Top 10 Safety Checklist for Fitness Boot Camps

This post was initially sent out in 2009 to bring awareness to selecting a fitness boot camp.  Three years later I believe the information is true to selecting a fitness boot camp, group personal training program, semi-private training, or one-on-one personal training.

Fitness Boot Camps have been a growing movement in the fitness industry for several years for good reason. They are usually much more affordable than one-on-one personal training. They also offer more camaraderie and social support, are much more exciting, and have many more convenient time slots than personal training while still providing expert supervision.


Unfortunately, boot camps do have their downside. Many fitness instructors want to jump on the lucrative boot camp bandwagon without having any of the skills or experience to design custom workouts for the wide variety of fitness levels typical in large group training. Here are 10 safety tips on choosing a boot camp or group fitness program that will keep you safe and get you results at the same time:


Top 10 Safety Checklist for Fitness Boot Camps


1.) The Instructor(s) Must Be Insured and Certified (Preferably Certified With Nationally Recognized Institutions such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association, American College of Sports Medicine, or the National Academy of Sports Medicine). There are many online pay-for-certifications where people can get a certificate with little or no knowledge of proper training methods.  It is possible to work with a trainer that received their certification in less than 8 hours. This is a big part of what gets people hurt and gives fitness a bad name!

Herrera Certification

2.) The Instructor(s) Must Look The Part And Walk The Walk. If the trainer takes fitness seriously and is on the cutting edge of new training methods, they will be fit themselves. After all, who wants to take advice from someone who is in worse shape than they are!

Heath Herrera Before and After

3.) The Instructor(s) Must Be Experts With Exercise Progressions. Every exercise has the appropriate regression and progression based on your current fitness level. Overweight, de-conditioned beginners SHOULD NOT perform the exact same exercises as their more fit counterparts. If you ask your trainer if he/she can show you an exercise modification that better suits your particular situation and they give you a blank stare, walk away immediately!


4.) The Instructor(s) Must Make Themselves Available 10-15 Minutes Before and After Every Session. A good trainer can effectively train the group as a whole and still give that personal touch; he/she must be willing to speak with clients before AND after every workout to address any personal issues that might arise within the scope of your training or in related to other very important topics like nutrition.


5.) The Training Must Emphasize Body Weight Before External Resistance. There should be no added weight to any movements until you have mastered the key foundational body weight exercises in full ranges of motion like push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. A red flag should be raised if you are being instructed to add weight to a movement that you have yet to master with your body weight alone. This one’s important because it’s not a matter of if you will get hurt… it’s a matter of when!

6.) The Training System Must Focus on Body Weight Circuit Training and Cardio Interval Training. High-Intensity Interval Training is scientifically proven to burn 9x more fat than the aerobic training alternative, so it is critical that both the resistance training AND cardio programs incorporate intervals since the goal of the majority of fitness enthusiasts is fat loss. Furthermore, most people are seeking for the lean, athletic look of a men’s health or women’s health cover model respectively, and this is easily accomplished with 2-5+ body weight resistance training movements organized in a circuit fashion with the proper pre-programmed work to rest periods between exercises. In addition, a truly skilled trainer has mastered the art of intensifying movements without the need for extra loading.


7.) The Program Must Provide Nutritional Information. Nutrition can account for 80% of the weight loss battle. Without a nutrition program, you are joining an incomplete program and wasting your money since there is no way to out train a poor diet. People are too busy, and frankly too lazy, so the nutrition program needs to be clearly outlined and easy to follow. It should provide both Quick-Start Nutrition Guides (HH Fitness has made these available to our members to download on our membership page) for Males and Females respectively that will have you eating to support your fat loss goals in 5 minutes or less. Plus, a cookbook with a bunch of tasty and healthy done-for-you recipes should be provided to keep you on track!


8.) The Program Must Have A Website AND An Interactive Social Network. Bottom line, if the boot camp program in question does not have a website in this day in age it is not worth your time and money. Personal training is not just about “training,” it is a business and it needs to be approached that way. Furthermore, social support must extend outside of the workout. There are several interactive social networks that offer member profiles, blogging, and a forum where trainers and clients can interact with each other for FREE, so there is no excuse not to set this up for boot camp clients.


9.) The Program Must Have Social Proof And Raving Fans. If the program works, there should be proof in the form of client testimonials. Their previous clients should have results and be raving about all of the benefits that they have received from the program. Ask for written or video testimonials of their services before signing up (again, this should be made available on the company website). And remember, it’s NOT just about the weight loss. Benefits should include, but not be limited to, increased energy levels, dress/pant size reduction, improved health profiles, increased strength and flexibility, less joint pain, etc.


10.) The Program Must Offer A FREE Trial or Satisfaction Guarantee. If the program is confident about what they have to offer, then they will let you come in and try it for free or they will guarantee your satisfaction or your money back to completely eliminate the risk on your end. A results-based programs looks to minimize barriers of entry for prospects into their boot camps because they know that once the prospect experiences the benefits of the program firsthand they will surely buy!

 For Two-Weeks Free of Group Personal Training CLICK HERE

Heath Herrera, M.Ed., CSCS, YFS1 is a Hays County fitness professional and fat loss expert who has helped his clients lose unwanted body fat with his      renowned Group Personal Training Program (Boot Camp). For a free 2-week trial, visit or call 512-348-7388.


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