Starting a Fitness Boot Camp? Consider These Factors

People participating in a fitness boot camp program

Boot camp is a style of training that relies heavily on calisthenics and HIIT.  

As you might imagine, this type of workout regime boomed during the height of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that it’s fallen completely out of relevance since. 

Running a boot camp program at your gym or studio, just like running other fitness challenges, is a great way to engage members in a new offering and drive more revenue.  

And given that a boot camp program doesn’t require much in the way of equipment, you might be prone to believe that it would be a breeze to kickoff a program like this.  

However, there are several factors that you need to take into account before you hit the ground running.  

We’ve thrown 5 of the most important factors to consider below:  

Getting the Word Out 

1.) Marketing 

When you run new programs at your gym or studio, you may rely heavily on word of mouth. After all, these members are walking through your doors weekly if not more frequently, so they’re bound to learn about it!  

But when it comes to running additional programs like a boot camp program, you’re going to drive a lot more business if you branch out.  

In addition to alerting current members via email and in-class announcements, for example, you should fold in Facebook and Instagram ads, even consider running a Google Ads campaign.  

Think about it this way: a boot camp is a much smaller commitment than a regular membership. By marketing the program to people outside of your current member base, you could be capturing revenue in the form of the program cost AND future membership dues for program participants who decide to commit to a membership after.  

When running social ads, target individuals who live close to your gym and/or the outdoor venue you’ll host the boot camp at.  

Develop a landing page or webpage on your site that’s dedicated to this specific program. Give as much information as possible and provide an opportunity for a prospect to sign up online. Make sure this page is keyword-optimized for searches around “boot camps near me” or “fitness boot camps [city name].”  

Funding the Program 

2.) Equipment 

One huge benefit of hosting a boot camp is giving your members an outdoor option, which can help combat lower attendance numbers during the summer months.  

But while getting outdoors is beneficial for member engagement, getting equipment to the offsite location can pose issues. Something as small as 10-pound dumbbells adds up quickly, even for small classes. 

Try to find equipment that is simple, lightweight and versatile. Ask that instructors focus on body weight exercises, incorporating:  

  • Push-ups 
  • Jumps (star jumps, tuck jumps, box jumps utilizing a bench or ledge, jumping jacks, broad jumps, etc.) 
  • Squats 
  • Planks 
  • Sit-ups 
  • Running and sprints 

When searching for lightweight, mobile equipment for your boot camp, consider purchasing:  

  • Cones 
  • Agility ladders 
  • Jump ropes 
  • AbMats 
  • Ab rollers 
  • Yoga mats 
  • Resistance bands 
  • Two to five heavy medicine balls 

3.) Location Permits and Costs 

You may be able to use a park as a free space to host workouts in your boot camp program. That’s one of the most appealing aspects!  

But before you show up to a location you’ve chosen, you need to ensure that permits aren’t required.  

Many cities around the U.S. have started requiring permits and charging fees for groups hosting workouts in parks and open spaces.  

If you’re thinking about hosting a boot camp outside of your brick-and-mortar location, make sure you explore the website of your city’s Parks and Recreation department to find out: 

  • If outdoor workouts are allowed in the public space 
  • Whether or not a permit is required to host group classes 
  • How much it will cost (if anything) to use the space 
  • The sooner you start this research process, the better. Many times it can takes weeks or even months for a permit to get approved. 

4.) Insurance 

Insurance is an annoying but essential step in the boot camp planning process for your fitness business.  

Check with your insurance provider to ensure you will be covered under your current policy to host an offsite group class.  

If a boot camp is the first step in your plan towards starting a fitness business, meet with an insurance agent to see what type of coverage you’ll need. Fitness instructor insurance is fairly inexpensive, and runs around $175 for 12 months of coverage.  

Don’t forget to create a waiver to protect you against being held liable for any injuries that might happen during your boot camp. 

Running and Managing the Program 

5.) Administrative Management 

Holding a program offsite does not mean there isn’t a significant degree of admin work that your business will have to manage.  

You need to distribute, collect, and organize liability waivers, figure out how to track attendance, and ensure you’re charging everyone the proper fees, just as a few examples.  

You’ll also need to establish a strong process for all of this admin work that ensures nothing falls through the cracks.  

With the strategic planning, a boot camp is a great way to boost revenue and reach potential members in your area. And using a gym management software that includes an app for checking members in and collecting digital signatures saves the hassle of keeping track of loose papers.  

Get a demo to learn how Zen Planner can help you run a boot camp program.  

Originally published in September 2019 and updated in May 2022.  

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