Collins dictionary definition
- (variable noun) In the United States, a boot camp is a camp where people who have just joined the army, navy, or marines are trained
- (variable noun) A boot camp is a set of intensive exercises done on a regular basis and designed to improve strength and fitness
Inspired by the tough training regimes seen at military bases in the US, boot camp training programmes tend to be associated with high intensity outdoor activities that leave participants in a sweat.
If you’re thinking of running a boot camp as a personal trainer, there are a few things to consider before you start.
What is boot camp training?
Usually run outdoors for a group of people, boot camp training sessions are considered a good way to achieve fitness, weight loss and muscle gain.
They include cardio and resistance work for an all-round work out, usually presented as time-based interval circuits, where short bursts of intensive sets are followed by rest periods.
What are the benefits of running a boot camp?
You may already be teaching classes and offering 1-2-1 training in a gym environment – running a boot camp will add another string to your bow – and potentially more income in your pocket.
Since the Covid pandemic struck, training outdoors has been recommended as a good way for people to participate in group workouts, offering natural ventilation and space to socially distance. You may also find that current clients like the idea of varying their training by attending indoor and outdoor classes of different kinds.
How to set up a boot camp as a personal trainer
First decide how many classes you want to run a week and what level of fitness they will be aimed at. It’s best to start small and build up to more classes once you’ve been able to gauge interest and benefit from word of mouth.
Check out the competition and price your sessions accordingly. Look at ways to market your boot camps, whether online – social media, personal blog, website – or traditional marketing such as posters and flyers.
Plan the sessions as you would any other training programme and vary them from week to week to keep your clients interested.
Rain doesn’t always stop play, but make sure you have a back-up plan if it becomes impossible to run a session outdoors.
What work outs are included in boot camp training?
These can vary but you might like to incorporate any or all of the following:
- Cardio workouts – running, skipping, high knees, mountain climbers, burpees, sprinting between cones
- Resistance training – using bodyweight, e.g. press ups, lunges and squats, or using equipment such as park frames for pull ups or dumbbells for squat to press
Each session should begin with a warm up of jogging or dynamic movement and end with a stretch out and cool down. There should also be rest periods in between exercises.
The emphasis should be on variety, incorporating compound movements with targeted exercise for a full body workout.
What qualities do you need as a personal trainer running a boot camp?
A boot camp is not about yelling at clients to gain results. A personal trainer running a boot camp should aim to motivate participants through patience, enthusiasm and understanding
each individual client’s needs and goals.
Be aware of the different levels of experience and make sure participants remain hydrated throughout the training session.
Who are boot camps for?
Boot camp training may sound like it’s only for the fittest among us, but it can be adapted for beginners too.
Ideally you will offer different boot camp training for people at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. However, if you find yourself with a range of people of different abilities within your boot camp classes, you will need to monitor their progress during each session to ensure that everyone can benefit from the exercises and no one gets injured.
A beginner can easily be put off by an intensive work out if they struggle to keep up, so give them plenty of encouragement when they are just starting out. Equally, you must ensure that seasoned boot campers are given enough of a workout to achieve their fitness goals.
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