Subject: Lori Patterson
Company: Boot Camp Challenge

Taking the Plunge. Lori Patterson, creator of Boot Camp Challenge™ (BCC) based in St. Peters, Missouri, has been involved in fitness for many years. “I entered the fitness industry 23 years ago, before it was technically an ‘industry,’” she says. “I started as a sales representative for a health club, and teaching group exercise classes was mandatory.” She later joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Kaiserslautern, Germany, which became the starting point for a flourishing fitness career. “It was during my military tour that I was asked to provide a workout program for our battalion during the winter months,” Patterson recalls. “Teaching group exercise to 300 troops at 6:00 AM was definitely a challenge.”

When her tour ended, Patterson returned to school to obtain an advanced degree in mass communications. She worked full-time in the media industry, but still kept a foot in the gym door and managed a group exercise program in her spare time. According to Patterson, she had no idea that fitness could be a viable career until her husband urged her to “take the plunge” and go full-time. “I obtained my certifications as a personal trainer and also began presenting,” she recalls.

Accidents Happen. After “many years of doing it all,” Patterson decided to call on her military background and create a one-time-only, 6-week, boot camp–inspired program for interested trainees. “It included a few assessments, group workouts and a small fee,” she says. “After we completed the first [6-week] session, I was just as shocked as the participants at their awesome results. One gentleman lost 20 pounds!” It was this “accidental” success and the overwhelming response from eager trainees that motivated Patterson to pursue boot camp even further. “All the participants wanted to go again, so I said, ‘Okay, let’s give it another go.’ That was over 6 years ago.”

The Boot Camp Boom. According to Patterson, the popularity of the Boot Camp Challenge is rooted in some simple but effective methods. At the start of each 6-week program, all participants are given fitness assessments, such as body composition and measurements, to provide a baseline. They are also given general nutrition information and, of course, a challenging, yet rewarding workout. “At the end of every boot camp session, you are present to witness lifestyle changes made by your trainees and amazing changes in their bodies,” she says. “The average trainee loses 3.5% body fat. It is these days that make being a trainer and the early morning wake-up calls worth it.” To ensure that her program is successful for both herself and the trainee, Patterson requires payment up front for the entire 6-week program, and doesn’t prorate fees for missed sessions. “Once the fees are paid, the accountability falls on the trainee to participate in the program.”

Sharing the Success. Patterson is passionate about her trainees, and since she finds great joy in helping colleagues and other qualified fitness professionals obtain similar success, she decided to license her program. “There are many pro­fessionals leaving our industry because of obstacles,” she says. “It irritates me beyond belief that many of my colleagues make so little for [their knowledge], for the skills they possess and for the drive and determination they put into all their work. I want this to change.” According to Patterson, her interest in helping fellow professionals succeed is one of the major motivators for licensing Boot Camp Challenge. “I wanted to provide a strategy for the amazing group exercise instructor, the great personal trainer and the driven business owner.” She believes that it is her duty to help others remain motivated [and] passionate about their careers, and to keep providing trainees with the tools to lead healthier lives. “My greatest success is the fact that there are more than 20 licensees in 10 different states launching the Boot Camp Challenge. Not only are they launching the program, but they are having their own business successes, their own financial successes and their own testimonies from their clients.”

Ryan Halvorson is the associate editor for IDEA and a certified personal trainer at Excel Sport and Therapy in La Jolla, CA.