3 Reasons You Should Never Cancel A Boot Camp Class & How to Keep Your Students On Track Even When Life Takes A Left Turn…
Women birth babies. Men and women go to war. We are both capable of SO much. Both physically and mentally. We are really tough, right?!
If we are indeed capable, why do we expect anything less than our best from each other?
The answer is simple. We don’t know how to set and reach goals and expectations.
Let me ask you (the trainer) a question. Would you ever cancel a class?
Maybe it’s something you’re so used to that you don’t even second guess it.
Maybe it’s something you only do every now and then, but you don’t like doing it.
Maybe you’ve never canceled! If so, you are a rare breed, and you are setting an example to those who not only follow you but look up to you as well.
But let’s take a closer look at that question, why it matters, and how we can do better as leaders in the fitness industry.
Why cancel? There are a thousand reasons I imagine we all can list.
“My kid got sick, and I couldn’t make it to my class.”
“It was too cold/hot outside.”
“I got sick, and there was no one to cover my class.”
These all seem like pretty legit reasons to cancel a class, right?
What if I told you they aren’t?! Hear me out!
All of the reasons mentioned above–and most of the thousands that we could list–have solutions. But Marissa, you might be thinking, everyone would understand! Why does it matter so much? I am glad you asked!
3 Reasons Why You Should Never Cancel a Boot Camp Class
- You should never cancel a class because it’s not professional, and it sets the expectation that attendance isn’t needed for success. If your attendance isn’t important, why should their attendance be important? You want your clients to show up consistently, then you show up consistently. Your class can have a much bigger impact on them than you might ever realize. Showing up is number one in life! You show up, ready to go, with a positive attitude.
You are getting paid. Whether you get paid based on attendance or salary, you were hired to do a specific job. To train. So canceling a class or worse, not showing up, is not a great tone to set with your boss or your other colleagues. Be the trainer that everyone can depend on! Punctuality is the number one way to gain the trust of your clients. You never know when it could lead to a raise or promotion because you are viewed as dependable and professional.
Be dependable! By never canceling, your clients KNOW they can depend on you to always show up. Why does that matter? Because with consistency, your clients will actually start finding results. And by having successful clients, you can become a successful trainer. Imagine if your reputation was “oh, he/she always cancels, so I am going to start going to a different trainer/gym.” Your clients won’t ever find success hopping from one thing to another, right? Same for people that hop from diet to diet…there’s no consistency. We all know that consistency breeds results, so be that dependable trainer that can deliver results.
Now I bet you are thinking BUT what if…
I know, I know I’m not perfect either, but there are a few very simple steps to take in order to eliminate just about all of the “what if’s” from the equation.
I live in Texas, and not once in 8 years of leading my outdoor boot camps did I ever cancel. That means when it was a scorching hot, dripping with humidity, or blowing wind and freezing cold we still had tons of people show up because that expectation was set from day one: We never cancel. My clients can count on me to show up, which in turn, had a positive and direct impact on not only my class attendance but my income as well.
How did I do this? I prepared my workouts to include things that helped ease the extreme weather. For extra hot days, we found shaded areas and kept the workout less intense with lots of breaks. I brought ice water for them. I incorporated ice water games, water balloon fights, water gun fights…etc. For the extremely cold days, I moved us to a space that could block the wind, brought them hand warmers and made the workout more intense so that they’d warm up even quicker. Even when it was ten degrees and freezing, there were still lots of people who showed up. Within minutes, people were shedding their layers. It’s never as bad as you think it will be! Lead by example, and set reachable goals that will build trust and confidence when your clients surpass their own expectations.
Point being, as humans, we are capable of so many opportunities to surpass our current paradigm of possibilities. You are the trainer and the leader. If YOU can set the expectation that they can handle anything, they will be able to handle anything…and be more mentally tough for it!
Now, let’s get into the specifics of HOW to set the expectations. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results if you do these three things!
3 Things You Can Do to Set the Expectation
- Never Cancel A Boot Camp
Unless the weather puts people in immediate danger (undrivable icy roads, lightning, flooding…etc), never cancel. Rain or shine, never cancel.
Consistency equals success. Being consistent as a professional trainer, you not only build that trust, but you also set your clients up for optimal success. One of the biggest reasons people don’t stick with a fitness program is lack of consistency. Prepare people mentally that working out in a little weather builds character and positive mental consistency. Mentally and physically.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
And honestly, it’s a bonding experience to have 10-20 people show up when it’s 7 degrees. You can brag about those people and make them feel extra amazing that they accomplished something most others didn’t/wouldn’t. I remember one time it started snowing (IN TEXAS) during class. I took that opportunity to create a special moment with my clients. I said I would end class early if they all agreed to stay for a snowball fight! We ran around, threw snowballs at each other, built (tiny) snowmen and still got our workout in.
And guess what?
That memory has stuck with me years later as one of my all-time favorite classes.
Have an Alternate Location For Your Boot Camp Class
- Have an alternate location that all of your clients know about.
Let every client know via email/text/social media that in the event of inclement weather, this alternate location is where they will be meeting. Communicate WELL in advance if you intend to move to that alternate location due to weather. If you know the weather the next morning/later that day is going to be extra cold/hot/rainy, text all of your regulars and have them text their friends that class will be moving to an alternate location that is more weather friendly.
(Finding these ideal locations can be a challenge all on its own, but I guarantee you probably have spaces all around you that you can make work! And if you need ideas on how to do this, I am happy to help!)
Additionally, you absolutely must have someone stay behind at the regular location to pass along the word for any who may have missed the memo. (This is the “above and beyond” step that really will set you apart from your competitors…but more on that later.) When I knew I would need to move my class, I would post it on social media, tag all of my regulars in that post and ask them to tag their friends that they knew was planning to come. But those who don’t have social media, or maybe not even a phone, might be joining your class for their first day, so make sure someone stays behind. The best marketing is positive word of mouth.
Keep all your clients happy so they give much needed positive reviews. I would have a volunteer stay at the other original location until 15 minutes past when class started to redirect anyone that didn’t get the memo and to redirect the stragglers/latecomers. This goes a LONG way when setting the tone of professionalism and respect for each other’s time.
Get Creative To Maximize Your New Training Space
- Assuming the alternate location is small, there are several things you can do in order to maximize the space.
First, have the clients leave all their belongings in their car to conserve space for bodies.
Second, have several “small space” workouts prepared that you don’t need equipment for. Bodyweight work and partner resistance work are two great options.
Boot Camp Library has over 100 creative and professional Bootcamp workouts that offer a wide selection of small space workouts.
How To Overcome The Obstacles & Unknowns of Being a Boot Camp Instructor
Now that we know why you should never cancel and how to set expectations, I think it’s only fair to share some tips and tricks I used to overcome all of the obstacles and unknowns that life can throw at you, even beyond the weather. Whether it be weather or life related, these 3 easy steps can be implemented to help not only save your business but propel it to heights you never expected!
But before I get into too much detail, here is a quick list of the most common obstacles I ran into when dealing with my own attendance class conflicts. Get more info on Boot camp workout ideas.
3 Most Common Obstacles that Cause Absences and What to Do?
- Unexpected illness. No one can predict when they are going to get sick, but life doesn’t stop just because you do.
- Expected illness. No, I am not talking about knowing the future, but rather when you come down with something like the flu on a Friday and don’t have a class to teach until Monday.
These are the 3 main categories I dealt with on a rotating basis, but I always had a plan of action set in place so that my class and my clients never suffered. After all, they are the priority and should be treated as such. My plans of action are the reason that I never no-showed or canceled one of my classes in 8 years.
How To Overcome Each Of The 3 Obstacle
- Unexpected illness
When it comes to this, you’re probably thinking I am crazy to suggest you can prevent this from causing you to miss out on a day’s pay when you become suddenly ill.
Well, hear me out because it’s actually a simple fix…
What I did took a bit of preparation, patience, and research, but the end result saved me SO many headaches and allowed me to sleep better at night knowing I had set myself up for success in the event of an emergency.
Find a person you trust from your class. That one person who always shows up and is likely the fittest in your class. The one you can always depend on. We all have them. The regulars make your classes amazing. Call them up or invite them to coffee and discuss hiring them as a temporary/on-call substitute.
Everyone gets sick. That is inevitable, but if you can find someone you can call on in a pinch, it will absolutely transform your business. I promise. Rather than canceling your class, you have done your due diligence to ensure your clients don’t have to miss out on their workout just because you are sick.
“It is IMPERATIVE you have this person get certified or have some form of insurance that prevents any kind of situation that might put them in legal harm in case of accident or injury.”
You can even find yourself a fellow trainer who is looking for extra work and has a different schedule than you. This ensures they don’t have class when you have class and can be free to sub for you.
When I would wake up at 4 a.m. for my 5:30 a.m. class and realize I was sick, I would call on those people to see if they could cover my class.
In the RARE situation, I wasn’t able to get ahold of someone to cover for me, guess what I did?
I sucked it up, drove to class and got through it. I won’t go into detail, but I refer you back to the first paragraph of this article.
WE ARE TOUGH!
“In the RARE situation, I wasn’t able to get ahold of someone to cover for me, guess what I did?
I sucked it up, drove to class and got through it”
- Expected illness
The same protocol can be implemented here in my second point. When you come down with something and you know you will be out for a few days, refer to that person/fellow trainer and pay them to cover your classes so that you NEVER have to cancel a boot camp class.
This one is HUGE for me, so I have a lot to say on it and how recognizing and addressing burnout is KEY to your business
We all need days off and time away to recharge. But what do you do to ensure your clients are still taken care of?
Something that I found highly effective was finding a fellow trainer with an opposite schedule than yours. So if your classes are M-W-F in the mornings, find a trainer that maybe doesn’t teach morning classes, or teaches on other days of the week.
Establish a professional working relationship with that person and find a system that works for you both. You agree to cover their classes when they have to go out of town and they cover yours in return. This is another great way to establish professionalism and expectations amongst your clients.
They know they will be well taken care of even in your absence and will appreciate the extra steps you take to ensure their needs are consistently met.
Go Above and Beyond For Your Boot Campers
When it comes to expectations, there is no amount of effort or gesture too big. Going above and beyond should be a standard practice in our industry.
Regardless of the inclement weather you face, illnesses you might encounter, or the want/need to travel, there are methods and solutions to implement that will ensure you maintain your professional excellence.
Our industry is something to be immensely proud of, and I aim to help trainers everywhere reach the potential they desire. By raising your standards as a trainer, you, in turn, are setting higher expectations for your clients.
If you have any questions or comments, head on over to Boot Camp Library Blog where you can find additional articles, 100+ handwritten unique and creative “done for you” Bootcamp workouts, coaching on how to grow your training business and so much more!