Boot Camp Strategies

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 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…)

Marketing a Fitness Boot Camp

Posted by on October 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

If you’ve already started a fitness boot camp, you may only have a few people attending and  obviously, getting more people to join will increase how much you earn.

There are dozens of ways of marketing a fitness boot camp business as you probably know, but the best way to get a good response is to offer something free.  Free is the most effective word in advertising, because it works.

Whether you want to run print ads, use your FaceBook Business page to attract leads, or use lead boxes, you can attract a lot of business by offering prizes and free sessions to get people in through the door.

As a bonus, by using any or all of these methods you can also grow your email list, so even if people aren’t ready to sign up today, you can keep reminding them of what they’re missing. Just make sure your limited time offers are what they say they are - limited.  If people know they’re always going to get $100 off their first month’s boot camp membership, there’s no incentive - you have to create a sense of urgency.

Lead Boxes

Lead boxes are a quick and easy way to grow your client list; you’ve probably noticed them on local retailers’ counters. They’re simply little boxes that can advertise a business’s special offers. They have a slot in the top where you drop in a card, just like a ballot box. It could be a business card, but the best idea is to have a short tear-off questionnaire, that asks for a name, phone number and email address.

No savvy business owner is going to clutter up his sales counter with lead boxes if he doesn’t get something out of it.  Make him an offer of a free personal training session, a free month’s boot camp, or a coupon – something valuable that benefits him.

The great thing about lead boxes is they’re extremely easy to monitor, because obviously you have to go back an empty them.   For promoting a fitness boot camp, you have to figure out where the best places will be to leave your lead box, and that will be hair salons, barbershops, spas, health food stores, and yoghurt shops etc.  It may take some trial an error to find the best locations, but lead boxes can be an incredibly good source of leads.

You have an awesome business, so think hard about the design of your lead box. It should be attractive, and tell people exactly and concisely what to expect if they do fill in a card.

A good graphic designer will help you create just the right lead box, one the business owner doesn’t hide under the counter as soon as you leave.  The cost for a lead box can be just $20 each and in a high-traffic location, you may get 50 leads a week, with a conversion rate of maybe 1-5 sign ups, and of course, you get 50 email addresses that you can work on. The more compelling and valuable your offer, the more interest there will be.

If you only have 10 lead boxes, you can always drop in once every few days and buy a joghurt, shoot the breeze with the owner or get your hair trimmed and collect the cards.  More than that and you’ll probably have to hire someone to do it for you.


FaceBook has changed a lot; it’s no longer just a social media site, it’s a great place to promote a business.  You can run an ad on FaceBook offering free sessions or reduced rates to your exact target audience only, so if your bootcamps are popular with 25- to 35-year old businesswomen, only they will be see your ad.

To keep your costs down, don’t redirect prospects to your blog or website, send them to your FaceBook business page, and offer a free audio program or report in exchange it for their email address, because FaceBook prefers if you don’t redirect traffic away from their site.

Using Other Business Owner’s Email Lists

Building a rapport with other business owners is important because eventually you may be able to ask to use their email list.  What you’ll do is send out a series of emails to their clients, containg a special offer. You can sweeten the pot by giving the business owner some gift cards, that he can use himself or give away, and you could reciprocate by offering to send a special offer for his business to your email list.

Build a Website or Blog

If you’re serious about marketing a fitness boot camp and cultivating a good following, but haven’t already built a blog or website it’s time to do so.

Learn about keywords, which are the words people use to search for relevant websites. Those words are how the search engines find your website too. Make your blog or website interesting, post regularly and link to information on other sites your visitors may find interesting and useful. Pay attention to comments and respond as quickly as possible, which easy these days thanks to smart phones. (more…)

Starting a Fitness Bootcamp Business

Posted by on September 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Fitness bootcamps are becoming enormously popular for a number of reasons. People can train with a friend or friends, at a time that’s convenient for them and they can  even make new friends.  Being part of a group also helps keep attendance rates high, and of course a well-run boot camp is fun and very effective in delivering fast results.

If you’ve been in the personal training industry for any length of time, you’re probably not earning what you want to earn just with a handful of one-on-one clients. If you’ve heard what many boot camp owners are making for the hours they work, no wonder you’re looking into starting a series of boot camps of your own. I didn’t even mention you can kiss your boss goodbye!

You can earn more, and spend the rest of the day doing what you want to do.

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Typically, most people think of boot camps as being held outdoors.  There are a few advantages, specifically you don’t have to pay rent and you have no overheads.  That’s great, until it snows or rains and your 6am class has to work out in the dark.  There’s always the possibility the local authority that runs the park may changes its rules.

The alternative is to lease or sub-lease space.  Sub-leasing can be the most advantageous choice for those starting their first boot camps. Why? Because you don’t have to invest a lot of money.


Fitness Boot Camp Business

Posted by on August 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

One of the main reasons why people decide to start their own fitness boot camp business is to make lots of money.  It works, but only if it’s done right.  The difference between personal training, small group training, and a bootcamp with, say, 30 participants is simply the amount of people who turn up.  More people, more money right?

Well in theory that’s true, but it’s very difficult to give as much personal attention and guidance to 30 people as you could with one-on-one training.  If you ignore the needs and abilities of anyone who attends your classes, you’re going to run into trouble. You’ll spend more time recruiting and dealing with bad publicity than actually training anyone.

There are far too many people with the wrong ideas about boot camps anyway. The U.S. Army always comes to mind first, and that’s a scary prospect for an overweight mother of three.  The word “small” in small group training may be more attractive, but it still won’t help if your sessions are not planned properly and are not tailored specifically to each of you client’s needs.

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When you train someone in a one-on-one situation, you get to know him or her.  You quickly learn what they can and can’t do, what they’re good at, and what they’re physically not up to.  You also get to know their personality and, very importantly, their medical history.  If someone gets hurt in any situation, it’s probably your fault - not the client’s!


The Ideal Fitness Business Model

Posted by on July 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm

So you want to start your own fitness business. Congratulations on making a wise decision that means you’ll be doing something you love, for as long as you want to do it, with the potential to make a lot of money.

Now, where do you begin?

Find the Right Property

The first thing you’ll probably want to consider is a property.  Depending on where you are, you may have already seen a suitable property that’s in good condition and doesn’t need a ton of money spending on it.

Hopefully the property will be owned by a decent landlord, with lease terms that won’t keep you awake every night worrying about the air conditioning or the roof caving in.

Hire a real estate attorney who can look over the terms of any lease before you sign on the dotted line, after you’ve decided how long a lease you’ll be comfortable with.

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A Solid Fitness Boot Camp Business Plan

Posted by on July 10, 2013 at 11:22 am

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a personal training business or a fitness boot camp, you’ll need a solid business plan that includes an effective marketing plan if you want to get on the fast track to success.

Learn everything you can about marketing. Find out what works for you and concentrate on putting your plan into place so everybody - you, your staff and your clients, will always know what to expect.

Set Goals for Your Business

Your business plan must include goals. Where do you want your business to be in 12 months, three years and  in 5 years?

Only you know how much time and effort you want to dedicate to your business. Many small-business owners end up working seven days a week without a break and that isn’t good. Hence planning well ahead means you can take much needed time off without feeling guilty and you should also be able to take a vacation.

How much money do you want to be earning in five years time? If you can set a realistic goal and work towards that financial goal, you’ll find that instigating an effective business plan will help spur you on.

Finding and utilizing a number of effective marketing techniques will be key to your success. By planning, you can experiment. By setting goals, you’ll be able to drop those marketing techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that are. Therefore, you must always be aware of where your referrals are coming from and which convert the best.

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Tips On Starting Your Own Fitness Boot Camp Business

Posted by on June 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

There are many hard working, talented, and dedicated trainers who are quite happy clocking in and working for someone else every day of their lives. I’m sure a large number of them have at one time or another considered starting a fitness boot camp business.  For the majority the biggest problem is raising the capital, but one of the biggest advantages of starting a Boot Camp Business is you don’t need an enormous amount of money to get started.

You can treat the fitness industry like a normal J.O.B., or secure your financial future by looking beyond the one-on-one training sessions by starting your own boot camp business in just a matter of weeks.  No more working long hours, six days a week and taking only a small percentage of the profits – you can have it all!

Be honest and ask yourself what are your goals are in life.  Some will say they just want to be able to pay their bills each month. Fine - there are plenty of jobs in the fitness industry for those people, but if you’re ambitious, have the tenacity and will to succeed, and want to pay off your mortgage in five years rather than dragging it out for 30, then starting your own Boot Camp Business will be the ideal solution.

Working six days a week also means you have very little time for your family and/or loved ones. I don’t know too many spouses/lovers/girlfriends that will put up without ever seeing you in daylight, or those who wouldn’t love some weekends away and at least one good vacation each year. Living with someone who falls asleep exhausted as soon as their buns touch the couch is another reason why relationships fall apart. You’ll be starting your own Boot Camp Business for those you love as much as you, so get them involved.

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