You may or may not know that in March 2014 I let go of my bootcamp when I moved overseas. Since then I’ve run the odd class here and there and I worked for a bootcamp in Portland, OR over the summer of 2015.
I run Bootcamp Ideas and it’s projects full time so I still live and breathe group fitness, I just haven’t been doing much of it myself.
This year, now back in Melbourne, I’ve had an itching to start running sessions again. I had an idea for a new group fitness session that I wanted to run so I approached the old studio/gym I used to work for and we set up a trial run this month.
It’s been a great learning and relearning process after so long of not doing much. Here are the 3 main lessons that I’ve been using and thinking about:
1. Quit with the HIT all the time
Most fitness classes are on the gasping-for-air high intensity side of things.
The clients who are coming to my workouts are used to that high rep style of training. I find that when people train this way for months and months on end they end up training at 60-70% all the time just so they can get through the workout.
They forget what it’s like to give 100% in a workout. So to show them this, we’re slowing things down and upping the weight.
I’ve got the advantage of training inside so I’m including things like sled pushing and pulling, sandbags, farmers carries and I Go, You Go style training in with you standard bodyweight movements. (At my outdoor bootcamp I would bring kettlebells, tyres and ropes for the same reason)
These big primal exercises, done for low reps with plenty of recovery, challenges the body in a completely different way to most group fitness sessions.
Not only are clients doing something new and exciting, you’re also teaching them to work hard no matter what the style of workout is.
2. Use warm ups to teach great movement
I used to create warm ups for my sessions regardless of what we were doing in the main part of the session. I’d just pick a warm up or game that I liked and we’d do that.
Then one day I was training my friend, a Pilates teacher, in a one on one session. I had her do some single leg deadlifts.
‘Really?’ she said.
I was confused, I knew she could do them. She explained, ‘In Pilates I would prepare someone with a different movement before getting them to do something like this.’
It made sense. A single leg deadlift requires good body awareness and good activation of the hamstrings and glutes. Why hadn’t I gotten her to do some glute bridges or similar before getting her to do single leg deadlifts?
I realised that adopting this concept of progression would also work well in my bootcamps.
When training groups we don’t have the luxury of being able to spend a lot of one on one time with each client. We need to be able to teach technique quickly and effectively.
So I started picking the exercises and movements in my warm ups based on what we were doing at bootcamp.
Doing some kettlebell deadlifts? Let’s use a hip hinge movement like good mornings in our warm up. Squats? Throw in some frog squats. Lunges? 1 leg glute bridges and warrior lunges.
This way, when I was showing people the workout I could say something like, ‘Remember those good mornings we did? The deadlifts is similar, back straight, weight on heels, drive the hips back.’
It really worked too. I noticed a big drop in clients mentioning things like sore lower backs. I saw a big improvement in technique which meant I could use a wider range of challenging exercises in my camps.
Don’t just throw a warm up at your clients, take the time to plan it properly like the rest of your workout.
3. How amazing it is to help people feel like they’ve achieved something
This feels so good!
I had completely forgotten how great it feels to see that look of accomplishment on a clients face after they’ve finished a workout with you.
The type of workouts I’m doing at the moment are formulaic, there’s five rounds they must complete to finish the workout. So going in they know roughly what to expect and that at the end of the 5th round they are done.
The cool thing is that the feeling my clients are having is then associated with me, the workout and everyone else in the group. Giving your clients a sense of accomplishment is a great way to have them come back to the next session.
I’m really excited about continuing these sessions (at the moment I just run them on Saturday morning) and am looking at coming back to training in an even bigger way next month after my trip. That means I’m back to creating new workouts myself too which I can share with all of you!
Introducing The Trainers Tribe Podcast
Next Monday is going to be EPIC. Actually the whole of next week is.
Over at the The Trainers Tribe we’ve been working on creating a podcast for trainers by trainers. Next week we’re starting off with 5 episodes for you to devour, followed by a new episode each week. We’ve covering all topics of running a fitness business from training to client retention to business mistakes. We also have interviews coming with successful fitness professionals and business experts.
On Monday you’ll be able to find us in your favourite podcast app.
What is a podcast? A podcast is kind of like radio. Each episode is on a different topic or with a different guest. You listen to episodes on demand from wherever you can get internet.
Click on our faces below to find out more.