Fitness Boot Camps and group training programs are a growing trend in the fitness industry today for good reason. They typically are much more affordable than personal training. They also offer more camaraderie and social support, are much more exciting, and have many more convenient time slots than personal training while still providing expert supervision. Unfortunately, boot camps do have their downside. Many fitness instructors want to jump on the lucrative boot camp bandwagon without having any of the skills or experience to design custom workouts for the wide variety of fitness levels typical in large group training.
Here are 10 tips on how to select a boot camp or group training program that will get you results and keep you safe at the same time:
1.) The Instructor(s) Must Be Certified With Nationally Recognized Institutions, such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). There are many online pay-for-certifications or weekend certifications where people can get a certificate with little or no knowledge of proper training methods. This is in part why people get injured and what gives good trainers a bad name. Make sure it is clearly listed where they were certified from, and does not just say “certified personal trainer”.
In addition, if you want to make sure your instructor is highly qualified, look for one that also has a 4 year college degree, preferably in an exercise related field like exercise physiology. An Exercise related degree is worth ten times more than a certification – you wouldn’t go to a physical therapist or a doctor who was only certified by taking a 50 question multiple choice test online would you?
2.) The Instructor(s) Must Look The Part And Walk The Walk. If the trainer takes physical fitness seriously and is on the cutting edge of new training methodologies, they will be fit themselves, plain and simple. It is very difficult to take advise from someone in worse shape than yourself. Look for a program where the trainers have had extensive experience training clients of all ages and backgrounds.
3.) The Instructor(s) Must Be Experts With Exercise Progressions. Every exercise has the appropriate regression and progression based on your current fitness level. Overweight, de-conditioned beginners SHOULD NOT perform the exact same exercises as their more fit counterparts. If you ask your trainer if he/she can show an exercise modification that better suits your particular situation. This knowledge can easily prevent many injuries from occurring in the first place.
4.) The Instructor(s) Must Make Themselves Available 10-15 Minutes Before and After Every Session. Although a good trainer can effectively train the group as a whole and still give that personal touch, he/she must be willing to speak with clients before AND after every workout to address any personal issues or concerns that might arise within the scope of your training or in related to other very important topics like nutrition.
5.) The Training System Must Focus on Metabolic Resistance Training and Cardio Interval Training. High-Intensity Interval Training is scientifically proven to burn more fat than the aerobic training alternative, so it is critical that both the resistance training AND cardio programs provided incorporate intervals since the goal of the majority of fitness enthusiasts is fat loss. Furthermore, most people are seeking the lean, athletic look of a men’s health or women’s health cover model respectively, and this is easily accomplished with 2-5+ free weight or body weight resistance training movements organized in a circuit fashion with the proper pre-programmed work to rest periods between exercises. Plus a truly skilled trainer has mastered the art of intensifying movements without the need for extra loading.
6.) The Program Must Provide Nutritional Information. Nutrition is 90% of the weight loss battle. Without it, you are joining an incomplete program and wasting your money since there is no amount of exercise that can compensate for poor dietary habits. People are too busy, and frankly too lazy, so the nutrition program needs to be clearly outlined and easy to follow. It should provide both Quick-Start Nutrition Guides for Males and Females respectively that will have you eating to support your fat loss goals in 5 minutes or less. Plus, a cookbook with a bunch of tasty and healthy done-for-you recipes should be provided to keep you on track!
7.) The Program Must Have Social Proof* And Raving Fans. If the program works, there should be proof in the form of client testimonials. Their previous clients should have results and be raving about all of the benefits that they have received from the program. Ask for before and after pictures and written or video testimonials of their services before signing up (again, this should be made available on the company website). And remember, it’s NOT just about the weight loss. Benefits should include, but not be limited to, increased energy levels, dress/pant size reduction, improved health profiles, increased strength and flexibility, less joint pain, etc.
8.)* Social Proof or Testimonials Must be From the Actual Location of the program. With the recent explosion of fitness boot camps in every major city across the country, there have been a ton of boot camp franchises opening. If you take a look at their websites for the different locations, look at the testimonials and before and after pictures, they are the same people for all the locations! There is a local Cleveland Boot Camp Franchise that even has a before and after picture of the founder of the franchise, and he got fit before he even started doing boot camps…You want to make sure that people are getting results from the location you are choosing, not from the location in California!
9.) The Program Must Offer A FREE Trial or Satisfaction Guarantee. If the program is confident about what they have to offer, then they will let you come in and try it for free or they will guarantee your satisfaction or your money back to completely eliminate the risk on your end. A results-based programs looks to minimize barriers of entry for prospects into their boot camps because they know that once the prospect experiences the benefits of the program firsthand they will surely buy!
Register today for your free trial to Cleveland’s Premier Group Personal Training Program and get access to some of Cleveland’s top degreed and certified trainers for 1/6 the cost of typical personal training!