Your Gym Business: 1-on-1 Training or Boot Camps?

Should you set up your gym business as a boot camp or as a 1-on-1 training studio?gym business

I get fitness entrepreneurs asking me about this all the time. The answer, like it so often is in life, is two words:

“It depends.”

Right now, and for as long as I can see into the future, BOTH boot camps and 1-on-1 studios can make great money in the fitness world.

These are both solid, well-tested business models that can give awesome trainers like you the income and lifestyle you deserve.

However…not all personal trainers are a good fit for boot camps, and not all personal trainers are a good fit for 1-on-1 studios.

It really comes down to your unique talents, skills, and preferences.

To help you build the gym business of your dreams, today I’m going to dive into what it takes to run an effective 1-on-1 studio versus what it takes to run an effective boot camp.

I’m not going to try to swing you either way. I’m just going to give you an honest look at both options and let you decide what makes sense for you.

Besides, I’m already successfully coaching boot camp owners AND 1-on-1 trainers. Either way, I’ve got you covered.


5 Reasons Your Gym Business Should be a 1-on-1 Studio


#1 You Can Manage Long, Long Client Contracts


The key to running a profitable 1-on-1 or small group training studio is to focus on finding and keeping a small list of extremely loyal clients.

In fact, what the most successful 1-on-1 trainers do is find and keep clients who are interested in a lifelong contract. These are people like CEOs and pro athletes who have a personal commitment to living as high-performance humans.

Now as you might imagine, you can charge people like that vastly more money than most people would pay…but there is a catch to this (more on that later).

#2 You Work with a Special Type of Client


Maybe you’re the expert at training people with injuries. Or maybe, like my friends Dan Ritchie and Cody Sipe, you’re an expert at training people over 60.

Whatever your case is, if you train a special population of clients, it’s a natural fit for you to do 1-on-1 sessions or small group.

Simply because most people don’t have serious injuries, or other special conditions, you’re better off not trying to fill a whole boot camp.

Instead, you want to position yourself as the expert, go-to trainer for that particular niche. By the way, when you do that you earn the right to charge expert specialist prices, which means you can build a profitable business even with just a short list of 1-on-1 or small group clients.

#3 You Are a Top-Level, World Class Trainer


I know and work with personal trainers who command tens of thousands of dollars per month for their training. They may only train a tiny handful of clients at a time, but they earn so much from each one that that’s their entire business.

gym businessSo how does someone become one of these guys?

The answer is simple, but not easy: they become world class, master-level trainers. They get their training so dialed in, with such astounding results at such a fast pace, that it’s foolish to compare them to any other trainer.

Think about what it takes to become an Olympic athlete.

Now think about what it takes to be qualified to TRAIN an Olympic athlete. That’s pretty much what I’m talking about here.

#4 You Don’t Mind a Crazy Schedule


This point is especially true if you are working with high-paying, high-performing clients like I mentioned before.

When people come to you for customized training (which is basically what you need to do if you want to make any real money training 1-on-1) that means you need to adapt to their schedule, not the other way around.

If they can only train Tuesdays and Thursdays at midnight, guess what? You train them Tuesdays and Thursdays at midnight.

Remember, being a high-level 1-on-1 trainer is fiercely competitive, so if you aren’t willing to make that extra effort for your clients, somebody else will.

#5 You Enjoy Pampering Your Clients


If you want to command top prices as a 1-on-1 trainer, you have to be ready to deliver a Ritz Carlton-level experience to your clients.

That means going above and beyond not just in your training, but in your personal communications, your branding, your availability, your gift-giving, your appreciation, your personal presentation, and even your facility decorations.

And just to be totally clear: yes, that does mean you’ll have a much higher overhead. If you do this properly, your high-end clients will pay you enough to more than cover these expenses.

5 Reasons Gym Business Should Be a Boot Camp


#1 You Want High Profit Margins


With boot camps, you naturally end up with higher profit margins than you would if you opened a 1-on-1 or small group studio.

This mainly comes from the bigger market you have available, plus the low overhead that comes with the boot camp model. I’ll explain more about that in a moment.

Because of the high profit margins, the boot camp model is extremely flexible. You can spend as much or as little of your time training as you want, and you can take time away from business secure in the knowledge that even if a client here or there, you won’t suddenly go broke.

#2 You Want a Big Marketgym business


Remember how I said 1-on-1 studios need to target really narrow, specific niche audiences?

With a fitness boot camp, you don’t need to be that narrow.

For example, the target demographic for Fit Body Boot Camp, my fitness boot camp franchise, is women between the ages of 25 and 55.

That’s more specific than “everyone” but it’s still broad enough that you can set up a successful FBBC pretty much anywhere in the world (and people have).

#3 You Want to Keep Your Overhead Low


With the boot camp model, all you really need is 2-4 trainers and an admin assistant for staff.

Most businesses would KILL to have a staff of 5 people or less. In a boot camp, that’s just to be expected.

Plus, if you use HIIT-based workouts, you can avoid installing any advanced, expensive equipment.

All this adds up to extremely low set-up and operating costs for your gym business.

#4 You Want to Make Your Own Schedule


A well-oiled boot camp can just about run itself, especially if you hire a manager to take care of things at your facility.

What does this mean for you?

Simple: you get to be the boss of your own time.

You can take as many vacations as you want, or you can use your extra time to expand into the world of being a fitness celebrity (a lot of my coaching clients are taking this route and have successfully done so already). 

#5 You Want to Join a Franchise


Fitness boot camps lend themselves naturally to the franchise model.

I know, because I’m the founder of the world’s fastest growing fitness boot camp franchise, Fit Body Boot Camp. If I might say so myself, we’re doing quite well.

In fact, just this year we placed at #2006 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the US.

gym businessNow, remember everything I was saying about how boot camps give you low overheads and big profits?

With a Fit Body Boot Camp franchise, you can pretty much double that effect. With our road-tested and proven business model, you can get your business open and profitable in as short a time as 6 months.

PLUS, you don’t have to learn through expensive mistakes about how to market yourself and get more clients, how to sell higher priced memberships, how to retain clients and generate referrals, or how to hire and train the best staff.

We’ve done all that and more already, and we’ve built a vault of done-for-you resources and easy-to-follow blueprints that make your Fit Body Boot Camp basically a “business in a box.”

If you are at all interested in opening a Fit Body Boot Camp, even if you just want to do a little more research, then I highly recommend you click this link to discover how our rapidly growing fitness franchise can work for you!

Hope this post clears things up for you!

Committed to Your Success,


P.S. I know I mentioned world class 1-on-1 training before, but you want to know another way to make 6 or even 7 figures as a personal trainer? Open multiple boot camp locations with a franchise like Fit Body Boot Camp!

Watch this video to see a real life trainer doing that with his gym business.