Push the limits in a future of fitness
Boost revenue by diversifying into farm bootcamps
When a farmer is looking for a business idea, I usually tell them to start by writing out all the resources at their disposal. This includes their land, buildings, and natural resources, if present, such as water, woodland, habitats, archaeological features and so on.
I also tell them to look at all their skills, hobbies and passions. With this sort of approach I find it surprising that very few farmers have taken on the challenge of starting a fitness-related business, such as outdoor fitness bootcamps.
During the past decade, with increasing health awareness and the need for an active lifestyle, the fitness club industry has really taken off here. There are now around 600 gyms in Ireland, many of them constructed during the boom times.
As we are too well aware we have all had to peg back our budgets and let go some of the comforts. For many, gym membership was one of these luxuries. In addition, a considerable amount of people have become bored of the gym and obesity is a massive issue (if you'll pardon the pun).
It may not seem relevant to you but a key trend is the growing popularity of fitness clubs, such as bootcamps, where the training takes place in open spaces, such as parks and farmland. This could be an area of potential for farmers, but it's one they must move on fast.
Paul O'Brien runs the successful Bootcamp West in Westport, Co Mayo. A native of Portlaoise, Co Laois, Paul uses the farmland and some of the facilities around Westport House for his bootcamps.
Paul completed a one-year National Certificate in Exercise and Fitness and a six-month, part-time personal training course. An enthusiastic sportsman, Paul plays soccer, squash and has run three marathons and several triathlons.
In 2007 he began to run some classes at hotels and provide one-to-one personal training sessions. He then began researching alternative models of group exercise, which would have an outdoor element, provide something different, have lots of variety and potentially generate an income, so Bootcamp West was born.