On-site corporate fitness is a great addition to any employee benefits program and is becoming more popular every day. Corporate fitness boot camps provide employers with healthier, happier and more productive employees. Below are some major differences between corporate boot camps and regular boot camps that you should consider as you enter the ever-growing world of corporate fitness.

The Paying Client

Regular boot camp clients pay from their own pockets. They have to budget and assess the value of what they are getting and what else they want. Sometimes your boot camp is competing with mortgage payments and utility bills, sometimes with vacations and family member needs. The personal budget is usually a lot tighter than a corporate budget.

The corporate client who values wellness will pay part or all of the boot camp fees. They have a budget for employee programs and benefits. The corporate client has some government and insurance perks that they can realize if they establish a program. A tipping point for the corporate client is how well you show the value, in bottom line dollars that corporations reap from their boot camps.

Most of our corporate accounts are structured where the company pays 100% of the costs associated with the program, but some companies require their employees to share in the cost.

The Exercising Client

Regular boot camp clients are just exercising for themselves, usually. They know what they want to achieve and they are working toward a fitness goal. They made the decision to join your boot camp based on their individual needs and their knowledge of those needs, as well as their desire to meet those needs.

The corporate exercising client on the other hand, has usually been given a choice. If they join the boot camp, there can be a reduction in their insurance premiums or co-pays. They realize that their company values a healthy workforce, and they may feel that they have in a sense been given an implied ultimatum. The company they work for is aware of poor lifestyle choices and poor health, and this company wants change.

The company has taken a stand in favor of a healthier workplace and healthier employees. The employee has the choice to participate. If they see everyone else around them getting in better shape, having better health, better attendance, less tardiness, and more productivity they may feel that they won't "fit in" anymore, and they may even perceive their chance of promotion fading if they don't participate in the program.

There is definitely more pressure for the corporate exerciser to participate than a regular boot camper. Their reasons for participating are different than regular boot campers. There are front line workers, management personnel, telemarketers, sales people and janitors; all working together. It's more personal than a regular boot camp because they see each other more frequently outside the boot camp setting. They develop deeper relationships of camaraderie, friendly competition, enthusiasm and support for their fellow boot campers.

The Environment

Regular boot camp clients can be as noisy as they want. There's lots of whooping and hollering and a more boisterous atmosphere. They may wander in 15 minutes early and stay another 15 minutes or a half hour longer, talking with others or with you. These programs run 45 minutes, and hour, sometimes they last 2 hours. These people are more in a social frame of mind.

Corporate boot camps must be quieter because others are still working, concentrating, talking on the phone just around the corner. These clients need to be in and out in a half hour. They usually have one hour for lunch; a half hour to workout and 15 minutes to get cleaned up and changed and 15 minutes to eat and get back to their workstation. Some sessions are held immediately after work and they want to get home to their family and dinner.

They do still have fun, yet they have a purpose and a time frame.

The Motivation

Regular boot camp clients do need motivation. They came to you for a concrete reason. They want to lose a certain number of pounds. Or they want to get in shape or build more muscle tone or lower their blood pressure and cholesterol. They know what they want. You just have to deliver it and keep them on track with their goals. They want you to deliver it. They expect you to deliver it.

The corporate boot camp client (the business) also knows what they want in their employees' health and performance and they expect you to deliver it. The corporate boot camp exerciser (employee) may or may not know what they want or need. Some will feel pressured and just want to get thru the time without expending much effort. Others will be aware of what their health issues are and know what they want their bodies to look and feel like.

Those individuals will be more like regular boot campers. The pressured individuals will have to be helped along and encouraged a bit more.
Another factor in motivation is that there may be less when the thing you are doing is not being paid out of your own pocket and the employee must view the corporate boot camp as an employee benefit.

The Perseverance

The regular boot camp client may not know many of the people participating in their boot camp. They may build bonds and friendships during the boot camp, but some will not. They leave afterwards and all go their separate ways, back into their lives.

The corporate boot camp client knows almost everyone with whom they are exercising. They are more conscious of their body, their effort and/or strain, their abilities. They see these people on an almost daily basis. When they are seeing good progress they will gain more confidence. Peers at work tend to support and encourage each other, applaud the efforts and build stronger working relationships. They are all in this boat together with a common goal, more or less: keeping their boss happy and showing definitive results and positive changes in their health and their bodies. They all go back to work together, after their program.

The Pay Off

The regular boot camp client reaches their goal; the reason they came to boot camp in the first place. Now you can set another goal with them to help them reach higher. You can reinforce the value of what they received.

The corporate boot camp client who shows results usually gets more than just the benefits of the results. Their insurance premiums or co-pays may decrease; any bonuses or other perks that have been established by the company are theirs. The feeling of better job security is tangible because they are more productive and have more energy. They have more confidence and stature with their peers, bosses, and employees, at work. They have achieved in more areas than regular boot campers, usually without having to pay for it.

The time is now for on-site corporate fitness. By understanding the major differences between regular and corporate boot camps you can quickly take your business to the next level.


Greg Justice, MA, CPT, is the founder of AYC Health & Fitness (www.aycfit.com) and the Corporate Boot Camp System (www.corporatebootcampsystem.com). He has been actively involved in the fitness industry for more than a quarter of a century as a club manager, owner, personal trainer and corporate wellness supervisor.

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