FPL003: Start Your Own Outdoor Fitness Group

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Fit Pro Lifestyle PodcastStarting an outdoor fitness group will be one of the smartest fitness career moves you will make – because exercising outdoors with friends is simply the most natural thing we can do to improve our health.

Discover which PT certification you should choose to help your fitness career and what equipment you need to buy to start a fitness bootcamp.


00’43” Why I’m passionate about group outdoor fitness (and you should be too)
02’01” Spending time outdoors will save your life
04’14” The smartest career move you’ll ever make
04’33” What is the best personal training certification?
06’06” Being qualified and being educated are two different things
06’49” How to find the right mentor for your career development
09’20” 2 essentials for starting your own outdoor fitness group from scratch
11’59” Running a full-time group training business? Get this…
16’11” Some bootcamp equipment tips

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Hi and welcome to Fit Pro lifestyle Podcast episode 3. It’s Garry Robinson here and today I’m talking about how to go about starting your own fitness bootcamp or outdoor training group.
In fact, it’s vital that you do this now if you haven’t already.

Not just for the sake of your own career as a fitness professional, but for the sake of all the people in your community.

The reason I’m so passionate about group outdoor fitness this is that exercising outdoors with friends is simply the most natural thing we can do to improve our health. Especially if the group is led by someone who is passionate, knowledgeable and professional.
Most adults these days are weak and are in much poorer health compared to what we were just 30 years ago.

Clinical depression is at an all-time high and the way we work and live (and train) has a lot to do with that.

As well as eating processed junk food, most of us just don’t move anymore – at least not in the way we are supposed to.

In the past 30 years we’ve literally trained ourselves to become weak, sick and depressed!
It’s pretty damned obvious that gyms and health clubs simply don’t work for the majority of people and we need an alternative.

Humans are social creatures. For thousands of year we have depended on our tribe or community to survive. These days more than ever there is a need for more real life interaction. I’m talking about actual physical contact not ‘hearts’ or ‘likes’ or ‘tweets’. You know – a high five, a slap on the back, a punch on the arm, a hug. I can’t explain why – but this physical friendship, camaraderie and team spirit seem so vital for our mental health.

We also need to be exposed to the outdoor elements. For example, there’s now a huge body of science around the link between vitamin-D deficiency and breast cancer – so for women in particular, just spending more time outdoors could literally save your life one day.

And over the past 30 years, we seem to have forgotten how to move! Physical culture has become a thing of the past. I’m not saying we have become lazy, but more people than ever simply don’t have the motor skills to move without injuring themselves! I mean, really basic stuff – like running, jumping, lifting or throwing.

As fitness professionals, I really believe that we have a duty of care to encourage our clients to get outdoors, move the way our bodies are supposed to and simply interact with each other on a physical level.

If you joined the fitness industry to help people become fit and healthy than how can you possibly succeed on your mission without doing this?

What I have learned and mastered over the years is a group training system and business model that really does improve the health and fitness of folk as well as giving us as trainers a sustainable career path and an income that pays better than most professions.

You don’t even need to work 40 hours a week to make it happen – you can realistically earn a full time income while building a valuable a business asset that you can sell one day – simply by organising and conducting outdoor group fitness sessions in your community just a few times a week.

The sad thing is, you won’t learn how to do this on any formal education courses such as Personal Training certifications or fitness degrees. I learned what I know about training groups from years of trial and error in the field and by taking proven business strategies from other, more mature industries and applying them to ours.

I’ve been sharing what I have learned via my website since 2011 and there is a whole body of work there that will help you.
Just head over to www.fitprolifestyle.com

So whether you have been slogging it out for years in a health club or PT studio, you are a newly qualified personal trainer wondering what to do next, or even if you are thinking about a career change to do something you love – I’m here to tell you that starting an outdoor fitness group will be one of the smartest fitness career moves you will make.
This podcast will help you.

In this episode I’m going to tell you how to start an outdoor fitness group for very little expense but first I want to put to bed one of the most common questions I get asked.


What is the best personal training certification or qualification?


OK. Do you really think that choosing the right course is the key to success?

That’s what the education providers tell you. But they are wrong.

Which course you choose is completely irrelevant. Here’s why…

The average career span of a qualified personal trainer is only about 1 or 2 years depending on which country you live in.

These training institutes pump out thousands of qualified personal trainers and sadly, many of us fall by the wayside.
And did you know that the average qualified personal trainer earns less than the counter staff at a fast food restaurant?

That’s absolutely true and the reason it is possible is because the average counter staff at McDonalds receives more real-world training than the average personal trainer does.

So instead of worrying about which certification to choose, here’s what to do instead…

1. First, go out and get qualified or certified in the quickest and most convenient way possible. Not because of what you will learn, but because a professional certification will simply make it easier to get public indemnity insurance.

That’s it. That’s the only reason to do it. Do not concern yourself with which PT course is the best or more credible. None of them will teach you what you need to know to succeed anyway.
You may as well pick the cheapest and easiest for what good it will do you.

2. Then begin your real education. In the fitness industry, being qualified and being educated are two entirely different things. What you learn from your PT cert will simply not be enough to even get by.

At this stage, you must make a commitment to learn as much as you can from credible sources and invest in your own personal development every single day. StrongFirst and Crossfit run exceptionally good education programs.

And of course, the members website at Kaizen Outdoor Fitness has top quality workout programs and business strategies that you won’t find anywhere else.

3. As soon as you can, start an outdoor fitness group! Stay tuned I’ll explain how you can get started today without investing any money.

4. The next thing you want to do is to find a mentor. Visit successful outdoor training groups in your area and talk to the owners and trainers. Tell them that you are a new outdoor personal trainer and that you want to learn from them.

Successful people love to help others get on. You may be able to assist in some sessions to watch and learn. Offer to buy them coffee or breakfast after a session and you will get the opportunity to ask them for advice. This will be the best value for money education that you will find.

And if you are already running an outdoor training group or bootcamp, you should join the coaching community of professional outdoor trainers. You can find instructions on how to join up at the fitprolifestyle.com website

5. Attend conferences and seminars. Not those fitness expos full of bloated posers. I mean the real education events.

Just being in a room full of like-minded professionals will give you a real boost. Look out for smaller, local events too. You will begin to learn who the key players are in your area and rub shoulders with established and truly successful fitness industry experts.

6. Join a local business networking group. How will this help you to become a better outdoor personal trainer? Well, it will improve your confidence in front of a group of people and teach you public speaking skills.

The same skills that are essential for conducting successful group training sessions

You also get the opportunity to talk to local business and community leaders and build relationships that will help you to get new clients and referrals.

People skills, maturity and emotional intelligence are huge factors for success in the fitness industry – and becoming a member of business networking groups will help you to develop in this area.

So you see, becoming qualified or certified is really only just the beginning and the course you choose is totally irrelevant to your success.

Unfortunately, most personal trainers get their certification and head straight off to the health club or PT studio to earn less than minimum wage.

They have no way of differentiating themselves from the thousands of other qualified personal trainers that these certifications are pumping out every week.

Sure, get qualified in the quickest and most convenient way possible but then start really investing in yourself and start your own outdoor training group.


What equipment you need to start an outdoor fitness group or bootcamp?


Well, you can start an outdoor fitness business with literally no equipment and just acquire it as your client base grows.
By starting small at first and setting aside 10% of your income each week for investing in equipment, you will have all you need to run a very profitable, full-scale outdoor fitness business in just a few months.

Here’s What You Need to Get Started

Investment: just a few dollars or pounds

Markers / Cones / Witches hats

If I had to choose just one piece of equipment to run bootcamps, I would choose these cheap little plastic hats. They are so versatile. I use them as stations in circuits, markers for agility drills, score counters, relay batons, trophies(!) and even as team mascots!

Knowledge about bodyweight training

You will need to understand exactly how to use gravity and bodyweight to increase and decrease the resistance for fundamental bodyweight exercises such as pushes, pulls and squats. Dragon Door publishes the best books I have read on this subject.

You’ll also need access to a library of functional exercises that will add variety and fun to your training, such as the one I maintain on my Youtube channel (just search Youtube for Kaizen Outdoor Fitness – there are demonstrations of over 80 functional exercises there)

Next Steps – What To Buy Next?

Investment: a few hundred bucks or couple hundred quid

After a few weeks, you should have enough put aside to invest in some useful additions. At this stage, I would go for

Skipping Ropes / Jump Ropes

A bunch of Balls – various shapes and sizes

Rubber resistance bands

Battling rope

Bands and battling ropes are important because it is difficult to train pulling movements with bodyweight alone.

Go for a purpose-made rope that is thick, heavy and has sealed and coated ends. Ideally they need to be about 15m long and at least 75mm thick.

Running a Full Time Bootcamp Business

Investment: a few grand

Once you are rocking along with 30+ clients you should be thinking that it’s time to turn this into a full time business and invest in it accordingly.

At this stage, you should have some money set aside and you will be ready to invest in some truly versatile and quality training equipment. Here’s what I recommend you get:


Sandbags are an awesome substitute for barbell training and have an added advantage that they simulate real-life loads.

Get good quality, waterproof sandbags with good seals so that they do not leak. Look for seals that have both zip and velcro. You will need bags that have sealed inners so you can interchange them and make various weights. Get twice or three times as many inners as you have sandbags and fill them up with dry sand in units of 5kg and 10kg.

For my workout programs, beginners would start out with 5k to 15kg bags. Intermediates 15kg to 30kg and Advanced participants anything upwards of 30kg+

Sandbags are the most affordable way to acquire heavy weight. Sand is free if you live near a beach and can be purchased very inexpensively from builder’s merchants if you are land-locked.


Kettlebells are so versatile – they can be used to develop android-like work capacity.

I would suggest 8kg and 12kg for ladies and beginners, and 16kg and 24kg for guys and intermediate to advanced clients.

It’s vital to learn how to coach and cue basic kettlebell lifts such as swings, get-ups and the clean and press. Do not introduce kettlebell training without first learning these movements yourself, preferably from a qualified StrongFirst kettlebell instructor.

When used properly, kettlebells have been proven to repair and rehabilitate all manner of shoulder and back injuries but they are often blamed for doing just the opposite if you are careless.

Rubber-coated Dumbbells

Are a good alternative to kettlebells for beginners or those clients who are not ready for kettlebells.
I found that having a few sets of just three smaller sizes is optimal. I like 4kg, 7kg and 10kg

Medicine Balls

5kg balls for ladies and beginners. 10kg balls for guys.
Get the rubber-coated balls that you can throw around and bounce off the ground.

Boxing Pads and shields

Boxing is an awesome way to train lactate and aerobic conditioning and build muscular endurance. It also adds fun and variety to your sessions and everyone loves to punch and kick, even though they might not admit it.

It’s worth taking a short course or certification to learn how to teach and cue properly and safely. You don’t need to get too technical. In fact it helps if you keep it really simple.
Kaizen Outdoor Fitness have excellent resources and workouts to help you deliver safe, fun and exciting fitness boxing workouts for groups.

Bootcamp Equipment Tips

Take a short course or certification in the equipment that you use. You get way more out of it when you learn how to use it properly.

Design your workouts to make maximum use of minimal equipment

Have mostly lighter weights. Group outdoor training is popular because it is fun, accessible and non-threatening. Most civilians will fall into the beginner and intermediate categories – so cater for them first.

DON’T invest in a lot of equipment if you are just starting out. Grow your equipment inventory as you grow your business.

Definitely DON’T be tempted to make your own equipment. It’s unsafe, looks unprofessional and is completely unnecessary.

I put together a getting started gear guide that you can download for free from my website. Just head over to fitprolifestyle.com and find episode 003.

That’s all for today.

I hope this inspires you to get out there and start your own outdoor fitness group or bootcamp.

Exercising outdoors in a team or group led by a knowledgeable professional can be far more effective than going to a gym when it comes down to addressing the problems of obesity and lifestyle dis-ease.

Not enough fitness professionals offer this as a service and I think this is mostly because we just don’t get enough information on how to do it properly.

I hope that by sharing what I have learned it will give trainers like you who are prepare to invest in themselves the knowledge and skill they need to succeed in what is ultimately a very rewarding and vital industry.

If you are enjoying this podcast, please leave a review on iTunes and share it with other trainers you know.

See you next time
Garry Robinson

Garry Robinson


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