Boot camp training, a mix of traditional calisthenics, body weight training, strength training, and interval training, is as much about the mind as it is about the body, says the masses that flock to this training program every year. Boot camp training pushes participants to work harder than they would ever do on their own.
As a personal trainer specializing in boot camp training, you will be not just an instructor, but a guiding force and a motivator, encouraging your clients to reach their goals. You will also serve as a catalyst, as you will know that it takes to ensure that your clients reach their goals.
What is Boot Camp Training?
Boot camp training, although it will certainly vary according to the trainer’s philosophy and the design and structure of the program, is generally an outdoor group exercise that combines cardiovascular exercises and strength exercises. A typical boot camp training program lasts about 4 weeks.
In addition to boot camps, these training programs are often called:
- Adventure boot camps
- Extreme fitness camps
- Exercise camps
- Lifestyle camps
- Fitness camps
Many boot camp training programs are aimed at specific populations and therefore may be named according to the clients they serve:
- General fitness boot camps
- Sports-specific boot camps (designed for runners, cyclists, skiers, etc.)
- Women only fitness boot camps
- Weight loss boot camps
- Boot camps for brides
- Boot camps for seniors
- Kids’ boot camps
Regardless of the type of boot camp training you oversee, you will likely:
- Complete the program outside
- Complete cardiovascular exercises, such as running, hiking, or obstacle courses
- Complete strength training using body resistance or equipment, such as exercise bands, dumbbells, or body weights
- Incorporate stretching elements, including warm-ups and cool-downs
As a personal trainer, your boot camp training program will likely include many forms of plyometric and interval training, with little rest between exercises. Typical exercises in a boot camp training program include:
- Speed training (sprinting)
- Jumping jacks
- Squat thrusts
Your boot camp training program may consist of just one client, or a small group, between 6 and 10 clients. You will also likely incorporate team, partner, or group competitions/exercises in boot camp training programs with two or more people.
A common activity in boot camp training programs involves assessing the fitness level of your clients at the beginning of the boot camp and then re-assessing them at the end of the program as to allow them to appreciate the results of their efforts.
Your Role as a Boot Camp Personal Trainer
The major, underlying component of any boot camp training program is the spirit of teamwork and comradery that you create. The training program you design and implement as a personal trainer will vary according to the focus of your program, the goal of the program, and/or the specific demographic of the program. However, your role will always be constant: to encourage, motivate, and inspire.
In addition to providing your clients with a whole-body fitness program, you will be challenging them to work hard, all the while building their self-esteem and confidence. In fact, the success of a boot camp training program can often be said to lie solely with the instructor. Although the “boot camp” name would suggest a drill instructor-style approach, you will likely choose encouragement over intimidation to help your clients reach their goal.
Like traditional military boot camps, you will offer an intense mix of strength and cardio training. Your boot camp training program may be focused on traditional calisthenics or military-style drills to keep in the spirit of a boot camp.
In general, your goal as a boot camp personal trainer is to provide your clients with an intense, boot camp-inspired workout through the execution of ballistic, rapid-style movements. Your clients can expect to build strength, endurance, and agility from the completion of your boot camp training program.
You may offer your boot camp training program through a fitness center, gym, community center, senior center, company, or college, or you may simply choose to advertise your services on social media or in your local paper. Many personal trainers advertise their services and then travel to different locations.
Benefits of a Boot Camp Training Program
Personal training boot camp programs are ideal for many clients, as they:
- Offer a challenged and varied workout
- Require little or no special equipment
- Serve as a great team-building program
- Provide participants with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment
- Promote cardiovascular health
- Build strength and endurance
- Improve agility
- Challenge clients and pushes them to achieve more
- Offer positive reinforcement and encouragement
- Burn as much as 500 to 600 per one-hour session
- Provide a total-body workout
How to Become a Personal Trainer with a Specialization in Boot Camp Training
A rewarding career in personal training is usually supplemented with a comprehensive education, which is accomplished through an associate or bachelor degree in personal training or a related program and/or a professional certification program.
Degree programs in personal training are most often offered at the associate or bachelor level. In addition, many personal trainers also choose to complete degrees in related areas of study, such as exercise science, kinesiology, and exercise physiology.
Degree programs, in addition to providing students with a liberal arts foundation and a core set of science courses, offer study in topics related directly to personal training, such as:
- Nutrition and health
- First Aid and CPR
- Chronic disease and obesity
- Principles of strength and conditioning
Professional certification in personal training is offered by many professional organizations, most of which are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Just a few of the organizations that offer personal training include:
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
- National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
A number of organizations also offer specialty certification in boot camp training, such as:
- National Academy of Sports Medicine, Group Personal Training Specialist
- National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association, Adventure Bootcamp
- The Cooper Institute, Boot Camp and Circuits Leadership Certification Program
- FiTOUR, Boot Camp Fitness Certification