Increasing the size of your client base can come from many different sources. Becoming known as a personal trainer who can help clients with pelvic floor issues will allow the health care providers in your community refer to you with confidence. At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will experience pelvic floor dysfunction during their lifetime. Learning how to help this population is becoming more important as these numbers are only increasing. Below are a few steps you can take to let your community of health care professionals know you are able to help further their client’s care in the fitness environments.
First Step – Education
In order to increase your client base when dealing with people with pelvic floor issues, its important to take some extra training. Fortunately, this can be in the form of either in person or online courses so its easy to make it work in your busy lifestyle. Search for some education that covers both theory and practical applications so you have some tools to use right away. I developed an online course geared specifically for fitness teachers and you can have a look at it here: https://cathywatsonphysio.ca/pelvic-floor-course/
Having some numbers in your head lets the people you are trying to form referral relationships with know you understand how vast a problem pelvic floor dysfunction is. Refer to sites such as: www.canadiancontinence.ca www.prostatecancer.ca and gather some stats so you have them on hand.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Have an idea of the different sorts of issues someone may deal with including incontinence, prolapse and pelvic pain
Understand a little bit about the different sorts of treatment choices available. When you see someone with, for example, urge incontinence, you will understand how it is very different from a stress incontinence. Treatment both in the clinic and in the fitness environment will be different depending on the type of incontinence someone is experiencing. Knowing that you, as a fitness professional, will be able to help in their clients ongoing therapy is valuable information that you want to ensure the health care community understands about you.
Communicating with the Community
Now that you have equipped yourself with some information, how are you going to let the health care community know so you can increase your client base? Reaching out in person or over the phone is certainly a nice way to be able to introduce yourself. Most working people are super busy though and may not take the time for that. It will be easier to design a mail out and include a few essential things.
In your first sentence, indicate your purpose for sending this letter. Let them know right away that you are in the neighbourhood and you are able to help their clients who have pelvic floor issues once they are ready to return to exercise. Include a sentence showing that you understand the enormity of this problem by including some stats. Make sure they know that you understand how different pelvic floor issues demand different cuing and exercises in the fitness environment. I have found, quite often, that the word ‘core’ gets misused when referring to the pelvic floor. Someone can be using their abdominal muscles without the pelvic floor muscles doing much of anything. So, to hear from a personal trainer that they understand if they have a client with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), they will be cueing and exercising them differently than someone with urge incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB) is very reassuring.
Offer a free training so they can experience first hand how you would train someone with pelvic floor issues. I always take someone up on this offer because it allows me to refer, with confidence, my clients who can benefit from these services.
Book with them
Book an appointment to experience their treatment style. Whenever I’m trying to get to know someone in the hopes of forming a working relationship, I often book an appointment with them. This allows me to experience their personality and treatment style and they get to know me as well.
Offer an info night for the healthcare professionals and/or their clients. Include a flyer they can post in their clinic. This might be an info night about how you, as a fitness professional who has extra training working with people with pelvic floor dysfunction, is able to help. This gives you a chance to either showcase private sessions or possibly, classes. I would love to see someone start up classes specific for either weak pelvic floor muscles, overactive pelvic floor muscles or for people with prolapse issues. I would be sending my clients in a heartbeat. Creating classes specific for men would also be a great positive step towards helping our male clients suffering with pelvic floor issues.
There is a growing need for more fitness professionals to understand how to help their clients with pelvic floor issues. We already have classes for osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s, heart classes, hip and knee replacement classes and more. The time is here for us to make pelvic floor another issue that can easily be helped in the fitness environment!