Progressive Bodyworks | Pilates Mastery with Clare Dunphy


Grow Your Private Client Base

January 23, 2012

Build your business even in this economic climate.  Sure it can be a challenge so here are a few ideas to help you build your base by getting exposure to potential new clients.  Take a multi-dimensional approach and remember that you generate the energy – so yes, just get out there and do it. 

1. Word of mouth:  There is nothing better then word of mouth referrals.  If you already have a few happy clients let them know you have space available if they know anyone who would benefit from your services.  If you are already teaching small group classes or mat classes, offer a 30-minute apparatus special.

2. Public Speaking: This is not as scary as it sounds.  Share your passion for and the benefits of the work!  Local community groups, senior centers, Chamber of Commerce and even hospitals are always looking for speakers to talk on various wellness subjects. Another is local sports teams or coaches.  

3. Network and cross-market with local shops and businesses:  Create a community of Pilates lovers!  Meet the owners and sales people at your local spa, salon, massage, and clothing stores.  What can you do to help them increase value for their customers?  Perhaps they are personally interested in what you offer or feel it can add to their customer experience.  Simply ask if they are willing put your information in a visible spot.  Get your brochure, business card, and post card in front of as many people as you can. You can do the same with chiropractors; massage therapists, and physical therapists if this is the population you want to attract.

4. Create a fun event that brings people together:  An open house inviting current clients, friends, and the local community - that is informative, yet fun - perhaps a demo with your students performing 3 reps of reformer or mat, maybe set to music to give extra flair.  Include local artists to show their work, have cheese, wine, and appetizers. Give it a theme like ‘ladies night’ - be creative! 

5. Make some noise:  Write an article for the local newspaper, or get them to write a story about you.  It could be a success story, a charitable cause you champion or an educational article.  You will be amazed how many people read these stories and pass on valuable information to others.

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Tips for New Teachers

December 4, 2011

Are you either recently graduated or on the way to becoming certified?  Being new at anything can feel awkward and uncertain, and each of us felt that way when we first started out.   Don’t sweat it, I’ve been there too and can tell you from experience it only gets better! So I thought I would share a few tips that are my 10 Golden Rules for teachers just starting out.

  1. Don’t get too sexy too soon!  Trust the basics and work the system.  Each session should include Mat and Reformer with some time spent at the end of the session on the other apparatus.  Reinforce the fundamental skills on the other apparatus and see swift results.
  2. Keep it simple - your students will benefit and you won’t burn yourself out.  Use simple and direct cues and for goodness sake, give them a workout!  Let clients move, yes with control but MOVE!
  3. Schedule in your personal workout time – I mean actually write it down in your calendar. And take it a step further by planning it out.  This way you will make sure you work on all the apparatus so the less often used exercises don’t get forgotten.  When you do them, you remember them!
  4. Practice getting your words out accurately.  Habit words sneak their way into our vocabulary and sometimes don’t even make sense!  Practice listening to yourself when you teach, I mean really listen to your words.
  5. A great drill is to practice teaching 3 repetitions of each exercise in time with a video.  Visit my Think Pilates! Free video channel and practice teaching along with the 3 rep demonstration.  It’s a challenge but will sharpen your timing.  Here is the link:  ( 
  6. Fake it till you make it!  Stand tall and project energy and confidence.  Your body language will instill energy and confidence to your student as well.  You may feel uncertain inside but project strength and grace through your posture and you will feel better too!
  7. Breathe, breathe, breathe – it is the best way to help keep you centered and in the moment. 
  8. Take regular lessons from a teacher you admire.  Get another set of eyes and input on your practice.  Teachers need teachers!
  9. Plan your next continuing education workshop.  The learning never ends.  Identify the weak points in your Pilates practice. Seek out workshops and seminars that address those needs.
  10. Keep your passion alive!  Stay connected to your Pilates community.  Keep in touch with fellow teachers on or off line -  share stories, workout together, problem solve and and simply talk Pilates.

Filed under: Business Matters,Movement Matters

Why Level Pilates Classes?

June 10, 2011

If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?  Programming for small group training effectively requires planning not only for the teacher and the studio but also requires educating the students.  How do students know what class is right for them?  What is the expectation for them to progress to the next level and feel successful yet challenged in a group class?  By informing students as to what it means to move to the next level, you empower them to take a more active role in their process and to own the work more.  You also set the stage for successful teaching since class levels define what the content and objectives are.  It is motivating to have clear goals and with spring in the air and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to maximize your group offerings and motivate students to re-commit to their practice. Below are definitions of each skill level to help students select the class level that best suits them.  Try posting this on your bulletin board or including in a newsletter to get students excited about learning more about their Pilates practice.  Offer them a challenge and encourage them create new goals.  Involve them in the process and watch them grow in their practice.

  • Novice — No prior Pilates experience and no injuries.  The main goal at this level is to learn introductory mat & reformer exercises and understand how to initiate and stabilize from the Powerhouse. 
  • Beginner — Knows the order of introductory mat and reformer, and has taken a minimum of ten classes at the beginner level. 
  • Advanced Beginner — Proficient at basic mat and reformer exercises, knows the order, transitions, and equipment set -ups (including changing springs, foot bar, & head rest)
  • Intermediate — Able to do Teaser I (mat) and Short Spine Massage (reformer).  Learning the intermediate (PPS-II) order and knows all basic (PPS-I) transitions and equipment set ups.
  • Advanced Intermediate — Proficient at Swan Dive (mat), full Tree, and Long Spine Massage (reformer). Learning the advanced (PPS-III) order and knows all PPS-II transitions and equipment set ups.
  • Advanced — Knows the entire advanced (PPS-III) system, all transitions and equipment set-ups and is preparing for the super advanced work.

Filed under: Business Matters

Take Ownership!

June 1, 2011

Being a Pilates teacher is about:

  • teaching people to move better
  • developing both their mind & body so they can engage themselves
    in activities with greater vigor
  • stamina
  • strength
  • flexibility
  • and ease

Part of developing the mind is for them to learn the work; I mean teaching students to really own it. In Joseph Pilates’ studio, he required his students to learn the exercise names, springs, orders along with precise execution including rhythm, transitions and their own particular modifications. He encouraged — no, he demanded — that they learn the work. It was all part of the discipline of learning Contrology. The studio was a place students came to learn Contrology, plain and simple. And they saw tremendous results!

Students of Mr. Pilates were taught to be self-reliant, take responsibility for what they were learning and not depend on him to provide repeated reminders. Mr. Pilates understood discipline was a two- way commitment and his high expectations elevated students to realize higher levels of their potential.

Mr. Pilates was ahead of his time in many ways and his message of self-responsibility is as timely today as it was more than 60 years ago.

Filed under: Business Matters

Classical Pilates and Fusion – Can It Work In Your Studio?

May 18, 2011

Bring Pilates out into your life, sports and all activities.  Isn’t that what we teach?  We encourage clients to walk tall, move from their center and bring their Pilates alignment, strength and flexibility to enhance all their activities including cardio and resistance training as well as cycling, golf, skating, skiing and daily life.  When a person learns to move properly, everything changes for the better.  So as Pilates teachers or studio owners you might be wondering how classical Pilates and traditional fitness can thrive together without diluting authentic Pilates?

Current research shows that we need both cardio and resistances training to stay healthy, prevent osteoporosis, maintain or lose weight, and stave off the effects of aging.  Of course Pilates falls into the category of moderate strengthening and stretching, but in order to get the heart rate to climb high enough to have a training effect the session needs to move at a vigorous pace.  Also for new or weaker clients, advanced choreography or fast moving sessions may not be appropriate.  Why not offer more to your customers to target all their fitness needs?  There is great potential here for both the health of your clients and your studio. I look at classical Pilates as the foundation for every mode of movement we do. Most jazz musicians or dancers began by first developing a strong foundation; musicians learning scales and dancers studying movements at the barre for years before they branched out.  Likewise, a strong Pilates base forms the foundation for how we move during our cardio exercise or lift a weigh over our head.  The key is HOW we teach it!

Envision two tracks of programming in your studio.  The first track is strictly classical, working with the complete Pilates “system” on all apparatus. Be innovative in your offerings by considering not only mat and Tower classes, but also offer classes that combine different apparatus.  For example, mat combined with chair or small barrels and power circle; combine reformer, mat and Cadillac sessions.  Be creative with your class endings to include the arm weight series, standing power circle and the fabulous wall series. Educate your clients so they keep a classical class in their weekly routine.

The second “fusion” track builds on the classical track layering Pilates alignment and movement principles to each activity.  In this track you combine cardio and/or resistance training for a portion of the class with classical mat, chair, power circle, barrels, reformers or tower.

Design your class based on the following:

  1. Who is the class for and what are their fitness goals?  (weight loss, sport specific, general fitness)
  2. What is the level of the class?
  3. What apparatus is available? (Pilates tools: mat, reformer, chair, small barrels, power circle, 1-3 lb. weights Fitness tools:  5-15 lb weights, body bars, bosu, step, balls, indoor cycles, slides, jump ropes, therabands, medicine balls etc.)
  4. What format will meet their objective and level?  (classical, fusion, circuit, 20-20-20, 50-50)
  5. What is the purpose of each class segment?  (total body workout, upper body, lower body, core, cardio, etc.)
  6. What exercises will be included to reach the goal of each class segment?
  7. Will I use music or no music?  What kind of music and bpm will enhance the experience?

Sample Classes:

  1. Fusion Class:
    • 20 minute basic/intermediate mat
    • 15 minute resistance training (dumbbells, upper body focus)
    • 15 minute lo-impact cardio or step
    • 5 minute cool down/stretch
  2. Small group (4-6)
    • 20 minute mat
    • 20 minute chair
    • 15 minute resistance and balance (body bar and bosu)
  3. Fusion class (class size depending on # of chairs):
    • 30 minute Chair
    • 30 minute Yoga

3 Steps for Implementation:

  1. Educate your customers so they learn what they need to do to reach their goals. Reinforce that they need to exercise 3-5 times per week whether it is at home, outdoors or at your studio.  Make your message clear about the benefits of varied movement experiences and how to bring the lessons learned from Pilates into other workout modes.
  2. Create programming to suit the needs of your client base.  Make the movement matter!
  3. Guide students to take at least one classical class per week (or more) and bring what they learn in their body to the fusion classes. Steer them into the classes that cover all their fitness needs.

Innovative programming and value-oriented packages not only draws new customers but keeps them coming back for more.  Tap into your creative side and offer new classes that are interesting, compelling, effective and fun. You customers will be delighted and satisfied!

Filed under: Business Matters

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