"The journey to owning your own successful fitness and wellness studio is often long and full of ups and downs. All experiences, no matter how small, big, positive or negative are all relevant. Remember it all, use it all, to help shape you into the instructor or studio owner you wish to be."
This month, meet Nicole Eyre and Monique Havenga of Novaturient Pilates. These co-owners, directors, and senior instructors took their 12 years of experience and created Novaturient Pilates, an innovative pilates, fitness, and wellness studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Their approach "is a synergy of holistic and functional – knowing that movement creates changes both inside and out, Mind, Body, Soul." Nicole and Monique have worked as Certified comprehensively qualified Pilates instructors, teaching Mat, larges equipment, private clients and classes, and group fitness classes at various other studios and gyms. They recently introduced Bungee Fitness classes to the studio, providing exercise that's "low-impact on the joints, while still providing high-intensity cardio that's different, inspiring and fun."
In this feature, Nicole and Monique share their tips on starting a studio, curating popular classes that make a difference, and business acumen to staying passionate and empowering others + a bonus Bungee Fitness Video with a sample of some of their beginner moves!
Read on to learn how these two women harnessed their experiences to find success!
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run Novaturient Pilates Studio?
There is a difference between being a good instructor and a successful studio owner.
As co-owners, we (Nicole Eyre and Monique Havenga) share 12 years of experience teaching in the fitness world. During the past years before opening Novaturient Pilates studio, we also attended and completed many other short courses and workshops in barre, functional training, yoga, nutrition, etc, to further our knowledge, skills, and abilities as instructors. We have also completed certified courses in nutrition, weight loss management, and bungee fitness. We are qualified in student training, having hosted certified training courses and short workshops. All of the above are the skills necessary to be a good instructor, this is extremely important as your business depends on your skills as a good instructor to provide a service to your clientele.
Before our careers as Pilates, health and wellness instructors, we had done studies and short courses in business management and marketing, as well as had short careers in sales, managing client relations and handling administrative affairs. All of this is absolutely crucial to the maintenance and running of a business or more specifically, in this case, our studio.
We have both had very different journeys to becoming Pilates instructors, and now studio owners. We were blessed to find one another and become friends, and now also partners in owning and running a studio. The combination of our Studies in the health and fitness industry and all our work experience prior to and during our time observing and assisting at other studios and gyms has given us success in running Novaturient Pilates Studio.
Can you share your mission statement or the reason that this business exists?
The meaning of our Business name Novaturient says it all; “Desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, situation or behavior.”
Both from our own personal experiences, and our experiences in helping others, we have discovered how Pilates, fitness, nutrition, and health, is a powerful force for change in one’s life.
Our approach to training is a synergy of holistic and functional – knowing that movement creates changes both inside and out, Mind, Body, Soul. Our aim is to initiate this powerful transformation in the lives of our clients through movement and through making an inspiring and positive environment where those mental and physical changes can develop. Our studio wants to bring forth positive and healthy changes in our community and in turn, bring people together.
How do you incorporate Bungee Fitness into your existing classes?
We spent years of finding ourselves confined to the boxes in which the industry labels us: Pilates instructor (core strength and rehabilitation), Group fitness instructor (cardiovascular, strength build and toning), Yoga instructor (relaxation and stretching), etc. We found ourselves bored, uninspired and wanting more, for ourselves and our clients. We wanted to create a space where we could still apply our love for Pilates and knowledge of anatomy and rehabilitation, and push our clients to reach goals they had possibly never imagined for themselves before.
Pilates is a slow controlled form of exercise, so something that ninety percent of our clients greatly lack in their training regime is cardiovascular exercise. They need an option to build endurance and functional movements. We wanted to find a way to use Pilates as a form of cross-training and to safely give our clients the ability to add-in an endurance and cardiovascular workout. This adds a functional quality to their fitness routines and has weight-loss benefits. As most of our clients still struggle with injuries that require constant maintenance, we needed something that was low-impact on their joints, while still providing high-intensity cardio that's different, inspiring and fun.
We did our research and Bungee Fitness was definitely the answer.
Can you share a video or a flow for the beginner Bungee class?
You have a wonderful selection of classes such as Kids Pilates, Pre and Post Natal Pilates. Can you share more about these classes and their benefits?
For us, we honestly believe the benefits are endless, but here are some, to name just a few;
We focus on moderate-intensity exercises that will help to relieve some chronic (long-term) pain conditions brought on by today's lifestyles. For children who undertake regular physical activity, they will also enjoy improved relationships and a more positive body image, it decreases depression, anxiety, pain, and loneliness.
Pre- and Post-natal Pilates:
Our Pre- and Post-natal Classes are part of our special populations' group classes. We accommodate all preggy ladies with tailormade exercise programs for all trimesters including Post-natal. Our highest priority is the health and safety of both mom and baby while providing a full-body conditioning class that caters to all matters Pre- and Post-natal.
We structure classes in such a way as to help you through each stage of pregnancy and to both prepare you for both the birth and postnatal recovery thereafter, giving you and your baby a strong start and long-term health.
What experiences helped/inspired you to reach your goal and have a successful fitness & wellness studio?
We (Monique and Nicole) would agree that this has always been a passion and a dream for us, and the journey to owning your own successful fitness and wellness studio is often long and full of ups and downs. All experiences no matter how small, big, positive or negative are all relevant. Remember it all, use it all, to help shape you into the instructor or studio owner you wish to be.
Knowledge, Networking and Experience are all key elements in reaching your goal.
Knowledge, you can never have enough. Theory and practice are two completely different things, as every single client is different, and this will require you to have ample knowledge of how to train a variety of people. As two instructors with nearly twelve years’ experience between the two of us, we still encounter clients with conditions that challenge our knowledge, training skill and abilities.
Work for gyms and studios where you can observe and be mentored by other instructors with more experience first. Often, they offer workshops and educational programs as benefits to both the instructors and the studios. If this isn’t the case, you can then at least work and earn an income without the financial pressures of running a studio to then save and use your income to then pay for and attend workshops and courses to further your own knowledge.
Networking is crucial to establishing yourself, your name and brand, within your industry. The most effective forms of networking would be through the acquisition of knowledge, attending courses and workshops where your mentors and peers learn of you and your skill and abilities as a trainer and would be happy to refer you. Also, just by working for a studio where clients can become familiar with you and your skills and knowledge as a trainer, they, in turn, will refer you to their friends, family, peers, work colleagues, etc.
Experience is everything in opening and running a successful studio. The only way to achieve work experience is by working for other studios where you can be a mentor and exposed to all the marketing and administrative efforts in running a studio from behind the scenes before you decide to open your own.
Your essence is your studio, keeping in mind that your success in becoming a studio owner first started with your success as an instructor. Your clientele will follow you because they resonate with your training and your outlook on health and fitness, it is vital that you are still present as an instructor in your own studio space, you have to find a balance between being the instructor and the owner.
Happy is healthy. You must ask yourself three important questions, for the sake of yourself, your clients and your business:
It seems so simple and almost insignificant; however, we believe it is crucial to any and all successful businesses.
If you are unhappy, you will not put in the necessary effort to your studio space, or your teaching, or your instructors!
As far as we are concerned, that is the holy trilogy to a successful Studio. Happy owners and mentors create happy innovative, challenging routines for their clients, who feel relax, sure of a good workout and satisfied with their training when they arrive and leave your studio. Happy Clients feel safe in your environment to achieve the goals that you have set before them in their exercise program.
Happy instructors spend more time in and around you and your studio, they feel the inspiration to improve themselves and the environment in which they work and instruct their clients. Happiness equals physical, mental and emotional health for all in your studio space.
Are there any other insights or experiences you would share with other teachers or potential students?
Be true to yourself as an instructor, follow your heart and intuition, the way you teach may not be for everyone, don’t take it personally. Your clients come and stay with you for a reason because they like what you have to offer.
Never stop learning, new discoveries are made every day with regards to nutrition, health, and fitness, what works for one client may not work for another, you want to have as much knowledge as possible to help every client to the best of your abilities. Education also helps you to stay up to date and relevant in the industry. Learning leads to inspiration and innovation, it helps to keep your passion alive.
On that note, never lose your passion for what you do, when you lose your passion for people or health and fitness, it’s time to find another job. People feel your passion in this industry, Passion = inspiration, determination and ultimately achieving one’s goals.
Challenge yourself, try forms of training out of your comfort zone.
Take care of yourself, we spend a lot of time training others and running a business and often forget to put ourselves first. The same rule applies as if you were to find yourself in a crisis; if you are run down, injured or sick, you will be unable to assist those around you. Take care of your mental and physical health.
Support and respect other studios and instructors. We are a community, no one instructor or studio is going to resonate with every person and potential client out there, refer each other when you cannot accommodate a client. Attend each other’s workshops and training, all of us are constantly learning from one another and can help each other to grow. Network, socialize and collaborate with people in the industry.
Social footprint, we live-in ever-changing times, where social media plays a huge role in validating the existence of a person or a business. You know how the saying goes nowadays, “if it isn’t on Instagram… did it even happen?” Learn it and use it!
Did you love these tips and insights? Let Nicole and Monique know!
Follow them on Instagram @novaturient.pilates, or visit the Novaturient Pilates Website. The studio is located in Weltevredenpark, Johannesburg, South Africa if you'd like to try it out for yourself!
For many of us, it would be impossible to fit all of our love and adoration for Mom into just one day of the year. Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity to remind us to celebrate the women who give the greatest gift of all: life. Whether you are a proud mama yourself or paying homage to another mother, this is a day to celebrate the single most important role in the world.