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6 Ways To Help Your Clients Stick with Their Pilates Workout Program

Posted Dec 10 2008 9:18pm

I was eating lunch today and talking shop with one of my Centerworks-trained, PMA Certified Pilates teachers,  and we ended up on the topic of:   How to effectively get clients enthusiastic about Pilates, AND keep them signing up for lessons so we can really help them see the benefits Pilates has to offer. 

So I had to put on my thinking cap and work through what I’ve done in the past 25 years as a health professional, and particularly in the last 15 years as a Pilates teacher to motivate my clients to stay committed to their exercise program.  I feel very fortunate that I’ve always had a very busy training schedule and most of my clients have been with me forever.  Well maybe not forever, but some clients have been consistent for well over 10 years, and my most recent clients have been enrolled for at least 3-5 years! 

Everyone that has stuck with it has been with me since they started.  Now I realize that the last sentence seems kind of funny….but that IS the real question! 

WHY have they stuck with it??? 

And how do we get more people to experience, enjoy, and continue with a long-term wellness program?

If you’re a Pilates teacher, personal trainer, or parent these principles will apply!  If you’re a client - struggling to stay on the exercise bandwagon, you can easily apply this information to your workout program too. 

Here are Six Ways To Help Your Clients

Stick with Their Pilates Workout Program. 

Dig a deep well of never-ending motivation and spark creativity for designing effective Pilates or general fitness programs with these helpful tips:

  1. What are your Health, Fitness, and Exercise Goals?
  2. Why did you start Pilates? (or other program)
  3. What benefits/results do you expect from your Pilates Training Program?
  4. What is the most challenging exercise you struggle with?
  5. What would you like to see improve the most in your other sport/athletic activities?
  6. What do you wish was easier in your daily life activities?

These six questions contain critical information that you really need to know to:

  • Find the motivating HOT Buttons that will keep people bouncing through the door for their next scheduled workout… forever!
  • Be sure that all goals and expectations are matched with the right exercises.
  • Make every movement and exercise relevant, meaningful, and goal-oriented.
  • Demonstrate that every exercise has a purpose and you are following a plan.
  • Ensure that they know the WHY, can tell you the purpose, and understand the importance of the exercises in their workout program. (There should be a reason for both exercise selection AND the order of exercises in a program.)
  • Both you the trainer and the client should be able to associate the exercises and developing movement habits to the benefit of reaching goals, improving sport or athletic performance, and enhancing the quality of daily life activities.

Personally, I drive this information home every time I see a client for a session.  Goals might change, we may get off on a tangent sometimes, but I am constantly reminding them of WHY it’s so very important that they do the exercises we’re working on and what in the rest of their life this will benefit!

I also try to relate the movements executed on the Pilates equipment to other daily life or fitness activities, so clients can see how many other opportunities they have to practice the things we’re working on outside of their training session. 

If I’m lucky enough to be working with a client who’s got the time and energy to do more on their own…they will make huge strides forward much faster. 

If I’m the motivating factor for their exercise program (and they know it…)  Then if I’m really good at my job, they love how they feel after a workout, and can see the value in what we’re doing - I can be confident that they’ll stick with me, because they won’t exercise on their own!  And progress will happen at whatever pace I can encourage them at, which might also be dependent on how frequently they are working with me.

I’m not looking to create a bunch of co-dependent Pilates groupies…but it’s a fact that most people like personal attention, and will push themselves a bit harder with some friendly encouragement.  Plus it’s always nice to have a cheerleader to help celebrate Champagne moments when you do something right, have a breakthrough, and achieve a goal!

Two more things to always ask at the beginning of every workout, training session, and class:

  1. How is your body feeling today?
  2. Is there anything specific you’d like to focus on with today’s session?

It’s always appropriate to tweak things to accommodate a high or low energy day, or perhaps something has changed with their health status that is relevant their safety and the exercises you choose to do.

For example:  

Many years ago I had a brand new client show up for a Beginner Mat Class.  She had just had back surgery!  AND her doctor had released her for exercise.  She was told her she didn’t need physical therapy and to do what she wanted to get healthy.  Here’s the problem…she still had stitches!!!

While Pilates is great for helping achieve a healthy back…starting a mat class and actively bending the spine, or heaven forbid…doing Rolling Like a Ball at this point in her recovery - would have sent this poor girl back to her surgeon!  Plus, for me to help her safely get back into exercise, private training on the equipment would be the very best place to start.  I had to help match her goals up with the best exercises…and at the moment, Matwork was definitely NOT the place to start.

Clients rely on the expertise of their teacher to craft a program.  

But this is a TEAM effort that involves a lot of good communication.  Without input from our customers, it’s impossible for us to do a great job, so they’ll stick with it! 

Ask the questions above to your students on a regular basis…they’ll see how much you care about their health and fitness, and you can do an excellent job of increasing motivation and designing safe, effective, and appropriate exercise programs. 

The result…

You’ll help clients stick with their program and create a WIN-WIN, long-term partnership for better health.

What success strategies can you share that have helped YOU or your clients stick with their fitness program?

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