Training clients without a gym can be quite a challenge so you will have to think outside the box and find ways to motivate them and keep them on the right track.

Here are a few tips on effectively training clients without a gym.

Train your clients in outdoor locations.

When people think fitness training their first thought is the Gym but training clients in the great outdoors with the fresh air, greenery and nature sounds are good for the mind, body and soul and is both relaxing and rejuvenating. However many outdoor areas will require you to obtain a permit so visit your local council website for details of how to apply. Ensure you receive a permit before you make the arrangements for the class; otherwise, you could end up having to reschedule the location with everyone. You may also want to look at outside areas that have shade for the warmer months.

Once you have your permit, if needed, think about the equipment you will require. If you use music for motivation then a Bluetooth speaker is a good idea and stopwatch or mobile phone for timing sessions. Circuit training is a perfect outdoor activity but requires a variety of portable equipment that needs to be multi-functional and of course durable and safe. Things like skipping ropes, dumbbells, gym balls, kettlebells, exercise bands, even an old tyre, think outside the box and make it fun!

Make sure you include lots of bodyweight movements in circuit training programs and both push and pull exercises.

It can be very easy to create bodyweight programs that are push dominated so you may need to become creative on the pulling side of things. Remember general programming principles and include equal amounts of push and pull exercises.

Push exercises: Mountain climbers, burpees squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, planks.

Pull exercises: Pull-ups, rowing, deadlifts, reverse flys, bent over rows.

Pulling exercises outside can be more difficult so look for a location where there might be some bars so you can include some vertical pull-ups or under-bar pull-ups but the dumbbells and exercise bands are also great for pull apart, rows and reverse flys.

Prepare progressions and regressions before the session.

Keep in mind who is coming to the session and their fitness levels. If you have a variety of client levels attending a circuit session in the park, you will need to consider how to make a station harder or easier to cater for individual abilities.

Here are some simple principles you can apply to make most exercises harder or easier:

  • Slow it down or speed it up = both can make an exercise harder or easier depending on the movement.
  • Incline or decline body position – planks, under-bar pull-ups, push-ups etc.
  • Double leg or single leg positions (split squats are harder than regular squats).
  • Add or remove a jump – (jumps squats, jump lunges, box jumps, star jumps).
  • Shorten or extend the limb lever (lateral and front raises, leg raises, on knees or toes)
  • Add or subtract the weight.
  • Exercise order (program multiple muscle group exercises in a row or alternate upper and lower muscle groups)

Consider creating a running group, it’s outdoors with no equipment and no permit required so could be very profitable.

Make outdoor training fun for your clients. You want them to enjoy so they return week after week and they will spread the word. Their safety is, of course, paramount so be sure to advise them to bring water, a towel and or exercise mat so they can lay down on the grass, warm clothing for chilly mornings, and provide insect repellent and sunscreen for safety, always have a first aid kit at hand too for the odd scrapes and strains.

Being outside is healthier too with little chance of spreading germs and people getting sick and in this day and age that is something on everyone’s minds!