Master trainer, TenPilates
I believe one of the reasons pilates isn't listed among the ACSM trends has as much to do with the survey itself as with the relevance of pilates today.The survey was completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide: not necessarily an accurate view of what the fitness industry is doing, considering there are over 250,000 fitness trainers in the US alone. For many respondees, pilates may simply not be part of their skillset or frame of reference.That said, it's always good to see how industry professionals view the sector, and it's important for pilates instructors to keep pushing the name and benefits of this form of training to the forefront.
In addition, while pilates itself may not be listed as one of the top trends, many of the trends that do make it onto the top 10 – strength training, bodyweight training, fitness for older adults, functional training and core training – are constituent elements of pilates.Trends, by definition, come and go; at TenPilates, we're more interested in the underlying fundamentals that have ongoing benefit for individuals in their daily lives.
Nevertheless, the whole shape of the fitness industry is changing, and these changes are affecting the ability of pilates to become part of the mainstream.The sector is becoming polarised in terms
of facilities, specialisation and price, with more people joining high-end, boutique/ specialist or budget clubs. Everything in the middle will die away or downsize rapidly – we're seeing this already.The investment in both people and equipment that has enabled gyms to offer pilates is not there any more: those doing pilates in a mainstream gym will find it's usually mat rather than reformer, and taught by a non-specialist instructor.
Pilates requires precision in the way it's taught and practised, and it may well be that its delivery therefore moves into more specialist studios going forward. In the end, any discipline is only as good as the results and experience it provides to its users: if you don't create an experience that will keep people coming back, they won't get results and will move on to the next thing.
MD, Mbodies Training Academy
Pilates has matured and become established, with other new trends coming to the fore and grabbing the attention.The new 'wellness' trend, for example, actually provides many pilates therapists with high client retention and rich pickings once they've invested in the right training and infrastructure. However,'wellness' rather than 'pilates' is the current buzz-term, and successful pilates teachers are therefore using their expertise to work within this new trend, as well as other niche markets.
In the noughties, the masses were crammed into the rapidly renamed legs, bums and tums classes, now called pilates matwork.This sort of fitness pilates offered little for the 'sweaters', who moved on to group cycling, circuits, kettlebells and so on to fulfil their cardio urges. Meanwhile, the typical 25- to 40-year-old 'no sweat' brigade found no greater benefits from matwork pilates than the generations before gained from callanetics or legs, bums and tums; some stayed with pilates, but many moved on as new trends came along.
Wellness pilates, on the other hand, is taught by better qualified therapists and addresses conditions such as ante natal exercise, osteoporosis, incontinence and pelvic disorders, rehab from injury, lower back pain, breast cancer rehab, neuromuscular conditions, menopause and so on. Baby Boomers and affluent seniors seeking active lifestyles into their 80s and 90s – despite the barriers of medical conditions – often come to pilates, recognising it meets their needs.
The challenge for the sector is to provide new tools for the 75 per cent of pilates teachers who are qualified to teach matwork only, helping them adapt into the new trend markets rather than relying on pilates itself as the trend.
Founder & CEO, Balanced Body
From a club's perspective, I honestly wouldn't be too alarmed about the ACSM ranking. And I don't say that blindly – I say that because these last two years, when pilates has fallen off the ACSM list, have been the most successful in Balanced Body's 35-year history.That means a lot of our customers' pilates offerings are also flourishing.
There may be a decrease in 'newbies' trying pilates for the first time, and of course there are those who always seem to move on to the latest exercise trend. However, pilates definitely has a rock-solid foundation with a dedicated following.What you see now is pilates programming making the transition between 'hot and new' to 'here to stay'.
That being said, this transition isn't automatic for any club, and it isn't easy money.The clubs that are expanding or launching successful pilates programming must continue to do the legwork to keep it strong: aggressively marketing it to their members, keeping internal staff up to speed so they can answer any questions, creating innovative group programming (eg speciality classes for members with similar demographics, such as pilates for golfers), and making sure instructors keep up on their continuing education so programming stays fresh and relevant to members.
If clubs do that, pilates will do what it's always done: provide a key source of non-dues revenue. Clubs that don't will most likely fail.