How to Make Pilates More Affordable

One of the reasons that people cite for not doing more Pilates is the high cost of classes. This is understandable; however, there are solutions that can help make Pilates fit into your budget.

There are a few reasons why Pilates classes can be a little spendy. One of those is the high cost involved with the training that instructors receive to get to a certain level of expertise. Also, Pilates studios must factor in the overhead associated with providing and maintaining Pilates equipment.

From supplementing classes with Pilates at home to scheduling classes to get the most impact for your money, consider these ways to keep Pilates in your life while minimizing your costs.

Do Workouts at Home

Woman practicing pilates at home

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Nothing beats having an instructor keep an eye on you. A good Pilates teacher will help you correct weaknesses in your form and practice that you might not discover on your own. But you might also find that there is much to be learned by doing Pilates practice on your own.

If the cost of classes is getting to you, don't quit. Instead, try taking fewer classes, and supplement those with workouts at home.

You can find workouts in DVDs, books, or free online videos. You can develop your own routines using a combination of these and what you learn in class. Take some time to explore your options and customize your practice to maximize the benefits of Pilates at home.

Purchase Inexpensive Equipment

Woman doing a backbend over an exercise ball

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If you need to take a break from the cost of large-equipment classes, consider buying a few smaller pieces of equipment to use at home, such as a resistance band, magic circle, and exercise ball.

These are inexpensive pieces of equipment that can provide some of the resistance and stability training of the reformer, chair, or tower. While it's not the same, you can still get a good workout.

Mix and Match Classes

Pilates teacher explaining something in a Pilates mat class

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Study the class and cost list at your studio and figure out a schedule that will meet your needs and fit your budget. That might be as easy as experimenting with different kinds of classes.

Private classes are the most expensive, followed by duets, and then group classes. Also, there is often a cost difference between mat and equipment classes. So mix 'em up!

For instance, you could do a private class and take what you've learned there in a group class setting for a few weeks to make your overall Pilates cost cheaper. Or, you could combine reformer classes and some less expensive mat classes. You might even consider taking only mat classes for a while.

Reconsider Private Classes

Female pilates instructor assisting mature student on high-low chair during class in exercise studio
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I'm a big fan of private classes and do recommend them to everyone. But privates can be very addicting, and they are the most expensive way to study Pilates. If you have an injury or physical limitation, you may need to stick with private classes.

If you can afford privates all the time, then more power to you. However, if you're staying with privates because you are nervous about joining a group class, making an attempt to push past that anxiety can save money.

Group classes are very non-threatening and offer their own benefits for learning Pilates. In most studios, classes are fairly small and you can still expect individual attention. Also, there is plenty to learn by observing corrections given to other students. The camaraderie of a group class can be motivating as well.

Sign Up in Advance

Women in a Pilates reformer class

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At most studios, a drop-in class costs a few dollars more than a class you have to sign up for. Many of us like to drop in because of the flexibility it offers, but those dollars add up. If you are constantly dropping in on the same classes, you might as well sign up.

Of course, the big benefit to signing up for a class—even bigger than the financial savings—is that you will be committed. This alone can be a great motivation to stick to your workouts.

By Marguerite Ogle MS, RYT
Marguerite Ogle is a freelance writer and experienced natural wellness and life coach, who has been teaching Pilates for more than 35 years.