How to Make Pilates More Affordable

Money Saving Ideas for Keeping Your Workouts Budget-Friendly

One of the reasons that people cite for not doing more Pilates is the high cost of Pilates classes. Pilates classes are not cheap because of the high cost of Pilates instructor training, the extensive level of expertise that such training imparts and the overhead associated with providing and maintaining Pilates equipment.

As a result, some of us have to be creative to get in as much Pilates as we want to do. Cheaper Pilates classes do not mean the quality is cheap. Here are some of my top tips for making Pilates fit your budget.

Supplement at Home with Online Workouts, DVDs or Books

Doing Pilates at home.
Doing Pilates at home. Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images

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 you own. But you might also find that there is much to be learned by doing Pilates practice on your own for a while. If the cost of classes is getting to you, don't quit, just take fewer classes and supplement with workouts at home.

Use Small Pilates Equipment at Home

If you need to take a break from the cost of large-equipment classes, consider buying a fitness band, magic circle or exercise ball for your home workouts. These are inexpensive pieces of equipment that can provide the resistance and stability training of the reformer, chair or tower. I know it's not the same, but you can get a good workout with them.

Mix and Match Your Classes

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! You could do a private and take what you've learned into a group class setting for a few weeks to make your overall Pilates cost cheaper. Or, you could do reformer classes and some less expensive mat classes. You might even consider taking only mat classes for a while. The point is that you can save money by rotating the kinds of classes you do.

Reconsider Private Classes—To a Point

I'm a big fan of private classes, and I do recommend them for 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. But if you're staying with privates because you are nervous about joining a group class, I'd suggest pushing past that.

Group classes are very non-threatening and offer their own benefits for learning Pilates. In most studios, classes are fairly small and one 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.

Don't Drop In—Sign Up!

At most studios a drop-in class costs a few dollars more than a class one has signed up for. Many of us like to drop in because of the flexibility it offers. But those dollars add up, and 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.