As a fitness instructor, your job is not as simple as most; your role in a client’s life is a significant factor in their success. The effort and passion you put into your job has a direct outcome on their dedication (and sometimes even their results) and can make or break your own success.Here are five things every successful instructor does each day, to ensure a positive experience for everyone at the studio, and help clients reach their fitness goals:
Cheer on clients (but not too much!)
You might assume that a fitness instructor’s job is somewhat similar to a cheerleader’s — constantly shouting positive words and giving high fives. But mindlessly offering encouragement can decrease the value of a heartfelt compliment to a client who has perfect form, or is really giving the workout everything they’ve got. Put more thought into the compliments you give out during class instead of just throwing around “great job everyone!” or “you’re doing great!” It may seem silly, but the words you choose can make all the difference between a client that is truly inspired during the workout and one that is just going through the motions.
Your interactions as an instructor should also be a healthy balance of positive and constructive — a good instructor praises a job well done but isn’t afraid to give advice when things aren’t perfect. Out of everyone at the studio, you have the closest relationship with your clients that enables you to give advice they will take to heart. Make the most of this valuable relationship by offering constructive feedback that will improve their performance in your classes and ultimately, pave the way towards their individual fitness goals.
Interact with everyone
From the moment a client walks into the studio, they expect quality interactions that will make them want to come back. Group fitness can be intimidating at first, especially when it seems like everyone around you has been a long-time client and has nearly perfected their form. Starting a class off by talking about yourself doesn’t open the door for potential connections with clients; instead, open up with an engaging question like “how is everyone doing today?” or a joke or inspirational quote. Whether you teach the 6 AM or 6 PM class, approach each group of students with the same enthusiasm, and show that you actually value their participation. This will facilitate a more natural connection with the students in your class, and break the ice for first-timers to make them feel more comfortable.
Make sure to move around the room and try to interact with each person individually — whether that’s a hands-on adjustment, calling out a compliment using the client’s name, or a simple high five. This will not only motivate them to push harder during their workout, but it is the first step in forming closer bonds with clients that will keep them signing up for your classes.
Inspire and educate clients
Think of the term “fitness instructor” as a synonym for “role model.” Clients look up to you as a one-stop-shop for positivity, inspiration, and knowledge. Whether it’s through your actions, social media, body language, or verbal interactions, you have endless resources to show your enthusiasm and expertise. Add a personal touch to your lessons by teaching students not only how to perform each exercise, but why they’re doing it. They obviously value their personal health if they take the time to exercise regularly, and providing a little insight as to how their body benefits from taking your class doesn’t hurt.
And don’t forget — your job as a fitness instructor doesn’t end the moment you leave the studio! Send clients a relevant news article from time to time, or recommend books and podcasts that align with their interests. You could even publish informative posts on social media to teach clients the value of wellness and healthy eating, in addition to their workouts with you. With your position as an instructor comes great influence; use it wisely to create a positive impact on the clients that look up to you.
The fitness studio industry revolves around human interaction. Use your insights on each person in your class to pave the way for stronger connections between them. Using a retention tool like FitGrid Pro allows you to record personal notes about each individual client (such as their likes and dislikes, and any key information about them that you feel is important), as well as view class statistics and demographics to get a better sense of your client base overall. For example, if you know that two clients both root for the same sports team, introduce them to each other or mention it during class to spark up a conversation! Group fitness can be intimidating, especially to newer clients, and having a familiar face at the studio can make them feel at home. Plus, having a “workout buddy” holds them more accountable to attend each class, and inspires a little friendly competition.
Before you know it, clients will be motivated to see their friends in class, possibly inviting new students and turning up the energy even more! After all, why join a group fitness class if you’re not going to interact with the people around you?
Send personal follow-up messages
Connection plays a huge role in a client’s decision to return to a fitness studio. Strengthen the relationships you have with each of your clients by showing them you truly value their attendance. Sending follow-up messages after each class they attend is not only motivational, but reassures them that their hard work is noticed.
While most client messaging programs rely on automation to send mass messages after class (think “message templates”), FitGrid is the only program that gives you the freedom to craft a quick, personal message to clients, directly from the FitGrid Pro app. It makes a huge difference for clients to receive a message straight from their instructor (rather than an automated one from the front desk), and you can even include your social media handles in your message signature to get grow your following! Not only will this personal communication have a far greater effect on retention than automated systems, but it could even help acquire new clients. A happy customer is the number one way to spread the word about your business.
BONUS READING: We all receive tons of emails, automated messages, and notifications every day. That’s why it’s so important for instructors and studio owners to know how to craft effective messages to send to clients. The team at FitGrid decided to dig into their data of nearly half a million messages, sent by instructors, to see what's most (and least) effective. The results are really cool—and useful! In our Guide to Effective Client Interactions, you’ll find out what specific emojis result in higher response rates, how question marks impact the effectiveness of subject lines, the most effective keywords, and much more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marketing Intern at FitGrid, Strategic Communication & Marketing student at Rowan University.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level