I hope I am not making people angry and I hope I don’t offend anybody -that is not my intention- but I am passionate about Pilates and it sometimes upset me that clients think Pilates is expensive. I wish they knew that a good Pilates class is worth every eurocent! In the Netherlands people seem to feel guilty when they spend money on their own health and wellbeing. Or could it be – in my eyes – frugality? People seem to spend plenty of money on expensive cars, luxurious houses, going on holiday 3 times a year to faraway places, a new wardrobe every year, designer shoes, make -up, bags, eating out, going to the beautician and Spa’s, but spending money on a Personal Pilates session seems to be thought of as a waste of money. The investment in our own wellbeing guarantees you more happiness and feeling fit, than a new 4 wheel drive would. That car is going to be a real pain in the ass if you can’t get into it with your stiff legs and herniated disc. That beautiful villa is going to be a burden if you can’t clean it anymore or aren’t able to keep the garden maintained. Crawling out of your Porsche and stumbling onward with surpressed pain is anything but sexy. You may even curse the day you bought this sporty, sexy car. You may wish you bought that Opel Agila instead. Pilates can help you stay mobile for long of even forever! Who wouldn’t want that?
In my studio I have had to deal with a few people that tried to haggle the price of my lessons. One fairly well off client tried to negotiate the price of a PT (Personal Training). I think I already knew when I saw her getting out of her SUV in her Manolo Blahniks. She walked to my studio with her oversized Prada bag draped over her arm and a bored look in her eyes. While complimenting me on my teaching she suddenly wanted to take a 5 minute break. She had started transpiring and she asked me, no, commanded me, to give her a tissue because she didn’t want to ruin her foundation and eye make-up. Excuse me?! Then she asked me if I charged for that, because I wasn’t doing anything right then. At the end of the class she said: “I want a 10-sessioncard, but I want to pay it all at once with a 25% discount.” Was I hearing this right? I calmly explained to her that during 3300 seconds, so 55 minutes she had my undivided attention, that I have some very satisfied clients and I’m more than worth the €40,- per 55 minute session. I told her it was better if she would find another Pilates studio. Offended she left. My less fortunate clients never ask for a discount. They do often say:”Does this get refunded by my insurer? Why not? I feel so much better because of Pilates!”. There are a couple of clients that get their lessons refunded by their employer, because they know that their employees would end up sick and at home if they wouldn’t do Pilates. They feel it’s cheaper to pay for their classes than have a sick employee. Wise decision.
Joseph Pilates said that a strong, healthy body is the key to happiness. I wholeheartedly agree with him, because getting control over your body is great! The realization that you can build up your body makes you the director of your own life! It makes me happy that I have gotten stronger and am one step closer to a pain free life. To spend money on Personal trainings (or duo- of Pilates group classes) you have to sometimes replace your old mindset with a new one. Giving yourself something as luxurious as doing something good for your own health doesn’t fit the typical Dutch frugal sense. People find an average price of €55,- for a 1- on -1 Pilatesclass too expensive and it’s not seen as something tangible. But I think there’s nothing more tangible than a healthy, supple, and strong body. Any personal trainer would easily charge €100,- to €150,- an hour nowadays, but because they also give so called “Pilates” at the gym and the price of that is included in the price of their subscription people often tell Personal Trainers “I don’t even pay that much for my monthly subscription at the gym!” Yes, the gym is cheaper, but I wonder if the instructor there has had at least 600 training hours and hundreds of hours of training on their own! Yes, you can lay on the floor there on very thin mats, amidst of 30 or 40 other people. Sometimes these people have very serious physical problems, and they’ll try and recreate everything their young and very self satisfied instructor does on stage. The instructor won’t walk around correcting people and she won’t help people with the right technique. No, she has a good workout herself and she will yell words like ‘scoop’ and ‘powerhouse’ into her microphone occasionally. No wonder people say “Pilates gives me back pain!”. I don’t find this surprising. That’s not Pilates, it’s an injury waiting to happen! The mat is one of the hardest things to do, Joseph Pilates didn’t develop apparatus for nothing. With these apparatus he made his clients strong enough to work on the mat. Pilates is mostly a method to work from the inside out; the instructor will tell you in how many different ways how the exercise needs to be done to work for your unique body. She can say in a group class: “Karel, you perform this exercise with your legs bent and Marie, you stretch your legs right above your mat.” Pilates is unique. Since I started Pilates I have cut out more and more, unimportant, things from my life that cost too much money. This way I create more time for myself to practise Pilates. I take sessions with other instructors twice a week, and I drive at least an hour there and back. If I would not do this I wonder in what kind of miserable state I would be. I don’t need to eat out, or go on holiday 3 times a year, and I don’t need a new wardrobe every year either.
Work longer without injuries!
The title of this article may remind you of a commercial of a well known brand of cosmetics. I chose this title for a reason, because if we realize that we’re getting older and we want to function well until we’re very old, an investment in our health is a wise choice. Working people can’t escape it, because working until we’re 70 is going to be very normal in the future. But the thought of going to work with painful and stiff limbs until you’re old enough to retire really doesn’t sound good, does it? I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening! I don’t plan on retiring by the way, because my head is overflowing with new ideas! If it was up to me I will help people by giving hem a strong body until the day I die. It’s necessary for everyone to keep working on their body so it can function well until old age. The Rich&Famous know that Pilates is great for a strong body and a healthy pension. From Madonna to Catherine Deneuve, from Sting to Maxima, many celebrities practice Pilates, because it’s so great and effective. There’s no doubt about it: Pilates Rocks!
You’re worth it!
Classic Pilates works with a progressive scheme. At first your body may complain and grouch, but after a good workout your body will sing and you will literally feel lifted. Pilates is a method that builds every fiber in your muscles from the inside out. The muscle system will be aligned from the core. It’s a functional method that will support all your activities in your daily life. You’re worth a well functioning body until you reach old age.
It’s not always easy finding a good Pilates instructor. Sometimes you’ll find trainers that had a Pilates course for a weekend and then think they know everything about this very extensive method. But it’s impossible to be a good instructor without a decent education, lots of teaching, talent, empathy and constant studying. You can expect that your valuable time and money is well spent. To separate the chaff from the wheat it might be a good idea to keep reading Pilatesglossy. Knowledge is the best gauge!
It would be amazing if insurers would see Pilates for what it is; a more than wonderful method that helps so many people to move pain free, or with relief of most of their ailments. To prevent any injuries from happening Pilates is the perfect movement method. I want to see Pilates being taught at schools! I want it to be part of the curriculum! Without Pilates my body would be in bad shape and without my Pilates classes a lot of my clients would not be able to do what they do no, function for 100% at work and do whatever they want in their free time. For any insurer it’s very important to demand the Pilates instructor to be associated with the Pilates Method Alliance (or another alliance) that guarantees the trainers are qualified. There might be a lot less Pilatesclasses then because there are a lot of teachers that have not had a decent training. But there are some very good Pilates instructors that are not associated with a Pilates Alliance because they don’t want to commit to anything, but they do stand out from the crowd because they show remarkable expertise. There are amazing trainers that get great results because of their vast knowledge and experience. My instructor has 30 years of Pilates experience, is a walking Pilatespedia, is a two time Gold Card holder (the Gold Card was only given to a few exceptional trainers all over the world, by Romana Kryzanowska) and knows more than most Pilates masters, but has no interest in standardization. This would be tricky, because how can you get standardization, if there are a lot of smart and cunning – but not very good – trainers that know the way to adjust to the demands that are made, but the ones that are really good, don’t want to conform?
©Marjolein van Sonsbeek
Pilates Studio van Sonsbeek
Zoetermeer, The Netherlands