The latest craze on the fitness scene, boot camps have been cropping up all over the country in recent years. Based on military-style calisthenics, body-weight based strengthening exercises and various types of cardio, these exercise programs are usually an hour-long instructor-led group class most often held in the outdoors. Some are based at established fitness centers, while many are run by private trainers at local parks and other public areas.
Although many facilities have not had great success with their boot camps, for various reasons, overall, boot camps have proven to be quite popular, and the idea appears to have great staying power. Establishing a boot camp at your facility requires a lot of extra effort, but done correctly it can provide a lucrative stream of revenue for your business. Just be sure to avoid these pitfalls.
Pitfall #1 – Not Charging Additional Fees for Boot Camp
You need to make it clear from the very start that your boot camp is an extra program, outside of your regular gym membership. You will need to hire special instructors, develop a specialized and intensive program, and even provide specialized equipment, so members should expect to pay an extra fee to participate.
A boot camp is not a class; it is an intensive program run over an established time frame, requiring regular commitment rather than just occasional participation. If it is available as part of the regular membership, members will think they can just show up when they feel like it. If they have to pay for a four week or eight week program, they will commit to showing up.
Pitfall #2 – Not Running Your Boot Camp Separately from Other Activities
While you want your regular members to see and appreciate what they’re missing, you need to establish your boot camp outside of the regular gym activities. They need to be using different equipment, and doing different exercises. If your boot camp needs to be held indoors during cold weather, consider holding it early in the morning before the gym opens for regular clientele, or in the evening after it is closed.
If your boot camp does end up in the gym at the same time as other members, try to keep your campers separate from the regular membership. Have them wear a special boot camp tee shirt and make sure they stay together. They can use the facilities during regularly scheduled bathroom and water breaks. If you want make sure that paid bootcampers are the only ones participating, Insight’s access system can provide added security to this an any other additional programs or promotions that your facility has.
Pitfall #3 – Not Enough Variety in Boot Camp Workouts
The key to a successful boot camp is variety. If someone wants to just use a bunch of weight machines they can go to the regular gym. Provide specialized equipment like TRX suspension trainers to spice things up. Use partner exercises, relay races, team competitions, circuit training and more to keep things exciting. Keep in mind; this is a camp, not a regular class. You’re supposed to inspire teamwork and camaraderie, and that’s what keeps people coming back!
Has bootcamp been a boom or bust for your fitness business?