Mat-based programming can
change the way your clients
view their workouts – and
keep your members coming
back for more!
More and more club owners, fitness instructors, athletic
coaches, and rehab specialists are realizing that in
order to increase membership numbers and keep their
clients' enthusiasm for their workouts, they need to
change their offerings. In simple terms, they need to
change up the workouts and the way in which the exercises can be
Pilates mat-based programming is attracting new members
and keeping them at the clubs. With numerous options to alter the
programs, such as incorporating props or changing the dynamics
of a particular move that is being performed, instructors are finding
that they can assist more clients with a wide range of fitness needs
Benefits for clubs
If you are unfamiliar with Pilates equipment and the cost of implementing
an equipment-based Pilates program, a good way to test the
waters with your members is to offer mat-based programming. Not
only can you incorporate mat-based Pilates programming into your
membership fees, but you can introduce Pilates to patrons without
the cost of purchasing high-end equipment. You can also offer mat
programs in your group exercise rooms without having to establish
a designated area during your testing period.
"In this economy, some facility owners have been forced to take a
more fiscally conservative approach, supplementing private sessions
with group or mat-based programs," explains Lindsay G, Merrithew,
President & CEO of Merrithew Health & Fitness™. "However some
owners are still hesitant to implement Pilates into their facilities as
a whole because of the perception that this can only be done with
large, expensive equipment. But this is not the case."
Many fitness club owners who implemented successful Pilates
businesses within their locations have established their Pilates offerings
as a specialty program by charging members extra for the
classes outside of the Group Exercise programs. STOTT PILATES®
prides itself on the calibre and intensity of their education and
training and offers many solutions for clubs. STOTT PILATES®
instructors are highly qualified and spend a lot of time creating
workouts for their classes.
Pilates also makes a club more marketable. Just as Pilates training
enhances an instructor's professional skills and increases their
client base – clubs benefit from the fact that their trainers are unique
and in-demand. "Pilates adds one more program that members can
get involved in," says Sarah Jarvis, STOTT PILATES® Instructor
Trainer and Group Exercise trainer for GoodLife Fitness. "Members
can relate to Pilates once they become educated about the benefits –
the more available, the better the club, the better the value."
Jarvis continues to explain that offering Pilates also
benefits your existing staff. "Pilates provides instructors with
more opportunities to obtain high-calibre education and
training so they can advance their career and qualifications
in the marketplace."
Pilates also caters to a wide array of clients of all ages
and fitness levels, and therefore, the instructor will gain
experience working with various clients. The Pilates Five
Basic Principles can easily be applied to what trainers already
have in their training arsenal, and more importantly, Pilates
provides an additional revenue stream for trainers, which in
turn, provides more profit for your centre.
Benefits for members
Pilates programs help make club members more aware of
the muscles that need to be used to stabilize and strengthen
when they participate in any workout. It also makes them
aware of how much more effective their workouts could be
if they engage the proper muscles. Jarvis adds that certain
classes may not be as beneficial.
"Matwork is the best place to learn and understand
the Principles of Pilates without adding too much external
resistance. It is important to understand where you need to
stabilize first before you mobilize," adds Jarvis.
Jarvis continues to report that Pilates should help realign
you, strengthen your core, connect the whole body, focus on
stability, help correct postural issues, and balance out musculature.
"A Pilates instructor's job is to monitor the class and
make sure they are giving appropriate modifications for the
group. It is important that they correct form and technique
STOTT PILATES® photography © Merrithew Corporation
By Carol Tricoche,
Vice President Full Solutions™
Merrithew Health & Fitness™
and that cannot be done efficiently in a large group setting."
It's important to note that there are many exercises that can be
found in group exercise classes as well as Pilates – the difference
being in the technique. For instance, a Pilates push-up involves an
awareness of the body including but not limited to scapular stabilization,
pelvic, head and cervical spine placement all while maintaining
an active core. In Pilates, the accuracy of the movement is not in the
speed or number of repetitions but in achieving a quality movement
while considering these important principles.
Clubs outside of North America are realizing the benefits of
implementing Pilates programming as well. STOTT PILATES®
Instructor Trainer Daniela Gonzalez from Litton Lane Training Ltd
in Ireland agrees. She says gyms that offer Pilates programming
that are mat or equipment-based have that desirable edge over
their competition. "Time and time again, clients want to feel that
their club is the most ' up-to-date' gym and offers exercise forms
the clients read about, hear about and often are advised to partake
in. Pilates gives clients a better self awareness and understanding of
their bodies and capabilities. That in itself is a great advantage from
a safety aspect. As instructors, we want to feel confident that our
clients exercise safely when they're following the exercise programs
we prescribe for them."
Gonzalez adds that the beauty of Pilates mat-based classes is
that they are suitable for various demographics and fitness levels.
"Pilates allows you to create a better balance of muscle strength and
endurance and reduce the risk of injury as the body becomes more
efficient. By reducing the risk of injury, not only will your client be
able to continue their routines better, it will keep them coming to
the gym for longer and more often."