News and Updates by Rachel Holmes
It’s Choreographytogo’s Birthday today (as well as mine). 8 years ago I started a little weekly email newsletter to everyone I knew who had an email address. The newsletter was to keep Instructors updated about workshops, conventions, industry news and gossip. I was teaching all of my classes in the community and presenting every weekend around the country. On my travels I found that Instructors felt isolated, they needed a support group/system where they could hear what was going on in the fitness industry and get ideas for classes, promotions, music, in a quick 10 minute read. So, the newsletter was born in the June of 2002. The number of newsletter subscribers grew really rapidly and I had a massive email database in my AOL address book. By this time, I had a vision for a website but wasn’t too sure if and how it could work. A web designer friend of mine had some ideas too and so we developed the site with videos and articles. It was a long process to get it off the ground but we did and Choreographytogo went live the first week of April 2003. It’s been an amazing journey running an online fitness business…… I am now just about to unveil the brand new, sparkly, 2011 version of Choreographytogo and I can’t wait to show you all the new features and special offers. This new version has been over a year in the making and I’ve been continually updating and trialling new software and ways to make the site as good as it can possibly be. Choreographytogo has over 30,000 subscribers now and goes out to Instructors all over the world. I’m so proud of it and I still love updating and making new features for it.
This week’s newsletter has some great little articles by Choreographytogo members Claire Aberdeen and Claire Bayley on promoting your business on Living Social and Text message marketing, plus Jayne and Marv have contributed as well. If you are at Fitpro this week then please come over and say Hi and enjoy the weekend.
Fitness Pilates Explosion Workshop
The FPE Tour finished last weekend, on a high, in Chelmsford and Nottingham. It’s been a huge success with biggest numbers of any recent workshop tours. Pilates is STILL extremely popular in the UK and although Jayne was saying last week, according to some surveys it’s slowing down, Instructors are telling me the numbers are going up with more and more people coming in to Pilates classes. With all of the new Functional Anatomy and Physiology information that is available, incorporating that into Pilates makes the technique get better and give even more brilliant results. Thanks to everybody who came along to the tour, it was fantastic to see and share the workshops with you all!
Fit Pro spring Convention
Kicking off today is the 20th Anniversary of Fitpro. I remember vividly going along to the 2 Much Fun for 1 workshop tour with Darryl Preston and Jane Waller. It’s incredible to think this is the 20th year! Amazing. I’m so looking forward this year to team teaching with Jayne Nicholls and Greg Seller and presenting Burlesque Chair Dance for the first time at Fitpro, which promises to be great fun. There are some truly brilliant speakers and sessions and I am looking forward immensely to seeing Charles Poliquin, John Hardy, Scott Hopson, Ian O Dwyer, Rodney Corn, Jay Blahnick, Michol Dalcourt. There are so many educational sessions that I want to get to, plus the 20th Anniversary Saturday Night Dinner.
New Fitness, Fatburning and Functional Workshop kicks of 4 June in Manchester
My brand new tour kicks off in Manchester on 4 June with 4 new mini masterclasses/workshops I’ve been updating on the latest functional Anatomy and Physiology, plus tons of new ways to train the whole body. The workouts will deliver new class ideas and content. You can book on via the events booking page click here to book
Bootcamp Workouts to go
The ultimate fat stripping and body shaping workshop. Rachel shows you 5 mini plug and play equipment free total body workouts. Loads of new Tabata workouts employing various timings that can be performed in Bootcamps, Body Conditioning classes, Small Groups and Personal Training. Explore different interval timings and rest periods gaining your clients maximum results in the minimum time. You can also download Rachel’s clean eating detox for your clients to ensure they get into the best possible shape. These workouts are high intensity utilising creative exercises sequences and progressions and will be using exciting new Bootcamp Music for the perfect fatbusting package. Explore new marketing tips and tricks to help boost your class numbers and attendance.
Dance Tone Routines
A real group exercise favourite, low impact combinations mixed with toning exercises for the whole body. Dance tone is a less aggressive, more fluid and rejuvenating workout that is exceptionally fun and motivating. Lots of takeaway toning ideas and routines.
Lower Body Connection
There is so much new information now on how to train the lower body effectively. You don’t need masses of equipment or weights, just the best functional exercises. This workshop will explore every possible motion in the hip, knee, foot and ankle. Learn every muscle in the lower body and how to train them to their full potential. Gain unrivalled skill in designing exercises for the lower body suitable for all levels that will give your clients the results they demand and deserve. This is a creative session that mixes theory and practical
Body Rock Abs
Using Tabata style training Rachel puts together explosive, dynamic and functional mini core workouts, PLUS an overview of up to date functional anatomy enabling you to understand how to create and design the best core programmes for your classes and clients.
Bitches, Bullies and general Bad practice! by Jayne Nicholls
Everyone of us knows what it is like to be bullied or on the receiving end of bitchy comments whether it is being manipulated into spending our hard earned cash on membership fees by organisations who know nothing about what we are doing and what is best for our industry to our class members taking out their frustration at our expense. BUT, when it is instructor to instructor, this can be really harmful and damaging.
Face book and forums have a lot to answer for as people can run riot at the expense of others without revealing who they are or their own circumstances. So why has our industry got so bitchy lately and where does professional opinion turn into bitchy banter? How is it that line managers can behave so unprofessionally and why do we put up with it?
Well firstly as most of us are self employed, there is not always a sympathetic ear or someone to defend us when we are on the receiving end. If I didn’t have Rachel’s ear to bash, I would be in a psychiatric ward by now! It is a good idea to form some sort of support network around you for those times when you are getting beaten down by others negativity. Also the industry has become an us and them environment as instructors allege with their training provider or preferred style of teaching. This is healthy until it becomes a case of our way is the only way forward. It is really evident right now with Zumba and Yoga where as it was previously Les Mills versus Freestyle.
Maybe it’s time for us to adopt some double thinking : “Doublethink” means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”. It’s great to have strong opinions and high standards but for those with less experience and a different view, sharing your knowledge rather than slamming their lack of it might be the best way forward.
j a y n e
Zumba promotions using Living Social with Claire Aberdeen
I recently set up my own community based Zumba fitness company zumbawithclaire in the south Tyneside area.
As this is a new venture for me, I’m still teaching loads of club classes and running here there and everywhere.
So the biggest problem for me is how do I find time to market the classes?
I’m lucky if I have time during the day to sit down and eat!
So I tried running an advert in local paper, I got 3 new class members after running it 3 times at a cost of approx £40 each time.
So that wasn’t a particularly cost effective method! I’ve attempted delivering flyers but the area I teach in is a vast residential area and I don’t get much return from it.
So, what now? How do I get the word out?
I just happened to be reading a post on Rachel’s Facebook wall about the use of living social/groupon as a marketing tool and thought it’s got to be worth a try.
So to cut a long story short I contacted living social and arranged a deal with them. The deal ran last week and I sold a phenomenal 82 class passes…yes 82!!
My phone has been ringing non stop with people booking in and some have brought friends along!!
So if you haven’t tried it and like me struggle with time why not try it out…..if you do contact living social please say I referred you.
Pole Dancing –Preparing for a competition! Zara Groves
I have been in the fitness industry for 16 years now and have either taught or attended workshops for pretty much every type of class there is or has been. About 8 years ago I read that Pole Dancing was the latest fitness craze in America and so I bought myself a pole and a couple of training DVD’s. I then met a girl called Harmony Rose, who could pole dance and we teamed up together and started Sharp Shooters Pole Dancing School. I was the first instructor in North Wales and Chester to be teaching Pole Dancing for Fitness.
I have performed in public at numerous public events, a couple of my highlights was when I was asked to perform at Glastonbury and also when I was invited to do a small show case on T.V for a Welsh chat show. I am quite comfortable getting up there in public in my hot pants and bra top, strutting my stuff and performing tricks a gymnast would be proud of, so when it was announced there was going to be an All Wales Pole Championship, and that it was going to be held in my home town of Llandudno I decided that I should enter and convinced 6 of my students to enter too.
Even though I had never wanted to enter a competition before as this one was in my home town I felt I should and also thought to myself how difficult can it be to prepare for a competition? Well I can now safely say – there is a MASSIVE difference!!! You see, previously I have only ever trained myself and others to get fitter, lose body fat and have successfully achieved these goals.
The process starts with finding the perfect song – pole dancing is different to choreograph than normal dancing as it is harder to be precise with the beats when you are mid spin, so you need to have more performance elements within.
I have actually found 3 songs and combined them – a bit of Elvis to start, then Christina Aguilera and Tom Jones to finish, all adding up to 4 mins 20 seconds, which doesn’t sound too long. Then you need to work out what tricks you are going to include – these tricks are meant to look like they are effortless – (which believe me are not) and as you are now going to be judged for them you are trying to do the hardest tricks your body will allow. Flexibility another huge factor – splits are practically a must.
So myself and my students decided that we would compete back in November 2010 for the Competition on April 9th 2011, thinking this is plenty of time to prepare. We have been training religiously. It is quite hard to train in the winter months as you need your skin to be able to grip to the pole which means training in shorts and crop tops – really not nice in the middle of the snow and frost – even with all the heaters on in my studio – the ceilings are just too high to create the amount of warmth you really want. For lots of people, myself especially if your skin is cold it just won’t stick.
So we all got our music, we all got the moves we wanted to include, we also organised our costumes and then comes the hard part, putting it all together and building the strength and stamina to get from the start of your song to the end without needing an oxygen mask half way through. As I am in the professional category my time is longer than my students who have entered the intermediate category. My time is 4 mins 20 seconds, now I have as many instructors do, can teach back to back classes of a high intensity – but these 4 mins 20 seconds feels more like 4 hours 20minutes.
To help with my training at the end of February I switched to a totally clean diet and absolutely no alcohol, which is helping but oh my god it is still so hard. I now have 6 days left to perfect my routine and then it will all be down to the adrenaline on the night to carry me through!
The huge difference between performing and competing is if you are on a night where you are performing you will probably get up and dance more than once, also if you are having a weak day, you just don’t put in as many tricks you tend to spread them out with more dance moves and to the general public who don’t generally know too much about pole dancing you will still look fantastic.
In a competition you are only on stage once, so you have to cram all your best tricks into that time and of course the pressure is on because you are being judged. The audience will be filled with fellow pole dancers, so 50 percent of the audience know exactly how hard or easy a move is to execute, so there is just no way you can wing it!
The huge benefits though with training for a competition is that you push yourself harder than you normally would, hence my upper body is so toned now and a couple of the girls have got six packs and the bonding between myself and my students is second to none, we are now firm friends instead of teacher pupil.
So all there is left for me to say is that I hope myself and my students all perform to the best of our ability and hope that the nerves aren’t too overwhelming and that we can all enjoy every minute of being on stage – and to my students I am so proud of them as they have never been on stage in front of an audience ever!
Zara Groves Sharp Shooters Pole Dancing
Your Sales Letters and Email Promotions
As I’ve discussed in previous newsletters. Everything you write, your status updates, tweets, Blog posts your website copy should be a consistent message about you and your business. You also know and understand how important it is to grow your database and market your new classes and courses to your database – this saves you £££££ in advertising costs and time. If you have a strong database its easy to start up new courses and classes and promote to your database
But how do you sell a new course or class to your database or market it on Facebook??? . Maybe you have a brief description and hope the picture or a video clip sells itself. Or maybe you went a little further, listing a few paragraphs, the price, and a few testimonials from previous courses and clients
But are you getting the response you want?
If you’re not getting the response you were expecting, it might be time try something new. And a VERY effective tool to sell online is to create a special dedicated sales page w/ a “slippery slope” sales letter.
Remember that game Snakes and Ladders? If you landed on a space that had a ladder on it, you just went down. No turning back. That’s how your sales letter should be — a “slippery slope” that pulls in the reader because it’s so compelling and interesting.
If you are able to add your own pages to your website then here are some golden rules to help sell your new class course or block.
Here’s a basic outline of the 13 elements you want to include.
1. Limit your navigation.
Your web visitors should not be distracted by links that take her to your bio, other products, etc. The idea is to keep her on this page, reading your copy, focused, and inviting her to order.
2. Give a powerful headline.
Your headline can make or break your sales. If it’s not compelling, your visitor will click away. Here’s an easy headline formula: “How to _________ so you can ____________.” Make sure the second part gives a big benefit, for example, “double your business” or “gain peace of mind.”
3. Discuss the problem the prospect has, or incorporate your own story.
Marketers call this “pushing the ‘ouch’ button.” First discuss the problem or pain that the reader has, and then lead in to how your product will solve it. Or share your own failure-to-success story that the reader can empathize with.
4. Tell us who you are.
If I’m going to buy your stuff, I’d like to know why you’re qualified to sell what you’re selling. Give me the feeling that you’ve learned a lot about this topic and want to share it with me.
Add a picture, video, or audio message to help the reader instantly feel like she knows you better, increasing the “trust factor.” And people buy from those they feel they know, like, and trust!
5. Use bullets like mini headlines.
Lay out everything I’ll get from your product. Don’t just list your table of contents verbatim! Turn each point into an exciting secret. For example, suppose your e-book features five tips on how to save money on groceries. That bullet could read, “Revealed: 5 ways you can save hundreds of dollars on your monthly grocery bill.”
6. List plenty of testimonials.
Show your prospects they won’t be the first to buy. It’s more effective to weave-in testimonials throughout your sales letter than to have a separate section for them. Give each person’s full name and Web address, and for extra power, post their photo, and an audio or video testimonial as well.
7. Tell us why your product is such a great value.
How does the price of your product compare if I hired you one-on-one? For example, your manual is a great value at £49 if an hour consultation with you would run me £250.
8. Throw in a few great bonuses.
Offer special bonuses (preferably created by you) that are so good you could sell them alone if you wanted to. It could be a list of resources, a collection of articles, a complimentary product, extra tips on a certain subject, or a free consultation.
9. Give a guarantee.
This puts your prospect at ease, giving her no reason to NOT buy. The amount of sales you GAIN from this strategy dramatically outweighs the risk. What, and how, and how long you guarantee can depend on many factors.
10. Request immediate action by having a limited time offer.
Some sales pages use trick scripts to make it seem like the offer always ends on that day at midnight, but I find these insulting. If you really will be raising your price soon (and you always should be), list the exact date and stick to it. Otherwise just say it’s an introductory, limited-time offer.
11. Make it ABSURDLY CLEAR what to do next.
Nothing bothers me more than when I’m at a Web site, I have my credit card ready, and I can’t find the order link! Make your order process idiot-proof. Example: “Click below to order now.” Also, you may even sprinkle in order links throughout your page — some people will be ready to buy before they get to the bottom.
12. Make one last plea.
In your P.S., right after your signature, emphasize that I should act now. For example, “Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. Remember, you can buy now and change your mind at anytime.”
13. Don’t forget your contact information!
Readers WILL have questions, so provide an e-mail address on your site that you or someone else will check at least daily. Also, don’t you feel better buying from a Web site that lists a real add
Text message marketing by Claire Bayley
I’ve been using text message marketing for a while now (probably about 6 months) and find it a useful tool.
I use Geotext http://www.geotext.co.uk/Index.php I got the idea from my son’s school, they started sending text messages about detentions my son had received (joke), things like early closing, parents evenings etc. I did a bit of research and all the bulk texting companies I looked at seemed to charge similar prices for sending texts (around 4p each). Geotext is really easy to use, you can buy credits and the more you buy at once, the less the texts cost. You are limited to 160 characters but I find that’s enough, although I do have to use ‘text slang’ quite a bit. You can do funky things like personalise the ‘to’ field so that each person who receives the text will have their name in it: Example ‘Hi Rachel’ if I use this feature I do get a lot of replies, mostly just saying ‘thank you’ but it’s interesting to see that personalisation goes a long way!
To be able to use this feature you must have the name of every person saved with their phone number in your contacts list. I collect client’s mobile numbers from my par-q’s or my online class booking site but always have an ‘add to mailing list’ yes/no option so that they can chose not to be added to my list. I send approx 1 text a month – if I have a special event or a new class starting I will usually send a text to let everyone know. I send all my class members a weekly newsletter by email so the text message marketing is a back up. You can hit a wide audience with one bullet point in a text, whereas emailed newsletters are often scan read and important messages can be missed. I also have a user name so when a client receives a text it says it’s from ‘Zumba Clare’ which they will recognise rather than just displaying a telephone number. You can also see if messages were delivered or not by checking the reports page on the dashboard of the web-site. Finally something I always do is put “to stop texts reply STOP” at the bottom of the message, because it’s best to give clients the option to be removed from your data base. So, to sum up – text messaging is a very good way to hit a lot of people with ONE short piece of information quickly and effectively!
Convention season is in full swing and ideas and business adventures are booming. Including the Marvin Burton master plan that I have started working on over the past few days. I think it should be ready for the end of the summer. As will the new fitness kit I trialled 5 years ago called the core stick. A few logistical design issues at the moment but should be hitting the industry soon.
I’m over 2000 views…
Thank you for everybody who attended the international fitness showcase. My Sports massage stand was a success. I’m always right at the end of the trade stands in the corner. This is great and ideal for people having treatments. As always next year we want to improve. Lynn Holmes was a perfect new member of the team and had a great first IFS. Lynn was offering alternative therapies and the woman’s touch that kept mine, James and Craig’s testosterone levels down. No topless photos of us this year which helped my image and we almost made it to the end until Craig decided to demonstrate 1 arm power press ups. I will be pulling him in the office and issuing a verbal warning, don’t worry, Work in progress. For next year we will have sexy screens that give a feel of an interrogation room but a little more private. I will also be issuing panic alarms to the boys. There was a massive imbalance of male: female ratios. All good though and my session with Ceri was fun. Ground Zero Circuits was described to me as the “best class of the whole weekend” wow, they must have had a tough ride. The class I watched with Ceri and Steve gave me Goosebumps, the atmosphere was amazing and people were literally celebrating after each sequence like hooligans at a football match. Unbelievable.
Onwards and we need to get grounded for the summer. Spring is here and if you haven’t noticed the ice has gone. So get outside and make the most if it. We have moaned for the past 6 months. Eventually the time is here. So who’s on the business trail?
· Outdoor Zumba?
· Triathlon training camps? Fastest growing sport in the world currently
· Pilates in the park? Why not
· Football pre season? (approach clubs now)
· Kids clubs?
· How about a workout class at a residential home?
Plan ahead and been the rest.
Back to education follow up
Since the thought provoking back care workshop I did with Rachel early this year I thought I would expand on the concepts. I was massaging lots of instructors in Blackpool and lots of them had similar problems. I have spoken briefly about functional flexibility in the past. This has nothing to do with how well you can stretch your hamstring. Tight hips will not fully be restored by endless stretching of your hamstring. It will help! Although I had many women who could demonstrate fantastic hamstring and quadriceps flexibility but when I dropped my elbow in the piriformis (the tennis ball trick) they were in agony. Which leads me to think a few possibilities and some tips that have helped me.
1. If you don’t know yoga (which I am not an expert by any means) Google the stretch pigeon pose. This is perfect to get in the hip complex. Although there are a few tweaks id make to the conventional stretch this would be a good start point.
2. Dynamic flexibility. Can you remember on your level 2 course when they said, “don’t bounce stretches” they are known as ballistic stretches. Well it wasn’t described in its entirety. To allow fascia to expand and cell receptors to stimulate there does need to be movement. That is what we know as mobility. The connective tissue is made up of red and white blood cells, fibroblasts, osteocytes, mast, Glial, Pigment and fat cells. If you look at movement based training such as ViPR training. The movements are described as rhythmical. If you use vibration training, the vibration creates this end range deep stretch. If you’re a therapist then have a look at the Graston Technique. This course in the UK is known as Faktor and will be presented by John Hardy and Physiotherapist Neil Poulton. The Tools for this can be seen at www.iamtools.co.uk these were what I was using at IFS and people were literally watching me cure back problems in minutes. The most logical way to improve dynamic flexibility would be to revisit stretches. A yoga class of 1 hour will stretch multiple joints a number of times. At the end of a conditioning class, we stretch individual muscles, once. For approximately 15-20 seconds. That simply isn’t enough to give you much benefit, allow for lactate drainage or develop your flexibility. Whole body stretches of larger parts of your body are much more suitable.
3. How many classes do you teach a week? This isn’t scientific. It’s only an estimate and it maybe a little low, although I don’t even think instructors get to this standard. Add up your total exercise time per week, including all classes. You should have stretched for a quarter of that time in a week. Like I said it’s only a guess, however. Most people don’t achieve that.
4. Foam roll. Instantly after a workout. I have been mixing foam roll, yoga and power plate therapy. My flexibility is unrecognisable now. The rolling has to be done after each session straight away. The DOMS has been minimal and recovery rate has improved.
5. Sports massage. Get one now. If you never have had one just go and try one. Have it on your legs. Even if you have a bad back. If you have tension in your legs, the referred pain will be in your back. Trust me. I’m called Marvin and that name is rare! It must count for something.
6. If you have a house do you clean it? How about your car, how about your feet? I realise the masses on choreography to go are women, and most of you take great pride in your appearance, or at least when I do a workshop you do. But your feet are the lowest point of your body and the contact point with the ground. Where the force is applied. If you’re not familiar with a book called “born to run” have a sneaky look. Vibrant 5 finger shoes are massive at the moment. But if you start wearing them with dysfunctional feet, you are opening a can of worms for your back. I agree that years ago people didn’t wear shoes and there was significantly less back problems but there were other factors as well. We have cars now and many with sports seats that put you in a painful position, years ago there was no such thing as a toilet. We used a method still used across the Far East – squat toilets (whole in the floor) so the position people adopted was a deep squat (the same position we are told is dangerous and we should never squat to because it will injury your back!) well guess what. Who are the ones with the back problems now? Office jobs are the most common job or at least the most common working position. So what hope do we have? Learn to move more and better and then we can assess and improve movement
7. When was the last time you changed the things that give your back stability? Shoes, office seat, mattress, sofa. The things you spend most time in or on. Back pain is often made worse when you sleep for 7-8 hours on a bad mattress. Have a look into the spring less mattress. They are made from memory foam that offers better support, more heat and less bed bug. Mine is awesome. Anybody wanting a night in my bed with me please email me xx
8. Spend less time standing in indoor cycle classes. It seems like classes are always very eager and excited to stand up on the peddles. That’s the reason why after 3 weeks of new bikes at my health club almost all of the crank arms and axis are bent. That means the next person who rides will be getting irregular movements occurring through their feet and knees. So bad IT bands, legs and knees are all on the agenda for the hundreds from derby who train at my club (makes me a busy boy in a year with injury rehab) standing is also less energy efficient and if we want to be picky then sitting is more likely to help cellulite problems.
9. Staying on the cycling theme. Hip flexors! Well. Route one, none stop express to bad backs. Spend more time stretching these if you are an instructor of indoor cycling, wear cycling shoes and stop pretending you’re not a cyclist in trainers. It doesn’t make you a professional or expert to wear the appropriate equipment. It’s for safety not fashion. You wouldn’t make a tennis racket out of cardboard if you had a little game this summer, would you? So stop cycling in trainers. Get the kit. They will support your base and give you better mechanics further up the chain of your legs.
10. Lastly resistance when doing anything that is based on momentum. Kettle bells, TRX, ViPR, indoor cycling, and running. To try and go light or slow will potentially cause you a lot more harm than good. Natural is the word I would use to describe these actions. The only side effect is that you will have to work harder and risk potential weight loss and sweating. I’m sorry if this isn’t your “cup of tea”
Hopefully a few ideas and a bit of a “Dad” telling off from me but you really need to look after your bodies. If they stop or break then so does your business.
More information coming out next week on the newsletter. Any problems or questions then please let me know. Use this email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great week and see you at Fitpro!