Perform24 Strength Camps are my version of adult group fitness classes.
Except my Strength Camps aren’t technically “classes.” And there are no monthly memberships.
I have never seen another fitness professional structure group training in the way I do mine. While I didn’t originally set out to create a new structure for group training, and I’m certainly not claiming it’s the best way, I’ve used this system for over a year without any major adjustments.
I want to share how my Strength Camps are set up, what problems they resolve, and what I’ve learned along the way.
The Problem With Group Fitness
Before starting Perform24, I was working as a Performance Coach at a big, fancy facility. This facility ran group training sessions three times a day, and charged its’ members a monthly membership. This membership granted members access to the group classes. There were two morning sessions and one evening session.
I know most gyms offer similar programs. Nothing special here.
The problem was that our gym was special. Or at least we were trying to be special. We had positioned ourselves in the market as an elite training facility, and we honestly had the clientele and the training staff to back it up.
Our entire staff had dedicated their careers to the art of Performance Training. We were committed to results, and were building a reputation that people trusted.
The problem was that our group training classes didn’t produce results.
To be brutally self-critical, the training in the group classes didn’t maximize the training knowledge that our staff had or capitalize the capabilities that our top-notch facility could provide.
Despite our elite experiences in the training industry, our group classes weren’t that different from the classes offered at big-box fitness clubs.
It wasn’t that we didn’t try. At the time, I honestly believe we were trying to offer a great service. However, I think we were caught up in what we thought our members wanted, and not focusing on what we were good at.
We incorrectly assumed what our members wanted. And unfortunately we allowed them to dictate how we approached their training.
Caught in the Trends
During my time at the previous facility, the whole fitness industry was in the middle of the Crossfit Craze. Crossfit Fever was sweeping our city and we were caught in it.
We weren’t Crossfit coaches, and we didn’t want to be Crossfit coaches.
However, we were throwing our own skill set out the window, and ignoring the abilities that set us apart.
Typically we would train our groups in three-week rotations, meaning that every three weeks we would change the muscle groups and exercises that were addressed on specific days.
Again, this seems fairly straight forward. However, the three-week rotation only served one purpose.
We programmed classes strictly for the purpose of variety. We had no rhyme or reason to the class other than making it harder and different than the previous weeks.
He we were, elite coaches training the elite of the elite clientele. And we were focused on VARIETY for our group classes. Ugh, it’s frustrating to even admit that.
We completely ignored what made us special, and ASSUMED our members wanted to be put through the gauntlet every day. We assumed they wanted a typical Crossfit-style or Bootcamp workout.
Note: This isn’t a bash on Crossfit. So chill. And I’m not saying that people hated our classes. But, our training methods differed from the experiences we took pride in as a staff.
We didn’t trust our own expertise, and we didn’t rely on our own experiences to make our classes different.
Perform24 Strength Camps – The Solution
When I started Perform24, I knew adult group training would be a major part of my business model.
I also knew I wanted to make them different in a way that my members would identify them exclusively to Perform24.
Thus, Perform24 Strength Camps were born.
Strength Camps are group training sessions. They are not revolving “memberships,” and have a specific start date and a specific end date. Typically my Strength Camps last somewhere between 6-8 weeks.
During these 6-8 weeks, we are training for a specific result. For example, I have run Strength Camps that are designed around metabolic strength (meaning high repetition lifts), total body strength, or mobility. Last winter I even ran a three-week specialized program focused entirely on the bench press.
In most cases, I will even do a simple before-and-after test that gives them the opportunity to compete against themselves and see progress.
These Strength Camps are fundamentally designed to contain all the unique knowledge and experience I’ve gained as a Performance Coach.
If I roll out a Strength Camp focusing on mobility, my members know with 100% confidence that they will be more mobile at the end of the six weeks. If I emphasize a Trap Bar Deadlift, they know they will have a more proficient Trap Bar Deadlift.
Just as I train a professional athlete in the off-season with specific exercises, movements, sequences, reps and sets, etc. I train my Strength Camp members with the same detail.
I want the Perform24 family to know why we are different.
It takes confidence and a little risk to initially tell members that I want them to slow down and perform a mobility exercise in the middle of a strength circuit. Most individuals have a preconception that they are supposed to get buried during workouts. However, after a few sessions, the start to buy-in to the process.
In fact, my members ultimately expect and value the detail, expertise, and uniqueness.
*Also, as a bonus.. The every-day, year-round coaching exposure I get training my Strength Camps help my programming execution for my pro athletes. There have been many times that the effort put into programming for Strength Camps have come back useful for the pros.
From the Business Side
* Please feel free to skip to the next section if you are a not a trainer, fitness professional, or gym owner.
As I said before, I’ve never seen another fitness professional run group training with this structure.
Most gym owners would freak out if I told them I do not lock my members in with an auto-drafting monthly contract. This is uncommon for gyms.
We train hard for 6-8 weeks, and at the end of the Strength Camp they are free to go if they choose. Most training businesses want the security of a contract, it goes against the norm to allow members to leave the training so easily. However, after a year of running my business this way, my retention rate says otherwise.
My members expect results. When we achieve them, they stick around. They also tell their friends. And then their friends stick around.
Strength Camps are programmed with a specific result in mind. Most of the time there is a measurable before-and-after test we implement to track progress and inspire competition.
These Strength Camps reflect the training knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated, and avoid the “variety for the sake of variety” habits that are common in group training settings.
After the Camp ends, my members are not locked in to a contract. They are free to go, or free to join the next one that has a different emphasis. As I said, after they experience one they buy in to the system.
I challenge you to examine your group training methods, and investigate ways you can maximize your experiences to produce greater results, compliance, and unique characteristics that make your program special.
Strength Camps were my solution, but I look forward to learning additional thought processes!