Big Pilates

The rise of Big business has been quickly devouring our urban landscapes and rural terrains.

Its everywhere these days. Gone are the days of getting your coffee from someone who actually knows your name and doesn’t have to ask it just so they can write it on your cup. Pretty much every city in the US is being bombarded by chains. Consumers are being conditioned to follow familiar branding and corporations are cleaning up because of it. No surprise then that Big Business has now come to Pilates.

Corporations have caught on to what we as instructors have known all along- Pilates works and people will pay for those results. We are seeing the rise of gym Pilates programs/certifications as well as dedicated Pilates chains. I’m sure Joe would be happy that Pilates’ popularity is booming but how does this effect what’s nearest and dearest to our hearts- our own Pilates careers?

Throughout my 15+ year Pilates career I have worked in every teaching situation there is. Small studios, big studios, gyms, to opening a studio for myself. The challenges studio owners have grown accustomed to in our industry are being replaced. Where there were once three studios, you can now find ten. Baby instructors are being “born” in certifications every day. I can see the industry has evolved tremendously since I started. With the rise of competition comes the need to stand out in a crowded marketplace, as well as finding and keeping talented instructors in your studio. The private instructor now has almost too many options of where to hang their teaching hat. Work at the studio down the street, for the man, or for work yourself? How do you choose?

In my Pilates NYC studio we have disrupted the industry norms. At FORM we empower teachers to run their own business without the necessity of brick and mortar. While I get lots of teachers applying to become part of the Co-Op, most of my candidates are disgruntled workers from said Big Business chains. Not all teachers are born for the entrepreneurial life which requires much more than just what happens on the mat. What was tolerable for those newborn teachers has become a burden for the seasoned instructor. Teachers with a few years under their belt are now finding that corporate culture can get old, and fast. Not only must you adhere to company policies and procedures, you can work for years in a joint with nothing to show for it other than a line on your resume. As a result of years of resentment, indignant Pilates pros are opting for  “micro” one room studios for themselves and dedicated clientele. One room, with your type of equipment, decorated as you wish, just you and your clients. Sounds like heaven right? But is it?

While owning your own studio may be the Pilates American Dream, it’s just not profitable or recommended for most. Not only do you and your clients feel isolated from the world, instructors start to feel lonely and uninspired when teaching from their solo space. Working dollar for hour, your sessions and clients are your primary income, which could become problematic in time. What happens when you get sick or can’t make it in to teach? I’ll tell you what…NOTHING because you are the only one bringing home the bacon. Teachers who make the break from working for someone else are realizing the value of “owning” their own client list and being their own boss. However, with Pilates popularity booming, chances are you’ll have a hard time finding someone to sub your clients while you are away. That means no vacay and still rent to pay. When your space is tiny how do you leverage your off times? No one wants to rent a space solely during off peak ours. So what’s the solution? Time to pick a side.

I know it may sound like I’m bemoaning Pilates Big Biz, but it can have it’s place. Infusing cash into increasingly expensive brick and mortar operations, Corporate Pilates creates jobs and opportunities where there may not have been any before. Having health insurance and a 401 K are nothing to sneeze at. The key to finding your stride is to feel like you’re being validated and respected wherever you make people sweat. So, if you don’t want to work for the man and opening your own mini studio isn’t sustainable…what’s left?

The FORM Pilates Co-Op

FORM Pilates is where studio meets autonomy. As an instructor, I structured FORM as a place that is serious about Pilates. Fully equipped and manned with friendly and helpful staff, both you and your clients feel like they are getting the experience of a Big Business studio with your own personalization of style and Pilates philosophy. Instructors at FORM can charge what they want and take home 70% of clients fees, but most importantly they own their client list, and THAT is priceless. FORM also offers the business education you’ll need to get more clients, diversify your revenue streams, and do things your way.

Interested in becoming a member of our Co-Op?
Click here for a short application!

Spring is For Sales!

Spring has officially sprung! The days are getting sunnier and longer, the weather is finally getting out of its wintry funk. But with spring can come a certain feeling of fear-have you done all you could have to build your business over the fall and winter, so it can flourish? Or, like so many of us, have you run into what can feel like an insurmountable brick wall in trying to draw new clients in? Well don’t fear-it happens to us all, and there are several ways around both the feeling and the problem.

We all know that it can be difficult to grow a business in New York City, especially for health and fitness professionals. With a crowded market place, fast paced lives and a schedule that can sometimes feel difficult to manage, it can feel impossible just to manage your own clients, let alone drawing new ones in. But trust me when I say that you want to focus on your growth in order for your business to start its climb to success!

Lounge Overlay Quote

As anyone who has tried to build a business knows, perhaps the most difficult thing about the beginning stages are creating and maintaining a client base. It can feel time consuming, sometimes expensive, and even nigh upon impossible. But don’t fret yet-there are ways to grow your business that require a little patience and dedication, but that are ultimately simple and even free of charge!

In my latest Periscope, Planting the Seed of Sales, I take you through the beginning steps of authentically and organically growing your business. Start with list building, opt-ins and email providers, and before you know it, you’ll have a group of real people-no spam bots just for numbers and show-that have really, truly opted to view your content. Time and dedication are the keys to success-the paid ways to boost followers can feel instantly gratifying, but may not be the right decision in the long term.

Keep your eyes peeled for more biz tips and tricks from me, and more Periscopes taking deep dives into biz topics.

Content Is King

28 Day Biz Challenge: Day #10

The best type of marketing is the FREE kind! Use what your mama gave you and create some awesome, high value content to authentically market your biz! Use my ContentIsKing worksheet below to brainstorm some killer blog topics. Share your best one to get credit for today’s challenge. #transFORM

ContentIsKing

10 Biz

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Social Media Meltdown

 Day 8 of the FORM Pilates 28 Day Biz Challenge 

Today we’re talking Social media madness! Social Media Overwhelm? Check out Lindsay’s Vlog below about how to shake the SoMe blues, then share it on your favorite social media platform along with your single biggest takeaway.

Remember to use the hastag #transFORM and tag us @FORMPilates to get extra points

 

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Guest Post: Is Working Out Just Another Chore?

Just the other day I overheard a trainer-client conversation about setting up the next workout appointment. When given the options between two slots, the client said: “Let’s do it as early in the day as possible. Then it’s out of the way.”

It’s the “out of the way” that got me thinking. While I recognize this sentiment from whenever I schedule my own workouts for an already packed week, is it true that working out is just another chore?

It’s probably true: if we could maintain a happy, healthy, and good-looking body without exercise, chances are we wouldn’t go out of our way to work out and stretch. We know about all the health benefits, yet some of us think of it the same as walking the dog on a cold and rainy night – something we know we should do, but don’t really feel like doing. So it’s important to remind ourselves from time to time why exercising is different from walking the dog, washing the car, or doing our taxes!

  • QUALITY “YOU-TIME”
    Let’s face it: how often do you get to have some personal time, away from family, career, and assets? Exactly. Whether you are taking a run, pumping iron, or doing Pilates, focusing on nothing but the physical task at hand will get you in a zone in which you can put everything else on hold for a while. Think: work out = time out.
  • FITNESS IS WELLNESS
    Ever spent a workout session thinking “what I really need is a massage” only to find out afterwards that you didn’t need one anymore? No surprise here: exercising and stretching relaxes the muscles, strengthens and lubricates the joints, cleanses the skin and detoxifies the organs, improves the circulation and immune system, stimulates the brain, rejuvenates and energizes – basically it’s just like a visit to the spa! Let it be something you look forward to.
  • ENDORPHIN-RUSH
    Do you know that amazing feeling after a really good workout, a sense of power, bliss, and instant stress-relief? This happens thanks to the release of endorphins, a chemical produced by the brain during exercise. It also occurs when feeling excited, in love, having an orgasm, or eating spicy food. Exercise is clearly your best bet if you want to schedule your next endorphin-rush (and rely on it.)
  • CHANGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW, OR CHANGE THE TYPE OF EXERCISE
    As you see, there are plenty of reasons and incentives for you to look forward to your next workout. Still seeing it as a chore? Then maybe you are simply not doing the right thing! Try a different kind of activity, find something that you truly enjoy, independent from the desired results. We all tend to stick to activities that stimulate and challenge us physically AND mentally – and that are fun!

Of course, Pilates is my workout of choice, but at the end of the day – as long as you’re moving, it’s good for you!

 

 

Benjamin Degenhardt 282483_10151157663845706_2094099938_n-300x300 is the mastermind behind 360° Pilates, a continuing education program for Pilates teachers. He has been involved in the Pilates world for over a decade in addition to his extensive dance and movement teaching background. While performing as a dancer he found a passion for teaching movement and, inspired by Joe Pilates, immersed himself in the study of injury prevention andbody mechanics. With his expertise in historical Pilates and modern fitness he established himself as a “teacher of teachers” and conducts workshops around the globe. He has maintained a true passion for the Pilates method and its ability to improve people’s lives. You can find him and his articles for Pilates teachers on his website at benjamindegenhardt.com

Chasing Carrots

I had a conversation with a new friend the other day about love. Is love as we know it real or just an illusive place to visit? The invisible road with a map that’s yet to be discovered. Love is intangible, yet we still constantly fight 24/7 to hold it in our hands. As an Californian born single child, I didn’t have the best love role models. My parents divorced. My Grandparents fought viciously. As far as I was concerned, if this was love, you could have it. I wanted nothing to do with that drama, yet somehow I felt the pull and allure of butterflies and swoon. Love, or what I thought love was, just felt so good. The Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin cocktail of love was a high I could get behind, and drink it I did. The chemical haze fogged my better judgement and often left me well, addicted. When the relationship (or lack there of) ended my brain didn’t know the love fix was over, and my heart was already enraptured by the habit. Scientists say that, “love isn’t so much an emotion in its own right”—although aspects of it are obviously highly emotional—as it is a “goal-oriented motivational state.” I had my target. Got the bullseye, and now I wanted to play darts every damn day!

dangling_carrot
So, if love is chemical and really about chasing the carrot to satisfy your brain’s craving for the Kool-aid, what other ways can we use this obsession for good?

  • Health and Fitness

I am super familiar with this struggle. As a professional Pilates instructor I find it just as hard as to get my clients motivated as I do my own ass. Come on, why would anyone want to move instead of just lie around or eschew birthday cake in lieu of rice cakes? Well turns out that it’s not just the generating the love hormone of Dopamine that matters, but also where we physically generate it. That girl who you always see at the gym sweating it out most likely has her dope (short only for dopamine:) production in the stratum and prefontal cortex- the two areas known for motivation and reward, while the “slackers” like me produce the stuff in the anterior insula, the area of the brain that is for emotion and risk perception. The sheer act of moving your body, especially with cardiovascular exercise, makes your brain release dopamine and will make you feel like a million bucks. That’s right. The more you do the stuff the more you want it, and eventually crave it as much as that chocolate bar.

  • Goal Setting

The same goes for the goal setting goodness. Why do you think it feels oh so good to cross that to-do off your list? Dopamine baby. Check. Rush. Repeat. So if you get a shot of the good stuff every time you complete a task, make sure you break each goal into easy completed segments to get the most dope (short for dopamine again, sorry) for your buck. The easier smaller segment of your goal, the easier it is to complete, the better you feel, the harder you work. Done and done.

So next time you’re lamenting your procrastinating or sloth-like ways, just get off your buns and starting the good vibes will follow, after all it’s all just in your head.

 

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Teacher Focus Feature ~ Liza Ard

There’s nothing I hate more then when I introduce myself to someone and they reply, “I’ve actually met you already”. Duh! I feel like a total jerk for not remembering their face, let alone their name. This was the case when I met Ms. Liza Ard. I remember it well now: it was 3 plus years ago before I took over the Pilates studio I now own, and Liza and her friend, also now one of our cooperative members, popped by the studio looking to rent space. If her striking beauty wasn’t enough to capture my attention, I was imprinted by her quiet demeanor and serenity. So when she reached out to me about becoming part of the FORM team I was hopeful that some of her tranquility might rub off on me. After teaching next to her for almost a year now, I realize that her relaxed nature is just a means to her lazer-like clarity and on point teaching of the Pilates method. Here’s her story:

It only took one session for Liza to get a fixation on Joe Pilates’ method. Her older sister recommended she try it out and she was so smitten that she immediately decided to become an instructor and started her training with the Grande Dame of Pilates, Romana Kryzanowska.

For Liza, the Pilates method is everything. She loves how it’s fluid, ever changing, and efficient it is. Before she started doing Pilates she was always bored with her workouts and could never quite achieve the musculature she desired. Pilates keeps her constantly engaged and rewarded for her all her effort.

As a civilian (not a dancer or athlete), Liza’s translation of the Pilates method is truly user-friendly. Not influenced by years of perfectionist seeking training, she focuses on the body in front of her acknowledging it’s unique structures and limitations, allowing this to inform her teaching. Free from her own nasty critic, she can work with her clients towards the ideal instead of expecting them to be ideal right off the bat. Liza likes her sessions to be fun and free moving and the sweaty smiles on her client’s faces says they like it too!

When she’s not teaching Liza is playing cards, hitting the movies, getting lost in a Netflix marathon, eating out, or dancing. She is always laughing (even at my bad jokes), and has a smile that’s worth a million bucks. One of my most dedicated instructors, Liza diligently gets her own Pilates practice in 4-5 times a week. She is truly an inspiration to us all teachers and practitioners alike.

Here’s a few things you might be surprised to find out about Liza:

  • She makes an excellent Chicken Vindaloo from scratch
  • She loves science fiction of any kind
  • She holds a degree is in Molecular Biology (!!!) from Princeton
  • She loves to sing old fashioned Blues and jazz songs

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Guest Post: Raise Your Standards

As Fitness and Health Professionals our top priority is to enhance the lives of others by sharing our wisdom and guiding them to achieve their goals. However, we’re also Business Women (and Men) and we have to make a living. An abundant living, at that! Why? Because we’re worth it.

If we wanted to work for free we would be volunteering. This is our livelihood and in order to successfully transform the lives of our clients, we must first transform our own to embody and exemplify what we teach. As a former Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer (I am no longer in practice as I now focus solely on Health Coaching), I really struggled with sticking to the standards I set for myself. What do I mean? My rates were on a sliding scale and although I had clients sign an agreement form that if they cancelled within 24 hours of our session they would be charged, I never held them to it. I felt like I was doing them a favor by being understanding. That they would like me more because I cut them a break.

Unfortunately, this ended up hurting me more than doing me any good. Clients began to take advantage and would cancel at the last minute knowing I wasn’t going to charge them. I had set the precedent so I felt like I couldn’t go back and began to hold them accountable again. I created this monster! Now I was the one getting screwed out of money and my schedule was incredibly unpredictable.

I finally asked myself, “What am I doing?!” My passion was taking a nose dive and I felt walked all over. My realization was that “I AM WORTH MORE THAN THIS.” I knew I had to take massive action to raise the standards I had set for myself! And once I raised my own bar I could raise it for my clients too. You see, how we hold ourselves accountable and the level of self-love we show ourselves directly translates into our business. Our clients see and feel the vibration we give off. When we come from a place of loving and accepting ourselves fully, we inspire our clients to do the same.

For me, that meant that all of the new clientele I signed on received an overview of the Client Agreement highlighting the cancellation policy so they knew I meant business. I expressed that when we set appointments I expect them to show up, give me the courtesy of a 24 hour cancellation notice or they would be charged their full session price.

Once I set this new standard and held people to it, not only did they fall in line with the policy I set forth, but I started to feel a deeper sense of confidence! I realized that my wishy washy ways of the past reflected my insecurities about successfully running a business and charging premium prices for my services. I knew my skill set and my capabilities, but I had fear around others taking me seriously or believing that I was worth the rates I charged. I finally understood this was just self-doubt and bullshit stories I was telling myself!

The bottom line is this: You Are Worth It. You know what prices your services command and you deserve to be paid accordingly. You are completely justified in holding your clients to the standards you set forth at the beginning of your partnership. In order to grow successfully you must tap into your inner confidence and strength. Give yourself respect and love and you will receive respect and love back.
UntitledMarie Catelli, The Gut Guru, is a Holistic Health Coach guiding women to get to know their body and mind from a gut perspective. How you feel at any given time has everything to do with what’s going on in your gut. When you understand how this affects you in your every day life you are empowered and equipped to make informed decisions about what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Learn how to trust your gut on a whole new level at www.mariecatelli.com.

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Guest Post: Setting Boundaries

boundaries

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 8 years, I’ve had 3 different businesses, and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. When I first started out, I don’t even know if I used a client agreement {don’t tell my wife – she’s a lawyer}. As time went on, however, I learned more and more closely and clearly that setting boundaries in your business is ESSENTIAL to your sanity and success – and will actually improve your client’s experience working with you as well.

Let me explain. Think back to the last time someone got upset with you or you got upset with someone. In all likelihood, it’s because expectations were mismanaged. You expected something of someone and it didn’t happen or vice versa. You expected someone to be nice and they weren’t or someone expected you to be on time and you were 30 minutes late. And setting expectations go hand in hand with setting boundaries. When a client is disappointed, it’s often because she thought something was going to happen that didn’t — you were going to respond to her email more quickly, you were going to express more compassion when instead you went the tough love route — you get the picture.

The problem is is that when boundaries aren’t set, expectations aren’t clear and people start getting upset because they’ve set their own expectations without telling you what they are. Boundaries don’t limit you or your client; they actually allow for more space. Boundaries actually invite spaciousness into a relationship because they allow each person to be more of who they really are. Maybe you’re not an email person, but you’re all about offering text support. Let your clients know. Maybe you don’t check email on weekends. Let your clients know that too. What I actually do when I work with clients is that I send them the fancy schmancy client agreement with all the legal stuff, and then I send them an addendum with super clear, super straightforward – here is what I expect of you, here is what you should expect of me, and here is what you need to do to get the most out of this program. I kid you not – clients have actually THANKED me for giving this to them. People like to know what they should and shouldn’t expect from you. People like structure. People like boundaries. It’s just that the word “boundaries” has gotten a bit of a bad rap – because it sounds like we’re shutting people out and limiting access.

Imagine a fenced in yard. A dog in a fenced in yard is free to run wherever she wants to go. Boundaries create spaciousness for the dog. If there wasn’t a fence, she would be a leash because letting her run freely would in all likelihood be unsafe. Same goes for your relationship with your clients – boundaries create safety for both you and your client; you’ve clearly expressed what can and cannot be expected of you and your client will feel safer with you because you’ve set straightforward guidelines. It’s showing them that you respect yourself and that you care for them. You’ve put in the time and effort to get super clear and share how you want to help them. This may also empower them; a client who has no boundaries may come to rely on her coach to a detrimental degree, and lose faith in her ability to pick up her own pieces when necessary.

Now it’s best to set boundaries and expectations from the beginning; that said, if you’ve already started working with clients, and you know you’re long overdue for some serious boundary setting, it’s all good. First, get clear on what will and won’t work for you moving forward. Second, share how this new change will actually benefit your client and enhance her experience working with you. Then, get it in writing and send it to your client. Share that you’ve made these changes from a place of love and care. Most, if not all, of your clients will probably thank you for setting these new guidelines. And the ones who throw a tantrum? Perhaps it’s time to let them go. You’ve just shared with them what really and truly works for you and if that doesn’t work for them, then the relationship might not be meant to be.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Brene Brown:
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

May you dance in the spaciousness of your new boundaries, and
celebrate the gift you’re giving to yourself and your clients.

 

JordanaJaffeJordana Jaffe is the co-founder of Magical Business Academy, a company she created with her wife, Gena. She works with women entrepreneurs and supports them in creating a business that fills both their hearts and their bank accounts. She believes that a successful business comes from allowing yourself to be exactly who you are and finding a way to make everything you do feel fun. Jordana’s superpowers include, but aren’t limited to, mapping out a super simple step-by-step plan of action for you (she loves spreadsheets), asking you the right questions so that you can uncover the answers that are already within you, and helping you design a business that highlights and celebrates your you-ness, which then magically attracts the people you’re meant to work with to you {since they’re finally clear on what you’re all about}. She is obsessed with creating communities, connecting people, chocolate chip ice cream and TGIT. You can connect with Jordana and over 1300 amazing women entrepreneurs in her free Facebook group, which she endearingly calls the magical playground, here: bit.ly/youaremagical

 

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Teacher Focus Feature ~ Brittany Crosby

It’s no surprise that Brittany Crosby, a red haired Pilates maven, is as fiery as her locks. Don’t get her wrong though — she’s as precise in her teaching as a scalpel and will get you sweating even in her hushed tones. Her visible tattoos and a wicked sense of humor is what got my attention at first glance, but her teaching passion and ability to help others heal is what had me welcoming her with open arms to the FORM family. Here’s her story:

New York Headshot Photographer Sofia Negron

Brittany, a professional dancer, got into Pilates like so many of us that teach it, through her art. Looking to improve her dance technique she started studying the method. When she realized how much mindfulness and concentration it required, she was instantly infatuated. The transition from practicing to teaching was natural. She had already been teaching dance classes off and on for years so as she got into her Pilates practice and the opportunity came up to be able to certify, she jumped on it. Learning the theory, how to practice for herself, and how to teach others just overlapped. Even now, after 10 years of teaching, it blows her mind how when you allow the work to center yourself, you can actually realign your body.

New York Dance photographer Sofia Negron Brittany Crosby Pilates

Fascinated by anatomy and physiology, Brittany’s focus as a teacher is on rehabilitative movement for special populations. Her favorite clients are those who are post-op knee/hip replacement, rotator cuff surgery, and spinal fusion. Working with this type of clientele is really gratifying for Brittany because finding the movements that relieve restriction and pain are a huge deal. Every subtle shift and advancement in her client’s ability is a notable milestone that drives those working against injuries or disabilities. Helping people to realize that they have control by mindfully moving and truly focusing is a spectacular thing to see progress and makes her a better teacher. More and more she’s also getting into working with those who are stunted by diseases like Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s.

When Brittany isn’t teaching she’s dancing (duh) or watching Youtube videos of hip and knee replacements (this is true! I’ve witnessed the horror many times!!!) Her bigger vision is to be part of innovative movement research that furthers the understanding of the brain-body connection that can be applied to help those dealing with pain and movement-debilitating conditions. We have no doubt she’ll do just that!

 

4 Fun Facts About Brittany:

  • I used to work on a cruise ship as a dancer
  • I developed my own major at Indiana University
  • I like being connected and collaborating with my client’s health care practitioners (acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedists)
  • The first year I lived in NYC I dressed up like an elf and did a flashmob in Union Square

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