Pick up any magazine, and it will become clear that people are thinking about something pretty frequently: weight loss. At the start of the new year, people sign up at gyms in droves with the hope that this will be the year they transform their bodies. So as the instructors and gyms responsible for those who come in looking to lose weight, how do we address those concerns in our messaging and our classes?

There is no catch-all approach that will suit every gym or studio. Rather, it is up to you to choose the best way to address those desires for weight loss and possibly transform them into a more substantial and sustainable objective. There are myriad approaches to take, but we’ve explored a few of them to get you thinking about your own strategy!

Appealing to the Desire to Look Good

A simple way to draw in clients who may be concerned about weight loss or specific areas of their bodies (waist, thighs, butt) is by being direct in your messaging and appeal to their desire to look good. Fitness buzzwords like sculpt, burn, shred, slim, trim, tone, and blast have become industry standards that are often peppered into class names or descriptions in order to attract clients with the promise of body transformation.

Take for example, David Barton Gym’s 45-minute “Ass Blast” class or Crunch’s “Chisel It” which the website describes are designed to, “Shape, tone, sculpt and chisel your way through a transformative body experience.” This messaging speaks directly to a client’s desire to shape these parts of the body in order to achieve a more fit look. Once they get to class, most clients discover something much more profound: that exercise gives them energy and boosts their self-esteem, whether or not their weight changes.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Exercise

For a holistic approach to clients’ desires to be fit and lose weight, some health centers choose to focus on changing the body through healing rather than re-shaping. Stefanie Bernhard, manager and senior teacher of GST Body in Los Angeles, explained that at their studio, they work with the fascia (connective tissue), which is an effective method for treating pain and injuries.

The GST website informs clients that, “Through 20 years of study and clinical research, GST Body has developed proprietary technology specifically to address the unique requirements of fascia,” which looks at exercise as rehabilitation for the body based in science. Some of the benefits of the GST methods they mention include that it: “removes tissue calcification and adhesions, restructures tissue form and shape, restores tissue suppleness, re-educates tissue behavior and habits, reanimates tissue function.”

The idea of rehabilitating the body is key at GST, and while clients may discover that these exercises also change their appearance, the goal is really to promote a better lifestyle. According to Bernhard, “The good news is that when you treat your body well, it also starts to look better so people end up meeting their desire to look more fit by focusing on healing themselves. We’ve found that getting out of pain and therefore improving overall body health is the biggest motivation for people.”

At GST they keep the class size small in order to create a more supportive and individualized environment. There are classes to suit several specific needs like a GST Movement Medicine® for injuries and pain; GST Conscious Conditioning® for athletes and fitness enthusiasts; and GST Anti-Aging® for anyone interested in body healing.

Promoting a Healthier Lifestyle

Another approach to appeal to or redirect from a client’s desire to look and feel better is by promoting a healthier lifestyle. When a person is fit, it typically comes with an overall lifestyle change regarding diet, sleep, and self-esteem, but it requires a degree of discipline and consistency in order to work.

At WRKNYC gym in New York City, founder Will Jackson has taken the approach of promoting a healthier lifestyle in order to draw in and keep clients who may initially be starting their fitness journey with the goal of changing how they look. If the only reason people come to class is to lose weight, they may not see the results they want and quit too soon.

For this reason, Jackson and his team focus on incorporating the three pillars of fitness in classes: resistance, cardio, and flexibility. These three in combination, plus the necessary rest days, help clients to reach their fitness goals and see results faster than focusing on any one of these alone. They encourage consistency in their clients because this will help them recognize that exercise is not a quick fix or a means to an end but a lifestyle that leads to better habits and better health.

They encourage consistency in their clients because this will help them recognize that exercise is not a quick fix or a means to an end but a lifestyle that leads to better habits and better health.

WRKNYC guarantees that clients will see results if they just show up to class and work hard. According to Jackson, it is effective, “Members react well to the message because they realize that there are institutions out here that focus on providing a service instead of selling a dream. It’s honest and its real. It’s not for show, glamour or individuals who don’t want to be challenged all the way to the top. Our members see results, bottom line.”

Guiding Clients to Self-love through Mind-Body Connection

For others, the idea of body transformation is not as important as a spiritual transformation and emotional well-being achieved through self-love and a mind-body connection. When your mind is in tune with your body, you will feel more confident about how you move through the world physically, mentally, and spiritually. At REV Cycle Studio in Baltimore, the approach to marketing is one of self-love and courage, believing that body transformation is only possible through a holistic focus on mind, body, and soul connection.

Esther Collinetti, co-owner and instructor, shared that, “At REV we believe fitness is love made visible. All of our classes are taught by fierce fitness leaders trained to coach, motivate, and inspire their clients of all levels to push beyond their comfort zone in a judgment free zone. Our clients soon make REV their happy spot. A home away from home. A place they come for their “me time” or to connect with others. It is always more than a just a good calorie burner.”

When exercise goes beyond the physical, clients may realize how a healthy body produces a healthy mind and greater well-being in all aspects of life. If working out is about reconnecting with yourself on a deeper level, the chances of sticking with it for the long-haul is virtually guaranteed. Exercise will naturally become a part of daily life, as vital to clients as sleeping and eating!