THE INS AND OUTS OF PRACTICAL SURFACES
- WOODEN FLOORS. One thing I am very grateful for is that I have wooden floors in my Pilates studio. This makes cleaning easy and if I need to move any of the Pilates furniture around it easily slides on the wood.
- CARPET. If I did have carpet, one benefit would be that it softens sound and is very comfortable underfoot. However I have been to other studios where the wool carpet continually piles and can create allergies! The worst experience was being in a studio that had fleas residing in the carpet! So yes, I am extremely grateful that I have wooden floors and would suggest that if you are starting a studio that this is something to consider.
- POLISHED CONCRETE. This can look absolutely stunning, but is not very kind to legs and feet, especially if you are teaching all day! Concrete can be best suited to cooler climates, but with all my dance injuries including dropped metatarsal heads, I am glad I have the softer surface of wood.
- WALLS. Plain colour is best without distraction. You will need to consider the placement of mirrors as well as hooks. Make sure you have some free wall space for rolling out with the spiky ball, fit ball wall squats or foam roller against the wall. You might want to consider some inspiring Pilates exercise images printed on canvas. I have a friend who painted one of her studio walls with magnetic blackboard paint so that she could put her magnetized Makarlus there and also advertise any specials, events, or motivational quotes in chalk as well. I am not so keen on using chalk because of the additional dust it creates!
- MIRRORS. I love how mirrors make a space seem larger and create more light. Some people don’t like to see their reflection, so having a curtain that you can pull across the mirrors can help. I love using my mirrors to get a different perspective on a client and also to be able to easily keep an eye on everyone in the room.
- SHELVING. I never seem to have enough shelf space! Keep a stack of fresh clean towels for your clients to use during their session. Make sure that small props cannot fall. You might need special holders for your hand weights or else use grip mats underneath.
PLAN THE WORKFLOW OF YOUR STUDIO
I often hear about the ‘work triangle’ in the kitchen, and I often wonder, could that same concept be applied to the Pilates Studio?
- Try to design the layout of your equipment and placement of small props so that you get the most for you and your clients during your session.
- Make sure you can open and close your door fully without having to move Pilates equipment.
- Make sure all your hooks are at the optimal height for you and your clients for your springs, magic circles and stretch bands.
- Keep the most used and heaviest small props at easy reach height so you (and your clients) are not bending down (or reaching up) throughout your session.
- Make sure that the reformer and the Cadillac have enough space around them so that feet in straps don’t hit the wall
- Proper lighting is essential for being able to see your clients clearly and to adjust equipment.
- When I first moved into my home studio apartment, one of the first things I changed was the light fitting on the ceiling. I put in a chandelier. This was beautiful to look at doing supine work. One of my clients encouraged me to put a dimmer on all my lights to adjust the mood at different times of the day and for different clients. This was such a great suggestion as I can dim the lights softly for my Fibromyalgia clients who are more sensitive to strong light, or have them brighter to create more energy in the studio for other clients.
- Natural light is best either through window or a skylight. One of my clients loves lying on the Trap Table in the winter months. It is place right beside the window and the beautiful light warms her bones. I feel she is almost cat like in how she loves to bask in the the sun!
- Lighting your small props shelf can add a fun element of design too!
- Fluro overhead lighting that shines directly into your eyes when lying on the Reformer is never friendly or fun.
- Always have a stock of spare light bulbs on hand so that you are never caught without good lighting!
ESSENTIALS OF EFFICIENT VENTILATION
Beautiful and functional studio design combines heating and cooling, light, and ventilation.
I remember I used to work in a group reformer studio which had no windows. This was a depressing space, not to mention that there was no where for sweat smells or stinky feet to go (not to mention if someone farted!)
- Having windows that open is so important to get rid of bad smells! Open doors and windows whenever possible to make the space fresh and alive.
- Put in an air conditioner to keep clients cool in the summer months. When I first started my home Pilates studio this is one thing I didn’t budget for. It soon became apparent that air conditioning was essential, especially when pregnant clients started to look like they would faint!
- Get an air purifier if you are really concerned about keeping the air clean. I bought one a few years ago and I love how it gets rid of allergens. It was pure magic when I had a client allergic to cats, and Jessie the Pilates cat’s fur seemed to travel everywhere! Keeping her out of the studio, vacuuming and dusting often as well as having the air purifier on for a few hours before they arrived seemed to stop any adverse reactions from my sensitive client!
CREATE AN INVITING WAITING AREA
- Living plants are attractive and there is no need to worry about pollen dust creating allergies. This is my preference over flowers, although I do love orchids – these are low allergen plants as they rely on insects to pollinate.
- Having comfortable seats where clients can take off their shoes and put on their Pilates socks is essential.
- Have somewhere where clients can put their stuff; either hooks, cubed shelving or lockers.
- Minimise cleaning time by providing a mat at the front door as well as just inside the entrance. Also use weather strips to prevent dust and leaves blowing in.
- Keep it well ventilated – use the exhaust fan and keep it in good nick.
- Get rid of bad smells by lighting a match, burning a candle or diffusing essential oils.
- I have a squatty potty around my toilet. This is the ultimate for easy bowel evacuation, especially for pre and postnatal clients, older clients or clogged up children. Educating clients about good toilet habits is so important for pelvic floor health.
- Keep a couple of brochures on pelvic floor health and how to go to the toilet without straining in the dunny.
- Make sure you have lots of clean hand towels in the bathroom.
- Make sure the entrance to your studio is well lite and a non slip surface.
- Vinyl will crack if exposed for long periods of time to the sun. Strong sunlight can cause small cracks in the vinyl permanently damaging it. When not using the studio, try to keep blinds down so that strong sunlight does not hit the vinyl directly.
- Choose equipment with medium density foam so that it does not dint over time. (Nothing worse than having the shape of someones bottom permanently on the Reformer!)
- Oils in cleaning products will dry and crack the vinyl, the best cleaning product for your equipment is soap and water, or plain water and a good quality microfiber cloth
- Place a yoga mat over your Cadillac to protect the vinyl from client zippers that can scratch the surface.
- Make sure your furniture is ergonomic. The best choices I have made in ergonomics is a side mouse for repetitive strain injury to my elbow, and also HAG ergonomic chair to relieve lower back pain from an old disc injury.
- Use dropbox to keep clients records. I also use dropbox to store all my tax documents.
- Invest in a shredder for all your old paper documents. Go digital and get rid of all that paper clutter!
- Have a spot for all your incoming mail – try and have all your mail going to your email to save on paper clutter and overwhelm.
YOUR BOOKINGS SYSTEM
- I love Supersaas for all my client bookings and reminders. Educate your clients in how to use the bookings system when they have their initial consultation.
- A security grill will give you peace of mind!
- An alarm master key pad is also a great idea.
- A security camera at your entrance is something else to consider too!
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