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How to Personalize Group Training

If you’ve been following Smart Group Training for any time, you should know that we are all about individualizing training rather than providing a watered down program by creating a WOD (workout of the Day).  Sure, you can get benefits and results by creating a general workout template to put everyone on.  However, without customizing each routine, injury rates will increase, results will be minimized, plateaus will be harder to break, and overall…the training will be sub-par.

It’s been our mission over the past four years to provide something better.  We want to provide each of our clients the absolute best training program available.  We quickly realized that using a general workout template just wasn’t cutting it for us, so we decided to put our heads together and make some changes.  It took countless hours to develop the systems needed to make this happen, but honestly…it’s not that hard if you break it down into a series of processes that need to be followed to maximize results.  This simple process works in all scenarios.  It works in one-on-one, semi-private training, and most importantly…group training.  The reason why we say “most importantly” when it comes to group training is because this is the area we always see general workout templates, or WOD’s, being used.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Here is a general guideline to follow to individualize each program you write:


Individualized Screening – As the popular saying goes, “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.”  We are asked all the time about specific scenarios and what we would do to “fix” or help a client progress.  The 1st thing we want to know is screening information.  Without us personally knowing what is going on with the client, it makes it impossible to help the client.  The screen will identify each person’s weaknesses and strengths.  Work on the weaknesses and dysfunctions and everything else gets better.  However, you’ll never really know this information without a proper screening system in place.

Bootcamp in a Box – Mike Robertson

Mike Robertson is one of the best fitness and performance professionals in the industry. Luckily, we have had the privilege of being closely mentored by Mike, so we can tell you from experience that if this man talks you should listen!  Mike has co-created a new product called Bootcamp in a Box and we have reviewed it and LOVE IT. Check out this amazing guest post form Mike below.


You are obviously an above-average trainer.

How do I know this?

Without meeting you?

Or knowing anything about you?

Easy – you’re making an effort to learn from smart people. Trust me, Steve and Jared know their stuff.

Smart Group Training is what we try and do at IFAST on a bigger scale.

If you’ve never heard of IFAST before, we take our semi-private and personal training clients through a detailed, 1-on-1 assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

I firmly believe the more quality information I have at my fingertips about a client, the better workout I can write them.

Group training or bootcamp is no different – an assessment is an immediate game changer.

The difference with a large group format is scale.

Quite simply, you don’t have time to take someone through an incredibly detailed, 1-on-1 assessment.

By using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), you have immediate feedback on the core competencies of a client, including what they should (and should not!) be doing.

But then what?

Safe and effective group exercise is more than just red-lighting certain exercises, or removing elements from a program.

At the end of the day, most bootcamp clients show up on your doorstep because they want to change their body.

Build muscle.

Lose fat.

Or even to feel athletic again.

Molly Galbraith, Jim Laird and myself created Bootcamp in a Box because we wanted to change the way people run bootcamps.

Rather than going in each and every day on a mission to crush their clients, we want bootcamp owners to understand that smart programming can make their clients move and feel better, while simultaneously helping them achieve their physique-related goals.

It’s a big goal, but I think we’re up to the task 😉

This is why Bootcamp in a Box and Smart Group Training are a match made in heaven.

With SGT, you know what exercises are red-lighted, and immediately have corrective strategies to improve those core movements or competencies.

Then you take the 6-months of done-for-you programming from BCIB, with all the progressions, regressions and coaching cues we’ve developed, and you have a really, truly powerful bootcamp program.

One that will not only kick your clients’ butts (in a safe way), but help them move and feel better to boot.

Bootcamp in a Box is on sale for $197 this week only, which is $100 off the suggested retail price.

If you’re serious about taking your bootcamp to the next level, pick up a copy of Bootcamp in a Box today!

All the best


Boot Camps to Rise or Fall?

If you listen to some of the top fitness marketing and business education guru’s, they say there will be a dramatic fall in boot camps in 2016.  Basing your business solely on boot camp will make it tough to continue growing your business and the amount of people training with you on a regular basis.  In order to survive and continue growing your training business, you should be doing several things proactively over the course of 2016.  Creating training and screening systems that separate your gym from the rest should be a top priority.  After that is in place, something as simple as a class name change may help keep your training program separate from some of the trash boot camp training programs out there.
So why do some of the top fitness business pros feel that boot camps are dying?

IMG_0073With the quick rise in bootcamps over the past few years, competition has become very saturated for “boot camp” training.  Two years ago, there were far less boot camps around.  However, since then…boot camp programs have been popping up left and right.  I’m sure you have several boot camps within your own community.  I personally live in a town with 25,000 people and we have a minimum of 6 different boot camp programs to choose from within a 2-3 mile radius.  Honestly, that’s probably less than what many of you reading this are dealing with on a daily basis.

It really makes a lot of sense to run boot camps or large group training.  This form of training allows the coach to maximize their time, help more people, and make more money per hour worked.  Those are all good things, so it’s no surprise that group training has been taking off recently.  We’re all about working smarter, not harder…so group training allows a favorable environment for both the coach and person participating in the training.  The coach gets to help more people and make more money, and the client gets to pay less for quality training.

Since there was such a huge rise in bootcamps, the top pros are predicting a big fall in the upcoming years.  This too makes lots of sense.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but….”All good things must come to an end.”  We’re not saying that your group training classes or boot camps are going to suffer.  However, this prediction should not be ignored.  Your clients have a saturated market filled with several low cost providers to choose from.  Why should they choose you?

The answer I hear all the time is….because my program is better.  Why?  Do your clients know why?  Is it painstakingly obvious that you are different?  It should be, otherwise you will to fall victim to your clients leaving to save a few bucks by switching to a lower cost provider in your area.  We make it painstakingly obvious by using our Smart Group Training methods.  We screen on day one.  We rescreen again in 45 days.  After that, we will continue to rescreen every 45 days. This method not only allows us to keep a constant eye on movement efficiency, it also helps keep our program separated from the rest of the crowd.  By the time they may forget that we’re different, we’re rescreening them again.  The screen/rescreen method helps keep your clients constantly informed that your program is different, along with over delivering with great programs and service along the way.

SmartGroupTraining_LogoThis is one thing that separates us from the crowd, but we’ve even taken it a step further.  We have both changed our class names from “boot camps” to “large group personal training”.  We’ve banned the word “boot camp” from our facilities.  We’ve updated our online scheduler, we’re updating all of our online offerings to banish the term from the site, and we have even been taking it as far as getting our clients to quit using the term.  If they know we don’t like the term, it helps us create the mindset that we ARE different.

We’re all about being proactive rather than reactive.  We are setting our businesses and training programs different.  The boot camp era will come to an end.  With a huge rise comes a huge fall.  So, don’t take the reactive approach and risk losing your clients to the low cost providers in your area.  Start taking the action steps necessary to set yourself apart.  Remember…when you are thinking of ways to set your program apart, it needs to be blatantly obvious that your program is different.  It’s easy for us, as fitness professionals, to see the difference.  However, it needs to be obvious to the average person that has little to no knowledge of training that you’re different.  Think about what you’re currently doing and what your action plan will be to keep your gym, business, or training program at the top.

Be sure to reply below.  Do you think boot camps will survive and continue to rise in 2016?  Let us know your thoughts

Jared Woolever