Pilates is the in thing when it comes to fancy exercise options. Similar to the 'organic' food movement, Pilates is on everyones radar and most peoples wish list but it's not within everyones price range. The reason for this is simple. A fully qualified instructor, as recognised by industry standard has completed a Diploma in their field which consists of approx. 700 hours of study before they even start to teach. The Diploma takes most students 9 - 12 months to complete and it demands a total immersion approach.
Beyond that, a fully qualified instructor continues to attend further education workshops to maintain and gain higher recognition within the industry. A basic education costs between $6000 - $9000 up front, with no government assistance available. A workshop might cost $300 - $1600, and as an instructor who is hungry for knowledge and wants to do the best for my clients, I attend at least 2 of these a year (again, with no government subsidy). Add on to that interstate travel, accommodation and time off of work for which most of us are not paid because we are either contracted or employed casually, being a Pilates instructor is an expensive career choice!
In the 10 years I have been teaching, every single year I have spent no less than $2000 and up to $10,000 per year on my own education. Wow, I can't believe I just said that out loud! Over my career I have spent in excess of what is would have cost me for a university degree. So, when I charge $120 for an hour of my time, my client knows that they are in the best hands possible. I have gone above and beyond what is required of me to be able to call myself a Pilates instructor. I owe that to the client, and I honour that to the industry represent.
But... there are companies handing out Pilates certification for less than $1000. You can pick up that paper by attending a 16 hour workshop. And then you can open a studio and teach 'Pilates', the same as me. Same name, same recognition, same customer reach. As a 2 bob instructor, you might charge just $15 a class and you might fill up your room with customers who are looking for the Pilates fix (because we all know the benefits right). Those customers have no idea the difference they are paying for. They have heard of the benefits, this class is called 'Pilates', and it's affordable so they attend. Little does the customer know what detriment this class may have on their whole experience and what damage that experience is doing to the reputation of the industry.
Enter the 'Pilates' franchise, reformer 'fitness', excessive class numbers and 45 min express options. Exploding onto the market in the last couple of years, these classes promise all the benefits that Pilates has to offer AND it's affordable.
While these classes are fun, they use Pilates machines, the exercises have the same names and instructors use a language that is brimming with Pilates phrases, lets get something straight...
As the great Warren Buffet once said
Price is what you pay, value is what you get
The value you gain from a Pilates professional far out weighs the price you pay for consumer classes.
The less you are paying for your class, the less you are going to get out of it. And it does not matter whether you go to that cheap class 5 days a week. A cheap class is never going to equate to a full paying experience no matter how often you go.
Pilates can restore health and repair bodies when practiced one on one or in a small group with individualised attention. I have seen Pilates perform miracles and I have seen 'Pilates' do harm. As a customer, you have a choice. If it was a food choice, would you opt for fast food 5 nights a week or a decent meal at a respectable restaurant once a week? Make the choice that your body will thank you for, always.
Pilates is costly. Pain, injury and poor of quality of life is invaluable, nor is it compensated.