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16 Awesome Tips For Running Your Charity Boot Camp

 16 tips for running a charity boot camp

16 Awesome Tips For Running Your Charity Boot Camp

You don’t want to have all the new prospects for your charity event experience a mediocre, unorganized, and pretty much un-awesome training session.

Since you will have so many people in your facility, you want to show how amazing your training, atmosphere, and support are…and you want to make sure they get the whole experience of training at your gym.

Since we’ve run many, many boot camps for a cause (charity) in the last 3 years that have had over 75, with some over 100.

Here are some tips you might find useful when running your charity boot camp and creating an amazing workout that runs smoothly and blows your clients and prospects away!

  1. Make sure that you prepare the training session ahead of time and know exactly what you will be doing and how you are going to run it on the day of the charity event! Preparation is key, not only for a great event but also so you don’t stress yourself out last moment.
  2. Even though it is easier to just put together a challenging workout where everyone is doing the same thing and it’s bodyweight based, remember that you want to show the prospects how unique you are and that you deliver unique results-based training that is unlike any other. You also want to over-deliver on your promise of having a workout unlike any other (when promoting the event that should be something that pulls people in).
  3. Use tools that most people are not accustomed to such as kettlebells, TRX, bands, Dynamax balls, sleds, prowlers, ropes, and handbells. Use anything that will make the training session unique. Even when doing bodyweight training, add some new and cool exercises. I’m far from being a believer of just throwing “cool” exercises into training but know that this is an event to raise money for a great cause and promote your gym and how unique it is, so there is a reason to the madness.
  4. Make sure that the equipment is only a couple of moves away from being set up (or is already set up if space permits).
  5. If you have a team of trainers, make sure you have all of them working the event, not only to help out with setup but also to be there for coaching. Your gym should differentiate from other gyms by the fact that you coach even large groups and even in such a large setting people are getting attention as if in a personal training session. We typically have 5-6 coaches (sometimes more) for a group of 80+ people. Along with that, we will have interns, so we’re not only going to have a ton of motivators but we will also have a coach for every 6-10 people, coaching and cueing them personally and making them feel like they’re in a semi-private personal training session. 
  6. The dynamic warm-ups are an opportunity to have new people at your gym warm up in a way that they haven’t experienced before while you let them know why you do it and why it is better for them than the “regular” warm-ups. It’s also a good time to infuse your personality and have people get to know you a little better. Here is where I will let them know why we are doing the boot camp for a cause and what it means to us as well as crack some jokes and get everyone more comfortable.
  7. EXPECT there to be de-conditioned people who haven’t done much training and don’t have great movement patterns and will have a tough time with certain exercises. Our system ALWAYS has multiple regressions and modifications (as well as progressions for advanced fitness folks) and you should also have taken time to go over them with the coaches so that everyone is on the same page. This will allow for everyone to have a kick-butt workout and not feel like they don’t know how to do something or feel like they can get injured. This is a huge competitive advantage, as the majority of other boot camps have nowhere near this type of quality training and attention, and nowhere close to the atmosphere!  
  8. I always encourage the coaches to go around and help the new people out and interact with them, ask them for their name and then use it multiple times throughout the session. After the training session, the coach should go up to all the people they helped and give them a high five and/or a hug. Make them feel like they belong there; your gym is a family!
  9. Most of our boot camp workouts are based on interval training and circuits, density training circuits, and sometimes challenge workouts. In the situation of a very large boot camp for charity I recommend (especially if you haven’t had a class that big) you keep it in circuit training style based on interval training. This will ensure the flow and you can pretty much have a coach at every or almost every station. People will be confused at times and that’s a perfect opportunity for the coach to direct them to where they are next and even give them some quick tips on what they are doing if they forgot (or help them with regression modification).
  10. For such large groups in an event setting, I’ll keep the rest period a little longer so that everyone can get to their next exercise without rushing and for the coaches to be able to help out. Rest periods of 15 seconds or less are tough to work within an 80+ setting. This doesn’t mean the training isn’t challenging, it just means I will be using intervals such as 40/20, 45/30, 60/30, etc. Since we’ve run many camps and are proficient at them, we will also use density training where there will be a circuit of exercises all prescribed with repetitions that the person will do as many rounds of in the allotted amount of time. We love density sets but it may be a little chaotic if you have never run classes that big before with that style of training.
  11. No matter where you are, use your space as much as possible! If you are running the charity event outside, then space doesn’t become as much of an issue. We try to do the majority of things inside so that people get to experience the “gym atmosphere” we deliver. Either way, as long as you create an incredible ATMOSPHERE, EXPERIENCE and provide world-class COACHING, the people trying it out will be blown away.
  12. This point is so important I have to bring it up again. You and your trainers should always be coaching and cueing the participants. A great boot camp is a mix of motivation, push, coaching, personalized attention, and pure energy you can feel in the air. It allows for the person to experience something they won’t get anywhere else and that feeling will push them to come back and be interested in your gym.
  13. The end of the boot camp workout always has a finisher and it’s what clients look forward to (well, kind of). This is a great time to show how everyone is a support group in your gym, not just the team but also the other members. Here we crank up the music and really get the energy going and run around pumping everyone up. Finishers will be between 2-5 minutes and will vary from full body circuits, leg matrixes, ab matrixes, or a combination. Make them challenging and fun (see the example at the end).
  14. After the finisher, the whole training crew will start clapping and get all the boot campers to join along, and this creates electricity in the air as there are 80-100+ people clapping it up. I tell them to applaud themselves for being so awesome and pushing through the workout that is going to help them feel better, look better, and be better, along with helping out others in need that are not as fortunate as we are. Once we all clap it up, we will bring the hands in and I will thank everyone for coming in and helping out with the cause and that all new members can take advantage of a free trial week of our boot camp and if they leave their information on a sheet (they have already given us email and phone number when signing in for the charity event), which would include the address, they can win 2 months of boot camp and a month of semi-private personal training. If we get the address, we will send them a handwritten thank you card and a $100 gift card for the gym.
  15. We have a chant at the end once we bring our hands in and the announcements have been made. Ours is “1-2-3- RESULTS!”
  16. After everyone breaks up, people will hang around and this is the best time to get to know everyone even better and build rapport and relationships and connect. If you have a number of vendors and things going on, people will stay for quite a while. This is great as it means that the new people there are really getting to know you, your gym, your team, members, and culture. And the longer they stay the more they like it!

Bonus Tip: Make sure that your facility or training business insurance will cover any issues that could possibly arise at your event. You want to make safety your number one priority, especially if you are anticipating a large showing!

Many people also tend to have training questions or talk about their issues. Take the time and listen and help them out. This will make a huge difference as they most probably have never been to a gym where someone listened to their issues, helped them out with no pitch or no push to sell something. This blows people away in the most positive of ways.

The goal is of the charity boot camps is to raise money or resources for those in need as well as attract people to your gym and expose them to what you offer and have them see that you are the best in your area at what you do, and no one can provide the results or the experience that you do, coupled with the fact that you care about your members and appreciate them and that you care about your community.

You have to deliver an amazing training session that will keep people coming back for more and they need to leave knowing that was the best workout of their lives!

Here is a charity boot camp event workout we did with 98 people in attendance:

Dynamic Warm-Ups – 50 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest for each exercise (everyone is doing this together)

  1. Squat to Stand w/ Thoracic Extension on each side
  2. 90/90 Static Lunge w/ OH Reach  (30 seconds/side)
  3. Push Up + Hamstring/Calf Stretch + Glute Stretch
  4. Glute Bridging and Pummeling
  5. High Knees/Seal Claps (switch halfway)

10 Station Circuit – 40 seconds of work/20 seconds of rest – Rest 60 seconds after round 1 and repeat for one more round.

  1. Kettlebell Deadlift/Swing
  2. Walkout + Push Up Variation
  3. Kneeling Jamball Slams
  4. Skater Jumps
  5. Burpees w/ Push Up Var.
  6. Ropes Gone Wild (alternating)
  7. TRX Squat + Row
  8. Sandbag Lunge Var.
  9. Band Pull Aparts
  10. Single Arm KB Farmers Walks

Finisher – Deconstructing the Burpee (2:30 minutes)

Push Ups x 30 seconds

Jump Ins x 30 seconds

Squat Jumps x 30 seconds

Full Burpee x 60 seconds


Remember every drop of water creates a ripple and, in effect, a change. More importantly, it can and will inspire people to take more action.

A lot of ripples can create waves!

What’s even better is that you are paying it forward and making this change while also growing your business the right way – through showing the quality of what you do, showing you care and are involved in the community, and creating an incredible experience.

I just ask you to think bigger, dig deeper, and think of what you can really achieve and how much you can help if you let down the walls of limits.