If you're an independent personal trainer that's been doing welltraining clients one-on-one, there's still an urge that I'm sure hasbeen calling to you...

It's the desire to expand the size of your training business and yourincome by holding large group sessions, aka, bootcamps. And why not?When done right, boot camps offer a lot of advantages to a trainer,including increased pay, a larger client base, lower price resistanceand fewer working hours among them.

However, just like any business opportunity, there are negatives to thesituation, too. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons ofboo tcamp sessions.

But before we do that, let's take a minute looking into what boot camptraining really is. The term 'boot camp' is derived from the very largegroup training that happens in the military. The earliest boot campworkouts had a military theme, pointing to their military origins.

Now you'll see these large group classes take on many shapes and formsbeyond their original military theme. In fact, when it comes to largegroup training, you can drop the term "boot camp" entirely and still dowell with different themes for your large group training sessions. Inathletic sports and conditioning, you'll find large group sessions of20-plus clients is the norm, supervised usually by one head trainer anda few assistants. In other specialized forms of training, such as MMAconditioning or kettlebell classes, you'll findsimilar large group sessions. What these examples show is that beyondboot camps, there are literally an unlimited number of ways to enjoy thebenefits of training large groups, even without calling them"boot camps."

In New York City, where I'm from, specialized group classes are verycommon, with many facilities devoted strictly to this type of training.The fees are usually less than $25 per session, and with some aspecialized theme and a great instructor, you will find many of theseclasses have a very loyal following.

Now that we've established that large group training can be many thingsbeyond a boot camp, let's look at the pros and cons of holding thesesessions. First with the positives:

More money per session: The size of group session cangrow to basically limitless size -- I've known trainers that havefit nearly 100 clients into a single session. What that means is evenif these clients are paying only $15 per session, if you have 20-30 ina class, you're looking at a very high hourly rate. With good serviceand client retention in place, what you'll have is a client base thatwill be coming back week after week for their scheduled work outs, andyou'll have a very stable source of revenue.

Less price resistance: For the most part, personaltraining services are limited to just the people that can afford them.But with large group training, the per session price is generallylower, creating a situation where there is much less price resistance.When marketed correctly, clients are more likely to join, train forlonger periods of time and to refer more friends.

Fixed operation costs: Probably the greatest advantageof boot camps is the economic advantage they provide you. Because theamount of time and cost to run them are fixed, you can spend much moremoney to advertise, because the more clients you bring in, the greateryour profits. As soon as you know what your lifetime customer value is,you can spend very close to that number and still earn an ROI.

Despite the positives, there are some drawbacks that you rarely hear discussed but need to keep in mind.

Boot camps can be draining to teach: It takes a lot ofenergy and enthusiasm to hold the attention of a large group ofclients. For a lot of trainers, this isn't really their style and forthat reason they don't like training boot camps. For others, they soonfind themselves burning out, especially if they're holding multipleboot camps per day. The solution to this can be to hire an instructor toadminister the class, but this can have its own problems.

Boot camps can be tough to staff: Hiring anothertrainer to run your boot camps can be tougher than it sounds. It takes aspecial, energetic, highly qualified trainer to run a successful bootcamp. Finding this type of trainer can be very difficult. However, theyare out there, and once you've found one, do whatever it takes to holdon them. This will allow you spend your time on the most importantresponsibility, finding more clients to put into the class.

Requires many more clients to be profitable: Another drawback is the fact that you need to get many, many more clients to make a boot camp profitable. If, for whatever reason, you have a hard time finding clients, you'll find that your total revenue is less than if you were holding private training sessions. The bottom line is that considerable marketing skills are needed to make boot camps work.

When you consider both the positives and negatives, it's apparent that the positives are very appealing, which explains why so many trainers are jumping on this trend. Even if running large group sessions isn't your style, the positives are so great that group training is something everyone should look to implement. Although there will be a certain portion of the population that will demand one-on-one service, if you're still doing all of the training, grouping them is the most profitable and convenient way to go.

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.

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