Pilates is a great way to get fit, but if you’re looking into it, you might have found that it can also be pretty expensive.
What makes Pilates more expensive than any other type of aerobics class?
Why Is Pilates So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. There Are Small Class Sizes
Most Pilates classes aren’t going to be larger than around ten people, which means the instructor has to be able to make enough money to compensate them for their time.
The fewer people in the class, the more expensive it will naturally be.
While you can find larger Pilates classes (or even do an online course), you’re not likely to get the personal attention that you need to really get the most out of it.
Pilates demands that the instructor work one-on-one with you quite frequently to correct your form and make sure that you’re getting the most out of the exercise.
Classes such as cycling don’t require that much one-on-one hands-on work because there are really only a few ways to cycle, and it’s immediately visible if someone is doing poorly.
Something like Pilates, however, is more complex and more specific.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t ever larger classes.
If you go to a beginner or a casual-level class, you’re more likely to find better prices.
You can get a feel for Pilates and try it out before you decide whether it’s the right option for you.
Just keep in mind that larger classes mean less one-on-one, personal instruction, and more doing things by yourself.
You may need to look up some instruction videos online and practice some moves at home, so you can really internalize how the moves are supposed to be done.
2. You Need To Be Watched Carefully To Avoid Injury
With any exercise, you can potentially injure yourself.
Pilates is known for being particularly safe because it’s a low-impact exercise.
You have less wear-and-tear on your joints.
That doesn’t mean that there are no dangers.
You need the proper posture when you perform exercises.
Otherwise, you could hurt your back.
Pilates requires slow, steady, studied movements, and maintaining these positions can be a challenge.
If you start to find yourself off-center, you may need correction from an expert.
You may not realize that you’re off-center until someone else corrects you.
The reality is that any exercise presents some danger, and as long as there is a danger of injury, the right professionals are going to be expensive.
A cheap Pilates class may be more affordable, but it’s not going to be as safe.
That being said, there are completely unattended Pilates classes.
There are classes that you can do online or through Zoom.
In these classes, you might not have anyone watching you, but you will also need to be a little more careful in the movements you take and exercises you choose to do.
In a Zoom class, the instructor will still be watching, but they may not be able to catch “dangerous” or incorrect movements you’re making.
3. It’s Both A Social Occasion And An Exercise
A lot of people go to a weekly Pilates class not only to exercise but also to meet with their friends.
There’s value in doing a hobby together and a value to meeting with a big group every week.
Because of this, people are usually willing to pay more for Pilates.
They know that they’re getting a lot of value out of it.
It isn’t just an activity. It becomes almost a team-based activity that people are able to do with friends.
This is especially true if people start to interact with the instructor as a peer rather than “just” an instructor.
People want to pay for exercise that motivates them, and if their instructor is motivating them, as are their friends, they’re far more likely to keep going back every week.
There’s value in any exercise that’s easy to keep up with.
If you are going to Pilates with a group of friends, you can consider some money-saving measures.
You can consider hiring your own private instructor and splitting the cost, which could ultimately be less expensive than taking a large group class.
You can also carpool together.
By sharing transportation, you’re at least sharing some of the costs associated with getting to the class, especially if it’s farther away.
4. Pilates Is Extremely Trendy And In Demand
Anything that people want is going to be more expensive.
Twenty years ago, you rarely heard about Pilates, even though it was actually invented back in the 1920s and has been studied by exercise professionals ever since.
About ten years ago, however, there was a significant resurgence in interest in Pilates.
This is because it’s a great exercise that anyone can do.
Not only does it help with strength training and flexibility, but it can also be used by people at all stages of fitness to improve.
Pilates has also been around long enough that people know that it’s not just a trend.
While exercises come and go every day, people know that Pilates has been around for a century and is constantly improving.
While it may be seeing a huge amount of interest right now, it’s not likely to be a bubble.
Being trendy means a few things.
First, Pilates instructors can charge more.
That’s just supply and demand.
Second, people are more likely to sign up for Pilates classes, so they fill up fast.
If they weren’t so expensive, you’d never be able to get in.
As Pilates continues to become more and more popular, it’s still going to be pretty expensive moving forward.
However, there may be more instructors entering into the profession.
Speaking of that…
5. Becoming A Trainer For Pilates Is Expensive
Trainers don’t just arbitrarily charge a lot for their Pilates classes.
They have to.
Becoming a trainer in Pilates is expensive.
There’s an entire lesson and certification process involved.
You want that because you want trained instructors who are going to be able to tell you the most effective and safest ways in which to move your body.
Trainers are going to need to undergo not only their initial training, but there are updates, workshops, and seminars to ensure that they’re still doing their best and still have the best possible equipment.
Trainers have to pass the cost on to their classes, or they would never be able to afford their certifications and continuing education.
With more training, trainers are able to deliver better, faster results.
The best trainers are always going to be the most expensive, and if you want a truly talented Pilates trainer, you’re going to need to be prepared to drop some cash.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you find a very affordable Pilates instructor, you should be curious as to why.
If they are very affordable, they may not have had the training that other instructors have had, or they may not yet be experienced with the exercise.
There are some great exercise instructors who may just be breaking into Pilates and may give discounted rates, but you should at least understand why their rates are so low.
6. The Equipment Is Expensive
Pilates equipment itself can cost many thousands of dollars.
Now consider the fact that every piece of equipment is being used by a person.
If you’re training ten people, you need ten pieces of equipment.
That can add up fast.
Many trainers have invested in their own training setup and either need to pay off the cost of the equipment or the leases attached to them.
Gyms need to pay both their Pilates instructors and for the equipment itself.
Of course, there’s another side to this.
Because Pilates equipment is expensive, very few people can afford to have it at home.
If you really want the best equipment for your chosen exercise, you need to go to an instructor or a gym.
This is also why Pilates is expensive.
They can charge that amount because you can’t get that experience at home, and they need to charge enough to cover their expenses.
Many people don’t realize exactly how expensive this equipment is.
If they do, they don’t really think about it.
Pilates instructors need to invest a lot of time and money into their certifications and experience and their equipment, so it’s understandable why it costs so much.
That being said, it is possible to do a lot of Pilates exercises without equipment, which is why you can do some Pilates at home, and it’s why there can be video and YouTube Pilates classes.
If you’re not interested in paying high costs, either for lessons or equipment, there’s always the option of trying out some of the at-home exercises first.
If you get results, you can then move on to something in the gym.
7. You Want To Make Sure You’re Safe
This is more important in recent days.
Apart from potential injury, you need to make sure you’re safe, whether it’s still the pandemic or you’re just generally wanting everything to be safe and sterile.
Cleaning and sterilization take time and money.
The more expensive classes are likely spending more time and effort on cleaning and maintenance.
They will be wiping down their equipment regularly and making sure that everything is disinfected.
When you go to the gym, a lot of hands touch the same equipment.
Even if you are in the habit of wiping everything down, you can’t do a complete sanitization the way that the staff can.
If you want to make sure that you aren’t bringing back germs and bugs from the gym, you may need to pay a little extra for enhanced cleanliness.
Apart from cleanliness, maintenance is also important.
With the right maintenance, machines are safe, but without it, they can be very dangerous.
Pilates equipment is expensive and does need to be maintained.
Therefore, you’re not just paying for access to the equipment, but also the services involved in repairing and sterilizing it, especially when there can be a lot of people in a single room at any given time.
8. Many People Get Great Results Through Pilates
Understandably, people are always more willing to pay for results.
Many people pay more for Pilates because they see that they’re getting results, often in ways that they’ve never been able to before.
Pilates isn’t just designed for raw exercise results, however.
Not only is there a social component, but there’s also a component of relaxation and restoration.
Because of this, a lot of people don’t just get great results, but they also feel a lot better once they’re done.
One major component of exercise is sticking with it.
When people don’t find exercise “fun,” they aren’t going to continue doing it.
Even if it is technically giving them results, it won’t be sustainable long-term because of their lack of interest.
The better the results, the more people are willing to pay.
If you’ve gone to Pilates and found it uninspiring or ineffective, then you’re not going to go back regardless of the price.
How much would you pay for an exercise that was truly sustainable and effective?
That’s not to say that Pilates works for everyone.
It doesn’t, but it works for enough people that they can charge a lot.
The people who do want to go understand and appreciate that it is the right exercise for them.
If it weren’t worth it, no one would pay for it.
9. Private Lessons Are Much More Expensive With Pilates
Whenever you’re in a class, you’re distributing the cost.
If your Pilates class is expensive, be aware it could be a lot more expensive!
Comparing the classes, a Pilate class could be $50 with a group or $500 alone.
Because private lessons are so expensive, most people would rather have a group class, even if that group class is a little more expensive than they’d like.
That also means that you might be able to save money if the class size is a little larger.
If you are taking a private class, you might be able to cut the class costs by inviting one or two people to join you—with the instructor’s permission, of course.
Just don’t expect the total amount to remain the same.
An instructor might charge $500 to teach one person but $600 to teach two.
You’re still saving money ($300 for each instead of $500 for you), but it does take more effort to train multiple people at the same time.
Having private classes also has numerous other advantages.
You get one-on-one attention.
You’re able to work directly with the instructor at your own pace.
You can do it in the comfort of your own home.
You may find it easier to remain motivated because of the personal touch.
If you struggle to succeed in group settings (or even if you feel shy), consider getting a private instructor.
10. Pilates Tends To Be Done In Large, Metropolitan Areas
You can take kickboxing virtually anywhere, but Pilates tends to crop up in already expensive locations because it’s such a trendy thing to do.
That means higher rents and higher insurance—really, higher costs across the board.
Because of this, you’re going to see Pilates classes being more expensive than other types of classes.
It’s a combination of being associated with more expensive, metropolitan areas and being attended by those who have generally higher incomes and more time on their hands.
If you’re interested in cutting the costs, you might be able to go to an area that’s more rural or at least has a less “trendy” audience.
You can also consider going at off-times, such as during the day, or late at night.