As trainers, we all want to deliver a great experience to our clients every time they come to one of our sessions.
But it can be easy after you have been training people for some time, for all of your workouts to begin looking very similar.
This could be because:
- You know what ‘kills’ your clients so you just run workouts that make them sweaty and sore.
- You can’t seem to think of new ideas so you just end up running the same one.
- You keep trying to create the perfect workout that works every aspect of fitness in one session.
The problem with this is that it does your clients a huge disservice. You end up only training one small aspect of their fitness or in trying to do everything you do nothing effectively.
This will lead to some serious issues for your sessions.
Let me share with you what they are:
If your clients just come to you because your sessions are the hardest, what happens when a place that does even more hardcore, unsafe workouts opens up around the corner? You’ve reinforced that the harder the session, the better, so why will they stay with you?
If they don’t leave you’ll start noticing something else. Your clients will start developing a lot of niggling injuries. Patella tracking over here, lower back pain over there and don’t forget the sore shoulder from a minor rotator cuff tear. When you are killing your clients or giving them the same drills over and over, the first thing to go is technique. Add repetition to this and you get injured clients. If they are injured they can’t train which also means they won’t be paying you.
On the other hand, if you try and squeeze every training technique ever created into one workout, your sessions will become disjointed and your clients won’t get a great workout. Again, they will leave to find something else.
What’s with the doom and gloom?
Okay, I know. I’m being super negative here but it’s not without reason.
As trainers – as fitness professionals – it’s our responsibility to educate our clients on what effective and safe exercise looks like.
This is the line you will constantly have to walk down in this profession.
On the one side of the line you have giving your clients what they want and on the other you have giving them what they need.
It’s this ability to walk that line that separates your average trainers from your truly exceptional trainers.
Creating workouts that work and are interesting
I’m not going to be a bastard about this.
I’m not going to just point out everything that’s wrong and then walk away. Instead, I want to share with you a really great way to walk that line.
The key is variety!
You want to mix what your clients want with what they need.
In fact, that is exactly the purpose of a Finisher. I’ll get to what that a Finisher is a bit further down, but first let’s learn a bit more about creating variety in your sessions.
You want your workouts to have a specific purpose or goal. Instead of just doing a bit of everything, focus on helping your clients get better at just one thing.
By doing this each workout will feel wildly different. Your clients will notice this and they’ll have their favourite types, but that will only serve to excite them more on those days that they get to do their favourite type of workout.
Your clients will also see better results as you work on different aspects of their fitness.
If a client came to you and said they wanted to get better at running, would you just tell them to run more, or would you tell them to do some shorter, faster runs and some longer slower runs and do a short strength workout each week?
Here are some types to think about:
This is the most common bootcamp workout. It’s the muscle burning, heart pumping, heavy breathing feeling people have come to associate with group fitness training.
HIT (High Intensity Training) is not to be confused with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) because HIT workouts don’t need to have time intervals.
You’ll often see this in Finisher drills (see I said I would come back to this) which are 5-10 minute drills placed at the end of the workout to make your client think they did a high intensity workout when really you were getting them to work on their low rep strength training the whole session.
You give them what they need and leave them with what they want.
Strength workouts are much rarer in bootcamps due to the assumption that you need heavy weights to do strength work.
This is not true. Have someone do a bodyweight pistol squat and they’ll find 3 to 5 reps with someone assisting them more than challenging. And you are still getting them to work in that low rep range that’s best for building strength.
Another aspect to think of around Strength is Power. In physics, Power is the unit used for measuring how much energy is required for moving something.
Don’t get freaked out because I used the word Physics! I’m about to explain it training terms.
The physics equation for power tells us that Power can be increased by making something heavier, by moving it further or by reducing the amount of time it takes to move it.
In training that means to increase Power we can increase the weight we use for an exercise, we can use a bigger movement (think Squat Press vs Bicep Curl) or we can do the whole thing faster (but still low reps).
In real life, Power is the functional measurement of strength. Power allows you to stand up out of a chair, to walk up stairs and to pick someone up. So training Power is a good thing.
(Yes, if you were wondering, I did study Robotic Engineering and as such have done more physics equations than I care to remember.)
Want to stand out from your average gym class? Try creating workouts that incorporate some type of game or team challenge.
I like to create balanced teams and have them compete for the most points (or a target number of points) by completing drills or reps. Or don’t balance the teams but instead scale the workout so it’s harder for fitter clients and easier for beginners.
As for games, you can take pretty much take any game you’ve ever played or come across and turn it into an awesome workout.
Go for it, you are only limited by your imagination.
The nature of bootcamps often being outdoors means that there is often some sort of running involved, even if it’s just running from station to station.
Running can be a great way to train your client’s cardiovascular endurance. Incorporating workouts that involve a longer run around your park, perhaps with stations along the way, is a good way to add some variety.
When done in conjunction with other training types, even the people who don’t like running won’t mind.
Another great running workout is one focused on technique. A lot of clients don’t like running because it feels so unnatural to them. Spend some time teaching them how to run and they won’t mind it so much.
What are your favourite types?
What did I miss that you use? Boxing workouts? Kettlebell only workouts?
Let me know in the comments.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.