It took more than technique and skill to boost Harley Pasternak and Ashley Borden into fitness celebrity status. Both became nationally recognized experts with loyal followings because they know how to inspire people.

A rigorous workout may be the highlight of your day for you and your staff. But, this may not be the case for your clients. Inspiring your clients to embrace a fit lifestyle will help you create a base of loyal fans who keep coming back to your studio. Tom Landry, the revered NFL coach, once said, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” How can you inspire more clients to achieve what they want to achieve?

Decide what you want to inspire in others
As a studio owner, you want to inspire and motivate your clients and your staff, and that’s a very broad goal. Think about what you want to inspire people to do. Do you want to inspire something as specific as a love of Pilates? Or something as broad as helping others find personal happiness by living a healthy lifestyle? To effectively inspire your clients, you have to stay focused on what you want to motivate them to do.

Find Your Own Inspiration
Think about the mentors, instructors and experts who have shaped your fitness career. How did they effectively inspire you? Some may have repeated motivational quotes that eventually became part of your own belief system. Maybe someone inspired you to adopt healthy habits by showing you the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Communicate inspiration to others in the ways it was best communicated to you.

Social media is a great tool for gathering inspiration. Put together inspiration boards on Pinterest. Whether you are inspired by quotes from accomplished women or breathtaking photos from nature, organizing images that inspire you can help you piece together your unique motivational perspective. Instagram and Facebook are other rich sources of inspirational material.

After you’ve compiled your inspiration boards, share the images, quotes, videos and information you’ve gathered with your clients and followers. Add your own personal images and thoughts to the channels as well. The inspirational tone you choose to create — funny, empowering, enlightening — will help reinforce your brand and create a community of people who respond to your type of inspiration.

Act from the inside out
Don’t sell your approach to fitness – believe in it. When Apple first launched the iPod and the iPhone, Steve Jobs didn’t sell the device as a game changers for the entire industry because he already believed it was. If you want to inspire your clients, you have to walk the talk and project your fitness values. Show your clients why you love you what you do.

Have more fun
Being inspirational doesn’t necessarily mean being profound. Having fun can be as powerful a motivator as making philosophical observations or barking like a drill sergeant. Find ways to incorporate more of what clients like to do and less of the exercises they dread, without compromising on the effectiveness of your class. For example, do you hear a collective moan when you ask your clients to hit the floor to work on abs? Try to incorporate more dynamic or standing core exercises.

Encourage risk-taking
You can inspire your clients by encouraging and rewarding risk-taking and de-emphasizing outcomes. For example, if you are a yoga instructor trying to introduce more advanced poses to your class, motivate your clients by saying, “Who tried at least one new move today? Congratulate yourself!” or, “I’m excited by the number of you who were willing to move out of your comfort zone.”

Be positive, but be authentic
Inspiration doesn’t just come from the words you say. How you say them matters just as much. Use different pitches and tones in your voice (at appropriate times). Avoid speaking in monotones, but beware of sounding like an over-caffeinated cheerleader by repeating an overly enthusiastic “Whoot Whoot” or “Let’s go!” Be open with clients about your own fitness challenges and how you’re working to overcome them. Create an environment that encourages improvement and be a part of that yourself.

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