Monthly Archives: January 2017

Now Precision Cuing for Indoor Cycling

Walk by any indoor cycling studio when a class is in session and you’re likely to hear cues like this:

“I want everyone at a 2!”

“Push yourself to a 7 and hold it there for 30 seconds!”

“Let’s start at a 3, turn up to 6, and then come back to a steady 4. Go!”

The key to unlocking a fantastic cycling class is somewhere in those numbers, but how well do your participants know what the numbers mean?

Excellent instructors use a system to describe what they expect for performance, and it’s usually a combination of what they’ve learned in certification courses and what they’ve learned through real-world experience. Many indoor cycling teachers rely on numbers to convey effort. While this is a good idea at face value, there are many variations on a theme. Even within the same facility, a 3 at the 9 a.m. class may represent an entirely different work level than the 3 in the 10 a.m. class. This disparity can leave participants’ heads swirling.

Number systems are great as long as everyone is 100% sure what the digits represent. You don’t need to use the same scale as everyone else; you just need to set your students up for success by cuing clearly. Let’s go through a few steps to ensure success in your next class.

Introduce Your Scale

Harness the warm-up to prepare and educate your class. Saddle up, get everyone’s legs moving, and talk about the numbers you plan to throw their way. What does a 2 mean? How should it feel? What’s the highest number on your scale? Will there be multiple ways to achieve numbers? Do you base your scale on the Rating of Perceived Exertion, tension, speed or a proprietary system provided by your certification? Lay it out for people.

For example, you might say, “A 5 represents all-out effort. Our intervals into zone 5 are brief, and you can reach them using speed against tension.”

Explain the “Why”

When purpose drives us, we work harder. Let your students know how your numbers correspond to the physiology aspect of the workout. Which number corresponds to recovery, and why is that important? Which number takes them into an anaerobic zone? Let them know why specified intervals are shorter to prevent injury. Say what number represents moderate-paced work, and describe the value for a well-rounded workout.

For example: “When you hear the number 1, it’s time to rest. These rests will follow big efforts and set the stage for the next big effort.”

Rehearse

Once you’ve explained your scale, rehearse it! Practicing is the perfect way to “feel” and connect with numbers. Play with speed and tension in short bursts. Let attendees know that during the workout, intervals will be longer and harder. Don’t go to the top of your scale in the beginning of the warm-up. Save the larger numbers for later, when the body is ready for a significant effort. Do, however, let attendees know that harder drills are coming.

For instance: “We’ve been rolling in a comfortable working zone. Increase your tension just a bit, along with your revolutions per minute. You should feel that you’re working harder and you’d like to slow down, but stay in a moderate zone. This is what zone 3 feels like. We’ll hold this effort for 1 minute now, but for longer periods later.”

“Draw” a Map

If you were to ride a bike outdoors, you’d likely plan a course ahead of time. You’d know if you were going to hit a big hill, spend some fast miles on flat ground, or race a friend. Do the same for your class, and give them the lay of the land. They’ll know what’s coming and will push through each phase rather than saving for the unknown push that may never happen.

Some instructors fear they will scare students by forecasting challenges. Don’t worry about that. Lay down a tough lesson plan and coach participants to get the best out of each phase. They will leave feeling they’ve accomplished more than they would have in an average cycling class, and they’ll look forward to coming back to see if they can do it again.

Doi It Now Strengthen Your Brand and Generate More Revenue by Training in Groups

Are you ready for this year’s fastest-rising fitness trend? Group training made its debut on ACSM’s Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2017 at #6. Group personal training was also listed in the top 20, but what’s the difference? According to the survey, group training is defined as 5+ people, while group personal training refers to groups of 3–5 people. Whatever you call it, one thing is clear: Training in groups is the key to taking your personal training business to the next level in 2017.

While single-client sessions are the most personalized approach to a training program, one-on-one training sessions are not the most efficient way to maximize your time or your income. Group training is a win-win. It’s cheaper per session for the client, while the trainer (you!) makes more. Making the shift sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be harder than it seems.

Some trainers begin to form small groups by simply grouping their one-on-one clients of similar fitness levels and goals into a single weekly session. This can work for those clients who are open to adding a group workout to their normal 2–3 times per week training schedule. However, this can backfire, as some clients may hold fast to their one-on-one attention and coveted time slot.

So how else can you make the transition? Create specialized group training sessions and offer them as a “new client” special. The market is prime for it right now! People are either trying to lose weight or looking to take their current workouts to the next level, and they all need the same thing: guidance. They just don’t want to pay too much for it. This is quite possibly one of the reasons that group training has emerged as a trend.

Consider the following three steps when creating your own series of group sessions.

Create the Programming

While “boot camp” may be a popular buzzword associated with group training, it can be intimidating to some. Consider other names that could appeal to the novice or specialty crowd; for example, “Strength Training for Beginners” or “Yoga for Runners.” Then, set up a structured group training plan that will not only appeal to your current and future clients, but also highlight your personal skill set.

Identify the Equipment

Now that you have strengthened your brand by adding group training options, it’s time to take equipment inventory. Do you need additional pieces to accommodate more people? Or will you need a wider variety of equipment to meet the goals of your group programs? Adding a few familiar crowd pleasers like battle ropes or slam balls will keep your clients coming back for more. Or create a “wow” factor with new functional training tools like the PowerWave™ and the Core Hammer.

Get the Word Out

Now that your group training strategy is in place, spread the word! Social media is the fastest way to start a ripple effect. Turn that into a tidal wave by asking your clients to invite their friends to join them by liking and sharing your posts. Post before and after photos of your group or post your own #sweatyselfie and tag your clients and friends to do the same.

Expanding your programming options to offer group training is a great way to strengthen your brand, increase your circle of influence, and most importantly, supply what the industry is demanding. It may take some time to see the return on your efforts, but be consistent, and this time next year your business will be thriving!

Here Seven Keys to Outstanding Boomer Workouts

Do you teach or train generally healthy, moderate- to high-functioning baby boomers? Or are you thinking of directing more of your efforts to exercisers over 50? If so, be among the first to learn targeted principles you can weave into clients’ or class participants’ workouts.

Whether you’re a small-class leader, a one-on-one trainer or a group fitness instructor, applying seven specific principles will allow you to offer the most effective sessions for midlifers and older boomers. Keep these goals in mind:

  • Create life-enhancing fitness programs for baby boomers that have low risk and high reward.
  • Entice a unique, yet often-overlooked cohort into your classes, training sessions and facilities.
  • Design exercises that maintain function and that expand, and do not shrink, people’s capabilities.

Boomers—who range from 53 to 71 years old—want to enjoy the second half of life actively, comfortably and energetically. Yet they have accumulated five to seven decades of aches and pains. Joint issues may limit their ability to do high-impact activities. Years of sitting and driving—of living life in front of their bodies—may have produced forward-head misalignment, rounded shoulders, hunched posture and overstretched or weak backs. While not elderly, frail or sedentary, your boomer clients and class participants may be feeling the effects of the passing years. More of the same no longer offers the same benefits.

More of a new (or simply reprioritized) approach will help your 50-plus members age actively. Get ready to elicit life-changing results from your boomers in your small groups , large classes or one-on-one training sessions.

The seven principles below can be used in any combination or as standalones. Apply one, two or all seven to a given exercise; use three principles in one session and a different three in another; focus on one principle one day for an entire class and another the next. Regardless of how you mix and match the principles, your clients will reap benefits.

Principle 1:
Minimize Core Work and Ab Exercises
Requiring Spinal Flexion at the Neck

Challenge yourself to select ab exercises that involve no crunches. While the traditional crunch has its place, the last thing 50- to 70-year-olds need is more forward-rounding. Nor is a six-pack a primary goal for this cohort. Instead, offer moves that keep the head on the mat or that provide very little opportunity to forward-flex the neck.

Work with, not against, the anatomical reality of the abs: the rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis and obliques are endurance, compression and posture muscles. They are not designed for power (in contrast with the glutes and quads, which are power muscles). Therefore, emphasize the abs’ postural, endurance and compression aspects. Boomer clients especially appreciate improving posture as they strengthen their core.

How many of your over-50 clients already have their head thrust forward, a tight neck and rounded shoulders? Probably most, if they are typical older adults. When selecting ab exercises for them, simply ask yourself whether a given move exacerbates these problems, is neutral or counteracts them. The last option is ideal.

No-Crunch Examples

Primary examples of suitable abdominal compression moves for boomers are plank and reverse curl, or reverse curl with oblique rotation (bringing the right hip toward the left rib cage, for instance). Another great option is the “marching abs” move, where the upper body stays on the mat throughout. Legs are bent 90 degrees at the knees; hips are fairly open with feet close to the ground. Class members march the feet, holding the knee angle constant, alternating right- and left-foot marches. Depending on core strength and back issues, you may decide to cue, “March the feet from the ground to about a foot from the ground”—the most challenging version. If you spot faults in form or difficulties maintainingalignment, cue members to march in space. Have them draw their knees closer to the chest, close down some of the hip angle, and march with their feet anywhere from 1 to 2 feet from the ground.

Principle 2:
Activate the Back

In keeping with the focus on not reinforcing forward hunch and rounded posture, this principle prioritizes actions behind the body. Incorporate exercises that require glutes, hamstrings and back muscles. Use every opportunity to open or extend the pectorals, anterior deltoids and hip flexors. Getting your clients to focus on dorsal (or back-side) moves continues the theme of counteracting decades of movements that close off the front of the body. For strength, balance or stretch classes or personal training sessions, substitute exercises with hip extension for ones promoting hip flexion. For instance, if doing balance work, have the lifted leg start and stay in hip extension. Then slightly raise and lower that leg using the glutes. Add in small loops, counter- and clockwise, all in the dorsal plane. Or lift the leg only a few inches from the starting position to the left and right, tapping lightly side to side, again always with hip extension and behind the body. This not only works the core muscles, which need to compress and stabilize to hold the upper-body position, but also reinforces good posture.

You Need To Know Eight Tips for Marketing Your Exercise Event

Many personal trainers and fitness professionals are well-educated, caring, and darn good at helping people get results. However, despite all good intentions, they struggle to fill their programs and schedules. Why?

It seems like, deep down, most fitness pros don’t want to be “that guy”; you know, the high-pressure, in-your-face, arrogant salesperson who is only after the big commission check. I don’t blame them. Savvy clients can smell a rotten egg a mile away.

Luckily, you do not have to play the sleazy salesperson role to fill your schedule. On the other hand, you can’t sit back and hope clients stumble on your business. Competition in the fitness world is stiff. In addition to other local trainers and facilities, there are social media “fitness celebrities,” streaming online workouts and various fitness solutions that weren’t even imaginable 10 years ago.

Sadly, this means that no longer do the best-qualified fitness professionals automatically get the most clients. You must actively promote and share what you do with the world (i.e., market yourself) or risk being one of hundreds of fitness options a potential client casts to the side.

Good news: You don’t need to be an extroverted sales pro to attract new clients. Learn about a marketing campaign you can use time and time again. Interactive event marketing will help you stand out among a sea of competition.

What Is Interactive Event Marketing?

Interactive event marketing allows you to parlay your expertise and passion into a special exercise event that you host; for example, “Vinyasa and Vino” happy-hour yoga, a “Foam Rolling for Runners” workshop or a charity Zumbathon® party.

Your exercise event could be a big party with 50 smiling faces, loud music and lots ofpartner exercises. Or it could be small and cozy—a chance for you to meet a handful of potential personal training clients. Whether large or intimate, your in-person event will give the community a chance to engage with you and experience, firsthand, your authentic personality, training style and skills in an environment you control.

Why Interactive Event Marketing Is Champion

Let’s look at why interactive event marketing works:

  • Deadlines drive commitment.
  • You highlight your unique program and business features.
  • You bring clients into your community.
  • You collect warm leads.
  • You drive sales, without being salesy.

The Event Marketing Road Map

Use these 8 steps to create an impactful event.

1. Define Your Sales Goal and Target Audience

It’s important to determine the actions you want attendees to take after the event. For example, if your postevent sales goal is to have 10 people sign up for your small-groupsuspension exercise boot camp, then create an event introducing people to suspension equipment. If your sales goal is to have two people join your facility on a 3-month VIP membership, which includes personal training and massage, then create a higher-end, more luxury-focused event.

To define your sales goal, first answer these questions:

  • What is one kind of program or membership you’d like people to purchase after the event?
  • How many people would you like to sign up for this program?
  • What audience will most likely purchase this program? Define their age, gender and fitness level. This is your target audience.

2. Create an Event Theme and Name

It’s time to connect the dots. You know which program you want your target audience to purchase after the event. Now, you need to choose an event theme and name. Remember, the event should showcase exercises or facility amenities that highlight your unique offerings.

The name of your event will include an attention-getting headline as well as a subheading that describes it more fully. This way, both potential participants and web search engines can understand what, exactly, will be happening at the event.

3. Target Your Chosen Audience

Keeping in mind your ideal participants, answer these questions:

  • Which exercises, equipment or facility amenities do you want to highlight during the event?
  • Does your event name relate to your sales goal and target audience? If not, how can you adjust it?
  • How many attendees will you need at the event to reach your sales goal? What percentage will convert into new clients?
  • Will your event be free? Low-cost? Or will it raise money for charity? A free event will attract more participants and reduce the barrier to trying out your programs and services. However, a low-cost or charity event tends to attract more serious clients.

4. Create a Limited-Time Offer

You want people who attend your event to feel special. To make sure they do, provide an incredible workout, but also give a special offer on your paid programs.

You can do this in two ways: Give a discount on a program, or provide a value-added bonus item—like a free month or free gift with purchase.