Are you looking for outdoor personal training ideas to increase your client base, or encourage your existing clients to keep training with you?
We’ve got 7 ideas to help you boost your business, with insight from qualified Personal Trainer and Pilates instructor Stephanie Morgan Todd, who regularly trains clients outdoors.
So, whether you already run a bootcamp or want to take your one-on-one sessions into your local park, you can find plenty of inspiration here.
1. Choose a niche for your business
If you haven’t already, selecting a niche for your outdoor personal training business could help you attract new clients.
It’s tempting to try and appeal to everyone when building a client base from scratch. However, in the long run, it’s good for business to hone in on a niche and attracts clients looking for specialist help with their fitness goals.
Take Optimised Personal Wellness in Manchester, for example. The business consists of a group of PTs with different specialisms, each of which design outdoor sessions for their clients based on their needs.
Rather than just attracting a group of clients with different goals and giving them the same workout, they tailor outdoor sessions to enhance specific areas of the individual’s fitness.
So, if a client is looking to improve their endurance for cycling, they can partake in outdoor sessions that replicate this activity, rather than completing a HIIT session that doesn’t necessarily aid them in this area.
Some niche fitness markets to target include:
- seniors looking to build strength and balance
- pre and post-natal women looking to retain fitness
- professional or semi-professional athletes who require strength and conditioning training
- adults looking to lose fat and improve their health
- adults looking for military-style bootcamp sessions
This approach can help you to establish yourself as the go-to expert within your chosen niche, and ultimately mean you can charge more for your specialist knowledge as you gain experience.
It’s a good idea to do some research on your local area to learn who your competitors are, and whether you have a viable target demographic.
2. Select a wide-open space
Gyms are great for providing access to a range of equipment, but they can feel quite enclosed, particularly for clients who spend most of their time indoors. Todd says:
“Many of my clients love training outdoors. There’s something lovely about getting out in the fresh air.
If it rains, everyone feels like a champ for still getting it done, and we can sometimes shelter under the trees. If it’s hot, everyone sweats like mad and feels like they’ve done a brutal workout!”
Choosing a wide-open space for your outdoor personal training sessions can help keep your clients’ exercise experience varied and provide many benefits for their mental health.
It ensures your clients have plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors and reduces the risk of injury when there are no obstacles in the way.
3. Use your environment
Many local parks in the UK have gym equipment installed or items that can be used during your classes to target different areas of fitness. These can include:
- pull-up bars—great for developing core and upper body strength
- monkey bars—fun way of developing full-body functional strength
- park benches—can be used as a creative way to support push-ups, triceps bench dips, and lunges, for example
- trees—thick trunks can be used to perform wall-sits if there is nothing else available, which are ideal for improving muscular endurance
“Using park equipment is a great idea for engaging and challenging your clients. In the park I use, there are pull-up bars, so I get everyone using these at the start of our sessions.
“I assist them if they need it, but every single person in the group gets involved, including my 64-year-old mum.
“We start the session with something that everyone thinks they can’t do. So when they’ve done it, they pretty much feel like they can do anything!”.
Scope out your local park and get creative when planning your outdoor personal training sessions. You’ll thank yourself later when your clients are impressed by the sheer range of activities you have in store for them.
4. Encourage your clients to try sprinting
Even regular gymgoers sometimes see sprinting as a tiresome exercise activity. But it can be more fun when taken out of a gym setting and used as a fun outdoor challenge, as Todd says:
“Sprints are one of my favourite exercises to do in the park and are again something a lot of people don’t bother with in gym environments.
“I get my clients to run as fast as they can for about 60 metres. They all cheer each other on when they do it—it’s great to see a sense of community come out of challenging activities in outdoor group sessions.”
We spoke about choosing a niche for your personal training business earlier. Say you work with runners who want to develop their speed and endurance—hill sprints are something you can’t do in a gym, yet they’re great for this type of fitness training.
You’ll stand out from other PTs in your area if you offer outdoor personal training sessions working one-on-one with clients.
5. Use strength and conditioning equipment in your sessions
Many clients enjoy the intensity of HIIT, but it can get quite repetitive if it’s the only form of training on offer.
By incorporating different training methods into your sessions, you can attract clients looking to target different fitness areas through ways they haven’t tried before.
Here are some examples of strength and conditioning equipment you can bring to your classes:
- sandbags—great for challenging the body’s functional strength as it works against an asymmetrical load
- tyres—flipping tyres isn’t just fun, but it targets the entire body too
- TRX—extremely portable and effective way of getting a full-body workout
- kettlebells—the perfect blend of strength and cardio training
- medicine balls—slamming these against the ground is therapeutic as well as strength-building
- battling ropes—great for building muscular endurance in the upper body, which is difficult to train otherwise
Your clients will find your sessions more exciting and empowering if they feel as though they’re building on their physical strength, rather than always leaving completely out of breath.
6. Try speed and agility training
In line with our last point, clients will thank you for challenging their fitness in new and exciting ways.
Speed and agility training is not only nostalgic (we all remember using exercise cones in school P.E. lessons), but it’s also one of the easiest areas of fitness to track your progress in.
“I often create a linear obstacle course for my clients to work their way through or lay out separate exercise stations that create a larger circle, which can be more social and engaging.
“This always goes down well in group sessions, as clients enjoy the variation and leave with a sense of achievement when they’ve tackled something different or reached a new personal best.”
7. Incorporate yoga into your cooldown routine
Whether you’re working with a professional athlete or someone who has never exercised before, yoga can be hugely beneficial for their physical and mental health and is hugely effective when used as a cooldown.
Here are a few beginner yoga poses that almost any client can try to give you some inspiration.
Another thing to note is that prospective clients are likely to favour PTs who focus on proper injury prevention and wellbeing techniques to those who let their clients leave straight after an intense workout.
Todd encourages her clients to get out into nature once they’ve cooled down after her sessions, addin:
“Group training in the park is so good for clients’ mental health and wellbeing, especially for those living alone or regularly working from home. Everyone always leaves with big smiles on their faces, having had so much fun together.
“It gives them an opportunity to get out for a walk after their training, upping their step count and their time spent in nature, which kills two birds with one stone.”
Outdoor personal training FAQs
Can personal trainers work outdoors?
Many personal trainers work with clients outdoors, whether in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis.
You can do so at your property or a gym or health club with adequate outdoor space, but you may want to get specialist personal training insurance beforehand to ensure you’re covered against third-party claims.
Want to train clients in your local park? If so, you may need to acquire a permit from the council to legally do so.
A quick Google Search or look at your local authority’s website will tell you whether this is required.
What should clients wear for outdoor sessions?
In mild weather, clients should wear what they usually do to the gym—gym leggings or trousers, a sweat-wicking sports top, and a suitable pair of trainers.
However, if the weather is especially hot or cold, they should wear lighter or more sweat-wicking clothing or layer up with a base layer and thermal sports jacket.
What are the benefits of outdoor personal training?
There are many advantages to training clients outdoors, including:
- provides a social environment to exercise in
- increases vitamin D intake
- boosts serotonin levels (especially on brighter days)
- combats stress, anxiety, and depression
- strengthens the immune system
- provides access to cleaner air (gyms can be stuffy!)
It has advantages for your business, too. As we explained, you can target clients within niche fitness markets to grow your business or use it alongside working within a gym or health club setting to boost your income.
Whether you want to focus on outdoor training with professional trail runners or run group-based boot camps, outdoor personal training can help transform your business.
Getting clients into the outdoors is hugely rewarding, but it comes with its share of risks. This is why you may want to consider specialist personal trainer insurance to protect you against the worst-case scenarios.
Through Insure4Sport, you’ll receive up to £10m of Public Liability and £1m of Professional Indemnity cover to protect yourself against client claims.
You can also choose unlimited Equipment Cover against theft, loss, or damage (with a maximum value for one item of £2,500), so you can have peace of mind when investing in your business.
Learn more about your options here, or click the button below to get an instant online quote.