Boot Camp Business

Tips for Marketing a Fitness Business Better

Posted by on February 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Ahh… marketing. Often called the “lifeblood” of any business- and it’s completely and totally true. Without marketing, clients don’t know you exist and how can you grow your personal training business if your potential clients don’t even know you’re out there?

But for a lot of us, the marketing gene just doesn’t come naturally. We’ve spent most of our time on learning the best techniques to help our clients lose weight and look great, which is exactly what we should be doing, but owning and operating your own business means that there are other skills you need to learn and master. Marketing is definitely one of them.

Marketing a fitness business doesn’t have to be complex or that expensive (there are tons of free and low cost marketing strategies for you to roll out here on this site). It does, however, have to work in order for you to see a return on your investment so learning the ins and outs- the do’s and don'ts of marketing is incredibly important for growing your business.

Taking the time to learn more about marketing is what will help you grow your fitness business into the six or seven figure business that it was meant to be. The business that you, as a hard working fitness entrepreneur, deserve.

So, if you’re in need of a little fitness marketing boost to get more clients in the door then listen up! These five tips will have your business booming in no time.


Specialize, Specialize, Specialize

Okay, so if I could only give you one single piece of advice for marketing it would be this: pick a target market and stick to it. That’s it. This one little thing will help you harness more earning power because you’re not generalizing- you’re specializing and those who specialize in a specific market are able to charge more without having their clients bat an eyelash.

Another reason why you’d want to specialize and pick a target market is because your marketing message will come across a whole lot clearer, allowing you to speak directly to those you are trying to serve. And that is what will get you more clients. Clients who are excited to give your boot camp or personal training a try because you were able to speak their language.

Sometimes deciding what niche to serve is tough because, as a personal trainer, you know you can help just about anybody lose weight, tone muscle, and improve their overall strength. So picking just one group to market to seems like you’re shutting everyone else out, but in order to earn the big bucks- you got to find the one market that you can help the most.

One way to figure out what market you might serve best is to take the time to really think about your style of training. What interests you the most when it comes to training people? Who would be your ideal client? When you’re able to narrow it down, think about the problems that your program would solve for this market and make that your message.

For instance, busy moms have a tough time getting their workout in so if you have a program that whips them into shape without making them spend hours upon hours working out then that’s your market and your message.

Get Online

Get your business online and do it now if you haven’t already done so. Having a web presence is so important for growing your business nowadays that if you’re not online and using all of the social media sites that are available to you, then you’re probably leaving thousands upon thousands of dollars on the table and who knows how many clients out in the cold.

If you don’t have a website yet, then that’s okay. You can still utilize Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and any other social site you can think of as a placeholder until your site it set. (more…)

Hit ‘em With a Stick – Use Perturbations to Train Balance and Core Stability

Posted by on February 13, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Guest Post by Cody Sipe, PhD

Almost all mature clients need to include training for balance and core stability in order to improve activities of daily living, reduce risk of injury and prevent falls. There are many ways to train these specific areas, and you should learn some of them if you want to know how to be a personal trainer that is well rounded. One method that is effective yet seldom used is perturbation training.

Reactive and Proactive Postural Control

Postural control is by definition the ability to control the body’s position in space in order to control the center of mass relative to the base of support and to maintain the appropriate relationships between the body and the environment. There are two basic types of postural control: reactive and proactive. Reactive postural control is the ability to recover after an unexpected perturbation (i.e. push, pull, shove, slip, trip, etc.).

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For example, when a person is bumped unexpectedly from behind they must react to the perturbation quickly and appropriately if they are to remain upright. If the bump is strong enough then it might also require the person to take a compensatory step in order to keep from falling.

Proactive (or anticipatory) postural control is the ability to modify postural control before a perturbation occurs in order to maintain stability. In essence, the person knows the perturbation is coming and reacts in order to be able to keep from being destabilized by the perturbation. For example, when a person sees that a person is about to bump into them then they change their posture accordingly. Typically this means that they lower their center of mass, lean in the direction of the coming perturbation and tighten their core musculature.

Both reactive and proactive postural control is important to train because while there is definite overlap between the two there are also distinct differences. Reactive postural control relies heavily on somatosensory information coming from touch and proprioception. Perturbations that are unexpected turn on proprioceptors to a much greater degree than perturbations that are expected. However, how quickly that information is processed and then turned into appropriate compensatory muscle activation varies.

The point of training older clients using perturbations that are unexpected is to teach their nervous system how to react quickly and effectively when their postural control is challenged. Individuals that cannot react quickly and appropriately will lose their balance because their center of mass will get pushed outside of their base of support or will cause their spine to flex. This increases the chance that they will trip, fall or become injured.

Proactive postural control relies heavily on visual information to estimate the force parameters such as direction and magnitude in order to scale an appropriate response. When a person sees that, for example, a person is about to bump into them they quickly determine how to change their posture or take an evasive action in order to either absorb or avoid the perturbation. Experience in similar situations helps the individual to determine what kind of response to make.

Multiplanar Core Stability

It is the primary purpose of the core musculature to stabilize the spine and keep it in neutral position during human movement – activities of daily living, recreational activities, sports, work tasks, etc. This requires counteracting forces in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes…and many times multiple planes simultaneously. Sometimes this is unexpected and sometimes it is expected thus the need for including perturbations that challenge both reactive and proactive postural control. (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…)

How to Retain Clients to Maximize Your Personal Trainer Marketing Budget

Posted by on February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am

One-time clients aren’t going to help you continually grow your boot camp or personal training business. Sure it’s nice to see someone get results, but it’s not so nice when they leave to try and maintain their new-found results on their own. You’ve worked hard to get these clients into your program, but when they end up being one-timer- you’re left to fill the hole with a new client and that means hunting down a new one.

Knowing your client retention rate goes hand in hand with your marketing because if you aren’t keeping track of how long a client stays with you then you won’t be able to maximize your personal trainer marketing plan and its budget. Although there are lots of resources out there for free and low cost marketing strategies, but it’s still time consuming and requires some investment.


Losing a few clients here and there is only natural, especially if it’s because someone is moving out of the area or some type of emergency occurs. But if some of your members aren’t showing up on a consistent basis or they disappear altogether, then you’ve got to figure out why.

Get to Know Your Members

You may feel like this has nothing to do with marketing, but getting to know your members is a great way to build up your word of mouth reputation- and there’s not much advertising that can beat that.

From the very first client you sign on to the 100th client, you (and any staff that you hire) should be concentrating on building a solid relationship with them. By taking the time to get to know your members and showing an interest in them, they’re more likely to be upfront with you if they’re having any issues instead of just dropping off the face of the earth and avoiding your calls. If you’re noticing that a big percentage of your members aren’t renewing their agreement, then something is wrong and you need to know- and fast.

Start by constructing a short, but well-written questionnaire that includes a limited time coupon in a friendly email and send it to past clients who didn’t renew with you. Be sure to leave a space for them to leave comments and pay close attention to the answers you receive. This is where you can take major action, especially if their making the same complaint.

Listen to what they’re saying and offer what you can to get them back. Offer nutritional support if they’re not seeing the results they want, or change up the exercises if they’re finding them boring. Up the energy of the place if that’s what it takes. By giving members what they want increasing your client retention rate- you’ll build up your “word of mouth” and save tons on traditional fitness marketing.

Show Them Love

Be generous with your members, show them that you appreciate their business by incentivising their hard work from time to time. Host a silly costume contest or hold a theme day at your boot camp or gym and get everyone to dress up. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to bring everyone together. Give the best dressed a gift card to their favorite restaurant or half off their monthly rate to show that it pays to participate. (more…)

How to Overcome Objections When Selling Personal Training Programs

Posted by on January 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Dealing with objections in sales is never easy, especially when you are selling personal training programs. It’s just not fun to hear “no thank you” after you’ve spent time with a prospect, explaining all the benefits and features of your training program… why it’s important to exercise… why they should take their health seriously… how being fit affects other areas of your life in a positive way… blah, blah, blah and so on.

Your prospect already knows this stuff. They know it’s unhealthy to be overweight, they know that diet and exercise are vitally important in healthy living, and they know that if they don’t change then what ever issues they’re dealing with might get worse. Your potential clients don’t need to hear all this from you- and it’s not your job to explain how awesome exercise really is.

The trick is to get right down to it and figure out why they haven’t made that change for themselves yet. Sometime people just need a push in the right direction- and that’s where you come in.

Some of your prospects might have been overweight for years and are just now seeking the help of a personal trainer. Others might not be overweight, but they lack energy to get through their day without loading up on tons of caffeine. Others may have been athletes when they were younger and want to get back into shape. Some may have never even exercised before and aren’t really sure of how to start.


So, if you find yourself dealing with a lot of objections when selling your personal training packages, then that’s step number one. Find out what drives them.

Why They Say No

Why do people say no when buying a product or service that they want? Simply put, there’s a lack of these four little things: need, urgency, trust, and the most frustrating of all- money.

One of these four objections are at the heart of every single “no” you hear, so if you get good at identifying which objection your prospect is using then you’ll be much more prepared to overcome them. Each objection is important to understand because they all require a different way of handling the issue.

Here’s how to handle a lack of…


Basically, a prospect or potential client has to have a need for your services, which is probably likely because you’re selling personal training- and everyone needs to exercise. But not everyone feels like they “need” to pay for a fitness program to help them exercise.

One way to overcome a lack of need is to sell your prospects on results. Not the mechanics of getting there, but what they’re going to get if they stick with your program. The outcome. By focusing on the value and the outcome of your program, you’ll create a need for it. But if you focus too much on features like the square footage of your gym or the exercises they’ll be doing if they sign up, you’ll lose their interest and devalue what you actually do.


This objection is usually the one that drives personal trainers crazy. They go through all this trouble to figure out someone’s needs and they finally find it but the timing isn’t quite right. They may have even said something like “I’d love to, but it’s not the right time for me”.

Chances are, if this is someone’s biggest objection, then you probably didn’t demonstrate the impact of your solution well enough. What you offer has to be a solution for a problem that you’re going to help them solve. And if they’re not really ready to solve that problem, it’s up to you to show them that they are- with your help, of course.

Taking time to figure out their needs will really help you in this step, and if you listened well enough then you can use a lot of what they said to make a big emotional impact. People buy with their hearts- not with their brains… so it’s important to create a sense of urgency when sitting down with someone.

Ask open ended questions that forces someone to give up a little information about themselves. Questions like, “What bothers you the most about the extra weight?”, “How do you feel when go shopping for new clothes?”, “At what point in your life did you feel the best?”, “How is your energy level throughout the day?”. Really pay attention to their answers so you can refer back to them and help them decide that now is better than never.

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You’ve heard us say this a billion and one times, but it’s so incredibly true: people have to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy from you. That’s why referrals are the perfect potential client because they already trust that you can get results- or they wouldn’t have been recommended by someone you train in the first place.

Exposure is one awesome way to build up your know, like, and trust factor. Start making Youtube videos of home workouts and share them on your business’ Facebook Fan Page. Write helpful articles on health and fitness and send them to your email list. Try submitting one of them to your local newspaper. Write case studies on your best, most transformed clients to show that you really know your stuff. (more…)

Fitness Boot Camp Marketing Fundamentals

Posted by on January 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Fitness boot camp marketing isn’t very different from marketing another type of personal training business. In fact, when it comes right down to it- marketing a boot camp is actually a lot less costly than it’s one-on-one personal training counterpart, so that’s something to consider if you’re thinking of starting a fitness business and haven’t decided which business model to adopt.

Marketing is the lifeblood of your business so if you don’t have a very good grasp on it, don’t worry. This post is all about laying down the fundamentals and getting more clients for your business.

But before we get into any of that- there’s one thing that we have to get crystal clear. One important aspect to your business that, if you don’t have it, will make growing your business impossible. And that one thing is RESULTS. You have to know how to get your boot camp clients results. Look, you’re a personal trainer and if you can’t get this one thing right then you’re not cut out to be a fitness business owner.

If your clients aren’t completely raving over their results then that’s your first marketing step. Get results. Now, let’s say that you already know how to get your clients results like the professional you are- are you delivering an awesome experience? That’s fitness marketing step number two. Get results and create exciting workouts that don’t bore your clients.

Once you’ve got these two basic things down pat, you’re ready to roll out with some of these other awesome marketing techniques.

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Referrals are great- they come to you already trusting what you have to offer because they were recommended to you by a loved one and they’re much easier to sell to than someone who just found you off the street. Having referral generation systems in place will help you to get more of the leads that convert.

One way to naturally get clients to refer you is for you to have a banging boot camp, and just like we mentioned earlier- you have to do your part to make sure that you’re getting results and that you’re creating an awesome experience for people to be raving about your boot camp.

Not only should you do all that, but you also need to set the expectation for referrals early on. When a new clients signs on with you, be sure to say something like, “Mrs. Smith, as I help you become more fit and in the best shape possible, can I count on you to help me get what I’m after, which is more awesome clients like yourself?”

By setting up this expectation first and foremost, you’re never going to feel awkward asking for them down the line, should you ever need to. And most will appreciate you being up front about it. And if you’re going out of your way to deliver results and a great experience, your clients will have no problem recommending you to their friends and family.

If you have a boot camp that’s already established then running a referral contest is a great way to get more leads quickly. Make the prize worthwhile like an iPad or something cool, and give out points for referrals. The client with the most points wins the prize. Award the prize in front of everyone and make a big deal out of it so that others will know that you reward referrals. (more…)

Starting a Fitness Business Off Right

Posted by on January 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Starting a fitness business, whether it’s group personal training like a boot camp or it’s a one-on-one personal training studio, is the natural progression for personal trainers who want to branch out. Especially if they’re stuck in a big box gym without much freedom. Learning the ins and outs of starting a business probably feels very overwhelming, but when it comes to fitness businesses there are tons of low-cost (and even free) ways that you can market so you’re constantly signing on new clients.

Here are three fitness marketing tips that you can use to start your gym or boot camp off without a hitch.

Who’s Your Ideal Client?yourpassion

This is vitally important to figure out. Who do you want to serve most in your fitness business? Who is going to benefit the most from my program? By asking yourself these kinds of questions, you’ll be able to narrow down a niche for you to market and cater to. The reason this is so crucial is because your business will rely on marketing. Marketing to get you leads, which turn into clients, but in order for your marketing to be effective- it has to speak to a specific audience.

Not defining your niche market is actually one of the biggest mistakes that new fitness business owners can make. People buy things when they feel like their problems will be solved or when they feel understood, and it’s important to remember this when coming up with your target market. Once you know who you’re selling to, it’s easier to speak their language and get them buy personal training from you.

Good examples of niche markets include new moms who want to lose weight, student athletes, baby boomers or the elderly, busy people who don’t have time to work out, or those who are looking for complete body transformations. The more niche your program, the more you can market the hell out of it. If you chose to market to any and everyone from age 10 to 90 then you’ll have a much harder time making a connection with your potential clients.

Build Relationships

Believe it or not, being a fitness business owner means that you have to be social. Social with your leads, potential clients, and current clients. In order to grow your business to massive success you have to get your name out there and one way to do that is to take the time to build relationships. Relationships with local businesses that relate to your niche market. See a pattern here? You really can’t do much until you narrow down who you’d ideally like to serve.

Once you’ve defined your niche market, find out where these people like to hang out. For moms it might be a gymnastic center or a hair salon. For student athletes it might be some type of trendy, healthy type of restaurant or cafe. Also consider the businesses that are in a close vicinity to yours, whether or not they relate to your niche or not, and ask them how you can promote THEIR business to your clients, then you’ll have the opportunity to ask for their help.

You always want to go into these businesses with a giving hand. Help others so they’ll be more likely to help you. Say something like, “Hi! My name is JOE and I own the local fitness studio down the street and what I’d like to do is offer you free personal training for the next 30 days (or whatever you feel is appropriate) so you can come in and see what we’re all about, and I’d like to let my clients know about your business because they might want to come in and get their hair done (or whatever the business is). Do you have any handouts I can give to my clients?”

Then, you’ll want to follow up with them in a week or so to let them know that the handouts they gave you were a big hit (even if they weren’t). Ask them if they’re able to help you out by promoting your business to their clients and email lists. Let them know about any special offer that you have going on and even give them a couple of coupons or flyers or postcards (if you have them), heck even business cards will help.

Get Clients Fast (more…)

3 Tips on How to Sell Personal Training More Effectively

Posted by on January 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Being a personal trainer, no one really gives you the blueprint on how to sell your services when trying to get more clients to grow your business. Selling is important because if you’re not able to convert the people who are interested in training with you into paying customers then you’re never going to have a successful business. As personal trainers, we are the ones who change people’s lives for the better, but it’s impossible to do so without selling them the fitness packages they need to get results. The more people you help, the more money you’ll earn in return.

So, here are a couple of tips on how to sell personal training to help you increase your closing rate:

1. Learn to Love Salessales

Okay, that may sound a little cheesy, but it’s important that you have a positive outlook on sales in order to be good at it. If you view it as an “unnecessary evil” in growing your business then you’ve got the wrong idea. Sales and personal training go hand in hand. You want to have a good relationship with your clients, right? Learn how to sell to them in a way that it doesn’t even feel like a sale, but more like a friend trying to help another lose weight and get in shape. Most personal training or boot camp business that fail do so because they lack the ability to convert leads into clients. Be open minded about sales, and try not to hate the process.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to stop thinking of sales as a negative thing. Selling only feels negative because we all hate getting sold to insincerely, so if you have a better outlook on it then you’ll come across much more genuine and likeable.

2. Be Passionate.

Energy is contagious, and if you’re fired up about helping your potential clients lose weight and look great then that will show whenever you sit down to meet with them. Even if selling isn’t your strong point, being passionate about your services will help sell more than if you were unenthusiastic. No one wants to train with someone who lacks energy, so make sure that you’re excited and in a good mood during consultations.

Remind yourself of why you became a personal trainer in the first place. It’s not an easy job, and not an easy business to run if you’ve got one, but if you remind yourself that you’re in it to help people then you really can’t go wrong. You have to have a passion for changing lives and if you do, you’ll grow your business faster than you thought possible and achieve the type of freedom you want.

3. Figure Out the Reason Why.

People from all walks of life will come to you for help with weight loss, muscles building, strength training, or just to become healthier overall, and it’s your job to find out why. Why does the person you’re meeting with want/need your help? And why do they want/need it now? They may have been overweight for years, so what would finally drive them to seek help? (more…)