The Battle Royal Team Building Workout

Your workouts and your personality are only part of the reason that your bootcampers keep coming back. The next biggest reason (or the biggest to some) is the other people who attend your bootcamp.

It’s important therefore to try and get new clients to get to know your awesome campers as quickly as possible.

The best way to to this is during your group sessions. Include ice breakers, games and team based drills to get them talking and building some camaraderie. Tough situations bring people together, and your tough bootcamps can do that in small doses each day.

Team relay

Keeping Score

Score keeping is one of the easiest ways to get teams to compete against each other. Each drill in this workout has a different scoring method as a bit of an example on different ways you can score.

Use a white board to keep track of the score through out the workout and get people excited by calling out the scores at the end of each drill. Let teams at the bottom know how close they are and the teams in the lead that the wolves are hungry at their door.

Important! Don’t turn your bootcamp into an anti-competitive environment. Keep things light by adding and subtracting points through out the workout for things like not paying attention, doing poor reps (especially if it’s a very fit client who is slacking off) and good team work.

Before you start this workout, make sure you start off with a good warm up.

Then split your group into teams of roughly equal fitness. This workout works best if you have an even number of teams (2, 4, 6, 8, etc)

Card Race

Grab your trusty deck of playing cards and remove these numbers: jokers, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Place the deck at the top of a short hill (think 30 metres) with the teams assembled at the bottom. Each team will send one member to sprint up the hill, grab a card off the top of the deck and then run back down to their team.

Once they arrive back at their team with the playing card, the entire team must carry out the exercise that card corresponds to. Here are some examples you can use:

Hearts = tuck jumps
Diamonds = KB deadlift high pull
Spade = sit up fives (feet locked with a partner, high 5 at the top of each simultaneous sit up)
Clubs = chest to deck push ups

The number of reps to be completed (by each member) equals the number on the card. Aces and face cards = 12 reps.

Once the card has been completed another team member can sprint up the hill to retrieve another card. Teams should continue until all of the cards are gone. If you have a lot of teams (6 or more) you will want to use two decks of cards.

Point scoring. Once a team completes a card they should put it in a team pile. Teams get 1 point for every number card they completed and 2 points for every face card and ace.

Mindfield

This is a top secret drill of Garry’s that I can’t share unfortunately. I can tell you though that those coming next month to our London Workshop will get to do it live (Yay!). By the way, there is still 4 tickets left but once they are gone they are gone. You can come for a tank of petrol (everyone else in the world needs to stop complaining about gas prices until they come to the UK – crazy expensive!).

Point scoring. Teams lose 2 points for each mine they fail to bring back.

Tug-of-war

Finish off the workout with a good ol’ fashion game of tug-of-war.

Pick a safe area to set up and keep the games short by playing the first team to have a foot to cross the centre line loses.

Assuming you have four teams. Team 1 and 2 play 3 rounds against each other. Then teams 3 and 4 play 3 rounds against each other. Then the two winning teams play each other and finally the two losing teams.

Tip: If one team is really struggling to win, sneakily give their end of the rope a bit of help.

Point scoring. 5 points for every tug-of-war won.

A final word on point scoring

I’ve allowed for small amounts of points to be scored at each drill. You may decide that you want to make things more exciting by allowing teams to score 100 points for each card and so on.

Also a little tip for time efficient team naming. Set a 30 second timer for the teams to brainstorm a team name. For every second they take longer then 30 they lose a point (and therefore start at a negative).

Who else uses point scoring or team building drills in their bootcamps?

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Long Interval Circuit Workout

Today’s workout is from Trevor Shoulders. He has not only included a very fun looking workout but also some great tips on planning your sessions.

Thanks Trevor!

Tyre pull

Choosing your location

First off you need to get access to a large indoor venue that can take a pounding or find a private-ish outdoor setting that can accommodate your needs.

Want my advice? Do it outside. Even though you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, people enjoy being outside and are more comfortable in an open area.

For me, I’ve chosen an abandoned parking lot outside of the gym I train for, yes its convenient but you may not be as lucky.

Planning the session

Decide what types of exercises you want your clients performing BEFORE you start planning this. Trust me it saves a lot of headache.

The routine I’m going to list below is a combo of strength training, plyometrics, body weight and agility training. Again, lucky for me I have resources and am able to get equipment easily and cheap. I enjoy abstract training, meaning I use unconventional equipment, such as sledgehammers; tractor tires; and sandbags. No, it’s not a new thing but still I enjoy it.

Base your own camp on what YOU want and what your clients want. Also, remember our first topic, make sure your venue can accommodate the style of training you plan on doing.

Make sure you’re insured

Lastly before we start talking exercises, make sure you cover your back. I learned the hard way that just because you know someone well and they get hurt during your camp, doesn’t mean they won’t sue.

So, in saying that, draft up a contract of sorts that covers your legal side so that any injuries can’t be placed on the landlord/owner of property or yourself. You’ll have to do your own research on this topic though.

The Workout

Now, down to business, let’s set up some circuits with 2-3 people per station. The purpose for this is to build some healthy competition between the group members as well as allowing them to motivate one another when your attention isn’t on them.

I’ve had a lot of success with one of two options;

  • either pair up men and women with similar strength/body comp;
  • or put opposites together (i.e. an experienced individual with a less experienced person).

I’ve had less luck with the latter of the two but it works in some scenarios.

Next I suggest giving a rundown of how to do each exercise if you haven’t already planned on doing so, it may seen redundant to some but to the individuals who might be boot camp newbie’s, it may be a lifesaver.

Depending on your class size, you’ll have to remove/add some of these circuits; the one below is designed for a group size of 12 with partners of 2, or 18 with partners of 3.

This is a timed circuit. 2 minutes of straight exercise, followed by a 1 minute recovery period. I suggest you get a whistle.

1. Alternating Tire Pulls

This is a taxing exercise, no matter the length of the pull, it will leave your quads and calves burning and gasping for air. I recommend 20-35 ft for each pull. It’s long enough to get them burning, but short enough to alternate a few times.

Have your first participant start at your go line, and you’re second at the finish, once client 1 has reached the end point, client 2 can pick up and go immediately. If using a third, have them wait at the go line for client 2 to finish.

Set up is easy, go to your nearest SS Tire or tire repair center and ask for a retired tire, take your pick of sizes and enjoy. You can fashion a harness yourself, get creative, or use Google, it’s a wonderful thing.

2. Lunge and Jack

One of my personal favorites, 20-30 ft lunges (can use extra weight) with 40 jumping jacks on the end of each distance.

As we know, lunges are great for the glutes and quads and don’t forget the calves and shoulders for the jumping jacks. You’ll have your clients panting at the end of this one.

3.Sledgehammer Swings

For this you’ll need another tire, a big one. Get a few sizes of sledge hammers (6, 8, 10 etc).

Just like you’d chop wood or nail a stake into the ground, hit the wall of the tire with all your might

This is a great Ab workout with plenty of accessory muscles at work. The shoulders, lats, and arms all come into play here. You can have the clients alternate in 30 second or 30 hit intervals or let them all go at once. I recommend having multiple tires for this.

Since the tire absorbs a lot of the force of the hammer, it’s a low impact exercise but watch for that bounce back. Time to take some frustration out, take that hammer and let it out!

4. Plank to Sprint

Another cardio blaster here, hold a standard (or modified if needed) plank for 20 seconds (have them count aloud to one another), at the end of the time you’re client should bring their dominant leg up under them into a sprinters stance and take off into a full blown sprint.

I suggest shorter distances like 10-15 ft so 1: they don’t get too winded, and 2: you allow even distribution of each exercise.

5. Medicine Ball Pass to Jump Squat

Great for challenging each other and keeping pace with your partner.

Have your clients stand 10ft or so away from one another and chest pass an 8 or 10 lbs medicine ball 10 times (5 per person). At the end of that cycle, each person should do 5 jump squats, preferably together.

Squats are great for the lower back, quads, glutes and calves especially when you add in the plyometric movement of a jump, then add on to the chest; triceps and Ab torture you’re getting from the passes, gonna be sore tomorrow.

6. Lazy Burpee

Although the name may suggest it, this is far from your couch potatoes version of a workout.

Start in the down phase of the push up, explode up into the up phase of the pushup and immediately tuck your feet under you as if you are about to perform a  full blown burpee, finally kick your legs back out and go back to the down part of the pushup. Hence the “lazy” piece.

Repeat circuit as necessary to fill time allotment.

About Trevor

I’m a Graduate of the University of Kentuckly with my degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and an ACE CPT.

I have completed multiple races such as Tough Mudder, Spartan Races, and many other military obstacle course events. I enjoy all forms of exercise and live to be active. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in your personal or company pursuits.

More circuit workouts

Kyle here again.

Not to be a crazy salesman here or anything, but if you like circuits you may want to check out Leon Melnicenko’s new ebook Team Competition Circuits.

It comes with 40 circuit drills and a whole bunch of guides on how to improve running the business side of your bootcamp. Just thought I’d let you know!

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4 More Lessons Learned To Help Save Your Bootcamp Business

Around eighteen months ago, just after I released The Little Bootcamp Book of Workouts, I wrote a short article on lessons I learnt from launching a product that could equally be applied to running a bootcamp business.

Well last weekend I did something else for the first time. I helped organise a live workshop and once again I learnt a tonne about business. I feel compelled to share some of the universal lessons learnt that you should turn around and apply to your bootcamp.

_QCJ0030

1. Employ Risk Management

This was rather an unfortunate lesson to learn but I am glad the regular practice of risk management has become just a part of running outdoors group sessions for Garry and myself. If we hadn’t gone through steps to mitigate risk and protect ourselves, we could be in a world of hurt right now.

In a bootcamp environment, accidents will happen. Clients are trying to work intensely, they get excited, things happen.

You can’t stop it 100% but you can certainly manage it by identifying and eliminating or reducing your risks.

Here are just a few ways to protect yourself and your clients:

Get insurance. If you haven’t got it, get it now. Do I need to expand on this?

Plan your sessions. During the workshop Garry spoke about how planning your workouts is important to ensure clients keep progression. Well it’s also important so that in the event of an insurance claim you have evidence that you progressed your clients from A to B. Evidence that you had thought about why they were doing those exercises on that day. Winging your planning may seem more intuitive and fun to you now, but it really isn’t worth the risk.

Get clients to perform a written health screen and get them to sign a waiver. The health screen will bring to light any injuries or conditions you should be aware of and the waiver will help protect you in the case of an injury. This is the form we had trainers fill out and sign for our workshop. Of course this is an example only and you should check the wording with your lawyer.

Perform a risk analysis of your training area. I’m insured with Guild Insurance. They were fantastic in assisting us preparation for our workshop. They also have an entire section on their website dedicated to helping trainer think about risk. I recommend checking out their article on risk management. They are not paying me to say any of this, it just seemed like something useful to share.

Kyle and Karen

2. Have An Assistant

If you are training 15+ people, you should really consider hiring an assistant. I know this may seem like a difficult task to find someone but it doesn’t have to be.

I found my first assistant at  a bootcamp training course. He wasn’t ready for his own bootcamp at the time and I needed someone to help. Now he is one of my closest friends.

Now you may think ‘I run sessions with 25 people by myself and it’s fine’ but let me ask you these questions:

  • Does your insurance cover you for that many people at once?
  • What happens if someone rolls an ankle? (the most common bootcamp injury in my experience)
  • What do you do when on a group run and someone cannot keep up or is trying to nurse an existing injury?
  • How long does it take you to set up for bootcamp?
  • Who keeps the group motivated while you are looking at your stop watch?

Having Simon assist us on Friday was life saving. We were on a tight time frame so we had to be quick at setting up the next drill. Having two instructors to set up a drill while the other looked after the group made it possible.

When one of the girls collided with another, Simon was able to look after her while we kept the session running. The alternative would have been to stop the workshop while we tended to her, which I’m sure people would have been understanding of the situation, but it meant no time was lost.

Do not let your ego get in the way of giving your clients a safe and effective training environment.

Garry

3. Be Persistent and Patient With Councils

Who loves to deal with their local council?

Anyone?

We had quite a struggle with booking our workshop venue. In fact Garry was originally knocked back because he accidentally let slip the word ‘fitness’ which conjured up images of bootcamps to the council.

You must keep at it though because I assure you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It helps to understand your thought process and their thought process.

You are a cool business owner. You don’t like conforming to rules which is why you decided to be your own boss. When someone slams a closed door in your face you say ‘F*** it’ and knock a hole through the adjacent wall. You also drive a black Jeep Wrangler with a giant boot footprint painted down the sides because you are badass.

Now try to imagine the mindset of the average government employee who only has that job because of the safe paycheck it gives them every week.

Now you understand why you get frustrated. Because you both have different goals and values.

Now that you understand that, also consider that not all council employees are like that, some might be there because they genuinely want to help their local area. And those people are dealing with the same bureaucracy you are only day in and day out.

So give them a damn break!

Be patient with your council. Take the time to help them to understand what you are trying to do and be flexible in what you may need to change in order to do it.

Work with your council, not against them.

Manly Oval

4. Don’t Forget About the Experience

The experience of doing something is becoming almost as important as the actual service or product you give someone.

For example, I went shirt shopping the other day for some clothes. I have a few weddings coming up. I went into this smart casual type suit store and was blown away by the wood paneling on the wall and the floating wood floor. So much effort and money had gone into decking this place out.

This is a fairly big chain menswear store in a shopping centre (mall). The store next door was similarly extravagantly laid out.

I remember when pretty much every clothing store looked the same. White tile floors, white walls and ugly hanging racks.

It all worked, I enjoyed being in the store and bought two new shirts.

Now  I am seeing cafe’s, stores, websites and fitness studios putting a lot of money and effort into the look and feel (the experience) of their location. I think it’s really cool. These are modern expressions of art.

Leading up to the Bootcamp Training Ideas workshop, it was a real pleasure to work with Garry because he seems to understand how important experience is intuitively. He insisted that we hire Manly Oval and not just use some park. He insisted that we get the manuals we handed printed, covered and bound and not just stapled. He insisted that we ask Simon to come help us so things would run smoother on the day.

He was correct. All of these little things added up to making the day very enjoyable and memorable.

So in your own bootcamp don’t forget this. Don’t just deliver awesome workouts, deliver an experience to your clients and they will keep coming back for more.

Collect The Cones

This week’s drill

I know many of your were asking for a copy or a video of the content from our workshop so here is one of the drills we taught:

Collect the Coloured Cones

Part 1

Scatter 30-50 coloured cones in the centre of an area. Form your bootcamp group into teams of 4 or 5 and place the teams in a circle around 15 metres away from the cones.

On your word ‘Go’ each team sends one person running into the centre to grab one cone and then runs it back to their team.

Team members continue running in one at a time in the attempt to be the team with the most cones once all of the cones have been picked up.

Get clients to add up their total number of cones to see who is the winner!

Part 2

Now comes the fun part.

Each collected cone equals 10 reps of an exercise that must be completed by each individual in the team.

For example:

  • Each blue cone equals prisoner squats
  • Red equals push ups
  • Green equals get ups
  • Yellow equals power jacks

Have teams start by adding up how many reps they collected (eg. 4 yellow cones = 40 power jacks each). Then have them complete all of the reps and exercises, discarding each cone as they complete it.

Tip: If you want to use this drill for a warm up just have them complete 5 reps of each exercise and pick really basic warm up exercises.

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Images: Quentin Jones Photography

3 Books You Should Read To Reach Holy Grail Bootcamp Clients

Just a quick aside to begin:

Today’s post is pretty different from what I normally put on here so please tell me if you love/hate it. If you love it I’d like to share more posts like this in the future.

bear crawl

It was a sunny Saturday. I called out the next set of instructions to my group of 10 campers.

“Bear crawls!”.

I was in my third week of running these sessions. I had just been qualified as a trainer 6 months ago and in that time I had only trained a handful of clients.
These group sessions were going great guns though. At 10 people a session I could see that I could make a living at this if I could just get 9 more sessions a week running like this.

The next Saturday I turned up and just had 6 clients arrive.

“That’s ok,” I reassured myself, “It’s just a quiet week.”

The next Saturday I had just 4 clients participate. And then 3 the next Saturday and eventually only 2 were coming regularly.

After a few more weeks I cancelled the class.

This was my first attempt at creating my own bootcamp and I failed miserably. My attitude towards business and my clients was all wrong.

Now I run a very successful bootcamp and I do run those 10 sessions I dreamed about (well another trainer does some of them for me now so I can spend more time with you guys).

I would say a large part of my success came from the support of those around me but also the books I read. And as I’m about to explain, the support I got from those around me came from the books I read.

Here are three in particular that changed the way I thought, not about business, but about myself and relationships.

the dipThe Dip by Seth Godin

Amazon

This book is first, not because it’s best but because it leads on perfectly from my story.

Seth Godin is one of my favourite authors to read. He has a writing style that relentless pummels his message into you using dozens of examples. At the end of the book there is no mistaking the point he was trying to get across.

The Dip talks a lot about what I went through although at the time I had no idea.

Let me lay out the gist for you. When you start a thing you are very excited. You might even have some early success because you are the new kid on the block. But then after a while you hit the Dip. This is the part where the novelty and excitement wears off. The part where you just have to do the work.

It’s at this point that most people give up. The point where no one is coming to your classes. The point where you feel completely out of your depth.

But (mostly) you must push through because waiting on the other side of the dip is that successful place that few reach. The place were people seek you out rather then the other way around.

If you have been a trainer for a while you probably remember entering a dip early on that went something like this:

  • I’m a trainer. Yay!
  • Oh shit, I have no idea what I’m doing!
  • What is the best way to train people? Crossfit? Cardio or no cardio?
  • What diet should I recommend?
  • Should I do one on one or groups?
  • Oh shit, I have no idea what I’m doing! (again)

That’s pretty much exactly what I went through. I was stuck in the Dip. When I cancelled my Saturday bootcamp class I could have cancelled this is a career choice. For some reason though, I didn’t and a few months later clarity and fun work came my way.

But it took time to do that. I had to fight through the Dip to get there.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Then you should really check out The Dip. It’s a really quick read.

Things you will learn:

  • How to identify a dip.
  • How to lean into the dip to reach the other side.
  • When pushing through the dip is a waste of time and you should just quit and move on.

Want something more meatier: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Amazon

This book has to be one of the most recommended books of all time, but for good reason!

I’ve noticed that a lot of similar themed books out there, like How to Win Friends and Influence People and Influence, focus on tactics and strategies to win someone over to your way of thinking.

Instead, this book dives into how to have this thing called character. I think these days his words could be best summed up as ‘how to be mindful’.

I reread it once every year just to keep my priorities on track.

I’m really struggling to explain why I like this book because it is so many things. Basically just go out and buy it, or ask around, I bet someone in your family has a copy lying around at home.

Things you will learn:

  • How to be proactive instead of reactive.
  • How to negotiate with others.
  • How to communicate more effectively with your friends, family and clients.
  • How to stand out from the crowd (most people don’t do any of the things in his book).

Daring Greatly – Brené Browne

Amazon

If the 7 Habits is the how and why of have character then this book is the science behind it.

If you haven’t heard of Brene before then you should start with her TED talk as it will explain things much better then I can.

(video link)

Watched it? Great.

So this book goes into more detail about her talk and gives you plenty of examples for applying vulnerability in your own life.

It will give you stronger, more understanding relationships with your family, friends and clients. It too has made a huge difference to my relationships.

In fact, in preparation for our wedding next week I have been blown away by the input from my clients.

  • One lady who is a costume designer has made these amazing props for our photo booth. Free.
  • Another guy who works for an A/V company is supplying lighting, screens and projectors for free.
  • Several clients have donated lanterns, glass jars and candles for decoration.
  • Our photographer is an old client of my fiancee’s. He is giving us an insanely discounted rate.
  • Another client hooked me up with a suit guy who really looked after me on price and has given me amazing service.
  • Several of our clients are attending our wedding because they are very important to us.

When I was training to be a trainer, I remember one of our instructors warning against blurring the line between friend and client. I disagree and so does Brené. As long as they (the client) are comfortable there is no reason a client cannot be a friend.

In fact being vulnerable at the appropriate times with your clients will build strong lifetime relationships. Which of course will build long term clients and plenty of referrals.

Want something more meatier: The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown

Short Version

Let’s tighten this back up as I have gone on a bit of a tangent.

The Dip will teach you when to stick it out and when to quit. Joining this industry, starting your own business, both are fun to begin and both can get overwhelming and become hard work fast. Stick it out through The Dip and you will be rewarded.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People will teach you how to improve your character. It will teach you how to prioritise, how to negotiate and how to communicate better. Doors will open for you because of this and clients will feel understood and cared for.

Daring Greatly will teach you that you are enough the way you are. You don’t need to put on a show as some crazed fitness person to your clients (unless that is who you are, then go for it!). If you are an audio person I really recommend The Power Of Vulnerability talk.

Speaking of audio I like to ‘read’ when I’m driving the car. Check out Audible for getting audiobooks (it is a little limited for Australians but getting better).

holy grail client

So wait. What on earth is a Holy Grail Client and what does this have to do with them?

A holy grail client is just something I made up to make the heading sound cool. But it does have a meaning.

A holy grail client is a client who regularly brings friends to your sessions. Who always pays on time. Who bakes things and brings them to bootcamp to share.

A person who will babysit your kids. Help you with your business and is really excited to see you succeed.

They are rare and you will not get one by acting how you think a Personal Trainer should act. You will not get one if you build walls preventing intimacy between you and your clients. Which is fine if that is how you wish to run your business.

I’m yet to hear of a trainer who has holy grail clients though and wishes they didn’t.

The End

I’ve spent this whole talk about me and my experiences not to show off or brag but just so you can relate to me and see how these books have helped me.

What books do you recommend? What was a turning point for you in your relationships with your clients?

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Images: Bear Crawl by Peter Burt, The Dip, Parzival by Hartwig HKD (CC)

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How To Create A Fantastic WordPress Website For Your Bootcamp

Quite often I get emails from trainers that don’t have a website. This seems crazy to me.

A website is the postal address of your business online. Now most bootcamps don’t have a postal address because we run them in parks. So, if you don’t have a postal address or a web address, how on earth do you expect people to find you?
And I’m sorry guys, a Facebook page does not cut it as a website. A Facebook page is too limiting and is also owned by Facebook so they can do whatever they like to it without ever asking you.

Now before you get stressed out and you start telling me that website stuff is too complicated and that you don’t have enough money for a web designer just relax. I’m going to break it all down for you into a simple step by step process that you can do yourself.

wp

My experience

When I started meddling around with websites in 2009, I had no previous experience with doing anything web technical.

In fact I was so oblivious to the online world that I had no idea that the average Joe could just go and by his own web domain! I thought you had to be a big fancy company or something.

Learning about websites was quite daunting, even for a Gen Y guy like me who feels pretty comfortable on a computer. Luckily, in recent years the web building and blogging world has developed along with the rest of the tech world making it much much more user friendly then it was even just 5 short years ago when I started meddling.

I was fortunate enough to find a guide like this when I started so I hope this gives you the same confidence that I got.

In this little manual I will teach you how to register and create your own beautiful looking site that you can use as a full blown website for your business or just an online advert and homebase for your bootcamp (or both!).

Step 0. Preparation

Before we get started there are a few things you will need for this journey.

You will need:

  • A credit or debit card – this will cost money
  • A desktop computer or laptop – this might be a little awkward on your tablet or phone
  • An hour of time

We are going to be setting up a website using WordPress.

Why’s that I hear you ask?

There are many website builder kits out there, but I can tell you now they are crap and Google doesn’t like them very much because they use outdated programming techniques.

There are also many other CMS (Content Management Systems – a fancy way to say website organizer) and blogging platforms out there like Blogger and Tumblr but WordPress has really shone as being the most flexible and least restrictive (and fun).

(If none of the above made sense, just ignore it haha)

Now that’s cleared up lets get started on this thing.

Step 1. Domain Name

Your domain name is the phrase that someone types into their address bar to reach your website.

For example the domain name for this site is bootcampideas.com.

The domain name for you might be ralphiesbootcamp.com.

Different domain name suffix’s

You may have noticed that some domain names end in something like .co.uk or .com.au or .ca. These are country specific domain names, if you want one of these for your site, check out this domain name set up guide I’ve written up.

If you are happy with a .com or .net suffix, keep following this guide.

Some tips for domain name choice:

  • Pick your business name. Example: theawesomemelbournept.com
  • If your business name domain name is already being used by someone consider adding ‘bootcamp’ or ‘pt’ or ‘fitness’ to the end
  • If your business name is really long consider abbreviating it or using an acronym to save people typing in a really long web address. Example: awesomemelbpt.com

For this guide I’m going to go with awesomemelbpt.com.
Ok, so now you have your domain name in mind lets move onto step 2.

If your domain name is kind of like the name of your business than your hosting is where it’s physically located.

I use two companies to host my websites, BlueHost and HostGator. Both are very reliable, I am going to recommend to you HostGator and here’s why:

  • HostGator’s online customer service is fast and extremely helpful which is fantastic for someone who lives in a different country (like me).
  • Their prices are very reasonable. In fact they have given me a special coupon for you to use that will get you 25% off whatever plan you choose. Just pop in ‘bootcampgator’ (no apostrophes) in the coupon section. I am an affiliate partner of Hostgator, so I get a commission for referring new customers. I would still recommend them though even if I didn’t.
  • HostGator are very transparent. They offer an easy to claim your money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
  • I am not the only person I know who uses HostGator. All of my friends who use them have had good experiences.
  • HostGator is a fairly large company. Like I hear good stories from people who have used HostGator, I have also heard many horror stories where friends have used expensive, small hosting companies. Normally I like to support smaller companies, but in this case a bigger hosting company means more reliability for a lower cost.
  • Easy to move. At some point you may find another hosting company that you like better. HostGator’s wizards makes it easy for you to move your stuff.
  • Unlimited disk space. This means you can upload videos, PDFs, images and whatever else you feel like to your website without worrying about inuring extra costs or penalties.

The first thing you do is go to HostGator.com and click View Web Hosting Plans.

Hostgator homepage

Click Order Now under the Hatchling Plan option.

Hostgator Plans

Type in the domain name you have decided on. If you already have a domain you will need to select ‘I already own this domain’. Select your term, I recommend 12 or 24 months because you will get a substantially lower rate.

Fill out your details and select your payment method.

Scroll down and choose any add ons you might want. You may want domain privacy if you are using your personal address. It isn’t really needed if you will be using your business details. I am not familiar with site lock so I can’t recommend it.

The website back up feature looks pretty cool and seeing as this is your business site it might come in handy if you get hacked or stuff something up. Again though this wasn’t available when I registered so I use a 3rd party to back up my sites (which is more expensive!).

Don’t forget to add the coupon ‘bootcampgator’ for 25% off your initial order.

Hostgator add ons

Click Create Account and wait while things process. Once it’s completed your hosting account should be ready to go!

Step 3. Install WordPress

WordPress is a piece of software that runs your website just like Windows or OSX runs your computer. So we need to install it to get things going.

Luckily, HostGator makes this super simple by using Fantastico De Luxe (sounds pretty darn awesome doesn’t it?).

How to install WordPress

Log into HostGator using the email they sent you. You will arrive at a place called cPanel (how to log into Hostgator).

From here you can manage all your of website files, email addresses (I may teach you how to do this another time) and things like WordPress installations.

Scroll down all of the icons until you find Fantastico De Luxe under Software/Services. Click on it.

3 1

Click WordPress in the sidebar. Then click New Installation.

FDL wordpress install

Fill out the details for your site. You will need an email, a login and a strong password.

Your Nickname is what you will appear as when you post blogs on your website.

You can also type in a name for your site (eg. Awesome Melbourne Personal Training) along with a short description. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything yet, you can always change this later.

Wordpress install

Hit Install WordPress.

create database

Hit Finish installation.

finish wp install

Wait a moment and then ta da your website is nearly ready to go. Make a mental or physical note of the highlighted line below.

Step 4. Your Theme

Design is really important for your website.

I’m no expert but I have picked up a few things as I’ve trundled along. So here are some things you might want to think about before digging into design.

Even if you decide not to design yourself but to hire someone, these points will help you convey to a designer what you want.

  1. What do you want to use your website for? This will effect what content you put on it.
  2. What will potential visitors/customers want to use your website for? You will want to make this easy and obvious to find.
  3. What colours do you want your website to represent? Different colours impact the way we feel about things. Check out this in-depth colour guide.

Spend a few minutes trying to answer these questions before you move to the next bit.

Theme Installation

In WordPress, the layout and look of the website is governed by your theme.

WordPress comes with a few themes for you to play around with but if you want your site to stand out you will want to think about purchasing a theme from a designer.

studiopress home

This site runs on a theme from StudioPress. I’ve been using their themes for around 3 years and they are just awesome. The back end is mostly drop down boxes or drag and drop set ups so you don’t need to know anything about coding.

And at $79 to $99 they are much cheaper then hiring a web designer.

StudioPress themes come in two parts. The Framework Theme, called Genesis, which is kind of like the engine, transmission and chassis of a car and the Child Theme which is the paint, 18″ mag wheels, leather seats and wooden finish dashboard.

This site’s child theme is called Balance. I chose it because of it’s minimalist design allowing me to draw attention to the things I think are important.

I would recommend one of their business themes for your business site. If you want more of a fitness blog with your Bootcamp services attached then you could pretty much pick any theme you feel represents your business.

studiopress themes

If you don’t have enough choices at the StudioPress website then check out some more at BYLT, a website for third party child themes of Genesis.

Spend a bit of time browsing these bad boys and once you have selected one, purchase it and download the theme to your hard drive. Make sure your purchase includes Genesis AND a child theme (the engine plus chassis).

How to actually install your theme now you have it

I need you to cast your mind back a step now. When you finished your WordPress install you should have been given an admin link.

It would have looked something like awesomemelbpt.com/wp-admin/ only your site inplace of mine.

Got it? Ok go there.

Type in your website username and password and log in. You should now be presented with a screen that looks like this.

dashboard

  1. Go to Appearance -> Themes.
    theme install 1
  2. Click Add New at the top of the page.
    theme install 2
  3. Click Upload and than select the downloaded zip file.
  4. Hit Install Now.
    theme install 3

Wait for the them to install. Do NOT click Activate yet.

Repeat steps 1 to 4 with the child theme you purchased. This time when it is complete click the word Activate.

You are now rocking your theme. Sweet!

Each theme is a little different so spend a bit of time playing around with the colour schemes, widget placement and . If that doesn’t make any sense check out this guide from StudioPress (PDF download).

If the theme doesn’t look like the pictures you saw of it, it’s just because we haven’t added any content yet. Let’s look at how to do that now.

Step 5. Add Content

Content is a fancy word that web people use for ‘useful stuff that is displayed on your website’.

Some examples are:

  • About me section
  • Services description
  • Timetable
  • Blog posts
  • Pictures of your bootcamp
  • Pictures of you

In your dashboard you will see options on your sidebar. Pages and Posts.

pages and posts

Pages are where you put all the useful information that doesn’t change very often. Think of we pages like About, Contact, Prices, etc. These are usually accessible via a menu along the top or down the side of the website.

Posts are where we put news, blogs and articles that we write. When you add a new one of these it will be automatically added to the top of your blog section. All of the workouts you see on Bootcamp Ideas are Posts. This article is a Post.

How to use these tools

Let me help you get started by adding an About Me page.

Second to the contact page this is in my opinion one of the most important pages on your site. Think about it, what page do you go to when you visit someone else site?

So let’s create one and I’ll give you a few tips on making a really good one.

But first, a detour to make your site more SEO friendly.

Go to Settings -> Permalinks and change the setting to Post name as shown in this image.

permalinks

This will give your page and post URLs a nice name rather then a number.

Back to it.

Click Pages -> Add New. This will bring up a new screen like the one below.

add new page

Add your title (About/About Me/About Kyle). Then go to big white box below. This is where you will write what you want to be displayed. You can also add images using this button: wp add media

Using the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor takes a bit of practice. It’s different from using Pages for Mac or MS Word so don’t expect it to act the same. It is it’s on beast with it’s own good bit and annoying bits.

What to write

So let’s fill out that About Me section now.

As I mentioned earlier, your About page is one of the most visited pages on a website. It is also unique, because on an About page people want to read all about you so it is the perfect opportuunity to tell them why you are so awesome and why your bootcamp is the best without coming off as a sleazebag.

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers (arguably one of the best sites for learning about how to make an effective website) wrote a great article in which he glossed over how to write an awesome About page.

I’m going to change it a little bit for our uses as a bootcamp/fitbiz website.

How to write a great bootcamp About page

  1. Start with Why. Why does your business exist and what problem are you going to solve for your potential customer.
  2. Contact us page link/button
  3. Testimonials. Add 2 or 3 decent sized testimonials or client stories here.
  4. Contact us page link/button
  5. Tell the person about you individually. Were you once unfit? Do you have some crazy training? Are you here to cut through all the fitness fads and BS? Get personal and let your customer know who you are. Don’t forget to include a photo of yourself here.
  6. Final contact us page link/button

Now you have written your awesome About page it’s time to see what it actually looks like in your theme.

Click preview in the upper right corner and a preview window should open in a new tab.

Keep tweaking and previewing and once you are happy with how it looks click publish!

preview publish

You have just created your first page! Now you can repeat that with the other pages you will need.

Some recommended pages for your site:

  • Services
  • Bootcamp
  • Timetable
  • Prices
  • Contact us
  • Other trainer pages

Step 6. Personalise and Play

Now that the main chunk of your website content is up you can start playing around with the finer details:

  • Again, I really recommend you grab the manual to the Genesis theme. It explains Menu’s, Widgets and how to change the look of your homepage. All of which are important in customizing your new site.
  • Also in the above manual is how to install your logo into the header of your theme. I bought my first business logo (and the logo for Bootcamp Ideas) from LogoNerds. You might have more skill then me and will be able to do one yourself.
  • The beauty of WordPress is the ability to be able to ‘plug in’ extra features to your site by using Plugins. Want extra functionality? There is probably a plug in that will do it. Here are my favourites:
    • Akisimet. This should already be installed. Set it up to stop spamming on your site.
    • All In One SEO Pack. If you want to start optimizing your site more.
    • Contact Form 7. Use this to set up a contact form. With a bit of playing around you can create a very detailed form. There are better one’s out there, but they aren’t free.
    • Facebook Like Box. This plugin makes it easy to put one of those cool Facebook Page boxes in your sidebar.
  • Start playing around with the Blog function. This is after all how WordPress started and is a very powerful way for you to communicate with your clients. Posts can be linked to an email newsletter so clients get the news as soon as you post it. Very cool.
  • A great site for getting simple design modifications (logo sizes, colour, image tweaking etc) is Swiftly. They promise a 1 hour turn around for $15.

Step 7. Share Your Website

You’re done! Woooo! Now it’s time to tell everyone about it!

Send out an email to your clients. Post it on Facebook. Start getting feedback in case something is broken or you forgot something.

Here is a checklist of profiles you should update with your new website address:

Setting up a WordPress site may feel overwhelming at first so give it some time. It will become more and more second nature as you continue to use it.

Enjoy it as a challenge just like a challenging workout. It will make you stronger and will give you a brand new skill.

Send me an email or ask me a question in the comments below if you have any issues.

Disclaimer

I am working this out just like you. If you have any problems ask me in the comments and I will do my best to answer but I am by no means a trained technical specialist.

I’m just really enjoy working this stuff out.

All this information is free, however I do recieve a commission from HostGator, StudioPress and others if you choose to sign up with them after clicking one of my links. This is awesome because it allows me to be paid and you to get this information for free.

That said, I do use both of these products and stand by them working very well for me. I wouldn’t recommend a crappy product to you because, well, that would just be a crappy thing to do.