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What credentials should I look for in an instructor?
Currently, there is no single agency certifying Pilates instructors, and so instructors can have a variety of experience and training. According to the Pilates Method Alliance (an international nonprofit professional association for the Pilates method), instructors should be able to
Ask a potential instructor how long their training was and how much practical experience they have if you're concerned about their credentials. Obviously, a weekend retreat to learn mat Pilates is not the same as a comprehensive one-year program that includes anatomy and physiology and hundreds of hours of working on the machines and the mats.
Where do I do Pilates?
Pilates is growing in popularity, and so most large fitness centers with an aerobics program offer Pilates mat classes. The larger centers might also have a dedicated Pilates room with machines, or at least some Pilates equipment on the main gym floor. If your local fitness center doesn't offer Pilates, check online for Pilates studios in your area. Many studios and fitness centers offer group sessions at discount rates, so be sure to check for those. Individual sessions are also available for the mat or machines, and so if you feel you need extra attention, you can ask for that. Individual fees range from $65 to $125 dollars per hour depending upon the experience of the instructor and whether you do it at the gym or at a private studio.
Are there other types of Pilates?
American ingenuity has worked its way into Pilates. There's Pilates on the ball, yoga Pilates, and even Pilates with exercise bands. These are not what Joseph Pilates had in mind, but I don't know of any downside, and if they provide you with variety and alternatives, you like them, and they get you to work out, then I recommend giving one of them a try or sticking with it if one is working for you.