3 Important Questions to ask your Pilates Instructor

Nowadays it seems there is a new fitness boutique on every corner.  Unfortunately, the term Pilates in the name of a business is often misleading.  More than a few places that say they offer Pilates actually borrow the phrase for marketing.  Terms like "pilates inspired" indicate that their method has very little to do with the real thing.  Pilates (the real deal) consists of hundreds of unique exercises with very specific names, performed on pilates equipment and/or the floor, executed in a sequence designed to create muscle balance and overall health.  Not that other exercise methods aren't capable of working beautifully, it's just that actual pilates is a method like no other.  And when it's done well, it yields results that are deeply felt in body and mind.  So how can you tell the difference? 

Here's are 3 questions to ask your Instructor:

1. Where did you acquire certification?

A nationally recognized certification requires upwards of 450 hours of coursework, including thorough study of the muscles and their function, and how to modify for injuries.   There is no weekend-long course that provides an education on all the equipment (with 500+ detailed movements); that would be impossible!  And if the answer is "no certification at all", run for the hills!  Would you hire a personal trainer or massage therapist with no credentials?  Probably not.

2. How can you help me reach my goals?

A great instructor will be able to select exercises for you based on your goals, body style, sport, and dozens of other factors.  She (or he) will likely give you a mouthful (and not shut up) if you let them.  We assume anyone who undertakes training with an instructor has a goal in mind, and a skilled trainer will have a road map to meeting that goal.  Pilates is designed to be customized, not "one size fits all".  

3. Who is in your referral network?

A savvy instructor knows where her (or his) skill set ends and when to refer to another professional.  Pilates clients often arrive at pilates when injuries and health conditions leave them unable to do what they love.  Certified instructors have the training to spot an impending back problem, and they know when that achy knee needs a pro opinion.  There is a reason physical therapists and chiropractors refer to pilates studios.  Truly ethical instructors are driven by the love of pilates and the health of their clients, not a paycheck.  And a good business that offers "real pilates" would expect nothing less.

written by Stephanie Evans/ Dec 18, 2015