Bootcamp-style outdoor workouts have been around for quite some time now, but they are currently seeing a surge in popularity as one more of the many side effects the coronavirus pandemic is forcing on the fitness industry.
By now you know that gyms and studios had to quickly pivot their business models in 2020, and many went online and began streaming workouts that clients could do right in their own homes.
But outdoor workouts were also a key option, and this year, you should further explore this avenue (if you haven’t done so already).
Did you know that 72% of gym members will work out outside in 2021 ? According to a survey by RunRepeat, the majority of gym members say they will achieve their fitness goals in 2021 by running and other outdoor activities.
This innovation worked for some, but many club members found themselves missing the in-person motivation and social aspect that group fitness classes provide.
We know that group workouts are one of the biggest attractions of health clubs and gyms, so it is essential to be able to provide members (and potential members) with a similar – and safer – option.
An Outdoor Bootcamp Is What You Need
With the fitness industry in its current disoriented state, club owners know that things won’t return to normal any time soon, and it may never return to ‘normal’ as we used to know it.
So, what should you do if home workouts and streaming classes just aren’t cutting it for your clients?
Outdoor classes are definitely going to be the answer for many club members who are not enjoying at-home or online workouts.
You can offer them the same health benefits of in-person classes, with a much lower risk of spreading unnecessary germs.
Outdoor boot camp workouts are especially helpful if your gym or studio has not been cleared to re-open, and you haven’t been able to resume in-person group classes or are facing more potential lockdowns.
You can ease the risk of losing members by providing them with an outdoor boot camp option.
How to Start an Outdoor Bootcamp
Outdoor boot camp workouts could be a welcome revenue stream if your gym or club is facing more potential lockdowns.
For members who are truly missing their on-site studio classes, they can regain a bit of the social aspect of their in-person classes and continue to reap the physical and emotional benefits that regular exercise provides – not to mention the advantages that fresh air and vitamin D can have on the immune system.
The addition of outdoor workouts will allow clients and members to exercise outside of their own homes and move beyond the online streaming workouts.
Read our 4 tips to boost your outdoor boot camp below.
Find Your Focus
Outdoor fitness boot camps are typically full-body workouts with a focus on both strength and cardio endurance.
Oftentimes, outdoor boot camp classes involve interval or circuit training with an aim for high calories burned while performing total body training moves with little to no equipment.
That being said, outdoor classes do not need to always follow this formula, and you can attract a wide variety of clientele depending on how you plan to focus the workout.
Clients love outdoor boot camp classes because they are challenging (though should be able to scale to fit various fitness levels), the workouts change from class to class, and they allow for a little friendly competition amongst participants.
No matter the location, space is important as many classes will involve some drills and sprints which require ample room to move around.
The benefits are varied and of course include improved fitness and strength, the mental and emotional benefits of a challenging workout, and a sense of motivation thanks to working out alongside friends and other club members.
One study even found that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program. It is not a huge leap to assume that exercising and training with a group of friends can elicit these benefits as well.
Finally, for small studios, these types of workouts allow the opportunity to offer a great workout without any specialized equipment.
Location: Are Outdoor Fitness Classes Safe During the Pandemic?
Similar to dining outdoors, health experts have concluded that workout classes outdoors are in fact safer than their indoor counterparts.
Between better airflow and ventilation along with the added bonus of adequate social distancing, outdoor classes reduce the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19.
By moving classes outdoors gyms and clubs can provide a higher level of safety for their clients as well as being able to work around city regulations that frown upon indoor fitness classes.
As a club owner, the focus should be on maintaining physical distance , and 6 feet (1.5 meters) should be the bare minimum, especially if the class is going to be a particularly challenging one where clients will be sweating and breathing heavily.
Consider marking off space before class starts so participants know exactly where to set up, and everyone can respect others’ space. Even so, the smaller the outdoor class is, the better.
Secondly, participants should be encouraged to bring their own mats, resistance bands, hand weights, sweat towels, etc.
If required, mask-wearing should be enforced both before and after class. Class instructors should refrain from correcting clients with hands-on adjustments and instead rely on verbal cues to demonstrate form corrections.
Outdoor classes are going to be the best choice for members who want in-person instruction as well as participant camaraderie as COVID-19 continues to force big changes within the fitness industry.
Outdoor Workouts: Equipment or No Equipment?
A great boot camp workout can be written with simple bodyweight exercises, cardio, and calisthenics.
Since outdoor boot camp classes do not typically need to employ a ton of equipment to get in a great workout, there won’t need to be a huge shift in the way classes are set-up.
Are you unsure about how to set up a boot camp? Classes might involve jump ropes, tires, cones, resistance bands, wrist or ankle weights, agility ladders, or even kettlebells and medicine balls.
If extra hardware does need to be used for whatever reason, you should be able to provide enough equipment for each member of the class, so no sharing of equipment during class is involved.
Make sure to choose props that can be easily sanitized both before and after class concludes. If you have a core group of participants, you might also want to ask them to bring their own equipment to use during class.
At the end of the day, the decision to use equipment or not is entirely up to each club and class instructor. Equipment can be safely incorporated but aren’t particularly necessary.
Promote Your Bootcamp Exercise Ideas
Now the question is, how do I promote my boot camp?
If you want to know how to run a successful fitness boot camp, you have to prepare your marketing strategy in advance.
Get people excited about your new outdoor class!
Social media and email marketing campaigns can boost your workout attendance and increase the engagement with your members; try different channels to make sure you reach your target audience.
If you don’t have a strong social media presence yet, it’s about time you start working on your branding and online presence. Have a look at our how-to article to start planning a social media strategy from scratch.
Once you have published a few posts and stories promoting the boot camp initiative, let your members know about the details of your new outdoor activities. Send them an email with useful information such as your COVID-19 safety measures, participation requirements, time, locations, equipment needed.
Using a branded app like Virtuagym’s to ease the process; you can enable COVID-19 triage questions , booking, program planning to ensure the boot camp is a safe and worthy experience for everyone.