It’s always amazed me how many people go into Pilates or fitness instruction as a career, assuming there’s quick money to be made or that it’s an easy career to break into. Add slick websites and sexy promotional material on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and clients are quickly charmed into attending sessions.
I’ve been practicing Pilates for 12-years now and have certainly trained with my fair share of incredible, inspiring instructors from around the world who are continual students of the work and philosophies of Joseph Pilates.
Avoid the fly-by-night instructors and cheap imitations by ensuring your instructor genuinely knows their stuff:
1. What are your qualifications and where have you studied?
Pilates is an unregulated form of exercise, meaning you don’t need a special qualification to teach it. With countless schools around the block, it’s hard to know which is which. In my opinion, you shouldn’t be teaching Pilates without at least a 500-hour qualification made up of teaching, observation and personal practice time. If your instructor is advertising sessions for pre- or post-natal or injuries, make sure they have additional courses in these fields or even better, come from a background in physiotherapy or human movement sciences.
2. How much teaching experience do you have?
Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to become a master of your craft. Studying to become a Pilates practitioner is only the beginning of the journey. Most of what instructors learn, is from pure hard work and hundreds of hours in the studio. No two bodies are the same and it takes a trained eye to know what clients need. To reach 10,000 hours, an instructor should be teaching at least 30-hours a week for 6.5 years!
3. Who is your instructor and how often do you work with them?
The best instructors are those who practice what they teach. Your instructor should regularly be training under and working alongside practitioners who are as good, if not better, than your own instructor. They should be striving to become better in their own practice and picking up new ideas as they go. Some of the ‘big names’ in the international Pilates scene are often on websites/videos like Pilates Anytime.
4. Are you a member of any professional organisations like the Pilates Method Alliance?
Because the industry is so unregulated when it comes to teaching, it is always comforting to know that your instructor is a member of a Pilates community where professionals knowledge share and support each other.
5. Do other health professionals recommend your work?
The proof is in the pudding. If a good sports massage therapist, physiotherapist, osteopath or doctor recommends your Pilates instructor, you know there is quality in their work.