Boot Camp Strategies

Avoid These Two Huge Mistakes When Starting a Fitness Boot Camp

Posted by on July 3, 2014 at 10:56 pm

There are any number of mistakes that new entrepreneurs can – and will - make when starting a fitness boot camp. Most of them are fairly minor things that can be counted as part of the learning curve. What you really want to avoid are mistakes that cost you serious money or growth in the beginning.

My years running Fit Body Boot Camps and working closely with both Bedros and the FBBC owners has taught me that there are two really significant and really damaging mistakes to avoid at all costs when you’re starting a fitness boot camp. It could take months or even years to make up the lost opportunities and revenue.

Trying to be a fitness generalist

There are all kinds of fitness generalists in your area. The last thing you want to do is be one of them. There are a couple of really important reasons for this. First of all, if you’re a generalist, you have to compete in a field of many. Some competition will be well-established in the community or have big national brand names. All of them will be offering the very same thing you’re offering, which is general fitness help. Do you really want to enter this market?

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 10.49.18 PMSecondly, finding a niche or specialty market (such as athletes, new moms or Baby Boomers) means two very important things to your bottom line: a) You can target your marketing, which makes it more effective and less expensive and b) people are willing to pay more for the services of a specialist.

Let’s say you identify your target niche as middle-aged women. When you approach them as a specialist in anti-aging and metabolism boosting nutrition and hormone balance through exercise and nutrition, you suddenly become much more valuable than Bob over at Big Box Fitness.

Don’t try to be all trainers to all people. Start out targeting a specific group of people who want and need your specific areas of expertise and you’ll spend less time marketing and your marketing returns will be much higher. (more…)

How to Create a Transformation Program That is a Boot Camp Marketing Goldmine

Posted by on June 3, 2014 at 10:10 pm

The big box gyms in your area are advertising two-for-one sign up deals and forty different types of classes. So how do you tailor your boot camp marketing efforts to compete with them?

You don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 10.50.58 PMYou’re not a big box gym. You’re an awesome personal trainer and what you have to offer is something the big box gyms can’t: incredible results. People join gyms because they want to change the way they look and feel and most of them want that change to be dramatic and fast. The big box gym isn’t the answer.

Very few people who sign up for a big commercial gym will ever get anything close to the results they’re seeking. Most of them will drop out of the gym with very little to show for their money or their time. Those people are absolutely primed for an intense body transformation program. If you can offer that, you won’t need to spend much time on boot camp marketing – your clients’ results will do the marketing for you.

So how do you create a transformation program that really stands out and puts you in a whole different category from the big box gyms? I have five tips from boot camp owners that have used these programs to propel their businesses to the next level.

Promise results and then deliver. This may seem overly simplistic, but nothing will kill your success like mediocre results. Nobody posts on Facebook that they lost ten pounds in just six months. Nobody brags about the personal trainer who helped them carve an inch from their waistline and that was it.

We live in a culture that expects everything right now, if not sooner. Use your skills and expertise to deliver the most dramatic results in the least amount of time. Give your clients the workouts and the results of their lives and they won’t be able to keep quiet about it.

Offer something unique. Don’t just advertise that you’ll help clients lose fat or build muscle. The fitness businesses that have excelled are the ones that found a way to meet a unique need. One of the best examples of this is the Body for Life program, which many consider to be the foundation of transformation programs. Body for Life made itself unique by saying it was a program that would work for anyone of any age. Another good example is P90X. That program stood out and sold like crazy because it’s uniqueness was that it offered a hard-core intensity workout that could be done at home in a short amount of time, yet produce great results.

You have to have something unique to offer. It might be a baby-to-bikini transformation for new mothers or fat burning for Baby Boomers. Find it, market it and then deliver it. (more…)

Get Better at Selling Personal Training with these Quick Tips

Posted by on April 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Learning to love sales can be tough when your background is personal training, but if you’re looking to grow your business with new clients then you need to become an expert closer. Marketing will only take you so far, you’ve also got to be able to convert your prospects into paying clients if you’re looking to make the big bucks- and you can only do that by selling.

Selling personal training has gotten a lot easier over the years due to the fact that more and more people have taken a bigger interest in their own health and fitness. Because health and fitness are becoming more “front and center” in people’s lives, closing even the toughest customers is now a breeze compared to years ago when everyone was under the impression that you had to be rich or famous to hire a personal trainer.


Now that our society is a lot more aware of the harmful effects of obesity, more people are looking at getting fit as a way to curb medical costs- and they’re right to do so. Eating right and getting enough exercise can help anyone in almost any situation avoid costly doctors visits and not to mention help them feel a lot better, so it’s no big secret that most doctors will prescribe a patient a healthier diet and more exercise if they aren’t getting enough.

So what does all this mean for you and your personal training business? It means everything! Personal training, group or boot camp or one-on-one, is on the up and up meaning that more people are seeking a personal trainer to work with. They’re already easier to sell than ever before so all you need are these quick selling tips to get you on the right track with your prospects.

Trial Offer

One of the best ways to gain a prospect’s trust is to offer them something of value for free or cheap. A week free at your facility will help them get used to your personality and your style of training, which will help you when you’re ready to sit down and sell to them. They’ll already be familiar with what you have to offer so your consultation will be more focused on them and what they want to accomplish.

That’s much easier than sitting down with a prospect that you barely even know, who doesn’t even know you at all, and trying to sell them a year’s worth of personal training for whatever price. The key is to get them to know you, like you, and trust you before you even end up selling to them because it makes the process that much easier for you and for them.

So if you’re not offering some free or cheap (a week free or two weeks at $45 or whatever feels right to you) trial at your fitness center then start doing so and promote it online, offline- pretty much everywhere you can to get people interested in joining. Your prospects will be much more likely to buy if they can take your training for a “test drive”.

Ask Questions, Then Listen

The secret to closing is basically this: ask questions, then listen- hard. Even the world’s best salespeople know how important it is to let the prospect do the talking. It’s where all the magic happens, it’s where you can pinpoint the exact reason they came to workout with you in the first place and that’s your golden ticket.

Asking important, qualifying questions like, “When is the last time you felt good about the way your look and feel?” or “Tell me about the last time you felt good about your fitness” will help you figure out just what it is that’s holding them back from (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…)

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…)

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 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…)