When we begin our careers as personal trainers, the main motivation is to help people. Of course we love fitness, weight training or any niche that we eventually pursue in the industry, but we could not do what we do if we did not want to help people enrich their lives and become a better version of themselves.

With all of the aspects that come along with owning a business or even just playing a higher role in the management process, we have to find a way to stay true to what brought us into training: we wanted to help people. One of the simplest and most powerful ways I have found to enhance your business and continue to help people is through benefit boot camps. This strategy will enable you to help not only your current clients, but friends of clients and members of the community.

What is a benefit boot camp?

This is simply a boot camp workout that is run at your facility and all participants will donate a pre-set amount of money when they attend the event and all of that money will go directly to a cause of your choice. At first glance this may seem like a large task that requires a lot of organization but it is actually quite simple. At my facility we run a benefit boot camp every month. Here is how to get the ball rolling and make this a staple in your training program.

First, you need to select a charity for the benefit. The easiest thing to do is ask your current clients. I took a poll on Facebook, asking our clients to send me the name and the point person for a charity that they are involved in or support. Once you select your first charity, simply contact that point person and let them know that you are running a benefit workout at your facility. Be sure to let them know that you are a training studio and you are trying to better the community and give back through these events. Tell them that all the money donated at the event will go directly to their cause.

I have never had anyone say no to this, and typically they will help you promote it as well. Create a flyer or a simple email that they can send out to their list and post on Facebook. Most of the participants will come from your promotion but you will get a few from the charity itself. Your promotion should include sending emails to your current clients and your lists, a press release, emails to any media contacts, creating a Facebook event and just generating a lot of hype about the event in the month leading up to it. Make sure that all of your clients, friends and family members know about this and encourage them to come. Position this event as a great workout for a great cause.

You can make the event as big or small as you want. Do not lose sight of the reason you are doing this. You want to position yourself as a leader in the local market, but the main reason is to give back to the community. When you run these events is up to you. We have a Saturday at 8 a.m. training session every week for our groups and we simply use that time slot once a month for the charity event. This way clients that typically train on Saturdays can come as they normally do, and anyone else that wants to attend can easily make a Saturday session.

Here are some of the things you can have on the day of the even to enhance the experience:
- Bring in a local DJ to get the energy going.
- Have post-workout shakes and water for all participants.
- Bring in a spokesperson from the charity to say a few words about their program.
- Have raffle prizes and giveaways.

Here are a few other things to remember on the day of the event:
- When a client brings a friend to the event, make sure to capture their name, address and email address.
- Make sure the workout is extremely high energy and fun.
- If you have a training staff, make sure they are there to help because you will have participants of all levels and you want to make them feel comfortable and keep them safe. We have three staff members moving through the group at all times to check everyone's form.
- Take photos and videos of the workout in action.
- Say a few words either before or after the session to let everyone know about your mission to better the community and give a bit of background on the charity you are working with that day.

After the event:
- Post all of the photos on Facebook, both to your page and to the charity's page if that is agreeable to them.
- Send a thank you card to every participant and let them know how much money was raised.
- Send a personal email to every prospect and offer them a low barrier to entry to your program. We use a 21-day membership for $21.
- Also let that prospect know that they are always invited to your charity events and put them on your email list so they can receive updates about upcoming events.
- Send a follow-up press release to any media outlets.

Once you have completed the event, be sure to take a bit of time to reflect on the change you made in the community. That is one of the strongest motivators and it is a very powerful thing to realize that you can personally do that with just one event every month.

After the event, choose your next charity and rinse and repeat this method. If you can run an event every month that is ideal, but every few months can work, too. Just keep in mind that this is a big picture portion of your business. The goal is not to get a lot of new clients but to simply be a positive change in the community and bring people together for a bigger goal. You should have systems in place to collect leads and follow up and that can certainly result in new clients. Make sure everyone has a great time at each event and watch your business and your place in the community grow.

Callie Durbrow, CSCS, is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training in Somerville, Mass. She helps local men and women get lean and energized with her athletic style of small group personal training. Callie also teaches trainers how to use barbell complexes to get their clients faster results. You can check out Callie's programs at or connect with her on Facebook at