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How to Start a Fitness Bootcamp

If you love fitness and want to help others become fit, starting a fitness boot camp can be a fun and profitable experience. Boot camps are a great way to earn more money as a personal trainer or fitness instructor, and you often don't have the overhead of an expensive studio or gym. Starting a boot camp isn't complicated, but you do need to have a plan, a space and the right certifications and equipment.

Create a Business Plan

Every good business needs a business plan. This is a detailed report on your concept, your plan to execute it, your goals, your financial needs and a financial forecast for the first one to five years. Decide how much you will charge per class, per session or per year, and figure out how many sessions and participants you will need to meet your financial goals. Your business plan doesn't have to be fancy; in most cases it is only for you to refer to, unless you plan to seek a bank loan or investors.

Develop Your Style and Structure

Boot camps come in all different styles -- military boot camps, sports conditioning boot camps, boot camps for moms, weight loss boot camps and more. If you have any areas of specialty that you want to focus on, pinpoint those. If you prefer not to target a specific audience, that's fine too.

Determine how you will handle classes with different levels of students. Decide how you will structure each session, and devise a sample session. You can even invite some friends or family for a free trial boot camp so you can try out the style and structure.

Find a Space and Develop a Schedule

In many cases, these two steps will go hand-in-hand, as you will need to plan your schedule of classes around when the space is available. Many people choose to hold boot camps in a public park when the weather is nice, or indoors at a local gymnasium when the weather is poor.

The outdoor space is free, but you may want to scout out your prospective spot to see if there is other competition for space during your selected time. It's always good to find a backup space for times when the weather is poor; this could be a classroom at a community center or a space in a public gymnasium. You will need to make prior arrangements for these spaces and often pay an hourly fee.

Read more: Fitness Instructor Class Ideas

Check With Local Government

You may need permits, especially if you plan to hold your boot camp in a public space. In some cities, you are required to register your boot camp with the city, and space is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Get a Fitness Certification

This is not a must but it is suggested that you obtain a fitness instructor certification prior to teaching a fitness boot camp. Not only will a certification help you learn the ins and outs of teaching group fitness, but it will also make you appear more professional when marketing your boot camp. Look into certifications with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Become CPR and First-aid Certified

This is also not a requirement, but if someone gets injured or loses consciousness during one of your classes, you should be able to administer CPR and basic first aid.

Get Insurance

This protects you against being held liable for injuries that happen during your classes, and it's a must-have. It's not expensive, and it's worth every penny if something goes wrong.

Buy Equipment

Depending on what kind of boot camp you are planning to have, you will need some equipment, such as weights, balls, sand bags, mats, jump ropes, etc. Make a list of the equipment you need and either shop online or go to a sporting goods store. If you are buying in bulk, you may be able to get wholesale prices at online retailers.

Market Your Boot Camp

Come up with an appealing name, create a website or have one professionally done. If you're hiring a professional, have them design a logo and accompanying branded marketing materials.

If there's not budget for that, don't worry. Create some simple flyers and post them in community or shopping centers, and anywhere else you're trying to attract students. Hold a free class or two to get people to show up and then hopefully sign up for more.

Read more: Qualifications Needed to Become a Fitness Instructor

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About the Author

Jody Braverman is a health and fitness professional and writer in Seattle. She has been a personal trainer and yoga instructor for almost a decade and is passionate about movement and helping people lead active, healthy lives.

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