Confession Time: the BIGGEST mistake I've ever made as a trainer

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When I started my first Pilates studio I did what most excited (and inexperienced) new studio owners do - I followed the industry norms and set up “session packages” to sell to my beloved clients, in randomly chosen numbers of sessions of 3, 5, and 10.

If you’ve ever taken class at a Pilates or group class studio, you’ll likely recognize this is the standard. No surprise there. In fact, it’s very unusual to see pricing structured any other way. 

Fast forward 11 years later and I’m here to say that using the “session package” model has been the number one biggest disservice to my clients and my biggest mistake ever as a coach.

Woah. Dramatic. I know. But let me tell you why… 

You, as my client, were never going to see results, let alone keep them, with the purchase of 5 Pilates sessions. That whole idea (which most of the fitness industry operates on) supports a culture of dependency and deception. 

“Them’s fightin’ words, Ash. Why is it really so bad?” 

3 big reasons… 

  1. When you buy on sessions, there is no deadline for us to get you real results. We start working together, and suddenly it’s 8 months later and while you might feel a bit better, you’ve spent thousands on 1:1 training and (likely) can’t see a whole lot of change in the mirror. 

    While there are exceptions to this rule… it’s all too common. But with no timeframe to complete the task and a reason to create a game plan, talk through obstacles, and commit to some consistency, we take our eyes off the ball and don’t push for more results. 

    Side note: I recognize that many personal trainers and coaches shy away from this sort of thing. If you have assessments and a way to measure a baseline, then you have to make sure to deliver some changes for your clients, because if you don’t it will be glaringly obvious! 

    So, now when I have the opportunity to help someone I make sure I know exactly what they want to accomplish, what has and hasn’t worked in the past, and how long we have to get them where they want to be. All of these vital questions need to be asked if we are to make this goal a reality! 

  2. With no deadline we go into default mode. What’s default mode? Default mode is when you wake up 3 years from now, having spent 3 hours a week for 3 years and a total of 468 hours in training sessions to not really know exactly what you’ve accomplished with all that time. 

    Without a deadline there is no predetermined time to assess what is working, what isn’t working, and why that matters. If you have a deadline in mind, there’s a natural flow of assessment, the evolution of your goals and planning for that. 

    I don’t know about you, but when I think about the opportunity cost of 468 hours of my time, not to mention the financial cost, I want to know in no uncertain terms exactly what I’ve gotten out of that investment. That’s almost 20 full days that could have been spent chasing after kiddos, getting more sleep, or wrapping up a million other projects on your to - do list. 

  3. The “most bad” of the 3 big reasons session pricing doesn’t work is a real doozy. It’s the one that makes me feel the most icky. Selling random training packages is deceptive! You, the client, trust me, the expert, to sell you what you need to succeed! Let’s imagine you come in and you want to drop 10-15 pounds, you want to tone up, and you want mitigate some lower back pain. Is 5 or 10 Pilates sessions going to do that for you? No. Absolutely not. 

    It takes a certain amount of consistency to get results. Whether working with me, completing home workouts, paying attention to your food choices or how much sleep you’re getting, what you do consistently matters! 

    Selling a random 10 pack of sessions with no outline of how the other 23 hours of the day impacts  your health and progress is just a lie. You deserve to know how to accelerate your progress, and how to maintain your results. And 10 training sessions just isn’t going to cut it. To be brutally honest, it’s a waste of your time and your investment. 

So, now you know exactly why I am taking a stand against “session packages” and moving into a more forward thinking and results chasing model. What's my real confession here? I spent way too much time delivering lackluster results because of a lackluster system. 

But I did the best I could with the information I had at the time, and luckily now I’ve learned a way to serve you in a much more meaningful way that supports you as you commit to yourself, your goals, and your kickass results. 

Ashley Brown