask the right questions regarding post-exercise discomfort and discernment to know when an exercise needs to be modified or removed.

Be Methodical: Therefore, do not implement multiple changes simultaneously because you will not know which change was problematic for the client or it was the sum of all changes that caused them discomfort. For example, you increase the load on a lunge (by having them hold dumbbells) and increase the depth of their lunge and have them step onto a balance pad all in one session. The client comes back saying that their knees really killed them the next day.

Since you made three changes in one session you really don’t know if the issue was increased loading, increased range of motion, decreased stability or a combination of 2 or more of these that caused them so much discomfort. Manipulate the most important variable first and once that has shown to be tolerable then manipulate the second variable and so forth. (more…)