The 6 Vital Rules Of A Good Boot Camp: You Need To Read Before Trying One!

Chances are you have either tried a boot camp workout in the past, you’re in one now, or you know someone that has.

Boot camps are big. And I don’t foresee their growth stopping, at least I hope not. After all, boot camp help pay my bills!

Who Knew I Had A Boot Camp?


You might not know this about me, but I own a women’s boot camp in Charleston.

It’s legit… 8 locations (16 actual boot camp classes going on all the time), a studio, and I’ve got the freaking best staff of trainers ever. Plus I have Fit Women’s Weekly too!

I count my lucky stars every day for the amazing women (and our male trainers) I am surrounded by.


When I first became I trainer, I didn’t know much about boot camps. Like at all.

I knew that I loved working with women and helping them achieve amazing things with their bodies and their attitudes. Initially, I assumed I would work for a gym doing one-on-one’s, but there was a hold up that I couldn’t shake…

With limited hours in the day, the amount of women I would be able to help was limited. In a full day, I would only get to work with 7-8 clients. And that’s assuming I had a full schedule.

That’s how the boot camp started.

I could bring together that many women in a single class. They could support each other, work off each other and as a result, see better results than if it were just the two of us.


And that’s pretty much how my boot camp was born… And I have Dan to thank for sparking the idea in the first place and then later joining me as my partner.

That was over 6 years ago.

This past weekend we celebrated with our 2nd annual Field Day (here’s the recap of our first)! Which is what the pictures are from I’m sharing today.

A little fun fact… boot camps are still blooming, in fact they have grown by over 40% over the past few years as more people are turning to small group training which is more affordable than one-on-one training.

With that growth means there are a lot of options out there. Maybe you’re wondering…

Are All Boot Camps Created Equal?

No… they are not.

There are great programs and there are not so great programs. And then there are amazing programs. Just like with anything else in the fitness world.


If you’ve been thinking about going to a boot camp class nearby, use my checklist to make sure you’re going to get a class that deserves your time and money.

The 6 Vital Rules Of A Good Boot Camp

1. Limited Class Size

I’ve seen boot camps with over 50 people in one class!

How can trainers keep everyone organized, make sure that everyone is practicing proper form, and help clients that need modifications?

If they have 5 trainers at each class then it can work I suppose.

So make sure you find out the client to trainer ratio so you can get some solid one-on-one time even in a group environment. It’s important and will make all the difference.

2. Classes Filled With People You Like And Can Relate To

Give the boot camp a test run. A lot of boot camps rely on team work, and partners, so make sure you feel welcomed, everyone is motivating and, there are people you like. If not, you won’t enjoy the experience.

I have clients that have become great friends. They hang out… they talk to each other outside of boot camp… and they become each other’s support system.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying:

When you hangout with motivated women that are living a fitness based lifestyle… well, you don’t have to worry too much about hitting your weight loss goals. Things just end up taking care of themselves. It’s amazing to see it happen from my perspective.

3. Certified trainers are leading class:

I’ve seen this happening more and more, people that like to workout starting a neighborhood boot camp. While that’s great and encourages everyone to get moving, it can be dangerous.

Leaders need to understand form, function, program design, etc when it comes to running a program. Makes sense, right? You don’t want a medical student doing your surgery, you want a doctor!

4. Workouts Need To Be Planned Out
Getting Ready To Workout

I’ve done fitness classes where you could tell the instructor was making the workout up as they went.

Yes, I’ve had to do this but I also have several years of experience to help it happen without making it obvious. And don’t get me wrong… I hate it when I put myself in that position. It rarely happens.

Unplanned workouts are sloppy, uninteresting, and make you the boot camper feel unimportant.

There have been times when Dan’s workouts don’t go as planned. The pacing isn’t right… some exercises are too complex… and you can tell immediately when he gets home that a workout was like that.

He’s in a bad mood. Frustrated. And just angry with himself.

That’s something that I really love about being paid to train people. It forces me to work really hard on my program design.

I try to make it so after every workout, my clients are so blown away by how awesome it was they have to tell everybody they know. At least that’s what I’m going for!

Here’s a secret…

5. The Trainers Walk The Walk
Erin Doing Sandbag Squats

If your trainer can’t do proper push-ups, burpees, squats, whatever then how are they suppose to make sure you can?

I make all of our trainers do boot camp, demonstrating proper form, and fitness ability before hiring them.

Your trainer doesn’t have to be a superstar, American Ninja, or some hyper fitness fanatic that’s over pepped up on emotional juice. I actually try to avoid that because hyper fitness emotion can cause clients more harm than good. In fact it often does leading to injury by being pushed to hard or ignoring proper form.

And yet there needs to be passion.

6. It All Comes Down To Having Fun
Amazing Fitness Women Doing What They Do Best

Workouts are going to hard. They are going to be intense. Workouts don’t have to be miserable. Remember attitude… from above!

The best kind of workout is the one where at the end everyone giving high-fives, smiling, encouraging others, and congratulating each other.

Fun is the name of the game. Exercising should be play time. Heck, it is play time.

You have to agree with me on this…

It’s fun to challenge yourself. To see what you’re made of. To chase after a worthy goal.

That’s actually the juice of life right there.

To chase after a worth goal… while being challenged… and overcoming those challenges… there’s absolutely nothing more fun than that.

It’s like being old and withered, sitting on the front porch of your retirement home with your best friend. You won’t remember that vacation. You won’t remember watching TV.

You’ll reminisce about the obstacles you beat. The brick walls you busted through. The fun you had when life was at it’s most chaotic… and yet you came out on top.

Well before you go to bed (on a workout day) you’ll think back about what you accomplished and your workout will be one of those highlights. You’ll remember how your muscle burned so bad you wanted to quit right then and there…

…But you didn’t. You mustered the strength and you pushed through. You’ll fall asleep with a smile because that was fun!

Boot Camp Field Day Success

The weekend Field Day was a blast!

I can not stress enough how proud I am of all the ladies that were able to make it out on their Sunday morning and give each rep of each exercise their all.

It was so much fun to watch as they gritted their teeth and gave each workout station everything they had.


Congrats to Courtney, our Field Day Golden Kettlebell winner and Bobbi who won our recent 8-week challenge… also a Golden Kettlebell winner!

Bobbie lost over 20 lbs in 8 weeks! How awesome is that?

Thank you ladies.

And if you’re not in a fitness program, see what your community has to offer! Of course, we have our online training program (FitWomensWeekly) which is based off my boot camp! If you’re in Charleston, shoot me an email!


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