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pilates
I
t’s estimated that more than
two-thirds of UK health
club operators offer pilates
classes as part of their core
STUDIO TIME
programming. But while clubs have
been quick to deliver matwork in a
group training format, they have shown
Can health club operators afford to ignore the growing interest
considerable reticence when it comes to
in pilates equipment training? Neena Dhillon investigates
incorporating equipment training.
Chris Onslow, MD of Pilates Solutions,
which distributes STOTT PILATES This setback resulted in a delay of almost based pilates programme, innovations in
equipment and training, feels it may be six years before they felt comfortable equipment and education have really made
a case of once bitten, twice shy. “In the reconsidering an equipment model.” those non-factors today. What we see
late 1990s, a couple of big operators However as Ken Endelman, founder as the biggest challenge now is a failure
attempted to install equipment studios in and CEO of Balanced Body, explains: to market the programme. Everybody’s
their clubs following a US model,” he says. “Although lack of space and quality heard of pilates, but not everyone really
“Lack of suitably qualifi ed instructors, instructors used to be major inhibitors understands what it is – that includes
however, meant the studios sat unused. for clubs trying to start an equipment- members, potential members and club
employees. It’s essential that a club
designates someone as a pilates champion
– a staff member solely responsible for
keeping the programme visible both
externally and internally.”
supply & demand
So are leading UK chains now willing to
take the plunge and invest in dedicated
studios? Newly appointed director of
fitness for LA Fitness, Mark Talley, says:
“We’ve responded to the demand [for
pilates] by providing mat-based courses
and classes, which have proven popular
and which satisfy both members and
prospective new clients. However,
within our clubs the key consideration is
space, which is at a premium, and we
have to weigh up whether our members
are requesting pilates versus other
forms of equipment and exercise.”
While Talley acknowledges that
a studio could enhance the product
offering and generate revenue, he argues
that limited desire from members does
not currently warrant initial investment
in, and space for, pilates equipment.
Elaine Coulthard, national fi tness
manager at DW Sports Fitness, expresses
a similar sentiment. “One thousand
people pass through one of our clubs on a
daily basis, so the studios are in use all day,
every day,” she says. “Pilates equipment
can make a studio less fl exible and we
can’t afford to tie up space in this way.”
Instead, Coulthard says members
are educated through group matwork
classes and courses, run by highly
qualifi ed instructors in the clubs’ mind-
Training on equipment such as
the STOTT PILATES V2 Max Plus
Reformer should be fee-based
for individuals or small groups
44 Read Health Club Management online march 2010 © cybertrek 2010
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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