This post it what I hope to be the first of many interviews with professionals in our fitness industry. Some will be with trainers, some owners and as in this case, some will be with the educators of our industry.
My aim is share the knowledge that we all inevitably pick up from working in this industry. Like with the workouts I and others share on the site, it makes sense to me (and I hope to you too) that we make this information public rather than trying to work it out all by ourselves. It’s part of the reason I created our Melbourne Meetup that is on next week.
The first interview to kick off this series is with a Chris Keogh from the Bootcamp Alliance. Chris is part of the team of guys who run the Bootcamp Instructor courses and also the Bootcamp Alliance. For those who have met Chris at one of his courses you will know that he is what we in Australian call a ‘Top Bloke’. His passion for the bootcamp industry and for creating high class trainers is apparent as soon as you talk to him.
I managed to twist his arm into taking some time from his busy schedule (he serves full time in the Australian Army on top of flying all around Australia to train up trainers) so that he could answer some questions for us.
So grab a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy this little weekend read.
Kyle: Tell us a little about how you got started in the fitness industry.
Chris: There are a few us of behind the scenes at Bootcamp Alliance. While each of us has differing backgrounds, the common aspect is that of sports, fitness, military service and a passion for teaching others.
The military instils a strong sense of friendship, teamwork and leadership, which is achieved through the use of physical activity. Taking these skills to the general public felt like a natural path as it allowed them to also feel a sense of friendship, teamwork and leadership, and therefore experiencr something unique to the Bootcamp fitness genre.
K: How did the idea of the Bootcamp Alliance and the Bootcamp Instructor courses come about?
C: Initially we were solely focused on running our own outdoor group training. However, being military saw us posted domestically and internationally, which makes running your own class very hard. Given this dilemma, we combined our military experience with our experience of running ‘civilian’ classes along with our own formal qualifications in education and training. The first Bootcamp Instructor course was subsequently born.
We have been providing Bootcamp Instructor training for just on 10 years now! The Bootcamp Alliance was created to provide continuing support to instructors through the provision of not only exercise and class ideas, but also the important business administration side being a Bootcamp instructor.
K: Wow, 10 years! You must have met a lot of trainers through your face to face courses. What seems to be the most common issue among most trainers? Do you have a solution for this issue?
C: We meet a lot of great trainers, each with varying backgrounds and experiences. The most common concern among trainers is that of ideas. We suggest that is due to the unknown style of training they are entering into. We keep reminding them that they have the skills and knowledge, but we assist by keeping it simple. Exercises + drill format + clear commands + clear goal = a great Bootcamp class.
Let me break this down.
- Choose several exercises for the class, and now list some easier and some harder options.
- Create a format, such as shuttle run.
- Give clear commands on what to do; “In teams of three you are to run to the end one at a time, complete 10 marine push ups and run back”.
- Now give a clear goal: “The first team to complete five rounds wins”
Of course, there are many other factors to consider but that will come with experience.
K: That’s a great starting point for trainers, I get the idea question a lot too. While we are that topic, what is your number one piece of advice for a new trainer looking to start their own Bootcamp?
C: Keep things simple! Don’t feel pressured to spend a large amount of money on equipment, and don’t feel as though you have to wear camos!
Don’t lose sight of what a Bootcamp is supposed to be. Focus on drills (and lessons) that encourage teamwork, competition and fun, while at the same time challenge their fitness. Bootcamps are progressive, motivational and inclusive. No one is left behind!
Example: “We have created 5 teams of evenly distributed fitness. Each team must work together to complete 10 laps of the oval and 100 reps of the following (eg; jump squats, push ups, v-sits, burpee jump forwards), now each team must have someone running a lap at all times, so work together workout who is doing what, we are starting in 10, 9, 8, 7……..” This forces the groups to communicate (teamwork) with and motivate each other (leadership).
Keep things simple! Don’t feel pressured to spend a large amount of money on equipment, and don’t feel as though you have to wear camos!
K: I like the idea of the 10 second countdown, that would get them to focus quickly. Lastly, what is your favourite thing about the Bootcamp Alliance?
C: The best thing about Bootcamp Alliance is our focus on Bootcamp training. That is, we remain focused on providing workouts, exercises, advertising and business tools that are specific for Bootcamp instructors. The Bootcamp Alliance is an on-going library of ideas, we are here for the long haul, so far we are up to 300+ programs, business administration templates for any situation, and recently the development of our wiki.
Our wiki will continue to grow and provide visual examples of exercises so that our members never run out of options for their drills again. The biggest point of difference for us is our pledge to on-going pursuit of excellence. We offer accredited training (USA, Australia and NZ) and on-going support, rather than a one off product.
Thank you Chris for answering all my questions and for taking the time to do so. It’s interesting to hear about Bootcamps from the perspective of an instructor who is also a trainer of trainers.
If you want to know a bit more about the Bootcamp Alliance, including their membership program, make sure you head over to the Bootcamp Alliance website or check them out on Facebook. Aussies, if you want to do a face to face course, check out the Bootcamp Instructor course. You can earn some serious CECs for it.