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How do I choose a Pilates studio to work with?

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Today we are going to figure out how to choose a Pilates studio!


How do I choose a Pilates studio to work with?


First, you need to know the most common types of studios and what they have to offer and then we'll talk about personal preference and certifications!


Virtual Studio - solely online.

  • You practice in the privacy of your own home or when you are on the road. *A great option if you have children, have to travel for work, or during a pandemic.

  • You may need to purchase a few props or make do with what you have on hand (like cans of beans as hand weights).

  • You may be required to have your video on for class. It's up to the studio or teacher and not always known before class, so feel free to ask before you book your session.

  • You may be limited to mat classes or mat privates session if you don't have your own equipment (this is not a bad thing!).

  • You are not limited by studio location with a virtual studio.

  • You may get overwhelmed* by all the virtual options if you aren't careful.

  • You may have the option to go to workshops or classes by some of the "celebrity" Pilates instructors.

  • You may have the option to have a class recording sent to you, so you can take a class that is scheduled while you are at work. *Check with the studio to see if this is an option and ask how many days you will be allowed to replay - some are limited to 3-7 days.

*A note about overwhelming yourself: There may be a lot of different platforms you'll have to have an account with when you go with more than one virtual studio. You may get your schedule mixed up if you schedule too many classes between multiple platforms OR if you are choosing studios that aren't in your time zone. Unless all of your virtual studios use the same platform, you won't know if you are over scheduling yourself. And even if all of your studios are using the same platform, most don't message you when you've scheduled two events at the same time.


Home Studio - a Pilates teacher who teaches in his/her/their home centering on Private, Duet, or Semi-Private sessions. The home studio is their full time or part time business.

Typically, a home studio includes a few pieces of equipment such as 1-2 Reformers with or without a Tower, 1 Cadillac (may be more rate), 1-2 Chairs, 1 Ladder Barrel, mats, and props (such as rollers and barrels).

  • You should get a more tailored session to your needs and goals because you'll be in a private session (just you), duet (you + one other) or a semi-private session (you + up to 3 more people). Session size will be based on equipment availability and session set up.

  • You may spend more on a session because it is a personalized experience.

  • All equipment and props will be in the studio for use.

  • Session content is decided by the teacher, but the content should always fit your personal goals.

  • Availability and scheduling may be limited based on the home studio hours and the number of clients.

  • You may be less overwhelmed due to the boutique type of environment.

  • You may be allowed to record your session, but this is based on the teacher's policy and whether it is a private, duet, or semi-private session.

  • You may be given "homework" based on your goals.

  • You may be limited by location. You'll have to decide how far you are willing to drive to get your sessions in. *some brick & mortar studios also offer virtual.

A home studio is a great option for a more boutique and personalized experience. Just because someone has Pilates equipment in their home and is offering sessions does not mean the teacher has lesser certifications than a Brick & Mortar. An instructor may have a home studio because they do not plan on having employees and because it may be more convenient for his/her/their lifestyle.

Picture shows: my Home Studio, which is also a Virtual Studio. Example: I could hold private or duet sessions here, if I chose to.


Brick & Mortar - a Pilates studio in a building that is not the owner's personal residence.

A Pilates studio in a building may have multiple teachers, multiple rooms, multiple pieces of the same equipment, and more than one class or session running at the same time. May have one or more owners and a set of independent contractors or employees.

*The studio may offer extension classes such as Yoga, Barre, Zumba, etc.

  • You have the option to go to a group class, or schedule a more private environment (such as a private, duet, or semi-private).

  • You may have to share space during your private session if there is more than one teacher booked to a room. You should still get one on one attention catered to your goals.

  • Group class sizes will vary pending the space at the studio. You can always ask what the maximum number of clients are per session. *These may differ pending the type of class such as mat or equipment.

  • You will have different price points pending the type of experience you want. For example: a group class will always be cheaper than a private session.

  • All equipment and props will be in the studio for use.

  • Availability and scheduling may be easier when their are multiple teachers working at the studio. More teachers means there might be more hours in a day covered for taking classes or sessions.

  • Private session (duet or semi-private) content is decided by the teacher, but the content should always fit your personal goals.

  • Private session (duet or semi-private) - You may be given "homework" based on your goals.

  • You may get the same boutique type of environment at a brick & mortar studio that you would get with a home studio. It really depends on the studio and how it is run.

  • You may be limited by location. You'll have to decide how far you are willing to drive to get your sessions in. *some brick & mortar studios also offer virtual.


Virtual + - a Home Studio or Brick & Mortar that also has virtual sessions you can attend at home. You'll have access to your same teachers, but be able to practice at home.

  • You'll have some of the advantages I listed above for "Virtual Studio" but you would know and likely have a relationship with your local studio teachers and the clients. It could make your sessions feel a bit more personalized because you know these people in real life.

High Volume Fitness Center - a "high volume" Pilates studio that incorporates more cardio and HIIT type of moves into Pilates. It may have a large number of clients/teacher ratio and a significant number of machines.


This type of studio/fitness center will require more research because the offerings are different across the states. I'm putting it on the list because there are a lot of options out there that might not come up in a search and I feel that they are worth investigating.

Since these types of studios vary in content and offerings, and I am not as familiar with all the options, I will list out what to think about and ask. *You should also think about these questions, in general, for the other types of studios, too.

  • What do the pictures online tell you? Is it an open area filled with equipment, or does it look like there are multiple rooms? How do you feel about that? Are you comfortable in an open area?

  • How many people do you want to work out? What is the maximum number of clients per session? Do you see people who look like you?

  • Do they offer private sessions? Are private sessions in shared areas with classes?

  • What are the price points? Do you have to buy a membership? What is included in the membership? Is the membership for the full facility or just Pilates?

  • Do they offer a virtual schedule? Is it included in the membership?

  • From what I know - the studio/fitness center should have its own equipment and props to use.

  • From what I know - availability and scheduling may be easier when their are multiple teachers working at the studio. More teachers means there might be more hours in a day covered for taking classes or sessions.


Community Center - your local Y, recreational center, or community center.

  • You will likely only have a group class option. It will likely be mat class.

  • Classes will be 'all levels' so the whole community can participate.

  • Group class sizes will vary pending the space and restrictions. You can always ask what the maximum number per session. *our community center will cap the number of participants pending the room the session is in

  • There may or may not be props available.

  • Classes may be only at certain times and there may not be virtual options.

  • Classes may be included in the membership or they may be considered a special session for an additional fee. *They may also be in 4-6 week chunks/sessions.

A community option can be a great place to start (or stay forever), get a referral, or meet other members in the community. I like to recommend that no one snub their local community centers because they are there to help grow the community and give access where access is needed.

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Personal Preference & Certifications:

How you want to practice is your personal preference, but I suggest you look for the type of studio that will cater to what you need in your life so you stick to your practice.


If you just want to move your body, figure out how you want your body to move, and decide from there.


Whatever you decide, ensure your Pilates teacher has a proper certification for what he/she/they are teaching.

For example - my Mat [Levels 1-3 only] Certification required a minimum of:

  • 40 hours of observing teachers teach

  • 50 hours of me practice teaching

  • 20 private session taken

  • 20 mat classes taken

  • 5 workshops @ about 6 hours each (including anatomy)

  • 3 written tests

  • 1 physical test

  • 1 private client teaching test

  • 1 group teaching test

Please note - a teacher can have a certification as lengthy as this one and still teach at any of the above studios. Where a teacher chooses to teach isn't always based on where they can "get hired" - it may be a personal choice based on their business or personal goals. Again, don't snub any one of the above options without looking into them and finding your fit. You never know what a place has to offer until you give them a chance. Same with teachers!

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