It’s only ironic to those of us in the Pilates industry that the originator of Pilates was a man, who created ‘Contrology’ for men and then it became THE workout that women love and men who are are not in the know don’t think twice about. The truth is Pilates is great for anybody, women, and men! But, one of the questions I am often asked by instructors and studio owners is how to attract more men to their Pilates studios.
For decades celebrities have been sharing their love of Pilates and that gets Pilates everywhere attention and press. And, while we teachers knew that it’s not just great for women it is amazing for men too. There wasn’t a lot of men touting its benefits.
For several years now many athletes have been sharing their love for Pilates as the reason they perform better! Check out these seven NFL players sharing the reasons Pilates is integral to their performance. Of course, even earlier than this article there were other pro athletes talking about Pilates being the secret weapon. And as more and more men share the benefits of Pilates more non-pro athletes are starting to look at adding Pilates to their repertoire.
But, how can you attract them to your studio? How do you get the men in your community to take your classes? And do you have to change the way you teach? All these questions and more will be answered when my client Michael Myers (you know him on IG as Michael Myers Fit). Join me live to answer your questions. Until then here are some things you can do today to help you gain more male clients.
1) What’s your Copy Say? I spend a lot of time on teachers and studios websites and the constant thing I see is benefits of Pilates that are more attractive to women than most men. Or, there is the story about being a dancer and using Pilates to rehab from injury. None of these things are wrong by the way. It’s your website and your story and you should share how it resonates with you. But, if I’m a healthy male and I see “long, lean muscles” I may not be running to your class. Consider adding blog posts and benefits your Pilates provides to potential clients. You can even have a male read it and see if it would entice him to click “book now.”
2) Men only Classes: If you already have a few male clients have a “gentlemen’s class” and let them invite the friends. The music you play, props you use and cues you give can be tailored to just them. Real Pilates in NYC has a men’s only class and Carrie Pages has a men’s only class at her studio. They are easy to market because you are speaking to a specific demographic. Which is always better than trying to talk to everyone!
3) Your Cueing: As teachers, it is easy to get in the habit of using the same imagery to describe exercises we teach often. But, some cues are fairly gendered specific. “Lift your heels like you’re standing in a high heel,” “curl where your bra strap is,” “pelvic floor” to just name a few are all cues that might make your male client, even on a subconscious level, feel like you’re not the right teacher, or worse that Pilates is not right for them. What I have found great about teaching men is that you can often say the thing you want them to do and then they will do it (I’ll explain this more when I’m joined with Michael).
4) Keep them Moving: This is actually something I believe for all healthy clients. Pilates is not always pretty and it’s not perfect. Keep them moving, safe and focus on the connections, not the ideal. They have their whole life to “get it.”
Look, it’s nothing new that Pilates is great for men and for women. And, men may not be your ideal client and that is ok! But, if you are looking to attract more men to your studio do some self-reflection. What do your website and studio say about you? Then, how do you communicate what you want your clients to do when they are working with you? These are simple things you can start with today.
If you’re looking for more join me and Michael for an hour-long conversation on attracting, challenging and retaining male clients for your Pilates business.
Got tips you want to share with our readers? Post them in the comments below!
The more people who fall in love with Pilates the better it is for all of us teachers.
PS read more about why Michael Myers does Pilates here.