Pilates gym vs Pilates at a Studio

 In Pilates

January is always the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry. After a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry (often in excess), many gyms see their memberships double each January.January resolutions are often all about losing weight, eating better and getting fitter.Regardless of all that enthusiasm, gym attendance is usually back to its normal pre-New Year level by mid-February. Why is that happening?

Why would you see better results in a Pilates studio?

Here is the difference between Pilates at the Gym/church hall (in UK) or Pilates in a proper Pilates studio.

  • Class QualityClass sizes in gyms are generally not limited and the number of participants can get very large. Pilates is very technical and requires a lot of correction (especially at first). Smaller class sizes mean participants get more of the instructor’s attention.

Classes at a Pilates studio are smaller for a personalised workout, you will also benefit from all Pilates apparatus, which you do not have in a gym. The way Pilates classes in a gym are set up makes it extremely difficult to control who is taking the class and what Pilates experience they have. People come and go all the time. Unfortunately, no one actually learns how to do Pilates properly. There is a lot of technique that goes into Pilates and in order to get the maximum benefit you need to understand the method, mastering the basics requires, learning them correctly and having the time to practice them. In a reputable Pilates studio, you will always start with a consultation to assess your level of fitness, your posture, and injury (to direct you to the appropriate class).


  • Instructor ExperienceAs a Pilates Master trainer for the past 20 years, this a very important factor for me. In a gym, Pilates instructors generally do not need to be properly certified from a Pilates organisation and often belong to a fitness group. Their qualification is shorter and consists of only teaching Mat Pilates. Most studios are very strict about who they hire and what certification they have.

There is a wide range of certification programmes out there that allows people to claim that they are Pilates instructors.  Some are only a weekend long. These quick training programmes tend to appeal to trainers with other specialties who are looking to simply add to their skill set.  If you want to be an instructor that truly specialises in Pilates you will need to commit yourself to over 1 year and half and requiring over 200 hours practice, teaching and observation hours.  You will only take your exam after that period. These extensive programmes train Instructors how to effectively teach various clients from sport conditioning to rehabilitation.  These are the instructors Pilates studios hire.  Studios hire trained educated Instructors who develop into more talented and experienced Instructors.


  • Equipment: Pilates classes offered in gyms are usually just mat based.  Many people (including Gym/Pilates instructors) have no idea that there are large pieces of spring resistance equipment (the Reformer, Chair, Cadillac etc) that participants use at a Pilates studio. How many instructors come to my studio for a job and only discover the Pilates equipment.

Pilates studios do not charge a monthly club fee, so you are only paying for the classes you are attending.  Gyms are also not likely stocked with all the complimentary props and additional equipment you will find at a top rated, well established Pilates studio.  Pilates equipment greatly enhances your Pilates experience. They are smaller classes of up to 4 people.  The equipment is designed to either challenge you further or to modify exercises making them safer for you while you are rehabilitating from injuries or faulty postural habits.

If your studio doesn’t have all Pilates equipment such as reformer, cadillac and chairs, I am afraid they are cutting down on costs and are not qualified to call themselves a proper Pilates studio.

Numerous reformer based studios opened in London but are not proper Pilates studios.

They are more of a gym based studio and are usually cheaper.

Remember you only pay for what you get.

We at Sandrine’s Pilates consider ourselves a skilled elite Pilates studio. In fact, we think that our studio is more than a workout or a rehabilitation centre – it’s a total fitness experience.

We are not just a Pilates studio, we are a Teacher training centre for PhysicalMind Institute New York and can honestly say that our instructors are highly qualified and receive ongoing knowledge as we do provide regular courses for instructors.




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