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pilates


Without a live instructor present, will members enjoy the same benefits from their pilates classes? NORA ST JOHN


EDUCATION PROGRAMME DIRECTOR, BALANCED BODY & CO-OWNER OF TURNING POINT STUDIOS, CALIFORNIA, US


F


or some clubs, there is possible merit in providing virtual group classes for certain activities where it may be too expensive or diffi cult to hire an instructor.


However, it’s a much trickier issue with pilates classes. With any group exercise programme, quality instructors


are critical, but this is doubly true for pilates. Part of the brilliance of the pilates method lies in its extensive repertoire and the ability to physically modify any exercise to meet the health needs of different clients with different body dynamics. An instructor needs to be there to recognise and make these modifi cations. Pilates is also a mind-body exercise that requires mental


focus. It is the job of a pilates instructor to create an environment in the class that encourages that focus and fosters the mind-body connection.


All of the above is hard to make happen if


members are watching a screen. This could lead, in turn, to member disinterest and – if a participant has special heath considerations – possible injury. They would be better off watching a DVD at home, where the responsibility falls on them to understand the nuances and safety issues of the exercise. With a virtual class, the onus falls on the club. Certainly in the US, pilates is one of the very few club


activities members expect to pay extra for. It’s a huge revenue generator and service differentiator for facilities. But it’s the experience and results a live instructor provides that members pay for, and a virtual class can’t replicate that. I believe it would be more benefi cial for a club – even a budget- conscious one – to fi nd a way to get a teacher on board.


Clubs must consider the safety aspect when an instructor is not present


44 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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