Pilates has grown exponentially over the past decade in and around the club scene – fulfilling the needs of regular exercisers, athletes, rehab clients and even children. Basically anyone who desires a leaner, stronger, healthier body for a lifetime can participate in Pilates. And fitness facilities everywhere are taking note.
According to the 2007 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey, 68 percent of facilities surveyed have Pilates as one of their program offerings. This is a 49 percent increase from when IDEA first started tracking Pilates back in 1999. As a result, most clubs are rigorously trying to incorporate Pilates classes into their regular programming – often by only scratching the surface with basic training and equipment.
Why Pilates? Pilates allows exercisers to do what they do best and can be adapted to enhance anyone’s current training routine. It is a form of exercise for all ages and stages and is a kinder, gentler exercise for the body with all of the benefits of strength training.
“Much of the growth in the areas of equipment-based exercise is due to professional trainers gaining knowledge of and confidence in the results they are achieving with their clients,” explains Lindsay G. Merrithew, President and CEO of STOTT PILATES®.
THE KEY TO A CLUB’S SUCCESS Success
Ask any program director or club owner what defines their facility’s success and they’ll probably say ‘member retention’. In essence, Pilates helps build member retention and increased clientele.
“For a Pilates studio to be successful within a club, the key is proper equipment, quality instructors, and fresh programming to keep your clients happy and wanting more," says Carol Tricoche, Global Sales Director, Full Solutions™, STOTT PILATES.
Some owners who have recognized the benefits of offering Pilates to their clients are establishing ‘storefront’ designated Pilates studios at their location. These studios essentially operate as an additional personal training service.
“This type of business within a business offers private, semi-private and group training opportunities. By doing this, these facilities are not only seeing additional profits, but they are also experiencing increased instructor and member retention and additional non-dues revenue, longer-term.”
Determining whether you can afford or even want to open a Pilates studio is the first big question. From a programming perspective the answer seems quite obvious, but from an owners’ perspective – there are more things to consider.
One of the dilemmas is space. Industry surveys suggest that most club members want equipment-based Pilates programming – which ultimately takes up a lot of room. As a result, clients are paying for these services outside their regular fitness facility which is not ideal. So in order to keep members from seeking Pilates elsewhere, it is important to find a way to make space within your location to accommodate your clients’ needs.
“The space needed to establish a designated Pilates studio can be as little as 400–800 square feet. The 800 square feet space is approximately the size of a racquetball court and can comfortably accommodate a fully-equipped Pilates studio, including four Reformers, two Cadillac Trapeze Tables, four Stability Chairs, two Ladder Barrels and other accessories,” explains Tricoche. “On the flip side, a smaller, 400 square foot studio can hold approximately four professional Reformers so at the very least, you can offer programming associated with this one essential piece of Pilates equipment.”
Once you find the perfect space to implement your in-house Pilates studio, facility owners must make sure to remain realistic about the amount of equipment they can fit in the area. Choose equipment that is versatile and offers maximum programming to keep your Pilates program fresh, challenging and adaptable to your changing member’s requests.
“It’s important to use your imagination. A racquetball court that is only used a few hours a day could be retrofitted to hold an 800 square foot Pilates profit center. Also, by double-decking the court, your facility could actually gain 1600 square feet of extra useable space,” adds Tricoche.
ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
With a designated space in your facility, you now have the ability to offer Pilates career opportunities to your staff. A studio for private, semi-private and group training allows instructors to work together in the same space while training clients up to five or six hours at a time.