The Value of Pilates Challenges

Beth in Pilates side kick exercise on forearm on gray Pilates mat. Wearing a purple top and black leggings.

Written by Beth Sandlin

October 4, 2021

As much as I loved teaching in the Pilates studio. Most people I worked with came in once or twice a week. A select few came in three times a week. And I may be dating myself here, but at $65 per private session or $25 per group session, even twice a week is anywhere from $250 per month to $520 per month, just for Pilates.

Over the years I realized people needed more Pilates, not less but this can not only pinch the wallet, but time as well. The thing is when you workout more days with Pilates, it doesn’t mean that it always has to be a full hour session, in fact I encourage shorter sessions to round out your practice. 

Since I now get to teach 100% online, the question was, how to shift from a one off workout to help people get into a rhythm. To provide more support and structure with Pilates Workouts so they are even more beneficial. 

And here comes the trendy word of Challenge. But let me tell you, a challenge is the opposite of what we want when coming to the mat for a Pilates workout. Sure we want to be challenged in just the right way during a workout. 

But when people hear the word challenge, I don’t know what happens, but sometimes they focus less on what works for them. And they turn to completing the challenge exactly as outlined even if what they are doing isn’t sustainable. 

Pilates isn’t a race to the finish line. 

So what to do, should we do Pilates Challenges? I say we can especially because a lot of people understand a Challenge is a series of classes, with more support built into the workouts. But this is where as a Pilates teacher time needs to be spent explaining how this challenge is different. It’s not to follow the plan to a t or do all the exercises exactly like I show. 

This is why I spend time explaining that a Trifecta Pilates Challenge is about what works best for people right now. I also shift the language from challenge to series in a lot of the emails. 

Because the truth is anyone can push through a short challenge and be done. But what’s better is the process. To learn about yourself and the Pilates method. 

And maybe the most important aspect is that it’s sustainable because that’s where progress is housed. Not in one week or one workout, but in a long-term consistent, motivated Pilates practice (and with a plan, that’s even better)

Here are my go-to suggestions with challenges. People can: 

  • Follow the challenge just as is if that’s what works well
  • Take a day off in between the workouts. So workout one day, off one day and repeat. 
  • For shorter workouts, such as the Pilates for Beginners Series or 14-Day Challenge, if people have more time, they can combine the short 15 minutes workouts together on a day, so that another day they can take off. 

I enjoy working out pretty much every day and that’s what helps me stay consistent. It doesn’t feel overwhelming and I follow a plan so I don’t crash and burn. I also take intentional days and sometimes weeks off for rest. 

So when I structure a challenge, it is exactly what I do in my life BUT that may not work for everyone. 

I think as Pilates teachers and movers of Pilates alike, we need to get over the one-size fits all. This doesn’t mean that a lot of people can’t benefit from the same plan, it means that we need to drop the expectation that everyone has to follow the plan in the same way. 

This is what leads to overwhelm and burnout. 

Any workout you do with me, any challenge you sign up for, keep yourself at the center of your practice. Ask yourself, is the plan perfect as is or am I going to personalize it. 

This takes some getting used to. Someone once told me, “You really do want us to do what’s best for us, even if that’s a different option from your teaching or changing the plan.”

100% yes! You doing what works for you is what I always advocate for. 

So if you do move with a Pilates Challenge with Trifecta Pilates, keep in mind that the 5-Day, 7-Day or even 14-Day Challenge is a suggestion. Follow as is or find your own flow with the Pilates Plan! Move with a Trifecta Pilates Series here. 

And if you’re a Pilates Teacher, simple shifts in language can be of huge support for the people you work with. 

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