Fast-Food vs Gourmet Pilates: Which one is right for you?

Well how do you decide when you’re buying cereal if you’re going to get the generic store-brand or if you’re going to get the name-brand?

Generally speaking the store-brand is similar, really similar to the name brand, but there is something missing. It either doesn’t have quite the same flavor but it’s really, really close, or it doesn’t have quite the same texture. So you decide you’ll save the dollar and you’ll get the store-brand, but then you’re never really quite satisfied, because you know something is missing or just a little bit different, it’s not exactly what your taste buds expected to get. However, if you splurge and get the name-brand, you might have to cut some corners somewhere else.

Are you the specialty store shopper, where each item is procured personally by the shop owner, or are you that ‘let’s go where it’s quick and easy and I can just get in and out’ type?

Are you swayed by celebrity endorsements, or your friends referrals?

OR do you go online and do your own research?

Here we are in the New Year with lots of people making their resolutions regarding health and wellness, which includes eating better and exercising more, taking time in the day to spend with family rather than keeping their nose to the grind stone 24/7, stopping to smell the roses and lightening the proverbial load a bit. Priorities right? Telling yourself that you must begin to take better care of yourself sometime.

You’ve decided that after years of chasing the photoshopped, idealized perfect body that magazine covers and commercials are made of and you still don’t look like the swimsuit model on Sports Illustrated, and their specialized diet didn’t work to put the numbers on the scale you hoped to see, that the quick-fix is probably not the answer.

So, Pilates it is! Pilates doesn’t promise a quick-fix, so the studio you go to shouldn’t promise one either.

Pilates doesn’t promise the best arms, abs, back, buns, and thighs. Shocking right?!?!?! If you want quality Pilates, look for a studio that isn’t just about your parts, you’re not a car.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you won’t get those things by doing Pilates. The side effect of a consistent Pilates practice is absolutely amazing muscle tone, improved flexibility and incredible posture, relieving you of the aches and pains that poor posture lends itself to. Ridding you of the cranky back, neck, and hips. You will find muscles in places you didn’t know existed with names you can’t pronounce. That’s just the way it is, Pilates makes you stronger, enables you to really get off the couch and live your life, keeping you functional and strong until you’re very, very, very, very old.

So now let’s break it down, which studio is right for you? How much should it cost?



1. Fast Food variety: One of the membership only studios might be a perfect fit for you if you have a healthy body, no issues or injuries, you like the group class scene and camaraderie, or if money’s a bit tight. Please note, that it’s hugely possible that it isn’t true Pilates, if that isn’t important to you and Pilates inspired exercise is fine, (gym like exercise on Pilates apparatus) go for it, those classes start at less than $15 each. Chances are there is no personal attention, there is a class leader with the microphone queuing the moves in an inspiring and motivating up-tempo tone, with music jamming in the background. A club like this, is probably very similar to the offerings that a big box gym would have, when they advertise Pilates mat classes, and hold them 60 people deep in a room or area away from the weights and machines.

That teacher probably finished her two week certification offered by that particular establishment, and their whole job is to keep you safe, let you have fun, and sweat. You will reap some rewards, exercise is always beneficial.



2. Something in the middle: If you’re looking for a more personalized experience, there are a multitude of studios out there that aside from their group classes and fusion classes also offer Private lessons. You will pay more. Group classes generally start at around $25, these teachers have years more experience, come from more in-depth training programs, and this gets a lot closer to what Pilates really is about. Expect to pay at least $50 or more for private lessons.



3. Fine dining experience: You can afford and expect the best in an environment that caters to the customer, then you may prefer a more boutique style studio, it may be a home or retail space studio that offers strictly Pilates in a more traditional way. Each workout will be designed specifically to work with your body, bringing you the utmost in Pilates rewards because there is a method to the madness and those teachers probably also teach other teachers, bringing you the best Pilates has to offer. They may offer small group classes of no more than six or eight, no fusions, personal attention is the name of the game, and there will be lots of hands-on corrections made until your body gets to learn how to move in the most efficient way. Private lessons at a studio like this, can easily run $65 on up to $150 or more for a lesson.



4. Then we get to the celebrity status studios, and lessons can easily be $150 or more. Don’t pay more than you would pay a doctor, and remember, Pilates isn’t rehab, we can’t fix you, we can only help you create the space to allow the injured area to heal, we deal with the body parts that don’t hurt, PT deals with the body parts that are injured, please remember that very important difference. So unless they also hang the sign of a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist, they are not doctors and you shouldn’t be paying those kind of prices.

Please remember while you’re looking for your perfect fit, to kiss a few frogs and try before you buy. See if there’s an intro package, so you can get a feel of studios before you make your ultimate decision.

  • Google the other studios in your area, are the prices clearly shown?
  • Is the teaching lineage lead?
  • Yes, ask about the teacher’s training, and how long they’ve been teaching.
  • What apparatus do they have, are they fully equipped studios or just reformers and mats, etc?

There is a whole plethora of different apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates to attend to any body type and physical ability or disability. Will you be using the full studio in your classes or lessons? Pilates is an actual specialized study, well schooled teachers have apprenticed and worked with mentors and continue to study, and take lessons themselves. Lessons cost, filling a studio with apparatus costs, years of experience is invaluable.

So I invite you to be a discriminating consumer and do your research.

About the author:


Sunni Almond has just released an ebook “Help! Pilates, what’s in it for me?” for every Pilates teacher to give to their potential students/clients, to help them decide that Pilates IS the right choice for almost everybody. Download the book for FREE here

Anyone can take a weekend cert and hang a shingle on their door that says they teach Pilates, how is the unknowing general public supposed to able to tell which is the real deal and which is a Pilates impersonator. Just because someone uses the word, doesn’t make it so. Download the book and learn the differences. There really is something for everyone.

Sunni Almond is a true believer in the power of Classical Pilates, the one that came from Joe and Clara Pilates. She teaches Classical Pilates on classical apparatus in her studio Studio S Pilates in Temecula, CA.




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